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Free Range Human, Sailor, Writer, Artist, Videographer  

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Sailing with a Loose Foot - Compac 23 - Update

SV HideAway - Compac 23

Most sailboats including the HideAway, a Compac 23, arrive from the factory with the main sail foot firmly installed in the boom.   Most have some sort of adjustment for the outhaul but in the real sailing world it is often slightly better than non-functional.

Last spring we freed HideAway from the bonds of the in-boom foot, attached a three part tackle to the clew and set out to explore the strange new world of the Loose Foot.

Well, the results are in and I won't bore you with the degrees of improved weather heading or knots gained except to say that our most favored sail, the 150 genny stayed bagged all summer.  For the first time in sixteen years we did not need it.

The immediate result of the loose foot
 is the taming of the weather helm beast that inhabits shallow draft fixed keel boats like the HideAway.  The second is a noticeable ability to point embarrassingly high for a boat of this nature and the third is the ability to leave the tiller for long periods of time with the rustic self steering unit consisting of a spring and some lines in charge.   The last was the ratio of wind speed to hull speed.  Consistently turning 5 knots in light air.

New Outhaul Adjustment HideAway - Compac 23

What We Have Learned So Far

As the apparent wind approaches 15kn the mainsail must be flattened bringing along with it a taste of weather helm.  As we approach 20 kn weather helm monster returns mollified somewhat by reefing.

Worse, the stock configuration of the outhaul adjustment is located at the rear of the boom. The real adventure begins standing on the transom without hindering the helmsperson and hanging onto the back stay while the boat heels to its 25 degree sweet spot.  Since the capt is not inclined to enjoy swimming with the sharks, yet nearly did so, a solution became a high priority.

You can throw a ring farther than a horseshoe

The issue of involuntarily leaving the boat has long been ignored on HideAway  

After some research and advice, the addition of a throw ring gave the HideAways a hint of peace of mind and something to hang onto when deployed swimming on a hot summer day. 

Adding a cleat on the boom just abaft the vang removed the thrill of hanging from the end of said boom in exciting sea conditions in favor of adjusting the outhaul from the secure cockpit.

A fact of life on a 23 foot sailboat, no matter how well designed, is scarcity of transom real estate what with the swim ladder, rudder and outboard.  The least objectionable space for the throw ring proved to be to port just above the outboard and apparently too close to the GPS antenna. The new throw ring had either confused the GPS or magnetic North had moved a significant distance East, and interestingly, South.  Another story for another day.

Perhaps a NACA12 rudder redesign should be the next project to tame the weather helm beast.   Stay tuned...