Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Multihulls in Bretagne – Travel report and lessons learnt

Picture: Michelle, Bernard and Ulrika enjoying life! (And yes - the boat is moving forward!)

Just back from Bretagne with Ulrika (my lovely becoming wife, still having the record of 19,8 knots in Stegesund, a very narrow sound. Only one trimaran can pass at a time – Stockholm sailors know!), having had the opportunity to spend two fantastic days on board of Eureka together with our busy sailor Bernard (owner of Seaon 96crb Eureka) and his wife Michelle. First hand impressions:

1) What a lovely place on earth!
2) Brittany sailors are a tough breed.
3) Some waves (in their terms probably flat sea…) and 15 knots of speed must absolutely not interfere with a proper lunch (measured by French standards)!

Starting off on Saturday just west of St. Malo we headed towards the Ile of Brehat some 40 nm westwards. Initially we had very light winds, less than 5 knots. Later the wind picked up to between 4-8 knots and we set the “Furling Genacker” (new development in last year) logging between 5 and 9 knots in easterly winds (yes – we had to make a few gybes!)
Picture: The Furling Genacker and Bernard meditating or just plain relaxing

Also calculating a change in current direction due to tidal waters….(occasionally up to 3 knots, nothing we are very used to in Stockholm – to say the least) . The “Furling Genacker" is basically a Code Zero, but in order not to mix it up with the Screacher it was named the Furling Genacker.

Picture: Favorit position on the beam - Very light winds....Ulrika focusing on keeping speed above 6 knots (and the famous extra outborder!)

Arriving at Ile de Brehat we very conveniently used the dinghy with a small out border to come a shore from the mooring (now I fully understand why Bernard vigorously has been arguing for the inflatable dinghy on board.....with an extra out border – it is definitely worth the extra kilos even though we are always fighting to reduce weight even with our dear customers). Again sea and shore does not look as we are used to…..up to 12 meters difference between low and high tide. What would we have done without the dinghy….no Taxi around.
Picture: This time Bernard did not need the dinghy..but one is not always lucky to find mooring and timing like this!!

After an excellent dinner, a good night's sleep discovering Bernard’s new innovative companion way night hatch (his foul weather jacket) we were ready for the trip back. The wind now picked up to approx 8-14 knots now from the south. Initially we set the heavy jib for convenient sailing, expecting the wind to increase further (it looked like it would), but then later changing back to the self tacking jib as the wind decreased a little. A part of the trip that took us almost three hours the day before we now managed in one hour at 12-16 knots.
Picture: Bernard and Jan on the windward beam enjoying more wind on the second day

Lunch, a fantastic salad with a delicious dressing (of course home made on the boat!), wine, cappuccino, cookies and chocolate (very far from the usual sandwich and water lunches I am used to!) was served at 15 knots which caused some small problems to keep the smaller salad pieces in the bowel in the aft part of the cock pit. As we got closer to Cap Frehel and home for Eureka the wind pick up again. Speeds up to 19 knots was the perfect “Grand Final” of the marvellous trip and made everybody smile on board (if I get my Firewire driver to work properly I will put up a short footage from my DV cam from the “Grand Final”)

Epilogue – getting closer to shore Bernard took the helm and speeded through narrow passages, made an elegant tour around moored boats, windsurfers and a close 90 degrees gybe at the beach (people were running out of the water….). I was obviously not trusted with this kind of manoeuvres – as I said: Brittany sailors are a tough breed.

Lessons learnt:

* Not many liveable multihulls around (except for the Orma 60 we sighted in St. Malo harbour however a lot of beach cats – Hobies, Darts and 18 footers around) This must be an opportunity!
* Always listen to the customer! Bernard’s strong requirement for the dinghy and out border for this is absolutely righteous.
* We will recommend Bernard his Eureka as “professeur” for the Seaon Sailing Academy
* A few improvement opportunities discovered - more input into Seaon product development
* Some annoying rust stains (however polish able) on various stainless steel equipment (not only one suppliers equipment to be fair)

Again thank you Michelle and Bernard for a fantastic weekend!


Monday, 17 September 2007

New visit at Ericsson Volvo Ocean Race 70 Racing Team boatyard

Yesterday we visited the Ericson Volvo Ocean Race 70 shipyard again guided by our team rider Mange Olsson – what a progress since our first visit! The whole boat yard, virtually placed next the Ericsson Head office is now fully operational with products coming out of the ovens. There is even a separate visitor area behind glas overlooking the whole shipyard where there is a constant flow of impressed visitors looking at this very high tech boat building project. There are routers, ovens, freezers (for the carbon pre-preg) various rooms for various type of milling, lamination, lathing etc operations. It is a complete real professional shipyard building a 70 fot high tech ocean racer in midst of Stockholm Telecom city Kista! (Want to know more about the secrets about the Ericsson Racing team boat yard ? Check http://www.ericssonracingteam.com/video.html )
Obviously there is an envy from our side on the scale of operation, however there are also as mentioned before some strong similarities with our production: Freezers, ovens, different kind of QA tools such as curing temperature supervision, adhesion testing equipment, loadcells etc paintbox, fairing and filling room etc …..and we use the same supplier and carbon pre-preg system from Advanced Composite Group in the UK (http://www.acg.co.uk/ also supplier to Americas Cup winner Alinghi).


Tuesday, 11 September 2007

A report from a "typical" Lake Geneva trimaran day....

Sebastian reports from yesterday:

"Just came back from a record breaking family sailing.
Start at 1 pm wind speed 7 knots from SW heading just north of west averaging 9.5 knots on the GPS. Wonderful weather and rapidly catching up with ESSE 8.50 on same course. We tack and head east moving on at around 10 knots under full main and screacher and then go back towards Pully in decreasing wind speed. We observe boats along the Swiss coast move with lots of wind from n-NE, we are still with a southerly less than three miles away. Screacher taken down, self tacker unrolled and within 3 minutes we have a north easterly at 35 knots steady with gusts well above 40 knots. Two reefs taken rapidly but no smaller head/sail than the self tacker. Thanks Matte for keeping the small jib in your loft!! Course 320 degrees, speed mounts to well above 20 knots with peak on the GPS of 25.6 for over 2 minutes. Constant spray over the leeward forward cross-beam but the leeward bow is well above the surface and the boat runs like a TGV across the French countryside. Stable like a rock. For once we take the sails down outside the harbour and motor in. Good reason to run over to the restaurant and fetch a bottle of iced champagne, a cooler and four glasses. Olivia was playing on the windward net all along, Kerstin was scared to death but the two guys on board thought this was terrific."

Kerstin - cool at the helm

Well - what to say?

1) We hope Kerstin got a lot of champagne
2) A fine trimaran day
3) You do not always need to sail at 25+ knots.....there are slower gears (if not left with the sail maker)