Blessed with some benign and beautiful Autumnal weather, we have made good use of Corio Bay, it's space and its pleasant surrounds. There have been enough of the gusts to give me some grasp of the ability of this hull to get up and stir the soul, but gentle reminders of my limitations too. I've sailed one-up, two-up, and four-up (including a picnic of lovely things), and the boat has not behaved with any great difference on any occasion. It has a very adaptable and capable hull with enormous inherent stability. Because there is no cabin, the entire space is always available, so in some ways she really feels quite roomy even compared to our larger boat. That fine fellow stretching out in the photo above is over 6ft tall in the old measure, and while we sailed together he sat on every conceivable nook and cranny, and stood on a few as well, but we never lacked a place to stretch. And yet to launch this boat, or to tow her, is a whole margin easier than the 18 footer- and to rig her with that tabernacle is an absolute delight. To lift that swiveled main mast with one hand while the jib goes up consequently as an added bonus is a very real pleasure.
The light weather has also shown us some limitations in very gentle ways. The electric motor has enabled me to go out every week so far without even starting the outboard. No fuel, no flushing, no noise and much better marina handling. But in a lumpy swell with a bit of a headwind I was not at all surprised to find it lacking. It lacked pulling power of course (we all knew it would) but it also didn't like being run at full throttle for long periods- not because of battery capacity, but because the 60 amp cut-out switch trips to protect whatever it is that gets hot in that situation.
So, when we launch with an off-shore wind, or want to travel downwind from the marina, or when there might be a current or wind that will make for lumpy water I'll carry the outboard to make good old-fashioned velocity an option.
I also discovered the truth of one of Owen Sinclair's statements quoted in my book, concerning the situations where it becomes difficult to go to windward under mizzen and jib alone. In a very light breeze, having dropped the main early out of habit (because the marina is normally a lee shore) that 'last tack' would have been an amusing time-stretch had it not been for an appointment with a client that I needed to get back to the real world for... I did get there in time with a rapid ten minute de-rig. But it is really quite undignified to have to move that quickly at my age.
Duckworks have made very good sails for this boat. Their product deserves to be mentioned. So does their outboard bracket, even if the motor has just been hanging around waiting for its day in the sun. The bracket is just so easy to take off the boat.
And if there is ever a reader from Geelong in Victoria, I do heartily recommend Four Winds Marine. Roger is a delightful and very helpful man, and the ideal chandler to have when you need bits of kit.
I don't want to be seen to be pushing commercial interests on this blog, but I have a strong belief that we as consumers should look beyond cost in the spending of our money. I believe in investing in good people whenever possible. If you invest in people there is pleasure to be had in the relationship as well as the product and that has to be healthy.