Monday, August 30, 2010

Ride on Eco 60

We have recently been involved in helping Brad Van Liew get his refitted Open 60 ready to compete in the Velux 5 Oceans Single Handed Around the World Race. One of perks was the opportunity to sail on the boat this past Sunday. The conditions were perfect a good 17- 20 knots of breeze out of the ENE. This direction allowed us to get out of Charleston Harbor and out to ocean under 2 reefs and a staysail. The sail combination gives you a good idea about how powerful these boats are rigged. We worked the boat upwind doing what I would call a very easy 10 knots while we let the B&G autopilot do its thing. The processor of the autopilot will learn from the boats motion making in more efficient and eventually steering the boat better than most. After sailing awhile at 35 apparent and comfortable that the autopilot had learned enough we cracked off about 20 degrees and wow these boats are reaching machines and Le Pingouin was very happy sailing along around 15 with surges to the high teens knocking on the door of 20 knots. At these speeds we were leaving Chucktown in a hurry so its wasn't long before it was time to tack back. If you have ever sailed a Hobie 16 you will know exactly what tacking an Open 60 is like. With the daggerboards keel swung back to center you back the jib and you get the waves just right you will make through the tack. Not an easy feat with us on board let alone Brad by himself so it becomes very obvious that the decision to tack or jibe is not one to be taken lightly. As we headed back are wind angle was little wider 90 degrees allowing us shake one reef and switch from the staysail to solent. Le Pingouin was really reveling in these conditions not a ton of sail area up but just very easily plunking along at 16 17 18 19 knots. Plunking along because the boat is just that great. We came blasting into the harbor and once into the flat water discussions of towing a water skier were made. A couple of good puffs and with the keel canted to 35 degrees Le Pingouin would hold her course heel a bit and take off all in one very smooth motion. Very cool ride indeed reminded me of Ice Boating days. Find out more about The Lazarus Project visit their website at http://www.oceanracing.org/ and really see what they are up to. Its a very special project. Thanks Brad for the ride.

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