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W17R — First Launch

Below, you will find the first of several videos that we (webmaster & I) plan to post about the first W17 with the race rig. Following this one of the very first launching, there will be a few sailing shots by neighbors and friends, perhaps an instructional video and finally, the enjoyable sail back to the ramp for winter haul out—all taken in a spell of about 15 days.

In the North East USA, we started the season with 2 months of rain and that was very unusual for us. As I was planning to build a carbon fiber mast (all outside), this had to be delayed, so my launch was postponed from August to October—and that explains the ultra short season! But still, both the boat, mast and the short season 'finished successfully', and the videos should help 'tell the story'.

In this opening video, you will see the very first launch of my boat, so don't expect every step to be total perfection! Overall, it went pretty well though and, other than running into three uncharted rocks within the first 20 minutes (testing out the pivoting daggerboard!) we sailed the 45 minutes to my shore site without incident. This whole operation can clearly be done with just two people—even singlehanded—but for the first launch, a good friend and my son both wanted to be present. For starters, the tiller extension proved too long to tack easily and the jib sheet lead was too far out.

So what is she to be called? Well, my crew had suggested that we "let her name herself" which meant that after the first trip, it should probably be called "Rockfinder" ;-) But in memory of my last wonderful boat, I am leaning towards simply "Magic". She certainly has that feel about her—but I am in no rush to freeze the name so for the moment, it's the "W17R".

I thought the last few seconds of this video had a message. We had planned to leave the launching site with crew aboard, but after the boat got away from him, "Magic" took off on a reach, clearly with great eagerness to be sailing free, so I unexpectedly found myself alone with my little creation for the first few seconds of its sailing life. In retrospect, I found that was rather special and the brief "bonding" sure felt good.


Here's the first video clip of the W17R under sail. Have to admit we were not concentrating much—forgetting that someone might be filming ;-( We spent more time talking about the general feel of the boat and where sheet cleats might be added or leads relocated or the fact that the extension was too long to get past very easily—small things like that. But when sheeted in and we put our minds to it, this little boat moves right along!


A couple of days later, I finally had the opportunity to get out alone.  I had still not shortened the tiller extension so it was sticking in my body while tacking, which delayed things a bit, and as I still had one trampoline missing, I was not moving from the cockpit.
But it was a lovely sail in these great fall surroundings (with the air at about 11C) and the boat proved easy to handle. Wind was about 10 mph at the time with very minor gusts.¬†Need to install a shockcord to clip through the daggerboard handle, to keep it pulled back … something for next season.


Well, here's my final sailing clip for the year and I think you'll enjoy it. It was a cool 45F day when we needed to sail the boat from my place about 1.5 miles south of the haul-out ramp. The wind was offshore and I knew it would be plenty strong enough once we got out a bit, so I rolled in a good reef. No point in getting wet in this temperature I thought. As soon as we got around the nearby point, we had a nice clean wind and the water was pretty flat. Fortunately my son was at the haul-out ramp waiting with the trailer, so he was able to see us coming from about ¾  mile offshore and with full telephoto, managed to pick up this video clip while we tacked in towards him—a great way to end my very short season. We arrived totally dry and no doubt with smiles on our faces. This is really one of the most fun boats I've ever sailed and I have to say, at this point in my life—deep into my 70s and grandfather of seven—it's a great feeling to be able to build, own and solo sail such a zippy and yet comfortable boat. So, keep the weight down and stay in shape guys—it's really worth the effort! Happy sailing and enjoy the clip!


So enjoy; send me your comments!
mike, Nov 2013


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