Champlain Sailor

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About Champlain Sailor

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

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  1. Champlain Sailor

    Moth or Musto Skiff

    I have two neighbors, one of which had a Musto Skiff for a few years, the other has had moths. I had the chance to sail the Skiff once and have sailed the moth numerous times. Both are terrific boats, and both will challenge all but the most advanced sailors. Here are a few pro's and con's of each. For the Musto Skiff, the cost of entry and maintenance will certainly be lower. You don't see them around here (Northeast US) for sale often, but when you do they are in the $7-9K range. There is nothing particularly exotic about the construction of the boat, so standard repair techniques apply, and from what I saw, it is a pretty robust design. I only had a chance to sail it once, and it is a handful. Very little primary stability, its only happy when the boat is loaded up and you are trapezing out on the rack. Once you are there, it is deceptively fast and really comfortable. I didn't have a chance to pop the chute, it was too windy on my first and only outing, but that looks like it takes the difficulty and fun factors up by another order of magnitude. I watched my neighbor power reach under the spinnaker many times, and it is an impressive display. Speeds in the high teens. Moths, while hardly plentiful, are more common in our area, but a decent Mach 2 will cost about twice the Musto Skiff. It is a much more delicate boat as well, so expect to spend a lot more time, and more funds as well, keeping it in good condition. As for difficulty, I found getting started to be a bit easier than the Musto Skiff, as it felt very similar to windsurfing and skiff sailing. But while I found it fairly straightforward to get foiling, mastering tacking and gybing is a very long learning curve. I also note that I had the benefit of sailing a boat owned by a very capable boat tuner. I understand that half the battle in a Moth is simply getting it set up correctly. Most have been modified over the years, and there are a lot of variables to work with. If you don't have other moth sailors in your area, this makes the learning curve much, much harder. I don't know of any Musto Skiff racing in the US, you need to head to Europe to find enough of them to assemble a fleet. While the fleets are small, you can find Moths to race with in the US, so if racing is your intent, score one for the moth. Keep in mind that the moth seems to be the current recreational boat of choice for many of the best professional sailors in the world, so if you decide to race, expect a tough fleet! The Musto will be more forgiving of softer breezes, I think you can be on the trap in about 5 knots of wind, the moth really wants 7-8 knots before you are foiling consistently, particularly if you are learning. Either one will give you plenty of high speed fun and allow you to grow your skills envelope. I decided to go with the UFO, preferring to minimize my boat maintenance and rigging time, and maximize my on the water sailing time. The Waszp would be a reasonable choice for this path too. Like you, it sits next to our Laser, which we have no plans to part with.
  2. Champlain Sailor

    Foiling MOTH tuning

    its been too long since I've sailed a Mach 2, so I don't know all of the adjustments (and I know that most are modified pretty heavily anyway). But what you are describing could be caused by a main foil whose top is canted too far aft, causing the angle of attack of the main foil to be too great. I've seen this happen on the UFO. Once you were up to lifting speed, the foil would lift pretty much no matter what the wand was doing. I don't know how much pitch adjustment, if any, you have on the main foil, but if you can, I'd move the top forward a bit and see if that helps the foil respond to the wand more effectively. You also may simply need more lift (more AoA) on the rudder foil. If your main foil is lifting and your rudder is not, it will be hard for the flap on the main foil to generate enough downforce to counteract the high AoA on the main foil. I am by no means a Moth or Mach 2 expert, but foil pitch may have something to do with what you are seeing, provided the wand and linkage are working properly.
  3. Champlain Sailor

    best new foiler for beginner?

    I have unsuccessfully attempted foiling gybes on a Moth and occasionally complete foiling gybes on the UFO. I consider myself actively learning how to foil gybe. I don't find this advice particularly helpful, other than agreeing that gybes are less violent if you are going fast so the apparent windspeed is down. In my experience, I don't 'deliberately come off the foils' most times. If I decide to do a foiling gybe, I'm on the foils and working on body positioning and boat angle to set up the carve. But there are many times that I don't want to do a foiling gybe. If the wind is too light or too strong to maintain control. If the water is really cold and I prefer to stay topside. If I'm just too tired. Most foiling gybe attempts, when you are learning, end in failure. On a moth, this is almost always a capsize. On the UFO, it is often a capsize, but sometimes not. If find that gybing in displacement mode rarely, if ever, results in a capsize. If the wind is up over 15 knots, I'm very unlikely to try a displacement gybe, as the boat will always be foiling downwind, so I'll either foil gybe or tack.
  4. Champlain Sailor

    Steve and Dave Clarks Unidentified Foiling Object

    Randy: I have one other suggestion. I see you are in Michigan, so attending a clinic in Rhode Island isn't really feasible, especially in these travel restricted times. But you can get much of the benefit of a clinic by learning with a partner. If you have another sailor that wants to learn to foil, and access to a support motor boat, I think you will learn much faster by alternating with a partner in a motorboat. It gives you time to rest, it provides and observer to comment on your technique from outside of the boat, and it gives you an opportunity to watch the mechanics of what someone else is doing. As you swap on and off the boat, you have two minds comparing notes and experiences. I learned to Moth sail this way, I'm convinced I learned much faster than I would have if I was simply trying it on my own. And, if the day is frustrating for both of you, at least you have someone to have a beer with on the beach. Doug
  5. Champlain Sailor

    Steve and Dave Clarks Unidentified Foiling Object

    It sounds like you may have an older boat. If so, the good news is that Fulcrum made several small changes to make managing the foils easier, although it is still not perfect. These are all inexpensive and easily retrofittable. On the main foil, they switched from having two blocks with holes drilled in them on either side of the foil to a pair of gates over serrated plates. The blocks with holes were notoriously difficult to align on the water. With the gates, you open them, lower the foil into place with the pin in the detent you want (start with the middle position), and close the gates. Wrap a piece of velcro around them so they don't work loose when sailing. It takes some practice, but I can lower and secure the foil in under a minute. Raising it also takes practice, the shrouds will often impede the top of the foil, but it is straightforward. Make sure to swing the retainer clip in between the aluminum strut and the trailing edge of the foil. One up, I have found that it stays put very well. The rudder is not as easy to manage. Fulcrum will send you a nylon thumbscrew that will apply tension to the rudder to keep it from moving. But your problem sounds like you are having difficulty getting it to raise up. When new, they are pretty stiff. I sprayed some McLube on the inside of the rudder casing so that mine would slide more freely. I also replaced the top bolt with an eye bolt and made a handle out of a short length of rope so I have something to grab. But most times, if it is windy enough, after raising the main foil I can sail downwind with the downhaul off and the rudder will raise itself on my way in. The challenge is preventing it from going up so much that you loose control. I almost always jump in the water once is is less than 4' deep and put the rudder the rest of the way up, as my rudder is now loose enough that once I slow down, it will begin to drop again. I am very envious of the cam-lock friction device that is shown on the Skeeta website, this seems to be a much better way to keep the foil retracted. Landing on a shallow downwind shore when the wind is up (over 12 knots) is not easy. Numerous techniques have been discussed on the forum, none are perfect. I recommend going out a few times when the wind is too light to foil, say 5-8 knots to get familiar with the boat and how everything works. There are a lot of tricks to getting the foils up and down, to getting through a tack, etc. Get comfortable sailing around with the rudder down and the main foil up. Once you have those basics in hand, then go out in 10-12 and work on foiling. Make sure your main foil is set to the middle hole, take off on a reach and try to keep the boat flat. There are numerous posts on this on earlier pages of this thread. The most effective way to foil is to take a clinic with Fulcrum. This may not be possible for you logistically, but it is the fastest way to get up on foils. Don't give up yet, the summer is just starting. Foiling is not easy. It can be very frustrating, but then suddenly, it transitions to exhilarating. The UFO is the easiest package I've found to learn on, but it still requires time and some concerted effort. But that is the fun of it!
  6. Champlain Sailor

    Steve and Dave Clarks Unidentified Foiling Object

    Aerio: I have the dynamic dollies UFO dolly, and I had mine equipped with the large beach tires. I keep my UFO on a very rocky 'beach', and learned from using Laser dollys on it that small tired dollys will not work (they get hung up too often). The dynamic dolly works really well for me. The two cross beams act as protection for the hulls (rocks will hit them before they hit a hull). The handle provides a really solid pulling point for bringing the boat up a steep beach or ramp. The downside is that is is not inexpensive. When I bought my UFO Fulcrum was still sourcing dollys from Dynamic, so they just charged me the difference in dolly prices (about $350, if I recall properly). Fulcrum now builds their own, so I don't know if they will give you a credit for not taking the dolly with the boat. The dolly is also much wider than the stock dolly, making it tougher to maneuver and store. We call it 'megadolly.' It is also pretty heavy, especially with the big wheels. The Fulcrum dolly can be lifted with one hand and 'chucked' back on the beach. For transport, I built two cross beams for my roof rack, place the dolly on it, and it holds the UFO on my roof really securely (see photo). I have not put it on the Trailer I use for our laser, but I believe it will fit on it as well. This is a 4X8 aluminum utility trailer that I made some skids and chalks for so that the rear axle of the dolly has a spot to 'seat' in. I made one improvement to the dolly, I added a short upright to the tongue of it with a cradle for the 'nose' of the UFO. When the boat is pulled onto the trailer, the cradle goes over the flange, 'trapping' the boat on the dolly. This prevents the UFO from sliding forward or backward, or tipping backward.
  7. Champlain Sailor

    Steve and Dave Clarks Unidentified Foiling Object

    I did some impromptu durability testing on the UFO this weekend. I was out for a sail Saturday afternoon in marginal foiling conditions (8-10, gusts to 12) and testing out my new AOA brackets I just got from Fulcrum (they work well!). While headed home, down the bay, I caught a nice puff and had a great flight to the West shore of the bay. I gybed (not on the foils) and glanced upwind. Uh oh! Dark cloud coming over the treeline on the west shore, white spray coming off the wavetops farther up the bay, time to GET HOME!. I was pointed right for our house on the East shore of the bay (only 3/4 mile away) and enjoyed a great flight most of the way there. I skimmed above a traditional sailing dory, waving to them as I foiled by at 13 knots. The wind got very gusty, I lost control and was dumped over the side. Fortunately I held onto the main sheet and the boat rolled over onto its nose, then turtled. As I feared, it did not go fully upside down as the bay gets shallow here. I helped the boat rotate around so the mast was upwind, then righted her. I had to hang on to the main foil and mast from under the boat to keep her from capsizing backwards. It was almost impossible to get on the boat, but I managed and found the main sheet was wrapped around the tiller. Before I could reach it, the boat was over again. The winds were over 30 at this point. I righted the boat, careful once again to be easy on the mast. I considered trying to leave it capsized at 180 degrees and ride out the squall, but the wind was so great that once it was even close to half way up the wind took the hull and forced it up. The second time I managed to board the boat the sheet was clear and I was relieved to see that the mast was in one piece and didn't fail when I sheeted in. I was able to reach to our shorefront, untying the rudder tie down and opening the main foil gates along the way. But now I was landing on a lea shore with a 2-3' breaking swell. Fortunately my son saw what was going on and waded into the water to help me. I was struggling to get the main foil up and latched. Every time I'd lift it, the wind would get under the hull and try to flip the boat over backwards. I was in 4' of water, but the rudder was now bouncing on the bottom in the wave troughs. Ouch, but nothing I can do until I get the main foil taken care of. I figured out later that my new wand downhaul line was preventing the main foil from retracting freely. Doh! Once the main foil was up, I held the boat into the wind and my son put the rudder up. We slid our dolly underneath the UFO and rolled her, stern first up the beach. We de-rigged her quickly (we were both quite cold) then turned our attention to the sailing dory, which had swamped and managed to get themselves close enough to us so we could help them get the boat ashore safely. Before heading in for a hot shower, we did a cursory inspection, finding that the main foil looked fine, the rudder had a chip and some scratches, and the mast and sail looked fine. The next morning I took the mast down and sure enough, the halyard fairlead had mud in the screw holes. But the mast itself was fine, no with no damage apparent. The bottom of the rudder has several deep scratches, but despite repeated pounding, no structural damage. The breeze was building, so my son and I rigged her up and spend a couple of hours foiling, this time with no drama. Reports from other boats and those ashore stated that the wind built in about 2 minutes. Our local NOAA buoy reported gusts to 42 mph, I suspect that they were less on our bay. While I should have maintained better situation awareness and been off the bay 5 minutes sooner, I was pleased to get through this incident with minimal damage to the boat. Most high performance boats would not be so forgiving.
  8. Champlain Sailor

    Steve and Dave Clarks Unidentified Foiling Object

    Derek, that looks terrific! Please let us know how it goes.
  9. Champlain Sailor

    Craigslist Finds

    The price seems a bit high to me. I'd think the boat itself is worth $1000-$1200. If you want the trailer and its in good shape, its worth a few hundred dollars too. I'd check the hull for soft spots, particularly near the trailer bunks. The previous poster is correct, Lasers like to be transported and stored underneath their gunnels. But if it hasn't spent a lot of time on the trailer or been driven over rough roads its likely fine. The biggest test I always recommend for used lasers is weight/water intrusion. Bring a bathroom scale, balance the boat on its gunnel on the scale (obviously someone needs to hold it upright) and check the weight. A bare laser hull should be 135 to 140 pounds. An older boat can be fine at 150 pounds. I've seen some weigh in at 170-200 pounds, which indicates a lot of water intrusion into the core. I recommend passing on those boats, it is difficult and time consuming to fix them. And frankly, there are plenty of old, sound Lasers out there that don't need the effort. If the hull is still stiff and it is dry and not overweight, you can't to too far wrong. Update the cunningham/vang/outhaul if you want to, or sail it as is. If you keep it dry and treat it well, you'll sell it for what you paid for it almost indefinitely.
  10. Champlain Sailor

    Steve and Dave Clarks Unidentified Foiling Object

    Very sexy boom ends Gilles! These look amazing! Thanks for the outhaul rigging photos, that's my next upgrade.
  11. Champlain Sailor

    best new foiler for beginner?

    I find the UFO begins to foil in about 9 knots of breeze. 10 is better for me, at 180 pounds. From what I've seen lighter skippers that tune the rig well and pump the rig hard (talkin' about you, Dave) can get the boat foiling in 7-8, but I believe that is the lower limit. Personally, I find 10-15 knots the perfect range. Under that and foiling is iffy and can be frustrating. Over 15 is fun, but a lot of work. There is a smaller sail available for the UFO, but I don't have one yet. I've had it out in 20-22 and it is a handful. No problem getting home, but I was damn tired and had several good crashes. In 10-15, there is no boat I'd rather sail!
  12. Champlain Sailor

    Steve and Dave Clarks Unidentified Foiling Object

    I had an opportunity to get out sailing Saturday in perfect skills development winds, 10-12. I really tried to focus on downwind sailing. What I learned is that I need to pay much more attention to apparent wind, and steer the boat more actively when trimming isn't enough to keep myself upright. If the boat begins to heal to leeward, trim a bit, but if it does not correct quickly, head up. Otherwise, you overtrim the sail and it stalls, and you are done. Same for heeling to leeward. But I found bearing away works better in this mode first, then an ease. This allows you to maximize VMG downwind. I also found myself looking at the luff telltales far more often that I used to. I was often overtrimmed. But when the boat accelerates, it is easy to forget to trim to the new apparent wind angle. The boat accelerates so fast down a wave or in a puff that it is easy to do. I began to install the new main foil hold-down hardware, with a metal insert in them but ran into a snag yesterday. Hope to have it resolved in the next day or so. Gilles, I really like the continuous loop up/down control on the wand. Thanks for sharing the photos, I plan to copy your concept.
  13. Champlain Sailor

    Steve and Dave Clarks Unidentified Foiling Object

    Based on my experience with low draft foil settings (for launch and retrieval in my case) your minimim foil depth is constrained more my the need to have enough rudder in the water to counteract the UFOs inherent windward helm than any concerns about foiling height. The windier it is, the more rudder you need to keep from spinning out. If it is windy enough to foil (10+ knots) I believe you need at least 1/3 of the rudder down to have control of the boat, or about 18". Realistically, this is true for pretty much any sailboat. To provide lateral resistance to the rig and generate forward motion, you need some side force. Good shallow water craft employee daggerboards and kick up rudders to make groundings less damaging. But I don't know of any foiling craft that have kick up or swing away foils, the mechanics would be pretty challenging. But 18" is pretty shallow. I expect that if the foils were down 18" you could get into some pretty fast low foiling reaches that would be plenty fun, so as long as you had at least 2' of depth, you could scream around pretty confidently. I haven't tried to really sail the boat hard with the rudder retracted that much, so I can't be sure it will work, but I suspect it will, particularly in moderate breezes.
  14. Champlain Sailor

    Steve and Dave Clarks Unidentified Foiling Object

    I got home from work at 6:00 and was surprised to see the lake looked perfect for a first foil of the season....9-10 knots of wind, gusts to 12. I got in my drysuit, rigged up and launched. The main was a little tough to raise (need McLube!) but everything else went together well. Launch, head to deep water and drop the foils, and work my way upwind to the broader part of the bay. Oh no, the wind is getting soft.... I headed toward a bluff on West shore that provides a consistent wind acceleration zone with north winds and presto, the wind picks up (local knowledge is great). The boat accelerates, I slip my foot under the hiking strap and the foils begin to hum. Will it fly? Every spring I am skeptical that this contraption will actually break free of the surface. It seems too crude, too simple to operate in such a sophisticated mode. I've just put it together, surely the adjustments are off and changes will need to be made. But no, within seconds of accelerating the hulls get light and the waves begin slapping the flat bottoms of the boat. And then it is quiet. The damn thing works. Of course it does. I zipped back and forth for an hour, foiling as I get near shore, low riding in the lulls. Nothing breaks, there is no capsize or pitchpole, just a great first sail and flight of the season. I even try a few foiling gybes, and get close to completing one except I loop the mainsheet around my neck as I duck under the sail. Don't do that...not fast. My new wand height adjustment pulls the wand down very smoothly. But it is not retracting automatically as designed. More work to do here. Fun first sail, can't wait to do more!
  15. Champlain Sailor

    Steve and Dave Clarks Unidentified Foiling Object

    I don't think any of us have validated that :-) We just agree that your idea to put the cunningham cleat on the mast is a good one! Looking forward to sailing with you again soon! Doug