wind conditions. If it works well the size, shape and design is done and he will make a new sail with the panels oriented properly for the design. He plans to add about 2 sq ft to the foot of the sail so I figure I'll end up with about 91 - 92 sq ft when he was done. Overall I think it is going to be a winner. (My sail maker went out of business a month later so couldn't complete this.) I might even be faster on a starboard tack once I have the ballast dialed in. That should bring me up in the next Dam Race. I always wanted to go bigger with my sail size but it just was not as much fun to sail in heavier winds, as I always had to reef. Now in light air I can easily paddle sail to pick up speed and know I do not have to reef until over 15 mph winds. It seems like a good compromise to me.
I went through a lot of ideas and tried many to see how they would work. The 22' mast was too tall, with too much sail area unless the wind was less than 6 mph, and too bendy. The 19' mast feels just about right. The square top can not be longer than 22" as the CE goes too far aft and the performance and control start to suffer. This is with an 8' boom. My original sail with the 18' mast and 110" boom was pretty close in sq ft and did work well for my Raptor. With what I know now I probably would have stiffened the mast, added my traveler and boom and been done with it. This summer I might try the old sail with a temporary boom extension to see how it fares against my new one (I was never able to do this comparison before selling my old sail).
It just feels like a different boat now. I no longer have that lightness on a starboard tack and in lighter air both tacks feel the same. Full ballast does not affect the sailing either. I thought I would feel it in my rudder pedals but I don't and I really can not tell how much water I have in the tank unless I look at the waterline.
That is why I installed a level gauge for my water bladder. I used a piece of batten and drilled a hole in the top of the black vent on the front hatch. I added a nylon bushing on the bottom of the black vent, attached a round cork to the batten and marked it in four places to indicate the water level in the tank. It works well and I can quickly see how much water is in the tank. Simple but foolproof and easy to see.
I finished sanding my mast smooth and then polished and waxed it, which will help the luff rotate better between tacks. The last thing I did was add a few coats of epoxy/graphite powder/Cabosil mixture to my new daggerboard and sanded it to a smooth shape. It matches the rudder now. Other than that I am pretty well done with the boat so I should be able to do a lot of sailing this year. Overall I am happy how it turned out and would still install the ballast tank if I had to do it all over again. I can now cross my lake without any worries about getting back.
After all the modifications I've ended up with a bulletproof boat that is a real pleasure to set up and sail. All the little quirks are gone. It may be just a little bit slower in real light air but most of the time I can just enjoy sailing it without having to lean on the sidecar for balance when I do not want to use the foil. I should be faster overall in winds from 6 - 15 mph. At higher wind speeds it should also be faster as I will be much more stable and, with a little reef and water ballast, won't need to use the foil.
With my size sail I should not have any problems with my iakos as the sail area is about what I started with. The iakos are stock but both the main hull and ama sockets have been reinforced and also the mast socket has a sleeved aluminum tube epoxied in. With the ama being heavier I will not be using the foil as much and do not plan to use maximum water ballast and maximum foil pressure at the same time while on a starboard tack. When wind speeds increase to over 15 mph I will reef a bit and only when it gets gusty will I use the foil, combined with just a little water ballast. Either way I will be able to feel when there is more than 200 lbs of down force on the ama as the mast will really start bending and I will feel the tension in my main sheet. Stresses should be no more than what the stock Raptor has with a full load of gear.
Some comments I made throughout the years have proven, after further testing and experience with the boat, to be wrong. The little sailing I did to test things in heavier air had me whooping with joy as everything started coming together and the boat was just a pleasure to sail. I found out later that I used about half a tank full of water ballast for most of the testing. With the new level gauge I will know at a glance how much I have in the tank. The ballast bag still contains about one gallon of water after emptying it with the pump (on a calm day), which I can live with. Moreover, this will only be if I add some ballast that day, otherwise the bag will be empty. If I turn the drain pump on while lifting the front iako, the bag will drain completely.
18 April 2009
I went out today in 5 - 10 mph steady winds and it was perfect. The ama lifted out of the water and I added half a tank of ballast to balance it out using the full sail. So far I am equal in speed on both tacks and have a 90 - 100 degree tacking angle. While not great, all the telltales are flying and she