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Keysrock35

Kirby 25 RF 125 or 155%

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Well, we added to the fleet this weekend (this makes 5 keelboats at present...) and picked up a Kirby 25, which came with a nice race sail inventory. I know next to nothing about these boats other than I've seen them sailing and they look fun. 

It has roller furling and all of the sails (racing and cruising) are cut for RF.  We intend to use the boat for beercans and daysailing and will leave the furler on. I'm in Chicago and won't be racing OD. I've got 125% and 155% headsails -

since I'm not familiar with the boat, here is the question:

Could I race this boat most of the time with the 155 on a furler, and take the 6 sec/mile furling credit? Or 125% only? Or not take the RF credit and use either as appropriate?

(Also the boat is sail no. 15609, can't find anything on it - it changed hands a bit and was donated) I'm told it may have been called Dazed and Confused if anyone knows history.

Opinions from Kirby enthusiasts welcome.

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If it's beercan racing, it's supposed to be fun.  Use the jib that provides the most fun. If the wind is light, finishing earlier will be more fun- use the big jib.  If the breeze picks up it may be more fun to not heel so much: use the smaller jib. If changing the jib is not fun, don't. 

 

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Not sure I understand the concept of fun on a sailboat... but I guess my question is does anyone know the TWS range of the 155% or 125%?

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I have had one for over 20 years.

There use to be good sized fleets around, but most boats are pretty beaten up.

Other owners and past owners hang out here sometimes.

We sail with a class 150% up to 16 tws, with 4 people on the rail.

The 110% only comes out if it is in the high teens gusting to 20s, or we are really short crewed in mid teens.

Get use to the running backs, they are the big rig adjustment.

Whats your hull number?

What other questions do you have?

 

 

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Thanks! That helps. It's hull #64. Used to be orange, currently sporting an interesting tri-tone paint scheme. I think it was in Toledo for much of its life.

I will likely have a lot of questions after I spend some more time on the thing. Thus far I've spent an hour putting a tarp on it and drying out sails and that's about it. Has the complete original "Sails by Watts" sail inventory, including blooper, so I infer it was lightly used.

It came with a lifting ring that threads onto a keel bolt - do you have any experience using this contraption and any thoughts on its safety?

Also, mine has two jib halyards - is this standard? And why, given hanks?

Besides soft deck, bulkhead, and mast beam - anything I should be on the look out for proactively?

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One of the "jib halyards" is your spinnaker halyard.  Some boats were modified to add a spinnaker halyard above the forestay.  We found running back stay should always  be tight regardless of wind strength.  Rest of rig can be quite loose.  Boat is crazy fast on a reach and we hit 14 knots downwind with no drama.  It's a ton of fun.

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On 12/19/2018 at 1:06 AM, Keysrock35 said:

Thanks! That helps. It's hull #64. Used to be orange, currently sporting an interesting tri-tone paint scheme. I think it was in Toledo for much of its life.

I will likely have a lot of questions after I spend some more time on the thing. Thus far I've spent an hour putting a tarp on it and drying out sails and that's about it. Has the complete original "Sails by Watts" sail inventory, including blooper, so I infer it was lightly used.

It came with a lifting ring that threads onto a keel bolt - do you have any experience using this contraption and any thoughts on its safety?

Also, mine has two jib halyards - is this standard? And why, given hanks?

Besides soft deck, bulkhead, and mast beam - anything I should be on the look out for proactively?

There is one that races PHRF 4 out of Windsor, think it is hull #6. Well sailed, good people. They should be able to provide information on the boat.

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On 12/16/2018 at 8:21 PM, Keysrock35 said:

Could I race this boat most of the time with the 155 on a furler, and take the 6 sec/mile furling credit?

You not only could do it, you should.

But, if your local rating board will allow a 4 sec credit for a 140RF, you should do that instead.

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They were built light, and most were raced hard, it shows as they age.

Other then what you already mentioned.

Remove your rudder for the winter. They used mild steel tangs on the stainless shaft and are known to rust and the rudder will fail. They weight around 30lbs dry if memory serves. Have it looked at.

The keel sumps were made of plywood! They can get water logged from seepage around the keel bolts. I would drill down to check to see if it has been replaced or needs to. The keel can really wiggle since there are no stringers, just the reinforced section of hull itself.

The tiller head is mild cast aluminum and can fail with age. Check it out.

A lot of masts are mushroomed at the foot, from the habit of raking the mast forward dead down wind. Have a look at it

I will look and see if I have any info from the old newsletters and owners list on your boat.

Class rules only allowed those two halyards for spinnaker and Genoa, but as stated, a lot of boats were reconfigured for a halyard above the forestay.

Sails by Watts are not original, they came with Fogh sails, that became Fogh North, then North Sails Toronto. Main, 180% spinnaker, 150% Genoa and 110% jib.

I use centerpoint lift of my back two keelbolts (I have done the repairs and know my hull can take it). Balance point is usually right above the cabin top winch depending if the mast is up and motor on.

They are a fun boat, and if sailed right can beat a J24 boat for boat.

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This is awesome intel - thank you! Are the rudder tangs that you are referring to inside the body of the rudder?

My keel sump has very evidently been repaired - can't say if it was done correctly but there is a lot of glass down there now. There really isn't a sump, the glass comes right up to the bottom of the floor board. I'm scratching my head on where to put a bilge pump. Or maybe this boat is SO DRY I don't even need one hahahaha. 

Yes, I have a spin halyard above the forestay too.

well the Watts sails may not be original, but they are signed 1979 (and the boat's title says 1979) so they are still pretty old!

 

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Yes, the tangs are within the body of the rudder. I had new stainless tangs welded to the shaft. I rebuilt mine and discovered the rudder was two fiberglass shells filled with polyester putty  which was very soggy. Storing the rudder indoors thru winter prevents the freeze/thaw cycles which split the rudder.  I rebuilt mine by spitting the halves, which was very easy to do, and building  new core halves with closed cell foam and epoxy then bonded them with thickened epoxy. Much lighter and stronger than original.

Edited by commotion
correction.

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On 12/20/2018 at 8:40 AM, Parma said:

You not only could do it, you should.

But, if your local rating board will allow a 4 sec credit for a 140RF, you should do that instead.

Check your local PHRF rules regarding RF credits.  For example, on the Chesapeake Bay, if you take the RF credit, you can't change sails during a race or regatta, but must roller furl the sail for which you took the credit for.  It also had to have a UV cover on it...those two "conditions" were enough to keep me from ever taking the credit, even though I had a furler on my boat.  I wanted the option to be able to fly a light 155, or be able to switch to a #3 during a race/regatta if the wind built.

So it depends totally on the "conditions" by which you can take the credit, and then the wind conditions for where you race as to whether or not the credit is "worth" taking from a pure racing perspective.

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On 12/21/2018 at 10:05 AM, commotion said:

Yes, the tangs are within the body of the rudder. I had new stainless tangs welded to the shaft. I rebuilt mine and discovered the rudder was two fiberglass shells filled with polyester putty  which was very soggy. Storing the rudder indoors thru winter prevents the freeze/thaw cycles which split the rudder.  I rebuilt mine by spitting the halves, which was very easy to do, and building  new core halves with closed cell foam and epoxy then bonded them with thickened epoxy. Much lighter and stronger than original.

If you happen to have any pictures of this operation, I'd be much obliged!

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On 12/16/2018 at 11:21 PM, Keysrock35 said:

Well, we added to the fleet this weekend (this makes 5 keelboats at present...) and picked up a Kirby 25, which came with a nice race sail inventory. I know next to nothing about these boats other than I've seen them sailing and they look fun. 

It has roller furling and all of the sails (racing and cruising) are cut for RF.  We intend to use the boat for beercans and daysailing and will leave the furler on. I'm in Chicago and won't be racing OD. I've got 125% and 155% headsails -

since I'm not familiar with the boat, here is the question:

Could I race this boat most of the time with the 155 on a furler, and take the 6 sec/mile furling credit? Or 125% only? Or not take the RF credit and use either as appropriate?

(Also the boat is sail no. 15609, can't find anything on it - it changed hands a bit and was donated) I'm told it may have been called Dazed and Confused if anyone knows history.

Opinions from Kirby enthusiasts welcome.

I'll add to what Barley said, there's a Kirby 25 that has been kicking some ass in the PHRF 4 fleet in the DRYA the past couple of seasons.   It is a well sailed boat with a favorable rating, that makes them a tough team.  They race out of Windsor, I can get you in touch with them if you'd like to pick their brains.  PM me if you'd like to.

Is this a toy for Chicago or Detroit?  

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On 12/31/2018 at 9:50 AM, glexpress said:

I'll add to what Barley said, there's a Kirby 25 that has been kicking some ass in the PHRF 4 fleet in the DRYA the past couple of seasons.   It is a well sailed boat with a favorable rating, that makes them a tough team.  They race out of Windsor, I can get you in touch with them if you'd like to pick their brains.  PM me if you'd like to.

Is this a toy for Chicago or Detroit?  

Thanks - I've been in touch with the DRYA Kirby folks. This toy is for Chicago. I'm moving the 35 back to Detroit, where it belongs. 

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A friend told me about this. We sail ours in Windsor/Detroit. Hull 48 (sail no 6). Called Go Train. Here’s some info that might help you and then anyone who actually knows how to sail these boats can let you know if it's right or not - it's just what we've been working out. Wish you were bringing it to Bayview.

We don't know the answer to your original questions re furling and rating. Don't know anything about furling systems but just make sure you can still accurately attain headstay sag. Can't comment on rating either.

We don’t single point lift. But when we bought it it was setup for lifting off the aft two keel bolts and there is a cutout right near the cabintop halyard cleats. It had a big steal arm angling backwards off the cleats that the lifting strap attached to. We took that off but I still have it and can send a photo later.

Our deck isn’t super soft but definitely has been wet. We ignore it and get on with things.

We rigged it like a J/22 with some ideas from the J/24 (check APS J/22 and J/24 rigging examples on APS website - basically can use those setups). We're moving headsail halyard cleat to mast this year so bow can add that to her job and trimmer can focus on speed stuff.

Backstay is split and cleats forward for helm to adjust without moving. Pretty essential because we adjust all the time - it’s a real throttle.

We split vang and cunno too and they cleat at the back of the cobintop so the genoa trimmer can adjust while hiking. We made the cunno in a position so the driver can reach forward and adjust too since they adjust backstay.

Cross-sheet the genoa to keep your trimmer on the high side. It’s setup for that. Switch to low side when light. If your trimmer is newish then good cross sheeting in tacks takes practice but you can use the J/24 lasso technique as guide.

The frac makes it versatile. We keep the 150 on 'til late in the game but need 6 crew. We sail with light people.

If it’s choppy and windy then we would change a bit earlier to be able to keep the bow down upwind 'cause it's light and will stop in waves. Standard stuff.

A Dacron main seems to be more versatile as you will be able to blade it out in the breeze with backstay/cunno. Our Tape Drive is fast in the light stuff (has two full battens too) but doesn't seem to allow us to cunno the shape forward when we go backstay on. Can't say anything about other materials.

We thought the Lake St. Clair chop would hurt us since the boat is relatively light and we sail against these super old boats but with the in-lines and runners we can really sag the genoa and it’s been sort of a secret weapon when we need power. You have to really press on the headsail though but it’s super fast with lots of sag. Sag in the chop and focus on speed and you'll love how quickly you'll feel the keel bite. So no runner here.

Also upwind in the chop we move crew forward to leeward to keep the bow deep in the water and get through the terrain with a bit more finesse. Like way forward - sometimes we put two people right at mast.

Go with runner before backstay when the water is flat and you can get greedy but still keep the speed.

You can really hammer on the mainsheet when it’s 8 or above. Pull it on and point.

Anything under 8 and you’ll need to pay super attention to both leaches and the slot. Normal sailing rules here but it seemed that we really had to work hard on trim in these conditions for some reason.

If you don't have an outboard track put a block on the stanchion base and sheet through here when reaching sans kite.

We play the traveler in the puffs when it’s flat but if it's wavy/choppy we’ll vang sheet with the goal of just enough kicker to allow for some twist on the release. Seems to help keep some flow across the main and keep the helm glued a bit better in those conditions. Don't know if that makes any sense but works.

If super puffy with big highs and lows we’ll vang sheet because it’s just easier to adjust main quickly and dump power faster if you need to. Sometimes trimmer vang sheets in these conditions so driver can focus on the press/pinch.

All controls are 5mm pre-stretch anything; runners 6mm Samson Light (super light, runs really fast, highly recommended), up/down 6mm poly with Dyneema core, sheets/traveler 7mm soft stuff whatever you want; halyards 8mm poly but would go down to 7mm with Dyneema core.

The bottom behind the keel is super flat because it’s designed to surf but it's slow up/down in light. We’ll put a few bodies at the mast and to leeward in under 6 upwind. Like kids-on-a-29er-in-the-light-stuff sorta thing.

Open up your stern rail to make accessing the motor easier. Put two corner rails.

We cut our stanchions and pulpit down to 18 inches (stock is 24). Makes hiking harder though.

Downwind in light stuff you also have to get the crew forward and even try some windward heel like Lasers in the '90s. This year we really were aggressive with our steering in super light downwind: once you feel the boat slowing, head up to a reach super aggressively to keep the pressure in the kite and the boat moving or else it will stall out. We try to use our crew weight hard to leeward to drive the boat up and keep the kite full in deep lulls. It takes a while to get this and we haven’t done it enough to perfect it but I think it will help keep fast downwind against the masthead boats. Those boats have a huge advantage in under 6 downwind so you need to sail as aggressively as you can to keep time. The key is turning up faster than you think even if using more rudder than you think is fast. Or just drink because sometimes you just can't do anything and it sucks.

Downwind make sure your mainsheet is long enough so you can let your main all the way out. And then makes sure your gooseneck will allow the boom to bend all the way against the shrouds. And then sail by the lee heeled to weather when you can. We got a new gooseneck that allows for this.

You can rake the rig forward downwind in light air by releasing the backstay totally off and hooking the genoa halyard to the bow shackle or pad eye and heaving on it. I think they call this fraculating or something. It's super retro. This is fast but probably a bit hard on the deck near the mast step so we only do it if needed. Make sure your backstay and backstay setup is long enough to allow for this.

The boat surfs so take advantage of this in breeze and waves. We rarely get waves on Lake St. Clair to allow for this but when we do we are pretty aggressive. But the rudder is small so it’s difficult to turn quickly in waves without it losing its grip and spinning out - if you have a solid crew then they can use their weight to turn the boat but that’s getting pretty serious for PHRF stuff. Err on keeping the boat heeled slightly to leeward and crew aft.

We broke a rudder. It was a new Phil’s Foils rudder. Not too sure why it broke.

Overall it’s a boat that seems to require some attention to keep it going and even though it’s just PHRF we have been enjoying it for what it is.

I made a trim/tune guide that has all our rigging Loose numbers and sheet settings. I can send you.

Keep in mind we don’t sail against any other K25s so the above could all be totally wrong in which case good luck.

 

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9 hours ago, anothersummer said:

 

Keep in mind we don’t sail against any other K25s so the above could all be totally wrong in which case good luck.

 

Wow - thank you and thank you - this is amazing detail, I'll have more questions when implementing this. If you are willing to share the tuning guide, that would be most welcome (keysrock35@gmail.com). Maybe I can get the boat to Detroit at some point for us to match up and see what happens. 

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