Raptor UK canoe sailing

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A Three Hour Tour
12 June 2009
The plan was for a 2-hour clockwise loop of Kaneohe Bay, going north inside the bay, out through the main channel and returning on the outside, coming back in via the Sampan Channel. The weather was good with enough wind to move out sharply but not so much that the outside would be too choppy. Winds were 7-10 kts from the NE with gusts to 15 and a 5' NE swell. I normally sail with the daggerboard relatively high, 6" or 10" above max. I didn't feel that it needed to be put all the way down

as I didn't think it made a big difference on pointing but felt that it did make a difference in drag. My board is a very tight fit. If I am going to put it all the way down I need to wax it and the top and bottom of the trunk, otherwise it tends to get stuck. I recently bought myself a GPS so this day I had put the board all the way down to see if it would make a difference in my track.

The day started off routinely. I headed out from Kokokahi at about 10 am and passed south of Moku o Loe (AKA Gilligan's Island) and sailed up close to Ahu O Laka, heading for the main channel entrance. After dodging a large tourist boat that seemed intent on running me over, I crossed the channel and tacked back south. I had an acceptable line on Pyramid Rock, which was my aiming point to reenter the bay via the Sampan Channel. I made an extra tack to give me a buffer in case anything bad should happen and to increase my speed on the outside. This tack put me at the G3 buoy (A).

I raised my foil and pointed at Pyramid Rock. The leech tensioning line was working out well and I was pointing very well. Prior to its installation I would have had to go out to the R2 buoy (B) and I would have been pinching to make the line back to reenter the bay. Today I would have easily made it from the G3 buoy with room to spare.

The boat seemed to be dealing with the swell very well. There were two swells, one from the north and one from the northeast, but few breaking

waves. I was making about 8 knots and was able to take out a disposable camera and take a few shots. I got hit by a swell that bounced me out of the seat and I put the camera away. Just after that I heard a sickening cracking sound. I looked down and saw the daggerboard horizontal on the windward side of the boat. It then broke away and was lost.

The boat seemed relatively stable on the port tack so I chose to continue on the outside of the bay. Returning back into the main channel would have forced me to make several tacks to get back. I dropped the foil to give some lateral resistance. The added drag was causing very high forces on the rudder so I reefed the sail to reduce them. The combination of reefing and using the foil reduced my speed to 4-5 knots. I was surprised that I could still point fairly high into the wind but I could not tell how much I was sideslipping.

The distance outside the bay is 3.5 nm and I had gone 1 nm when the daggerboard broke. It took me hour before I turned into the Sampan Channel and I was ⅓ nm downwind of the mark I was originally aiming at. The trip back through the channel was uneventful. Once I made the turn into the channel I was able to retract the foil and make better time. When I exited the channel and turned upwind for the beach I was close to the markers and could tell that I was crabbing badly. I dropped my foil and was able to make it to Kokokahi without tacking, landing at 1 pm.

I am fairly certain that the daggerboard broke from water pressure as a swell passed under me. I could feel the boat being pushed to the side as the swells would pass. I don't think I hit anything. You can usually see turtles if they pass close by and they usually notice the boat and dive. The Raptor isn't fast enough to surprise and strike them.

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