Monday, May 2, 2011

Good Sailing

Anchorage at Kithnos

Good Sailing May 1, 2011

Taking advantage of an unusual South-East wind, we are sailing from Sifnos to Kithnos, a distance of about 40 nautical miles to the north. The wind started out directly behind us, at 15 knots. We flew the genoa only on the dead run. The waves started to build by mid morning, and we were happily surfing at over 7 knots, although this sailing direction requires a lot of attention at the helm. I experimented with the auto-pilot to see how it handles. Occasionally a wave pushes the stern off; the auto pilot over-corrects, and the boat goes too much into the leeward side, causing the genoa to flop around. And then the boat eventually gets back to the right direction, and the sail fills, with a huge ‘boom’. That’s not good. I set the course to 10 degree off, and everything worked a lot better. I really should set the whisker pole, which in the case of this boat is the spinnaker pole; but I am too leery to go to the foredeck to man-handle the huge pole in this pitching sea, so…those are the compromises.

By mid afternoon the wind has veered to a beam reach, and we are simply enjoying the ride, the boat sailing at 7 to 8 knots in 15 knots of wind. And then the late-afternoon fresh breeze arrives, gusts of 25, the boat complaints of getting overpowered and heads up into wind, so we reef in the genoa, ease the main, and arrive at our anchorage by 4:00PM. We have sailed the entire 40 miles, which is highly unusual. We drop anchor in a deserted bay called Ormos Apokriosis. The bay is sheltered on three sides by rocky cliffs, ringed by a small strip of sandy beach, a tavern, a chapel, and some shuttered houses overlooking the bay. A light breeze still comes in from the sea, but inside the bay the water is calm, except for the sound of the constant surfs rolling over the beach.

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