Raptor UK canoe sailing

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I installed a short section of black Flex-A-Rail to attach the two ballast cables to my Raptor's rear crossbeam (left). Flex-A-Rail is normally used for awnings, where a boltrope fits in the slot to hold the fabric in place. The slot was just big enough to snap in the remote valve cable followed by the switch cable. They both fit very snug and when I need to disassemble the boat the cables can easily be pulled out of the slot in a matter of seconds. No ties or tape and no fuss.

I really wanted to make the system as inconspicuous as possible yet bulletproof at the same time. I cannot wait to test it sailing and hope it will work according to plan.


1 April 2009
Well I finally got the sail done. I tried a few things to see what worked best and here is a summary of the changes I have made to date and the effects of those changes:



(1) 22' mast with Kevlar sail (May 2008) (near right). Great in less than 6 mph winds. Overall the mast bent too much and this combination was too hard to control in 15 mph winds.

(2) 19' mast and first re-cut of sail (August 2008) (far right). Mast still bent too much and still had a little helm. Overall not too bad.

(3) First re-cut of sail with the stiffer 19' mast (March 2009) (below). This was the sail I used all last year. I tried the sail the way I got it from my sail maker. He redid the luff curve to match the stiffer mast with the extra layers of carbon I added last winter. I was able to sail on the port tack with no problem and got up to 7.3 knots with a little puff that came by while carrying a full ballast load. With this load it sailed well on either tack and the pedals were well balanced. The wind was only about 4 - 6 mph. The mast worked well as when the puff hit my Raptor just accelerated.







The sail was OK in light air but had some helm in heavier air (i.e. in some puffs it still wanted to round up some). When the winds got up above 14 mph it was harder to turn the boat away from the wind and get the sail to fill. I had no forward direction so the rudder was useless. Once the wind filled the sail I had no problem. It still did not feel 100% right so I tried other configurations. The two pictures (above right) show the ama trim with a full ballast load.


(4) I temporarily added a little material to the sail head with tape to test (March 2009). I still had the piece of sail that was cut off from my 22' mast setup so used this with some black sail tape to extend the head of the sail by the leech. I removed the top batten, as the second batten from the top became the top batten for the extended leech. I put two battens side by side to stiffen it up so it could support the roach. When testing it on the water, the boat wanted to weathervane into the wind and it was way worse than the first configuration. I had a lot of helm in heavier air. The wind was around 16 mph and the boat was both difficult to control and to get out of irons (* tip). It would stall, round up and I had a hard time getting forward motion as it was being shoved sideways. I only sailed for five minutes as it was no fun, so put it back on the trailer and took it home. I could not believe that little bit of additional sail made such a difference.


(5) Second re-cut of the sail with stiffer 19' mast (March 2009). When I went home I thought about it and knew that configuration #3 was very close to the maximum size for the Raptor sail. I knew a fatter top was going in the wrong direction so removed what I had added and just trimmed a little bit more off. I took a batten and laid it along the edge of the leech from the clew to the second batten from the bottom and brought it to the rear tip of the head. I marked the curve and cut the leech to match the curve. I may have lost one square foot but that is all

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