To the charge that sailing my Flicka upwind into 50 knots is "bs" - well, Yea, I said it was gusting over 40, and was a steady 30 to 35. It was a freak event, and several boats were blown ashore at Catalina
by the same wind - peak gusts elsewhere around LA (Passes and canyons) were over 70mph, and it hit from the northeast - a sudden "Santa Ana" wind from the desert that did not follow the characteristic pattern, and was very early and powerful in the season.
windspeed was measured at the USC information Sciences annemometer, which is located about 100 feet off the ground atop an office building - I do not know how exposed that anemometer is, or the effects of its hieght, nor am I in possesion of it's NIST certification
What I do know is that it consistently cross checks with my windspeed observations and measurements at sea, usually withing 4 or 5 knots - I figure its hieght makes up for its inland location - the wind usually blows harder at sea and from a slightly different direction due to less turbulance and obstruction.
Do some research
on Santa Ana winds - they are the most dangerous and unpredicatble gales for so-cal sailors, and they frequently attain hurricane
force - out of a clear blue sky - and they are gusty, making things even more difficult. The Pardeys wrote somewhere about upper Newport
bay experiencing 90 mph gusts.
They flip Semis and campers on the freeways, blow down powerlines, tear roofs off houses, and wreak other havock inland. They fan massive brushfires - some of which have burnt for over a month. There was a famous one that hit a fleet of crusiers out in the channel islands back in the 70ies around Thanksgiving - dozens of boats were lost
, something like 80 people had to be rescued, and normally calm anchorages
had 6 foot breaking waves and hurricane
force winds blowing into them. Peak gusts were over 80mph at San Miguel Island, and these are not "rare" events
in season, they happen quite regularly out here in the winter.
I never bullshit.
You must keep the main up to move upwind in a Flicka without horrendous leeway. Without a jib
up, the situation is even worse - she will not go to weather reliably, and certainly wont tack - you really need both sails up and drawing to keep moving to windward.
....and self tailing
winches are liability when trying to short tack up the center channel of MDR's main fairway, and they are a liability when you need to quickly ease the sheets
- I have the "winchers" semi self tailers on my primary winches, and only use them to help retrieve my stern anchor
....and dont get me started on roller furling
. Talk about "Making your boat less seaworthy".... I like to have the right headsail of the proper wieght and cut hanked on and drawing for the conditions and point of sail, and I like the fact my sails come down instantly if I blow the halyard
, and I have no fear of my foredeck - just a healthy respect for it, netted liflines, jacklines
, and a dozen additional handholds on the way out there for insurance
Downwind, a prudent skipper
dowses a Flicka's main when the apparent wind exceeds 20 knots, because the main tends to cause broaching, and is no longer needed for driving her - trust me - I've hit 8 knots surfing down waves with just a 110 jib
up and the main dowsed and secured. She only draws 3' and she has a soft wine-glass bilge
- this makes her initially tender
, and ultimately stiff, but she likes to roll guwale to gunwale dead downwind unless managed correctly - with a small jib sheeted flat amidships your best bet downwind when it starts pushing 30 knots apparent - where she will weathercock and runoff with the helm
lashed, and the jib will reduce her rolling, and blow the bow off if she tries to round up or down while surfing.
My ST2000 tiller pilot cant sort things out on a dead run under such conditions - tends to zig when it should zag leading to some rather scary moments.
We'll see how the x-5 I just installed handles it, but really,
The old outboard
was only marginally effective when the seas kick-up on ANY point of sail, and outboards are vulnerable back there to all sorts of mischief.
In short, she's a squirely boat downwind, and is at her best broad reaching and jibing under headsail alone while hand steering
off the wind when it gets ugly.
I'm ordering a series drouge just in case I manage to get caught out in anything where bare poles are too much downwind, or storm sails upwind, but really: I will do my very best to avoid such scenarios, and I dont see how a motor - in board, outboard
, gas, electric
, Deisel, or all of the above will be of much use in anything other than a panicked attempt to bail out of anchorage with all my sails bagged and stowed, and it sounds iffy even then....
There's the 225 feet of chain spliced to another 240 feet of nylon, the Rockna 10, and windlass
upfront, alowiing 10:1 scope
in 40 feet of water, or 5:1 in 80 - and an Fortress
FX 16 and rode
in the bilge
, another Fortress
FX 7 on the stern, and a 16lb bruce in the cockpit
locker - all with dedicated 250 foot long 1/2" brait rodes, chain leaders, and hours of practice on my part setting and retrieving them - as a last resort.
Remeber - its a SAIL boat. It was designed to SAIL, and its design dates back to the 1840s, where the lifes of the fishermen who sailed it depended on it's sailing - not motoring - abilities.
....Now a modern J boat with roller furling
, a flat bottom, balanced spade rudder
, and high aspect keel
, spindly rig, and unbalanced sail plan designed to some silly racing rule
is another animal completely -
Then, I'd want the biggest engine I could shoehorn into her bilge for when the furler
jambs in a gale, and her bow is doing the old IOR submarine dance, 'cuase hell if I'm going out on THAT fordeck in a blow....