Folding Kayaks Forum

Klepper in the Duck Dodge
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Author:  indylux [ Thu Jul 16, 2015 11:33 am ]
Post subject:  Klepper in the Duck Dodge

Every Summer Tuesday evening in South Lake Union (Seattle, WA) they hold a boat race called the Duck Dodge. This has apparently been going on for over 4 decades and attracts well over 100 boats of various sizes every week. I had to get registration stickers for my kayak since every boat with a sail that is at least 16ft long needs to be registered with the state. So, I headed to the licensing bureau, slapped on some stickers this week and headed out to join in the fun.

I had no clue where the race started so I just jockeyed around the other boats trying to ask where the start line was. A couple of boats pointed out an orange buoy and I turned towards it. That's when the organizers barge blew their horn and 20 or so large racing boats all turned right at me going full speed. Apparently, I was on the wrong side of the line. I was able to thread the needle between two boats but it was a close call.

I waited my turn for the dinghy class race and found the competition to be 9-10 small boats of various sizes. I was the only kayak. When the horn sounded for us, they all took off and left me in their dust. I was able to navigate the whole course, but not before being lapped by the big boats at least once. I had to tack at least once for every buoy. I lost sight of all of the other dinghy boats after the first turn.

At the end of the race, there was a large flotilla of boats tied together in the middle of the lake celebrating a fun evening. I joined them for a few minutes before heading to shore to put my boat away for the evening.

Lessons learned.
1) Know where the start line is! Especially if you're the smallest boat in the race.
2) Learn to sail to a target without having to 'double back' (there must be a nautical term for this) which cost me a lot of time.
3) My Klepper sailing rig is not going to win any racing medals. But that's fine with me.

All in all, a fun outing and a new adventure in my Klepper. I'll try to get some pictures next time.

Author:  DLee [ Wed Jul 22, 2015 11:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Klepper in the Duck Dodge

Totally Awesome! Really glad to hear you did this.

How long was the race?

So did you go for the best wind/sail combo and have to tac back to your turns?

Too bad there wasn't another folder out there to keep you company. I would have loved to have done this. I think we are in a class by ourselves with the rubber hulled boats.

If we ever manage a folding kayak get-together we are going to need to have a sailing regatta amongst the fun! Few of us ever get to paddle or sail with similar boats.


PS - sounds like maybe you were the duck at the beginning of that first race! ha.

Author:  indylux [ Thu Jul 23, 2015 2:05 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Klepper in the Duck Dodge

I'm trying to better understand what I was doing wrong (if anything). My nautical vocabulary stinks though.

"So did you go for the best wind/sail combo and have to tac back to your turns?" - not sure I follow the question...

I had my main and jib up, was sailing close hauled and trying to reach each buoy to make the turn around it. I usually found that as I got 2/3 of the way there, I was either too close to shore and had to tac back a bit to get closer to the turn before tacking again to actually make the turn. I may need to draw this out as a doodle to explain myself. Bottom line, I think I tacked 2-3 times as much as the hard bodied boats with full keels. My thinking is that with the leeboards, I probably lose a lot I my forward motion to the side and a bigger keel surface might be the main factor in the other boats needing fewer maneuvers.

I still had a blast! Would love to sail with another folding boat some day. If anyone is in the Seattle area, let me know! Love to buy you a beer and talk shop.

Let me figure out how far the race was....

Author:  indylux [ Thu Jul 23, 2015 2:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Klepper in the Duck Dodge

I'm going to say 5 miles or so.

Author:  DLee [ Thu Jul 23, 2015 6:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Klepper in the Duck Dodge

5 miles... that's a pretty good distance.

If I remember correctly the terms we're trying to think of are 'set and drift.' Perhaps someone will fine-tune us here. But basically it means that you have to set your course and then take into account the various factors such as current and wind that will 'drift' you off that 'set' course. With power boats you're usually looking at current and maybe a little wind. But I think with our boats we generally need to dial in a little more for leeward wind drift.

From your video I think you have your leeboards pretty far forward which is where I keep mine and have found that to be about the best spot for the S4 rig. I'm not sure where you are sitting but performance increases a little with the one person crew more in the center of the boat, kneeling and looking cool. Black socks preferred, but white is OK, epaulettes unbuttoned.

Mark at Long Haul has made a center keel sponson which will round out the bottom of the hull a little which might help with speed as well. I find that the boat 'seems' to go faster leaning a bit on the chine than on an even keel. If that is the case I'm not sure the center sponson will help or hinder the AII with the Hobies. The sponson is designed more for the BSD rig which keeps the boat on a more even keel than we have with the Hobies. So it might end up putting the 'Hobie' lean on a flat spot...? Who knows? I'm getting one and I'll report findings when I get to play with it. I can't imagine that it's going to help sailing without outriggers, but you never know.

Get a Type IV life preserver, the throwable cushion, to kneel on in the center of the boat. This is what I used before I made my board and it works pretty good. On steady wind days take off the outriggers and pick up a knot or two... wow, picking up two knots... that would be something! I currently have a wooden dowel connected to the hand tiller at the back of the cockpit. But I think this can be bypassed with a dowel running all the way back to the rudder arm - which will be one of my next amendments. Until you make that though, you can steer by using your hands on the foot peddles from the kneeling position in the boat... or run a line around the outside of the coaming...

I'm getting the idea that for sailing canoes and folding boats without outriggers, holding the main sheet in one's hand is the safest route to take. Wrapping the sheet around a short dowel that is comfortable in the hand will make this easier... supposedly.

Anyway, you're out and doing it man! Keep up the good work and report any advances in sailing.



Author:  ChrisO [ Tue Jul 28, 2015 2:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Klepper in the Duck Dodge

Great that you did a sailing regatta! Doing sail boat races is the fastest way to learn to sail well. If you stick with it you will learn a lot. Consider crewing for others too.
When I started out sailing it was strictly crewing in races. When I eventually got my own sailboat and started racing that, I still crewed for others to pick up their pointers. End result? I went from the rear of the pack to near the front after two full seasons. This was in a One Design class, where all boats are of the same type.
You were likely sailing against efficient dinghy's with dialed in sailors. It quickly shows when going to weather. Getting set away from your course to some degree is normal. Trick is to minimize that with a dialed in rig and sailor. Each boat type is different in this regard as well.

Chris O.

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