November 26th, 2010 at 2:46 pm
Adventure Sailing Adventure
Posted by Mike Joyce (Host Of Boat Talk on WERU)
Even Thor the skull cleaver* would have looked twice at conditions that morning. I thought it looked a little nuts driving down to Rockland, bay covered with whitecaps, blowing 25 knots, clear, cold, early November. It was calming down though and Thor (the expeditioneer) said he and the sail guy hadn’t broken anything in 35 kts the day before, and if he’s good to go, I say- whoosh!
The Presto 30 is a fast centerboard carbon-fiber square headed cat-ketch outboard sharpie trailer-
The sail guy canceled so it’s me and Thor and Wendy Jordan, Thorfinn’s head leader and large spirit. As we gear up and don our life jackets on the dock I am quickly reminded that these people are very experienced professionals. And fun to be around, attitude, as they say, making all the difference between an ordeal and an adventure. I feel like we’re old friends immediately. We’ll be fine, but I’m tingling and wondering how we will get her off the dock with the wind like this.
Nauti sailors like tricks with ropes and knots, and knotty expeditioneers do too. Using her dock lines we flip the boat on the dock with the sails up and single reefed. The engine is having an idle issue so we don’t want to trust gear changes in this corner this morning, but now we are good to go with a spring line led back to the boat. Yesterday they threw a heaving line to the next dock, which I consider very creative. And smart.
Sheet in and yee-ha! On the wind and on the rail, the boat quickly accelerates and heels over but feels solid doing it. We need to remember this is really a big dinghy with no keel which we can capsize. As a precaution we have the drop boards in the port side companionway, but with plenty of rail down sailing there is no drama.
No drama is what I keep thinking about this boat and I mean that in the best possible way because there is still plenty of fun and excitement. No drama means safe, whether raising the masts with the ingenious old school gin pole rig- or the full volume and buoyancy of the hull forward that make this a remarkably dry boat and recoverable in the chance of a knockdown. No drama also means a rig with a quiet demeanor – things are definitely blowing about but the sails are remarkably well behaved and even quiet in their wishbooms. The rig keeps the size of the sails reasonable and gives you plenty of ways to pull on things, like the snotter, and doesn’t even need winches. No drama, but did I mention fast?
Speed depends on power. I was thinking double reefs, or a double forward and single reef aft, but Thor had been through that the day before so we start single reefed expecting to shake that out. Thorfinn’s version of the Presto 30 has no instruments so they bungee a hand held GPS to the engine box. Broad reaching across the harbor it shows 7 and 8 knots consistently. Now under full sail the boat never feels overpowered and goes like hell- 9 and 10 knots all the time and as much as 11.8 kts surfing down a wave. Thor has seen 13 knots! Obviously this boat is skimming over the water as opposed to plowing through it. What a great ride- thrilling but solid with excellent control.
With the layers we have on today nobody is even chilly though I feel kind of double stuffed with the unaccustomed life jacket up around my ears. Thor and Wendy take turns sailing the boat and are great company with lots of history and stories. They have a thing about funny accents so I might learn one. I told both of them- any boat, any ocean, any time- which of course you can’t say to just anyone.
It was a special sail. Not strangely we didn’t see anyone else sailing or even out there, besides the Coast Guard. I was still tingling headed home in the truck. It turns out the Presto 30 has just won Sail magazine’s Boat of the Year competition (under 50 ft) and they described it as innovative, immaculate, sexy, fast and solid. That sounds just about right.
* nickname** to distinguish THAT Thorfinn from all the other same named Vikings, see for example- Thor the magnificent and so on
**according to an interview with Thor (the expeditioneer) Emory on Boattalk, WERU-fm, 11/2010: Boattalk.org