An email to Raftkin
Thu 19 Apr 2018 14:22
This update is a simple copy paste of an email to a 44ft Lagoon Catamaran called Raftkin.
The x86 / Raftkin story is a little bit interesting: In Gibraltar I was looking for boats registered for the ARC and found Raftkin at a second marina in Gib. Tim from 'Victory Cat' and I, cycled over for a chat. The Aussie owner (from Pitwater - near where Karen grew up, and where we got married), had just bought the 10 odd year old Lagoon, and was preping it to sail to Australia with his partner and two young girls. Next we met in Lanzarote in the Canaries, and then again in Las Palmas (of course - start of the ARC). Next in St Lucia (of course - finish of the ARC). Next in Shelter bay (pre Panama Canal transit). Raftkin was running about two weeks ahead of me by this time, as I'd gone for the longer anti clockwise northern Caribbean circuit, while he'd gone clockwise (southern circuit). In Shelter bay we crossed by only a day, and he was in Galapagos two weeks before me. He had the 4 stop three week pass, while I was in a different port, for just the one week. Then a day out of Galapagos, he sent an email saying that he was just leaving, and had spotted me 100nM south! Both boats are headed for the Marquesas, so we've swapped a few emails since, this one below just sent (copied as it's stands as a good blog update anyway).
I had a good nights sail averaging 6 knots in a reasonably comfortable sea. It gradually tailed off towards dawn, and I'm now motoring with only 8 knots of wind. Predictwind says that there should be more wind than this by now, but I'm still hovering on the edge of the trades, and it might not make sense to turn on the 5 line (which I just reached), as I was planning. I may push on, on 220 for several hours more. The problem with that, is that the lower you go, the longer with the wind more on the tail.
There were a few very mild squals around later afternoon but nothing of concern, and no evidence that anything's building. It rained lightly on me for 15 minutes. Sea state is low but sloppy. New moon was the 15th, so my goodness the stars looked good for those first few pitch black nights!
Wear and tear:
I've managed to rip the clew clean off the mainsail, which is a minor pain! The sail is 5 years old and as it's laminated (heavy and strong). The problem is heavy + age. I was amazed when I noticed - the eye was cleanly ripped out! It's not a big problem however, as the 1st reef is not far down, so I only loose around 15% of the sail area. I spent an hour on the roof yesterday, changing the reefing around, to minimize stresses with the 1st reef set, long term.
I always have the wing on wing if I need to drop the main when the wind drops behind (when turned for the target). It's not an easy sail to handle alone, so I'll wait a while on the main leg, to decide. It's also not super fast downwind, which is likely why you did the ARC a day quicker than I did (I just looked back, and see that you finished 120nM ahead of me).
One thing the ARC showed was that it's a good idea to be 'very' frugal with fuel early on. Two boats that left Galapagos ahead of me, steamed off into the distance quite quickly, so they don't share this concern, but with these long hops, you can't see the weather far enough down the road to be casual about fuel. Today for example, I'll motor for only a few hours, and then if still low wind (reading 9 knots now), I'll just meander along at 4 knots depending on the current. Motoring for a couple of hours early in the day is ok - charging the batteries back to full, and making some water.
I don't have a working log (can't be bothered to keep the thing clean as it's not a good design and fouls up regularly), so I'm not able to accurately work out the effect of current. However, simple observation indicates that it's having a negative / positive effect of about 1.5 knots, so not insignificant - currently seems against in the am.
I'm re-watching the entire 5 season of 'The Wire' :-). A real classic - notable for the fact that almost all of the main characters went on to become regulars in the film industry. I have a big video library, including a lot of Disney etc. If we're co-located again, you should send your girls over to copy stuff they may not have seen ;-)
All's well on x86, making slow but steady progress.
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