Saturday, 24 September 2016

Its all down hill from here.

This is a "What we did on our holidays" post although there is a boat in it somewhere.

We went cycling in Northern Italy with a company called Bspoke. They provide the bikes, book your accommodation, shift your luggage, mend your bike and generally make sure you have a good time. We did almost 200 miles in eight days of cycling. We started at the Austrian Border and travelled south through stunning scenery towards Lake Garda then onwards to Verona. The Tooth Fairy said it was the best holiday ever! And she's been to Saltcoats !  And here are the inevitable holiday snaps.

Monday, 5 September 2016

Awinya Sails

Great news from Australia. I mentioned a while ago that Rob Blackburn was building his version of Katie Beardie in Australia see Katie as Done Down Under.  Well he has now launched her and reported back as promised.  

I'll let Rob tell it his way; 

Awinya was launched today and I must admit to mixed emotions. I was fearful she would not sail, would be by the bow and have lee helm. No problem. Perfect balance and you can steer her by rolling her one way or the other with the rudder neutral. So that was a relief. 

Light winds, sheltered bay and my sailor daughter Cate, to help me launch. So conditions were perfect. 

Light winds but the overarching feeling is it should have been bigger. We will see how it goes with 15 knots 
Roller reefing worked perfectly. 
Helm is perfectly balanced 
Interesting that the narrow hull does not respond like a catamaran… (he jokes) Gust hits and the boat heels, without much increase in speed, shift your weight, boat powers up etc… One needs to have served a Laser Dinghy apprenticeship to handle this in bigger winds I think. 
Put some tell tales on and made it easier. 
Seems as if the rudder cheeks etc I built is too big/low in the water and as soon as you get a bit of pace on the noise/turbulence starts behind you. First world problem I know. Not sure if it is worth the effort to alter. 
Pedals are noisy. Very noisy. Will try silicon spray. 
Needs a rudder stick thing to steer by hand too. 
Seemed much easier to use half the kayak paddle ie one blade on one side. 
I have a longer Hobie paddle which does not split in the middle to try next. 
Seat needs to be higher to enable full paddle I think. Will modify maybe to allow the seat to be lifted up against a stop, ¼ inch rod with plastic tube over?
Felt heavy to start with but as day went on it became a sail:paddle ratio in my mind of 80:20. Less paddling the better really, it is really a canoe to sail and then paddle only as you must. 
Works really well 
Could be a bit big but... 
Seems to give good stability by reducing rolling, 
Points really well when you get it going, ie start off about 15deg off the close hauled position and then as you get some lift on the board, steer up and away it goes. 
Up and down mechanism all good. 
Slow to tack if wind is v light 
Long and narrow would suggest that this is to be expected. Also fairly big skeg installed by the builder would be part of this issue. 

Canting Seat 
Really good as you do get sick of sitting on a lean. 
Think I should trim the edges a bit and glue some white melamine on inside of canoe to make it move easier up and down. 
Downside is that it looks as if a demented spider has been at work with all the ropes in the cockpit. 
It does exactly what I thought/hoped. I had a great few hours sailing around in skinny water totally absorbed by the boat and the day. Simple to launch, simple to rig and just fun to sail. 

See you all later with some photos from Fraser Island. 

Well Rob's not the only one who was mighty relieved. 

CW and I wish Rob many happy adventures in Awinya. 

Rob's success has given me a sharp dig in the ribs, well actually it was CW who gave me a sharp dig and pointed out that Katie has never actually sailed with a main, so watch this space for my version of the Paradox stylee roller reefing.  
Well don't watch too closely as the Tooth Fairy and I are off for a while to enjoy La Dolce Vita.     Caio Baby!