Continued - Lady Hawk pg4
Sails are limited to a fully battened main, roller jib and a free flying drifter/reacher, and were made by Doyle Sails in Auckland. The plans for this design show masthead and fractional gennakers. Giles has yet to add these to Lady Hawk.
We decided that was enough talking - let's take this bird to sea. Giles reversed out from the marina berth easily enough and spun the boat around. At 8m it's a wide structure but handling seemed simple enough with the boards down. Motoring down harbour we achieved a comfortable 5.5kts at 3000rpm, with a smidgen of vibration from the two-bladed propeller. Giles has considered changing this propeller for something more sophisticated - such as one of the new three-bladed folders - for better motoring performance, especially in reverse. The difficulty with these occurs when a multihull hull leaves the water, then suddenly drops back. At more than 20kts the blades can be jerked open and start the engine - backwards. Thought and research continues, but the standard propeller works fine provided it's kept clean. Out past the entrance we found a light northerly breeze of around six knots. There was some pitching in the confused seas under motor. This lessened when the sails were hoisted. Under main and self-tacking jib we were definitely underpowered, and this brought to light a minor weakness of many modern trimarans. Without enough wind to pressure the lee float down, they can bounce around a little, especially in a confused chop. We did a couple of tacks with the self-tacking jib, and I noticed that sheets needed to be slightly eased to get the traveller car to slide across. Friction is the issue here and Edlin believes a change to a ball bearing car would solve this. Aside from that, tacking was ridiculously easy - just turn the wheel. We decided more horsepower was needed and set the drifter/reacher off the prod. This was hoisted, rolled up on a Schaefer 550 unit, then unfurled - an easy sail to handle. As we sailed into more breeze, Lady Hawk came alive; much preferring to be powered up. With pressure on the lee float, the ride smoothed out, steering sharpened and extra wind pressure immediately translated into extra boat speed. The sailing photos show us at 7kts boat speed in 8kts apparent, unfortunately it wasn't until after the camera boat left that we hit our top speed of the day - 11.5kts. And that was so easy: a smooth increase that, apart from the log numbers flicking up, gave little sensation of fuss or drama. Of course Lady Hawk will go much quicker than this, Giles reports his best speed so far at 18kts under jib and reefed main. I have no doubt that speeds in excess of 20kts are easily achievable given a good breeze and the addition of a gennaker or two to the sail wardrobe.