Dart 18 for Everglades Challenge

Discussion in 'Multihulls' started by Jeff96, Apr 6, 2020.

  1. Jeff96
    Joined: Apr 2020
    Posts: 2
    Likes: 0, Points: 1
    Location: Ontario, Canada

    Jeff96 New Member

    This isn't a question of if it can be done. I did it as a solo entry this past March.

    The question is how to tweak the boat to make it more suitable for the task. I'll go over the challenges I faced briefly here, but here are links to a longer version of my experience.
    2020 Everglades Part 1 https://docs.google.com/document/d/1gTY-AqJcliGfUNgGmVVlEPz_0krPVa4pBvRgLUcdae4/edit?usp=sharing
    Everglades 2020 Part 2 https://docs.google.com/document/d/1sTKDpPVr_eDmfQ47hlcR-Wvukd4PukQOZyqW_fx8BFg/edit?usp=sharing

    I didn't do much to the boat to adapt it. New main with square top to increase area and two sets of reef points. Slightly oversized furling jib. New standing rigging. Additions to the hiking straps to make them more effective and to tie down gear. Small asymmetrical spinnaker...

    So the good:
    Fast: Sustained 10 to 14 knots with ideal conditions.
    Handles waves well: easy motion in swell except when close hauled in large waves.
    Unlikely to swamp: barring structural failure, almost impossible.
    Stable: Rarely needed the trapeze due to the ability to reef.

    The bad with proposed changes:

    Wet: Obviously and cold, even for a Canadian given enough saltwater dousing.
    Once I put a raincoat over my drysuit, it was a lot more comfortable. Good offshore gear is probably the lightest and most efficient way to offset this. Some competitors had Jetboils that they could use underway. I could see hot drinks helping to keep me going longer; maybe just bring a thermos. I'm also exploring putting on hiking wings that would give me a bit of elevation over the water.
    Besides me, the constant dousing was hard on equipment. I want to put inspection hatches in the hulls amidships so that I can get some of the gear off the tramp. Currently, there are 4" ports near the transoms that make it difficult to access the hull for gear storage.
    No good storage access: mentioned above. I had considered building rectangular hatches that would be much easier to use, but I feel like simpler is going to be better for something critical like this.
    Could not make progress to windward in big waves: This is more of a tactical issue. Many of the boats this year waited on the beach for headwinds and waves to calm down. If I hadn't made some rookie mistakes, I wouldn't have been out in those conditions. Besides, unless you're Randy Smythe, you have to sleep sometime. Perhaps it's a matter of refining my trapeze gear and technique, but I didn't feel comfortable trapezing in big waves. Hiking wings will help.

    The other idea I'm exploring is increasing the beam either by finding a mast section that fits or splicing the existing beams. I normally keep the boat at a club, so more prep time to trailer isn't a big deal to me. Faster speed while sailing solo is attractive, but maybe the wings will accomplish that more simply and cheaply

    No pedal power for calms: This wasn't much of an issue this year, but it can be. I've gotten some advice from Rick Willoughby and have started on a design. My initial intention was to build it on a beam spanning the hulls in front of the fore beam, but I think I'd bury the beam and drive unit too much up there. New plan to mount a drive over one side. The stand up paddleboard paddle was effective, but not for long distances.
    Unreliable rudder kick up: I think this is just a tuning issue.
    Not as weatherly as a board boat: The lack of daggerboards is a mixed blessing. I couldn't point as high, but I didn't have to worry about jamming one into the sand at high speed. I can live with it.
    Hard to beach: Although advertised to weigh 300 lbs, the narrow hulls really seem to dig into the sand for launching and beaching. I used an anchor to kedge up and down. PVC pipe or boat rollers would have helped a lot.
    Capsize recovery: I've tested this out in snarky conditions with good results. Then I added a heavier square top sail and strapped bags to the tramp, so I don't know where I stand with this. More testing this summer. Possibly a righting pole, or righting bag. Masthead floats are common on EC boats, partly to keep the mast from auguring into a shallow bottom.

    Part of my talking out loud here is trying to decide if I would be better off looking for a different boat. I bought the boat before I had heard of R2AK, which is something I would like to do at some point. After investing in new sails, I'm hesitant to switch boats now. Small trimarans like a Strike 18 look to me like a boat that I could still manhandle on the beach and maintain a faster average speed. Or maybe build some more street cred on the Everglades course and crew with someone else who already owns a bigger boat...
  2. Tiny Turnip
    Joined: Mar 2008
    Posts: 865
    Likes: 274, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 743
    Location: Huddersfield, UK

    Tiny Turnip Senior Member

    Fwiw here is video of my dart 18 converted entirely to pedal power using 2 seacycle units. They do kick up, and would be easily removable from their cradles when sailing. We manage 4+ knots all day. 5+ flat out. What to do with the seat(s) when when sailing is another thing. They are not cheap, even second hand reconditioned. And yes the Dart hulls are a nightmare to pull up a sandy beach. My next pedal powered boat will be flat bottomed.

  3. upchurchmr
    Joined: Feb 2011
    Posts: 3,287
    Likes: 259, Points: 83, Legacy Rep: 579
    Location: Ft. Worth, Tx, USA

    upchurchmr Senior Member

    Wish I could help.
    I really like boards on boats, the wings seem like a great idea.
    No idea how to keep dry, unless you build a main hull and use the dart hulls as aka's.
    Even then it will just be a little bit better.

    Your trip down the coast makes you more of an expert than anyone I know.

    Is the Dart boomless? The loss of control for choosing the twist of the main isn't my choice if so.

  4. Jeff96
    Joined: Apr 2020
    Posts: 2
    Likes: 0, Points: 1
    Location: Ontario, Canada

    Jeff96 New Member

    The dart is boomless. I find I can haul the twist out pretty well under full sail, but not as well reefed.
    I like the sea cycle. Those seats could stay as they are for sailing I think. I wonder if they would sponsor a boat at the next EC
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