2013 Tor Pinney - All Rights Reserved
Today, as we approached
St. Vincent under full sail and an overcast sky, the good
ketch Silverheels kissed 9.7 knots for the first time
ever. Here's how it happened.
The trade winds tend to bend around high islands and
pick up speed. This time they backed and jumped from 15
knots to 25+, putting us on a sudden, screaming beam
reach. Silverheels bolted, from 7 knots to 8 to
9... Then the GPS readout shot to 9.7 knots SOG. WOW!
She never once dipped her rail; just hunkered down and
SMOKED, exceeding 9 knots for long bursts, slowing to
8.7, 8.5, then blasting off again. I read 9.5 several
times, 9.7 twice, and I thought I glimpsed 9.8 once but
can't swear to it. This from a 35 year old, 42' ketch
packed with a full year's provisions, her dinghy in
davits, fuel & water tanks (plus 9 jerry jugs) topped
off, dragging a fixed 3-blade prop and 2 fishing lines.
OMG, can I get an AMEN?
The good ketch, Silverheels, under full sail.
And then, abruptly, the
wind vanished in the lee; dead calm, sails limp.
Silverheels sprang upright, as stunned as I, and (this
is true) just then the sun broke through for the first time
all day. (Fade in symphonic crescendo with angelic choir.)
Thank you, Mother Ocean. ☺
Footnote: SOG (speed
over the ground) is, of course, not necessarily STW (speed
through the water). Theoretically, a 42' displacement hull
cannot go 9+ knots through the water. There had to be
a current helping. Nonetheless, for one thrilling moment
every fiber of the boat and the skipper were thrumming;
intensely, immensely alive. I'm still savoring it. (OK, and
gloating a bit, too.)
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