Thoughts on the DF65 A+ Rig & The 2017 DF65 Canadian Nationals

Thoughts on the DF65 A+ Rig & The 2017 DF65 Canadian Nationals

I had a great time traveling to the DF65 Canadian Nationals in Vancouver last weekend. Got a chance to meet with the skippers burgeoning fleet of DF65s growing in the British Columbia area and support their National Championship Regatta.

It ended up being a 1 day event, but the weather was perfect with winds ranging from 5-15 kts, sunshine and about 60 degrees. One of the things I love about traveling and racing RC sailboats in competition is every venue is different and has its quirks
The Steveston venue is a nearly perfect sailing area, especially when the wind blows right down the pipe. It is located on a river so one of the fun challenges was dealing with about a 2-3 kt current from both the tide and the river, which basically ran right down the course, from windward to leeward ...(which you can see in the picture below.


Not an easy thing to do with a DF65 class boat  that weighs 1250 grams!
Sailing in this current  really forces you to hit the start line running and really make sure you have plenty in the bank when you round the windward mark and offset! The downwind runs were FAST though!
That speed wind also shows how well the DragonForce 65 sails in breeze and illustrates why it is the best selling sailboat in the world. For its size, cost and handling it is an amazing bang for the buck!

Coming to this  regatta was a last minute decision, and I had just completed a new boat and A+ Rig.  In addition I had brought a new A+ Rig for one of the local skippers, but ended up finishing it instead of finishing the new standard A rig I had for my own boat. This means I was stuck with A+ rig for the entire 1 day event. Kind of dicey when you travel that far to race!
I also did not have a lot of opportunity to sail the new A+ rig in competition very often, especially in higher wind bands so it was a great chance to see how it performed.

The first several races were in winds of about 6-8 kts, and most of the boats in the regatta had the A+ rig and were sailing very fast! I had a couple bad starts and finished off the pace, but the boat performed well. 

Just before lunch,  the wind started picking up to about 10-12  and for a race or 2 everyone in A+ started rounding up  going downwind and  had trouble tacking. I managed to do well, mostly because I have spent many years racing in Texas winds , at the top of whatever rig I had, and could handle my boat in those conditions. I advised that the skippers who had the A rigs change to them. I also tightened the foot of my sail to about 15mm on the jib & main, opened up my jib slot a bit more, and added a bit of twist into the main to bleed off air. 

Once this happened the skippers that were in A with the winds gusting up to 15 kts, could handle their tacks , and downwind runs with no problem, in fact it nearly got to B rig conditions a few times! I still managed to grind out top 5 finishes by sailing by the lee downwind, and cracking off my main and jib when going upwind so i didnt slide sideways  (again the current made this even more of a rollercoaster ride!)

If you are properly trimmed in a DF65 you can still tack when overpowered, but it will stall a bit more than normal once the tack is completed... yet another reason to gear down when the wind is heavy and keep your boat in control!

I was quite pleased overall with how the boat handled, but I would have definitely changed at about 10 kts given the opportunity. and sea conditions. 

Thanks to the Host Committee, especially Bob Lewis, Wilson Chong and the rest of the gang for hosting a really fun regatta at a beautiful venue! Also to Michael Steele for his support of the DF65 fleet in Eastern Canada!

Link to 200+ pictures from the event:

October 05, 2017 — Charles LeMahieu