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Winter sail development for VX1 Sportsboat

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Two of the exciting VX1 sportsboats built by Ovington back under cover the day after sail testing at Woolverstone on the river Orwell on Dec 29th....which turned out to be the coldest day of the year so far!

Ovington had invited us to develop alternative sails for the class , which currently is dominated by market leader North with an option of low-cost Intensity sails .

Our designer Richard Lovering has produced shapes for the new sails based on the Viper mould shape, the prototypes are in build in our loft at present. The plan for the sail test was to evaluate the performance and characteristics of the North and Intensity sails by sailing one boat with each . Neil Fulcher, a well known 505 and Phantom sailor drove the “North Boat “ while Jack Grogan drove the “Intensity Boat” with one of his 18 foot skiff crew, Sam Caslin.

Winds ranged from 15 knots downwards as the breeze and temperature steadily dropped, until we literally swam the boats ashore; a refreshing winter break!

Some clear conclusions were arrived at. The first was that the brand new Intensity sails did not fit in the mast track and some “modifications” with a Gerber were needed before we could hoist them!

Upwind the North Sails were flatter and the heavier Fulcher team were a bit underpowered. The Skiff boys were struggling to hang on upwind in the puffs and the fuller Intensity sails were a bit of a handicap. With long spreaders and three shrouds to play with on the very light carbon mast,there was much discussion over luff curve and mast bend.

Down wind the boats are electrifying and the transition between hot and planing and lower displacement mode when the wind was dropping clearly puts a spotlight on kite design and power.

We are looking forward to repeating the process with the development set of Hyde Sails in a couple of weeks time. Two boat testing like this is the only real way to improve sail performance - it takes commitment and warm clothes to do it in winter but it is at the heart of Hyde’s succesfull One-Design sails.

Hyde Sails Ltd, Harbour Building Office A, Hamble Point Marina, Hamble, Southampton SO31 4NB

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