Well the Race to Zero was RAW's first time to line up against anything. It's been an exciting year in Airplay Land getting the boat off Tony's design board and onto the water. True to the original idea of doing trialling before production, we are there. When we saw the plug of RAW sitting in the shop floor and saw the flat bottom, we sucked our breath in a figured she'd either be fantastic or a wood duck! Well after racing RAW for 300 miles in all sorts... We can say... We are extremely pleased with RAW. She's a super rigid platform that can really go. Given that she's the first one we did expect to have a few things to correct before the production lines really start flowing. We did have a couple of things that we need to address but that's the way it is and we do have time to add the feedback to production. The only niggles we had were, 1. getting the 'top-down' spinnaker furler to work! 2. as RAW can fly the main hull the rudder blade was extended but this created a bit too much load for the rudder housing and we lost the bond between the cheek and the reinforcing band. 3. the Dyneema Spinnaker halyard jumped the sheave and broke the axle on the sheave.
1. Is still a Work In Progress, but on our last race we removed the furler in favour of a conventional hoist/drop and were MUCH faster for the effort!
2. This happened during the second race of the series just as we were happily flying upwind. It didn't sever from the boat but was just real wobbly and so we completed the rest of the series using only about 80% main sail.
3. Stuff Happens, even in paradise! Thin Dyneema can do that! A new arrangement on the Marstrom fitting will take care of future issues for production boats.
The photos here will show you a little about RAW what they won't show is how she can go when you do turn the wick up! Downwind we already knew she'd be good. But upwind was a question until we had something to measure against... Once she powers up, she really trucks and at high angles.
But perhaps the nicest surprise is... The way RAW handles the power! The ama's can really be pushed and the sail carrying power is extremely high. When we watch people sail her for the first time... We see the helmsman get into position and take the main sheet with them - everyone assumes she'll be a wild beast! But she's not! RAW has very good manners and never feels threatening! More wind equals more speed and very high angles of attack!
|Airplay RAW 30 trimaran in action at the Neptune Regatta, photo courtesy Marty Rijurkis|