Now that we are sailing, work on the boat is not as turbo hectic as it was during the building stages. But I still want to fix at least one small issue every day as long as we are in harbour. Today it was the kicker (or vang as it is called in some places). It is a really strong hydraulic cylinder (14 tons) that pulls the boom down. Now that we are on the Atlantic (where there are always waves even when the wind is very calm) we get into light wind situations where the wave motions cause the sails to loose their pull and change the load on the kicker so that it bounces up and down on its mount. This makes a rather loud bang in the rigging, even if the motion is only 1.5 mm up and down. So today I made a custom washer and fitted it inside the mount so that it is absolutely fixed (The white plastic thing below the gooseneck). No more banging up and down. The main issue with this fix was that I didn't have a large enough (36mm) key to undo the bolt that holds the cylinder. And to purchase a key of that size I needed to find a really professional hardware store. This took two long bicycle trips out into the suburbs until it succeeded. I laughed a bit when a shop assistant in one of the places during the first trip suggested that I should go to IKEA to find it!
Just to give you a small insight into the work going on: Besides finishing the interior, we are also working on a long list of to-dos. One to-do is the need for the mast foot to be moved 20mm to aft in order to make the mast bend curve perfect. Unfortunately the old mounting holes did not allow this, so new holes had to be made. However, making these were not so simple, since there was no room for the drill between the mast and the tie-rod after the mast had been put in place! So I looked around for the smallest radii rotating tool I could find, which turned out to be a pressurized air wrench handle. This tool is only 30mm in diameter and it does fit in the space above the new hole position. But since this tool is designed for socket wrenches I had to weld the drill and the threading bits to socket wrench pieces to get it to work. But in the end it all came together and the holes got made and threaded:
Wow! First day of REAL sea trials is done. The wind was around 20kts, with gusts up to 28kts (14 m/s). Perfect wind for really seeing how the boat behaved. First of all, the balance was superb!!! We did not yet have the reefing lines installed, so we sailed with a full main and the staysail. Not a perfect set of sails in these conditions, but the boat was still very stable and showed no broaching tendencies. Plenty of heel of course, but the angled rudders always had full grip and never ventilated. Steering felt precise even during the gusts. We ended the day with a long list of small and medium sized work items on the todo list, both on the rigging and on the sails. Leeches need shortening on the main and solent. Mast had a bit of an S curve so the foot and D2 stays will need adjustments. And so on. But overall, I feel it was a solid success. Many thanks to Hans, Herman and Bengt from Hamel Sails. These guys really go through everything down to the last detail in both sails and the packs in order to create easily workable solutions. We had two professional photographers in a RIB taking pictures, but I have not managed to get any images from them yet, look out for those in a couple of days!
In the picture below, the keen viewer will notice that there is a spreader missing... It was damaged by a falling furler swivel during the hoisting of the mast. Hopefully the Marström team will be able to repair it over the weekend, but it still means that we won't be able to move out of here until Sunday evening at the earliest. On the good news side, we tried out a few of the sails and things look very good so far. Not all could be tested though, due to the spreader problem the rigging couldn't be tensioned.