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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 3:53 pm 
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One of my first days sailing the AI in a nice wind, I speeded over the lake with the drive out, plug and dagger in. I really enjoyed the sensation and imagined that this speedy AI must look rather cool, when it was time to tack. Simple enough, just turn and ... I ended stuck in the chop! I couldn't get the nose through the wind. Naturally, I was at the end of the lake where the restaurant with lots of people on the deck/pavement were looking at the boats going by (or being stuck for appearently no reason...). So I felt stupid! Me wanting to be a real sailor, not even able to tack! So I flipped the plug out, clicked the drive in, and went away, thinking I am the worst sailor ever. After that, I tried several times, sometimes the tack succeeded, but often I couldn't get it through the wind. I decided to keep the drive in, and learn master sailing with drive in first.

A week later, in light winds, I tried my oasis jib, and tacking without drive obviously was no problem then, since you can make the jib help you turn.

Today, I was determined to try again (drive out, plug in, daggerboard straight down). I had new ideas (thus hope) after reading these forums. Neat conditions: moderate wind, no chop. In these conditions, I found it worked great to keep the sail tight until you actually turn in the wind, then loosen the sheet fully, so the rear of the sail cannot stop the turning of the boat, and then, only when almost reaching tighten the sheet slowly pick up speed and point higher. I found it was even easier with the sail furled a little.

So that was nice, but what if you get stuck pointing in to the wind? How to get the jib effect without a jib? With Darwinians explanation of the sailing physics still in my head it suddenly seemed easy: the center of effort should be well front of the center of lateral resistance, and that can be done by strongly reefing.
So I went head in the wind and got stuck deliberately and indeed found out that strongly furling the sail, pulling the remaining sail tight (against the wind if necessary), just acts like the jib did. The nose of the boat was pushed around the daggerboard quite quick. Just unfurl and go! It worked great and I feel a sailor again! The furling and unfurling may sound like a hassle, but for me this is a quicker and sweeter action than fooling around with a paddle or drive. As soon as you feel it is going through the wind too slow, furl, pull the sheet, unfurl and go.

Anyone tried this out? Does it also work in nasty chop? Sorry if this is a well known trick or already discussed elsewhere, I am enthousiastic about it! I am happy I need no longer fear to lose control when sailing with the the drive out.

BTW: I must say the AI felt very nicely balanced with the drive out, plug in and dagger straight down in these conditions. I love it like that. A great smooth sailing experience! 8) 8)

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 10:30 pm 
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Excellent observations!

I also found that success in tacking also depends on how you handle the rudder. If you lay it over hard at the beginning, you lose a lot of speed early and have more trouble completing the tack. I view the ideal AI tack as an oval shape pattern -- gentle and smooth helm, adding more as you slow, using your weather helm to give you some momentum while sheeting in as long as possible to keep some drive going. As you found, allowing sail slack passing through the wind helps keep weather helm from stalling the completion of your tack.

I tack with the Drive in with no problems unless the wind and chop really pick up. Then, of course, I just pedal to get through expeditiously. 8)


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 3:12 am 
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Thanks for this post skua. I spose I have always been a bit lazy myself and tend to always have the drive in so tacking isn't an issue. I've been into kayaking and never sailing but now that I have the AI I'm really enjoying the sailing aspects. I'm still not up on the jargon so please forgive me but whenever I have to tack, without the drive, I usually do a full turnaround ie: imagine being in the center of a clock face with the wind com'n from 12:00 and you are tacking clockwise from 10:00 to 2:00. Without the drive I usually turn anticlockwise from 10:00 to 2:00 with the sail changing at 6:00. Hope you're not confused. I'm sure there is some sail'n term that I'm just about to be hit with. I have been practising this and I really don't reckon there is much in doing it this way as apposed to your way. The turnaround time is longer but the speed and acceleration is greater. It would be good to do an accurate comparison with a couple of AI's. I reckon you would need to do it over a fair distance to be accurate with say 1/2 dozen tacks. Might do a test in the next few weeks and report back.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 3:42 am 
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Slaughter wrote:
I'm sure there is some sail'n term that I'm just about to be hit with.

Yeah, that's a gybe (or jibe) Slaughter. I agree, it's nearly as fast as a tack with the drive out, but prepare to be howled down by the purists.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 3:51 am 
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Slaughter wrote:
Thanks for this post skua. I spose I have always been a bit lazy myself and tend to always have the drive in so tacking isn't an issue. I've been into kayaking and never sailing but now that I have the AI I'm really enjoying the sailing aspects. I'm still not up on the jargon so please forgive me but whenever I have to tack, without the drive, I usually do a full turnaround ie: imagine being in the center of a clock face with the wind com'n from 12:00 and you are tacking clockwise from 10:00 to 2:00. Without the drive I usually turn anticlockwise from 10:00 to 2:00 with the sail changing at 6:00. Hope you're not confused. I'm sure there is some sail'n term that I'm just about to be hit with. I have been practising this and I really don't reckon there is much in doing it this way as apposed to your way. The turnaround time is longer but the speed and acceleration is greater. It would be good to do an accurate comparison with a couple of AI's. I reckon you would need to do it over a fair distance to be accurate with say 1/2 dozen tacks. Might do a test in the next few weeks and report back.


I am sure you will find though the act may seem fast Slaughter you will lose a lot of distance downwind when you gybe instead of tack as you have described.
The process of furling the sail to bring the AI through the eye of the wind appears a winner Skua if it works the way you say it does and one I am going to try next time out. Now where did I put that plug?....Pirate :wink:

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 5:08 am 
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Maybe we can do some comparisons on the 12th. The problem is, we need to be able to consistently complete tacks with the drive out. Obviously, gybing is going to be quicker than getting caught in irons while tacking, even though you are taking the long way around. Gybing is a much hairier technique in conventional sailboats because of the risk of the boom flying across the boat or of the boat heeling quickly from one side to the other and capsizing. Neither of these is a risk with the AI. If we can master skua's technique, it might be fun to have a tacking v. gybing duel.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 6:52 am 
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I'd love to know how you mounted your oasis sail to provide a jib for your AI and how it performs.

Thanks!


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 7:53 am 
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Gybing can be pretty dodgy in a strong wind and in a really strong wind if you are really motoring, it will speed up as you bear away to gybe making it worse! I will keep my pedals in when it's windy and experiment without them in moderate winds.
I have gotten so use to using them with the sail and for helping manouver around the multitude of boats moored off the beach, I feel lost without them!

I would like to find a way to get the AI to point higher upwind. I was sailing with an assortment of monohulls this weekend and I was easily 15% off the wind from them when pointing. I realise that Multihulls never point as well as I am wondering whether the top of the mast being so flexible is contributing to the problem. The sail is always very deep at the top and luffs easily. If the mast top was stiffer, I wondered whether the sail would be any flatter and better suited up wind?

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 9:48 am 
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I've never used the drive, but I'm a sailor. The best way to tack successfully in this boat is to get your speed maxed up, then without unsheeting, quickly turn into the wind while holding the sail out to the non-wind side. Keep it pushed out until you have fully turned to the new tack, then just let go of the sail for it to catch the wind from the other side. This method works almost all of the time, unless it is blowing hard. If it's really windy, a successful tack includes all of the above, but with the added finesse of sheeting out a little through the tack. If you still miss the tack, then ofcoarse you'll have to resort to back winding the sail as you are blown backwards, with the rudder fully cranked to turn it out of the wind. Hope this helps.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 3:21 pm 
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Wow, great so many reactions!

Roadrunner, I agree that the way you use the rudder can surely make a difference, thanks for pointing that out.

Although I risk being called a purist from now on, I must say that tacking is much faster than gybing (in the sense that you are earlier at your upwind destination). I agree that gybing is not much of an issue with the AI. You go fast, but as Pirate pointed out, it is in the wrong direction! Takes quite some time to make that good when close hauled in (partly) the good direction again. And I confess, for someone like me who likes to pretend he is a sailor, gybing while trying to gain on the wind feels a bit stupid, could that be sailor ethics?

ts14064, I believe your tacking technique is the technique to try. I think, my trick must be seen just as a solution in case the tack tends to fail (at least it helped me stop feeling lost without the drive). But obviously, the priority must lie at trying to proceed the tack properly first. I will definately try it out!

Timo, the jib really helps for some extra speed in the light winds I tried it, but it is no good for the helm balance (far too strong lee helm imo, as was to be expected)... I think the daggerboard must be mounted somehow in de drivewell to correct. I will post details if I have worked things out. That may take some time, but look here for my oasis jib project. And here for Tom Ray's AI jib project. Hope this helps.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 5:29 pm 
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Skua, gybing may not be quicker in terms of upwind progress, but if you had been gybing instead of tacking, all those people in the restaurant by the lake would have thought you were some cool dude chucking doughnuts in his AI.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2009 1:54 am 
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chrisj wrote:
Skua, gybing may not be quicker in terms of upwind progress, but if you had been gybing instead of tacking, all those people in the restaurant by the lake would have thought you were some cool dude chucking doughnuts in his AI.

:lol: You are absolutely right chrisj, well, if there were no sailors around... And looking cool for a sailors audience probably might be one bridge too far. Whatever, learning to master this great little toy is loads of fun anyway! I want to sail now!

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2009 4:23 am 
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chrisj wrote:
Maybe we can do some comparisons on the 12th. The problem is, we need to be able to consistently complete tacks with the drive out. Obviously, gybing is going to be quicker than getting caught in irons while tacking, even though you are taking the long way around. Gybing is a much hairier technique in conventional sailboats because of the risk of the boom flying across the boat or of the boat heeling quickly from one side to the other and capsizing. Neither of these is a risk with the AI. If we can master skua's technique, it might be fun to have a tacking v. gybing duel.


Chris I thought the discussion was based on tacking using the drive to help you through as compared with jybing instead of tacking with the drive out and plug in. If you agree with that statement, either line up two boats one with and one without the drive. Or simply sail up to a buoy and complete the tasks individually. You will quickly evaluate how you went based on your position of the buoy after completing the turn....Pirate :wink:

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2009 5:03 am 
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I was talking about tacking with the drive out versus gybing with the drive out, Pirate. With the drive in, it's a no-brainer - tacking is the way to go. With the drive out, you will undoubtedly complete the turn further upwind when tacking than you would when gybing, but I am suggesting that the extra speed through, and coming out of the turn when gybing may compensate for this. As I already mentioned, if you cannot reliably complete a tack with the drive out, gybing would have to be the way to go.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2009 5:14 am 
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chrisj wrote:
Maybe we can do some comparisons on the 12th.


Ok Chris it's on. We will ask the others what they think is the fastest turn, and hopefully we will have 2 gybers and 2 tackers. I'll run the book for this bet and giv'n good odds at 1.8 to 1 for a tack and 1.6 to 1 for a gybe. So if you all want to send your money through to me I send you your winnings on the 13th. I don't know how we will carry out these Mythbuster type tests yet. Any thoughts anyone. The lake will be a pretty good playground to duel though.

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