It was supposed to be an easy sail. We left the marina early morning with 10 kts from the S / SE. The usual dolphins pod came as we were exiting the marina to head North to Punta Gorda 12 NM away.
The way to Punta Gorda was relaxing and Wind Maiden was sailing between 5 and 6 kts.
In Punta Gorda we took our lunch and decided to come back to the marina during the afternoon. The wind was so great we just wanted to sail.
With a S/SE wind we were sailing close hauled trying to pass west of a few reefs – these reefs are well signaled with markers –
The wind was wonderful 12-15 knots and Wind Maiden was sailing at 6 knots despite our 30 degree angle from the wind.
Slowly the wind started to pick up and gusts were increasing to 17-18. No danger at all, but I always prefer to reef before it became absolutely necessary. I took one reef in the main sail and reduced the genoa. We also put our life jacket just in case we had to work on the deck. There is no much danger in sailing expect falling off the boat.
Short video. Wind Maiden with 21 kts and one reef. We were sailing close hauled. Happy skipper !
Quickly the wind increased to 21-22 kts and i was definitely happy about my previous decision. As we were going, the wind continued to increase with peak around 25 kts. At 25 kts I was still able to sail close hauled. I just had to adjust the genoa a few times to get the best speed and stability. At the end we were doing around 4 kts, but the boat was perfectly stable.
About half mile from the marina, NE of the channel, we decided to lower the sail to be ready to enter. One sail boat was going out and one waiting to enter. Lowering the sail was quiet a bumpy exercise, the motion of the boat as you can see in the video is completely different than in the previous one. With speed and sail the boat is much more stable than just waiting up wind. I managed to do it without any problem as Maribel was maintaining the boat up wind. Was a bumpy rodeo and once the sail down I came back to the safety of the cockpit. I will do better once in the marina.
About half mile from the entrance of the channel we lowered the sail. The video has been taken right after when I came back to the cockpit and started to motor. An other sailboat was waiting to enter.
Motoring to the channel was relatively easy considering the wind on our starboard.
Once in the marina around a good bottle Proseco it was time for a debriefing. Since Corsica and Canada where we had a 30 knots blow, we never had to sail Wind Maiden in such conditions. The maximum we had was last year with 18 kts and gusts to 20.
First thing we learned, and we knew it, is that the boat is really incredible. With 25 kts and one reef, she was sailing perfectly. After our steering issue last week, I can tell you I verified about 10 time that this little plastic crap on the wheel was still in place :). However this is the case of a lot of boat with 25 kts. Mistakes usually come from people and not the boat.
From crew perspective, I believe we did what we had to do with order and calm. We anticipated soon enough to reef in good condition. The only mistake was to lower the sail NE of the entrance and had to motor up wind. I believe it would have been a bit easier to pass the marina and come back with the wind in our back. I was a bit worry about the engine since i never had to push her so much. I could had possibly got closer from the whiter marker before lowering the sail. We usually do it very close but with the wind and other boats I didn’t want to take too much risks.
Wind Maiden did quiet well for an old lady !
Great day on water ! I needed it before the two next weeks full of travels