During the past winter I have learnt a new sport, Kitewing.
On the ice, on skates, and dressed up in kneepads and helmet, you hold on to a wing-shaped sail.
The experience is similar to windsurfing. You easily reach high speeds on the ice.
My top speed so far is 50 km/h but I am more interested in practising sail trim.
Here is a video from a lake in February:
Nice weather. Top speed 10 knots with gennaker. Had one controlled capsize, when I simply stepped on to the daggerboard and heaved the boat up without even getting wet.
Once onboard, starting to sail again, I got an unexpected gybe, instantly capsizing the boat to the other side. Since I was sitting on the “wrong” side, I had now way to climb to the daggerboard and I fell into the water, while the wind gust made the boat drift away. Indeed I was warm in my drysuit, but you should never be separated from your boat. It only drifted a few metres, so I swam, caught up with it and could continue sailing.
I had my mast float fitted in the mast top. Thanks to that, my boat never turteled (inverted) and thus much easier to raise. But since my boat lay on its side, the wind caught it and it drifted away. If I had not fitted the mast float, the boat would have instantly turteled and remained on the spot, but more difficult to raise.
Thus, was my mast float a good or a bad thing?
Good wind (7-10 m/s = 14-20 knots) with white crest waves.
Upwind tacking at 5 knots in choppy waves and my ovesized main sail kicked to the max.
Downwind with gennaker I maintained 10 knots for an continuous leg of 0.5 nm (1 km) and peaking at logged top speed 11.8 knots.
At the end of that leg I prepared for a gennaker gybe, found it difficult, changed my mind and decided to change course to a flat run and drop the gennaker. While pulling the gennaker halyard, I lost control of the tiller for a moment and as a result I capsized. Oh well, great fun!
Nothing remarkable. Just had fun. But I need to practice and improve the roll tacks.
Top speed downwind on gennaker: 9 knots. Top speed upwind: 6 knots.
Today another dinghy was on the water, a Laser with one of the club’s top sailors, who are in the Swedish elite, participating in Laser races around the world.
I tried to fillow him upwind and downwind (with gennaker) but could never cath up with him. A skilled Laser sailor always beats a rookie in an RS Vareo, even though my Vareo theoretically is a slightly faster boat.
My logged top speed upwind was 5 knots and downwind on gennaker 10 knots.
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Nothing spectacular. Just a nice day on the water.
Hard wind (force 6) in the gusts. Setting the sail, it was impossbile for me to attach the sail to the boom. When I grabbed the clew, trying to tie it to the boom, the wind would instantly turn the boat over. Like trying to hold a wild horse.
So I surrendered to the forces of nature. I let the boat remain capsized on the side while I rigged the sail. Then I righted the boat and went sailing. I don’t know if there is a name for this improvised procedure so I call it “wet launch”.
The wind stayed hard. On downwind runs I logged max speed 10 knots on main sail only and 11 knots with gennaker. Great fun, including 3 capsizes.
The downwind run on main only was wobbly at 10 knots and speed and I had to concetrate on not capsizing.
The downwind run with gennaker up, seemed more stable at 11 knots.
However tacking back home was difficult in the gusts. My full sail was flattened with kick and cunningham. The gusts came so suddenly that I didn’t dare to hike much. I might have sailed better and quicker upwind if I had the smaller Storm Sail. But I take it as a challenge learning to kick and hike with the full sail.