Monday, July 26, 2010

Mac Race Days 2 and 3

Friday night was rain, 6 hours work. Jake, Megan, and Roxray's watch was during the rain. They kept the boat sailing well and we continued excellent progress.
Saturday we continuned our strategy of sailing north as soon as possible until the wind shift to northwesterlies. We wanted to broad reach across Lake Michigan, Donnybrook's fastest point of sail.
The wind shifted mid afternoon. It looked like our strategy was perfect until it continued to shift to the northeast. We were beating into winds in the high teens. We settled into a single reef in the main and genoa and sailing about 60 degrees vs. Our desired 30 degrees. We made good speed, low to mid 6 knots.
The wind subsided and we removed the reefs. We continued at 6-7 knots, tacking a few times to find the best angle for VMG and sea state.
During one of the tacks, during a spectacular sunrise, the genoa tore! Thanks to Roxray's quick thinking we raised the storm jib to continue forward progress, this time at 3-4 knots. As the wind subsided we sailed at 1/3 the speed we were capable of.
When the wind neared zero we decided to drop the genoa to investigate. There is a 3 foot tear at radar level. We made plans for Megan to patch with the sail repair kit on-board.
While looking for the cause we found the radome had dislodged and the metal shelf made a very sharp edge which sliced the sail! Jake went up the mast and found only one of 4 screws was holding it in and that was only finger tight.
Jake went up the mast and found only 1 of 4 screws. We went through spare parts and found, mysteriously, the 3 missing bolts! Our theory is the yacht yard failed to install 3 of the bolts. Jakes assessment was that if installed properly there was no way for the bolts to work lose, The ramaining acrew had the washer and lock washer in place but it wan't tight.
The wind picked up and we continued under "Big Blue", our Michigan Spinnaker.
We cointinued at 6+ knots to the Manitous and sunset when the wind dropped. We opted to go ouside the Manitous and, as of Monday morning, passed between North Manitou island and Fox Island.
Our ground support tells us we're 10-20 miles behind the main section 2 fleet,. I estimate we lost 15-20 miles due to the torn genoa. If the forecast is accurate we'll be sailing the rest of the race with Big Blue anyway.

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