Find­ing shade

Yachting World - - Cruising -

picks up. It may be pos­si­ble to sail the an­gles with­out a pole, but it would need a great deal of con­cen­tra­tion to main­tain a good VMG. Spin­nakers, A sails, Para­sailors, etc, all have their place when the wind is light, but if short­crewed in a big sea­way can be a hand­ful.

Crews will of­ten say that they do not in­tend to sail with a spin­naker at night and may well reef down when it gets dark; you do have to re­mem­ber that nights in the trop­ics are long and re­strict­ing your sailplan through the hours of dark­ness does com­pro­mise your speed. With a light wind and full moon, run­ning down the trades at night with a kite up is a great ex­pe­ri­ence, and as easy as dur­ing the day, but on a dark night with a cross swell steer­ing be­comes very dif­fi­cult and a kite can eas­ily get wrapped.

It also de­pends on how many peo­ple you have – I would rather have two- than sin­gle-per­son watches as I find it a pleas­an­ter pas­sage and the watches fly past when chat­ting, but can drag if you are on your own and a bit tired.

Rather than mak­ing rules on what sails we may or may not use at night we find a lit­tle prepa­ra­tion for sail han­dling goes a long way to im­prov­ing ef­fi­ciency. Mark­ing hal­yards is es­sen­tial – eg, how far to drop the main hal­yard when tak­ing a reef, or when you have reached max hoist. This saves dam­age and makes life eas­ier, and is some­thing we can take from the rac­ing fra­ter­nity. We spend a for­tune get­ting our yachts to the sun, but once there we spend even more keep­ing out of it. Bi­mi­nis have be­come com­mon on yachts, and boats with­out one are the ex­cep­tion rather than the rule. Aboard some boats with a sub­stan­tial spray­hood and a bi­mini you can avoid the sun al­to­gether, and look­ing around an an­chor­age in the trop­ics, I see there are a huge range of ideas to keep out of the sun.

It is a dif­fi­cult choice; bi­mi­nis do re­strict up­ward vis­i­bil­ity and there­fore sail trim and, de­pend­ing on the main­sheet sys­tem, can be hard to fit. On our yacht we do not have a bi­mini, which for the cross­ing was great, but for cruis­ing in the Caribbean is prob­a­bly a mis­take as it does get hot and hard to get out of the sun.

Our main­sheet track is just in front of the helm, which makes all but a very small bi­mini dif­fi­cult to fit; how­ever we are look­ing at op­tions for the Pa­cific leg of our voy­age. In­ter­est­ingly, quotes in the Caribbean were close to dou­ble those in the UK.

What we do have, how­ever, is a sun awning that cov­ers the cock­pit when at an­chor; af­ter a bit of prac­tice it only takes a few min­utes to put up then gives great shade. We would have ex­tended it for­ward to the mast, but this would shade the so­lar pan­els. Even so a great cool­ing ef­fect is im­me­di­ately felt once it is in place.

Over the past few years sun­proof cloth­ing has be­come read­ily avail­able and with­out a bi­mini hav­ing long-sleeved sun­proof tops and wear­ing hats has pre­vented any sun­burn on the way across the ocean. Sail­ing in the trop­ics is dif­fer­ent and al­though the sun is great when swim­ming it can all be­come a bit too much if at an­chor in a well shel­tered bay.

An­chor­ages in the full force of the tradewinds, but

Above: a bi­mini to pro­tect the crew while helm­ing is a boon if not too big

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.