Monday, November 27, 2017

Harness Lines for Catapults

I was lucky today - my harness lines broke:
Usually, I hate it when harness lines break, but I'll make an exception today - they broke in a catapult. I sailed the same spot as yesterday (Barnstable Harbor), and foolishly believed that the water depth would be similar. I started sailing half an hour later than yesterday, that should account for low tide being a bit later, right? Wrong! Half a foot less water is the difference between not even touching the ground and stopping quickly when the fin hits the sand.
I was not sailing very fast, but the dive over the handle bar was abrupt enough for something to break. If the boom breaks, it gets expensive - about $700 for a new carbon boom. If the sail breaks, Nina will not be happy - and she already has to fix my 4.7. If the harness lines break, it's simple and cheap. We Germans have a word for that: Sollbruchstelle.

I had actually switched to adjustable harness lines several years ago when I read that adjustable lines break in catapults. Over time, I have broken a few booms and sails in catapults when hitting shallow spots - when the board stops but you keep going, something has to break! But the lines I used back then never worked well for me. Last year, though, when Nina and I started sharing booms again for some of our larger race sails, we started using Chinook Race Harness Lines. They cost about twice as much as fixed harness lines, but can easily be adjusted while sailing; are easy to hook into; and have replaceable parts, so that the cost over time can actually be lower than for other harness lines. These were the kind of lines I used today, and they broke when they were supposed to break. I must say, I am very happy about that.

The rest of today's session was interesting, too. Yesterday's session had been nice, and today's setup looked almost identical - just a couple of degrees colder, and a maybe a couple of miles more wind - but the closest wind meter at Chapin never reads accurately. I used the same gear as yesterday, only switching to a different pair of open-palm mittens. Well, these left my fingers a bit cold, and the spots that had been nice and flat yesterday either we're as flat today, or just a bit too shallow. But I was very nicely powered the entire time on my 7.0 ... at times, a bit too nicely. And then, the wind picked up. I found myself sailing at 24 knots when I really wanted to go slow, and decided to call it a day. That required a couple of downwind runs through the choppier parts. Too choppy, it turned out, when I hit a 2 or 3 foot steep ramp at 26 knots, and ended up in the water again. I thought the crash was somewhat controlled and that I hit the water, but either the water was harder than I thought it would be, or I hit the mast after all - my ribs are still hurting a bit.

After that, it was time for a little swim to get back to my gear. The waves were having fun playing with my board and pulling it out of my reach, but I eventually caught up with it. The GPS says it was just a 3-minute swim, but it felt a longer... or perhaps I'm still confused and am thinking about how long it took me to get the 7 m race sail out of the water again. There had been plenty of time for the mast sleeve to fill up, and pushing the tip up high enough so that it would stay about the waves was a tad of a challenge. But eventually, I made it back to shore, where a guy who had watched me commented that I had looked in control - how funny!

No comments:

Post a Comment