Last weekend we did an "international" trip. Me, my son and my partner's son went to Sebana Cove in Malaysia
. Sebana Cove is about 11 miles as the crow flies but there is an island (Tekong) that needs to be circumnavigated so the all up distance according to the GPS
is 15 miles with the last few miles up a river.
We left around 9:30 after immigration and boat clearance at the club. The wind
was up really nice but unfortunately it was right on the nose and we were also beating against the tide. We made a few tacks and I realized that most of the ground made was lost
due to the tide so in order to have any chance of making it in a reasonable amount of time I fired up engine
and motorsailed the first leg of about 5 miles.
After the turn we had a good 5 mile run on a close haul to the river mouth, then doused the genny and motor
sailed the last bit again. Arrival procedures were as simple as dropping our passports at the marina office and telling them when we were leaving (the next day).
We were meeting up with some friends and their boys coming back from Tioman and they had already arrived. The boys acted like it was old home week and disappeared into the jungle, went fishing
and what not. Saturday night we joined the Sebana Cove yachties BBQ dinner. Basically the hotel
does a BBQ and the Yachties all get a joint table. It was quite pleasant and a fair amount of Captain
morgans disappeared as the night progressed.
We fooled around Sunday morning had breakfast and a swim and so on. We collected our passports and hit the river at around 11:30AM.
The ride out the river mouth was again a motor
sail but as soon as we hit the opening we were close hauled with full sail. The wind
increased steadily throughout the early afternoon and before we made the corner were were in pretty heavy stuff. We were close hauled and the heel angle was getting pretty big. We were also pounding through some 4-5 foot mixed swell. I had furled the genny short and about 2 miles from the corner I ended up furling
it all the way in and firing up the engine
About 1 mile from the corner the wind was whipping the tops of the swells and we were definitely in 25-30knot winds. The swell was very choppy and coming from multiple directions due to the number of obstructions (breakwaters and islands). There was a pretty good sized set of thunderstorms off the port bow but I was pretty sure we would turn downwind before I reached them. I considered that I was sailing solo as neither of the boys is competent crew especially for the seas we were in. To this point the boys were having a blast sitting at the bow and pounding with the waves and getting wet. However, discretion is the better part of valor, so I put 2 reefs
in the main as I pressed the last mile to the corner and called the boys into the cockpit
We ended up getting a lot of water
but the cockpit
stayed dry except for some spray. Throughout the whole last 2 miles we maintained between 3.5-4.5 knots under sail and motor and I think making good headway caused us to crash the waves a bit but also kept the boat under positive control.
With plenty of wave crashing we finally made the corner and turned downwind. With only the main up with 2 reefs
set and the engine at 2,000 rpm
I saw 7.8 knots on the gps
. Travelling with the swell, the tide and the wind the boat action dropped tremendously and as we weren't perfectly downwind we just got that downwind rolling motion as the swells passed us by.
The thunderstroms in the area disippated over the next 40 minutes and the boys were allowed back up to the foredeck as I unreefed the mainsail
. I contemplated setting the genny and dousing the engine but the right sail would have been the spinnaker
and at this point I figured I had had my sailing adventure for the weekend, We ended up motorsailing the last 3 miles and as we got close to the club the cats were out loving the fresh wind.
These were the biggest conditions I had been in single
handed. I was very mindful of working on deck
the main. I got the boys in as soon as I decided to reef the main and definitely didn't want to go over the side without competent crew with me.
I don't know if I would have done anything differently. I didn't feel in trouble or in a panic at any time. I also feel getting rid of sail and using the engine are viable options and the prudent choice. The wind was from the port side and there was an island on the starboard side. I always felt that if the engine quit I would just roll into a starboard tack and drive away from the island to get some sea room.
You don't always get to choose your weather
and I feel that I learned a fair amount this last weekend. Certainly I am a lot more confident in our rigging
since we had all the standing and running rigging
replaced. I wasn't too concerned about breaking anything. I also am glad we repropped the boat. The new prop gives plenty of push and i could really feel it doing it's thing as we crashed through the waves. That was a good modification.
Oh - yeah - tie everything down - LOL. Just about everything ended up on the cabin
floor and the cooler (which was already on the floor) ended up upside down dumping 1 1/2 inches of ice water
. Took me about an hour to clean it all up after we got back, ha!
Good fun! Comments welcome!