Saturday, 20 September 2008

20 September 2008 - Wind... lots of it!

4 nautical miles
I went out with Stuart today - only the morning for a couple of hours as he couldn't do more. In fact since he had a operation a little while ago, it proved a couple of hours was about right.

The forecast was for Bft 2 in the morning gaining to Bft 4 in the afternoon. So I expected a quiet and pleasant sail. As soon as we got going I handed the helm to Stuart and crewed for him. The wind was brisk and I was hiking out as far as I could go... my calves being more used than normal they will show how underused they normally are in the next few days!

It was a really fun sail. To me the wind seemed good, but not that strong. When we got back there was discussion about the wind. I still thought it was about Bft 2/3, but Neil and Stuart both thought stronger. They were right! It was actually metered as Bft 5 most of the time we were sailing, rising up to Bft 6 in the afternoon.

BUT... looking at the Beaufort scale [care of the WIT site] I'm really not sure this description matches what we experienced:

Moderate waves, taking a more pronounced long form. Many white caps, some spray
Light dinghies have to ease sheets in heavier gusts.

Neil and Paula reefed their Laser 16, but we had full main and genoa and I was able to hold her level by hiking out almost all of the time. Maybe it was Stuart's experience as a helm [though he claimed not to have sailed for 12 years]. I would have said the sea conditions as 'Large wavelets, crests begin to break. Perhaps scattered white caps' which is Bft 3.

What was interesting about the wind was that although it was strong it was not that gusty and the waves were pretty small. There have been times when I have been out before when the conditions where a lot more turbulent, but the wind speed lower.

In the afternoon I came back and watched the end of the Larnaca Sailing Club offshore yacht race [had been offered a place crewing on this, but couldn't do it as I had something on later]. I saw the 'tail end charlies' go through. Interesting to see how they sailed, and really wished I could have helmed a yacht to see how well I could do. One of them seemed to be not pointing enough so was leaning well over and looking over canvanced... and another seemed to have its genoa out of control so was not using the extra power as much as it could. Since it was Bft 6, I would have expected a lot more speed. Of course its much easier to say all this from dry land!

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