Last weekend I did a great trip that nicely shows the possibilities of the AI. I thought I should take the effort to share, so here it goes (hope you don't mind a few pics).
The trip started right at home...
... for it takes only 100 metres of wheeling to find water that is connected (through locks etc.) to all the big waters (including, in the remote end, the salt).
Because the water is shallow and often weedy, the first few 100 metres I paddled the AI until I'm on the small lake. There I added the drive and paddled/pedaled it (at the same time, rudder up) to the small lock.
After the doors of the lock had opened (and I answered the questions about the boat!), I paddled/pedaled it through the canal that leads to the dike that surrounds the big central lake of the Netherlands. I had a northerly wind bft 4 straight in the face, but it was no problem to do 7,5km/h. Not a bad (human-power-only against-the-wind) speed for a boat that sails so well, and obviously, it is good to excercise!
For some reason, the big lock (doing roughly 4 metres of difference to the big central lake) was out of order. The yaughts couldn't go there to sail. Some turned back; others decided to wait and see. With the AI, I had other options. I could go to the branch of the canal (that was actually closed by a line with buoys, again no problem of course), that leads to the spot where I could pull the AI out of the water.
Here you see the pumping station and the dike that keeps my house dry (along with the houses of at least 200.000 others). For it lies roughly 4 metres below sea level.
Next step is to wheel the AI over the dike. Excercise again! After wheeling it a few 100 metres, I was at the ramp where I could let the AI in to go for a nice sail.
Although this pic doesn't show it, the lake was already quite choppy. I saw a 6,5 metre open keelboat hesitating to go out (a "valk
", quite popular here f.i. for rental). After some time in the chop the crew was wise enough to turn back; although the boat is a good sailor for smaller lakes, it is not designed for these circumstances.
For the AI however, the circumstances were great (15kts!) for an involving sail to the lighthouse of Marken (het paard van Marken) and back.
Here a still of the lighthouse on another (very low wind) trip:
The speed close hauled was on par with the sailing yaughts going there, but they can point a little higher if they want or pay attention. I sat on the aka all the time, I like it, no more ama burying. I had the tramps on, but with this seating position, even in the gusts (up to almost 20kts) it didn't feel like it had the intention to flip at all.
I turned back after roughly 10km. The back trip was on a broad reach, better for speed! And feeled like doing some video. A few stills in all directions:
The typical speed was like 12-13km/h, with regular bursts of 15km/h or more.
I love this sailing position. This is fun!
One of the advantages of sitting on the rear aka is that most spray is passing by. Almost all of this missed me!
That doesn't mean that I kept it fully dry up there...
Did I say that it was fun?
Back in normal seating position (where even small splashes are have exactly the "right" direction) ...
... and with these back winds, the famous nose diving behaviour showed up again.
It did not hinder me actually, these conditions were mild enough, so it did not stop the boat; the speeds were still ok.
Almost back in the harbour where the ramp is.
Since some of the chop was breaking at the ramp, it wasn't exactly easy to plug in the cart while on the water.
But after several attempts, while keeping the AI off with my foot to avoid crashing into the jetty, I succeeded and I managed to pull it out of the water without damage.
After peeling off the extra splash / sailing clothes, I wheeled the AI over the dike again, but now to the lower side, so that was easy, and it was ready to go in again, now in much smoother circumstances.
Now I could sail the canal downwind. After the big lake, this was very lazy and comfortable! It's nice to eat and drink some too.
About time to leave the canal, so I furled the sail, for I had to take the mast down to pass a small bridge. (taking the mast down on the water is easy enough, with the wind from behind I still made headway while doing it).
Then I folded the ama's and pulled up the rudder.
This way I paddled/pedaled it into the lock again.
After a few minutes I was free to go for the last few 100 metres over the small lake I live close by.
Almost ready to land...
And after wheeling 100 metres, back home again.
I love these trips!
I honestly don't know of any other craft with which you can do a thing like that!