I guess we finally learned how to sail a catamaran to windward! What a blast! Turns out we have one hell of a fast boat. We finally summoned up the courage to raise enough canvas to let her rip and that she did. We were sailing at 9 knots with apparent wind forward the beam. It was a blast! For the sailors out there I will go into more detail… We had true wind just aft the beam at 13-14 knots, which is not usually a very fast sail. But on a cat, we pulled the apparent wind forward the beam and turned the 13 knots of true wind into 17-18 knots and she was flying! It was so cool to see the spray flying over the bows and a huge rooster tail of a wake behind us. I think it’s safe to say we have a real, capable, fast sailing machine now.
The icing was that nothing broke between Suva and Savusavu, a 120 mile stretch of ocean. We finally feel like we are getting ahead of the projects and it’s starting to show in her performance; a rewarding realization indeed. Now there is no limit to where we can go. She can sail, and fast at that. Let’s chart a course over the horizon and let her rip!
But first, we need to check some more boxes, give her a bit more TLC and make sure she gets the final touches she needs. Items on the list include: tightening the rig a few turns, fixing the alternator for the house bank, installing the float chargers for the starting batteries, changing a few control lines, adding a down-haul so we can reef the main downwind, and a few other items. Today we knocked off: sealing the diesel and water/LPG lockers from inside the main cabin, epoxy holes in the starboard bilge (to make the keel tank watertight again), re-bedding the leaking port in the workshop, securing the microwave, – and perhaps most importantly – we are shedding more weight and getting rid of excess gear so we can go faster!
We also finally figured out that we have to lock our saildrives (transmissions) in forward to lock the shafts and allow the autoprops to feather properly. We were losing almost two knots when we turned the engines off. Turns out that the autoprops continue to spin when the saildrives are in neutral, and they spin in reverse! No wonder we were so much faster motorsailing (even in idle). Now that we figured out the prop issue we are flying and can finally sail this beast!
Check out the video below to see Quixotic tearing across the Koro Sea.