The first race of the season is most often a disappointment. Things that worked last year doesn’t work the first time out. We are unorganized and slow. However, the Seilmakeren 2008 is the worst start ever.

Now windSeilmakeren Doublehanded 2008 is a race from Bergen to Stavanger and back. It’s more or less 180 nautical miles long and it shorthanded limited to a crew of two. It’s a free race with only the start, pitstop and goal defined. It’s up to every boat to choose it’s track. In principle you can either go out into the ocean outside of all the island, or go in-between all the island.
The ocean track is a little shorter, but not much. However, the North Sea will whip up some waves as soon as the wind picks up, and if the wind dies the waves will stay on for quite a while. Going inside is risky as the wind tends to die at night, but you sail faster with less wind and waves.
Wrong track twice

We choose to go out into the ocean. We lost more or less 4 hours by this move. So we decided to go inside north and Back to Bergen. Both tracks where the wrong decision. Going North there was no wind at all. In periods we went backwards. In periods we moved by the current, we where swirled around, we sailed into wind-less areas while we could se boats passing us outside.

No wind, but currentIn short a rather frustrating race. But it started well:

We had a wonderful sail to Bergen in incredible spring weather. Sun for a week is not common at the West Coast of Norway in May. But alas, no wind.

As a painted ship upon a painted ocean we sat from Wednesday until Saturday morning. Then we just gave in.

We started well and choose to go with the new asymmetric spinnaker. A good choice the first few miles. Further up the road we should have changed to a symmetrical, but then it was to late. When we finally changed we got back the lost but shot into a windless spot and stayed there while the others passed us at good speed.

The same story happened over and over again.

It was all in all a wonderful trip, but a rotten race.

The Kaskelot depiction takes you topside

 

 

 

 

 

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Finally, it’s all done and Salt is ready for the salty seas. I got the Keel-pro glued on, layers and layers of putty, hours of sanding, and new layers of VCTar and VC17.

No more putty

I have chosen not to add on an extra million or more layer of putty to make the Keelpro totally flush with the aero dynamical, or is it hydro dynamical, form of the keel. Instead I have chosen to make the keel protection as friction free as possible with harmonious lines.

I might be wrong

However, I have no more time for spring chores before the yacht is lifted and back in the sea. Besides – the Keelpro looks ok. There are no disharmonious lines and no lines from the Rubber Bumper along the keel that should disturb laminating water flowing along the keel. Actually, the lines along the keel are now rather modern. She looks like she has been given a modern bulp stern. In theory this should work out positive.

Positive

While most of the curiosity during the fitting has been rather negative, the attitude is now turned more positive. Most of the old salts now agree it is a good idea, and that it might protect me from hitting a rock in the first place, and if I hit one – it might give the Kaskelot some protection by flexing the rubber and getting rid of the kinetic energy by pressing the water out of the Keelpro, while seven tonnes of yacht stops dead on a submerged rock.

I don’t know for sure. However, the thing looks good, and it is adding another 10 kilos at the very bottom of the boat. The general rule is that 1 kilo in the mast has to be compensated with five kilos in the keel. Consequently, this has to work the other way around. Added 10 kilos at the very bottom of the keel will compensate for the weight of both the main and the genoa – say 50 kilos or 100 pounds. This should give me less listing and thus a better upwind performance. Besides the keel has become a little wider, which might give Salt improved helm balance.

Negative

The negative argument is of course the possible non-harmonius lines along the bottom of the keel, which might disconnect the laminating water and slow me down in no-wind conditions. If it works out negative I will add the extra million of putty layers during summer or at end seasons.

Time will show and the living will see. I’l be around to check it out.

The Kaskelot depiction takes you topside

Just a short update for you folks. Spring is here, and I am working on the boat. I just love messing around in the marina with all the old Salts from the yacht club coming over to comment anything and everything I am doing.

Nothing catches the old salts curiosity more than the keel protection I am fitting. Nobody really believes it’s worthwhile – that is to say nobody but some of the female sailors. They know their husbands hit’s a rock every now and then.

My answer to all the curiosity is the truth. I would have sailed on happily and hoping not to hit a rock if I had not read about the Keelpro. Now that I know I can protect my happiness and reckless sailing days, it would just be too annoying hitting a rock knowing better.

I really think the rubber bumper will protect me against ever hitting a rock again.

At least I tried.

It is quite a lot of work getting off years of old bottom coating and 10 millimeters of putty to get to the iron keel. With everything off, the iron keel had to be coated with 5 layers of two component paint – witch took forever to dry. The paint needed 5 degrees or more to cure. Nowadays there are few days and nights above 5+. Weill – it worked out.

Today the Keelpro is glued on to the keel with massive amounts of glue. So far everything looks good. However, the temperature is moving up and down from 3,7 to 14 – and the glue needs 5 degrees all night. I have borrowed an infrared heater to keep the old girl hot.

Tomorrow will show whether I failed or succeeded. Salt will be put back into her element Saturday no matter what. And I am traveling to Tønsberg Thursday. 3 more days to go and that’s it.

I will write something more about fitting the Keelpro as soon as I am finished.

Soon the cruising and racing season are starting up. It keeps me bright and alert all day and night.

The Kaskelot depiction takes you topside

Several of you have asked for more photos of “Salt”. Her’s a slideshow for all of you:

The Kaskelot depiction takes you topside

It’s time to start spring planning. The rubber bumper Keelpro is soon to arrive from Sweden, the spinnaker is finished at Westaway Sails and all details have been varnished 5 or 6 times in the basement.

Twice shorthanded

Furthermore, I am going to participate in both the Seilmakeren race and the Simrad Onestar. The first is a double handed race from Bergen to Stavanger and back. The Simrad Onstar is a single hande race in the triangle Hankø, Risør and Vä derø erna on the Swedish west coast.

Both races are pretty pretentious for an old man in an old boat. But, what the heck? What can I lose?

In a good day, all I can win is a race. On a bad day, all I lose is a race.

If the weather turns rough, we might do a great race. Quite a few of my competitors, both at Seilmakeren and the Simrad Onestar are rather flimsy yachts. As soon as the wind start blowing a few of them will be very hard to master alone or short handed. Most of the yachts are made for having the crew hiking out, while ”Salt” is sturdy and doesn’t make a big deal of having ballast on the outer edge or not.

So, it might turn out well. Besides, racing is most for the competition and the fun, not for the winning. Right?

The Kaskelot depiction takes you topside

Salt is up dry. It’s cold outside and I have fire in the fireplace to keep comfortable and warm. However, It’s obvious time for planning of a new season. It’s time to look at general improvements and speed enhancing in particular. We will not no.2 forever!

Seilmakeren

This years first race will be the Seilmakeren (named for Seilmaker Iversen in Bergen) – a shorthanded race from Bergen to Stavanger and back. More than 110 yachts are already registered. We where number 93 to register in November – six months before the start! There is a shorthand craze blowing over Norway. I can think of a few arguments why sailors wants to go short-handed. First of all it is annoying to keep calling to get crew while you sail almost as well without the extra hands, but first of all it is regarded as much thougher which makes participation in short hand races stand out among fellow sailors.

Seilmakeren will start early May – which is way too early and might be very cold indeed. In May the North Sea is still cold. At night it is very hard to keep going and stop shivering. And there is no way we will not have to sail hard upwind for half the race. However, we are ready for the other half. A new 110 Sq.meter asymmetric spinnaker is ordered from Westaway Sailmakers in Devon, England. I am going to mount it on a 80 centimeter long pole at deck level to get as much power at shy reaching as possible. However, the main point is to ease the downwind sailing by making jibing and setting of the spinnaker much easier and safer. By the way – we are ready for the upwind part too. Hopefully we can use the Cape Horn going upwind and keep warm by the diesel burner. I mean -if you have to, you do whatever it takes.

Hysterical competitivenessA long rainy and windy season

Another speed enhancing job is to scrub and wet-sand the under-body. Somehow parts of the paint is not as smooth as it is supposed to be. I am also considering sharpening the aft-edge of the rudder to make it slip the water more easily. I might as well sharpen the front of the keel and epoxy the former through-hole for the sounder too. I have no more use for it and it’s probably just braking by making inharmonious curls in the passing water. I know – it’s a little hysterical. But the boat is up and dry, and as stated – I’m not going to stay no.2 forever. Whatever it takes.

1000-mile race

I am considering taking part in the 1000-mile race from Netherlands to Bergen and further to the Shetlands and back. I admit it is easy to dream on while sitting warm and comfortable by the fireplace. But it sure would be cool, and this time it is possible to take part from Newcastle to Bergen, Shetland and back. It is much closer from Stavanger to Newcastle in England, then to go all the way down to the Netherlands. Besides – we did well last year.

All varnished wood that is possible to take of the Salt is home. I have stripped down most of it and I will have it ready for spring. I am also looking at the other sails beside the spinnakers. Is it possible to redo them and make the old Genoa 2 into an overlapping self tacking genoa? And what about the mainsail – could I add much more roach with battens able to cross the backstay? It should be possible…

Adding stuff

And I have to get the AIS working. I won a wonderful AIS receiver and responder at the Shetland Race last year. With the mast down I will be able to add a new VHF-antenna for the AIS. Besides it has its own GPS-antenna. The Tacktic T-150 wireless wind instrument – which worked for 14 days and then closed down – is still not back from repairs. It is unbelievable – but I hope it shows up by spring. How can they do business like this? In sum – lots of stuff added that is not enhancing the speed, just adding up space, weight and new stuff to repair…

Whale with rubber bumperKeel in need of bumper

At last I am considering a rubber bumper for the old whale. A smart Swede has come up with a keel protection device that takes the worst part of grounding away. You can read more about the Keel Pro here. I truly hate grounding. Anything that can help me from ruining a nice day by hitting a submerged rock will be considered.

The rest is just waiting for the ski-season to begin, watching the sun making the days longer and spring closing. Besides sanding varnish in the basement.

The Kaskelot depiction takes you topside

I love this commercial for learning English, and I just wanted to test incorporating videos. That’s all… beside the video is funny and it is slightly connected to sailing, at least safe sailing.

The Kaskelot depiction takes you topside

We where first, but ended up second after a miserable end of season race.

What a drag. And there is nobody but the captain to blame. That don’t help much. Well, I guess when you can’t do a better start and a better choice of sails – you just don’t deserve any better. During this fall we have interchanged with the Nessy 94, Marco Polo, by being first and second. By the last race we where neck to neck with 7 points each. Alas, this time there was no interchange. A miserable mistake at the start really set us back. This combined with setting Genoa 2 instead of the much larger Genoa 1, really slowed us down. The racetrack was to short to peel the Genoa, so no. 1 was not set until after the reaching marker. Which was way to late!

Next year, guys!

I guess number two is not that bad.

However, much of our honour was won back at the very last race this season for Salt. We took part in the traditional Høstskvulpen – the Fall race, and finished parallel with the fast and furious big boats. As you can see from the photo above there was less than no wind. By share luck we found a small patch of moving air and clung to it. We finished first in our class, but lost by handicap by a minute to our closest competitor.

It’s OK. We did well, no matter what.

The Kaskelot depiction takes you topside

Finally wind that suited Salt. Finally our fellow sailors could admire the fine double rear end of Salt. And finally we had time to admire all the other spinnakers from the most advantageous angle.

Last Wednesday we finished fourth in no wind at all.

This time we maxed out in 12 knots going full blast with Genoa 1 and no trouble at all. We made no big blunders, sailed conservative and kept in the wind. By all standards we did well. Looking at all results from all classes, it looks like we would have been number 2 overall. Which is impressive for a 30 year old Kaskelot with old dacron sailes.

The Kaskelot depiction takes you topside

Early fall is more like an end than a start. It’s a little depressing, soon school starts up, and before you know it things start becoming normal non-summer. However, first day of fall racing started up today. And whatever depressions the family crew felt about a long wet summer, became better by beating all our competitors, and most of the others to. It’s an incredible better start than coming in 4th or boring 5th.

We did work for it though. I had Salt out of the water and bottom cleaned, cruising equipment like anchor and chain is out and in the garage, sails and anything with weight is moved towards the center, and I did check the weather forecast in detail.

Still, thanks to the rest of the family we came of to a good start – not the best – but acceptable good start – made for free wind and gained it. Salt excelled at showing of her big number 1. Genoa in the 10 knot + breeze going steady 6 knots upwind – while the rather light-weight female (and one rather lightweight boy) crew kept hiking her up. Most of our competitors had to resolve to number 2. Genoa or even smaller. Sometimes masthead rigs are just great!

We even got the spinnaker up and down without much fuzz. All in all, a very good performance.

Next boat in came five minutes later. Ha! Eat it!

The Kaskelot takes you topside

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