Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Planing Around Canadian Hole

Just got back from a week long trip to Avon on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  Kristi and I trailered The Goat 1800 miles round trip.  Avon is a wind surfer's and kiteboarder's Mecca because the sound side is shallow with a strong, predominantly on-shore wind.  You screw up and it blows you back to the beach.  Very convenient.  There are few boat launch sites because of the shallow water so the best option was to launch at Canadian Hole which is mostly a windsurfer's spot.

One is not like the others.

The first day out the winds were absolutely nuclear.  A nearby weather station was reporting 20-30 knots.  Since we had no idea how The Goat would handle such conditions we started out with the sail reefed all the way down.  We launched and were wondering how wild a ride this would be as the boat was tugging pretty hard just holding her head to wind, in knee deep water.  We should'n have been concerned.  As soon as we got some crew weight in the boat she settled down and while the ride was very lively we at no time felt out of control or that a capsize was imminent.  We had no trouble making way upwind.  The water was essentially flat so that helped but it felt like we had enough drive to punch into bigger chop.

Discussing takeoff strategy.

Reefed sail shape looks good.

Big grin = big fun

 The winds tended to be light in the mornings and picked up in the afternoons.  This allowed us to give Goat rides to interested family members in the morning and flog The Goat in the afternoon.

Perfect 10knot breeze.

  Bella, my niece, was interested in the boat so we went for a spin.  She has been sailing since she was a baby but on a keel boat so the liveliness of The Goat scared her a bit, at first, but I kept the boat pretty flat and she soon was having a good time.

What does this do?

Lets go!

I think she is instructing us on where to sit.

Once we figured out that The Goat handles the blow with ease it was time to see what she could do.  We never again had wind in the high twenties but we did get consistent 18-22.  We hoisted full sail and proceeded to reach back and forth, behaving as if we were sailing our Hobie16.  Solo the boat is amazingly manageable when severely overpowered.  The yard and battens keep the sail from flogging so luffing upwind is quite civilized.  By myself I had way too much sail to go well to windward, as I had to luff a lot but it was doable.  The payoff was the broad reaches when the boat would easily get on plane and I was able to sustain 10knot boat speeds for as long as I had sea room.  Two up we did much better upwind but the max sustained speed dropped to 9knots.  I think my crew was too far forward.

All of this blasting around did come at a price.  We capsized and bailed the boat out 4 times in one afternoon.  

Righting the boat is easy.  She is very stable on
her side so there is no risk of going turtle. 

Bailing is a workout!

The first capsize was caused by the mainsheet getting tangled in the tiller on a tack.  The other three were off the wind death rolls.  I had read somewhere that if, when runing, you let the yard go too far forward bad things may happen with the boat rolling to windward.  The first time it happened it was so quick we did not realize what happened.  I turned down wind and sheeted out too much and the boat immediately rolled.  There was no time to react.  We made several more planing reaches and runs without incident and then it happened again.  We had to figure out exactly what was causing this so we decided that the last run of the day I would sheet out in small increments and try to sneak up and manage the roll.  The run started off fine, we got on plane and I started sheeting out while carefully watching the for the roll.  As soon as the yard went a bit past where it should be we rolled.  No warning, no way to counter, just a fast hard roll.  We were pretty tired by then so we just hung out on the capsized hull and let the wind blow us to shore.  Below is a very poor quality video of that last roll when we were ready for it but still got dunked.  So the moral of the story is Do Not let the yard go too far forward of the mast when you have full sail up, in a blow!

1 comment:

  1. Hi,
    My name is Sarah and I'm with Dwellable. I was looking for blog posts about the Outer Banks to share on our site and I came across your post...If you're open to it, drop me a line at Sarah(at)dwellable(dot)com.
    Hope to hear from you :)