Welcome to our mid-life crisis! These are the chronicles of Laura and Patrick, their young son Jack, and their goofball Labrador Retriever named Evinrude (Rudy), as they travelled the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific coast of mainland Mexico in their catamaran. We went cruising in search of a change of pace, a closer knit family, and peace of mind. We found all three and more. The fun all started in October, 2008 and nearly four years later the Mexican adventure came to an end August 3rd, 2012. With our mid-life crisis cured in Mexico, we are excited to start a new adventure - life back in America.

Candeleros Chico

Candeleros Chico
Just another beautiful day at anchor on the Baja. 2010

Dolphins at play in the bow wake 2011

Dolphins at play in the bow wake  2011

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Flying the Spinnaker

We‘re very happy with ourselves on Just a Minute these days, and it‘s all because we learned a new trick - how to sail with a spinnaker.
We bought our boat with only two sails on it, the main and the jib, and we were very contented in the beginning, just learning how to work those to the best advantage. After time, we wanted a spinnaker and even researched buying one, but the cost didn’t seem to warrant the need.
Then we went home last July and our good friend (and our personal Patron Saint of Sailing) Mark Schrader gave us two spinnakers to use as we would. His generosity was overwhelming and very appreciated. Who could argue with that price? Mark has lots of bits and pieces of sailing equipment left over from his many sailing adventures (solo circumnavigating twice, and the expedition/circumnavigation of the North and South Americas). It is good quality stuff. He gave us two, since he is not familiar with catamarans and we weren’t sure of the size we needed.
Spinnakers are huge sails and are intended to make the most of light winds coming from behind you. They are flown from the front of the boat. They do not have one edge on a fixed attachment, like a jib or a mainsail does. They have a halyard at the top to raise and lower it, and a line off each bottom corner. They fly in front of the boat like a big kite pulling you along. The stronger the wind, the harder they are to control. They can get you into trouble if the wind becomes to strong, and the general rule is that if there is enough wind to sail your boat with your regular sails, then don‘t raise a spinnaker.
Back on the boat with our spinnakers, we consulted several sailor friends and got lots of advice but the best advice came from Ethan on Eyoni. He graciously came over one day at Isla Angel de la Guarda and looked over the gear. Ethan walked us through the whole process of how to raise and lower it safely. He told us a couple tricks like using the main sail as a wind block. He also had us put rubber bands every five feet up the length of the spinnaker so the first time we raised it, it didn’t immediately fill with wind too quickly and fall into the water before we had it raised. That trick worked great, so we had the whole sail raised to the top before the winds started breaking the rubber bands apart and expanding the sail.
Finally the right conditions presented themselves on our sail from Conception Bay down to San Juanico. We had a light wind on our stern of about 8 knots and it was not forecasted to strengthen until hours later that afternoon. We followed Ethan’s instructions, and everything went according to plan. It’s so fun to learn a new trick. The spinnaker is awesomely huge and colorful. We were very tickled with the whole experience. When the wind started picking up in the afternoon, we used the mainsail to blanket the wind to the spinnaker, and it quickly was dropped and secured.

No comments:

Post a Comment