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The GOSSIP

Number 133 / May 2002

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Published by the Open Canoe Sailing Group

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endurance of these men 130 years ago constantly amaze. A 47-mile voyage from Skye via Rhum and Eigg to Tobermory on Mull, starting in the morning of one day and finishing at 3 a.m. the next constitutes a major achievement. Have we really progressed as far as we think, with all our advances in construction and equipment? On this evidence the answer, I suggest, is 'no'. We are also reminded of the advantage of the canoe over other sailing craft, namely the ability to enter very shallow waters and land on almost any beach. The reader is provided with clear maps outlining each trip, although that of the Iona voyage is slightly offset (a minor quibble).

Jan's diligent research has paid off. The canoeing world of these sailors is brought to life in a well thought out presentation and a beautiful photo from a slide shown by HowardJ at the OCSG winter meet makes for a most handsome cover. At 6.99 you certainly get your money's worth.

 

Book Review - The Symmetry Of Sailing (SteveR)

The Physics of Sailing For Yachtsmen
Author - Ross Garrett
Published by Sheridan House
Price 19.99

On reading PeterF's recent request for advice on designing outriggers, my first thought was that, although I did not know the answer to Peter's question, it could probably be found in Ross Garrett's book. It was this thought that made me think that the book should possibly be brought to a wider audience through a review in Gossip.

My own reason for buying the book was a still unrealised plan I have to make a daggerboard that would produce optimum lift when sailing to windward. The information to do this is certainly here, with sketches of elliptical plan forms, along with details and analysis of the foil cross sections that are in common use in sailing boat design.

So far I have described the book in terms of its practical implications, which is perhaps incorrect, as the real aim of the book is to furnish the reader with a theoretical understanding of how a sailing boat works. It is from this aim that the book's name has been derived, as the author is always keen to point out that the forces that we can see acting on the sails mirror those that we cannot see in action below the water.

Despite being written for the "average yachtsman", with no background in physics, Garrett does not refrain from the description of quite complicated physics. I'm aware that many OCSG members come from a scientific and engineering background, and as such I think that this book will really appeal to those people.

As someone who never really understood A-level Physics in school, I have found that to get the most out of this book, I have had to be prepared to spend big chunks of time reading and rereading the text and equations, until I could begin to say that I understood them. Nevertheless, providing one is prepared to put the time in, the book will reward the efforts of even a layman like me with something more than just a headache.

 

Training Weekends (RoyB)

What are they exactly?
So at last the new season is under way. The recent spell of dry and warm weather is certainly inspiring me to get on with a few jobs on the canoe and get out on the water. Perhaps you have already planned which events you intend getting involved with. But have you considered the two training events? One is for sailing on inland waters and should be suitable for anyone either with some experience or very little. Wanting to improve and practise your sailing is the important factor; and having a boat with rig to sail is pretty crucial! (But the group has some rigs to loan out if you don't have one yet). The other is on coastal waters and is aimed at those with some experience who would like to explore the possibilities of the salty stuff, in the hopefully reassuring company of others.

Those who have taken part in one already will know what these events are about; that we avoid a classroom atmosphere, preferring a "workshop" approach where ideas and skills can be shared and practised, very much according to the wishes of the participants. Over the years we have looked at various topics including: rig adjustment, reefing ashore/afloat, tacking, gybing, dealing with waves, launching/landing on awkward/lee shores, heaving to, sea anchors/drogues, rescues, self-rescue, capsize, gear packing for cruising: it all depends on what people want to do, the weather/wind we get and the venue.

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