Shakedown Week 2 – Alderney?

July 28, 2014 at 7:38 pm

So at the start of Duet’s second shakedown week it was looking like a trip to Alderney in the company of Moonlight (a 30’ Jeanneau) and Offcutt (a 28’ Twister) was on the cards.  The wind was from the West and Alderney is actually the same distance as Brixham.

I’d been out a few times, and confidence was up, and nothing had broken… But I knew really I wasn’t ready for that, and would soon be left behind the other bigger, faster boats so needed to be ready.  Also the wind was f4-5 from the west with moderate sea. No good at all for Dartmouth, but better for Alderney, although Alderney has a harbour entrance that needs careful timing, and accuracy of arrival time is not so easy to predict in a 22 foot boat after 60 odd miles.

So it ended up that Bob and Moonlight left alone for Bray after we all rendez-vous’d for the 0530 shipping forecast and fried egg sandwiches, and I went off back to bed.

Later though, I took the opportunity to take a little spin out to the East Shambles buoy where although it was lovely and sunny, it was gusting a good f5 and the sea was looking pretty darn moderate. I got out there on genoa alone and lay ahull before raising up the mainsail which I had put one reef in before I left, and then put the genoa back up with a couple of rolls in it.  However, the mainsail wouldn’t set properly as I’d done the reefing lines wrong and I then careered back downwind towards Lulworth clearly with far too much canvas up: she was two handed heavy on the helm and felt totally out of control!  I thought she was going to broach. It was also very clear that the rigging was far too slack, and the leeward cap and aft lowers were flapping in the breeze.  All pretty scary to be honest. At one point I logged 6.9 knots on the GPS, and I would love to know our speed through the water.  Our wake was fizzing!

I did manage to drop the main, and get some sail ties round it from the hatchway so I didn’t actually have to go forward on deck and as we continued down towards Lulworth I started to feel we were getting too far downwind to be able to get home easily so I tacked towards White Nothe.  But as we closed on it, the sea steepened and the wind rose.  At one point it was regularly gusting 25 knots (apparent wind) on the windometer, a f6.

I did a couple of tacks back and forth but only gained about 200 yards up wind as it was blowing West.

So I put the engine on and tromped home into wind for an hour and a half, but kinda glad I hadn’t gone to Alderney.

In the end, we had some problems but I resolved them pretty easily without anything breaking, and no-one got hurt. On the bright side, I had managed to find the Shambles buoy using my new handheld GPS for the first time!  This is what shakedowns are for…

There are no pictures for this post: I couldn’t take my hands off the tiller.