Test Sail Mk 2

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Sun 26 Sep 2021 03:27

Noon Position: 34 55.1 S 138 14.1 E
E Speed: 6 knots
Sea slight, swell negligible

sunny and mild

Yesterday morning I made some adjustments to the rig, namely removing a link plate we had installed in the backstay and retensioning it. Something I am trying out with this new standing rigging is a backstay made of UHMWPE (ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene) rope. For the same diameter of stainless steel wire rope, it is lighter, stronger, easier to work with and reportedly more durable. I contemplated doing more of the rig with the stuff but was concerned about its ability to withstand chafe so, in the end, decided to just use it in the backstay as an experiment. One downside of the material is that it can creep a bit, ie get longer when under load over time; however, the grade we used on the backstay is the top-end stuff and should have virtually no creep once the eye splices in either end have taken up. We put the link plate in so as to allow for any creep and I am hoping now that I have taken the link plate our and retensioned the backstay that it will not stretch anymore, at least no more than a few turns of the bottle screw can handle.

Once I had made the adjustments to the backstay, we got under way to test it out. Out in the Gulf we found ourselves sailing in a delightful southerly breeze with a clear blue sky. The rig seemed a lot more stable than the previous day so with such pleasant conditions we ended up sailing all the way across the Gulf to Port Vincent. Here we arrived just before sunset and sailed onto one of the Squadron’s mooring which they have here for their members (did I mention that I have joined the Yacht Squadron as a country member?). Oli and I then settled in for a quiet evening, including a pizza for me and a couple of silly videos.

This morning we awoke to Sylph bouncing around a little in a small sea that had built up with a shift in the wind to the ENE a few hours before sunrise. I was not concerned about it as I had confidence in the Squadron’s mooring but, nonetheless, the motion induced me to arise a little earlier than usual, just as the eastern horizon was starting to brighten heralding the sun’s immanent appearance. After a leisurely breakfast I slipped the mooring and motored clear of the shallow sand banks that lie here abouts. Once into relatively open water I set sail and shut down the engine. With the wind reasonably fresh in the ENE (gusting force five) it was going to be a bit of a slog to windward to get back to Adelaide but, I thought, another good test for the new rig.

Now we are over half way across the Gulf and the wind has eased to about force three so we have shaken the reef out of the main and fully unrolled the jib. Sylph is making a very comfortable five to six knots while Oli sleeps peacefully on the settee berth. With a little luck we should be back alongside for dinner.

All is well.