Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 20-08-2007, 05:39   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 5
The Stress Free Life of Sailing

Forget it. Picture this….

We are sailing along the African coast, one hundred miles out to sea and heading towards Cape Verde, still about 800 miles away. It is around midnight. The sliver of moon has already set, it is black all around but it is possible to just make a distinction between the sea and the night sky.

We can also see and hear the white wave crests as when they get close to the boat, some curl over and break. The wind has increased to about 25 knots with gusts to over 30.

It is Lorna’s watch but I do not think it wise to leave her alone, in charge of this galloping 18 ton monster, in these conditions. Needless to say the conditions were nowhere as bad an hour ago, while it was my watch. We still have all the canvas up, full main and spinnaker. How much stronger is it going to get. All the forecasts were for light winds. Surely this must be as rough as it gets and we and the boat are coping fine. We are doing over 9 knots with surges up to about 12. There is a constant roar of the water as the transoms leave their florescent white trails behind. It is impossible to talk normally, we have to shout. The CD has been switched off long ago or else we just cannot hear it from the helm stations.

We saw a ship on radar it is about 7 miles back, we can just make out the lights at the top of the swells. It has been there for about four hours now and not gaining on us. We need to keep an eye on it though because we do want it to come crashing into our transom.

The wind increases a little, the swells are very steep, they are close together with deep troughs in between. The boat seems to be going up a hill, then comes the black run with boat’s nose facing steeply down and we accelerate a few more knots.

Exhilarating stuff, while all is under control. It becomes a bit of a concern when some big waves come through along with an increase in wind speed. The boat starts racing down the face of the wave (along with my heart) it slews to the left, the rudders are hard over to the right and the boat is not responding, will they bite in time or is there going to be a catastrophe. At what seems to be the last moment the boat starts heading in the right direction – each time this happens I feel the adrenalin rush. I do not want to give Lorna any indication that I was not completely in control of the boat.

Here comes the next one, at least the wave caught the transoms square on, the boat surges forward. The boat and sails have one idea and the rudders have another if the boat goes a few degrees off course. I have to keep this finely balanced while clinging to the wheel to keep my balance. The whole boat is shuddering, the rudders are vibrating – it is not just me. The noise! It sounds as if fire hoses are directed full blast, squarely onto the hulls. We are doing 16 knots, our top speed so far. I would not choose to do this at night and certainly not in the wind and swell that currently prevails.

Enough! Lets get this spinnaker down. We still have most of our round the world trip ahead of us and we do not want to break anything now. We switch on the deck light. I clip my safety harness to the coach roof and proceed gingerly to the foredeck. The boat heaves from side to side and lurches up and down under my feet.

I grab the downhaul for the spinnaker sock and signal Lorna to release the sheet. I haul away and under much flapping and strain I get the sail covered with the sock. Lorna opens the forward hatch from inside the boat to retrieve and stow the sail while I release the halyard. Lorna also retrieves half the ocean as a wave crashes into the hull and buckets water into the boat. Having a shower under these conditions is not a pleasant thing.

My heart now pounds at normal pace as the wind starts easing and the boat is easier to control. The ship behind eventually catches up and passes us less than a mile to starboard. Your watch Lorna, I’m off to bed.


Intended next stop... South Africa ETA a few months No communication possible till then

James
reposted from : The Stress Free Life of Sailing - Sailing around the world - by James Wilding
__________________

__________________
cjwilding is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20-08-2007, 06:07   #2
Moderator Emeritus
 
GordMay's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario - 48-29N x 89-20W
Boat: (Cruiser Living On Dirt)
Posts: 31,579
Images: 240
James and Lorna are currently sailing around the world on "Mind the Gap", their 47ft Nautitech catamaran.
Lots of excellent narratives & photos on their excellent web-log:
Sailing around the world - by James Wilding
__________________

__________________
Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"



GordMay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20-08-2007, 07:14   #3
Registered User
 
Strygaldwir's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Deale, Maryland
Boat: SeaView - Privilege 37
Posts: 1,020
Images: 5
Wow! Spinnacher up in 25 knot winds!!

I would have definately been concerned about a whole host of "bad" things happening. Least of which would have been blowing out my spinnacher.
__________________
Strygaldwir is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20-08-2007, 07:40   #4
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,594
Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay
James and Lorna are currently sailing around the world on "Mind the Gap", their 47ft Nautitech catamaran.
Lots of excellent narratives & photos on their excellent web-log:
Sailing around the world - by James Wilding
Lets all hope that they learn to reduce sail a tad sooner.
__________________
Randy

Cape Dory 25D Seraph
rtbates is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20-08-2007, 07:40   #5
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,594
Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay
James and Lorna are currently sailing around the world on "Mind the Gap", their 47ft Nautitech catamaran.
Lots of excellent narratives & photos on their excellent web-log:
Sailing around the world - by James Wilding
Lets all hope that they learn to reduce sail a tad sooner.
__________________
Randy

Cape Dory 25D Seraph
rtbates is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20-08-2007, 08:45   #6
CF Adviser
 
Intentional Drifter's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Pac NW
Boat: Boatless, for now, Cat enthusiast
Posts: 1,283
Their blog is excellent. James is a 3-time S. African sailing champion.

ID
__________________
Intentional Drifter

Observations are gold; hypotheses, silver; and conclusions, bronze.

Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.--Ben Franklin

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.--Daniel Patrick Moynihan
Intentional Drifter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20-08-2007, 15:59   #7
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 5
Thanks all for the kind comments and recomendations.

Just to explain who your writing to. I persuaded Mom and Dad (James and Lorna) to write their blog and I help them in its administration.

Actually there have been so many disasters which havent made it into the blog, these two were the only ones I could find.

Off the top of my head,
Anchoring on an ancient wreck (not yet marked on the charts)
Hitting the jetty (idiots not sticking to the no wake rule through a small channel in Saint Martin lagoon entrance)
Blowing the spinaker with 3000 odd miles left to Cape Town.

One I experianced first hand was in the middle of the Caribbean sea. There was no wind so we took down the main. At this point a couple of mast track cars drop thier bearings all over the deck, due to a faulty mast maintenance track section. We spend days if not weeks recovering these little bearings from every nook and cranny. At the same time someone notices the lake of water pressure in the taps. The water cylinder has shaken off its bracket after recieving a bashing via rough wave action, its dropped onto stop switch splits a pipe so all the water in the tank starts to run into the hull, the engine cooling is through the water cylinder so one engine is out. We change course for the nearest island and make repairs but for four tired sailors it wasn't the most stress free sailing ever.

Regards

Charles
__________________
cjwilding is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20-08-2007, 17:12   #8
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Tasmania
Boat: VandeStadt IOR 40' - Insatiable
Posts: 2,317
Images: 91
Learning to shorten sial before you need to shorten sail is probably the best lesson a sailor can learn (well, that and "stay inside the lines" )

I discovered this on the first night out on the delivery trip of my boat. 1 reef and #3 was way too much sail. Forecast was 20-25 but I saw 48knots on the wind insturments when we were running with the wind doing 15 knots. Frankly, a 23 year old 40' monohull isn't really designed to do 18 knots... which is waht we saw on the gps on more than 1 occasion. I have not been caught with too much sail since.
__________________
Weyalan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20-08-2007, 17:29   #9
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Lakeland, FL
Posts: 1,296
Having a spinnaker up in 25-30 kts is unheard of in the monohull world. By all accounts cats are superior downwind sailors, but this one is definitely a very cool boat.
__________________
slomotion is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20-08-2007, 17:40   #10
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Tasmania
Boat: VandeStadt IOR 40' - Insatiable
Posts: 2,317
Images: 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by slomotion
Having a spinnaker up in 25-30 kts is unheard of in the monohull world. By all accounts cats are superior downwind sailors, but this one is definitely a very cool boat.
Not true at all. We have a small 2.25oz spinnaker that is pretty much bulletproof. I wouldn't hesitate to carry this up to 30 knots if racing, fully crewed. I wouldn't bother if short-handed or crusing though. Most racing monos would do a similar thing.

Traditionally, although cats are great off the breeze, carrying a spinnaker downwind in a very big breeze has had more than it's fair share of problems - the dreaded "pitch-pole" being the cat sailor's worst nightmare.
__________________
Weyalan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20-08-2007, 18:22   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Lakeland, FL
Posts: 1,296
Hmmmmm - not sure what a 'small' spinnaker is. The only ones I am familiar with are huge and pretty much useless, dangerous, or likely to blow out in more than 15 kts. We're not racers although we are undefeated in handicapped yacht club racing ( 2,0!) - non-spinnaker cruiser class. We're retired and we're staying that way.
__________________
slomotion is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20-08-2007, 19:07   #12
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Nevada City. CA
Boat: Sceptre 41
Posts: 3,745
Images: 9
On a race boat. With someone else paying the bills 25 knots apparent is nothing to have the spin up. I've had it up in 40 knots and sailed quite comfortably. A little trick I learned was to "reef the chute." If you are going DDW what you do is let the pole forward so that instead of being as far back as it will go you have it halfway to the headstay. The chute is reefed b/c it is behind the main. From there you also keep the chute choked down tight using the lazy afterguy. From there you follow the wind down the waves keeping the boat headed DDW. As you get on a wave the apparent wind allows you to sail lower and lower. As you start to get off the wave the boat speed slows down and the apparent wind moves forward. You need to start bringing the boat up or else you will be sailing by the lee. Nothing I would try while cruising. On my own boat. Or without a very experienced crew that can recover from a wipe down quickly. But man was it fun.
__________________
Fair Winds,

Charlie

Between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea. Besides holding our hearts together through long periods of separation, it had the effect of making us tolerant of each other's yarns -- and even convictions. Heart of Darkness
Joseph Conrad
Charlie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20-08-2007, 19:56   #13
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Lakeland, FL
Posts: 1,296
Yikes, I have surfed a cruising boat (without a spinnaker) DDW at 8 -10 kts., but at that point I usually tried to find some angle to the wind to prevent burying the nose at the bottom of a trough. Maybe there's a bigger difference between bluewater boats or full-crewed racers and light-weight cruisers than I thought. But, you guys really scare me. My experience sailing DDW on cruising boats in strong winds/seas is that they can fishtail, slam, and generally become squirrelly. My wife and I are wimps and proud of it.
__________________
slomotion is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-08-2007, 03:06   #14
Moderator Emeritus
 
GordMay's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario - 48-29N x 89-20W
Boat: (Cruiser Living On Dirt)
Posts: 31,579
Images: 240
Quote:
Originally Posted by slomotion
... My wife and I are wimps and proud of it.
I’m fairly certain you’re not a "Window(s), Icon, Menu, Pointing Device", nor a “Weakly Interacting Massive Particle”, so you must be a:
Wise, Intelligent, Mature, Person.
__________________
Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"



GordMay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-10-2007, 22:35   #15
Moderator Emeritus
 
David M's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: San Francisco Bay
Boat: research vessel
Posts: 10,150
Quote:
Originally Posted by slomotion View Post
Having a spinnaker up in 25-30 kts is unheard of in the monohull world. By all accounts cats are superior downwind sailors, but this one is definitely a very cool boat.
That's when the racers have the most fun with their spinnakers on the SF Bay!
__________________

__________________
David M is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Life Raft Alternatives cal40john Health, Safety & Related Gear 4 06-02-2007 18:52
Yacht Charter Company Sunsail Earns "Outstanding" Award CaptainK The Library 0 10-04-2006 20:15
GELCOAT CRAZING (Part 1) GordMay Construction, Maintenance & Refit 5 24-05-2004 17:55



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 16:08.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.