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Thread: Barcanova Heads West!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    East, looking West
    Posts
    43

    Default Barcanova Heads West!

    My boat's slow migration toward the Singlehanded Sailing Society has taken another big step.

    It started in July, when my father and some friend started moving the boat south out of Norfolk. Just about the minute she made it to the ocean, a nearby lightning strike resulted in significant electrical issues, frying the battery charger, instruments, autopilot remotes, etc. I made it aboard the boat in St. Augustine on the Florida/Georgia border and doublehanded her down Florida with my dad. Three days to Key West, a day of R&R, and three days across the Gulf of Mexico brought her to Pensacola. Other than some thunderstorm dodging mid-Gulf, it was a mellow trip, highlighted by a spinnaker run just offshore Miami Beach early in the morning on a brightly moonlight night.

    Work brought me to Pensacola for a month and gave me a chance to do some intensive boat refitting. I found a few fried bits and fixed them, ran a new low-loss VHF cable and installed a new splitter and AIS as the old one was beyond repair. I got a pretty new jib and spinnaker from my man Hunter down at Schurr Sails.

    My weather window for my solo trip to Houston wasn't ideal at all. A medium-sized cold front was due to be overhead Thursday, bringing cool temps, rain, and breeze in the mid 20s, albiet from a great direction. The following Monday, a real humdinger was due over the western Gulf. I followed this one closely. My intended route was well offshore, adding some distance and resulting in a final run to Houston on a northwesterly course. The forecast was for great breeze Friday night, shifting dead astern and light-ish on Saturday and dying to nothing on Sunday before the front arrived--forecast on mid-day Monday with 30 degree temperatures and 35 kt winds from the northwest. Ugh. I decided discretion was the better part of valor and plotted a course closer to shore, giving me a few bailouts if I didn't make Houston prior to the front, and a reach into the channel rather than a beat if I went for it and the front beat me to the punch.

    I cleared the harbor at Pensacola Friday at 1430 and set the asym for some fast reaching toward the Mississippi delta in 18-22kts of northerly pressure. As the sun went down, the breeze built and the wave action got short and weird, so I peeled the kite and reached under jib. Naturally the wind then went aft as I navigated through my first big patch of offshore oil rigs, but the wave action was sufficiently annoying that I couldn't run deep with the kite, so I just poled out the jib. I was happy to be making fast progress.

    Saturday was glorious. Cool, but fresher-than-expected pressure out of the north gave me chances to reach with the asym and jib reach, rarely dipping below nine knots. As I hooked under the delta, I met flat water and a little helpful current. Plenty of rigs to avoid, but easy conditions to do so. In the night it finally lightened up and went aft, and at first light I launched the .75oz symmetrical kite and jibed a few times in the shifts as the sun came out. Eight knots wasn't great, but by Sunday afternoon it had shifted southeasterly and built to about 13kts, making for absolutely perfect deep reaching with the big kite. Lovely! I hit the breakwater at Galveston about two AM, doused the kite, and dodged traffic as the breeze died to nothing. Four hours of motoring up the Houston Ship Channel up the wrong VHF freq kept me awake enough until I pulled into the Lakewood YC about seven thirty on Monday morning. 459nm averaging 7.52kts--a great ride!

    The boat will stay in Houston for a bit as I get some rigging and additional electrical work done while I search out a trailer to move her west. Ideally, I'd bring her in ASAP (anyone have or know of a trailer?), get the bottom done in Richmond--suggestions from the crowd? KKMI or Svendsons?-- and have her ready for the 3BF!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    2,253

    Default

    Wow! THIS was beautifully written! That bug light is reeally drawing you on to the land of milk and honey. It will be great fun to meet you, Talonf4U. What is your name, please, and would you like to be Number Four on the list?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    East, looking West
    Posts
    43

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