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Thread: Qualifying Cruise

  1. #21
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Live in Phoenix, boat in San Diego
    Posts
    259

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    The forecast said: Not the best of weather, not the worst of weather. But the week of March 5 would be my best break from the requirements of non-sailing life until May – and I didn’t want to be cutting it that close. As it turned out, the wind came up strong enough and long enough to propel Morning Star for 400 nm continuously under sail, with a turning point 175 nm W of Pta. Santo Tomas, Mexico. 2018 SHTP RRC 8.01, check.

    Apart from one memorable stint, the wind scarcely topped 10 kts, and more than once it fell to 0 for hours at a time. So the numbers aren’t impressive: 97 hours to complete 400 nm, for an over-all average of 4.1 kts. Evidently Morning Star is officially what the Anarchists deride as a “4ksb”. On the brighter side, we did reel off 123 nm in one 24 hour period – all without the wind ever hitting 15 kts. The track looks more like the path of a crazy man’s walk than a deliberate cruise. But we were dodging warships conducting live fire exercises, and otherwise frequently letting the wind vane dictate course as the wind shifted.

    The one episode of real wind was memorable indeed. Thursday we were off the NW end of San Clemente Island, with the W end of Santa Catalina Island some 20 nm off the bow. (Catalina’s isthmus was well below the horizon, giving that island the appearance of two.) A query to and response from SailDocs over the SSB gave a welcome prediction for the evening:

    Waters from San Mateo point to the Mexican Border Extending 30 to
    60 nm out including San Clemente Island-
    105 PM PST Thu Mar 8 2018

    TONIGHT...Wind NW 10 to 15 kt with gusts to 20 kt. Wind waves
    3 ft. Swell W 2 to 4 ft at 12 seconds.


    Ok! This could be fun. As we cleared San Clemente and started down the gap between the islands the wind began building, and we shortened sail in anticipation of more. As sunset approached, however, the wind was back down to less than 10. After a while I lost patience, shook out the reefs in the main, and fully unfurled the genoa. Yep, you know where this is going.

    Near midnight the boat woke me in distress. The tilt of my berth on the port settee told me that the rub rail was in the water, and rest of the sound and motion said we were going very fast. Like maybe we might round down. Pulling on foulies, I took the helm and disconnected the over-matched wind vane. I had no confidence that the wind vane or autopilot would be able to steer under these conditions, so I did not believe I could leave the helm to re-reef the main. The only thing that occurred to me as means to flatten the boat and regain control was to point dead down wind, center the boom, and sheet the main down hard – to expose as little of its surface area as possible to the force of the wind. The genoa partially furled seem useless, so I rolled it all the way in. With the wind blowing straight down the slot between the two islands we had ample sea room ahead.

    So that is how we sailed, hand steering DDW, for the next three hours. Not what you would call comfortable, but manageable. Glancing at the instruments now and then we had AWS of 15 to 18 kts with gusts above that and SOG of 7+ to 8+. So instead of the forecast 10 to 15 with gusts to 20 we had something more like 20 to 25 with gusts to 30. I got a nice dose of adrenalin, but the boat hardly blinked. She was, after all, designed and built to take care of her crew when the weather is unfriendly. Makes me think that if we had been suited up properly with a double reefed main and heavy weather jib, we could have put the wind 150 or so off the bow and been sailing above 10 kts, well under control. Even with the 120 genoa on the roller furler, if I had exercised better judgment and kept the double reef in the main, things would have gone better.

    With order somewhat restored as we came up on 04:00 Friday, I was able to get some sleep before daybreak. By which point the wind had totally died again. Of course. It would be nearly noon before we had enough wind to knock off the last of the miles needed to reach 400. Yay.

    Name:  Qualifier track.jpg
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    Lee
    s/v Morning Star
    Valiant 32

  2. #22
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Redwood City
    Posts
    786

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    Quote Originally Posted by AZ Sailor View Post
    knock off the last of the miles needed to reach 400. Yay.
    Congratulations Lee, that's really cool!
    P___/)___J
    Solo RTW

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Live in Phoenix, boat in San Diego
    Posts
    259

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    Thanks, PJ. It was a lot of fun, and it's very good to have that finally off the to-do list.

    Did someone want movies?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBEgn3glDUw

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWokrvO8fPQ&t=16s
    Lee
    s/v Morning Star
    Valiant 32

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Arnold, CA
    Posts
    450

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    Nice video Lee.

    Congratulations on completing your qualifier.

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    29

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    Congrats on completing your qualifier. From the videos it looks like great weather for a relaxed 400 nm sail.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Discovery Bay, CA
    Posts
    436

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    Quote Originally Posted by AZ Sailor View Post
    Thanks, PJ. It was a lot of fun, and it's very good to have that finally off the to-do list.

    Did someone want movies?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBEgn3glDUw

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWokrvO8fPQ&t=16s
    Nice! Heck, you could have packed the longboard and taken a crack at the Cortez Bank.

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Live in Phoenix, boat in San Diego
    Posts
    259

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    Yes, it was pretty relaxed most of the time (apart from the blow Thursday night), but it was frustrating that conditions were so light. Sitting there moving only with the current for a couple of hours was no fun at all. And, yes, I shaped course to sail over Cortes Bank to see if there were any breaking waves. No such luck. I had a clear visual on the Bishop Rock buoy at less than 3 nm, but the sea was as calm there as it looks in the videos.
    Lee
    s/v Morning Star
    Valiant 32

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