three hulls, two people, one trip around the world…

Parasailor testing

Sailing across the Atlantic with the trade winds means to sail long distances down wind. Many yachts use two foresails one to port and one to starboard, such sails are called trade sails. Others set the headsail to one side and the mainsail to the other, they sail “butterfly”. A nice alternative are the Parasailor sails. They can stand directly in front of the boat and you can sail down wind, so you don’t have to tack when your destination is in wind direction. On such courses the apparent wind is very low, i.e. it does not blow so much on the boat. Parasailor sails differ from spinnakers because they have a “hole”. Behind the hole is a wing. Thus the sail is more stable and does not collapse so easily. Also the ship is more stable in the water, because it is pulled by the Parasailor and not pushed by the mainsail. The mainsail can be stowed away, which makes jibing (changing course) much easier. We were looking forward to see how the sail would work.

The test sail of the Parasailors took place at Ascension Day. The weather was not ideal, but at least we had enough wind. For my liking there were a bit too many people on board, but the ship is large, and it worked out quite well. Thomas Wibberenz (PROYACHT) was there to show us the handling of the Parasailor, we had bought the sails from him. One guest came from Radio Bremen and wanted to shoot a report about the German Neel dealer on our boat. That came as a surprise to us. Suddenly I had the competition on board. In the end we allowed outdoor shots and also took some shots with my own camera. (Soon to be seen in the next SAN movie 🙂 )

On Ascension Day the bridges to and from the sea lock have reduced opening hours. We had to leave at 8 am and be back in the lock at 3 pm. That didn’t leave much time. The wind was strong and gusty, so we stayed off Wilhelmshaven, sailed with the Parasailor and then motored back. The way back seemed to be endless, because we had had covered a good distance with the Parasailor. Going only once up and down was not enough. We dropped the two filmers off and motored a bit further. That way we could sail downwind towards the cameras. Again we were instructed in the handling of the parasailor. This time I pulled up the sail hose – not an easy task, you need strength to do it. The course was right with little obstacles in the way and the sail with it’s 232 m2 went up gloriously, our maximum speed was 12.3 kn in a true wind of 22kn.

All in all a successful day of sailing. How we will cope on our own with the huge sails remains to be seen. But now we know what to look out for. 

And that happened during the time without sailing:

In our house Mathias woke up in the middle of the night. Excitedly he said: “It’s dark and nobody is on the watch! We are simply asleep here! – A second of shock – Then: “Oh no, we’re at anchor, everything’s fine!” And he went back to sleep… A mistake that can easily happen. The question: “home, is that the boat or the house?” pops up more and more often. The relocation is getting closer, we are now in the process of selling furniture., It is still hard to imagine that we will move out soon.

Especially when the garden starts to bloom in spring and the lawn looks nice again (thanks to mowing robots), one asks oneself: “Why again, did I want to sail?” On the other hand, when we were on the SAN, I didn’t want to leave the ship. Garden and boat at the same time – that’s not possible. So we stick to the original plan and look forward to the trip.

A single subscriber requested more anecdotes. At first I thought: “You first have to experience something in order to tell anecdotes”, but then the next material arrived by e-mail:

According to the French shipyard, it can take 2-3 days to register a ship. Not so in Germany – you have to calculate with 4-6 weeks! But even that time has long past. Now it turned out that the application had been lost. Probably sunk – there is a lot of water in Hamburg. 😉 The lady in the registration office apologized and finally sent the papers. Only: they were wrong! Our beautiful sailing yacht had been registered as a motor yacht! New trial. Hopefully the correction will not take too long. (Meanwhile we are waiting for another 14 days already.) Only once we have these papers, can we apply for our MMSI for the radios – this is a kind of international identification number, which is helpful in an emergency. The slowly working authorities in the Pacific will appear to be working lightning fast in comparison…

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