A taste of speed…

We spent the morning working through the jobs list, which never seems to get any shorter. Laid out on the the spinnakers in the park to put “V”s on with sticky tape (the V’s” help to see the shape of the sail at its leading edge) – working in the park under shade trees was much more comfortable than on the boat in the heat.

After lashing up the bowsprit, which is no longer drooping, off we set for another training sail. The crew work is slowly coming together – tacking is getting better now, and we started learning the reefing system, which is quite complicated. We’l practice that one every day now until we get it. At the mast it’s quite difficult to work, as there’s nothing to lean on, so until we work out how to secure yourself, jobs are done one handed, which is awkward. Next was trying out sail combinations so the brains trust at the back get a bunch of performance data to analyse in the evening – this helps with selecting the optimum sail combination for the conditions.

We sailed out of the harbour and past the “Heads” and into the blue pacific. Wind of 25 knots meant we had a decent swell, and plenty of water on the decks, spray everywhere. The noise on the boat, which is basically a carbon fibre drum, is loud. Plenty of creaks and groans as tons of pressure is added or removed as sails are trimmed; winches howling away; and the wind and water noise. You car hear the person next to you if they shout, but after that it’s a bit difficult.

As the afternoon drew to a close, we pointed back at the now distant harbour and hoisted the second smallest spinnaker. The boat accelerated and we flew back at up to 21 knots, big grins everywhere, all the crew back at the stern of the 50ft boat to keep the bow up as we overtook waves. Down the harbour at this speed, the shore quickly approached – gybes needed to be prompt, and they were. Sails were all taken down off the Opera House, then back to the yacht club for a debrief, some more jobs, and then at 6:30 time for a quick swim to ease muscles, before a fabulous dinner at Chiswicks.

We’ve now had a taste of the speed of this boat, but just a taste…