JUNE 12, 2018
BE ONE WITH CHAOS
Leaving work at the hospital, I was impressed with how strong the Easterly was blowing. Sure enough as I pulled into the harbor lot, the Crow’s Nest flag confirmed a strong wind from the East. We sorted out crew issues and finally left the harbor at 5:30. We got out in time to set the mark and called for course B1, the longest course in the Easterly breeze part of the course chart. We had 15 boats out for the fun and we gave the 5 minute horn.
On Pair A Dice, we wanted to start right at the start mark end of the line assuming the risk of being called for barging. As it turned out Pacific Spirit could have called us on barging, but we anticipated and slowed down and were able to start right behind them at the mark. We were able to keep a line pretty much in line with the first mark (Blacks) and we were the first ones around, then we sailed on toward Mile. On the way to mile sailing into the waves, we were able to keep our speed between 5 and 6 knots. I was excited thinking that we would get better speed sailing with the waves on the way to Gov. Sailing to Gov our speed was a miserable 3-4 knots as the wind seemed to be waning a bit. The seastate was downright chaotic with waves generated from the strong Easterly mixing with the outside chop from the northwest blowing outside. On top of everything there was a strong south swell on the water. Avatar was able to pass us to round Gov just ahead of us. We noticed that an Easterly current at Gov.
As we thought there was more wind outside we tacked outside right after Avatar. On the leg back to start mark, Avatar stretched the lead out on us and finished first at 1:02:51 elapsed time. Tusitala followed (1:07:46), PAD (1:08:26), Nidaros II (1:09:25), Pacific Spirit (1:10:14), Kicks (1:10:46), Perfect 36 (1:11:02), Andiamo (1:12:43), Aeolian 1:14:46). All times are elapsed.
By the end of the race, with the chaotic conditions on the water, I thought it was ironic that we chose course B1. We all tried our best sailing course B1 in unusual conditions on the water. B1 with chaos!
DEALING WITH CHAOTIC SEASTATES:
As noted, we had small steep chop from the Northwest and from the East and big swells from the south. On top of this, there were light areas of wind that also had notable shifts. The swells do not have nearly the impact of the short steep chop which can quickly stop your boat, especially when trying to tack in these conditions.
Usually, when dealing with waves, there is one tack that you are sailing with the waves and another tack that sails into the waves. In these conditions you want the jib fairlead further forward when sailing into the waves, yielding more power to keep your speed up. You can have the fairlead further back on the loaded jib when you are sailing with the waves.
On this night, with every point of sail having waves and chop, I believe a rounder jib (fairlead forward on both sides) and a looser jib sheet were the answer to keeping speed up. With the shifty wind, the rounder jib also is more forgiving, though not allowing you to point as much as normal. I encourage comments from the many excellent sailors in our group about dealing with chaotic sea states.
RACE QS AS A ALEARNING TOOL:
We all know that you need maximum speed just before a tack. Studying my track for this night on Race QS, my frustration with the conditions was amplified. With all of the chop and “chaos” it was nearly impossible to get speed up enough to tack. My tacks in these conditions were excrutiating. On one tack I lost 90 seconds of time. In normal conditions with good wind (and crew) I can usually execute a tack with 0 seconds lost. My takeaway emphasized to me that you always must have speed through the water to tack!
|STEVE, JEAN AND JUDY HAVING FUN ON SEA QUAKE|
On Saturday, June 30 the little Boreas race will be held. The course is from a buoy in Santa Cruz (at 12 noon) up to Mitchells cove buoy then down to a finish line outside of Moss Landing harbor. The party will be held at Elkhorn Yacht club. I know several boats in our group will be participating. The party at Elkhorn should be fun.
We will see you next week.
Sailing Pair A Dice