We made very good speeds yesterday, right up against my tolerance for stress and waiting for something to break. I think the only way past that is to do more of it, but coming down the homestretch of the Vendée Globe after 100+ days at sea is not the time for that. With fractional gennaker, staysail, and one reef in the mainsail, and wind from 20-24 knots, we were making hight teens and into the low 20s. There was really no point to that at this stage, so I went to the routine for putting an extra reef in the mainsail downwind. It is not easy.
First, roll up the fractional gennaker (178 grinds on the pedestal), The staysail was already there (if not, here you must unroll and trim the staysail) and we then headed upwind on the staysail so that the mainsail will blow back and away from the mast. Then lower the mainsail (easy) into the reef. Then trim the mainsail (about 50 -75 grinds) and then head back downwind, unroll the fracdtional gennaker, and trim it (133 grinds). If you are going up with the mainsail instead of down, add 300 grinds in the middle, to make it 600 grinds. This is a lot of work.
With reduced sail, we were going essentially as fast, and with much more margin for safety if something went wrong. Plus it was a reduced stress level for the skipper – not a small matter.
Later, as it got windier, I rolled up the gennaker and went to the solent. We went just as fast, and more comfortably. At dusk, I went to lower the fractional gennaker and put it in the forepeak. It’s a chore for sure, but I’ve gotten reasonably good at it, so it was only a half hour job. Then up with the genoa cable to support the top of the mast, and back inside. It was raw and cold outside.
In the middle of the night, the wind dropped, and I hoisted the 300 grinds for 2nd reef to 1st reef, then back for another nap. And this morning, up with the genoa, and up to full mainsail. As I said, this boat is a lot of work!
46° 17’N x 13° 03’W
True Wind Speed
True Wind Direction
Sails (click for diagram)
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