A whole lot of firsts when getting an F16

A whole lot of firsts when getting an F16 – Words by Adam Hughes.

As promised the second instalment of the real story of a new F16 owner.

Firstly lets the set scene. The sailors:Mr20 my middle son 190cm and 87kg the athlete in the family Mr10 you have met him before a mild mannered kid that is a closet adrenaline junkie. Miss10 (No not twins) my dirt bike loving, horse riding, AFL playing daughter. Ms Amazing, my martial artist and horse riding partner that gets sea sick. The mum of Miss 10We are located on the Fraser Coast and our future club will be Hervey Bay Sailing Club.

Hervey Bay is an interesting location. For those not familiar with the area the bay is a massive body of water and what makes it unusual is that the bay faces north (Not east as one would expect) Its shallow with a smattering sand bars and reefs throughout and in peak times the tide can run up to 4 meters. When the boat arrived (I had to get it freighted due to Covid restrictions) the first impressions were that it’s quite a chunky robust looking platform and the hulls are really tall.

We were unaware of the exact day the the boat was arriving so Ms Amazing and I had planned to help the father in-law paint the other house on the property on the weekend. The boat arrived the Friday night before we were meant to start. The next day I said to Ms Amazing is it alright if I go and play with the boat for a bit and come and help you paint later, she is amazing, so of course she was ok with that.

The boat arrived completely stripped and I starting piecing it together with what in the sail box.The previous owner was kind enough to send the assembly manual with the boat but hey I know boats I wont be needing the manual. I was messing around with the boat for 4 1/2 hours. My there was a lot too learn. Needless to say I never helped with the painting that day.

I left the mast up over night and read the manual over a few beers to make sure that I was getting things right. The next day I spent another few hours getting things right and packing away the boat. I never did any painting that week end.

A few of the unusual things I found was the mast hoisting system, the hidden under the tramp stuff and the absolutely minimal use of shackles clips and pins. The mast caught me off guard. I proceed as you would with the mast out the stern running the wires and I even remembered the spinnaker halyard. (see i know boats). Hang on a minute the mast rotation wont let me pin the mast step WTF? Better look at the manual “oh I see” so I need to spin the mast, pin it and the raise it. I used Mr20 to assist with a tug on the traps and it was up. This worried me. If I was sailing with Mr10 or Miss10 I will have to do almost everything by myself and how would I get the mast up solo? I have since been raising the mast from the bow at about 45 degrees to the front beam. I use the trailer to support the top, attach the fore stay and the closest sidestay then use the spinnaker halyard tied the other side stay mount. I pull this tight as the mast goes up it secures the mast if something gets caught. If there is a breeze blowing all this can be done solo with minimal strength required.

Mr10 and I have gone out once, the weather was light 5 knots and below, this was a hassle free sail as you could imagine. We flew the kite and got used to how things work and started explaining a few things to the young fella. The only thing I really noticed was how straight they track and that there was plenty of room for us both. I am wondering is what works best for the jib. I asked him how he found it and he said “it would be better if there was more wind”. I’ll call that a win.

Mr20 and I went out the next week with a forecast of 10-15 knots from the south. Great lets go out and see what happens in a bit of breeze? (Mr20 has never sailed before) When we got the boat it had 2 sets of trap wires but only one set of hook in ring and ropes I had an old harness. Me being tight said “that will do for the moment as we don’t know if the kids will stick to it so I wont buy them yet”

In 15 knots if we are under kite the crew will need to be out the back (I’ve watched you-tube) and I’m sure we will be able to hang on. I never gave Mr20 a brief of what to expect or how to trap he’s 20 he should know. (Father of the year NOT). We got on the water and because of a southerly being offshore in Hervey Bay we had no idea how hard it was blowing. A few adjustments later we were having fun scooting around the bay and had Mr20 on the wire. I wasn’t really concentrating on the way the boat was going as I was explaining stuff to Mr20 we were kind of sailing to windward but not close hauled.

A 20+ knot gust was coming through that was lifting, I got Mr20 to move closer to the rear of the boat the boat was starting heal and dig the nose in a lot (No big deal just luff up) I gave the helm a handful. A handful is so not needed on these boats, the boat crashed down Mr20 lost his footing and washed over the stern = bringing the boat over with him and smashing off the tiller ext in the process. A diagonal backwards capsize.

Righting the boat was easy. When up the boat took off and started sailing again. (Forgot to release the jib duh and they track really well) This added to the challenge of climbing back on such a tall boat combine a shoulder reconstruction from a few years ago it was a tough exercise. Dad was up on the boat first while Mr20 the athlete needed a hand up from his old man. We continued on for a bit but Mr20 was a bit rattled.

While packing up I explained “that was probably the worst thing that happens with these boats and look you survived and and you are in one piece”. “How awesome was it?” After a big moment of reflection “Yeah dad it was pretty awesome” with a great big smile on his face and some impressive bruises on his body he had a good experience. The new traps and harnesses have been purchased.

In the next week Miss10 and Ms Amazing are scheduled for a call up wonder how they will go??

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