16 October 2008


I haven't sailed much lately and won't this weekend despite two generous offers to go and my own sad algae-farm boat at the marina. So I'm digging back into the past for untold stories. This one is a story of changes. Sail changes.

We were maybe four days into the Terror-Inducing Calamitous Trans-Oceanic Sail of 2008 (otherwise known as the Pacific Cup) and I got a case of The Complaints. I was on watch, getting conflicting reports on whether I should be sailing 120 or 150 AWA. If I sailed too high, Captain Bossy complained and if I sailed too low Captain Inconsistent complained also.

Heck, in truth it wasn't his fault at all, it was the autopilot. At least that's who I blamed it on. Since an inanimate object can't really be the cause, it became dreadfully obvious, we had the wrong sails up.

At this point we were sailing with the genoa. We were probably overpowered since Otto just couldn't hold us at 120 with that sail up. So, we went to work changing the headsail to the butterflies. Wow, were they beautiful. The Genoa was stacked neatly on the weather rail. The butterflies were blue and shiny. And the foot flapped like crazy when you tried to hold 120. 130 was fine but not 120. That wouldn't work.

So the twins got furled and out came the big asymmetric. Wow, this sail had us moving, it could hold 120 and was perfect. Except that it was getting to be late afternoon and nobody really wanted to trim that bastard all night.

So it was time to douse the big guy and drop the twins and hoist the genoa again. Umm crap, that sounded like a lot of work. We decided to take the lazy route and just unfurl the twins and flop the weather side over and make a double-layer jib out of it. Nice, it holds 120 but a quick look at the speedo and we were about 1.5 knots slower than when we had the genoa out.

Here's the problem, the genoa weighs about 150 to 200 pounds and nobody but Phil could get the thing all the way to the top of the forestay without help. There were a lot of calculations about how much longer it would take to get to Hawaii losing 1.5 knots and finally, crap, we had to re-hoist the bastard. And be exactly where we started.

Except for one small item. My watch was now over; I killed a good hour and a half of my watch just in time to head down below and get some sleep. Another hard day's work.


Anonymous said...

Geeze. That sounds like fun. Makes me feel deprived with only one sail on my Laser.

EVK4 said...

don't you laser guys roll your sail around the mast in heavy winds or something? That's gotta take some work given you don't have bowman to do it for you.

Tillerman said...

No Edward. We roll the sail into the water in heavy winds. It can be done very quickly and is very effective in depowering the rig.