Christian Allaire's Sailing Life


30 December 2010 | San Francisco Bay Area
28 April 2010 | Naples Florida
08 January 2010 | Naples Florida
10 November 2009 | St Thomas USVI
25 October 2009 | Grenada
18 September 2009
01 July 2009 | St Davids, South Coast of Grenada
16 May 2009
12 May 2009
06 May 2009 | Bequia
29 April 2009 | Bequia
22 April 2009 | Bequia
17 April 2009
12 April 2009 | Marigot Bay St Lucia
10 April 2009 | Rodney Bay St Lucia
03 April 2009 | Rodney Bay St Lucia
02 April 2009 | Rodney Bay St Lucia

Broad Reaching in the Trade Winds

11 March 2009 | 15 miles NW of Guadeloupe Leeward Islands
Capt Chris
Wow what a difference a direction change can make. In fact it makes all the difference. I weighed anchor at first light today from Jolly Harbor Antigua with light northeasterlies. I shut down the engine after clearing the last set of buoys and have been sailing ever since. The winds were about 10 knots for the first few hours. Christa was having trouble keeping air in the sails with all the rolling around in the swell. I solved that by flying the cruising spinnaker. Man what a difference that sail made. It can be a handful for just one person and can really over power the boat if the wind gusts up. Once I set the green monster were were trucking along at 5.5 to 6 knots with the wind vane keeping Christa tracking. The wind gradually built throughout the morning and I had to strike the spinnaker and reset the Jib. The wind has been a steady 15 to 20 knots out of the NE with some surprisingly large swells.

It is so beautiful. The boat is sailing on its strongest point of sail, off the wind on a broad reach. Westsails are very seakindly, meaning she rolls a bit but it is obvious that the hull design is meant specifically for these types of trade wind conditions. The Monitor Wind Vane takes practice and is part art and part science. Since I have done little downwind sailing my knowledge of setting the vane gear correctly on this point of sail is limited. So I have been playing with the sail balance, sail trim and actual setting of the vane gear. A combination of tweaks to the gear, sail trim and course result in finding the sweet spot. Once you find the sweet spot, the self steering does its job incredibly well. It is possible to stare at the thing for hours on end. Most people have a name for their vane gear. Mine is Big Daddy. So other than the poetry of the boat in motion I have the deep blue sea to stare at and the peaks of Guadeloupe appearing over the horizon.

The plan is to continue on sailing past Guadeloupe and make landfall in Prince Rupert Sound on the NW coast of Dominica. Right now I'm struggling to keep about five off of Guadeloupe as the island is so big that is casts a huge wind shadow. So If I'm in to close I lose all my wind. But at current pace I should be off Dominica around 2 or 3 am. I will be sailing under a full moon which is beautiful in its own right, but provides some nice illumination for a night time landing in The Dom.

Capt Chris

PS: Please don't forget to bookmark Christa's New Website and subscribe to the RSS feed. I will maintain both blogs for awhile but will stop using sailblogs at some point.
Vessel Name: Christa
Vessel Make/Model: 1975 Westsail 32
Hailing Port: San Francisco
Crew: Christian Allaire
About: Single Handed Sailor
I left Newport Rhode Island in September of 2007 aboard Christa, my Westsail32 bound for the worlds oceans. I spent the months of Sep-Dec 2007 sailing down the US east coast. In December of 2007 I made the jump to the Bahamas. February 2008 found me in Luperon Dominican Republic. After [...]
Christa's Photos - Christian Allaire's Sailing Life (Main)
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Pictures from the start of my Circumavigation September 2007
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Who: Christian Allaire
Port: San Francisco