Sunday, 23 April 2017

Calstar: new sails and an inch too far

Fitted the new sails this weekend.

I say fitted, but frustratingly, the luff of the foresail is about an inch too long. The mistake is almost certainly mine in the measurement, although I haven't checked. I'm not sure it makes any difference in any case. We've waited so long to receive them that I'm just glad they're here so we're going make what we have fit.

Although knowing the fit isn't perfect yet is a nag at the back of my mind. A slight tarnish to the otherwise pure excitement of something new.

The obvious fix is the forestay and furler.

When we fitted the new Furlex last year, the rigger fitted the drum intentionally high to give clearance for handling the anchor. In practice there is at least three inches of extra space there, so the ideal solution will be to lower the drum of the Furlex those few inches to effectively extend the forestay.

That will also mean extending the foil the sail runs up.

Dad's back down in Cardiff on Monday to talk to a rigger. All a lot of hassle and fuss and additional expense, but if it works out, infinitely better than re-cutting the foresail.

It was a perfect day for messing about with the sails however. The morning was still and bright, once the initial cloud cover cleared, and then a breeze blew up in the afternoon so we took Calstar out into Cardiff Bay to try out her new sails.

Although I couldn't put full tension into the foresail because of the afore mentioned extra inch, we could tension it enough to sail with.

The foresail is fuller than our original one, the clew of the sail lower, and the extra power even in the initially slight breeze was immediately obvious. The flat water  undoubtedly helped, but close hauled and heeling to about 20 degrees, she trotted along at a very comfortable four and half knots where, previously I'm sure, I'd have only had three out of her.

The material, 6 oz Dacron for the headsail and 7.5 oz for the main, was refreshingly stiff and crispy. So much so it'll feel like a crime when the time inevitably comes that we need to reef them. Dad was quite entranced; even to the point that when a gust heeled us over when close hauled to beyond thirty degrees he didn't complain.

It's the first time I've really sailed around Cardiff Bay, we usually just cross it from one side to the other under power to get to where we're going. It's essentially a 500 acre freshwater lake created by the Barrage, which compared to the 50 acres we have at Frampton seems pretty big but once you start charging around it with a 26' yacht it starts to feel decidedly small and the workload of tacking and gybing correspondingly high.

In the brief hour we spent crashing around the blue waters of the bay beneath the gorgeous blue of a warm, bright spring sky, it felt more like charging around the cans at with Buffy at Frampton than the more usual gentlemanly pace of a typical outing with Calstar.

It is an unaccustomed luxury to be able to just nip out of the marina any time we like regardless of the time or state of tide for a "quick sail" just to try stuff out. The move to Cardiff from Portishead is, so far, working out well for us.

No comments: