Trial By Fire
The first day of Quantum Key West 2012 served up big breeze and put the crew of the Farr 400 Spaceman Spiff to the test.
Day 1 was a wet and wild ride! On the Farr 400 course, we saw breeze ranging from 18 to 25 knots. These conditions made for a wet and rough ride upwind, but the downwind legs were very wild and fun.
Aboard Spaceman Spiff, we learned a lot about sailing the boat in big breeze. The biggest lesson we learned today was about preparation going into the corners. Both races today, we found ourselves in the top three but lost a lot at the leeward-mark roundings due to delays getting the spinnaker down. We sorted a lot out, and we're ready to take on tomorrow. The forecast is calling for 15 to 18 knots, and rumor has it we'll be doing three races.
So far, I'm very impressed with the Farr 400—great ride upwind, even better down. Plus, the boat is very comfortable to sail.
Lessons for sailing in big breeze:
1. Ease the jib in the big puffs. This allows your bow to sail up and also de-powers the sail plan.
2. Move weight aft to adjust the helm of the boat. We had positioned two people behind the skipper today, and this really helped with keeping the rudder tracking and the bow from plowing into waves.
3. Keep the traveler centered and ease the main to keep the boat flat. This way, you aren't closing the slot, and you're increasing your point.
_ Access SW's complete coverage of Quantum Key West 2012. _