This session marked another important milestone for the boyz – after almost 5 weeks and with the spin pole finally repaired, this would be the day we got to sail with the spinnaker.
Up to this point, whenever the word ‘spinnaker’ was used in conversation with other sailors, their eyebrows would rise and with a devilish grin they would say “oohh, that’s when the fun really begins”.
Colloquially referred to by coach Chris as a ‘big kite’ or ‘turbo charger’, we were eager to experience the extra power she generates down wind.
So with a stiff northerly at our backs, Chris on helm, Cam on Spinnaker and Metzy providing trim on the leeward hull, we shot out of the bay like a rocket!
Metzy had to get straight out on the wire while Chris talked Cam through the tao of the spinnaker. It’s a full time job for the crew, requiring constant tweaks of the line to maintain an optimal sail shape. When the sail luffs you need to sheet in quickly. In order to increase power, you ease the sail out gradually.
On a few occasions Chris gave us the sensation of ‘pitch polling’ by deliberately turning up high and submerging the leeward bow. In gusty conditions and with a slight lapse in concentration, it’s easy to appreciate how quickly this could happen.
With three of us on board it was amazing how fast we could go and how well the boat can handle choppy conditions. The only regret was not having enough battery to map this session with GPS.
Check out the videos if you’re interested in seeing how the Nacra 500S spinnaker is rigged.