Day 15: How to 'send it'
Day 15 started in one of my favorite ways - getting to watch the sunrise. This morning's sunrise was a one of the best sunrises we have had. To those of you at home you're probably picturing the most glorious sunrise with thousands of colours as the sun burns into a new day. But you are missing a vital piece of information - most of our sunrises have occurred while it has been very overcast. This means that we haven't really had any colourful sunrises - it has just slowly gotten lighter as the people on the dreaded 'second watch' get tireder and tireder. But day 15 was different - we got to see the sun!
As we cruised along at a solid 5knts surrounded by many squals - a small break in the mottled cloud cover allowed us to see the beginning of the golden rays to peek through. The contrast was striking. The dark stormy clouds from the squals compared to the streaks of lightening sky behind them - lit by a growing orange ball of fire escaping through our cloud-window. This resulted in our normal 'second watch' routine where I run downstairs to begin my sunrise photoshoot while a sleepy Jono keeps the boat surfing the waves.
For those of our non-sailor followers, I have been asked to give a brief description of our sails, and why we are using so many different sails.
So written on our living room wall is our sailing inventory list. I say living room - but it is our living room / dining room / entrance hall / engine room / drying room / bunk room / dressing room - you get the idea, it is basically the only room.
Anyway, on this wall covered by our hanging foulie-jackets is the following list:
S5: 20+ kts - Outta CT, Full Send
S4: 12-20 knts - Trade Wind SEND
S2: <12 knts - LIGHT Send
A0: Tight Angle Send
A3: <20 knts ASSYM SEND
For those who know what they are - will laugh at the S5 description. Now let me fill the rest of you in.
1 - The S5, we have nicknamed 'The Small Bush', is our small symmetrical branded kite. This spinnaker is our smallest spinnaker and it is used in storms. Now, anyone who knows how the start went will understand that we did not get a storm out of Cape Town, we got just the opposite. That is why we started the race with our second spinnaker on the list, the S4.
2 - The S4 is the 'Big Bush' and is our large symmetrical branded kite. It is our largest spinnaker and the one we have been using the most - this one is made of a slightly thicker cloth so it can withstand stronger winds.
3 - The S2, or Gunther, is the same size as 'The Big Bush' but is made of a thinner material. This means that it flies better in the lighter stuff. When Gunther is up, the wind is super light. This means that if our routine is consistent - Jono is sleeping, T is avoiding helming like the plague and Ryan is making polite comments about the weather has he frustratedly helms in the hot sun.
4 - The A0, Code 0, or the Norwegian blue is our shallowest asymmetric kite. She is used for lighter breeze send. We used this as we were hugging the Namibian coast line, 'hunting for diamonds'. Since it is an asymmetric kite it allows us to sail a tighter angle or closer to the wind as we would with a symmetrical and is as close to a jib as we can get a spinnaker to be.
5 - The A3 is our deepest asymmetric kite who is nicknamed 'Smurfette'. She is used when we have a medium wind.
Not mentioned here is our Ghost Jib which we have up permanently while flying a spinnaker - it is basically a piece of meshing which allows the wind to fly through it but protects the spinnakers from wrapping around the forestay and suffering the most terrible death - it is our true life-saver as you heard in one of our earlier blog posts, it saved beloved Gunther.
We also have a J4 and a J5 jib on board for when we are beating upwind. Now, in a normal Cape2Rio race you should never be beating as it is known as a down-wind race. However, with our luck and all our practice beating down the coast of South Africa on our delivery, we got the first Cape2Rio race with beating! (Beating is the point of sail where you are sailing as close to the wind as you can - the boat heels over A LOT and it is very wet and uncomfortable for living below). We only took the jibs to use as a small sails if the winds got really strong - not for beating!
However, our most used and valued piece of material is 'Slim Shady', as dubbed by Tawanda, our beloved shade cloth. He has been the biggest life-saver on board and is used everyday to protect us from sun or rain.
So now you all know, we are not only sharing this small space with 5 other people but with 5 spinnakers and 2 jibs. Each of these sails are unique and allow us to tactically choose our course to Rio and adjust the sails to whatever the conditions throw us! And as we all promised ourselves after the delivery, fingers crossed we don't ever have to beat again!
- Emma Clark