Saturday, January 30, 2010

15.5 kts- Great day at Tierra Verde

I have been watching the cold front all week hoping that work and family responsibilities would harmonize with its arrival. It did and what a great time it was. I unloaded the Expedition Windsurfer at 1:30 on the east side of Tierra Verde with winds in the 2okt range. There was four or five young guns on short boards giving the old man some weird looks as I sailed off the beach, but that’s ok, I did not take it personal. I had Britt of North Beach Windsurfing in my corner and he kept the kids at bay.

The Expedition Windsurfer performed beyond my expectations. It was stable, of course, but even when the winds picked up to 25+ tacking and jibing was simple and I never felt like I was out of control with my 7.5 Zenith. What I was most pleased with was its speed. In winds in the 25kt range I maxed out at 15.5kts and it felt like I could get more out of it with some adjustments. The biggest issue affecting top end speed is the tail fin box. At high speeds, water was forced into the well creating a rooster tail causing drag on the board. I have a dagger board gasket I will apply and we will see if we can get 20 knots out of her. I think we can. The board also goes to weather well, even with the old 1980s blades I am using. Matt Layden has done a great job on the design.

Totally STOKED!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Everglades Challenge-a personal commitment

I have been trying to enter the Everglades Challenge since 2004, when I made it to the first checkpoint in my sea kayak. Since then I have allowed one disaster after another get in the way. In 2005 I was still putting things back together after the eye of hurricane Charley passed over my house here in Wauchula. In 2006 I had just started my own business and did not have the time or the money to enter the race. In 2007 I was still caught up in building my business and working on the first version of the Expedition Windsurfer. Then in December of 2007 my son and I were in a car crash that broke three of my ribs, puncturing a lung and shattered my left wrist, requiring a metal plate to keep it together. I also suffered a compound fracture of the right ulna and damaged the ulna head, requiring a metal plate to hold it all together. Oh, and I also broke the #5 cervical requiring me to wear a cervical collar for 3 months. Fortunatly, I did not have any damage to the spinal cord. As a result of those somewhat annoying injuries, I was in no condition to enter the EC in 2008 or 2009.
I have been spending time this past year doing some extra paddling on the Peace River and building the second prototype of the Expedition Windsurfer and trying to get my mind right for the challenge.

I am ready to go. 2010 is my time, I will sail and enjoy each and every challenge that the race can throw my way. I can hardly contain myself.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sail test

Here is a shot with the sail and both the retractable fin and dagger board in the hull. (click on the image to enlarge)I am having some problems with the dagger board. The gasket material I used seems to be too stiff and does not allow the board to rotate up into the hull easily. I should be able to make some minor modifications to the dagger board to improve it's function. The winds were out of the NNW at 8-10kts with an occasional gust to 12kts. I was concerned about stability of the board with the changes we made to the free board and width. We narrowed the board down from 33" to 30.5" and at the tail we reduced the width from 25.5" to 23.5 and increased the free board by two inches. I had concerns that these changes would make the board less stable. Although we did not have much in the way of waves the board felt very stable. I went out into the mouth of the pass and the left over swell from yesterdays cold front allowed me to get a feel for its stability in waves. I sailed from about 12:30pm to 2:45. From the GPS my trip was 9 miles and max speed was 10.6kts and average speed was 4.6kts. I can tell that this new design is much faster than the first prototype. I cant wait to see what it will do in 15-20kts. I sailed up to the beach and asked a nice Canadian couple to video me as I sailed the board. The video is not too good, I think lighting had something to do with it and the fact I was too far away.
Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The new board is done "EXPW2"

After way too much time working on this thing I finally put it in the water. Here are some images of Jared taking it for a spin on the Peace River. Click on the image to enlarge it.
I will try to do some sailing on it this weekend and then a camping trip the following weekend. I will post video as soon as I can.

I like the looks of the design and shape. I just wish I were a better boat builder, I made lots of mistakes. I hope none of them will affect the performance of the board.

Please leave comments and let me know what you think