Haven't we had a great few days weather?
I managed to get out sailing in the Magnum 21 on Saturday from Conwy on the North Wales coast. With the spring tides the River Conwy, which was on the flood, looked like a raging torrent when we arrived but only because there were so many boats gamely ploughing upstream to get out to sea. Of course next to the shore there was very little current.
After launching we motored against the current for about 100 metres so that we would not be swept directly under a pontoon that is next to the slipway beside the marina. There we dropped anchor and set our sails and then whilst everybody else was motoring out of the harbour we sailed out. It only took about 4 tacks to clear the beacon at the bar.
Then we sailed along the coast using the genoa for extra power in the light airs. This gave us about a 50% increase in speed taking us to a mere 5 knots but faster than anything else that was sailing. Most were motor-sailing.
Note the use of the barber hauler in the 1st photo above. It enables one to play with the angle that the genoa sheet pulls on the genoa. It is equivalent to the use of a genoa car that in other boats slides fore and aft along the boat. Note also the way that I tie the cunningham. This helps to keep the tack of the main sail close to the mast and prevents creases in the sail in this area. The observant amongst you will also notice extra shrouds (like the ones on the Magnum 21.S and on the new Magnum 18, which I have fitted in anticipation of a big project I have in mind. It makes it possible to stand on the float by giving one something to hang onto. It also helps to maintain the tension in the luff of the jib and improves pointing upwind. Note in the 2nd photo the use of the new clamcleat to hold the genoa sheet or spinnaker sheet as in the 3rd photo. VirusBoats used to insist that the spinnaker and gennaker were light wind sails and that the sheet should be held in the hand as a safety measure. They said that if you could not hold it in your hand then it was too windy and time to reduce sail. But these new cleats are very easy to release and should not present a siginificant increase in risk to the sailor who is aware of the inherent risks of using large sails in stronger winds.
Nobody was paying much attention to the channel with the water being so high so we were able to sail really close inshore and gain another perspective on a coastline that so many people only ever see from the A55.
I had intended to sail to Puffin Island but the wind faded and it was clear we would have run out of time to do this so we ate our sandwiches during a lull when we were at Penmaenmawr and then headed back downind towards the Great Orme with the spinnaker flying. What a joy it is to use this sail!
In fact it was great to make use of all three head-sails in these light airs. The spinnaker is made of such lightweight material that it fills really easily, which is important as the apparent wind reduces to almost zero when sailing downwind. We managed a respectable 3 knots. But I felt we could go a little faster if I could create a little more apparent wind and so it turned out. We managed to creep up to 4.5 knots by luffing up and then bearing away again. We caught up all the boats ahead of us that were sailing.
A launch went by making a big wash that made the wooden boom on this old cutter kick up and down frighteningly and I realised then why we have a kicking strap on our boom. No such problems for us thankfully.
We were sailing up the channel at about 3 knots against the ebb tide and I could not see the green, starboard-hand buoy through the spinnaker so I made use of the telescopic tiller that enabled me to sit right out at the front of the port trampoline and then I could see it fine.
It was a little rough as we crossed the bar and we gybed the spinnaker so that we were goose-winging for a short while. Progress was inevitably slow against the strong current so I headed inshore and gybed again as soon as the centreboard touched the bottom and popped up. One more gybe on the Deganwy side of the river and we were on the home run, dumping the kite (or should I say, dunking the kite) at the moment we touched the shore by the slipway. Great to do all this without the engine.
10 minutes later we were drying the spinnaker and an hour later we were in a restaurant in Conwy.
We covered a total of 10 miles at an average speed of 2.8 knots and our maximum speed was just 6.1 knots, which just goes to show that you do not have to be having a white knuckle ride to enjoy yourself sailing.
I shall be showing both the Magnum 21 and the NEW Magnum 18 trimarans at the North Wales Boat Show on Friday 25th July to Sunday 27th July 2008 - Vaynol Estate A55/A487.
Check out this great little video clip which gives you a real feeling of what it is like trapezing in a strong breeze on the Magnum 18 trimaran.