|Hull Wt:||115 lbs.|
UPDATE - November 1999
Having now sailed the MX-Ray for one entire season, an update seems appropriate.
Around these parts, docks have been taken out for the winter and most Western PA sailors have long since packed up their boats. While they dream of next spring I am still having my Ray out by the Lake ready to fly. And so it was yesterday afternoon, Nov. 9th, 1999. It was an incredible 74 degrees. As a cold front approached from the north west, a southerly breeze of 15 - 25 knots created an almost eerie atmosphere at Lake Arthur. There was no holding me back.
As it turned out, winds were actually puffing AT LEAST 25 with many higher gusts. I had developed quite a bit of experience and become very comfortable sailing the Ray in 15 to 20 knots. 25 knots however was a few notches above what I had managed before. In general I continue to be amazed by the stable design of this tiny craft when winds really kick up more than most weekend dinghy sailors would brave willingly.
With adrenaline pumping, I launched and flew on a beam reach faster than I could have imagined. Once I got out of the wind shadow of the launching area, white caps got whipped off horizontally and you really had to ride the waves in order to maintain the balance on the beam.
I was reluctant to launch the kite because I wanted to work myself upwind first. At 25 knots, this is no easy task. I also was concerned about the acceleration factor which at this wind speed might have been too much to hang on to.
I was not making much upwind headway, all the while enjoying ridiculously fast reaches. But then, winds finally let up a bit and I quickly beat myself upwind. While winds were still 10-15 I hoisted the kite. As I got underway at a swishing clip, winds once again began to swell and build until they unleashed themselves into an unbridled blowout of at least 30 + knots judging by the looks of the waves.
I had already experienced some awesome thrills on the MX, but I must admit that I had never reached this sort of peak speed before. The puff virtually lifts you and the boat up as if by invisible hands so that you almost seem to gain "lift off" speed with only the tail and rudder screaming through the waves leaving that famous MX-wake. (a wake you never really see because you are already too far ahead)
After hiking out for two and a half hours under envelope pushing conditions, my entire body had that happy aching feeling to tell me that such exhilaration comes at the price of real physical work.
Fair winds to all visitors from sunny Western PA in November '99!