|Sailing with the cruising chute, its about 45 square|
metres, half as big again as the already large genoa.
Sailing with just the cruising chute and no mainsail allows it to work on a dead run, with the mainsail up it collapses. The alternate is to fly the chute or the symmetrical spinnaker from the pole but setting that was too much like hard work and with variable winds and a choppy sea was unlikely to generate a lot more speed as I was already making 5 - 6 knots and only needed 4 knots or a little more to make the tidal gate to enter the Pentland Firth.
The wind finally settled to a nice force 4 from the south east and I made good progress, there was even some sun! And whilst it wasn't particularly warm it wasn't cold and I went until evening with warm feet 😀
For a while I even took a lead from sailors in the trade winds with two headsails, or in my case the cruising chute and genoa which makes the best of a dead run, never a happy point of sailing, without the bother of a spinnaker which would have been a bit of a hand full in the prevailing conditions. It also means you don't have the mainsail flapping about and wanting to gybe and with all of the power in front of the mast it makes the boat more stable, a bit like having front wheel drive and not having the power on the back wheels and the weight further back trying to flip you round - and in the case of the old Porsche 911s frequently succeeding! The down side is that the cruising chute can't be dropped behind the mainsail so care is needed even with the snuffer, in an emergency it would be gybed onto the genoa before lowering.
|A variant of the classic two headsail approach to the dead run.|
Cruising chute on one side, 150% genoa on the other and
both drawing nicely. If using this configuration the Genoa should
be held out with the spinnaker pole for better stability.
|Making 4.9 knots in 10 knots of wind. It would be 5.5 - 6 knots|
with the mainsail and 60 square metre symmetrical spinnaker
but this configuration is a lot easier to handle in gusty conditions.
Crossing the Pentland Firth:
I was about 2 hours ahead of schedule at 19:00 when the wind died so to be on the safe side I used the engine to get further ahead of plan heading for Duncansby, after a couple of hours the problems started as the adverse tide was far stronger than estimated and this worsened the already awkward sea formed by 2 - 3 metre waves coming from the NW and SE.
Finally I almost came to a halt 5 miles short of the off Duncansby Head waypoint despite making over 6 knows through the water and sometimes surfing the big waves at 7.5 knots. This stretch of water does not have any tidal prediction Diamonds, severe tides are not mentioned in the pilot and it was mid way before neap and spring tides so it is likely that part of the problem was weather systems to the West, NE and SE. Certainly the tide was late as it was against about an hour after it should have turned, at least the tides within the Firth would also be delayed.
|My track through the Firth.|
|Hunda Sound on the south side of Scarpa Flow looking NE|
at 04:00 after I had anchored and shut everything down.