Sail Plan for a Storm

30 Nov

Through the night we had steady speeds, but not so high as the others. In a confused weather system, some will find wind, and some find less wind. I tried to force some extra sleep, as without the wind, there is little you can do to improve the speed.

In the back of everyone’s mind was the big blow forecast for tonight. And so early this morning I went forward and proceeded with the necessary sail changes. First, the genoa (our big, masthead, upwind sail) that was rolled up had to come down and be packed in its bag on deck. I did that and made a good packing job that I was proud of. Next the masthead gennaker was rolled up, unlocked from its lock at the top of the mast, and lowered and as it came down, I snaked it back and forth into its 12 foot long sausage bag. These maneuvers are big efforts as the boat is moving, the deck is moving, the sail is swinging over your head as you try to lower it slowly with one hand, and with the other hand, or more accurately, your entire body, guide it into place in the sausage bag. That gets zipped up one end to the other, and then there are cross lashings that one cinches as tightly as possible, to make the bag compact.

As I was sitting on deck, my feet up against the bag, and both hands pulling the cinch strop with my entire effort, I reminded myself of my friend John Aldridge, a lobsterman from New England, who had a handle break in the same posture, and he went sliding off the back of his lobster boat into the water, while his shipmate Anthony was off watch and asleep. I had my lifelines backing me up, but I was aware of the danger nonetheless. John’s story is amazing. Then I attached the storm jib halyard to the bag, hoisted it up vertically, and dropped it into the forepeak hatch, went into the hatch after it, and put it amidships, because I now had to hoist the smaller ‘fractional gennaker’ out of the hatch. So I unzipped its bag, got the head of the sail, pulled that out of the hatch, attached it to its halyard, and hoisted it a bit, before going back to the cockpit to unroll the solent jib so that we wouldn’t be ‘bareheaded’ (without any forward jib) while I got the fractional hoisted. Once that was up, I tried the locks, lock on, lock off, lock on, lock off, for confidence, and made marks on the mast of exactly where each occurred.

Returning to the cockpit, I rolled up the solent, and unrolled the fractional which zings as it unrolls at high speed, trimmed it in, and we were on our way.

In late morning, I put a reef into the mainsail, as with 20 knots of wind, we were hitting speeds of 20 knots, and later, when the breeze got up more, into the mid-20s, I put in our second reef. Then of course the wind dropped to 6 knots, but knowing that it would increase again, I decided to ride it out rather than expend the physical effort for a short-term effect by hoisting the mainsail again.

Position
33° 20’S x 10° 21’W
Course
105° True
Speed
13.0 knots
True Wind Speed
17.6 knots
True Wind Direction
346° True
Sail Plan
Main sail with 2 reefs, plus Fractional Gennaker
Air temperature
72° F / 22.2° C
Sea Temperature
80° F / 26.6° C

Winch Pedestal Revolutions (daily) Amp Hours: Alternator (total) Amp Hours: Solar (total) Amp Hours: Hydro (total) Amp Hours: Wind (total)
1542 1264 307 6265 937

This article was syndicated from Ship’s Logs | sitesALIVE!

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