Shakedown cruise, version 1

Well, the email to blog feature of my website provider doesn’t seem to work all the time. The text below was supposed to be first in line. Things may make more sense now 🙂

Shakedown cruise, version 1

It is time to spend time offshore for several days. Wednesday morning I left the marina mentally prepared to sail upwind in 15-25 kts, with the starboard ballast loaded. But it was not to be. It was blowing a mere 3-6 kts. I motored for a while trying to catch the offshore winds but ultimately abandoned the idea as I did not have much fuel. In the sloppy swell we were barely doing 3 kts with the genoa and full mainsail, not quite going West. Arguably I could have used a bigger headsail, such as the gennaker but I was still expecting a stronger breeze so decided against. It was a long morning.
For the first time, I moved weight around the boat, trying to get the weight of the sails above the keel. I think the French refer to this as “matossage”.
By noon I started seeing small and rare white caps on the horizon. All the while a couple of flies hitched a ride. Five minutes later we saw our first steady 10 kts of wind, and a sunfish. I don’t like knowing they’re around.
Last Sunday, sailing back from an overnight in San Francisco Bay, we hit one of these. It almost stopped us: we went from doing 8 kts to 2. We stayed like that for a few minutes, not sure what was going on. I decided to lift the hydrogenerator out of the water and that’s when we saw it drifting away. We only caught sight of its tail. The keel probably did not like the hit, and I’m sure so did the fish.
We came across a big cargo ship. My plan for this cruise is to sail past the shipping lane, then sail up North. After a few days I will turn around and sail back home.
By 1pm we were firmly in the offshore winds, seeing 13-17 kts now. Two more ships passed astern.
My ballast system is a little leaky, so I had to bail water out a few times. And I’m now in my salopette.
At 1:45 pm I decided to put one reef in the mainsail, still carrying the genoa, as we started seeing wind at at 18 kts. If it climbs above 20 it’ll probably be time to switch to the staysail.
We’re about 60 degrees off true wind, doing 7.9 kts. As usual the polars say that I should be doing a little more than 9 kts. I wonder if that’s because of sail choice, or things like sail trim, sail quality (the mainsail is old).
At 2:08pm batteries show 12.43 V (autopilot, AIS/VHF are on).
With the wind reaching into 20 kts I decided to drop the genoa. I turned downwind, dropped the sail, zipped itin the bag, and hoisted the staysail. Then came back to the wind. Of course the wind was only teasing me, and it remains under 20 kts. And so we’re down to 7+ kts of boat speed. The sea is much more choppy, and we’re banging quite a bit. The cockpit is getting wet every so often too.
I started feeling a little queasy. Wind continued to increase. We’re now in 30 kts, and I dropped to the third reef and staysail.
That’s it for now. Dinner time soon.

Author: Skipper

Wannabe circumnavigator.

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