Great idea drgatsea but do you think I can find any?
Resorted to a bamboo cane today for I was mad keen to get out in gusty conditions and try my bravery out. As I launched I asked myself if it was a good idea or not but then I wasn't going too far and would stay close to shore. Force 4 or 5 and gusting offshore with a slight swell.
As I unfurled the sail, she took off like a stallion and I hung on for dear life trying to avoid all the lobster pots. Luckily, I escaped the pots and headed upwind towards the harbour. Boy did she move and while the sail still leached somewhat, my bamboo cane did the job and gave some stability to the sail.
I was worried about the gusts and when the first one came, the acceration was incredible. If I remember right, I think I let out a howl of excitement. The performance was amazing and while soaking wet from the bow, the stability was fine and the puffs just made matters better.
Fearful that I might never get home, I did a 180 and surfed back towards the beach. I noticed that using the rudder at the top of the wave makes a lot of difference and stops the AI broaching. Again, the performance of the rudder surprised me in the conditions.
Now feeling I could cope, I ventured further out into bigger waves and marvelled at this little beauty and how accomplished it is at doing its job. I felt safe and in control. Ask me a week ago and I would not have ventured out in such conditions. It did wonders for my confidence in the A1 and it's capability.
I hasten to add that I was never more than 4 miles offshore at any point and I had the sail reefed. It was the best fun I've had in ages.
The best bit of all was returning to see a seakayaker paddling like billyoh and going nowhere against the current/waves. And to think.....that used to be me!
So those of you who may have worries about the capability of the AI in lumpy seas and gusty winds need worry not. With a reefed sail, a watchful eye for the puffs and a steady hand on the sheet, the AI performed flawlessly.
Better to be a live donkey than a dead lion!