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Day 20 - Rolling, Rolling Rolling, Raw Hide!

Thought I’d do a bit of a saily blog today really about upwind and downwind. The difference between sailing upwind (generally against the wind) and downwind (generally with the wind) is huge. For example if you’re in 15 knots of wind going into the wind at 5 knots then the apparent wind (the wind you feel) will be 20 knots. If you’re in the same wind going downwind at 5 knots then the wind you feel will be 10 knots, half the wind speed! So sailing upwind always feels like harder work, every mile gained seems much more effort (although also maybe more fun) whereas sailing downwind seems effortless in comparison.

So we’ve ended up with our last big sail being a downwind sail from Agathonissi to Vathy on Kalymnos, some 30 nautical miles. This was always the plan to make our last couple of days easy going, the 15 mile sail back to base tomorrow should be a doddle. When we left at farm o’clock (6:45) the wind was a steady 20 knots and had been for at least 24 hours (ish) which meant that whilst we have a nice steady downwind sail the seas make it very rolly polly. Obviously we want to sail and using the mainsail (the big one towards the back of the boat) would provide the best speed. But if there is a change in conditions or one rolly wave too many then the sail can end up (along with the boom) whizzing at high speed from one side of the boat to the other. At the very least this could cause some serious boat damage but could also potentially seriously hurt someone in the process. The way to avoid this is to rig a ‘preventer’ which is essentially a line tied from the end of the boom to the bow of the boat to stop the boom swinging across accidentally. For us the two problems with this are firstly charter boats don’t usually have preventer lines and secondly the hassle of rigging one, even if you had one, are probably not worth the hassle on holiday, especially as the forecast was for the wind to drop during the day.

So we just hung out the Genoa (the big sail at the front if the boat). You lose a bit of speed but no boom involved so if the sail accidentally ‘gybes’ from one side to the other no damage is caused. The wind did indeed drop and so we had to motor the rest of the day in any case. This still left us with rolly polly seas, video below, which look like they’re chasing you which just makes me think of Rolling, Rolling, Rolling, Raw Hide!

As I write this we’re all safely tucked in at Vathy where no doubt we’ll eat at the lovely Little Port Vathy as we did on our very first day 3 weeks ago. This is the perfect place to end our 3 week Dodecanese odyssey.

One more picture of the early morning sun as we left Agathonissi. And one of Vathy.


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