2000 Aug 12: Adagio sea trials Bay of Islands to Whangaroa, NZ

We are just back to Opua from some heavy air trials up to Whangaroa and back, Aug 12-14. Sadly we stopped taking video when seas were crashing over the coachroof (we were having a sit down lunch :-).

Whatever, we are definitely ‘chuffed’ as we Kiwis say. Most exciting part of the run was thru Cavalli Passage in wind against tide. TWS was over 25 most of day from Oki Bay/Bay of Islands departure, over 30 for a long time – maybe 2 hours, and over 40 for a short time as squalls passed overhead. Shortly after it hit 40TWS was when Adagio was really taking seas aboard.

For roughly 5 hours we were upwind/footing-off with AWA varying around 40 to 50. Started out with Solent and 1st reef, went to second reef in around 28-30 AWS, considered third reef or dump jib with AWA around 38, but by the time we got organized AWA was back to 30ish so skipper’s white knuckles starting turning pink again. BTW, Dorothy put in the second reef on the Reef-Rite boom furler in a flash while I steered her up nearly head to wind for just a few seconds. Would have needed an underwater video camera to film reefing (and to get accurate timing) as camera operator would have had to get out on weather deck to see both Dorothy and what was happening with the mainsail, and Steve chasing around cockpit working the main traveler, boom triangulation tackle and mainsheet. That would have been seriously wet camera work.

I was concerned about boom gyrations from the seastate, and also getting Adagio in irons – then starting backwards fast on the rudders, and knowning-not what might develop if that happened. She accelerates very fast from a stalled/in irons position in the normal direction. Don’t know how fast she would accelerate backwards (should be much slower as sail plan is just drag in that case, not lift), but don’t really want to find out in those conditions.

We did get a bit of video of green water shooting up thru tramps, up over forebeam onto tramps, trying to rip all the ground tackle off, etc. Anything not properly secured would have been history.

Only damage we’ve found so far was that on one of the two ground tackle systems, the big heavy ‘devils claw’ and its lashing came off the chain. This is the securing safety line that we rig at sea to ensure the big Spade and Delta anchors stay where they belong, and do not load up the dual Lofrans windlass clutches. The good news is it didn’t get slammed into the front windows due to the length of the tether. Other good news is that the very heavy 3/4″ thimbles and SS bridle connecting plate didn’t come loose from its fwd tramp lashing.

Note for future passages – ensure that can’t happen as the devils claw could probably break the 12mm tempered glass of forward saloon/bridge windows. I’m 99% certain that the bridle connecting plate and two thimbles would have splintered a front window – a factor we hadn’t considered until now, though we definitely focused upon securing it thoroughly. The possibility of that much mass running loose and impacting the windows was an eye opener.

Most of the time Otto steered just fine. Another delight for Dorothy and I, and our great crew David and Susan, was that during the wettest leg thru Cavalli 3 crew were sitting around dining table having yummy fresh-prepared lunch listening to George Winston’s “Summer” while I kept watch, trimmed and grabbed a few bites. All were warm and dry, even during frequent winch console work trying to trim for max speed.

I have to say that everything worked as we had planned, including the crew comfort index. That run on any mono we’ve owned would have been very wet, cold and rough. The difference between conditions deckside and saloonside was beyond my adjectives. The deckside definitely required max foul weather gear, while we were working the boat in sweaters – with foulies and SOSpenders handy if something went wrong.

Speedwise we rarely got below 10, don’t think we saw less than 9 boat speed for hours, and saw some 12s. B&G tech calibrated boat speed, but can’t say for sure it is accurate yet. We were focusing on AWS and TWS, weren’t paying attention to boat speed. Only have to look aft at the waves/dual wakes to know this boat is fast.

We got a few wing slams (6 or 8?), none that noticeable. Only one could I feel directly, as it impacted under my feet.

And all this time whilst trying to break things, Panda 10kW genset is purring away – recharging 24V bank and supporting Glacier Bay system, Spectra watermaker is making great-tasting water and Webasto hydronic system is making hot water and heating the boat!

Not a drop of water inside, while exterior is completely coated in salt. Gotta work more on how we come inside w/o bringing salt in on feet.

We wanted to get the hook down in Whangaroa before dark, so didn’t think much about turning around to try for high speeds off the wind. Now I wish we had done so and just stayed at sea. Oh well, next time we get some wind again…

David and Susan, who are sailing with us to Noumea on Adagio, say they are now 2hull converts fur sure:-)

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