Next Sail: 03 Mar Port Stephens to New Plymouth NZ

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Next Race:
2018 Solo Tasman Challenge 01 Apr 2018
Start: 1300h Port Taranaki New Plymouth NZ
Finish: circa 11 April 2018 - Mooloolaba QLD

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Offshore Race cancelled

Disappointed....the first Offshore Race for Spring was cancelled. Not clear as to why, however I suspect there may been a shortage of keen starters or maybe a bit of apprehension about the weather forecast. Anyway, Ruth and Kev still headed offshore!
We dropped the Salamander Bay mooring and had a nice broad reach of up to 8.4 knots on the ebb tide as we headed for Shoal Bay. For a bit of practice, we rounded the Shoal Bay mark that will be used for next weeks Jack Hollman Memorial Race. The water was crystal clear and the colour a mix of emeralds, sapphires and white sand....what a glorious day. We then set course 6M east of the heads on a tight reach. The breeze had backed to the south and was sitting around 15 knots outside the heads. I love heading offshore as you can crack the sheets and let the boat follow her own course through the waves. The swell was 1-2m with a sea of 1-1.5m and only a few whitecaps.  At this time of year the mother whales with calves are the slowly making their way south and pass close to Port Stephens. Unfortunately no whales were spotted this trip.
The skies darkened and the breeze increased to a max of 22 knots, and the whitehorses appeared. We turned back toward the Bay on a beam reach hitting 9.4 knots surfing the now flood tide (hence why we sailed out 6M on the last of the ebb)....thankfully the rain held off . Entering the heads the skipper declared the 'bar' was open and a very tasty drop of Stone and Wood Pacific Ale by the Byron Bay Brewing Company was cracked.

We sailed past Salamander and made for Soldiers Point as we could see the gaggle of PSYC yachts milling around for the start of the inshore Sternchaser. Thoughts were we would circle the fleet, take some pics and then tack onto the back markers for a bit of a chase! The breeze had dropped so we shook out the reef and clipped along at a nice pace. The offshore breeze finally made its way inshore and strengthened. Really the reef should have gone back in, however since we were not racing, the lazy man approach got the nod and we just feathered the main to keep her on her feet.
Snapped off a few pics as yachts sailed past and then headed for home back with on the swing mooring by 1530h.  Distance logged 32 very enjoyable nautical miles.
Sunday was spent doing some minor repairs, lengthening the webbing on the sail slug I replaced so the luff doesn't pull at that one slug. Also replaced the two upper full length battens that fractured during the wild gybe the other week. I mated the new Allyacht Spars spinnaker pole with the Forespar bayonet mast fitting, and not only does it look indestructable, but it moves very smoothly unlike the old system. I particularly like the Forespar Ultra outboard trigger jaw that can be cocked open by pulling either the internally led inboard or outboard trip line or manually at the end fitting. The jaw closes automatically when the guy drops onto the trigger plate that fires the pin......very slick! Just have the guy blocks and tweakers to install and then she will be ready for launch of the Symmetrical.

Todays craft beer was a Stone and Wood Pacific Ale which ranked  8/10.

Next weeks race is the Jack Hollman Memorial Race from Soldiers Point to Shoal Bay (his favourite pub) and return. Should be fun.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Spring Pointscore Race 2

I think I would be on the money by saying we did not have our normal competitive game-face on for Race 2, as all three of us had several work issues on the boil. Look out next week when we return to our normal stellar performance!!

That said, the start was probably our best start of any race thus far......shame the remainder of the race didn't go as well!! We ended with a 8th on handicap after I had a tactical error at the Middle Island mark where we sailed wide and tacked early allowing 4 yachts to slip past on the inside. Still without a pole and without flying a spinnaker on leg 2 there was no time to recover lost ground. It was our lowest place for quite some time which was disappointing.

However, the upside was the Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club (NCYC) and Lake Macquarie Yacht Club (LMYC) held a Newcastle to Port Stephens race series and were hosted by the PSYC that evening. Many of the Forgacs Regatta crews were racing so there were some familiar faces. PSYC hosted a free BBQ and copious quantities of beer and wine evaporated, certainly boosting club profits!!  As the crowd thinned, Geoff and Kerry from Kindred Spirit joined me onRogue Wave for a Quiet Little Drink (QLD), making for a great evening.

Todays craft beer was a Stone and Wood Pacific Ale that rated 8/10 and a trusted favourite Fat Yak  8/10.

Next week RW will finally have her new spinnaker pole, Genoa Cars and 12mm genoa sheets in lieu of the 14mm double braid sheets. If I get time I will splice both sheets to a quick release Wichard snap shackle which should reduce the number of hangups we have thereby speeding up tacking significantly. See you in two weeks as I'm off to my town reunion.

Race 2
1st: Tanami (Bavaria 34)
2nd: Chilli (Corsair 24)
3rd: Young Pretender (Young 88)
8th: Rogue Wave

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Season Opener under Trysail

The Spring/Summer season opened on Saturday and the first race was cancelled due to the Gale Warning. In the bay we had a top of 22 knots TWS so it was a good day for training.

With the boom off the boat for repair we had no mainsail, so the intent was to rig up the trysail so we could practice using this heavy weather sail and see how it performs.
I installed a separate track on the mast to enable me (in theory) to hoist the trysail whilst the main is reefed down to #2 reef. Once the trysail is set I can then drop the main and either sheet the trysail to the boom outhaul or in wild weather to the aft quarters if the boom is dropped to deck and secured.
The sail set very easily and I rigged the sheets to blocks set as far aft as possible. The clew of the sail is heavy and needs to be controlled at all times as it could easily inflict a death blow if it whips about uncontrolled.
On the windward beat we still maintained 6.5 knots in a 15 knot TWS. The helm was balanced and she powered along nicely. The aft sheeting alignment was good and the sail set seemed fine. Sail adjustment was easily achieved by easing one sheet and winching in the opposite, keeping the clew under constant control.
The usefulness of this sail is now very apparent in the event of a prolonged blow offshore. The main has quite a lot of sail area even when the final #2 reef is set and takes a battering. I found this out during our sail back from Newcastle in 41-45 knots when I really could have done with less main and more jib. So in future the trysail will get a bit of 'air time' when I am single handing.

I have designed and installed an inner Solent Stay to rig either a Storm Jib or heavy weather high aspect jib (yet to be purchased). It will be interesting to see how she sails in those configurations, but that will need to wait until time and funding permit. Damn work...the necessary evil!!
The boom should be repaired and back on the boat by the weekend. During the week I am expecting the new adjustable ball bearing Genoa Cars, which will make tacking/winching so much easier....(note to self - service winches), two new mainsail full battens (plus a spare of each) to replace those broken during the crash gybe, and the Allyachtspars mainsail and outhaul webbing straps.
The new complete spinnaker pole with bayonet fitting inboard and trigger fitting outboard will be about another two weeks. The other jobs in line are removal of the mast steps and securing any mast fitting that can hang-up a sheet or sail. At least I have daylight savings time!

Monday, October 1, 2012

2 days on the tools

After Saturdays little mishap I needed to do some repairs and maintenance. The boom is off the boat and will hopefully be welded this week. I will order a new Allyachtspars webbing mainsheet strap and outhaul strap to replace the through bolted fittings. The webbing spreads the load around the boom instead of point loading one or two areas. If I can get all the bits back by Friday, RW will be out for the opening Spring/Summer season cruise, however I still need to do some sewing on the leech and foot lines where the stitching has parted company.

Calor Gas Cooker......30 years old but cooked great bread and scones!

The other major job over the past two days has been the galley. The white enamel Calor gas cooker does not meet Australian Gas Compliance regs so therefore I cannot obtain a gas certification plate required for racing. I had ordered a Plastimo Sub-Compac which was going to be a simple out/in job, however 4+ months delays and an issue with the importer not seeking Australian Gas Compliance Approval saw that cooker bypassed, which left me with little choice in approved gas cookers.
Cast iron grates are actually burnt away from so much use!
 The problem with the current models is the width......they are approx 50mm wider so it eats into your galley space (excuse the pun!).

Small space big cooker
So out with the wood saw, and sketch pad. Took a while to settle on the restraint method as the original system is rather poor. Self tappers screwed into thin 316 sheet metal.....may as well use a rusty nail bent over! All the heat shielding needed to be removed, a dummy bulkhead also removed so the cooker could actually fit in the galley, and two recesses made in the top counter to accept the gimbal blocks I manufactured.

SMEV 7000 3 burner hob, grill and oven......with rottiserie!

 The SMEV 7000 looks very nice but is not very robust. Even though it is 316 SS I have my doubts it would last 30 years. The old Calor was used by the liveaboard couple for 13 years so she is a proven cooker.....just a tad dangerous with no flame failure devices or safety features at all.
80% solution....still need to finish off but its fixed in place.
So the cooker is in and I just need to finalise the the heat shielding, gas and electrical connections......then onto the gas locker and regulator and leak tests to ensure that not only the cooker is approved but also the installation is in accordance with AS/NZS 5601.2:2010 so a Certified Inspector can issue the Approval placard.