Again, due to lots of other commitments, progress has been slow lately. Not only because of my day job, which is quite demanding in these bad economical times, but also due to all kinds of other, mostly pleasant but time consuming activities. Our new house, with a 1100 km² (425 square miles) swimming pool in the backyard (the IJsselmeer) attracts a lot of visits of family and friends, which is good for the social contacts, but bad for the boat builder who is dependent on his spare time. And the fact the new workshop is 50km from home is not helping either.
Another new activity is skippering the new build proa “Blind Date”. The foundation ‘Zeilen met Visie’ lets blind and visually impaired people sail on the IJsselmeer or the Waddenzee. To make this possible a special ship was built: the ‘Blind Date’, a sailing proa derived from one of the models in the ‘Harryproa’ series (Designs by Rob Denney, http://www.harryproa.com/).
The ship has a big deck which is ideal to enjoy speed, wind and water in a safe way. Also, many visually impaired people have problems with their sense of balance, so they will feel more comfortable while on this ship, which sails horizontally, than on a ship with only one hull.
One of the unique qualities of the ship is the fact that the two hulls are symmetric and both the front and back sides have a helm. This prevents the ship from having to tack. Instead, the ship will sail in reverse and the luff hull will remain on the same side of the wind (this is called ‘shunting’). This enables the guests to remain seated during crossing, which is both comfortable and safe.
Blind Date has a maximum speed of 20 knots (around 40 km/h). There also are a 15 hp outboard motor and a manoeuvring motor (POD electric motor) present for when the ship has to approach harbors, bridges and locks. The distinct way the ship is built enables it to go fast without going askew in hard winds, which is again both comfortable and safe.
The sails have a total surface of 80 m2 consist of a fore- and mainsail attached to an ‘Aerorig’, characterized by a gig fixed to a rotating mast. This gig extends to the front side, and has the foresail attached to it.
This volunteer “work” is nice and challenging and gives me some new experiences. Steering the proa with two rudders and shunting her instead of tacking gives an extra dimension to sailing and put the sense of direction to the proof.
In the mean time so once in a while I crew on Gary’s F36. Until now on the IJsselmeer, but to get some sea experience with the F36 Gary invited me to join him at the first leg to their vacation destination, crossing the North Sea to a still unknown place in the UK (depending of wind)
And what about boatbuilding? The infusion of the second main hull half has been put off again and again and now finally this event will take place coming Saturday. As I don’t have an Internet connection in my new workshop, this time there will be no real time webcam , but I promise to publish a video.