If you sail a lot on “normal” sailboats, it might be hard to get used to how fast all of these Open Class boats are. Even without a boom vang or water ballast, all it takes is a day of good wind angle and good old OP is still rippin’ off the miles across the Tasman Sea. Of course one of the nice things about this “skinny” boat is that she can heel far over and not wipe out.
Yesterday the sea state abated enough (less big breakers and nasty waves) so that I could rehoist the mainsail to the third reef and put the pedal down. Pressin’ her hard, it takes some getting used to the heel angle without the ballast and the very light feel of the boat. We are doing a lot of banging, but have made good time having actually caught up some to Emma on Pindar. Although we’re been in better wind…I’ll take what I can get!
However, we’re a good two knots slower than we’d be if fully cranked up, as made evident by Brad having blown by us both in his “Fabulous Fifty.” At this wind angle, wind just aft of the beam, his boat is as fast as most of the Open 60’s which partially explains his huge lead on Class Two. But it wouldn’t be easy for him to get by without both me and Emma having a few, er, issues…like no water ballast (me) or torn sails (Emma).
This relatively speedy session will be over soon as we head into easterly headwinds for the last several hundred miles to Cape Reinga. That will be the northern tip of New Zealand where we turn south for the last 300 miles or so to Tauranga. In the upwind conditions, where Ocean Planet is usually one of the top boats, we’ll be a hurtin’ unit without the ballast but better off than any of the other boats would be if they had the same problem. We’ll see how it goes!
The weather is strange as we ride along with a slow moving front, sometimes totally overcast, then with bits of sun sneaking through. As the sun went down, it suddenly shone through under the clouds on the horizon behind us, a beautiful sight.
On the way to Kiwi-land,
Bruce and Ocean Planet