October 19, 2005

New CATRI 24 video clips

I have today uploaded some high quality video clips of the CATRI 24 trimaran that last about a minute each. For a copy of the whole video of the trip from Gotland to Studland, which last about 20 minutes please contact me. I neglected to video our departure from Latvia. Sorry. It was grey, dull and raining anyway, even if it was a momentous occasion.

Posted by Stephen Walker at 06:35 PM

CATRI 24 now in Poole

TARDIS, the CATRI 24 trimaran is now in Poole Harbour for the winter, which is an excellent place for demonstrations.

If you are considering buying one for next season then please ring me a.s.a.p. on +44 (0)7985 043 981 to arrange a demo as it takes time to build them.

Posted by Stephen Walker at 01:07 PM

October 13, 2005

Engine maintenance

The TOHATSU 8HP 2 stroke engine on the CATRI 24 did some serious work in tough conditions on the way to England from Latvia. Lots of salt spray. Lots of hours. I had the engine looked over by Tohatsu after the Southampton Boat Show and they found that the advance and retard had seized up due to salt. This had been affecting the performance and I have to say it has been a lot easier to start since and runs sweeter too. Much more as I am used to it being.

They recommended something I'd not heard of before, which, no doubt, many of you salty sea-dogs out there will already know about but it is worth repeating here for those who don't. They suggested that each time I am about to use the engine I take the cover off and spray inside with inhibitor oil; water dispersant oil. Recommended brands included RockOil, Rockeze, Supermarine inhibitor.

They also supplied me with a new prop as the two I had tried had either too little or too much pitch. The new one works fine and I had 10 knots out of TARDIS on the way back from Weymouth, after the wind had died and we were only achieving 3 knots under sail. Prior to that we had been doing 18.6 knots under sail!

The propeller specification is not published, as it is a modified original, the work being done by a manufacturer on the south coast of England. It is available through Ahoy-Boats at 125GB pounds plus carriage plus VAT.

Posted by Stephen Walker at 07:10 PM

October 08, 2005

Hurtling past Hurst in TARDIS

Loading everything onto the CATRI 24 trimaran, TARDIS, yesterday, after she had been weighed and put back in the water was easy, as the tide was high and the pontoon was level with the hard so there were no steps to clamber down. But by the time my crew, Dermot and Bart, had arrived the ebb had finished and we motored under the Itchen Bridge at slack water in the dark. As we progressed down Southampton Water towards Calshot the flood started and the wind gradually died away. What had been 6 knots slipped to 4 as we groped our way against the flow along the channel in the West Solent and at 22.00 we decided to anchor just outside Newtown Creek off the Isle of Wight, as we knew it would be impossible to get past Hurst with the tide against us.

Bart was very impressed with my head torch, which was invaluable when anchoring in the dark. I'd bought it for the delivery trip from the Baltic but with the short nights in the summer that far north I'd hardly had an opportunity to use it. After a chat we settled down for a brief slumber, Bart in the bow, Dermot in the saloon and I in the aft cabin. Thankfully it was pleasantly calm.

I hate alarms at the best of times but somebody managed to make their phone wake us at the unearthly hour of 4am. We got the main sail up whilst at anchor and by 4.30 we were under way. With the engine and sails and tide we were quickly making 10 knots and so dispensed with the engine. This was a different story to the night before.

Dermot and Bart were busy attempting to identify lights the traditional way whilst I, confident in my Garmin GPS 276C, set a course past Hurst castle and put the kettle on. They were sure there was a light on it, they were saying as we hurtled past Hurst at 16.3 knots in total darkness!

Dermot has once been caught in the races off St Alban's head in a Wayfarer and was anxious not to experience 15ft waves again, no matter how much bigger and safer the CATRI 24 trimaran was. I had no reason to disagree with his judgement, hence the early start. The light grew steadily as we sailed across Bournemouth Bay at about 12 knots. We picked up the Poole fairway buoy and put in a tack that took us out towards a ship. After 15 minutes or so we tacked again and headed for St Albans head. We got there just after the tide had turned and were slowed to 3.5 knots as we crossed the overfall then it was "All systems GO" again.

As Lulworth Range was expected to be closed on this Saturday morning we were surprised to see the Range Boat coming out towards us. We were taking the inshore route and fully expected a roasting but instead they motored alongside us for a while and took a couple of photos. This is the better one of the two taken by Jeff Waters who is a relief crewman and normally works for Design 41 Commercial Art Studio.

Click to enlarge

As you can see we were making good speed along the Dorset coast in the direction of Weymouth. Dermot and I were not standing on the port ama to keep the boat level, by the way. We were standing there becuase it was fun!

As we got nearer to Portland Harbour the water became smoother and our progress improved until at last, without the assistance of the tide we surpassed the morning's max speed and hit 16.4 knots.

We arrived at Portland Harbour at 10.15, a distance of 66 miles at an average speed of 11.5kn!

I nipped ashore for the first briefing about the Speed Week and found Jeremy Evans from "Yachts and Yachting" aboard upon my return. Coffee and croissants were consumed, a quick atmoshpere shot taken and my crew and I set out to see what TARDIS could do, in a still fully laden condition.

The course was set alongside Chesil Beach as the wind was from the SW, the favoured direction for wind surfers, but not clever for yachts as it was very close in shore and we had to approach the start at 18 knots through a congregation of moored yachts, mooring buoys and oncoming windsurfers & kitesurfers meandering the wrong way up the course.

It was a good job that Bart, who was at the helm, is a very experienced dinghy sailor. He was nimble as they come, ducking and diving like Mohamed Ali.

We did a few dummy runs whilst they got the timing equipment ready and found that the best course for us took us even closer in shore at the end of the run. When the green flag went up we were one of the first over the line and everything was going fine until right at the end we hit the bottom with the rudder. It popped up, as it is supposed to do, but the wrong end of the autorelease system failed and I had to retire. The crew had to go home to their wives anyway so that was the end of our first day at the Weymouth Speed Week. The records showed that we did over 21 knots. Not bad for a fully laden boat in a force 4.

Posted by Stephen Walker at 06:15 PM

October 06, 2005

Cool as cucumbers

I received this in an email today:

>>Having seen a Catri 24 in the flesh, leaving Hurst Race in the direction of Poole several weeks ago, my crew and I were very impressed by the rapid pace you were making and the course to windward you were steering. Not only was she going so very fast but all the crew looked totally relaxed and as cool as cucumbers, very impressive!<<

You never know who is watching!

Off to Southampton tomorrow to sail TARDIS round to Weymouth for the Speed Week. Anybody want to come?

Posted by Stephen Walker at 08:36 PM