Sailing Mango

PV To SD - Day 4-5

We left Cabo early at 8 am. Ha ha! Who am I kidding, we barely had the coffee on by then. After making scones, doing final deck and cabin prep, trying to toast stale peanuts and not really improving them, we made it out around 12:30 pm. Not too shabby, but we have done better. In our defense we are flying our 100% jib, which is not as familiar to us. It is smaller than our genoa, I'm too lazy to do the math but maybe 35% smaller, and a better sail for upwind work. I had forgotten just how much better.

The forecast was for 13 knots off of Cabo. The anchorage was at 15 when we left, and we hit 25 as we came around the point. We pretty much assume the forecast is low by 5 knots, but 13 to 25 is pretty egregious. It is tempting to stop using this particular forecasting app, but it is very pretty, mesmerizing my brain with different graphs and data, all visualized with multiple colors, and my smart phone is so shiny.

So off we went with just our working jib and the mizzen, slamming through the 4-6' waves and kicking ass, zipping along at 7-7.5 knots.

Within half an hour or so,once we cleared the cape, the winds relaxed to the high teens, and within a hour we had the main up with the first reef in, winds around 15. Currently, two hours out and we are having a very pleasant sail, 12-13 knots, making between 4.5 and 5 knots over ground.

The key to our working jib, and what I had forgotten, is that with it, we make virtually no leeway. The genoa, close hauled in sporty winds, like mid teens, makes us 10-15 degrees of leeway. That is huge. I haven't payed enough attention to know what our leeway is at low winds while beating with the genny, but I suspect it will still be non-trivial. I also think we can sail about 5 degrees closer to the wind with the working jib, and still maintain decent boat speed. I'm still working on that though.

I know, boat geek stuff, but over the course of several days we will save many miles and hours of sailing time. Which is nice.

Day 5

Forget everything I said about the virtues of the 100% jib. Oh sure, it is a fine table cloth to the noble genoa, but as soon as we tacked from our zero leeway tack yesterday, we were making 20 degrees leeway. Today we were making 10 degrees leeway under motor! Damn currents. Currents and waves. I think the only way to know for sure is to sail when we get back to Puget Sound, without waves, and fool around with sails and leeways during slack tidal currents.

Today was fine. The winds were from an unfavorable direction, i.e. dead on the nose, and we were making very little progress. So we dropped the jib and motor sailed under main and mizzen. Those two sails, since they are on booms, can be brought clear across the boat on their travelers, using preventers, and we can motor dead upwind without the sails flogging to death. So for example, if we are motoring dead upwind, the apparent wind angle is necessarily zero. The sails, left to their own decisions, would skylark about, flop and snap. But by moving the boom over to one side via the traveler, the sail now has 15-20 degrees of attack on the wind, and will stop it's tireless and destructive racket.

In the early afternoon, with much fiddling, because what else is there to do besides sigh a great deal and eat an entire bag of chips, I got the boat truely motorsailing with the sails adding drive, maybe a knot or so on top of the mighty engine. An hour after that, with the wind direction much more favorable, we killed the engine altogether, and have been sailing ever since.

We decided to leave the paddle board inflated and strapped it to the port lifelines next to the cockpit. When on a port tack, the port side is higher than the starboard, and it is impossible to see over the board without standing up. Now standing is a very great thing in isolation, but when added to the encumbrance of life on a sailing vessel, and it becomes somewhat annoying. It is convenient to keep the board blown up when at anchor, inconvenient while sailing. Stowing it is the reverse. But when has any part of life not been a compromise of some sort? Compromise can certainly be a window into opportunity, but my shades remain drawn on the paddle board.

Tonight the sliver of moon is waxing, every star is out, the swell is low and long, the light winds are comfortably moving us at four and a half knots, and I have a sweet poodle snuggled up next to me in the cockpit. Easy sailing indeed!