Sunday, October 19, 2014

Catching up,,,, and my first race on an i550.

I will try to catch everyone up on my progress. Allot has been going on since my last blog, I am nearly finished fairing the bottom and am planning to give the boat one prime coat, then flip the boat back over and finish the keel sleeve and install it in the keel trunk, then flip the boat over and touch up anything necessary and then prime and finally paint.

These photos are of me racing in Bellingham Washington on an i550 for the first time. It was an awesome experience, the other i550 owners were great group of people, competitive and fun to hang out with.
The boat felt good, upwind was predictable due to the short waterline, but as soon as you turn around the upwind mark you a rewarded with a fun downwind run that always seemed to go by way to fast for me (I like downwind rides). Here is my report after the race :Racing report from Bellingham Washington. I flew to Washington to finally get my eyes on an i550 in person before I head into paint on my boat. The internet photos truly don’t give these boats justice. 

I was excited to see the boats sitting in the parking lot on their trailers, the PDX boats were very clean, well thought out boats with carbon rigs and new North sails. I was sailing on Michael France’s aluminum masted boat that he readily describes as “cobbled together” with older used Melges 20 sails. 

Here are some things I took away from the weekend.

1- The i550 owners and crew were very welcoming and the camaraderie/hospitality was awesome.
2- As several people have said on here, the boats are very evenly matched and spars, sails, bulb shape/weight, really didn’t seem to make a difference,, tactics and sail handling did, (you make a mistake, the other boats are going to capitalize on it).
3- Upwind was a little slower due to the short waterline, I am happy to report, that even in moderate chop, the boat was surprisingly dry (dryer then a U20 in the same conditions). Being as I have sailed bigger boats all these years (20'-50’) hiking was a new experience for me, the next thing I am making for the boat, is a hiking bench for my office.
4- Downwind is where you will fall in love with these boats, spinnaker up, pole articulated to windward and like Tokyo Trash likes to say “drive her deep she loves it”…When the wind was up the bow wanted to dig in, and you have to get your weight to the back of the boat and hike, and the boat pops onto a quick plane,,,, great fun indeed.
5- If you are building, or thinking of building a boat you owe it to yourself to make the trip and visit the North West fleet, I came away from the weekend with several new ideas on how I want to rig my boat and a pretty clear vision of how I want to finish it.

Thanks again to Michael France for inviting me to sail with him, I appreciated the hospitality/knowledge/experience he was happy to share with another i550 owner. Giving me the trophy at the end of the regatta was a huge bonus, and will always make my first i550 regatta a great experience.

My sailing buddy's Randy and Lisa Shelton made two videos of the boat build for me, the first video is about the kayak build and leads into the i550

The second video is all about the i550 and was taken at mid build.

I would also ask you to go on Randy's Colorado Coconut Channel on utube . There are many cool videos they have done, including several national events. I might be a little partial to the U20 nationals video as I was racing on Juiced with my good friends Jim Ulatowski and Roy Burley.

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