Here’s a really great video that pro cinematographer Christophe Nizou made of the Outremer Cup in La Grande Motte in May. We were lucky enough to have Christophe aboard for the 2nd day of the regatta, and he took some excellent video of us and Wildling!
We have been working out a plan with the Outremer engineering team to sort out our propeller problems. We have decided to lift Wildling out of the water by crane on Monday next week and will have Volvo engineers check the saildrives to see if there has been any damage from the malfunctioning EWOL propellers. EWOL is still making a replacement set of propellers that will not be ready in time for the crane service, so if the saildrives are OK, we will remove the EWOL propellers and put the original Volvo folding propellers back on. Based on what we find during this process I will decide if we will do another test with the new EWOL propellers, but this will have to be after we move Wildling over to Port Cobières in Marseille.
I’ll take video and photos of the replacement process and will post as soon as I can next week.
Matthieu has posted a bunch of photos from the Outremer Cup regatta on the Outremer Yachting Facebook page. Here are some of Wildling in action:
Day 3 of the Outremer cup was a mixed affair for us, we did really well with our sail handling and maneuvers, and didn’t make any mistakes on the racecourse, but our propeller issues took us completely out of contention for any prizes, which is a real disappointment.
The weather was a lot nicer, sunny, warmer, and winds between 15 and 20 knots, we were sailing with full main and jib, and used the Code-D gennaker on each of our downwind legs. Lindsay and Gavin came along today and we had our same crew from yesterday (François, Bobby, Kent and Belinda), plus Riley and Elayna from Australia, and François’ girlfriend Sara also joined us. Having extra experienced people really helped, and we pulled off all our sail changes, tacks and jibes perfectly! Bravo team Wildling!!!
All in all we had a very nice day on the water, but this propeller issue is really bothering me. What we’re finding with the EWOL propellers that we had installed, is that they are not feathering correctly when the engines are turned off. They are supposed to feather to a flat position that offers very little drag, but this isn’t happening. We had to try several times on each engine to get them to feather at all, and even when they did, they were still spinning under sail. You can feel the vibration of the gears turning slowly in the engine rooms, and there’s a rotating stream of bubbles in the wake of the boat that clearly show the propellers are dragging. The result is like driving a car with the handbrake half on, and it cost us a lot of boat speed.
It’s disappointing, as I know a lot of people are using EWOL propellers and they are working very well, but they are certainly not working on our boat. I’m going to switch back the the Volvos and ask Outremer to fully test to see why the boat speed under motors is so slow with the Volvos. I’m also afraid that the saildrives have been damaged by the EWOL propellers, the grinding and vibration noises that we get when running the EWOL props are pretty alarming! Hopefully it’s a water turbulence noise, and not a gearbox mechanical noise, but in any case I’m sure Outremer can find out where things stand and get my 5X back to her former speedy self!
Here are some photos Robin took of our day…
OMG, sailboat racing is mayhem! Today was my first experience racing a sailboat, and it was pretty crazy! We went out after the briefing to do a timed run and two group races. It was windy, 20-30 knots, and cold! So being a cruiser and not a racer, I wanted to reef the main and sail with just our self tacking jib for a headsail. The timed run was pretty cool, well that is, it was cool until I got too close to a crab pot flag and snagged the pot line with our daggerboard, and we ended up dragging the damn pot for half a mile before we agreed it wasn’t coming off on it’s own, and we had better stop the boat and disengage it. We continued on minus our crab pot, but our timed run was a disaster.
Then the group racing began, this was pretty stressful for me, because there are so many boats going in all directions and coming so close you could reach over and touch them. I nearly had about a dozen heart attacks as we had multiple close encounters! Lucky for me, I had François Tregouet from Outremer with us, so he coached me through the boat dodging process!
We were doing pretty well in the first race, and the wind had dropped below 25 knots, so we got cocky and thought we would unfurl our Code-D gennaker on the downwind leg. The Code-D worked so well that we immediately accelerated to 17 knots boat speed and nearly ran over the boats in front of us, which required more boat dodging coaching from François! And because we went so fast, we ran out of room and started furling our Code-D too late, and then the furling line got caught up, so we had to continue our downwind leg for an extra mile while we got the Code-D in before we could get back on course and continue the race, so obviously our first race didn’t go as well as we had hoped.
On the final race of the day, we were waiting for the start, and it wasn’t until all the boats began charging for the start line, that we realized we had turned our radio down and missed the starting call. Oops! So we crossed the line dead last, but François had us turn opposite tack on the beat to the windward mark, and we caught up to most of the boats as we rounded the mark. We skipped the Code-D this time and stayed with our reefed main, and jib which wasn’t super fast but at least kept us in the hunt and we crossed the finish line not too far behind the lead group.
So, after a few stiff drinks, and some time to calm down a bit, I would say that while racing is not really my thing, I did learn a lot, and I was really impressed with the other boats and crews out on the water today, these guys know their stuff. Let’s see if we can do a bit better tomorrow!
Here are some photos that Robin took today…