Onawind Blue, back on the water and sailing joyfully

Onawindblue at sea again


It’s great to see Light Trow builder, adventurer, weblogger and author Ben Crawshaw back on the water in his Light TrowOnawind Blue – and having a damned good time sailing in company with his pal Ricardo in his Dudley Dix-designed Argie, Red Wine.

As well as Ben’s celebration of sailing and life, I’m struck by the (slightly unfair) comparisons between the two rather different boats, and reminded of my view that sailing in company is best done in identical or at least well matched boats. Read all about it here.

Btw, check Ben’s successful experiment with a staysail!


Ben Crawshaw goes racing in Onawind Blue

A recent shot of Ben Crawshaw sailing his Light Trow Onawind Blue, photo by Toni Clapés

Light Trow sailor Ben Crawshaw has reported on a windy race in which he took part in Onawind Blue – and received a prize for going around twice in cracking time.

In all the time Ben has spent with OB, he has clearly developed tremendous skills, and his report has what you might call a swashbuckling tone.

(I should say that the photo above was taken a little while ago – not at the race reported on here.)

Here’s a quote from what he has to say.

I felt confident about driving OB hard. The wind was solid and, away from the land, the gusts came on more gently. I had my legs hooked under an oar lashed across the thwarts and my bum hanging over the rail. My boat was making good progress to windward compared to others further to leeward, some of whom appeared to be over canvassed and spilling wind.

Coming up to the next mark — OB throwing up a deal of spray and riding on a wave of foam — the race boat approached. The organiser, now wearing the hat of a race official shouted across. He might have been imparting important information or quoting Cervantes, whatever, the words were lost to the wind. I watched the Zodiac whizz off towards other boats.

I tacked OB round the windward mark and she hared off on the second downwind leg.

Looking around I saw that we were alone. I had almost certainly missed some vital information. Reflecting, I reckoned there was nothing for it but to crack on regardless — even if I had messed up it had been an enormously enjoyable sail.

In the end, Ben received a hero’s welcome for going round the course twice in conditions where the other racers turned for the shore after one circuit.

His post (link above) is well worth reading – as is his weblog as a whole.

Here at Atkin Towers, we think that if it were fiction Ben’s progress would make a great film – the very public backyard building project, the early sails where he got things sorted out, the extraordinary adventures that followed, how he dealt with adversity and then came back for more sailing, including this victorious episode.

But it’s not fiction – it’s all true… perhaps someone would commission him to write the book that’s obviously waiting to be written!

Follow Ben’s weblog here.

Ben Crawshaw sails Light Trow Onawind Blue in the Semaine du Golfe du Morbihan

Ben Crawshaw Onawind Blue in ther Golf de Morbihan photo by photos by Mónica Sitjes

Ben Crawshaw Onawind Blue in ther Golf de Morbihan photo by photos by Mónica Sitjes Ben Crawshaw Onawind Blue in ther Golf de Morbihan photo by photos by Mónica Sitjes

Ben Crawshaw Onawind Blue in the Golf de Morbihan. Photos by Mónica Sitjes

Ben Crawshaw’s been having a lovely time sailing his Light Trow Onawind Blue in the Semaine du Golfe du Morbihan – as the pictures above show. He’s been writing about it on his weblog –  the three posts so far are here, here and here.

Ben’s done some amazing sailing in his boat built from my drawings but hasn’t really sailed with comparable boats, so he and I have both been fascinated to find out how she stands up to competition. Here’s what he says:

‘Having never really seen her sailing alongside comparable boats I’d no way of judging her performance except that it seemed perfectly adequate for my use, which as you know has included offshore passages. Now I’ve seen that she goes very well indeed.

‘I say comparable boats though I doubt any were as light as OB and this really showed when sailing off the wind, she flew along. I find her very comfortable on this point of sail—wind over the stern quarter—I spoke to other crews who were worried about capsizing on squally downwind legs but this wasn’t an issue with OB as she simply accelerated as the gust came on. Hull trim is critical on all points of sail.

‘Morbihan is crowded, you’re rarely more than a couple of boat lengths from somebody else. I always tried to sail away from the pack but all the same a constant look out was necessary and I found myself wishing (for the first time) for a crew member. And if I do that sort of event again I will raise the boom beforehand.

‘I saw quite a few boats capsize, we did have some strong winds and stronger squalls but OB was fine. Sometimes I could stay sheeted in and ride out the gusts hanging my arse over the rail but at other times I had to let her luff. Just once I had to really throw my weight to windward. I think she’s good like this because the boom and sail are low, because she is trim-critical and responds to your weight being in the right place, and because I try not to sail overpowered.

‘There were a couple of four-hour upwind sails which were hard work. It’s not her favourite point of sail but she can do it without losing face.

‘I feel I know the boat very well now but can’t really judge how she would treat a novice. But certainly for me she’s a cracker and is perfectly suited to my purpose of simple, singled handed sailing and cruising.

‘Other boaters were interested and very welcoming, I didn’t feel apart for having a flat bottomed ply and epoxy boat amongst so many boats of traditional construction. I received compliments for her lines and speed.’

Read more about Ben boat here.