Raptor UK canoe sailing

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July 2010

Sunday was again breezy so the decision on whether or not to race was delayed to see if the wind would moderate. I decided not to wait for a final decision and, after packing away my tent, set off before 12:30 p.m. for Howtown, where I beached my boat after 45 minutes sailing and walked up to the hotel for a cup of coffee. There was a solitary couple in the public bar so my entrance and unusual garb did not

Sunday morning.

Luke and Paul.

raise too many eyebrows. After a half hour coffee break, the run back north was exciting, with my sail fully unfurled and occasional strong gusts. Despite this I was unable to break my personal speed record (11.6 knots), managing a maximum of 11.2 knots 5 minutes after leaving Howtown beach, while passing Swarthfield. After the near capsize in front of the clubhouse mentioned on page 2, I continued to Pooley Bridge at the northern end of the lake, turned around and beat back to the clubhouse. The sail from Howtown to Pooley Bridge took me only 25 minutes! My goggle-mounted video camera was partially dislodged from the goggle strap during my scramble to prevent the capsize, so the last part of the day's video is a bit askew (as well as having poor sound).

As I approached the clubhouse, I spotted the two SD Daves sailing one of their new prototype trimarans (see photo on page 2 - it's the white boat in the background) with DaveP at the helm, and had fun sailing south with them for a short time. Our speeds were similar both upwind and downwind with the amount of sail both boats had deployed, but DaveS told me later that they were unable to point into the wind as well as the Raptor.


Howtown beach.

Howtown pier.

Howtown beach.

Video clip: Large/small

I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend's sailing. With the strong winds, I needed to reach for my paddle about 25% of the time to help me tack to the left (anticlockwise). I found that the main hull contained a fair bit of water when I was disassembling my Raptor (the ama was dry), but this was almost certainly due to leaking hatches rather than any more leaks through the hull. I didn't get much of an opportunity to test the new carts but I'm certain they will be far superior to the Molly carts. Interestingly, the price I paid for my two Molly carts (GBP158.70), applying current exchange rates, is almost exactly what SD charged me

Weekend's tracks.

for my new carts (GBP160). Mass-produced, plastic-body, universal carts versus robust, hand-made, custom-fit carts. No contest. GeorgeF wrote that his two SD replacement (wooden) daggerboards cost him about the same as one locally made fibreglass-over-wood board. So Solway Dory prices seem very competitive.

Video footnote
I've owned a VIO POV.1.5 video system for over a year now and it has allowed me to capture some Raptor-related video footage that would otherwise have been impossible. It's quite an expensive piece of kit and the accessories are also expensive, but I thought it would be a worthwhile investment to buy the POV H2O Pouch as well, in order to provide greater waterproofing. I use this accessory every time I carry my POV system onboard my Raptor and so far I've suffered no water damage to the equipment, despite it being drenched regularly by both fresh and sea water. As luck

would have it I noticed, the day before I was due to leave on the Five Lochs expedition, that my first H2O pouch had started to split. I immediately ordered a replacement from Action Cameras and paid for next day (Saturday) delivery, which allowed me this additional security during the expedition. It was 1 year and 13 days since I had bought the first pouch (also from Action Cameras) so they were unwilling to replace it under warranty, however VIO did later agree that this was a warranty replacement and authorised Action Cameras (their UK distributors) to refund me the cost of the new pouch. Nice support from VIO.

H2O Pouch damage.

I first used my POV.1.5 at the Bala meet in May 2009 and then extensively during the Tayvallich coastal meet later that month. I noticed that a lot of the footage I shot appeared very dark (especially compared to video footage shot with my Canon point-and-shoot camera) and asked VIO if they could improve the POV.1.5's exposure controls. They must have had similar requests from other owners as they released a firmware upgrade a month later, which allows seven different exposure settings compared to only one originally. My only gripe was that they charged for this

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