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Salt is on terra firma and low pressures are marching in towards the Norwegian West Coast – in short – it’s winter. I know I have been slow on this blog for some time. It seems that the Australians, the Freya double enders and a few international readers interested in Refleks diesel heathers that find this blog interesting. I truly understand you all. I will try to do better.
Let go.. Well – the race season was a nominal disappointment. I don’t think we ever did better than becoming number two or at the best one number one. Consequently, I have decided to forget the season.
To be remembered.. However, I will not forget this summer. We had a long cruise in Ryfylke sailing all day in the sun and warm wind. That is something I haven’t experienced since we sailed the Bahamas. Going downwind it was so hot we had to swim time and time again.
Every night we anchored in a new spot. Most of the time pretty much alone with few other yachters around. The deeper you go into the fjords the less other yachts you will see. Ryfylke really is an El dorado for us seeking nice natural harbors or appreciate the tranquil blond Scandinavian nights quietly hanging on the hook. A gin & tonic sun downer with Salt moving in harmony with the wind and waves – hanging on the anchor – is truly a nice experience.
Spring brings new possibilities…Next season I plan to try out the un boomed mainsail and a battened number two genoa, overlapping, and self tacking. Engøy Seilmakeri has redesigned two sailes to fit the above description. In theory this will make her more easy to
singelhand, more effective –particlaryly while reaching – and safer. Most sailing accidents involve the main boom. Getting rid of it will make things easier. The overlapping 130% Genoa will be boomed by battens, switch by the mast, and be regulated by one sheet only. Sounds to got too be true? Right. Even so, I did test it once this fall. Moreover, it all worked out. Admitting, it did not blow much – in fact next to nothing – and I had to take the sails back to the loft – but it did work. Both the fully battened main and Genoa tacked without problems. So this spring we will see.
Furthermore, I plan for a new trip to Shetland, Fair Isle, Scotland and through the Caledonian canal. I am afraid this so far is fireside sailing.
However, I do think a lot about it. Time will show.
Once more…Besides, I will participate in the Seilmakeren – the race from Bergen to Stavanger (Skudenes) and back. But this time in someone else’s yacht. Two races in no wind is enough in Salt. So I guess it will be a real blow this spring.
Best of x-mas to you all!
I have to admit it – this has been a good spring-season. And summer has started fine…
Salt became number two in our handicap-group regarding the weekly Wednesday round the can races. Second is not bad when you take into account that we did not attend 3 races. If anyone had taken Salt out one of the missing Wednesdays, we would have won the series.
The two-handed race to Shetland – the Visit Shetland Bergen Races – did not go as planned, but worked out fine. On my way to Bergen, the other two-hands (Odd) called in sick. Salt is a lucky ship. New hands turned up in Bergen. Geir-Olav abandoned a Wasa 36 and changed to the Kaskelot. However, Geir-Olav needed to be back in Bergen Sunday to tend to his new career as a non-student. Which meant we had to leave Shetland early.
Anyway, we did well and came in fourth. I am rather proud of that. All the contestants in front of us are far more experienced in short hand ocean racing and just beat us by minutes. The two of us raced the boat well. Just a little bit more will to win, and we would have done even better. I had a low-energy period – listening to the radio and enjoying the sun at the Oseberg platform, instead of trimming and changing sails – and Geir-Olav did not know the capabilities of Salt going hard on a spinnaker-reach.
Practice make good
I don’t know the Cape Horn well enough to use it during racing yet. That is – it’s fast to get it work incredibly well on a hard upwind leg. But it takes to long to set it for a reach or downwind conditions. More correct – to get it to work is fast, but to get it to work properly and fairly accurate one has to trim the boat as neutral as possible – and that takes some time.
However, Cape Horn took the helm at Bressay – just outside Lerwick, Shetland – and kept us going due East with minimal adjustments for 200 miles to Marsteinen, the lighthouse at the inlet to Hardanger and Bergen. Very impressive boat handling and very relaxing – going fast at 6-7 knots in a nice breeze, waves, but non really heavy, with Genoa 2 a few points off hard on the wind.
AIS for free
Finishing fourth is fine – and next year we will do better! Besides – today I received a gift from the race sponsors. I won an AIS-transponder to the tune of 12.000 kroner (2000 Dlrs). Isn’t that something! Just out of the blue I received equipment I never ever would have gotten money to buy as there is always something speed enhancing equipment more necessary than an AIS-transponder.
One long miserable night
Last weekend we took part in the Ryfylke Rundt race. A long miserable night, with heavy rain and rarely any wind. 2007 was the first time for short-hand-racing in this old and traditional race. It’s hard work as we change directions in and out among the islands and the fjords. I am sure I had the spinnaker up at least 7 times and repacked the wet monster as many times. All sorts of sail combinations were tried out until my fingers and hands were all sore and my back broken by all the hoisting. Well – it paid off, we won our class.
Down at the dock the spray form the fjord was washing over boats 200 feet away. No night to be at sea – but it worked out to be nice night to be in the cabin. At least as long as the boat is securely roped to the dockside. I don’t understand why anyone would wish to live close to a sailboat marina. The howling of the wind and the clatter of halyards hitting the aluminum masts must be annoying – to say the least.
Not so nice
On any given day this would have been one of the no-so-nice trips to check out the boat in the middle of a gale. But a few days ago I installed a new diesel oven. And the change is formidable. I have kept it burning just to check that everything is working fine. So during the gale I went below and just savoured the heat and dryness. The yacht has never been among the very wet ones, but she always get damp, cold and uninviting during winter. Everything start to smell a littel stale and all my equipment seems cold and damp.
What a change! Why on earth did it take me five years to get rid of the old diesel-electric heater? It never did work right – and when it worked it made noise and ate through my batteries. It finally sign it’s own death-penalty when it quit during a two-hand race from Bergen to Stavanger and back. At best this is a long race. When hit by cold strong headwinds and no heat below – it was unendurable. When my first-mate turned blue and her upper lip started quivering I knew it was time for some fast reaching towards the island Utsira.
Well – the real reason for dragging my feet for so long, was that I had to cut through the teak-deck for the exhaust-pipe. And I hate making holes – I hate it even more than I hate cutting rope. Sailors who buy expensive ropes, and make sure it is long enough by overdoing it by two meters, know what I mean. Anyhow – I finally did summon courage enough to drill a large hole in the cabin roof, and it was no big deal. Nothing to stay awake and think dark and sorrowful thoughts about leakage and rot.
Now it is so nice that I want to go x-mas sailing. At least I want to go out to see if there is cod to be had for 2.day x-mas. That is the best cod ever. Coming up from the cold fjord, hard and white in the meat and snarled by bait a cold and snowy day. Served with small potatoes, lots of boiled carrots and melted butter with cream and parsley…. And I want to cruise the fjords towards Sjernarøy for a two day lecture in university ped.
I have sailed the Bahamas and Florida – and the truth is that cold wind sailing with a nice glow below is much to prefer to hot wind sailing all day and even hotter nights.
If I get to the x-mas sailing and the cod fishing – I will blogg you all about it. Be my guest!