Where Is the Opposition?

Where is the opposition?


Our crossing of the Gulf Stream was uneventful, if a trifle slower than we would have liked. BEOWULF was beam-reaching with just her working canvas, in 14 to 16 knots of wind. She could have easily carried her big code zeros on each mast, but that would have been a bit ambitious for the first night at sea-even if we are racing.


At the roll call this morning we were surprised to find our main competition for first to finish-the hot cat ALACRITY-missing from the roll call. Were they really having radio problems, or keeping mum on their location and wind? Well, they know where we are…


Linda enjoys a bowl of oatmeal.

By mid-morning BEOWULF’s crew bestirred themselves enough to get started setting some more canvas. The mizzen genoa went up about 80% of the way, and the halyard jammed. Observation with the binoculars indicated the halyard had somehow jumped off the side of the sheave. With the sail partially hoisted, and stuck (but fortunately roller-furled) there was nothing to do but go aloft and free it.


Checking data along the route.

We secured one of the mizzen running backstays to the front of the mast, so Steve could clip on, and then he went aloft while Linda tended things at deck level.

In due course the halyard was cut free from the head of the sail, and the sail was lowered to the deck – and then eventually re-set.

One interesting wrinkle which might help you out some day-Steve wore a floatation vest as padding and it worked great. Easy to hug the mast tight without bruising one’s chest in the motion at sea.


We’ve got both reachers set now, and the wind is backing to the northwest…as predicted by the SetSail-MaxSea routing software. One of the cool things about this program is the ability to make “movies” of weather and the actual projected routings (as well as both tides and current). These movies make it a lot easier to understand what is going on around you-we’ve been making good use of them on this trip.


SetSail-MaxSea route list.

Another feature is how easy it is to check the data along the route. There are two approaches. First is to click on one of the projected course points. This brings up a dialog box (shown above left) which gives you the time, position, wind direction and strength, and projected boat speed. The image beside is right on the money when we made it a few hours ago. The second method is to open the “Route List” (shown at right). Here you have all the same data, except it is now shown to you for the entire forecast period. Great passage making tools!

The forecast and our own instincts have the windbacking to the NNW later this evening. Right now wind speed is down to the 12-14 knot range from 16 or so a little earlier (when we were doing a steady 13.5 to 14 knots for several hours. We expect to have the spinnaker flying before long, and to be motoring again proably tomorrow.

Oh, and did we mention it is finally warm! In fact, we’ve got shorts and t-shirts on and that tropical breeze feels ever so god after the cold VA days and nights.

Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 9, 2001)

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