1 May 2009
Now that the mast base is done I will do some more testing with the sail. Since there is now no slop in the mast, everything is dependent on the mast flex and sail shape. I will be able see accurately if I have any lee or weather helm depending on the different ways I shape the sail and when I reef. The mast base is beefy and a little heavier than I wanted, but, like the rudder assembly, it should hopefully be the last thing that will ever give me any further trouble.
15 May 2009
Everything works even better than expected. There is no slop anywhere in the system and the sail rolls in and out like butter even when maximum downhaul is applied. I am glad in a way that I bent my other mast base as this one works so much better.
I just found out that my sail maker closed his doors yesterday (his new career).
2 December 2009
It was a busy summer and I had a great sailing season. I removed the Bruce foil and mounting tube as I never used them after installing the water ballast system, so my Raptor is now ballast-assist only and it has worked out great. It is easier and faster for the sailing I do. I installed instead a ¼" cable and a small aluminum tube in the middle of the cable to act as a dolphin striker, as there is now more stress on the front cross beam with full ballast and when the wind picks up. It makes the front crossbeam much stronger when the ama is being pressed in the water. I thought it was a good idea as it serves the same function as the Bruce foil mounting tube that I removed.
My original daggerboard (bottom left) broke. I am now using the 4" shorter custom daggerboard John made for me (center) and it is a good balance between the two. I redid this daggerboard so that it is flush with the cockpit floor. This gives me a little more room for my feet and should help reduce the water splashing up into the cockpit when at speed.
I decided to do a few more modifications during the winter. My mast base bent slightly at the bottom of the 1¼" rod that the mast slips onto. I tried to pull the rod out but ended up damaging the assembly so I am making a new one. The new mast base will use 2" OD tube (⅛" wall thickness) with a 1¾" diameter solid aluminum rod with bullet-shaped end press-fitted into the top. Otherwise it will look about the same. I could not remove the tube I epoxied in the mast so had to cut 12" off the carbon mast, including the furling drum. I made a new piece from aluminum including the furling drum and have it so 10" of the 22" length fits inside the shorter mast. This should finally end any more problems with the mast base bending under extreme conditions.
Keeping my boat on a trailer allows me to experiment more as I do not have to disassemble it every time I go sailing. Overall I am glad I was able to get a Raptor and it seems to get better with age. It looks like new and is so much more fun to sail now.
22 February 2010
I designed a way to deploy a removable fore stay (shroud) and two side stays to my mast, and I can use them when the sail is fully unfurled. They should allow me to achieve better sail shape and help in my pointing ability. I should also now be able to carry full sail at greater wind speeds. Below are some pictures of the mast stays and rigging.
This photo shows how I calculated the angle and length of the shrouds that would be required with the mast installed, while I had my Raptor set up in the basement. I attached three white lines with thimble ends to my basement's ceiling to simulate the shrouds. This allowed me to calculate how long to make the red control lines, which pass through blocks, providing a 2 to 1 purchase for adjustment of shroud tension. This will reduce the load going to the cleats.