Monday 18 May 2015

Pace Party

It was a Pace 17 only day out on the weekend as the wind turned on for a down wind paddle under sail.  Pace 17s were the order of the day with Flat Earth Sails being the sail of choice.  We paddled what is locally known as the "Cannonball Run", generally done from Victoria Point through to Oyster Point on the southern end of Moreton Bay.

The waves keep building the further north you go and just start to become interesting off Wellington Point before you have to shoot between King and Green Islands on a tack for Oyster Point.  The winds were pushing around 25-30 knots and the runs were fun at around 17-20 kms/hr.

The 25 km paddle is over before you know it so I prefer the longer run up to Redcliffe.  This paddle is a bit more on the edge as the fetch is longer and you can have over two meters of breaking swell running with only a few meters separating each wave due to the shallow nature of the bay.  It is easy to have runs well over 20 km/hr and you find yourself burying your bow as you come over the wave in front which puts a smile on your face if you can relax your white knuckle grip on the paddle!  You just need to watch the reefs as you come into Redcliffe as you won't see them with the swell pushing over them.

The sails are brilliant.  We did a few kms of paddling without sails to get a feel for the difference.  I could get on runs and get slightly slower speeds as when we were under sail, but the runs were shorter and you expended a lot more energy to get/keep on the runners.

Some lessons learned from sailing in these sorts of conditions is that up to 20 knots, you can let your boom rope off and leave the sail flap whilst turning into the wind to halt your progress - you can keep your sail up without too many concerns.  Once the wind is over 20 knots and you need to halt your progress, turn into the wind and drop your sail ASAP.  You will need to be facing the direction the wind is coming from to raise your sail again before turning and reefing the sail in once you have started to turn away from the wind.

If you leave the sail up in over 20 knots you risk a wind gust catching your sail and wrapping the sail around the mast and potentially blowing you over if you weren't paying attention.  The flapping of the sail can also cause the bolt that attaches the boom to the mast to come undone, which is what happened on the weekend.  We have now purchased some replacement bolts and nylex nuts to address that problem should it occur again on a trip.

Another good idea is to carry some spare cable ties in your PFD - they are useful for a number of different applications and you can carry out some quick repairs on and off the water.

There has been a number of people "borrowing" heavily from Micks Flat Earth Sail designs and coming up with competing products.  Some of these people had Mick helping them with their "home" sail projects and then to turn around and market their sails in direct competition is completely unethical. I can only encourage you not to support their narcissistic approach to doing business and do your homework before making a product choice.

Trip preparations are underway for three weeks of paddling in Northern Queensland.  I've completed all my boat modifications I am going to do.  Now I just need to prep my gear and test pack to see how I go fitting everything in for 19 days on the water with out being able to restock our supplies.

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