Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Enroute to the Tuamotus - Day 11

Miles today: 118 Mile Behind Us: 1,234
Miles to go: 1,002 (approx 8 more days)
Wind ESE at 10-12 kt Seas ESE at 3-4'
Sailing SSE at 5kt - 1 reef in the main, staysail, 2/3 genoa

We had an absolutely gorgeous day aboard Soggy Paws. The wind has been 10-12 knots all day, the sky is mostly clear with no threatening clouds in the last 24 hours. This is the kind of passage-making that everyone dreams about! (and which actually happens oh-so-seldom!)

We spent a lot of the mid-day period today (when both Dave and I are awake) playing with sails. The wind is light, and we are still hard on the wind. We're trying to maximize speed and our pointing ability, while retaining comfort. As I told my friend who emailed me, kidding me about all my sail trimming ("You're not racing." he said), on a passage this long, the difference between 5 knots and 5.5 knots is 2 whole days!! And the difference between making a course of 160 degrees vs 165 degrees is possibly missing your destination by 200 miles.

You would think that after 15,000 miles, we would have it all down pat. But this point of sail--hard on the wind--is our least favorite, and we avoid it like the plague. Whenever it's possible, we wait for the wind to drop and motor like hell to get where we are going upwind. Though the CSY 44 is a very sturdy boat, it's not particularly fantastic going to windward, and ours, with the Tall Mast and Shoal Draft, is worse than others. We are also still somewhat inexperienced when it comes to sailing with the Monitor wind vane (our self-steering mechanism).

So we had fun experimenting--let a little genoa out... did that help? Nope. How about sheet the main in? Nope? How about let the main out? etc. Achieving 'balance' on a sailboat is always a little challenging. Especially one as big as ours, where you can't really feel the changes in the helm, and the little burst of speed you get when you do the right thing, is delayed, and/or masked by wind and wave action. And our problem is compounded by the fact that Dave's new sails are too big for the boat. So we keep them reefed in most conditions. This alters the designed center of effort, and the boat balance isn't as easy to achieve as might otherwise be possible.

Anyway, we had fun--we're going to windward as close as we ever have, still going 5 knots in 10 kts of wind. And the best part is, we're hardly heeling at all. And "Henry" is happy and steering well. The nice conditions enabled me to make a nice dinner tonight--shrimp scampi. All is well aboard.
Sherry & Dave
Headed South for French Polynesia

At 5/11/2011 5:50 AM (utc) our position was 01°37.71'N 148°49.03'W

1 comment:

  1. It's nice to hear that after all the sea miles you still have to "play with the sails" like us with fewer sea miles on the our resumes. I sometimes think "we will never get to the level of those EXPERTS in the blogs I follow." Turns out sailing is also constant learning and testing for everyone. Thanks for admitting what others won't!
    Love the updates as they allow us to tag along with you.

    Sabrina & Tom
    s/v Honey Ryder Caliber 40 LRC