I have written before about the pros and cons for me of using the Radial rig in such posts as Random Radial Ramblings in 2010 and Egotist or Masochist or Manly Man earlier this year. And uber-sail-blogger yarg wrote the classic post on this topic Why Manly Men Never Use a Radial Sail. As you may detect from my posts, the older I get the more I am warming up to the idea of buying a Radial rig to use on windier days. There was one very windy, gusty, shifty day at Lake Massapoag this year when I was definitely overpowered in a full rig Laser and some of my friends in Radials were regularly beating me. Hmmm!
I still wasn't all that enthusiastic about the Radial as we set out on our adventure on the Bay of Fornells. I'm a big guy. I'm a manly man. Surely I will be too heavy for a Radial, I thought.
But I got a big surprise. I estimate the wind was actually about 15-18 knots. We sailed out of the bay and then sailed a long port tack close-hauled leg across towards the next headland where the instructors set up a race course for us. We sailed three informal windward-leeward races before heading back in. I was surprised to find that even although I was probably the heaviest sailor there (or maybe because of it) I was usually faster upwind than all the lighter sailors in Radials and could hold my own with them downwind. Hmmm!
And then the trip back to the mouth of the bay was a long starboard tack broad reach riding wave after wave after wave. It was a blast! I was faster than all the other Radial sailors on this leg too (probably because Kurt Taulbee at SailFit explained to me how to sail a reach properly a few years ago and I discovered I had been doing it all wrong for 25 years.)
Sheer Lasering pleasure! I can't remember ever having more fun in a Laser than I had that morning.
Would I have had even more fun in a full rig? Probably not.
Would I have actually been overpowered and struggling to keep up in a full rig? Possibly.
Some dude (who is not me) having way too much fun sailing a Radial
Correction - thanks to Anonymous 9:44 AM, October 28, 2014
That's actually a dudette called Marit Bouwmeester
I need new glasses
OK - this one really is a dude - a manly man
Scott Leith of New Zealand sailing in the 2010 Laser Masters Worlds
It was the best day of the holiday so far and it gave me new respect for the Radial rig, and left me thinking I really should get one when I got home.
I think I had a very large beer for lunch (probably with a very large tuna roll too) and was very likely babbling away to anyone who would listen about what a great experience I had had in the morning.
Manly men sail Radials!