Centre Court Weymouth...
Mon, 5 Oct 15 13:30
So far so good.
Sailrocket 2 has come together very nicely. A big thanks to all those who have helped or offered to.
Many hands made light and fun work of re-skinning the whole wing whilst Alex and I went over many of the little details of the boat and her systems. This boat was built to be used and to last. She's in good shape and putting her back together has given us a lot of confidence to take her out for a run.
THE SKINNING AND RIGGING TEAM. THANKS AGAIN.
So today, on this wet and windy morning, we will move Sailrocket 2 from beside the container to out on the main apron in front of the Weymouth and Portland Sailing Academy and put the wing on her with a view to going sailing tomorrow.
The forecast is offering us a weather window for tomorrow. The wind is predicted to be in the 20-30 knot range with a period where it is SW going to WSW. We have a neap high tide in the middle of the day. How close this tide allows us to get into the flat water by the shore will be checked today. As it stands, the plan is to tow Sailrocket 2 down the harbour to the car-park where the kiters and windsurfers typically rig up just this side of the entrance to the Fleet. From there we will lower Sailrocket downwind towards Weymouth to a position that we feel will give her enough runway to get started and line up with a potential straight 500 meter section. It's up to the conditions to determine if we get a good gust to get over the low speed hump and get going. If we do, and we accelerate up to a decent speed i.e. 30-35 knots then I will line up with the course, sheet the wing on and let her do her thing. Sailrocket 2 does a little over 2.4 times wind speed as a rule so if we get a 22-24 knot gust then we should start to see some punchy numbers. She will have my full attention as I'm very conscious she hasn't been sailed since that last epic run in November 2012. If I see anything unusual then I will simply back off. If anyone wanders onto the course in my slow-down area up near the academy then I'll also bail out. If all is clear then she'll get full beans to around the start of the moored yachts which I plan, at this stage to leave to leeward. From there I have hopefully squeezed in a decent 500 meter average and can begin to slow her down simply be easing out the wing whilst going in a straight line. We'll have a support RIB with one of the team in it waiting. Hopefully I can complete a round up and park her near the West facing slipway at the Sailing Academy. If this all works then we'll tow/drift her sideways onto the slipway and lower the wing. If (lots of if's) this whole process of raising, lowering, launching and retrieving goes well... then we have found ourselves a 'do-able' course and can go again. If not, then we either have to change the way we do things or simply call it a one off.
The cool thing about all this is that we aren't desperate. We don't need to prove anything. We simply want to go out and have a go at it in our own back-yard. We all know what the boat is capable of, it's up to the weather and us as a team not to fumble the ball. If the weather is wrong or we don't get the gust we need to get started... then not much is going to happen. So be it.
There is one "biggy" which still needs to be resolved and that is third party liability insurance. This is not a ratified record attempt but just really a demo run. Let's see if any of these companies want to be "enablers" rather than dis-ablers. It would be a shame to be denied because of something like that.
So new safety harnesses are being fitted. Alex is setting up the mighty Trimble GPS system and the Cosworth data loggers are being calibrated. Helena is detailing the wing, charging the cameras and working on all the details from drysuits to RIB's. We've got a lot on to get this ready and make it work. Of course I'm pretty excited by the prospect. I kind of can't believe we are actually doing this... that it's really happening. We only have one shot, one weather window. We'll try.
One other very cool thing that's happening tomorrow is that Erik Beale is coming to Weymouth. Erik was the first guy to break 40 knots in the 80's. One of the original "Crossbow" hunters. We've spoken a fir bit on the phone but haven't met. It would be very cool for him to get to see Sailrocket 2 do a decent run. Either way it will be great to meet him. It amuses me that these guys sometimes think they have to introduce themselves to me. I know exactly who they are, what they did, when they did it, who they beat. I can remember watching it on Wide World of Sports back when it happened. These guys and girls were my heroes. The numbers have changed but the spirit and challenge hasn't. Full respect.
I reckon we have a 40% chance of getting a run in tomorrow. No more. We'll definitely learn a lot and perhaps what we learn will lead to further runs later on. We'll see. Yeah I'm pretty excited.
Anyone know any bespoke insurance companies?