June 10, 2008

Conwy to Penmaenmawr

Haven't we had a great few days weather?

I managed to get out sailing in the Magnum 21 on Saturday from Conwy on the North Wales coast. With the spring tides the River Conwy, which was on the flood, looked like a raging torrent when we arrived but only because there were so many boats gamely ploughing upstream to get out to sea. Of course next to the shore there was very little current.

After launching we motored against the current for about 100 metres so that we would not be swept directly under a pontoon that is next to the slipway beside the marina. There we dropped anchor and set our sails and then whilst everybody else was motoring out of the harbour we sailed out. It only took about 4 tacks to clear the beacon at the bar.

Tell tails help with trimming the genoa

Then we sailed along the coast using the genoa for extra power in the light airs. This gave us about a 50% increase in speed taking us to a mere 5 knots but faster than anything else that was sailing. Most were motor-sailing.

Take a close look at the details of the rigging in this photo. Genoa sheet passes through ratchet block and onto the clamcleat to save you having to hold onto it all the time. New clamcleat with the spinnaker sheet in it.

Note the use of the barber hauler in the 1st photo above. It enables one to play with the angle that the genoa sheet pulls on the genoa. It is equivalent to the use of a genoa car that in other boats slides fore and aft along the boat. Note also the way that I tie the cunningham. This helps to keep the tack of the main sail close to the mast and prevents creases in the sail in this area. The observant amongst you will also notice extra shrouds (like the ones on the Magnum 21.S and on the new Magnum 18, which I have fitted in anticipation of a big project I have in mind. It makes it possible to stand on the float by giving one something to hang onto. It also helps to maintain the tension in the luff of the jib and improves pointing upwind. Note in the 2nd photo the use of the new clamcleat to hold the genoa sheet or spinnaker sheet as in the 3rd photo. VirusBoats used to insist that the spinnaker and gennaker were light wind sails and that the sheet should be held in the hand as a safety measure. They said that if you could not hold it in your hand then it was too windy and time to reduce sail. But these new cleats are very easy to release and should not present a siginificant increase in risk to the sailor who is aware of the inherent risks of using large sails in stronger winds.

Approaching Penmaenmawr with Llanfairfechan in the distance and Bangor beyond

Nobody was paying much attention to the channel with the water being so high so we were able to sail really close inshore and gain another perspective on a coastline that so many people only ever see from the A55.

I had intended to sail to Puffin Island but the wind faded and it was clear we would have run out of time to do this so we ate our sandwiches during a lull when we were at Penmaenmawr and then headed back downind towards the Great Orme with the spinnaker flying. What a joy it is to use this sail!

What a joy to use this sail! The Great Orme is the peninsula in the background. On the other side of the isthmus is Llandudno. You can see much of the rigging details in this photo. With Anglesey in the background you can just see Puffin Island on the extreme right of this photo of me. Here you can see that the new shrouds are mounted higher up the mast.

In fact it was great to make use of all three head-sails in these light airs. The spinnaker is made of such lightweight material that it fills really easily, which is important as the apparent wind reduces to almost zero when sailing downwind. We managed a respectable 3 knots. But I felt we could go a little faster if I could create a little more apparent wind and so it turned out. We managed to creep up to 4.5 knots by luffing up and then bearing away again. We caught up all the boats ahead of us that were sailing.

In the buoyed channel approaching Deganwy. We caught these boats up. Motor boat wash! (Note the reefing lines on the boom.)

A launch went by making a big wash that made the wooden boom on this old cutter kick up and down frighteningly and I realised then why we have a kicking strap on our boom. No such problems for us thankfully.

Not surprising that we passed this venerable old cutter.

We were sailing up the channel at about 3 knots against the ebb tide and I could not see the green, starboard-hand buoy through the spinnaker so I made use of the telescopic tiller that enabled me to sit right out at the front of the port trampoline and then I could see it fine.

Telescopic tliier extension. Green buoy clearly visible from the outer edge of the trampoline.

It was a little rough as we crossed the bar and we gybed the spinnaker so that we were goose-winging for a short while. Progress was inevitably slow against the strong current so I headed inshore and gybed again as soon as the centreboard touched the bottom and popped up. One more gybe on the Deganwy side of the river and we were on the home run, dumping the kite (or should I say, dunking the kite) at the moment we touched the shore by the slipway. Great to do all this without the engine.

Looking after the DIAX main sail means nothing more complicated that rolling it up carefully and releasing the tension in the battens as you go. Drying the spinnaker.

10 minutes later we were drying the spinnaker and an hour later we were in a restaurant in Conwy.

Our track.

We covered a total of 10 miles at an average speed of 2.8 knots and our maximum speed was just 6.1 knots, which just goes to show that you do not have to be having a white knuckle ride to enjoy yourself sailing.

Posted by Stephen Walker at 10:06 AM

June 08, 2008

North Wales Boat Show - Magnums

I shall be showing both the Magnum 21 and the NEW Magnum 18 trimarans at the North Wales Boat Show on Friday 25th July to Sunday 27th July 2008 - Vaynol Estate A55/A487.

Posted by Stephen Walker at 09:08 PM

June 06, 2008

Trapezing Video Clip

Check out this great little video clip which gives you a real feeling of what it is like trapezing in a strong breeze on the Magnum 18 trimaran.

Trapezing on board the Magnum 18 in a force 5 - 6.

Posted by Stephen Walker at 05:03 PM

June 01, 2008


BUY Dinghy Sailing Magazine (July edition) OUT NOW as it includes an 8 page spread comparing the MAGNUM 18 with the Windrider 17 and the Astus 16 trimarans.

Posted by Stephen Walker at 07:39 PM