During the three day / two night passage from Banderas Bay on mainland Mexico to Bahia los Frailes on the South East tip of Baja, we had less wind and smaller waves than any day we spent anchored in Banderas. Some sailors will whine about the lack of sailability, but not us. Run the motor, have a nice peaceful trip, nothing gets broken. Perfect.
We left Punta de Mita way before dawn Sunday morning. We should have waited an hour so we could see the fishing nets that crosses the opening to the bay, but we made it out without trouble. If we had left later, we would have missed the light show. The ocean was spectacularly full of bioluminescence, and swirling whales or spawning fish or cresting waves were lighting up huge areas of the ocean. 100 foot square patches would suddenly turn bright greenish-white, then slowly fade. It was surreal. Dolphin were swimming back and forth under the boat, trailing bright sparkles, and leaping higher than the decks, dragging their glowing trails with them through the air.
There weren’t too many sea lions, but there were enough to keep things interesting.
Two boobies rode the bow wave off our sail the second night. Thankfully they didn’t find a place to land. The sail was full of wind because the motor was running. Our five knots (over the water and through the air) plus the wind’s three knots gave us enough wind to barely fill the sail and stabilize our rolling. If we turned off the motor we would have been drifting.
When we’re sailing, we try and monitor VHF channel 16 to listen for conversational hailing and emergency calls. It’s a problem in many parts of Mexico, because there’s lots and lots of yammering and singing and playing music and whistling and blah blah blah. At dusk last night, well after we had anchored, I had just given up on the radio and was literally reaching for the “off” knob when I heard the word “Tsunami” break through the barking. I logged onto the internet and spent the next three hours watching the Chilean earthquake turn into a Tsunami advisory, then a warning, almost a watch, and then have the whole thing cancelled as a wide-spread Tsunami failed to materialize. Most everyone else didn’t know anything about it and spent their evening in relaxed conversation or other productive behavior. And so it goes…..
As you may remember from this post: A New Arrow for the Quiver, “Arrows” are sails and the “Quiver” is the collection of sails. Just go with it.
We had no spare sails on board, but we were rolling in dough from selling off all the boat stuff that we accumulated in the last several years. Craig’s List called.
We found an old, old, old mainsail off a Cal 40 that fits our boat perfectly, except the Cal logo on the sail says “40” instead of “2-46.” It’s just a number.
We washed it and hung it using the nearby professional canvas laundry facilities.
Despite being very old and worn, this sail is in good shape, has partial battens so it stores well, and should make a great spare sail. Cheap, also.
It looks like the bolt rope has shrunk (as they do) creating a huge belly at the luff of the sail. We may remove the bolt rope and re-attach it once we get back to the boat and the sewing machine. We may not.
We also got a good buy on a used but very serviceable genoa off a Valiant 40. The spreader patches were in the wrong place, and it was too big, but no worries.
We had North Sails in Seattle cut the sail to fit and clean up the sun-shade (blue) sewing. They cut off the old #6 luff tape and luff pad and installed a new #5 luff tape to fit the Profurl reefing system (edit: it looks like the #5 is wrong and the #6 is correct – hopefully we can get them to fix it quickly // edit of the edit: North Sails sent me a link (http://www.profurl.com/images/info_pages/supportech-classic-elite42-59.pdf) in French where Profurl clearly uses #5 luff tape, so we’ll leave the sail that way and take the #6 tape to Mexico in case we need to re-sew it there) and shorten the luff slightly. Since we don’t race or even care very much about sail shape, we didn’t spend the extra money to install a new luff pad.
The fabric on the new-to-us jib is crisp and slick and pretty clean. After re-sizing, this sail is only 10% smaller than our old sail. It will become our new working jib and the old sail will be moved to spares.
Nancy was trying to explain how luff padding improves the shape of a partially furled sail to Daisy-the-Lab and WSCOTY Art Wiper, but they kept goofing off. Slackers.
Some boats have a sail inventory. That seems a little dull.
Massively highly-funded racing boats have a quiver of sails to choose from. Quiver sounds better. Our boat came with a pretty good mainsail and a jib that’s older than plastics, as well as a ridiculous old main with a zipper in it.
So we bought a new sail using the e bay. It turned out slightly smaller than we wanted, but it’s brand new and a very good sail so we’ll keep it.
It’s an asymetrical spinnaker, or code zero, or screecher, or reacher, or any of several other names that probably mean something specific but nobody that I know uses them specifically.
It’s also pretty. It’s set and flown like a big light jib, which is what it is, but instead of rolling it up on the forestay you “douse” it by covering it with a fabric tube (sock) and lowering it to the deck before stowing it in either a nook or a cranny.
Here’s an incredibly complete video showing how to rig and fly this wombly sail.
Here’s another tutorial so you know what to do when you come sailing.
We had a sunny warm day here in Western Washington. That means that the high temp was over 70, the humidity fell below 50%, and the sun was out for at least half the day.
So we opened the Camano Island sail laundry (non-permitted).
One good sized tarp, a dingy, and a little soap and water and we were in business.
We scrubbed the jib, soaked it in the dingy, scrubbed it again, and then tied it to the Mermaid on the top of the barn, the Suburban, and the wagon. It was harder than you might think to get the whole thing off the ground.
The main sail was a little more trouble. First we had to remove the battens, then we laid the sail out on a tarp and scrubbed the considerable stains. Seems the Sausalito Songbird Society had found a home in the sail for the past several years.
Then we pulled the whole thing into the dingy and soaked it in Woolite and Clorox all-fabric colorsafe bleach.
It took a while to get it all underwater. A long soak, a quick rinse, and then it was time to string it up.
Then more rinsing.
It took most of the day for the sails to dry, then we didn’t get them down quick enough. You know what that means.
At least the blackberries aren’t ripe, and thankfully it wasn’t one of these fish processors.
We had the jib (Genoa) repaired by a sail loft last month. I asked the guy how old the sail was. He pointed at the numbers.
Then he had me look a little closer. Our numbers are stitched on.
Modern sail numbers are cut from fancy fabric tape, and stuck on the sail, like the logo on our mainsail.
It’s been that way since sticky-back fabric has been available.
That means our jib is older than 3M.