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Wisconsin racing begins!

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  • Wisconsin racing begins!

    I think it's fair to say that this past weekend marked the real start of blokart racing in Wisconsin. We had two nicely windy days and explored our new favorite site near Delavan. Hopefully we will secure official permission to sail there soon, and get the NABSA insurance for it.

    Saturday we had S to SE winds of about 11-13 kn, gusting to 18 kn at times. We sailed a number of races on an oval course about 500 feet (150 m) long. The two legs were roughly a close-reach/beat and a broad-reach. Wayne Schmiedlin, Jim Nordhaus, and I sailed a number of informal races. Interestingly, the fastest cart was a beater frame from the east-coast and a really used sail from Go Land Sailing

    Sunday saw higher winds, S to SSW at 13-18 kn, gusting into the mid-20's regularly. Kyle Metzlof, new blokart owner Ken Ametani, Wayne, and Geoff setup their blokarts. John Scott stopped by (in his custom street-legal Indy car!) to give the blokart a try, too. As the "lightweights" Ken and Wayne put up 3.0m sails. I wimped out and also set a 3.0m sail for most of the day. Kyle put up his 4.0m with fiberglass top-sections and his POD. After sailing around the lot for a while and trying a couple of course layouts, we finally ended up with ~1100 foot (335m) windward-leeward course and ran a couple of races. John and Kyle, sailing the 4.0m and POD, quickly pulled ahead of the pack. Wayne and I ended up very closely matched in speed, despite a significant difference in body mass. Go figure!

    Kyle had to leave early, so Wayne and I shortened the course to about 950 feet (290m) and ran a number of informal races. At the end of the day I finally "manned up" and put up the 4.0m. I discovered that when tacking upwind and gybing downwind (compared with close-reaching) the extra power was no problem for me. Strangely, my upwind speed (against Wayne and his 3.0) was no faster with the 4.0m than it had been earlier when I was sailing the 3.0. Downwind I was faster on the couple of laps we tuned together, but I think that was a result of catching a couple of good blasts, rather than any major speed difference.

    Kyle posted a couple of photos and a short video on our club's Facebook page, and I posted my GPS tracks from the two races along with tracks when I was sailing the 4.0m rig (and going more for speed that VMG...).

  • #2
    Wow I just looked at the short video you put up on FB..........I want to try this thing you guys call "Land sailing" looks like fun but a wipe out looks like it could be painfull!!


    • #3
      Originally posted by war dog View Post
      ... a wipe out looks like it could be painfull!!
      Actually capsizing pretty much a non-event - as long as you remember to "keep your hands and feet inside the ride"!
      All that happens is the kart slides to a stop on the mast and you're hanging by the seatbelt. If you reach out, you'll get a nice "road rash" on your hand (and maybe abrade a hole in the sail if you push on it while you're sliding).

      Hitting something head-on could be unpleasant, though.
      I used to wear a bike helmet; these days I put on the full-face down-hill helmet I wear while iceboating.


      Geoff S.


      • #4
        It's only painful if you put your arms out. I have crashed a few times and you are on the front/back wheels and the masthead.

        There is a group in Reno that sails quite a bit and I am down in the Ventura Area.

        You gotta get out the the dry lake beds to really appreciate these things, though a big parking lot can be fun.

        visit to look at some good videos and here is my picasa site with blokart and 2.4mR sailing


        • #5
          More racing around Madison

          A couple of weeks ago we had a great day of informal racing with seven blokarts in the lot of a local technical college. Racers were: Ken Ametani, the Hearn clan: Daniel, Frankie, and Sheridan, Kyle Metzlof, Jim Nordhaus, Wayne Schmeidlin, Geoff Sobering, and Wes Wilcox:
          The course was about 485 feet (148m) long. A couple of islands (with overhanging trees) at the windward end made things a bit tough. Choosing your path tacking/gybing through them was key to success in the races. Sometimes if you rounded tight on the leeward pin with good speed you could catch a lift and sail right up the right-hand edge of the course to the corner next to the windward mark. Similarly, if you hooked-up on a good puff at the windward mark you could ride it right down the left side of the course without gybing:Later in the afternoon we had to move west to a lot with less traffic . It had more islands and wind-blocks, and we couldn't get a decent course setup...

          Last Sunday we had a number of good races in another lot on the near west-side of Madison. Ken Ametani, Kyle Metzlof, Jim Nordhaus, Wayne Schmeidlin and his nephew Brian, and Geoff Sobering traded off in the five blokarts we had on the line.
          The course was almost a perfect 400 foot (120m) windward-leeward with very few obstructions. The wind was variable 10-20 kn and shifty, which made keeping moving in the lulls and getting to the next puff and accelerating in it right away critical elements to success. Everybody put up 4.0m sails, although by the end of the day the wind diminished a bit an heavy guys might have been better off with a 5.5m with fiberglass top-sections to help power through the lighter bits.
          Curiously, one of the fastest karts in the fleet is a $440 3-digit serial-number chassis from eBay, a ragged $100 4.0m sail from Nevada, and a stock fiberglass mast. Go figure!

          Iceboating season is starting soon (the first regatta in in MN next weekend), but I hope we'll keep racing on land whenever there isn't ice!


          Geoff S.
          US 56 BB/DN US-5156/Laser 145234


          • #6
            The ice is disappearing... Time to head out to the parking lots!

            The guys in Minnesota got (one last?) weekend of iceboating in, but around the Madison area there wasn't anything... Except lots of wind!

            Most of us were too buys/lazy to get out, but Wayne couldn't resist. He checked out the parking lot at a recently closed supermarket. There is a hill to the south, but the SW wind over the weekend wasn't badly affected.
            It looks pretty clear from every direction except south to south-east.

            Another nice thing about the lot is that it was build before the current craze of dividers with curbs, so there is nothing in the middle and just a couple of light poles.

            There are a couple of more photos at:


            • #7
              Some more photos from yesterday:
              (click on the image to go to the album)


              • #8
                Here's a video from the parking lot.
                Sorry for the lame music; just turn the volume down. The recorded sounds were just distracting.