25 September 2011

A well earned G&T

I'm settling down for the evening with a movie, a cat and a well earned G&T after a busy weekend.

First order was sailing out the heads and up to Bird Island and back on Jeff Taylor's Nemesis.  We didn't do as well as I'd hoped in the race, probably due to a number of factors rather than any individual one.  The things to improve on from my point of view, in hindsight, were:
  • Although conditions were heavy at start we had a good tailwind and could probably have flown a number 2 genoa rather than a number 3.  The first leg downwind was very fast though and I'm really not sure how much time this would have saved us.  Jeff did advise prudence rather than all out speed at the start of the race, the boat having just come off the hard stand, and probably that swayed our thinking towards the number 3.
  • Coming back, I made a call to stand out from the island a bit based on the expected wind conditions.  Given that the prediction was for the wind to stay more southerly than it did that was probably a gamble that didn't pay off rather than a bad call.  I think when you're handicapped down like that sometimes you have to make those calls and see if they pay off -- if they do and nobody else picks it then you win the race, but if not then not.
  • I think everyone agreed we could have flown a number 2 genoa earlier on the homeward leg.  Probably should have peeled the number 3 in favour of the 2 at the start of our upwind watch rather than the end of it.
  • The trim wasn't optimal.  I noted at the start of our upwind watch that the mainsail was trimmed for close hauled, but the genoa was not, and we were on about a 60 degree close reach.  We couldn't maintain that course (it was a collision course for Terrigal Point in fact, the previous watch having not adjusted the scale on the nav station to spot this) so I had us harden up but due to the fact that we'd blown a couple of blocks on the previous watch we were unwilling to trim the genoa on hard in case we blew them again.  That cost us maybe a knot over about 3 hours before we could bear off to Sydney heads.
  • The wind didn't really favour us as much as it did the fast boats.  The fast boats were home before the wind eased, we were not and so we got stuck in it.  That was probably the biggest single factor, out of our control really.
Anyway, we didn't suck but we didn't do brilliantly either.  More to think about for next race.  The crew were good -- some attention to focus on the task at hand required but everyone was willing to pitch in and work hard during the race when needed.  Being an overnight race in fast conditions mean we didn't get much sleep, and bringing a boat home over the line without sleep can be tricky at best.

Today was spent finishing the wiring on the new anchor windlass.  Avid readers might recall that I blew the windlass motor on my old windlass about 9 months ago, and ended up having to replace the entire windlass because a new motor could not be sourced (or even a motor of the same capacity that could be modified to fit).  So reluctantly I purchased a second-hand Muir 4000 which also proved to have a dodgy motor (wouldn't reverse) but fortunately replacements for that brand were easy to come by and with a bit of slow-going on the part of the electrician supplying the replacement the new windlass is now fixed to the foredeck.

Since I needed a new windlass anyway I treated myself to some more electronic goodies, being an AutoAnchor 710 with a wireless remote control that I can activate from the cockpit.  No more running up on foredeck to deploy the anchor and hoping I've gotten the chain vs depth correct -- I can just read off the depth from the instruments in the cockpit, program the correct amount of chain to deploy on the 710 remote, push the down button and it's all done.  So I spent most of today wiring that in to the Muir solenoid, and configuring it (it has a sensor in the chain gypsy and needs to be told how much chain is deployed by one rotation, it figures the rest out for itself).

Lastly I finished some painting under the floor of the side-bilges, either side of the main engine bilge under the floor of the pantry and companionway.  A bit of rust had crept in which needed fighting off.