e_moon60 (e_moon60) wrote,

Sailing ever faster

Today I went for something billed as "America's Cup Sailing Experience", on a boat (NZL 40) said to have been used as a training boat for the Cup.   I was really kind of scared of the whole thing, never having been on any kind of racing boat--and the interior is not designed for comfort--but it turned out to be a great two hours that I thoroughly enjoyed.  Most of the people aboard were experienced sailors (and a lot of them were astronomers) but I put in several turns at the "grinders" that lift and lower sails and pull some of the lines in, and also got to steer a little. 

Steering this boat felt completely different from steering the 50 footer I was in on Friday.  For one thing, it's 9 meters longer, and shaped differently, and has a deeper keel with 3/4 of its weight as  ballast on the bottom of the keel.  A much higher mast, and more sail area, and it just carves through the water going what seems to me amazingly fast for a sailboat, even in the amount of wind we had (not a lot, but enough.)   So I felt the boat "talking" to me much more steadily--there was more information in the contact, so to speak.  I loved it! 

I don't have any pictures of it sailing, from a distance (those were shots that didn't come out yesterday when I was on the catamaran and we passed it) but I do have a couple from in harbor, when the crew were practicing backing into the mooring.  Behind it is the other boat they use for this program, NZL 41. 


NZL 40 and NZL 41 are slightly different designs; NZL 41 is narrower, has a little less sail area, and does not have a bowsprit.   Notice there are no seats in the boat--it's basically a shell, decked over in front to provide sail storage.  Those pedestal things are for the "grinders"--winches powered by two people each, to lift and lower sail and trim the sails.  You can sort of prop your backside on the side of the boat (it has those rails to hold onto, added for touristy purposes) but there's a line that runs along the top of that and is sometimes in rapid motion--you can get a rope burn if you try sitting on it.

Tags: sailing, travel

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