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Thread: Xpression race report

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Albany, CA
    Posts
    169

    Default Xpression race report

    Xpression - Race report

    The 2013 LongPac was challenging. My division (PHRF 108 below spinnaker) was strong, including the X119 X-Dream, Beneteau 42 Coyote, and
    Lightspeed a Custom Wylie 39 with the same rating as Xpression (81)
    I had a great start, which doesnít mean much for a long distance ocean race, but is still fun. The wind was perfect for the selected sail combination (full main and jib #3).
    Outside the gate, the wind increased as expected and I set the first reef. Keep in mind that I opted for 2 reefs in my main instead of 3 reefs. The second reef is as deep as a typical 3rd reef. So my 1st reef is like 1.5 reefs.
    The boat was behaving well and I decided to bear off a little to build up speed going south. It will result in sailing extra distance but based on the latest grib files, I felt it was the right decision. I expected light winds 150 miles out of the WNW. The angle reaching back should pay off. I expected to reach up in light conditions to about 100 miles of the coast where the wind was expected to pick up and I would be on a reach back home.

    It didnít work out that way. The wind kept building and I set a second reef, seeing 40 Ė 45 AWS for a couple of hours. About 150 miles out the wind went down to 15 TWS and I switched the #3 for the #2. I was stuck in a wind hole under some rain clouds for over an hour. When that happens you always envision other boats having wind and sailing fast.
    The wind started building again, something that I did not expect and the last 20 miles to 126.40 was hard. #2 jib and a reef in the main, feeling a little overpowered and tired of not having slept enough.
    I tried sleeping a few times but there is an annoying squeaky noise coming from the mast boot. Not a problem in itself, just very annoying. I tried jamming screw-drivers in the boot, putting a line around the mast to pull in in place, but nothing helped. The good news is, that when you get tired enough, you will be able to sleep, no matter what. I guess I slept 20 minutes until the turning point.

    After the half way point, I left the reef in the main and went to sleep for 30 minutes.
    Trying to stay on the rhumb line back to the gate, the wind would be just forward of reach, a few degrees would make a big difference in speed and comfort. Did I wish I stayed North! The wind kept building and I set the second reef in the main. I now wished that I left the #3 jib up and not the #2. For me it is the most daunting task, switching from a #2 to a #3 in windy conditions with big seasÖ
    I decided to leave the number 2 and rolled it in 70% at one point when the boat was overpowered.
    At the same time I noticed that the batteries were very low. It didnít make sense because I ran the engine multiple times to recharge and I always check that the batteries are charging. It turned out that after 1 minute the regulator would stop the output of the alternator. It took some time to figure out the failure point and was happy to have fixed the problem. Any task on a sailboat in big winds and seas takes significant effort and one always has to take precaution not to be thrown through the cabin.

    60 miles from the gate, the wind dropped to under 30 knots and I rolled out the #2. The boat was moving well at that point. I also got some more sleep.

    When approaching the Farallones I picked up Lightspeed on my AIS. Lightspeed has an AIS transponder and the voyage became a race again. Lightspeed stayed North and was going fast. We were less than a mile apart and it could be an interesting race to the finish. We rate exactly the same, so whomever finishes first will win.

    Approaching the coast, the wind start dying and I decided to use my A5.5 spinnaker to reach. The wind shut down completely. I tried to move for about 2 hours but noticed that I ended up in the same place each time (so did LIghtspeed). So time to furl the jib and take 10 min naps.
    Early morning brought some wind and racing continued. Having the #2 jib really helped in the light conditions. Approaching the GG Bridge I set spinnaker and gybed my way to the finish only 13 minutes ahead of Lightspeed.

    Lessons learned:
    - First time to use 2nd reef. The 2 deep reef system works really well on Xpression. I was lucky that the planned approach using the barber worked very well. I should have tested this beforehand.
    - Autopilot worked great but I realized that installing my back-up autopilot would be a huge effort in rough conditions. I should find a way to have both systems installed.
    - I need to have a better emergency rudder setup. Canít imagine deploying a complex emergency rudder system in rough conditions.
    - A little annoying squeak (in this case the mast boot) should be fixed before a long distance race. I did not and it made falling a sleep more difficult than necessary.
    - Check all hatches. The large foredeck hatch was in the ventilation position and caused for a lot of water in the boat.

    Dirk Husselman Ė Xpression C&C 110

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    302

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    Great post Dirk…..Thought you might like to see it from my side..Lightspeed’s race was pretty basic. #3 and one reef for most of the race, and the #2 and full main by the turnaround. Lightspeed was able to point higher that Coyote and Xpressions going out and then lost track of Xpressions by nightfall. I cracked off a hair for speed and Coyote keep a higher line. I was very disappointed when Steve/Coyote hailed me a 2 am telling me his autohelm had died. I always like beating Coyote but not this way.

    Lightspeed had a very bad leak the entire race with water above the floorboards. Hand pumping hourly and being wet the entire trip was a bummer. At 8+ lbs. a gal and dragging an extra 100+lbs couldn’t have helped (found leak when I got home).

    For me the race started after passing the farallons. I was hailed by traffic, went to 13 and was asked to go north to miss a tug and barge. About 5 min later I heard 13 hail Xpressions to do the same thing. The race was on with Dirk only 5 min behind me. The wind died just before Bonita and Lightspeed floated backward all night. Dirk/Xpressions disappeared into the fog to the north. I should have rested by laid on the low side trying to ghost in all night with no luck. By sunrise I had not had any sleep in over 24 hours and was getting rummy. As the wind pickup at sunrise Lightspeed slowly took off for the bridge and I was thinking I had Dirk. Then like an old black & white pirate movie as I approached Bonita here comes Xpressions out of the fog and cuts right in front of me. I wish I could have filmed it and sold to Disney for the next pirate’s movie. The rest is history, second by 13 min.

    Great race to you Dirk, missed finishing with you Steve/Coyote, and again a very big thank you to Ben, Lucie, Matt and all on the race committee…. Rick/Lightspeed

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    225

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    Thanks for sharing guys...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Albany, CA
    Posts
    169

    Default

    Video posted: http://youtu.be/14dJT6Sfl5o


    Quote Originally Posted by dhusselman View Post
    Xpression - Race report

    The 2013 LongPac was challenging. My division (PHRF 108 below spinnaker) was strong, including the X119 X-Dream, Beneteau 42 Coyote, and
    Lightspeed a Custom Wylie 39 with the same rating as Xpression (81)
    I had a great start, which doesnít mean much for a long distance ocean race, but is still fun. The wind was perfect for the selected sail combination (full main and jib #3).
    Outside the gate, the wind increased as expected and I set the first reef. Keep in mind that I opted for 2 reefs in my main instead of 3 reefs. The second reef is as deep as a typical 3rd reef. So my 1st reef is like 1.5 reefs.
    The boat was behaving well and I decided to bear off a little to build up speed going south. It will result in sailing extra distance but based on the latest grib files, I felt it was the right decision. I expected light winds 150 miles out of the WNW. The angle reaching back should pay off. I expected to reach up in light conditions to about 100 miles of the coast where the wind was expected to pick up and I would be on a reach back home.

    It didnít work out that way. The wind kept building and I set a second reef, seeing 40 Ė 45 AWS for a couple of hours. About 150 miles out the wind went down to 15 TWS and I switched the #3 for the #2. I was stuck in a wind hole under some rain clouds for over an hour. When that happens you always envision other boats having wind and sailing fast.
    The wind started building again, something that I did not expect and the last 20 miles to 126.40 was hard. #2 jib and a reef in the main, feeling a little overpowered and tired of not having slept enough.
    I tried sleeping a few times but there is an annoying squeaky noise coming from the mast boot. Not a problem in itself, just very annoying. I tried jamming screw-drivers in the boot, putting a line around the mast to pull in in place, but nothing helped. The good news is, that when you get tired enough, you will be able to sleep, no matter what. I guess I slept 20 minutes until the turning point.

    After the half way point, I left the reef in the main and went to sleep for 30 minutes.
    Trying to stay on the rhumb line back to the gate, the wind would be just forward of reach, a few degrees would make a big difference in speed and comfort. Did I wish I stayed North! The wind kept building and I set the second reef in the main. I now wished that I left the #3 jib up and not the #2. For me it is the most daunting task, switching from a #2 to a #3 in windy conditions with big seasÖ
    I decided to leave the number 2 and rolled it in 70% at one point when the boat was overpowered.
    At the same time I noticed that the batteries were very low. It didnít make sense because I ran the engine multiple times to recharge and I always check that the batteries are charging. It turned out that after 1 minute the regulator would stop the output of the alternator. It took some time to figure out the failure point and was happy to have fixed the problem. Any task on a sailboat in big winds and seas takes significant effort and one always has to take precaution not to be thrown through the cabin.

    60 miles from the gate, the wind dropped to under 30 knots and I rolled out the #2. The boat was moving well at that point. I also got some more sleep.

    When approaching the Farallones I picked up Lightspeed on my AIS. Lightspeed has an AIS transponder and the voyage became a race again. Lightspeed stayed North and was going fast. We were less than a mile apart and it could be an interesting race to the finish. We rate exactly the same, so whomever finishes first will win.

    Approaching the coast, the wind start dying and I decided to use my A5.5 spinnaker to reach. The wind shut down completely. I tried to move for about 2 hours but noticed that I ended up in the same place each time (so did LIghtspeed). So time to furl the jib and take 10 min naps.
    Early morning brought some wind and racing continued. Having the #2 jib really helped in the light conditions. Approaching the GG Bridge I set spinnaker and gybed my way to the finish only 13 minutes ahead of Lightspeed.

    Lessons learned:
    - First time to use 2nd reef. The 2 deep reef system works really well on Xpression. I was lucky that the planned approach using the barber worked very well. I should have tested this beforehand.
    - Autopilot worked great but I realized that installing my back-up autopilot would be a huge effort in rough conditions. I should find a way to have both systems installed.
    - I need to have a better emergency rudder setup. Canít imagine deploying a complex emergency rudder system in rough conditions.
    - A little annoying squeak (in this case the mast boot) should be fixed before a long distance race. I did not and it made falling a sleep more difficult than necessary.
    - Check all hatches. The large foredeck hatch was in the ventilation position and caused for a lot of water in the boat.

    Dirk Husselman Ė Xpression C&C 110

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