These are lazy days, the wind is very calm as we sit bobbing around the ocean. We made about 115 nm over night which means we have sailed 1873 nm leaving us with about 200nm to our waypoint which is north of St Lucia’s pigeon Island. Overnight we had some success as the wind did pickup enough.
At around 3 pm today we started the engine as we want to try to arrive on Thursday morning. I said that I would talk about the sails sets on board and this seems like an appropriate time. Some of the boats on the ARC Plus have parasailors which for a down wind course are the best option, they create speed and can be flown in light winds and are easily managed by two people. The other options are Spinnaker and asymmetric spinnakers. The boat here does not carry these. She is equipped with two extending spinnaker poles . She crarries a main sail with 3 reefing points, furling Genoa, a code zero and a small jib on an inner forestay.
We have tried Lots of options for sail sets including Goosewinging on the main with a preventer and a poled out Genoa. This works well for downwind and creates a reasonable amount of roll but it is comfortable and can be worked well from the cockpit once the pole is attached. We have had. Code zero alone which is great to an angle of 140 /150with the aid of a pole extended out it can become a down wind sail although it is less efficient, we have teamed this with an extended pole onto the Genoa which has proved to be a success and with the wind behind has given us a good turn of speed. Finally we have used the small brown jib from the inner forestay poled out with the Genoa , this was great and we sailed from Gran Canaria to Mindelo with this, and it proved to be effective although generated roll and was smaller in size.
I think cruising requires a different mindset, it requires the sails to be set for a period of time where there is only one of you controlling them on a watch for an extended period of time. The sails have been great and only a small tera in the code zero, there chafe on the sheet is one of the most important things to watch out for. The slightest rub against anything over an extended period leads to these sheets giving way much quicker. Doing this rally is more than most people sail in 5 years or 10 in some cases. Working out the best option with lowest fatigue for crew and sails is super important.
As we now motor onwards towards our destination the wind has dropped to 2.6 AWS, no matter what your sail set is it is possible to plan for a zero wind option.