Raptor UK canoe sailing

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July 2010

small to carry both SD carts, but the narrower ama cart fits fine and still leaves room for storage of general items inside (packed lunch, thermos, camera etc.). I could carry the larger cart


Bag for ama cart.

Cart stowage option.

Video clip: Large/small

mounted upside down on the stern of the main hull. This would require more cleats to be fitted onto the stern deck though (to allow elastic strap attachment), so I won't try this stowage solution for the moment.

The rain, which had been forecast, arrived on Friday evening and did not let up for the next 36 hours, making for a very damp meet. The UYC clubhouse was seriously damaged by floods in November 2009 and is in the process of being repaired. In the meantime members and visitors are well catered for with numerous portacabins providing toilet, shower, cooking, changing and dining facilities.

UYC portacabins.

UYC portacabins.

Clubhouse repairs.

Clubhouse repairs.

I hadn't checked the weather forecast for the weekend before travelling south but it seems that the wind was stronger than expected, which suited some more than others. The Raptor excels in extreme conditions due to its sealed hull, outrigger, foil and easy reefing. It seems that all of my mainsheet-control practice (while flying the ama) over the past few outings has paid dividends, as I managed to avoid capsizing over the weekend, despite the testing conditions. I came very close on a couple of occasions, but both were due to 'pilot' error and not to any shortcoming of the Raptor. On the first occasion (Sunday afternoon) I tacked to the left/anti-clockwise (i.e. port to starboard tack) without uncleating the mainsheet first, causing the ama to lift as the sail filled. On the second occasion (also on Sunday afternoon) I had been running downwind with full sail deployed. As I approached the clubhouse I turned to starboard to come alongside DaveS, who was sailing on a beam reach across the lake. I wanted to ask him if he was racing (he wasn't) but I should have deployed my foil and reefed before turning beam-on to the wind. Again, the ama lifted suddenly even though I had released the mainsheet completely. Only the stop knot in the end of the mainsheet prevented it from pulling through the cleat and blowing out of reach. Both of these occasions were mistakes on my part, which hopefully I won't repeat. Only by flinging my full weight onto the sidecar did I prevent capsizes both times.

I decided to sail south to Glenridding on Saturday. As I was preparing to leave, I saw StuartS repairing his boat. He told me that soon after leaving the shore the wooden crossbeam to which his leeboard bracket was attached had snapped. One of his buddy group (son Luke) had continued sailing south unaware of the problem so Stuart asked me to let him know what had happened when

Stuart, Terry & Tony.

Stuart's repairs.

Sue, Andy & Ellen.

Jeff & Jan.

I caught up with him. I left UYC just after 11:30 a.m. and spotted Luke after 35 minutes sailing waiting on the headland at Skelly Neb, so I reefed and passed him the message. He decided to join me and we sailed as far as Aira Point together, where there is a café. There was a lot of ferry activity on Ullswater over the weekend and generally I found the skippers courteous and considerate, altering course as required to

Prototype trimaran.

Malcolm, Keith & Ann.

avoid sailing vessels. I was taken by surprise therefore when, shortly before arriving at Skelly Neb, I heard a whistle and, looking to port, saw a ferry bearing down on me, no more than 10 metres away. I had to take immediate evasive action (tacking to starboard) to prevent a collision. This

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