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.