From The Deck Of Prospector 13 July 2015 1000Z

From The Deck Of Prospector 13 July 2015 1000Z

A Paean To Prospector

As we near the finish of the TR2015 all 15 crew onboard are reflecting

on how lucky we have been to do this event on such an exceptional


The yacht called Prospector today has a long and illustrious history

since her commissioning in 1998.  She has been Deep Powder, Carrera,

Harrier, Hissar, and Captivity.  She has had terrific owners in Joe

Dockery, Steve Munger, Edgar Cato, and Sam Byrne who maintained

her well and upgraded her consistently.  She is a winner on the race

course, and among her many victories she is the current holder of the

course record for the Annapolis to Newport race, set when she was

Carrera.  When the SITP partners found her in Maine we could

immediately tell she had great bones, though she needed a bit of love. 

More on that in a separate post.

Many famous sailors and highly accomplished crews have raced on her

over the years.  We have been amazed at the number of people we

have met who fondly remember sailing on her in the past.  To a one

they have offered us advice and encouragement as we have gone about

getting ready for the TR2015.  Many of them have told us how happy it

makes them feel to see the old girl out and about again.  It would be

great fun if any of you who sailed on her put a post on our Facebook


Every racing yacht is great at some things and not so great at others.

We have only found two flat spots with Prospector.  The first is that she

is underpowered downwind in light air.  The second is that we have to

switch to smaller fractional spinnakers in any reaching condition over 8

knots because the top of the mast is unsupported and we don’t have

running backstays.  Both of these issues are minor (though they did

impact our Annapolis to Newport result) relative to her many strengths. 

There are a couple of other minor annoyances. Prospector is a bit of a

wet boat now, mostly because of her age.  The aft facing Nav station is

a bit of a trip and a bit of a challenge for her navigator.  All things

considered, these are pretty acceptable trade-offs in exchange for her

many strengths.

Prospector is very fast upwind in almost any wind condition and

downwind above 15 knots though we can’t quite compete with the

planning yachts of today.  The more the wind blows, the more she likes

it.  It is amazingly easy to tell when she is underpowered and when she

is overpowered.  In either state, a quick adjustment to the sail plan gets

her back on her groove again.  During our transatlantic crossing we

were blessed with a lot of wind.  On more than a few occasions too

much wind.  The crew had more trouble dealing with that than

Prospector did.  After we reduced sail area, often to a triple reefed

main and J5, Prospector would settle right down, incredibly balanced

and relatively easy to steer.  It was an incredible sensation in over 40

knots of wind to feel her trundle on like a locomotive on a track,

shaking off the mayhem raging around her.  Her strength and

confidence rubbed off on us.  In conditions that often were just this

side of terrifying, we were able to remain calm knowing our sturdy

yacht could handle them.

Her other terrific attribute is her sheer volume.  Long, wide and tall she

is enormous below decks.  Prospector was an amazingly spacious and

comfortable home for the 15 of us as we crossed the Atlantic (this is of

course a relative comparison).  There was plenty of room for all of us,

our gear (too much gear), 14 or 15 sails, food, supplies, tools and

spares.  Sail storage and handling was easy given the space in the main

cabin.  She is extremely comfortable, an important consideration for a

partnership group that would be hard to categorize as young. 

Prospector is very big, and she looks it.  We were in Antigua this winter

at the Catamaran Club for the Caribbean 600.  We were on a dock in

front of the Ker 51 Sorcha and alongside the Cookson 50 Privateer. 

Both looked tiny compared to the massive Prospector.   People would

walk the docks and check Sorcha and Privateer, both amazing yachts. 

When they got to Prospector they would stop and stare, stunned at her

size.  We really benefited from her size and volume in the sailing

conditions we experienced during TR2015.

We had a very tough race.  We rarely sailed in less than 30knot winds. 

Often, too often really, we were in 40 knot plus winds.  We also had

very big seas.  Bigger than any of us had ever seen before or want to

see again.  We pushed Prospector hard to try to put up the best

possible finish we could.  We had some breakdowns, and some near

break downs, and even more near misses but Prospector gave us more

than we should have asked of her and brought us across the big, unruly

North Atlantic safely.

All 15 of us now trust her completely.  We know we are beyond

fortunate to have such a fast, strong, sea kindly yacht to enjoy the

adventure of a lifetime aboard.