Wednesday, June 24, 2009

where's the time gone?

It's hard to believe my last post was 12 days ago but I guess being on a mini for 9 straight days will skew ones perspective.
Overall the Qualifier went really well and without much in the way of drama. A couple of little things had to get fixed which if they had not might have caused bigger problems done the line but that was not the case. Also had a few wind shifts/weather developments go in unfavorable directions as it seems I spent a majority of the time going upwind. In my log I kept track of the true wind direction along with heading, true wind angle and wind velocity so I will be able to go back and see what percentage was upwind. That said, I do know it was entirely upwind from the mouth of the bay at La Rochelle, out to Rochebonne and then all the way to the Raz.
For anyone who has not seen the Raz at full force it is an impressive place. It's the next big point south of Brest and to the west is about 15 miles of shoals and rocks so the tide stacks up pretty substantially there.
The three times I have sailed through there the tide was not running "very" hard and I had between two and three knots of current.
Anyway, enough about the Raz. I am now back in Locmiquelic, arrived early this morning from Douarnenez after a slow but relatively pleasant 80 mile sail. The only real unpleasant parts were the flies and whether the fishing boat that lit me up with his spotlight between the Glenans Island group and Groix Island was only doing so to get a good bead on me to run me down. I am hoping it was my Active Echo was lighting up his radar like I was a big target and he was trying to sort out what was causing such a big return.
So, now I have a few things to get together and make sure my paperwork for my Qualifier is complete and get that turned in. I should be able to do that tomorrow so that will be another checked off item. Assuming the Qualifier gets approved, I will be fully in the TransAt.
So what's next? I need to get the rudders, keel and a panel of the hull painted safety orange, so they can find me if the boat is upside down. No joke, that is truly the reason. I have spoken with some folks about a training session in Lorient in August instead of the Transgascogne. I want ot do a few more tweaks to the rigging systems, replace a few lines that are not performing as I want them to, and some work on the sails. Also some additional small things to do on the electrical and electronics side of things including my SSB antenna. All very crucial things which I will need to stay ahead of so they do not pile up at the end.
With that said, I am going to sign off here to upload some sail pictures and take care of these items. I have some pics from Douarnenez and others too, I'll try to post them soon.

Friday, June 12, 2009

1000 mile Qualif.

Am here in the Winches Club getting the last of the weather updates and sending off a few last minute emails. I will be leaving for my Qualifier shortly. For the trip, I have borrowed a SPOT Tracker and hopefully my sister will be able to post updates on my progress.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Hoods and Reefs

It is Monday morning and it is raining rather hard here in Douarnenez. It woke me up a few times over the night but it looks like the sky to the west is lighter so we may have a break in the rain for a while.
I have pretty much recovered from the MAP. The race went pretty well although the forecast data I had was essentially completely off from what really occurred.
The race started with a ESE wind in the bay and getting out of the bay proved to be a little challenging. There was the shore breeze or S-SE and a competing sea breeze of N. I stayed in the shore breeze and this payed off pretty well as I was in the top group getting to the Raz.
The leg to Penmarc'h was partially upwind and then the North wind arrived. I was able to get around the buoys there just as the wind was dropping and the tide was building so this was likely a bit of a gate for the boats behind. The late night was a bit of a struggle as there was not much wind and the tide was not favorable.
As the sun came up on day 2 it was upwind to get around Groix. I do not think I did a very good job here as many boats worked hard to the NE and this seemed the better option. Once around Groix it was still upwind to Birvideaux as the wind had gone a bit more right.
Once around Birvideaux, I worked low to the south shore of Groix and this seemed to work well as there was a shift to the right came during the early part of the night which allowed me to get back to center heading to Penmarc'h. During the night there was a fair bit of rain and large shifts which made for a difficult night.
Once aaround Penmarc'h it was a beat to get around Chaussee de Sein. After looking at the current charts in the early morning I decided to work along the shore before a long starboard out to the buoy. The risk was that the breeze would go left and leave me beating more. As it turned out this was a good move and I was able to pass many boats that were further offshore. Once around the Chaussee de Sein, it was a long port tack fetch to the next buoy. Here was a fair bit of wind, I saw 26 knots of True wind for an hour or so with tide against the wind. I has 2 reefs in the main and one reef in the Solent which felt about right.
The next leg was a port jibe run at about 135 degrees. I put up my code 5 spinnaker but should have used the medium. Once around the last buoy it was a 100 degree reach which was great with the gennaker. I was having a great sail here with surfs over 10 knots and passed a couple of boats before the finish.
I finished up 20th in Proto and 33rd boat to finish. If I had been racing in the Series class which is my hope for the TransAt, I would have been 13th which is a result I am happy with.
I have a few things to work on the on the boat but overall the boat came through the race very, very well. The only item I broke was one on my water bottles that fell off the shelf and got punctured. This leaked about 4 liters of water into the boat which was not much.
I am going to get a look at the weather models but am hoping to leave for my Qualif. on Wednesday or Thursday.
I took a (hopefully) nice pic of the sunset on the first night of the MAP, I will try to get it posted later today.
The one thing that I think I will really take away from this race was how much I used the reefs in the sails and how much I used my hood on my smock. For most of the sailing I have done, reef points are something that the rules required but rarely if ever got used. This is not the case in the mini. The same could be said about hoods, I use it alot. However the reason I generally do not like them for crewed sailing does not apply to solo sailing and that is being able to hear the other folks on the boat.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

From Douarnenez

I am sitting here in the Winches Club in Douarnenez, on the map a little bit south of Brest. The weather is quite nice, in the 80s the last few days.

Tomorrow the MAP starts which is a 220 mile race along the coast. The present forecast does not show much in the way of wind until late on Saturday.

I had a nice delivery up here from Locmiquelic on Sunday, arriving early Monday morning as the wind was rather light. The pic was taken at sunset just south of the Pointe du Raz. I just made through the channel here as the tides run exceptionally strong here. For the Northwesterners, very similar to Race Rocks but possibly a little stronger. When I went through it was the beginning of the flood tide and I had 3 knots against me.