Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Analysis of the sailing characteristics of the F-22RC with huge wing mast

So, I've got to sail the boat a bit now, in different conditions.  Not yet in really heavy weather, I prefer not to when possible.  Winds up to about 25-28 knots, seas up to maybe 8 - 10 feet.

I must say I am really happy with the boat.  My previous experience with multis is the old Telstar 26, the F-22 being a metre shorter, half the weight and still handles seas far better in my opinion, and of course - is a LOT faster.  The R rig is very powerful, which is very welcome in the usual 3-4 knots summer conditions, but also have to be used with care (read reefed) when the typical changing conditions in the fall dominates, or - having an experienced crew.  The latter is a problem that I'm constantly working on.  In order to do well  racing I need to have crew that know the boat.

The large mast makes a lot of difference on a bit wider angles, don't think it is a major advantage going upwind.  However, it helps produce power in light airs and choppy conditions upwind as well.

Upwind:  Under main and jib it comes alive and gives the big monos (35 - 40 ft) a fight around 12 knots of wind.  You can carry full sails up to over 20 as it is just to turn a bit up in the gusts.  Boat speed in these conditions 10 -12 knots, pointing at least 45 to true wind.  Main hull will barely touch the water which makes the ride smooth and dry (all is relative).

Reaching: Now this is the really fun part. And scary.
The boat will quite easily reach speeds of 120% of wind speed. Due to the high boat speed, it soon becomes over powered in conditions when sailing upwind is just fine.  I have reached main only in about 20 knot wind in excess of 18 knot boat speed.  Single reefed main and jib with crew of four 22,5 knot boat speed.  Crew of three and I have not dared to go further than about 19 knots.
The thing is I do not run out of pedal, but I run out of longitudinal stability.  I think these speeds are pushing the limits for what the boat was designed to do. It could probably have been pushed harder, but I like to have a bit of margin, and after experiencing the lee float deck going down and effectively throwing the brakes on a couple of times makes me hold on to that idea.
This is also where my huge mast section comes in to play, giving a lot of driving force combined with that much better aerodynamic properties than a conventional spreader mast, turning up the lift/drag ratio of the rig and demanding even more longitudinal stability from the platform.
I've discussed this with Ian a bit, and he suggests putting in water ballast, which I will do, and he has offered to make an F-22 customised set of the F-32 lifting foils.  I really want the foils, but don't think I can afford them at this time.

Downwind:  In almost any wind it seems to be the fastest to sail almost accurately 90 deg to relative wind.  this gives a boatspeed equal to the wind speed and let me gybe trough 90 degrees.  You can comfortably sail 15 knots under spinnaker for long periods. I have had the spin up in close to 20 knots of wind, but then it feels better to go a bit deeper.

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