Originally Posted by wristwister
Great videos, thanks for posting
those. Just out of curiosity, what sort of speed over water
were you clocking with just that handkerchief of a jib
I was thinking of playing with the Tartan out of Anacortes on Saturday, but then chickened out. Probably wise, as I couldn't find crew
brave enough to go out there with me. Instead, I took the Columbia out on Lake Union in Seattle
. Much calmer, but still plenty of opportunity to sink the rails.
We started out with great intentions and were flying the full #4 for a while and hitting 8 knots. Normally my boat will surf beautifully under #3 and full main in 35 knots of wind which is what we started with. But that's the limit and the boat will be at the edge of control due to too much power. But since this was expected to be more of a gale than the typical 25 - 35 we decided not to put up the main and to go with only the #4.
The thing about sailing in the San Juans vs out in the Strait is that in the Islands you can get fierce violent gusts that don't happen out in the open spaces of the Straits. Getting hit by one of those under full working sail could quickly become disastrous and striking the full main a real chore.
It's important to know the nature of the gale you are playing with and how your boat responds. So that's a long way of saying we were taking it easy.
As the wind built up we rolled up the jib progressively while still making 6 - 8 knots. But when we got into the pinch point and the big gusts came we started getting some alarming shaking in the rig and since my recently rebuilt backstay cylinder apparently doesn't work I couldn't tension the headstay to get it to stop oscillating. So rather than lose the mast
and hear a lifetime of "I told you so's from the peanut gallery" I rolled the jib way up and sheeted it in hard. At that point we're essentially bare poled and when the gusts went away our speed would drop to about 3 knots.
It's important to point out that there was a strong incoming current
so we were making really good time over the land. That's why the sea is so strangely flat for such strong winds. Our total time from Watmough Bay to Eco Bay was 5 hours which is perfect because that's a day of sea time.
This kind of sailing isn't about bravery. It's about experience, preparation, and planning. Trying to get your boat out of the marina Saturday morning would have been poor planning. The best idea is to be on a buoy the night before so all you have to do is slip the lines to get out.
Everything about your boat topside and below needs to be dialed in. This is not the time to find out you've stowed something improperly or you have some issue with equipment
. Absolutely without question do not attempt to tow a dinghy
in such conditions. That full cockpit
enclosure? You'll come to regret having that if it doesn't just blow away. Kayaks on deck
? Bad Juju....
I always plan ahead based on the forecast
and have been doing a detailed study of wind events
in this area for a number of years so a lot of what I do is based on experience and data. While the rest of the world seems surprised by the ferocity of this storm I'm not. I've learned through my own mistakes
and years of experimenting to give this area a healthy respect. Being a little bit afraid of what could happen is a good thing.