Here on the Chesapeake Saturday was a day like you described. I had gone out racing
aboard a Beneteau
40.7. It was challenging conditions with shifty winds but we won cinching the Annapolis
Fall series in our class. It was a tough series and we entered the last race
tied for first.
But Sunday was a gut buster. I went out on Sunday by myself. I had considered dropping the 140% from the furler
and putting up the blade that I like to use in the winter but after a little thought decided to stick with what was on the stay. Going out was a broad reach and I found myself power reaching southward past the South River some 12 miles south. Almost immediately the wind
began to build. On the big gusts, now over 20 knots, I would turn down and burn off the force of the wind
. I was staying at speeds around 9 knots and scorching off speeds in the biggest gusts in the low to mid 10's. The knotmeter
showed the high speed of the day at 10.8 knots but I was not watching the knot
meter at the time.
By the time I turned to come home it was blowing pretty solidly near 20 true with gusts into the mid 20 kt range and the highest observed gust of the day just below 30 knots. The genoa
was too large to beat into that much wind so I furled it. I considered a peel but I was feeling too lazy after the prior days thrashing. Initially the furler
jambed but eventually I was able to free it by reducing halyard
and backstay tension. I had put a flattening reef into the mainsail
to help with the beat. The nice thing about a fractional rig is that they are pretty balanced beating under mainsail alone and I was staying the mid to high 7 knot
range most of the time so I really had little to complain about. About a third of the way home, there was an explosive boom like a shotgun going off onboard the boat and the mainsail went a little limp. At first I suspected the main halyard core
parting, but in a couple seconds I realized that the flattening reef line had parted. I had been suspicious of that line when I bought the boat and so had actually purchased a 45' remnant hank of line to replace it. The flattening reef line had parted aft of the turning blocks at the mast
and so I was able to rig a temporary tail to get me home where I then replaced it properly. All and all it was a great sail but very different than the peaceful fall sail that you clearly enjoyed. That is what I love about this sport...you never know what to expect but almost what ever comes along is bound to be a moving experience.