18 Jul 2014

[Captains Blog] Sea Trial Progress

We have been out in all conditions testing the seaworthiness of our lovely new boat. On one occasion we were drifting along in 7 knots of wind one moment, only to have 45 knots over the bows a minute later. Tumi took all of this in her stride, and didn't even heel over in the sudden blast that took us by surprise. It wasn't forecast, but then they rarely get it right these days do they?

Performance-wise, Tumi is a fast boat. For some reason we keep overtaking other boats that are ahead of us, much to the chagrin of their skippers and crew. The other day we were returning to Plymouth from a trip to Fowey when a navy warship was also returning to port and was crossing our bow. We altered course to go through the East entrance, but the warship did the same and we were still on a converging course. I assumed they would be going faster than us, but we picked up speed to 9.2 knots and the gap closed. Fortunately they were far enough ahead to avoid any mishap, but the sail into the Plymouth Sound was exhilarating to say the least.

We have had a couple of glitches that need to be ironed out -- the in-mast furling system has been an issue and we have been struggling to make it work properly. There is a sliding mechanism on the boom that is used to pull the mainsail out from within the mast and this should run freely along the track on top of the boom allowing the sail to be pulled out by hand using the outhaul rope. The slider design has been pulling the sail downwards instead of outwards which has damaged the block itself and made setting the sail difficult. This has been brought to the manufacturers attention and we are getting a replacement unit which works on roller bearings instead of a slide system. Watch this space to see how we find the replacement performs.

Time is moving on and we are getting very close to our departure date of August so we are getting the last few bits and pieces that we will need for our trip. In the wake of the Cheeky Rafiki we have bolstered our safety equipment - we have just acquired a second EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) and have ordered a second liferaft, an Ocean specification in a canister which will be deck mounted with an automatic hydrostatic release mechanism. We are not compromising on safety. This second EPIRB combined with the original will give us the capability of sending a distress signal for a period of 8 days should we ever need it (hopefully never).

I will need to wrap the spreaders with some insulating foam to prevent chafe on the sails before we go, so a trip up the mast for me will be the order of the day soon, (thankfully, we have the electric winch to do the work of getting me up there) and a few internal attachment point fixings will make it a safer place in the galley when the galley strap is attached. I wouldn't want anyone to get thrown about when we are at sea and cooking our supper.