|THE HENLEY WHALERS - SIX RACES IN SWEDEN 10-16 August, 2003
Crew: George, Julia, Nee Olsen, Emily, Paul W, Carson
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10 August, Hallevik-Hano
Wind E-SE, 4-5. Course: E from Hallevik Hbr, then NE to Hano, 8-10 miles total.
Start: we load all our camping gear, clothes and bedding, tie in both reefs at the pontoon, then row out of harbour till the wind catches us. Result is lots of warm rowers cooling down rapidly under sail.
Windward start, so we reach up and down before starting, avoiding gybes, and cross the line 30 seconds late, traveling fast, in the middle of the fleet.
Beating out to find the S Cardinal we seem level-pegging with First of May (Karla and Ben), Lena II (Patrick Morvan) and the Swedish Pilot boats. No sign of Sybellule, who later dominated the racing.
We’re third or fourth past the mark, hoping for a close reach, but the wind won’t go far enough S of E, so it’s close hauled on Starboard over 8 miles of open sea: and this is her second real sail! Good breeze and very steep seas, so imagine 25 open boats corkscrewing over and through 2 metre waves, taking loads of water over gunwales, bows and coamings.
|We comment that the ballasted pilot boats are taking more water than us when we put our bow straight through a nearly vertical wave, and Carson starts pumping!
The rig is comfortable with 2 reefs, 6 crew and the bags, and we settle down to work out how to get boat speed – flattening the jib, getting main downhaul right, loosening the lazy jacks, and boom up the track. After that Nee and Skipper play the mainsheet in the gusts, and the crew keep the gunwale out of the water – or is it Nee with the sheet?
Soon there are only two pilot boats ahead, and Nee starts urging ‘Molly’ on .to win.
|Skipper points out that the crew have to get further out, the mainsheet has to come in further, and we power up with growing confidence, despite regular crashes into wayward waves, and finally we are nose to tail with the fastest pilot boat, Suzie Q, 500 metres from the finish. The mainsheet team work harder than ever, the crew go further out, Carson clears the bilges, and we’re through to windward!
|The wind backs a little over Hano, we ease sheets and shoot over the line 50 metres ahead of Susie Q and 100 ahead of Lars Palm in SUS.
Then we tack into Hano harbour, in wind shadow from the island and in competition from the guard –boat Djarv, and miss the concrete by inches.
Alongside, all the bedding comes out into the Scandinavian evening sun, Julia and Skipper elect to sleep in the drying boat, Paul and Irenka in tents, and the remainder billet themselves in the houses and hostels on the island.
Learning points: we are sailing with 150-200 kgs of baggage, unexpectedly, because none of the islands have car transport, to help Eric bring the gear along behind us. Good news is that it stores easily, bad news is it gets wet in sail bags: only waterproof bags are waterproof!.
But does the weight help us carry sail, or is it slowing us down. No clear answer for the present…
The new main-sheet snubbers in the stern, taken from an old Navy whaler, and replacing jamming cleats, are judged a great success: control without the risk of jamming!
Others on the same day:
|Biskoppen, built 1842, catches a bigger wave than us;
|Gjoa, eventual winner of the small-boat class: Dad, Mum and two small boys, keeping the gunwale well out….
|and the ever- dangerous Sybellule, who contested the development class with us every day, but took a wrong turn today.
First photo (c) Kathy Mansfield 2003, remainder (c) Saltydogmedia 2003