Posts tagged sails

The sun rose green, twice.

In addition to the mainsail and trysail, we have many headsails on board Idefix: a 150% genoa (#1), a 140% light-air drifter, a jib top for reaching, three 100% jibs (#3), an 85% jib (#4), a storm jib (#5), two 1.5-oz spinnakers, and two 1/2-oz spinnakers. I used almost all of them during the race from San Francisco to Hawaii, but in the 7000 miles since then, I think it’s fair to say the #4 jib has carried us at least 5000 miles, and the dacron #3 a fair bit of the rest. The jib top did its fair share before delaminating in Fiji. So much for having lots of fancy racing sails while cruising… Nevertheless, because the boat sails so well with little wind, the sail-handling is fairly easy, and our engine is not very powerful or easy to use in a seaway, we sail a lot more than most of the other boats we’ve met up with. We’ve only purchased about 20 gallons of fuel so far. There’s 5 or 6 gallons sitting in our tanks right now, and I expect at least half of what we’ve burned has been when we’ve had the motor on the dinghy. The only extended motoring we’ve done while underway was a night of particularly light wind shortly before getting to Niue, and a day of motoring while navigating the reefs of Viti Levu. 400 nautical miles traveled per gallon of gas isn’t bad!

The wind lightened up to a gentle breeze last night, and at first light this morning I hoisted the big genoa. When I was done I turned to watch the sunrise, and was treated to not one, but two green flashes, as the sun was hidden by a swell and then re-emerged. Right now we are close reaching at about 5 knots in a 7 knot breeze and flat 1-meter swells, close reaching, 200 miles away from Sandy Cape. Shirley is sleeping before her night shift. I’m clean as a whistle after shaving and showering this afternoon. The cockpit is a tangle of bungees and lines in an effort to get the boat to steer herself. The contraption seems pretty well balanced because I’ve managed to type a couple sentences without getting up to adjust something, and the boat is still pointed at Australia.

Lost at sea

The big event of the day was the loss of our waste bucket as it was being rinsed over the side. The sea conditions were a little too rough to pick it up, so it looks like our laundry/dishes/bath bucket is going to be re-purposed. We will not be very fresh on arrival in Niue!
The bucket has now joined a handful of sail ties, 10 feet of line, the windex bird-spike, and a couple other odds and ends taken by the sea. Nothing irreplaceable for sure.
We’re finally close enough to Niue to be able to bear off a little more, and with the wind shifting, we are on a run. I hoisted the jib top to try to make slightly better speed and get us there by sunset on Monday. The poor sail is starting to fall apart. I guess 5200 isn’t strong enough after all, or we should’ve backed it up with stitches. Oh well.

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