Champlain Sailor

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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

    I believe the challenge you will have with bringing the cleat to the bottom of the mast is that it will be difficult to maintain luff tension on the main. The UFO seems pretty sensitive to how far the top of the main is from the top of the mast, and you want to be able to set it and be sure it stays there. The longer the distance between the sail and the cleat, the more stretch you will have in the halyard. You will also double the compression force on the mast, so you will have a lot more bend it in than the sail produces on its own. I'm not sure if that will cause a problem or not, but it will certainly change the shape of the sail. However, I agree, raising and lowering the sail on the water, particularly if you don't have a support boat and there is any wind on, is near impossible. Moving the cleat might make it a little easier, but it will still likely be quite difficult.
  2. Champlain Sailor

    best new foiler for beginner?

    JoeW: I agree with you on all points. The wishbone booms on the Waszp and UFO simplify the rig a lot, but you do loose the ability to independently adjust the leach tension. The vang forces the moth generates are remarkable, I've seen several broken booms and vang struts when something goes askew. The UFO skippers do 'touch down' to windward a bit more often than the Waszp and Moth sailors, primarily because the UFO doesn't have the sloped wings. The good news is that when the windward hull touches, in most cases the buoyancy and planing surface prevents you from capsizing and you skim along until you have enough power to right you back up onto the foil. You have hit on my biggest pet peeve on the UFO, however, the hiking position is FAR more strenuous than the moth (and I assume the Waszp). Going upwind, your feet are well above your hips. So you better be doing your crunches. To answer your primary question, the UFO absolutely teaches its skipper the benefits of windward heal, and the tradeoffs made between sheeting and steering to maintain heel and control.
  3. Champlain Sailor

    best new foiler for beginner?

    One other thing (sorry to monopolize this post...but living in New England I'm not going to be able to sail my UFO for another 3-4 months, so thinking about it and writing about it is the next best thing!). The UFO delivers plenty of frustration. Don't worry about that. Even with fairly simple controls, it takes some practice and technique to get the heal angle correct and the fore aft weight balance right. All of these foiling dinghys are pretty stubby (short in length) so until they are on their foils, they are much more sensitive to fore/aft weight placement than a normal dinghy. I wanted to expand on your point on boat repairs and development. The moth sailors I know and have sailed with spend a lot of time working on their boats. I think most would tell you that it is part of the experience. Components are incredibly light, and inevitably some break, most of the sailors have good enough epoxy and glass/carbon skills to repair a bracket or patch a hole. At the foiling regatta at the Upper Keys YC in January of 2020, each evening the moth sailors would gather and work on their boats and rigging. The UFO sailors would be sitting around drinking bear, watching the moth sailors, and assisting when they needed an extra hand. None of them seemed to mind this, on the contrary they all enjoyed it as part of the process. There was a constant back and forth to see how others had rigged their controls and discussion of what worked. Several newer sailors in the fleet had older boats that needed updating, and the experience sailors enthusiastically lent their time, experience, and in some cases gear. So if you enjoy working on your boats, this is great. If your idea of maintenance is hosing off your Laser (or UFO) and throwing a cover on it, you may find moth ownership frustrating. To each their own!
  4. Champlain Sailor

    best new foiler for beginner?

    JoeW: First, the easy question. Yes, the UFO has a rudder rake adjustment. There is a handwheel under the tiller that is used to change the position of the top gudgeon which adjusts the angle of attack of the rudder. It is not designed to be used while you are foiling, however, unlike modern moths. But is is very simple to adjust it one the water, without tools, in a second or two. I usually don't even stop sailing, as long as you are off the foils and the rod is unloaded, it is easy to adjust. This is a major difference for all of the 2ndary controls on the UFO compared with a moth. The outhaul, cunningham, shroud tension, ride height, and foil AoAs are all adjustable on the water, without tools, but not designed to be done so while hiking on the boat while it is foiling. Some owners are modifying their UFOs to be able to adjust the cunningham and outhaul from the hiking position. Most moths, as you likely know, have lots and lots (LOTS) of tiny lines, blocks, cleats, and takeup systems to allow any number of sail, rig, and foil adjustments to be made while foiling along. Very convenient,, and in many cases almost works of art. But, you need to have the ability to sail well enough to have a free hand available to make the adjustment, and have to know what you want adjusted and remember which of the little colored lines adjust what. In time, this gets easier. But initially, its a much more intimidating cockpit. I would argue that the UFO teaches the basics very well. Sail the boat FLAT to get it up on the foils. Pump, ooch, do what you have to do to get it up, once there it will accelerate and stay up (usually). Its an apparent windspeed boat, so you want to keep your speed up, even downwind and on the reaches, to keep your apparent wind forward. These are all skills that the moth needs too. Where does it fall short? In my opinion on maneuvers, as it doesn't coast as well as the moth so its much harder to execute a decent gybe. I really haven't even tried to pull off a foiling tack. I also find it more difficult to generate twist in the UFO mainsail, which makes it more of a handful to sail a deeper angle in a breeze. The independent vang, mainsheet, and cunningham controls on the moth really help with this. Going upwind, the UFO really likes to be healed to windward. My recollection is that the Mach 2's did as well, but the Exocet seems to like to be sailed pretty much flat. My friend with the moth has coached the windward heal tendency out of me when I sail his Exocet. That seems to be the only 'bad' habit that the UFO encouraged. On the plus side (and in my opinion these are BIG plusses), the ability to rig and sail in 20 minutes provides most people (ie those with jobs) many more opportunities to get out on the water and learn. If you have 2 hours after work, you can rig, sail for an hour and 20 minutes, derig, and be home for dinner. I do this often! Most moth sailors need 45 minutes to rig or derig, meaning if you only have 2 hours, you will really question if its worth it to get out and sail in a short window. I am also very comfortable sailing the UFO without a crash boat or other support boat on the water. It is durable and stable. If the wind goes light, pull up the main foil and it is a very capable light wind dinghy, you will get home fine. My experience with the moth is that they are more fragile, and if the wind drops off, it can be VERY difficult to get home without assistance. That's my two cents based on significant UFO time and limited Moth time.
  5. Champlain Sailor

    Impact of Stack Pack/Lazy Bag?

    I fully understand. We have a J/110 that we cruised a fair amount when we bought it 12 years ago. As the kids got older it was cruised less and raced more. We installed a tides track and slides when we bought the boat, and put up lazy jacks shortly afterward. That likely saved our marriage. As we began to race more, I'd get crap from competitors and my guest crew about the lazy jacks. But for most of the racing we do (beer can Wednesday nights) the races are won and lost on the starts, mark roundings, and who can find the wind. The wind resistance of the lazy jacks isn't going to cost me a race. When we do a distance race, I'll pull the jacks forward so they are flush to the mast. This past summer with social distancing requirements, we cancelled our normal racing program. We left the cruising genoa on the boat all the time. My wife and I would race the boat in cruising mode with our son, occasionally adding another person who we knew well and trusted. We used the boat a lot more this summer, because going out for the weekend didn't mean a huge sail changeover. So I get it. Racing is great, but it limits your enjoyment of the boat when you are not racing. I'm not sure how badly the stack pack would impact your aerodynamics when racing. If the pack was cut well and you have a way of keeping it tight to the bottom of the sail, I don't think you would notice much loss, particularly if you are in a beer can PHRF league. If you are in a competitive one design fleet, then it will hurt you.
  6. Champlain Sailor

    best new foiler for beginner?

    JoeW: I continue to sail the moth when an opportunity presents itself. My buddy ended up moving South, but he returns each summer for a few weeks and brings his Moth. He upgraded from a Mach 2 to an Exocet, so I had the chance to sail it last summer. Wow, what a machine! I have not bought one of my own, the time to set it up and go sailing, and the effort to launch it from our rocky beach was simply too high for me to justify it. I bought a UFO in early 2018 and sail it often. It offers a lot of fun for the investment of money and time. In 10-14 knots of wind, it will sail all day long at 14-15 knots pretty effortlessly. I have only kept it on the foils when jybing a few times, and I have never gotten a foiling tack in. It doesn't 'coast' on the foils nearly as well as the moth does, so you have way less time to get through your maneuver. For a boat that requires no more TLC than a Laser, cost the same as a Laser, and is rigged as quickly as a Laser, it is an impressive package. If we had a few moths up here to sail with, I'd likely buy one despite the cost in dollars and convenience. They are massively fun.
  7. Champlain Sailor

    Impact of Stack Pack/Lazy Bag?

    We had a J/105 at our club that took a few years off from racing and used a stack pack with a cruising main. They day sailed it as a couple. The owner and his wife could unzip and hoist very quickly, and drop the sail in zip it back in the pack in no time. It made for a very easy boat to head out on the water for an hour or two with minimal fussing about. If you aren't racing, and don't mind the expense, they seem like a pretty nice way to go.
  8. Champlain Sailor

    best new foiler for beginner?

    I'd like to point out that a really significant factor in what will be the 'best' foiler for a beginner is what other foiling boats you have in your local sailing community. I learned to foil on a Moth. I agree with this post that once flying, the moth is relatively simple to sail and fly, in a moderate, steady breeze. However, getting the boat sorted and rigged, launched, and just getting into it and getting it moving is a challenge for the uninitiated. If you have not sailed a moth, and there is no one around you with one or with any experience, I would suggest that the learning curve will be VERY steep. It can be done, but you better be persistent! I had the advantage of a local friend who is a professional sailor who set the boat up and spend a lot of time figuring out the rigging and tweaking the setup. He has a network of top Moth sailors to call on to answer our 'beginner' questions, and he generously offered to let me 'learn' the boat with him (I supplied the chase boat). We don't have a fleet here, just had the one. I've sailed in places (Key Largo, Newport) that have quite a few moths, and the sailors there have been extremely helpful and welcoming to newbies. So if you live somewhere with a robust moth fleet, by all means a used Moth may be just the ticket, particularly if you have an experienced moth sailor willing to help you find a well sorted one. However, if you want to foil and you are the early adopter in your area, a more production oriented, one-design boat will likely get you on the water, and above the water much faster. I think the UFO has the quickest learning curve. It is very easy to rig and tune. The Waszp is likely the next easiest. The UFO is super forgiving when you are NOT foiling, it generally wants to be upright, while the Waszp and Moth like to be upside down when not powered up. Foiling tacks and gybes, however are quite challenging on the UFO compared to the Moth and Waszp. I have not seen anyone in the US weigh in on the Skeeta, I'm very curious to see how it compares with the UFO and Waszp. Reports from down under and Europe are encouraging. Melges began selling them here in September, but no one has chimed in yet with a report, so we likely will need to wait until spring for that. So the right answer depends on the support network you have around you, what your goals are, and how much you want to spend.
  9. Champlain Sailor

    Craigslist Finds

    Looks great! I haven't sailed a "Dink" but I've sailed many a Dyer Dink, we owned a JY9, and now have a Walker Bay 10 with sailing kit. I sail a lot of high performance boats, but have to admit, these simply little dinghies are a lot of fun too. No hassle, all fun, and very useful. Not sure why prices were depressed in your area, I find that any decent sailing dinghy is $1000 and up in New England, I think you seriously scored on that boat and would double your money if you decide its not for you. Enjoy!
  10. Champlain Sailor

    Dinghy Hand Launching Cart

    I haven't tried the battery operated dollys, but I'd try the simply, manual trailer dolly first. I have been surprised how well you can move a loaded trailer on level ground with one of these. If your ramp is steep, this may not work, but if it is fairly gradual, I think it will be enough. I find that sometimes I plant both feet, then pull the trailer to me by leaning backward and letting my body weight pull the boat up 2' or so. Then take a step back, and do the same thing. If you only need to gain 8-10' of elevation up a reasonable grade, this is not overly taxing.
  11. Champlain Sailor

    Steve and Dave Clarks Unidentified Foiling Object

    Dave: When you have some free reading time, pick up a copy of Ray Anderson's "Confessions of a Radical Industrialist." He was the founder and CEO of Interface Carpets and decided in the late 90's that they had to change their petroleum intensive, single use industry into a business that was truly sustainable, one that made the world a better place every day that it was in operation. Most folks thought that his goal was impossible and he would tank the business. Instead, he showed how focusing on minimizing waste, maximizing yield, and thinking about the full product life cycle created a business that was far more robust and valuable than his competitors. Its a really good read. When I taught manufacturing management at UVM, I had my students read it.
  12. Champlain Sailor

    Dinghy Hand Launching Cart

    You may want to consider a trailer tongue dolly. That way you can keep using your trailer and you just put the dolly with wheels under the hitch and used the T handle to pull the trailer. Since you don't have a lot of elevation to gain, this may be the easiest, lease expensive solution. Harbor Freight has them for $65US, I see one at Canadian Tire for $99.
  13. Champlain Sailor

    Steve and Dave Clarks Unidentified Foiling Object

    Kelly: I agree with your analysis. If you load the foil up enough, you can cause cavitation in just about any water temperature. Once you have created a gas pocket on the low pressure side of the foil, directional control of the boat becomes challenging and the boat feels like it is 'skidding'. I can attest that the same thing happens in Moths as well. Cold water makes the boat much more susceptible to cavitation, it happens at lower speeds and wind levels. I have also have the same phenomena appear after snagging a clump of seaweed at speed. I suspect that the seaweed on the foil disrupts the laminar flow around the foil and results in the same loss in control. Unlike cavitation, which can often be resolved by a dramatic bear away to minimize side-loading and re-attach the flow, in my experience one the foil has seaweed on it, you need to stop and back down to clear it. Doug
  14. Champlain Sailor

    Charter a Melges 15...why the hell not?

    As to the original question, should you charter and M15? If you can get to the venue, and there is a boat available I'd say YES! I chartered a UFO last winter from Fulcrum for the Upper Keys Foiling Series. It was a highlight of last winter! Yes, it makes for a rather expensive weekend. However, it is easy, with no wear and tear on your own boat, and gives you an excuse to go make new friends and hopefully see a few old ones. You feel like a rock star for the weekend, flying in and having your boat waiting for you on the beach. It is great that some boat manufacturers make the effort to get their boats out on the road. Hopefully they sell a couple of extra boats from it! So if you have the time and funds available, go for it!
  15. Champlain Sailor

    Steve and Dave Clarks Unidentified Foiling Object

    Low water temperatures make Cavitation far more likely than warm water temperatures. Looking online, it appears that San Diego has water temperatures near 60F. In my experience, cavitation begins to become noticeable below 60F, and gets very significant below 50F water temps. It is is possible that Paul would see Cavitation. However, his video and decription do not indicate it. Cavitation occurs when the foil is highly loaded. Typically, you are healed to windward at speed, and the boat simply begins to 'skate' to leeward. In Paul' case, he is simply pitching up and stalling out.