Sunday, July 17, 2011

Issuma: rigging failure on the Labrador Sea

A sheared off cotter pin led a headsail to collapse, which meant return to Cartwright, scene of last year's mast repairs.  Here's the first part of the latest installment of the Issuma story. - GWC
We left Black Tickle on a quiet morning, motoring out of the still harbor and away from the coast until the wind picked up enough to sail. The piece of ice in the photo was fairly close to the shore.
I'd been paying a lot of attention to the weather forecasts. Computer programs made their guesses, the National Weather Service made their guesses, Environment Canada made their guesses, and I looked at all these and made my guesses. We were all wrong :). 
What was expected to be a brisk reaching wind turned into a mere slog dead to windward in F4-6 seas for a little over a day. We dodged several growlers and bergy bits in the intermittent rain and fog. The forecasts had now changed to be another day of headwinds to 30 knots. We were sailing against the south-flowing Labrador current, and progress was slow when, during a gybe, the inner jib (trinquette) refused to come across. 
A quick check up forward showed the stay was no longer attached to the mast. We got the other sails down so we would be heading downwind, and then brought the stay and sail (it was a roller-reefed sail) onto the deck. It seemed that the cotter pin that holds the clevis pin that holds the stay (wire) in place had sheared off. We got the sail off and cleaned up the deck, then changed course and sailed and motorsailed towards Cartwright, which was only about 130 miles back from where we were. 
As we got closer to the coast, the wind became quite favorable, the sun came out and we had a pleasant sail to within a few hundred metres of the dock. There we went to start the engine to motor onto the dock, and that began the John Deere Saga, which is the topic of another post. 

Paul Cayard - AC 435 training

It's going to be fast and physical at the Americas Cup in windy San Francisco Bay as super fast catamarans race across the bay just  inside the Golden Gate Bridge.  Stadium sailing Paul Cayard calls it.  His team, Artemis racing, is in the  hunt.  He was on the helm for the last Whitbread - which he won.  It's killing him now that age has taken the stick out of his hands.  Here is his report. - GWC

from Paul Cayard, July 21, 2011Our team has been training on our AC45 here in Valencia for a week now. I went out yesterday and joined them onboard in 18-22 knots of wind. It was quite a ride! 27 knots was the top speed of the day and 20-24 knots is normal downwind speed in those conditions.Our coach, Andrew Palfrey, had set up a course and the crew took the boat through its paces. The level of physical activity onboard is like nothing the America's Cup has ever seen. The races last 30 minutes and the heart rate for most of the 5 man crew is over 150bpm for that entire period with peaks of 175. They actually wear heart rate monitors so the team's trainer, Pete Cunningham, can log their physical capabilities and stresses. Recovery from these races will be paramount and the coach boat comes alongside after the session with energy drinks and protein bars. The crew eat "gel" throughout the day.The crew on the day included Skipper - Terry Hutchinson (USA), Mainsheet trim - Sean Clarkson (NZL), Camber/Trim Kevin Hall (USA), Headsail trim - Morgan Trubovich (NZL), Bow - Julien Cressant (FRA). I was the "6th" man which is the guest. Terry let me steer on the the way back to the harbor which was fun. 27 knots.I look at all this and wish I was 20 years younger. It looks like so much fun and I love that it is so physical. Growing up, I loved basketball as much as I loved sailing. But I ran out of vertical so stuck with the sailing. In sailing, I always loved the Star on a windy day because it is so physically challenging. It looks to me like catamaran sailing in the America's Cup is going to bring sailing into the realm of a truly physical sport.Our training continues through Tuesday, then the boat and its four containers and tender get packed up and trucked to Cascais (Portugal) for the first America's Cup World Series event from August 6- 14.Paul