From The Deck of Prospector 04 July 2015 0300z
Just back at the Nav station after two great hours on deck with the crew.
As soon as I got on deck we put in a reef as the wind reached 35 knots. We sailed the entire time with the single reef, a J4 and a genoa staysail. The reef seemed to make no difference in speed, but a big difference in stability. It also eliminated a lot of risk as we flew on into the night.
We were making 13-15 knots boat speed and 15-17 knots speed over ground, still getting a push from the Gulf Stream.
I drove for 30 minutes and it was memorable. With Scotty calling the waves coming behind us the entire team would work together to catch a wave and surf it. As a wave would approach Scotty would tell me to turn the bow down, the main trimmer would ease the main and we would try hook the wave. Once we caught the wave we would reverse the process and would turn the bow up, the mainsail trimmer would trim the main and off we would go. We would continue to work the bow up and down and the main in and out to stay on the wave. As Prospector rode the wave our speed would build and the big girl would settle in to the wave sending spray everywhere.
The first time I got our boat speed up over 20 knots for a sustained period, I was quick to point that out to my son Matthew. He told me it was no big deal, he had done it twice already. After two more amazing 20 knot plus sustained rides I handed over the helm to Andrew Wolf.
Surfing a wave in a sailboat feels exactly like skiing in untracked waist deep powder. Though at night, in a boat the size of Prospector at night in the middle of the Atlantic it is a little frightening,
Happy Independence day everyone. Off to sleep now.