Monday, September 17, 2012

Dick's exhuberance

I was surprised when Dick told me he wanted to do a blog post about the passage. Yay!-this is a first. Here goes:

“This is for our sailing friends who will understand the jargon better than those of you who don‘t sail. I apologize in advance for my irrational exuberance, but this is the most fun I’ve ever had on a boat. (Well … there was a canoe trip long ago on San Pablo Bay.)

“We left Hilo going due north to escape the influence of the Big Island volcanoes which create light winds on the windward side, close in to the island and to avoid the ugly Alenuihaha Channel which has a 1.7 knot east-setting current. That would be 1.7 knots against the prevailing easterly trade winds that typically accelerate 30% through the channel. Instead, we had moderate trade winds on the starboard quarter with a northwest-setting current of about 1 knot. Boat speed jumped up to double digits with apparent wind at 15 knots on the beam. Magic happened. Our boat does not roll much being a catamaran, but at lower speeds, we do pitch throwing up spray from the bows and we do get wave slaps against the bridge deck. Once we got to a boat speed of 10-15 knots, the pitching diminished to a very comfortable ride, wave slapping was reduced and there was no spray off the bows. The only spray came from a rooster tail off both transoms. Seriously, I’m not kidding or exaggerating. Both hulls carved a v-shape groove through the water that closed several feet behind the boat in a rooster tail. [Sheesh, why didn’t you tell me? I would have taken a picture. Oh, Dick said I was asleep on the settee.] As waves approached from the stern, water would rise gradually, maybe 12 inches, but so gradually there was no apparent pitch. I could only perceive the motion by watching the spreaders against the stars. The rooster tail would collapse as the crest moved forward, the transoms would be out of the water 8-12 inches and only gradually settle back. Then the v-groove would again start to form and the rooster tail would appear. Pretty flippin’ cool. This started in the afternoon and went on most of the night.

“You may remember from earlier posts we tore the clew out of our genoa coming from Mexico, so the passage to Kauai was under main and staysail only in very moderate trade wind conditions. We expect to get a new genoa delivered in a few days. The first time we tack downwind I’ll post again to the blog. I can’t wait to see what my 825-square-foot #1 genoa will do compared to the 425-square-foot staysail we used on this magic carpet ride to Kauai.

“That’s it. I just wanted to describe how our boat behaved on this broad reach passage.”

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