March 29, 2016

An Aussie Compass Update

By Rob Sykes

I put a Silva compass on the boat some years ago and have been questioning whether it made my sailing worse or better.  I have pondered discarding it. Either way, I realised that I was often reading it incorrectly partly because I sail in lumpy water and it is easy to miss a shift (hence the compass) and because I could not see the arrow head of the green and red markers at either side of the card.  I engraved a H (for header) at the point of each arrow with a soldering iron and then filled in the groove with white paint.  Easy to see.

Perhaps some of the lesser sighted could benefit.

More on compasses can be read here.

March 25, 2016

Ian Bruce 1933 - 2016

By Doug

Only a genius could take this Bruce Kirby sketch and turn it into a worldwide phenomenon. Ian Bruce was that person, and within three years his company Performance Sailcraft was making Lasers in eight countries.

As luck would have it, I learned to sail in Montreal and was briefly a member at Point Claire Yacht Club, home of the Laser. But I left for Sydney in 1971, just before Lasers were introduced. It did not take long for them reach the Aussie shores and dominate both in numbers and talent.

Sydney Harbor was full of Lasers and the Manly hydrofoil ferry had to weave through a fleet. It was quite a sight to have a hydrofoil come straight at you before turning away!

Many years later I moved back to Montreal and remember Ian showing up for a local regatta with Laser number 100,000. We all just shook our heads in amazement. 

The way that Ian designed the Laser and its manufacturing process was pure genius. The two-piece mast made it easy to store and transport. The loose-foot and mast sleeve were also new. And at a time when boats were still made of wood, it was the first time I saw a fiberglass deck and hull glued to make a finished boat. And it was Ian who insisted that the Laser be held to a strict one-design so that is was the best sailor who would win.

Ian passed away this week after a courageous  battle with cancer. Some will remember him as the winner of two Prince of Wales Trophies, the world championship for the International 14. Others will remember him as an Olympic sailor in both the Finn and Star classes. Others will remember him as a award-winning industrial designer. I'll remember Ian as a passionate gentleman who put Canadian sailing on the map.

March 10, 2016

MK II Sail - Downwind Feedback

By Roberto, Wavedancer, and Brett
Here's an update from Roberto who has been testing the new sail on Lake Garda:

The MK II in the foreground was slower.
My personal experience is still doubtful. I like the new sail upwind in 6-16 knots and downwind in the range 8-16.  But I found it awful downwind below 5-6. Downwind and in very light air experienced two problems:
  • The leech remains closed as shown in the picture.
  • There is too much draft forward in the sail, just close to the mast.
You can reduce this draft by pulling hard on the vang to bend the mast but this makes the first problem worse. My outhaul in the photo is too loose but pulling it only makes it worse. The sailor with the older sail was definitely faster.

On the same topic, here's a question from Wavedancer and a reply from Brett: 

I am still wondering about the fold (top to bottom) near the luff downwind in light air (~5 mph). Should I try to get rid of it by putting on a lot of vang, or just let it be? Wavedancer

Just make sure you have your Cunningham set-up to be VERY loose for downwind. Even if you have to go forwards and push the sail up the mast. Don't use vang to remove it otherwise you are over-vanged downwind and will suffer. Brett
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