Transatlantic Musings | Sailing Blog - Technical Hints and Tips - Sailing Television

Transatlantic Musings

Liming in the BVI
What a winter its been! From a very late season crossing of the Bay of Biscay, a lovely Transatlantic with Wayne & Angie making up a crew of four, and then island hopping from Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla and St Martin. Now we are relaxing in the BVI and having fun with our "share the sail" guests. In a few weeks we will set sail north from the Virgins and head for the Turks and Caicos and Bahamas. There is still time to book one of these legs and they promise to be exciting - a few days at sea and a few days in remote tropical paradise.

Transatlantic Notes
Here are a few musings from the passage.

- fast ! we were on track to cross in 16 days until the final 500 miles when we had very light winds and calms even. Just when we expected the trade winds to be at their most predictable an unusual low pressure north of us took all the wind away. So we got to practice our very light wind sailing. The problem was 2-3 meter waves from the sides kept us rolling too much so sail effectively. So our final passage time was 18 days. Still very respectable.

- daily runs - we had a few daily runs over 170 miles.

- downwind rig - we ran our twin headsails for many days and it worked really well. We set up the pole for the self-tacker sail with a topping lift and downhaul and used this on the windward side. With the topping lift and downhaul we could furl the sail and just leave the pole out in case we didn't want to go forward to take it down. The Genoa was set out on the end of the main boom. We used a snatch block and led the sheet aft to another block at the stern. Then we used a preventer to pull the main boom forward. This meant we had a second pole for the second sail.

- dealing with chafe - always a problem on long passages since the sails can be set in the same position for days at a time. We had problems with the batten pockets on the main sail chafing on the shrouds on our passage to the Canary Islands so we applied some chafe patches before the transatlantic. Still more work is needed on this since the patches we applied chafed through quite quickly on the passage! The problem is the battens make a hard point and the swept back spreaders mean they touch the sail even on a beam reach. Since we were sailing on a broad reach we had to live with the sail touching the spreaders and shrouds. My next plan is to try leather patches on the batten pockets.

- New Years at sea! We saw in the new year after almost a week at sea and tried to make it a bit of a special night. We all stayed up to midnight even though we would have to continue our watch system on through till dawn. Here our mascot moose watches the celebrations from his perch on the bookshelf in the saloon. Later on he hid out when he heard we were in the Horse latitudes. In the old days sailors becalmed here ran low on water and couldn't afford to water the horses - so they had to throw them overboard. Our moose became concerned that he might fall into the equine category and be jetissoned in the calms. He needn't have worried since the Schenker desalinator worked wonderfully. We even had enough water for showers whenever we wanted.

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