Thursday, 4 October 2012

Fall Season Opener

It’s October.  We’ve finally been forced to accept the fact that we will not be making a major summer trip this year.  The “good weather windows” are getting narrower and we still have much to learn (and repair) on board Spray.  But each local outing offers important lessons and this week’s voyage was no exception.

Au Revoir Gwenva

We headed out on Saturday to say goodbye to Gwenva, an 8 meter Kelt sailboat that has carried us far and taught us much over the last 2 years. Guru Bob sold her to a couple of young sailors who dream of sailing her to Turkey next spring.  We’re sad to see her go, but glad she’s in the hands of owners who intend to keep her sailing.

Here’s the summary of the week and a link to photos below:
  • Five days, three islands (Belle Ile, Houat, Hoedic).
  • One day with dead calm; one day with a squall: gusts to 27 knots and zero visibility.
  • One day of tourism around Le Palais while waiting for the winds to pick up.
  • New speed record during the squall: 12.7 knots, obtained with 2 reefs in the main and the jib sheet (solent) up front.  Sorry – no picture-proof this time. (The squall wasn’t the best time to dash down to get my camera !)
  • Realized that we need a mooring line of at least 30 meters to tie up comfortably to the stone way quay in Le Palais of Belle Ile.
  • Confirmed that October is still too early to get a good spot in the harbour of Le Palais. (We were rafted up 4 deep in the outer harbour).  Note to self: need to re-inflate the fenders. 
  • First outing with MaxSea Time Zero Navigation Software.  Mixed results.  Will take some time to get used to.
  • Thousands and thousands of jellyfish along the shores of Belle Ile; probably Pelagia noctiluca (bad stings); probably pushed our way by the recent southwest winds.
  • One Portuguese Man-o-War cruising by Spray one evening at anchor in Belle Ile.  Filed a sighting report with the Mer-et-Littoral “Operation Jellyfish” project.
  • Climbed the mast while in port on the island of Hoedic (pronounced head-ick) to fix the anemometer (much better but not perfect).
  • Reconfirmed that Hoedic can be just as beautiful as her more flashy sister, Houat, across the Sisters Passage.
  • Sailed at slack tide (no current) to compare the speedo speed reading with the GPS reading.  Needs adjustment, but didn’t have the documentation with me.  Top of the to-do list.
  • Tested the Wichard Gybe-Easy boom brake.  Needs refinement (our installation and technique), and probably a couple of dedicated cam mini-cleats.