On the eve of Typhoon Usagi a steady wind and heat began to build.
By the morning of Saturday, September 21st a Typhoon Signal 1 had been issued by the Hong Kong Observatory and so Shortty and Metzy made there way down to the beach brimming with anticipation of choice sailing conditions. A steady northerly greeted the them as well as a new pair of gloves and rash shirt for Metzy.
Sails hauled and boat launched, Shortty got the boyz out of the bay and amongst some periodic gusts which meant they needed to keep their eyes peeled on the surface of the ocean for the tell-tale signs of oncoming pressure.
The gloves definitely came in handy as there was plenty of tacking and gybing. The boyz eventually got the kite up and blasted downwind towards Disneyland. On the tack back, they had there first full capsize and it took both of them right the boat!
Once back onshore they made good preparations for the onslaught of Usagi by dropping the mast, securing loose ends and parking the boat further up the beach near the LBC.
||21/09/2013 10:15 am
||11.9 nautical miles
||21′ 15″ per nm
||22º 18′ 00″ N
||114º 00′ 56″ E
||22º 18′ 01″ N
||114º 00′ 55″ E
Another cracking session in the month of June.
As forecasted by the HKO, the wind was consistent with strong gusts. You could see them coming across the water and needed to make adjustments as crew (leaning out and deeper on the trapeze) and helmsman (turning up/down wind) in order to avert a capsize.
Managed to tame the GoPro Hero3 settings to capture a decent amount of this sail and remember to turn on the GPS.
Date: 26/06/2013 09:49 am
Distance: 10.3 nautical miles
Elapsed Time: 3:00:08
Avg Speed: 3.4 kts
Max Speed: 14.9 kts
June in Hong Kong was a great month. The end of work and beginning of play, brilliant blue skies and plenty of wind. It had been a long time since the last session for all of us and now the stars were aligned.
Shortty and I had talked about pushing out a bit further when the conditions were right, taking the better part of a day sailing to Mui Wo and back. We woke up this day to a Typhoon Signal 1 and decided to give it a crack.
We hauled sail and cast off, the forecasted southerly was yet to gather pace so rather than risk getting caught between Peng Chau and Nim Shue Wan we decided to head due east around the outside of Peng Chau. This tactic eventually proved ill so we hauled the spinnaker and jibed downwind back towards DBay.
At around 11am with the LBC in sight, the wind picked up as forecasted and our mission was back on course! We blasted south downwind through the Peng Chau gap eventually making land outside of the China Beach Club in Mui Wo. With Sinnerman hauled onto beach and head to wind, we strolled up to the club with wide grins for a well earned beer.
From the balcony at the China Beach Club we soaked up the sun and stunning vista. It wasn’t long before the wind picked up so we downed our beers and heading back down to the beach to gear up for the journey home. Shortty took helm and within seconds of launching we rocketed out of the bay on tack. The swell and wind combined gave us a thrashing and several times sent Metzy flying through the air on the wire. So we turned down wind, back through the gap an onto the LBC, our Mui Wo mission accomplished.
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.
A hive of activity greeted us down the beach at the LBC this session.
Around 40 boats racing in three classes were gearing up for the annual Standard Life Asia Regatta. One of the crew from the boat parked next to us reckoned we should enter for the experience alone. “Next year”, we laughed, “no need to get ahead of ourselves and cause a collision”.
So our rigging time was a more relaxed affair to allow for the race boats and a spare trailer.
We did a little bit maintenance;
- Taped rings of the spinnaker shrouds with self-amalgamating tape
- Lubed the tiller (was a tad sticky last sail)
- Lubed the traveller
- Lubed moving parts of the rudders
Eventually got in the water with Shortty at helm, didn’t get to far before the bloody block came off the mainsail! So a bit of mucking about ensued to sort it out (suspect to much slack in the line).
Once out of the bay the sea turned choppy making the upwind leg a bit tricky. This swell was great on the downwind giving the boat extra speed. Need to keep plenty of distance between the boat and shore in these conditions, not executing a tack correctly could be costly.
Some good take aways from this session, especially with respect to launching. In the commotion of the block coming off we didn’t activate the GPS and the swell made it challenging to use the camera rig.
The swaying of the pines and ripples on the water were early signs that this was gonna be a big session. Just as well a new trapeze harness and gloves were waiting for us under the covers to meet the challenges of force 5-6 wind and storm surge generated by tropical cyclone Son Tinh.
Sails were hauled and boat readied at waters edge for a bullet launch into a stiff onshore. Shortty took the helm and cast off. We had not gone more than 2 metres before realising the rope for the block was not tied off correctly! Rope sorted we blasted off and just prior to leaving the relative shelter of the bay Metzy clipped in and was hanging ten.
Good times at the helm
There is something surreal about being both propelled and suspended above the water. Constant and subtle weight shifts are needed to keep the cat properly trimmed and avoid capsizing.At times the sound of water displacement ceased and all you could hear was the ‘silence of the hulls’ as the boat leaned up and away from you. Magic.
Navigating the wind shift round Peng Chau
We sailed between Peng Chau and DBay, following a similar course to two other Nacra’s that had set off before us. The downwind leg was fairly quick as well, the wind shifting past the western tip of Peng Chau forcing us to change to tack. Just outside the bay we raced a kite surfer for a while before heading back into DBay on two jives.
Heading back to the bay
Another awesome day of speed and power on Sinnerman. We weren’t that surprised to hear back on land that the two other Nacra’s had both capsized – a testament to the conditions.
Date: 27/10/2012 11:04 am
Distance: 27.3 kilometers
Elapsed Time: 2:10:42
Avg Speed: 12.5 km/h
Max Speed: 26.5 km/h
Avg Pace: 4′ 46″ per km