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Aft of the working cockpit is the fishing/ diving/boarding area, also an excellent place to store the dinghy when cruising. I attended Rebb'l's launching party 18 months ago and, despite Edlin's enthusiasm, it was obvious not everything had gone fully to plan. Watching Rebb'l motoring out of West Harbour, she was squatting aft more than would be desirable, and seemed excessively tender when underway and dockside. Although he didn't show it, Edlin must have been disappointed. Undaunted, he set about making alterations. First, he lengthened the pod by 660mm and increased its buoyancy to cure the excessive squatting. As launched, Rebb'l's daggerboard drew 2.8m fully down, but Edlin found he didn't need this feature. He converted the daggerboard to a 2.4m draft, fixed keel by cutting the board down, then gluing it into its case. To increase stiffness and improve upwind pointing, he added another 240kg of ballast in the form of a shoe to the existing bulb. The upper section of the daggerboard case was converted into an air intake for the engine. Finally, 18 months after launching, Edlin announced Rebb'l was ready for a sea trial with Boating New Zealand. I'd deliberately arranged the boat review on a day with a forecast of 25 knots. Unfortunately, no one told Huey, who sent a beautiful Indian summer's day of brilliant sunshine and an eight-knot NE breeze. Scratch plan A for Rebb'l's seaworthiness, instead substitute plan B for how a family might use this craft on a typical weekend day. This is how it went. We climbed aboard at Westhaven, dropped the mooring lines and motored out past the moles. Oh dear, it was a head wind and not much of it. We brought Rebb'l to a stop, lowered the pod, put it back into gear, and applied throttle. We watched as the rev counter climbed to 2800rpm - equating to 8.5 knots on the log - and aimed for the sharp end at Motuihe. One hour, 10 minutes later off Motuihe beach, we watched Edlin lower the anchor and idle down the engine before we all trooped below for chilled drinks. Edlin's partner Julie Smyllie prepared a lovely lunch while we perched up in the pilothouse out of the sun and watched all the comings and goings. Lunch over and there was a fair eight knot NE breeze. We raised the anchor, hoisted the main, and hoisted the gen-naker, and sailed back to Westhaven on a series of broad reaches, averaging 5.5 knots all the way. Edlin prefers to tack the gennaker to a spinnaker pole, which means dropping and rehoisting the gennaker when gybing, but that's a personal thing. The tack could have easily been attached to the bow of the yacht so that gybing could have been accomplished by letting go one sheet, and hauling in the other.
Alternatively, a symmetrical spinnaker could be added to the wardrobe to enable running straight downhill in light conditions.
Let me flesh out these impressions. Under power at low speed, Rebb'l felt like any other light displacement yacht, initially slightly tender, and affected by cross winds when docking and undocking.
When powered up in launch mode, Rebb'l sounded more like a launch than a yacht, giving a feeling of urgency. At more than seven knots under power, the boat tends to wander a little on the helm, not enough to be an issue but enough to notice. The 4JH3 Yanmar turns a Flex-O-fold three-bladed, fully feathering propeller 18x11 inches, which drives Rebb'l to just short of 10 knots at full speed. This is well down on Edlin's pre-launch predictions of 15 knots, however, in hindsight, this original goal was unrealistic with 100hp.
Nevertheless, a cruising speed of 8.5 knots under power is not to be sneezed at. After 18 months experience, Edlin believes the 125hp 4JH4 Yanmar would have been a better match for the boat, and that 15 knots under power is achievable with 180hp. Under sail, Rebb'l went where she was told. The twin rudders angle out 10 degrees from vertical, and although they draw only 1.3m, the lee rudder is deeper than this when the hull is heeled, steering the boat well. The hull has a buoyant motion and seemed dry, although the conditions we had were hardly a true test of dryness.
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