November 2018

My local sailing club‘s racing season ended in October but sailing continues. It’s time for frostbiting!

I’ve had my drysuit repaired and bought some new Rooster kit in preparation for the cold, also being a wiser and more cautious sailor I went for a red spray top and red buoyancy aid. It would be foolish not be visible.

Rooster’s layers system is terrific and I’m also using the gear for sea swimming. It’s a significant upgrade over my old now falling apart wetsuit and tired Gill PolyPro™ base layer. I truly love the Rooster Thermoflex and PolyPro™ layers.

My last weeks of sailing have all been about practising; the beat, gybing, spinnaker work, tacking and generally making the boat go! On my own – since it’s an old boat – , I only go out in force 3-4 which is fine to practise at slower more controlled speeds, though it’s fun to push it a bit when more of us go out.

The video above was in slightly breezier conditions. I’m discovering that the key to making it work in stronger winds is (simply and not surprisingly) to keep the boat dead flat and well trimmed at all times, and convert the wind energy to boat speed as quickly as possible. The faster the boat, the more stable and easier to keep upright, you just have to go with it. Any heel slows the boat considerably adding more pressure to the rig.

Gybing seems easier at higher speeds – broad reach to broad reach – but it takes concentration to c0ordinate properly. After a while on the water, if I’m tired that’s where it fails.

I’m also finding that clothing is super important in being and feeling connected to the boat. I was wearing Rooster hiking pads in the session above which reduced my connection the boat and made me more unstable downwind. I’ll give them another go but perhaps the Vareo doesn’t need them, the boat isn’t really uncomfortable.

Something’s working anyway, I’m pointing better, keeping the boat flatter, sailing faster and managing higher winds more easily. 🙂

A more peaceful day

Commodores Cup Sept 15th 2018

Yesterday I sailed the Commodores Cup Race, a handicap race around Peveril Ledge Buoy in RS Vareo 239 in testing conditions.

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I’d got the hang of the conditions – which saw winds increasing with more chop on the tidal race – by the third lap, but by then battery had died. Getting the kite up on the first lap was a mistake :). Live and learn.

The camera is an Akasao EK7000 at 720p and the battery lasted about 42 minutes. If you live in East Dorset check out Swanage Sailing Club which has excellent dinghy sailing.

June / July 2018 Sailing

I had a rather dramatic equipment failure in my RS Vareo during a windy race mid June with my boom snapping in half. It was corroded around mainsheet pulley clip in any case, the kicker was too loose, a gust must have pulled the boom out of the gooseneck, it hit the hull and snapped. Fortunately a safety boat was close by to get me back and the sail was ok.

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I borrowed a boom till the new one was sorted out then got back into the groove, with some success; third and fourth in two cup races. The third position race was a really light wind day and valuable lessons were learned about finding clean air and good practice was had of minimising body movements and rudder. Continue reading “June / July 2018 Sailing”

How to create a fancy Apache directory index listing with .htaccess

Sometimes you don’t need a CMS and want to keep things as simple as possible. For my use case I wanted sailing club race officers to be able to upload Sailwave race results and display them in the most simple way possible.

To achieve that and ensure isolation from the website’s WordPress CMS I added a subdomain and configured a pretty Apache directory listing. Users now just upload files via FTP.

Assuming your website is running on the Apache web server, you can achieve the same with .htaccess and few tweaks.

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See above example here, see the code which you can easily alter to suit on github.

More about this the Apache docs:

https://httpd.apache.org/docs/2.4/mod/mod_autoindex.html

https://httpd.apache.org/docs/trunk/howto/htaccess.html

How I’ve started using Gutenberg. Ramp!

If you’re familiar with the world of WordPress you’ll know that the next version of WordPress will ship with a new editor called Gutenberg. You can read all about Gutenberg over here and try it out too.

I confess I’ve been a late adopter till now; sure I’ve experimented with Gutenberg locally but I haven’t used it on a production site, mainly because on the one public site I currently personally manage, I simply didn’t have the time to be concerned with Gutenberg  compatibility and also I didn’t want all post types edited with Gutenberg.

What is Ramp?

I work within WordPress.com VIP at Automattic and today we released a new plugin to help with Gutenberg testing and transition called Ramp.

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Ramp basically let’s you control how you enable Gutenberg on your site. From the wordpress.org download page it says. Continue reading “How I’ve started using Gutenberg. Ramp!”