What Worked, What Didn't on an Atlantic Crossing
Nearly every offshore passage involves some sort of fix-it work, and this one aboard a new Nautitech 542 catamaran was no different.
Fixing the Jib Foil
The set screws between the jib foil’s first and second section of Greenboat 1 had a habit of falling out. They’d been retapped by a rigger in the Canaries but were still shaking loose. The afternoon before we went through the low-pressure system, we made and installed two plates of stainless steel to bandage it together. The sail was also repaired by hand while we did the fix.
Barber-hauling the jib
The jib is self-tending and the track is bolted down in a straight line across the bridge deck. As the sail is eased, the top twists off and flogs. While the fix would be to install a curved track to keep the leech of the sail tensioned, we had to come up with another way to ease the jib for downwind sailing. We ran low stretch braid from the bow cleat though a titanium ring to a midships cleat. The ring was tied to another line led forward to the bow cleat so that it could be adjusted forward or aft. An outhaul sheet was then served to the tack and led through the ring to a winch aft. With this setup we could furl the sail and adjust sheet trim and outhaul trim without going on deck.
A concept that worked very well for the trip was the jackline setup. Shackled to a padeye at the aft corner of the cabin and running to another one even with the bridge deck was a webbing strap. Each side had its own dedicated harness tether shackled to the jack line. All one had to do is clip it to your harness and go forward. Once even with the bridge deck, you could use your personal tether to clip into another jackline that ran across the width of the foredeck, and from there to either the starboard or port run jackline across the cabin top. We found that even in tense situations, it was so easy to stay clipped in that we did so. There is also a powered winch on the starboard side that can be used on nearly every working line on the boat, taming the raising of sails and making sheet adjustments easier. With a system of clutches and various leads to it, the winch turned out to be a seventh crewmember.
For more about this transatlantic crossing, be sure to read "A Milestone Atlantic Crossing" in the June 2013 issue of Cruising World!