We left the dock with the small jib and a reefed main and spent an hour or so close hauled on the eastern side of the bay. (I was hoping my wife, Pat, could take our picture. We would be the tiny speck on the water--oh well.) It seems 15 knots is plenty of wind. With each gust over 20, and there were many, we had to spill wind. At this point we especially appreciated Johann Tanzer's design. The wide, rounded hull provides plenty of buoyancy. But still we needed to be conservative. Tony's 61, I'm 68, Puget Sound's waters are 58 degrees, and help, if it came at all, would be more than an hour away. Hypothermia is the big worry here.
Other folks must have been worried about the wind too. Ten minutes before the start we were the only boat out there. Four other boats joined us for the start--the best sailors in the fleet--well the four best and us.* The wind, being the wind, started dropping before we reached the weather mark. We got hosed because of our reduced sail and shook out the reef on the downwind leg. By the time we reached the committee boat to start the second lap we wished I had not left the Genoa in the truck.
Things we learned:
- 15 knots of wind is the upper limit of comfortable sailing in a Tanzer 16. 20 knots are manageable but you will be super tired after a time. (I suspect that with 20 knots and waves you need to run downwind and find some lee shelter.)
- It is nice to have winch to raise and lower the main when you want to add or shake out a reef. It's difficult to get enough tension on the main or jib while you are out on the water. The winch greatly simplifies this task.
- Take both jibs.
- The mast hinge was fully loaded and didn't seem bothered by it.
- I need to add a hook to the main outhaul for easier reefing.
- Even with plenty of wind, it can be difficult to turn a Tanzer for the tack. All the things that make it track straight and make it stable make it stubborn about turning. (Even in 15 knots we could balance the helm so you could steer with light pressure from one finger.)
- Wear foul weather gear when the wind is over 12 knots. Sitting up front Tony kept me mostly dry but he got plenty wet.
- It would be nice to move the spinnaker topping lift and halyards in closer to the centerboard trunk.
|The winch in the top left corner was added to help tension the main and jib|
|The new compass doesn't work any better, but is more tolerant of salt spray.|
As you can see the centerboard trunk area is getting pretty full. All three halyards and the topping lift can be controlled from the helmsman's position. The idea is that you winch the jib and main halyards through the cam cleats. When the tension is right each one gets secured on its own cleat. There are cam cleats with fairleads under the thwart. Above all that is the snubbing winch pedestal for the jib sheets. Behind all this you find the halyard winch, the centerboard cleat, the compass, and the mainsheet block. On either side of the truck we have pouches to hold the halyard tails. All of the lines can be operated from the aft end of the cockpit.
So theoretically, I can single hand the boat--but not in 20 knots of wind thank you.
*Which proves you beat a lot of people by just showing up. We got five points for each race. The ten boats that did not compete got seven points for each race. That will make a big difference when they total up all the points for the series.