Saturday, July 17, 2010

July 17, 2010 Sighting a mast on the horizon

composed 7-17-10 1235 PST

"This morning we're handling round two with the Scumacher 52 that popped up over the horizon yesterday afternoon and has been trying to pass us ever since. I hailed them on VHF this morning and we had a brief chat (Cinnabar, owner Tom Condy). They took the kite down in the squalls last night and reset a few hours after dawn this morning. They're presently growing slowly larger off to the right and behind.

Last night was a really hard push. We got a few comments this morning about the driving last night during the first set of squalls when we were sparring with Cinnabar from those trying to sleep: along the lines of "So, we could tell that you guys had something in your sights". I think the other watches were slightly more kind to the sleepers, but not much.

Spellbound is mid-eighties boat with a fairly rectangular rudder (more recent designs favoring elliptical sections). As you pull over, the flow has a tendency to separate and the rudder loses traction. When you need a moderate amount of course correction, there are two main options: a gentle, extended pull or a quick yank. The extended pull is usually slower because you're basically turning a big board sideways in the water flow around the boat: lots of friction. One or more quick yanks will start the correction more efficently in a lot of cases (such as when a puff hits and you want to catch a surf without waiting 5+ seconds for the boat to catch up on the desired sailing angle).

The side effect of a fast jerk on the helm is that the people in the quarterberths shift a couple of inches to the side in their bunks as you get onto the new course. I and others were guilty of causing that more than a few times last night. There were no complaints though- the Schumacher fell down and then behind, eventually dropping her kite. The wind was gusting about 38 kts for an extended period of time, giving us our first night of what amounts to full force squalls.

Trimming note: because we shortened the watches for drivers last night, we wound up with a few combinations of driver+trimmer we hadn't run through before. The trimmer keeps the sails powered up (primarily spinnaker sheet, main sheet, vang, and spinnaker pole position) such that the driver is just able to control the boat- otherwise you're leaving speed on the table. The trimmers were working really hard last night and this morning keeping up with the changing wind conditions (mainly increases/decreases in windspeed as the squalls blew past). Great job guys! (Dirk, Jeff, Tim)

Right now we've got 145 miles to go and a beautiful warm day. Projected arrival time is the middle of the night."


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