Champlain Sailor

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13 Whiner

About Champlain Sailor

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  • Location
    Shelburne, Vermont
  • Interests
    Sailing in all forms (racing, cruising, iceboating), biking, & skiing.

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  1. Champlain Sailor

    Steve and Dave Clarks Unidentified Foiling Object

    Motivated by Derek's post, I set out this morning to tighten the screws and nuts on gates my boat. The only complication is that you can't see the lock nuts. But, with the mast removed, I found that you can feel them and access them a with a wrench from the mast step hole, and don't need to pull the main foil strut out of the boat. The nuts need a 3/8" wrench. The aft nuts are pretty easy to tighten. The forward ones take some wriggling of fingers, but it isn't too bad. As Derek first reported, it made a world of difference. Best 5 minutes of maintenance I've spent on the boat so far! I also sourced some hook and loop strapping that Intend to bond to the sides of the gates and wrap around the front. Nice day of foiling today on Champlain. Lightish breeze, but good foiling in the puffs. I finally got my wife out on the boat and coached her along to some nice short flights. I think she's catching the bug. Wish I had Dave's helmet mic/speaker arrangement!
  2. Champlain Sailor

    Steve and Dave Clarks Unidentified Foiling Object

    I don't have a full list, but I know that the spreader attachment fitting on the mast was changed from a stamped metal fitting to a carbon fiber fabrication on builds around the 110-120 range. I have Hull #93 and the metal fitting failed. Dave delivered one of the newly designed carbon fiber replacement fittings to me and I've been good to go since then. I know on early boats there were holes drilled into the hand holds that are molded into the deck of the boat so that they would drain. They were determined to be leak points, so the holes were eliminated. I think this occurred early, around boat 10, so you shouldn't have that problem. If you do, I'd fill those holes. As for water in the hulls, that is a problem that several owners have reported and no one has solved yet. I think it is driving Dave nuts because the factory rigorously leak tests each boat. I don't get much water in, but I do get some, but not all the time. And it doesn't follow any logical pattern that I have found so far, ie I don't seem to get a lot more on windy days when I spend time burying the bows or upside down. So I don't know myself. When I'm moving it on the dolly if I hear water sloshing, I drain it. Not a big deal, just an irritant.
  3. Champlain Sailor

    Steve and Dave Clarks Unidentified Foiling Object

    Yes, I'm pretty sure it was Taylor, and he was sailing single handed. He looked pretty relaxed and smooth on the close reach. And yes, it looked like a handful on the broad reach with the chute. In fairness, we only were able to see the last minute or so of his progress on this leg and he did not look like he was on the verge of a capsize or wipeout, his heading was pretty steady and he was making good progress. But he was climbing and stalling on the foils a fair bit, as many of us on the UFO have experienced ourselves! I've sailed foiling boats. I've sailed double handed dual trap asymmetric skiffs. Both are challenging in a fun way. The thought of combining foiling with a trapeze flown spinnaker single handed makes my head hurt. Kudos to anyone that can pull that off!
  4. Champlain Sailor

    Looking for a J34c

    The J/35C is really similar to the J/34C, and the J/110 is a J/35C with an asymmetric spinnaker sprit and a transom with a built in boarding step. All are really nice racer cruisers. We sail a J/110. You are right, the 35C is a little bigger and a little newer than the 34C, so they tend to be a few more $s. And the 110s are newer than the 35C, so they are even more. The J/37 and the J/37C's are considerably bigger, but are really sweet sailing boats, and from my experience, sail much faster than they should when fully laden. Great for longer distance voyaging, but no slouch getting around a racecourse either. They are an older model, so you can sometimes find them pretty reasonably. I've sailed them a fair bit and really like the boat. The J/32 is in this family, but I have no personal experience with it in particular.
  5. Champlain Sailor

    Steve and Dave Clarks Unidentified Foiling Object

    Any chance you'd be interested in sharing this new upwind technique? Or is it locked in Area 51 :-) FYI, on Lake Champlain the Regatta For Lake Champlain was sailed this weekend. This is a 13 mile long race around three marks in the broad part of Lake Champlain, starting and finishing from Burlington. It is a pursuit race, and is a benefit for lake focused organizations. The entered boats are always a mishmash of local race boats (usual J/Boats, a Farr 400, etc.) and a fleet of cruising boats, and the start times are calculated using the boats PHRF ratings, plus some proprietary factors the RC uses to keep it fun. This year, a Whisper foiling catamaran was entered. I'm sure the PHRF team was scratching their heads to rate it, and they somehow settled on 60. Winds were 10-15, and the first two legs were a beam reach followed by a close reach. The Whisper, which started pretty far back as one of the faster boats, seemed to be doing pretty well. It had almost caught our J/110 (PHRF 96) by the 2nd mark, and was reaching along on its foils really nicely. The 3rd leg was a 3 mile beat, and the Whisper began to drop back. It was on the foils most of the time, but it was pointing really low. It had fallen way back at the 3rd mark. The final run was a tight broad reach in 12-16 knots of breeze. The Whisper seemed to make up some ground here. We observed it coming into the finish, and the boat had decent speed but seemed to be struggling to control its pitch on a broad reach with a chute up. I'm making no judgement on the Whisper or the skill of its skipper, positive or negative. He finished a 2.5 hour race, and seemed to be enjoying himself just fine. Just an observation that foiling boats are different animals than displacement or planing boats, and if your goal is to win open water races, they may not be the ideal platform. Or maybe they are if your skills are developed enough! If you want to win drag races in select conditions, they will almost certainly fulfill that wish! And if you want to add a new skill to your normal sailing experience, they are great for that too.
  6. Champlain Sailor

    Steve and Dave Clarks Unidentified Foiling Object

    Jelmer: Most UFO sailors are putting the pin into the main foil leaving it there when raised or lowered. Once on the water, you release the retaining lever under the strut and let the assembly lower into the water. Make sure the two 'gates' that retain the pin are open, and let the pin drop into the middle of the five grooves on the bottom of the retaining block. Then rotate the two retaining gates closed. On my boat, these gates will rotate open over time, particularly after a capsize or crash, but even just when tacking. Dave has suggested a small strop to be made from a small length of very thin line and a small shock cord tied together. The line is tied to the ring-ding on the end of the pin, The shock cord has a small loop that is run over the top of the strut/arm assembly and down to the other end of the pin. A loop tied in at the end of the shock cord is placed over the end of the pin, and this keeps the gates closed while sailing. I have not tried this yet. I'm not fully satisfied with the main strut retainer/pitch adjustment assembly, I'm trying to figure out a better approach (and will share what ever I find with the fleet and Fulcrum). Yes, the foil joint is quite stiff, and difficult to move by hand. Note that the strut retainer clip should be placed under the strut, not under the foil. If you place it under the foil, and someone bumps into your wand while on land, the rod will punch a hole in the foil flap. I'm not sure what you mean by 'tore the top half of the rudder loose', so I don't have any suggestions. As for the 'stairway to nowhere', I think everyone experiences this when learning, and I still have it happen occassionally. My first suggestion is to ensure that the main foil is in the center pin slot, and the rudder is roughly in the middle as well. If so, then sit a bit further forward. Also, watch as many of Dave's videos as you can, the instruction on them is great, and you will notice many things after you have sailed your UFO that you didn't notice beforehand. Doug UFO 093
  7. Champlain Sailor

    Steve and Dave Clarks Unidentified Foiling Object

    Thanks Dave! I didn't have enough outhaul was on tight, but not run 2:1 at the end of the boom, so I could have gone more. And my endplate is crap because my lower batten is now 2 pieces duct taped together, I'll replace it soon. I did not have enough AoA dialed out of the rudder when I moved the main foil forward, and the stern was lifting before the bow causing them to dig in. I'll be more aggressive with it next time. I suspected that I was not at the limit of the boat, but at the limits of my current ability. Thanks for confirming, good tips to work on to raise the bar.
  8. Champlain Sailor

    J122 Mast Maintenance

    Nandan: I have a Hall aluminum mast on my J/110. The rigger from Hall spars that assembled the mast for me recommended Tef Gel to prevent corrosion on the cotter pins that hold the spreaders to the thru-bars and the screws that hold the shroud retainer plates to the spreader tips (and lock-tite for the screw threads). I don't know how the carbon masts are constructed, so I can't provide specifics there. But Hall advised me to lubricate/protect the pins and screws with an anti-corrosion gel. When I go over my mast, I have the gel, loc tite, plenty of rigging tape, and new spreader tip boots. That's it. You may want spare halyard sheeves, but mine have not shown any appreciable wear in nine seasons of use.
  9. Champlain Sailor

    Steve and Dave Clarks Unidentified Foiling Object

    I finally got out in breeze with gusts over 20 knots yesterday afternoon. Got my a** kicked. But came home smiling. Hopefully I can get to one of Dave's clinics and have some strong breezes. I had the outhaul and downhaul max’d, and the shrouds off a fair bit. I tried the foil centered and one hole forward. Center seemed to work best. But in the gusts (22-25), I still could not keep the boat from either healing to leeward or breaking free on the main foil (I’d get an involuntary bear away as the main foil lost lateral resistance but the rudder held). Really tough, physical sailing. I'm amazed that the boat can take it! In 14-16 knots I was totally dialed in and loving life. 16-20 is tough, but still flyable. Over 20 I really couldn’t fly. However, I was always able to sail and had no problem making good progress to windward, never nervous that I’d have to bail out on a stranger’s beach. In hindsight I should have choked up the wand as Todd P demonstrated above and tried to fly low. I was hoping that the higher setting would give me more room to heal to windward, but it just created a bigger lever arm to catapult me from. Ashore licking my wounds and eager to get back out and try it again.
  10. Champlain Sailor

    Steve and Dave Clarks Unidentified Foiling Object

    Ed: You don't seem discouraged yet, which is a good sign! Reading your initial post, I see a few other questions that I didn't answer. 1. Will it surf? Yes! On a big swell, it surfs great, meaning it will accelerate down the swell. I don't have big breaking waves on Lake Champlain, but a passing powerboat will provide a fun boost, and heading downwind with a 18" -24" swell you definitely notice the surfing action and it pays to stay on the downside of the wave. I'd imagine with bigger swells you get bigger gains and bigger grins. Would I take it into a beach break? No. If it got slammed on the beach, something would surely break. 2. Is it complex to rig? That depends on your comparison point. Yes, compared to a Sunfish. It is super simple compared to a Moth. I find it similar in complexity and time to rigging a Laser. If you can store it near the water, so you don't have to remove the foils and mast, you can go from covered boat to sailing on the water in well under 20 minutes. 3. Will you be out of action due to broken, hard to get parts? I doubt it. The bits I worry about are the foils. These are Fulcrum proprietary parts, and would not be easy to fabricate on your own. I launch from a 'beach' that is boulder strewn, and if I or anyone else comes in hot with the rudder down, you can hit a rock. And truth be told, I have. It has been low speed, and I'm already off the boat, and the foil bounces against a rock while I'm getting back to lift it. But so far, there has been no damage, not even a scratch. If you do break one, foils are pretty small, part wise, and I'm sure Fulcrum could Fed Ex one out pretty quick for a reasonable cost. I asked Dave how much replacement foils are before I bought my boat. I don't remember the exact figure, but it was in the few hundred dollar range. Enough to make me careful with them, but not enough that breaking one will end my season. The mast and hull seem very strong. The rest are pretty common marine parts and lines. I've read that at least one sailor has cracked the wand gantry by leaning on it when adjusting the wand while sailing. I believe it was a pretty easy repair, but don't do that! For overall durability/design stability you need to compare it to alternatives. Laser's and Sunfish are pretty damn tough, and the designs are quite stable. But they are 50 year old plus designs. I love Lasers, and have two myself. The UFO is a totally different beast. Its nearest comparisons are Moths and Waszps. I have sailed a Mach 2 Moth numerous times and feel confident in assuring you that for your purpose, the UFO will be a much more satisfying boat to own. The Moth is in no way Sunfish durable. The Moth is a development class, so it changes often. It is also much lighter, and in my experience, parts break more often. It is an AMAZING boat, and I love to sail them when I have the opportunity, but I did not want to own one. I can't speak to the Waszp for durability and ease of repair. I've seen them first hand, and the build quality looks great, but I have not sailed one. The UFO had the primary stability that I wanted to make it easier for my family and friends (and me too) to foil, and was far friendlier in the non-foiling conditions that we frequently end up with late in the day as a sailing session winds down. Good luck on the decision! Doug
  11. Champlain Sailor

    Steve and Dave Clarks Unidentified Foiling Object

    I think you are asking the right questions. I've had my UFO for two months now and have about 20 outings on it. The major components are very tough and rugged. I'm amazed that Dave was able to build a hull so light, but so strong. And the boat sails and flys well. If you buy one, my advice would be to read this ENTIRE thread, and watch all the videos. It would take several hours. Watch the Video's on Fulcrum's website and on the 'unofficial UFO Class website.' Many of the techniques necessary to foil well are not intuitive, and you can short cut a lot of the mistakes by watching the mistakes of others, and getting a chuckle at the same time. Don't worry, you'll still make plenty of your own for your friends to laugh at. As for continued tweaks and bugs, yes there have been some changes made to the configuration since it was first introduced. To my knowledge, Fulcrum has sent out replacement parts where needed to address failures. Some of the replacements require basic boat repair skills, ie, a familiarity with using epoxy or other adhesives to bond parts. I have had to make three repairs to my boat with epoxy over the past two months. Some of these were due to initial design flaws. The metal spreader fittings have been failing, and Fulcrum has sent out a new carbon fiber version to replace it. Others were due to process/quality problems as the factory learns to build in volume. My rudder pitch wheel had an epoxy void in it that required injecting more epoxy to secure the adjusting nut. The documentation on assembling the boat is poor (actually, it may still be non-existent-another reason to read the material on the web). None of the repairs has kept me off the water for more than a day or two, and none has taken more than an hour to do. If this was a new Laser or Sunfish, I'd be a bit upset, the builders should (and usually do) have this down by now. But if you go into this knowing that this is a brand new design from a young company and some user participation will be required to sort it out a bit, I think you will be fine. I'm sure in the next year or so, Fulcrum will iron out the bulk of the quality problems, and the new owner experience will be more like buying a more established design boat. But if you want to foil this year, and you have basic boat repair skills and the patience to use them a little, I'd say go for it now. I am certainly not disappointed with the boat, and hope that most of Fulcrum's customers are experienced enough to sort out the bugs easily enough that it doesn't keep them from enjoying the foiling experience. Getting up on the foils is surprisingly easy. Staying up on the foils in a variety of conditions, and sailing to the destination you want while remaining aloft, is quite challenging. This is exactly why I enjoy it! I can't speak to the boat's ability to foil in really choppy conditions, I've sailed it on pretty flat water up until now. I know Dave has foiled in a wide variety of conditions, and I'd try to give him a call.
  12. Champlain Sailor

    Steve and Dave Clarks Unidentified Foiling Object

    I believe I ordered McMaster Part # 279T1. Turns out the cost is $1.55 per washer. This one is simply nylon, there is a good chance that a basic 1/4" nylon washer from your local hardware store would do the same thing. McMaster has much more high-tech washer/bearing materials available, but so far this seems to be doing the trick.
  13. Champlain Sailor

    Steve and Dave Clarks Unidentified Foiling Object

    I had a long sail today on the UFO with winds just above foiling conditions for most of the time. It was fun in that I was able to expiriment quite a bit with weight placement and heal angle. Prior to going out I placed a plastic thrust washer on the pitch adjustment rod aft of the adjuster wheel to remove the 'slop' from the adjustment. It worked great, and the boat is much more stable when in flight. This was a 50 cent washer sourced from McMaster Carr, an easy upgrade. The water on Lake Champlain has warmed considerably over the past two weeks, and the difference when it comes to cavitation is amazing! The boat is so much more forgiving now! In any case, the UFO is doing exactly what I wanted it to do, its providing a challenging but fun recreational foiling platform. I even came close to pulling off a foiling gybe!
  14. Champlain Sailor

    Do Laser hulls deteriorate with use, or with time?

    This thread has gotten a bit off track (Laser vs Aero). My advice to the original poster is to ensure that either of the Laser's you are looking at have dry hulls. Boats that have been wet inside for a long time, particularly if allowed to freeze when wet during winter storage, will get soft over time. When I've looked at used lasers, I always bring a bathroom scale and balance the laser on its gunnel on the scale. A spec weight laser hull is 134 pounds, I think. Under 140 for an older boat is great. If you see more than 150, you may well have trouble. The first used laser I looked at weight 175 pounds. Pass! Everything else can be fixed. If both hulls are dry, then go with the one that has hardware in better condition, ei straighter mast sections, newer cordage, foils in better shape, and a newer sail. But if the hull is soft or the core is wet, fixing it is possible but usually not cost effective compared to simply buying a dry used Laser. Neither age nor use is a good predictor of boat condition. Neglecting a boat is often worse for it than sailing it hard and often.
  15. Champlain Sailor

    Youth Sailing Program Proposal & Budget

    Thanks, Flying Shoes, for the additional background on the school. I think it is important at the outset to set some goals and objectives for the program with parents who are committed to supporting it. Some programs focus just on teaching sailing, others on racing, and others just on fooling around near the water. None of these is 'bad' or 'wrong'. However, I've seen several programs falter because parents and/or administrators had very different goals for what they wanted the program to be. Figure out what your goals are, do you want kids from your school placing well in the regional Opti regattas? Do you simply want to hear the laughter of kids chasing each other around your local cove? Two years down the road, how will you evaluate if you have 'succeeded' or not? This will help guide you toward what type of program you want to structure.