1. Was your plan to be “competitive” going into this first leg?
A: Not really but whenever there are two sailboats…always a race. But we did sail conservatively.
Takeaway – Being conservative in a dynamic environment pays dividends. Even among thoroughbred racers the mantra is “If you want to finish first, first you have to finish”
2. What watch keeping rotation did you use and did you stick to it?
A: At night only, we did 3 hours.
Takeaway – There are many variations of watch-keeping schedules and often these are personal preferences. The important thing is that you have one and stick to it. Decisions need to be made and being well rested will help.
3. What did you use for weather forecasting and routing?
Takeaway – Forecasts and even professional weather routers are readily accessible to today’s cruisers. Find one you like but using multiple sources of data is encouraged. Weather forecasting is still not an exact science.
4. Could you see other vessels most of the time?
Takeaway – AIS is now standard fare for most cruisers. As a VHF based system so there will be some range restrictions however you’ll be able to see who’s around you, where they are heading and get an idea of what their vessel might look like.
5. Was there a daily VHF check in?
Takeaway – With more reliance on satellite communication SSB is becoming less popular. In this case in order to broadcast to anyone with a receiver an SSB makes sense. Better range than VHF and everyone can listen in.
6. What was your best 24hr distance?
Takeaway – A steady 9 knots is a great cruising speed but keep it real when planning longer passages. Maybe use 7 as a conservative start for the Hylas 56
7. Given this was a short leg — kind of a shake down — was there any really good learning?
A: Not a short leg, 800 miles. Learned that jibing downwind was more effective than sailing direct.
Takeaway – “Heating up the angles” down wind isn’t just about speed to your destination. Boat handling is easier on a broad-reach than dead down wind and there is a lot less risk of gybing by mistake. Make sure you rig a preventer when you plan on being off the wind for any length of time.
8. How many crew were you?
Takeaway – Great for a 2 and 2 watch system
9. Did you spend a lot of time focused on sail trim?
A: No, Mostly partially reefed in 20-25 knots
Takeaway – Sail trim becomes more important in the light stuff. Don’t be obsessive but if you can find an extra knot you can always slow down later.
10. Were you fishing? Catch anything?
Takeaway – Now we are talking “fresh”. Learn to make sushi 🙂
11. What was the top speed registered by GPS and what point of sail and sail configuration were you using?
A: 13.4 knots, surfing off the wind with reefed sails. Main and Genoa
Takeaway – We all love chasing speed and watching those numbers click up and down can become addictive. Riding a wave for a few seconds is very exhilarating and there is even some driving technique to catching waves. Again rig a preventer.
12. In the run up to talking part in this adventure is there anything you wish you had thought of while your yacht was being built?
A: Since we owned a Hylas 54, we knew what we wanted. We are considered the slowest boat in Class A and yet ALORA just rolls along with little effort.
Takeaway – Many of our clients know they will be taking part in these kinds of events and there are often strict requirements that if know during the build process we happily install at the factory. These are mostly safety related and the majority are already part of the Hylas standard specification.
If you fancy having a go yourself, Grabau International are delighted to offer a number of new and used Hylas options including:-