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News Story
Updated: 02/13/2014 03:47:34PM

A learning curve

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SUN PHOTO BY AL HEMINGWAY

Tom Ray readies the XL1, while Bob Hill makes final adjustments to the XL2, before heading out into the harbor Saturday, during Day Two of the fifth annual Charlotte Harbor Regatta, which continues today. For detailed race coverage, see Sports, page 1.

SUN PHOTO BY AL HEMINGWAY

Bob Hill and Chuck Taylor assembled the wing sails onto the 14-foot Laser boat prior to launching it Saturday.

By AL HEMINGWAY

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ON CHARLOTTE HARBOR — Chuck Taylor does not know how fast his boat will go when it sails for the first time in the Charlotte Harbor Regatta. For himself, Bob Hill and Tom Ray, it will be a learning curve.

Taylor’s 14-foot Laser vessel is distinctive — one of only two, named XL1 and XL2, that will be equipped with experimental foil wings — not the usual floppy sail. The Punta Gorda resident built the wing sails using carbon fiber, and they are extremely light, weighing just 8 pounds each. The total weight for each two-piece sail is 18 pounds, with 80 square feet of sail. At first, Taylor used 1⁄8-inch plywood two-by-fours and pine ribs to make them. That produced only 32 square feet of sail that weighed in at 50 pounds.

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