Wednesday 4 June 2008

My flexing main yard

Sailing double reefed in 16 to 18 knots I thought that the flexing, lightly built main yard was an advantage because it allowed the leach to open in the gusts. Windsurfing masts do this; flex in the stronger puffs allowing the sail head to open and exhaust or spill the wind. An efficient windsurfing mast can make the difference between smooth sailing and uncomfortable, hanging-on-for-grim-death sailing.

However, the yard flexed just a tad too much and I think I was sailing so comfortably, and slowly, because the sail was spilling most of the wind.

Mr M sorted me out with a long strip of iroko which I’ve laminated to the to the top of the yard making it thicker and stiffer. Rigged on the lawn the sail already looks better.

The double reefed mainsail, I’ve found, sets better rig as a balanced lug otherwise the clew, and I suppose the centre of effort, become very high. Unreefed or single reefed I still set it as a standing lug.

We had a great sail and a steep scramble on the learning curve when the wind, finding us five miles west of home, suddenly changed and belted a force 5 out of the east. Arriving at the beach an hour and a half later soaked through and frayed about the edges, but with my faith more intact than ever, I had a chance to use the drogue to good effect as we came back in through the waves, saving us from a certain capsize.

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