What do you do when the committee boat comes back to the marina waving a red checkered flag, saying “race cancelled, too much wind”?
Go sailing, of course!
Yep, the boys in blue went for a joy ride in big wind tonight to test our mettle, take pictures of the recut #3 jib, and practice reefing the main, and shaking out the reef.
The sky was bright, the air was warm, and we all settled in to enjoy a scream around the bay without the pressure of a race. Â I think everyone was relaxed when we all knew the spinnaker would stay down below.
How bad was the wind? Â Actually, no problem at all. Â When we first set out, the lulls were around 20 knots and the gusts were ferocious (30? Â more?), but with a reefed mainsail, very tight shrouds & full backstay (to minimize forestayÂ sag), and our flatter #3, we were able to sail close-hauled without incident. Â Sure, we had some water over the rail in the gusts, but surprisingly little. Â And in the lulls, there was no weather helm! Â This is the first time I’ve ever really experienced the boat so balanced in big wind, so it is a sort of breakthrough. Â (But the story on the cut of the jib is not done yet, see below).
There were only a few boats out on the bay: Â Pandora came out with us, and later we saw Top Gun, Sandpiper and Don’t Panic (the little viper). Â Don’t Panic even flew their spinnaker –Â I bet they were nearly airborne!
As the wind eased, we shook out the reef, and tested the balance again. Â Weather helm was back, but not as bad as it has been in the past. Â Progress!
Back at the dock, our resident gourmand broke out home madeÂ Vietnamese fresh rolls, with three different sauces: peanut, spicey and sweet. Â And while we were dining, the setting sun lit up some little puffy clouds in bright orange, like dragon fire. Â Across the bay, a full moon began its ascent. Â It’s great to be alive!
Now, about the #3 jib. Â Some things are improved, some are not. Â In this picture you can see that the shape up top is not good, and this was even with the jib cars all the way forward. Â I’d like to see it flatter up top, with all the draft stripes having the same depth even with the jib cars a bit aft. Â Back to the sailmaker for another trim, I guess. Â Stay tuned. Â (Oh, but admire the minimal forestay sag — I’m sure that’s why we were so well balanced!)