Sunday, December 28, 2008

At Last!, Test Sail

My flight to LA was canceled due to the winter storms last week. That gave me a day to get the 460 in the water, albeit with jury rigged steering, sail and ballast, and go for a sail.

Conditions were ideal, 8-10 knots, just barely starting to cap. It went upwind decently, and as expected. With 200lbs of water in jugs for ballast, I definitely had to sit in the bottom of the boat to keep it upright when powered up and on the wind. I loved being able to sit across the boat, which is hard to do in the 12 footer.

I did rather need the windows, which are not cut out yet. Upwind, I had to ease the sheet a bit to be able to sit with my eyes above the cabin coaming. There wasn't much traffic so I could sit on the bottom and sail blind for a few minutes at a time. Off the wind I could stand at my leisure without problems. I was pleased to see that I had a half knot or more on a 22' Drascombe Longboat on broad reach.

I took out 2 crew on the second trip, and the additional weight made the boat much more stable. Any two of us could stand up at the same time. Next to another Longboat, we were faster, and it felt like upwind ability was improved. With about 550lbs of crew weight and 200lbs of water, it felt like the boat had plenty of weight carrying capacity left. I guess we were around 1000lbs gross and could handle more. Clearly, ballast in this design is crucial to stability and it can carry a good load as long as it stays low in the boat.

I have been promised a few pictures and will post them if/when they arrive.