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Thread: Hedgehog

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Alameda CA

    Default Hedgehog

    Hedgehog is my new Olson 29... well not really new at this point, even to me.
    I've had the boat since early 2018, but didn't get serious about working it up until last October or so.

    As is my want, the recommissioning has been pretty extensive; new running rigging, mostly new standing rigging, new rudder and bearings, new sails, new electronics (well, some are repurposed from Domino)...
    Also as usual, this has all taken far more time than anticipated...

    BUT its finally there...
    don't get me wrong, I always have a list.
    but mostly, the project phase is done and it's time to go sailing!

    I'm probably the worst blogger ever, and am generally averse to the current culture of "oversharing" on social media, but I'll use this thread to post occasional updates about our adventures...

    Oh yeah, about the name... my last name Herrigel, literally translated from German; Herr=Mr.; Igel= Hedgehog.
    So there you go.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Alameda CA

    Default Solo Shakedown run / Hedgehog homecoming

    So, I’ve been looking for some time to get out and test things on the ocean, try out the (finally) completed rudder and bearings, and generally get some training and practice in, particularly with the kite up, in some decent pressure, and playing with the AP.

    Scheduling and weather came together this weekend for a Solo run to Santa Cruz, Hedgehog's Birthplace.

    Nothing much was happening wind wise on Saturday, so I chose to motor sail around to HMB (yes, we were just there…). A late start caused me to miss the ebb, and I didn’t get in to HMB until about 9pm. For reference, I have to say this is one tricky entrance to negotiate at night, mostly because all the lights ashore make it hard to track the channel markers (now where did that (*&%* red light go… oh there it is… no wait, that’s a brake light!, etc)…kept a weather eye on the chartplotter through the companionway, and only scared myself a little bit.
    Managed to talk the staff at the HMB brewing company into making one last fish and chips, and then got some sleep…

    Sunday the gribs looked much better, and after motoring out a bit, I found the predicted NNW 8-10 knots, that built to a pretty solid 10-12. I started with the S4, my heavy kite, as I knew things would ramp up later in the day… which is exactly what happened.
    Got a solid few hours of playing around with various settings and angles. Relearned that in the lighter breeze it’s better to sail hot angles and gybe that to go slow but with the wind farther behind you. This is much truer with Hedgehog than Domino, simply because the O29 accelerates much more readily. At lower speeds, I also found the AP likes this better as well, and doesn’t wander about as much; turning down the gain (so as it’s not as sensitive to the gyro) also helps.

    As I got further south, I emerged from the fog, & the wind freshened to a solid 12-15.
    I played around with the AP settings some more, and found what the boat and sea state seemed to like. Interesting observation… I found that over 13 knots or so, the boat breaks out and accelerates to the point where I was sailing ~160 TWA and trimming for ~100-110 AWA.
    This is the point where things got really fun! Beautiful Sunny Day on the ocean with the coast 5 miles to my left, Boat speed hovering at a solid 9.5 knots, the Kite up and the AP driving with minimal tiller movement… a nice clean wake straight out behind me. Like I said, I got what I came for!

    As things progressed, the breeze built some more, to about 18-20, the seas built up a bit, and we began to surf.
    I decided I was out there to practice, so I tossed in about 4 gybes. No real issues, using the main first approach… weeeeeeeeee…

    After a few zig zags, I decided on one last gybe out, to make sure I avoided the kelp at SC…sometime after that, the wind machine found an extra gear and ramped up to 24-26. By this point we were really moving with a baseline boat speed between 10 &11 knots. The AP was still behaving, and was doing a good job of sensing the stern lift as a wave approached, anticipating the wave and compensating to initiate the surf. Surfing, we topped out at 14.7 SOG.

    We were also fast closing on the point where I would need to gybe back to fetch my waypoint into Santa Cruz. This is where enthusiasm, hubris, and the knowledge that this was practice got the better of my judgement…. I thought long and hard, and even though I knew the safest option (and the one I would choose every time when far from land) would be to douse and reset (or in this case jib reach into Santa Cruz), like the dumbass I am I talked myself into one more Gybe.

    It did not work out.

    I got everything set, eased the sheet to the forestay, turned down to 180 AWA just fine, pre-eased the vang… but the act of gybing the main was to much for the AP. Main loaded up as it came across, technically the boat rounded up, but since the pole was on the same side as the main it planted in the water, the same as if I had rounded down… I blew off the topping lift, but as the boat was still moving forward the force on the pole bent the pole fitting where it attached to the mast.
    Made a pretty ugly sound when it did so.

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    So, quickly shift to recovery mode… first step was to strip the pole and get it secured. By the time I did that, the kite had wrapped the fore stay in about 3 different places, so the only thing I could to was pull it down. Having seen this movie before, I remembered enough to grab a couple of sail ties before blowing the halyard, moving forward and hauling the nylon down into a big pile that I then tied down. I made a couple of desultory efforts at unwrapping it, but, well, the harbor was only ten miles away, and I was still scooting along at about 8 knots with just the main up…

    So that’s pretty much the story… all in all, a good training run!
    I got to play around with sailing the boat in breeze, on the ocean, with the kite up and the AP driving, which was the primary objective. And everything worked!
    I also got to relearn a lesson in risk management and mitigation… eg I found a limit past which I should not push things when far from support… I’m well aware that I was very lucky to only break a $200 pole fitting.

    Boat is now in Santa Cruz, I plan to sail up Thursday, when conveniently we’ve a forecast Southerly surge… 2018 SHTP participants will recognize the grib below….
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    Last edited by DaveH; 09-23-2019 at 07:21 PM.

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