Good Sail, Hard Sail

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August 1
Cape Flattery to Kauai
Day 10

Noon PST position: 30.02.40N by 144.54.89W
Miles since last noon: 162
Total miles of passage: 1607
Avg. Miles per Day: 161
Course: SW
Speed: 6 – 7
Wind: ENE to E 10 to 25
Sky: Squally; solidly gray otherwise; some clearing in afternoon
Waves: ENE 5, N10
Bar: 1019
Air Temperature: 77 degrees
Sea Temperature: 70 degrees

Squally still and with strong but inconsistent winds. Up to 30 knots on the front side of two wet ones today; 10 – 15 knots inside and then the usual 20 plus on the back end. As the wind is up and down, so I am on deck frequently cranking in and cranking out sail.

If asked, I’d admit to being a bit fatigued. But am “happy” to get this kind of work out. Am learning a tremendous amount, even if I couldn’t articulate much of it just now.

Balancing the twin’s sail area and attitude to what the boat can handle is more challenging than I would have thought. The boat is so strong, it’s hard for me to tell when she’s over-canvased…except that the vane goes pie-eyed and start’s steering an extreme S shaped course. That’s her plea for help.

The lumpy-as-all-hell sea doesn’t make for easy steering either. The background swell is an infrequent N10 and must be from the strong winds of the coast of California. The local stuff from the ENE is just a mess. No regularity; not large, but steep and often breaking. Tends to knock the stern around. And (I think) may throw the wind vane a curve ball (restricts her access to clean wind) as it piles up, lifts the boat and then drops her down. Just a theory.

By this time, I’ve tried every conceivable sail configuration, some quite ugly: same sail area side to side; vastly different; sheeted in hard, let belly out. But the Buddha has yet to drop his here’s-how-to-do-8-knots-while-going-absolutely-straight enlightenment bombshell. I am not waiting around, mind you … but I am ready.

Mixed in with the infernal gray sky are quintessentially tropical cumulus towers. That’s new. So there’s hope for some sun, someday, or at least something steady.

Third day in a t-shirt. First day barefooted. Almost time to find the short pants.

Current predictions call for now Tropical Storm Howard to be but a remnant low by the time he gets to our position. May that prediction hold.

And now the wind is down to 12 from 25 plus. We wallow and forget our course. Time to be on deck.

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One of my uglier combinations. Working jib reefed in but bellied out to port (partly to ease our rolling) and the genoa out fuller, but sheeted in to starboard as wind is on port quarter.

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This shot of the chart plotter shows my course upper left, and my plot of TS Howard as he’s been developing and making way NW.

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