No longer on Sailnet
Join Date: Oct 2002
Thanked 21 Times in 18 Posts
Rep Power: 12
Ok Smack, heres a recent BFS tale for you from downunder.
Last week the first mate and I chartered a Beneteau 43 up in the Whitsundays to take a couple of non sailing friends on a relaxing holiday in some tropical climes....give them a taste of the good life.
After a few beautiful days of supreme island hopping with calm anchorages, and perfect sunsets with perfect cocktails, we set out last Friday for Whitehaven Beach which is a wide expanse of sand known as the jewel of the Whitsundays.
After a morning on the beach, my newbie sailors began questioning my sailing manhood and crying out for a BFS. Whining about our Motoring to Sail ratio thus far(Stupid boat needed 3 hours of engine running a day to stop the worlds most annoying battery alarm going off at 2am) the newbies had purchased a BFS sticker and slapped it firmly on the cabintop, chicken noises were being made in my general direction and it was time to step up and see if indeed these french floating RV's did disintegrate if out of sight of a marina.
The afternoon forecast was for 15-20 knots, perfect introductory BFS material and the newbies had were eager. Up went the anchor, Up went the main and out popped the furled genoa. We flew through Solway Passage, the washing machine of the Whitsundays and out into some wonderful blue yonder. We were flying indeed, the Chartplotter was declaring a respectable 7.5 knots of boat speed, the newbies were rejoicing and the BFS burgee was flown proudly from the backstay. I cracked a beer and handed the helm to the nearest newbie.
The next series of events happened very very quickly. As i was supervising from the leeward wheel whilst sipping and daydreaming, the first mate popped up from the radio informing me that the updated forecast was now more like 20-25. No problem honey I declared, an opportunity to crank a bit more boatspeed out of this 'bendy toy'. A cursory glance at the wind instruments confirmed we were indeed now getting a steady 25 knots. Nice! We were after all on a brand new 43 foot boat, not our belovedly tender Sandgroper back at home, the poor 30 year old 27 ft yacht we both would have reefed an hour ago in these conditions. Soon the first mate was at my side,
" Honey we should reef" she chastised after a glance at the wind speed. 'Spoil sport' I muttered under my breath. Besides I would have to put down my beer. However I conceded, sometimes it is better to go along than argue.
By the time our newbie crew, bikini clad in holiday mode got the 1st reef in and I picked up my beer once again we were now hard on the wind and getting a steady 30 knots. The first mate, as experienced as I perhaps but alas one of those pretend inshore racing type of sailors was now looking at me with some concerned looks.
"Dont worry babe, this isn't your neighbourhood J24 regatta" I proclaimed "Us Real BFS sailors thrive on these conditions". Besides the forecast had said 20-25. Now we all know forecasts are never wrong. Alas, I was kinda hoping for some high seas 'quality time' that evening so put in the second reef to keep her happy.
At 35 knots still hard on the wind, second reef in and despite having furled in a good dose of Headsail, the newbie was still on the helm when we rounded up and I abruptly woke up. What the **#$ was I thinking? If it wasn't for the first mate's common sense I probably would still have been under full main in an act of utter lunacy and in defiance of everything I had ever learn't and knew about sailing. I learn't in that moment that the sea doesn't have much time for our egos.
With the true wind speed dial now reading a steady 50 knots, all the newbies got very quiet. I realized I was in unchartered territory, but if I was to pursue our dreams of bluewater venturing this was the stuff we would have to get very used to. More immediately it dawned on me that our destination and overnight anchorage was now quite untenable in these condiitons. A further 3-4 hour beat to windward was what was required to get us to a suitable anchorage...
We all slept rather well that night safely in our anchorage, having had an exhilarating day some had loved BFS, others wanted the hell off the boat. I pondered how much I had learned that day, and also how much I had learned about what I still need to learn. However I had indeed had for me what was a BFS....
* No longer on Sailnet. Reach me by PM.
'Life is either a daring adventure or nothing' - Helen Keller
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Last edited by chall03; 11-27-2008 at 06:51 AM.