Back in the Boat
It has been two years since I sailed an Aero or any other boat.
A nagging back injury and relocating 13,174 Km from Seattle to Melbourne has put a dint in my sailing.
But now, I have a new boat: Aero #2500 which is exactly 2 times my previous number #1250. I like round numbers!
I've settled into sailing at Royal Brighton Yacht Club in Melbourne and life is returning to normal.
Back in the Boat
I got the new Aero just in time to rig and test the boat before the Victorian state Aero championships which was mercifully light for me to find my sea legs again.
After two years off, I was terribly rusty starting, very slow upwind and even slower reaching. But downwind, I still seemed to have good speed. With 20+ boats, it was an awesome return to sailing.
What is different with the new Aero
The new boat is almost identical to the old boat. It is remarkable that RS got the design of the Aero so right the first time. It is normal to have some production niggles with a new boat, but the Aero has remarkably few.
Here are some of the few changes I've noticed with the new boat:
- A new mast wear band protecting the hull at the mast step.
- The sail has stronger elastic so no uphaul is needed to release the cunningham (downhaul).
- The boat has a removable mainsheet block attachment.
- I'm told the transom rudder area is stronger and the tiller attachment to the rudder has been strengthened.
What I'd love to get fixed:
- The vang control turning block on the gooseneck has too much friction. It is not a roller bearing and rubs against the boom resulting in a big increase in resistance. The observant may notice a tiny red ball in the picture — which is part of a solution using a dropped turning block for the vang.
What I change from standard rigging
I use a 6mm mainsheet. This runs way more easily and is still fine to hold with gloves in heavy air when you use a lot of vang (which you should).
I tie a turning block from the gooseneck vang sheave and run the vang through that. I use a spliced loop and ball so I can keep the vang permanently rigged to the boom, mast and boat. This means I can rig and unrig even faster for more time on the water.
I use the Rooster Aero over the deck rigging replacing the standard under the rails outhaul and cunningham lines. This runs more easily and has less resistance from dragging in the water. I used different Ronstan shocks instead of turning blocks for the cunningham takeup. Less scratching the deck.
Sailing in Australia
I sailed in Melbourne back in the 70s with my father in a 470 when I was short, light and terrified of the 20-25 kt breezes. But now, after many days in Gorge which is where the 2019 Aero worlds will held, I've been cured of that fear and I'm eagerly looking forward to scorching across the bay waters in my Aero.