Archive for February 2017

I said many times during the build progress that we would put the rig on one day and sail the next. We did that with the change of rig on our Jeanneau 37, Passion so I thought we could do the same. Thanks to the cooperation of Joe Walsh Rigging and Sydney Sailmakers we were able to do the same with Passion X. At 2:40 pm Sydney time we cast off and headed out towards Cockatoo Island for our first sail. The sailing went to plan. The helm was super light and responsive and no one noticed the slight pressure from the connected Raymarine linear actuator autohelm. I think it did not even register in their minds. The new No 3 genoa set very well inside the shrouds and could not be a centimeter longer. I might try a softer top batten for a little more depth in the head but it looked perfect for heavier air sailing. The 1 metre wide fat head main held up very will with the untapered fractional rig and the running backstays were very easy to use. In the light conditions we soon hit 6 knots speed over the ground GPS readings and later 6.3 knots on a reach but it was very light airs and possible only eight to ten knots of breeze. All the crew had a turn on the helm and there were plenty of smiles. There was one annoyance as the AIS alarm went off with every passing ferry and I will have to turn that off for river racing. A passing inconsiderate power boat threw up a huge wave and gave us our first big slam into a wave but there will be many more of those out in the ocean. Our sail today could not have been achieved without an enthusiastic crew and I am very grateful for their support and company.

Smiles on the faces of the crew is reward enough

Smiles on the faces of the crew is reward enough

Our Didi 40 Cr, Passion X under sail for the first time

Our Didi 40 Cr, Passion X under sail for the first time

A new boat on the pontoon at Greenwich Flying Squadron

A new boat on the pontoon at Greenwich Flying Squadron

I have been very preoccupied getting Passion X ready for launch and stepping the mast so I need to catch up with the reporting.
In my last post I showed the colour of the antifouling on Passion X from inside the shed. It is lighter in the sunlight which Passion X saw again on Thursday as she was taken from the shed for the final touch up to the pad areas of the hull and for applying the Propspeed. We kept working as long as possible on the internal fittings and by launch had all the skin fittings installed and most attached to the plumbing. There is a lot left to do but the boat floats.
After the launch on Wednesday morning we took time out for a breakfast with friends at the Deckhouse and then took Passion X around to Joe Walsh Rigging for the stepping of the Allyacht Spars mast.
True to his word Joe stepped the mast today and the crane was gone by 1:00 pm. During the afternoon enthusiastic crew helped to lead all the halyards and reefing lines to the appropriate jammers and winches and fit the boom bag. By late afternoon the yacht looked deceptively finished. Tomorrow I hope all the life lines will be finished and enough of the rigging so that we can have a sail over the weekend.

Our Passion X is a Didi 40 Cr Wide Stern version by Dudley Dix. I always liked the hull lines but wanted a more racing oriented cockpit which Dudley drew for me. It meant a bit of extra work doing my own detailing to the new lines and detail around the cockpit structure but the strength and stiffness has amazed me. With Dudley’s help we have also done a little more to the racing potential with a deeper keel to 2.45 metres and a tiny increase to mast height and boom length.

The longer cockpit always seemed to need a longer boom and I am looking forward to sailing photos to see how it looks. it is surprising how very small changes in dimension can improve the appearance of cars or yachts. The slightly shorter cockpit coamings on the Wide Stern version look very attractive and the blending of the coamings into the cabin also looks more modern. The deeper keel meant a lot of extra work to support the small increase in righting moment. One option was to keep the righting moment the same and save 200 kg of hull weight. We have made our choice and hope that the upwind speed will be just a little faster. I am waiting on an ORCi Club rating for the updated configuration and will let you know how we fare. Black Cat raced in the Cape to Rio race with an IRC of 1.05 which I think was achieved with some sacrifice of genoa area. We are going the full sail area route as we do a lot of light air sailing in Sydney twilights and RANSA Winter Wednesday races and were looking for a light air flyer. As a consequence I think our rating will be around the 1.1 and hopefully we can sail to that.

Passion X emerges from the shed into the sunlight

Passion X emerges from the shed into the sunlight

Passion X wets her keel

Passion X wets her keel

Passion X at Woolwich Dock while we go to breakfast

Passion X at Woolwich Dock while we go to breakfast

Breakfast at the Deckhouse. Very nice!

Breakfast at the Deckhouse. Very nice!

Next day another crane for Joe Walsh rigging to lift the Allyacht Spars mast into position.

Next day another crane for Joe Walsh rigging to lift the Allyacht Spars mast into position.

Floating nicely on the waterlines with the mast and boom installed

Floating nicely on the waterlines with the mast and boom installed

Work finished for another Day on Passion X our Didi 40 Cr Wide Stern version

Work finished for another Day on Passion X our Didi 40 Cr Wide Stern version

Passion sails well with a specialist heavy air No 3 genoa in 20 knots of breeze. Wednesday Twilight at Greenwich Flying Squadron was no exception. We were a bit timid and reefed the main before the start. Izzi and Tartan, both fast reaching Northshore 28′s, had full mainsails for the reach down to Spectacle Island and rounded first. Surprisingly Worlds Apart with a double reef also rounded in front for the tight reach to Schnapper Island. Once on the work to Goat Island Passion showed how a short footed headsail helped to keep the yacht under control and allowed for short tacking on the many shifts. By the end of Cockatoo Island we had a good lead and were covering both sides of the course. It was just as well we were as Izzi picked up a big lift on the North side of the course and almost caught us. We tacked just above her line and managed to shave the point at Long Nose by the smallest of margins while the whole fleet had to tack away for a 200 meters drop on our position. For the reach back to Humbug we shook out the reef and managed to hold of the fast reaching Northshore 38 duo. A tidy work through Humbug ensured our third fastest time result in four races and a tidy third on handicap. This may be our last Twilight race in Passion as on Wednesday morning we launched Passion X and are scrambling to have her racing next week.

Tacking angles on the work to Goat Island. Guess on which one Izzi caught up.

Tacking angles on the work to Goat Island. Guess on which one Izzi caught up.

To my surprise all the plastic protection was removed from the hull when I arrived at the Dock on Saturday morning. The colour will appear lighter when the yacht is out in the sunlight and it will be interesting to see what shade of grey it is when immersed. The first coat of two pack polyurethane non skid is already on the cockpit floor o when all the construction gear is cleared away we will see the final colour scheme.

First look at the colour of the antifouling on our Didi 40 Cr

First look at the colour of the antifouling on our Didi 40 Cr

First coat of patinum grey non skid on the cockpit floor of our Didi 40 Cr

First coat of patinum grey non skid on the cockpit floor of our Didi 40 Cr

The colour scheme on our new Didi 40 Cr, passion X,  is white with shades of grey. The boot top is light grey and we mixed up white and black antifouling to achieve a mid grey. I am waiting for the plastic masking the hull to come off to get a first look at the colour scheme and will post photos when I can.
Since the keel and rudder fit we have had the Hydralign three blade feathering prop fitted and the hull painted. We have been unable to get access to the hull for the past two days due to the masking and painting but tomorrow work can start again. At home I have finished shaping the tiller and applied the first coat of clear epoxy and I am getting gear ready to put on the boat at launch on Wednesday morning.

The three blade Hydralign feathering prop is fitted

The three blade Hydralign feathering prop is fitted

The finished grey antifouling on our new Didi 40 Cr, Passion X.

The finished grey antifouling on our new Didi 40 Cr, Passion X.

Plastic shrouding around Passion X to stop the overspray going on Wild Oats XI

Plastic shrouding around Passion X to stop the overspray going on Wild Oats XI

This week Passion X has been introduced to its keel manufactured at Complete Steelworx at Somersby and lovingly faired by Dave.

Passion X is sitting alongside Wild Oats XI in her massive boatshed at Woolwich Dock. Yesterday as well the rudder was fitted with very little fuss. Photos below show the progress.

The rest of this week are scheduled for underwater painting and antifouling.

Keel Joining

Keel Alignment – very accurate fit

Keel Aligned

Simon Smith directing the operation

Keel on

Keel on with Nick the Dock operations man in the foreground

PassionX Meets Keel

Keel being craned into position

Rudder fitted

The rudder and prop shaft in place

Passion X our new Didi 40 Cr left home this morning. We had to take the roof off the awning, lift the hull out and then replace the awning. It all went to plan on a morning that was perfect for the task.
Last week the keel travelled from the Central Coast to the Woolwich Dock and now the hull and keel are side by side. Quite separately the mast, boom and rigging travelled from Queensland to Woolwich and is just around the corner from the hull. There is still a lot of work to do to finish the interior to our satisfaction but in some aspects the yacht is more complete now than the much loved Jeanneau 37 that it will eventually replace. The instrumentation is at the standard that we developed on Passion over ten years and we have safety harness attachment points that we took several years to add to Passion. The fridge will be colder, the alternator is almost twice the size and the fuel tank and water tanks are larger. What we do not have is a lot of fancy teak trim and I still have to add a lot of painted trim around the galley which I will do over the next few years.

Our next steps are to fit the hull to the keel, step the mast and go sailing but I am getting ahead of myself.

The neighbours over for a celebratory drink on the eve of the move.

The neighbours over for a celebratory drink on the eve of the move.

Joking about the "red light" district.

Joking about the “red light” district.

We have lift off

We have lift off

Don't drop it now

Don’t drop it now

The underside view of our new Didi 40 Cr

The underside view of our new Didi 40 Cr

On the truck ready to go.

On the truck ready to go.

Going

Going

Our Didi 40 Cr in the slings at the Woolwich Dock

Our Didi 40 Cr in the slings at the Woolwich Dock

Back to work making the tiller. Might need it this week.

Back to work making the tiller. Might need it this week.

DSC00432Today Monday 13th February Passion was lifted from its construction cradle through the trees and onto the semi which transported it to Greenwich Dock to meet up with its keel and subsequently its mast and rigging.

With much interest from the support crew and the neighbours the lift went without a hitch in the hands of true professionals JPM Cranes and Mark Anderson’s Boat Transport.

You can see the almost finished interior of Passion just prior to take off and the flight over Dave and Elaine’s house and onto the semi in the photos HERE.

Tomorrow the work of fitting the keel and rudder followed by spray painting and antifouling begins.

Tacking angles from today's race

Tacking angles from today’s race

Tonight we set our No 2 genoa for the forecast 15 knots and established an early lead in the fresh conditions but then had to hang on as the breeze died later in the race.
We started lower on the line than the fleet and managed to keep our nose in front of Agrovation up to Onion Point. The run trough Humbug was tricky as to go low would have put is in the considerable wind shadow of Agrovation. The breeze went oversquare and caused an involuntary gybe which left us blanketed by the fleet Saoirse went low and we followed them until they decided to head up under the fleet leaving us as the sandwich in the middle. Somehow we picked up a bit of breeze from around Greenwich Point which was just enough to sail over Saoirse and under Agrovation. Ahead the crew spotted a patch of breeze which we sailed up to and then bore away to the corner of Cockatoo. Tashtego followed us out of Humbug and in a short space of time we had broken away from the fleet with Saoirse chasing us. Around Cockatoo Island Tashtego and Saoirse had a close race some 20 metres off our stern. On the work to Goat Island we were intent on not letting the fleet get to one side or the other or our position as the shifts were pretty big. With the smaller No 2 Genoa we could tack on the knocks and by Long Nose had a lead on the fleet. Agrovation was making her way through the fleet and by Goat Island she was on our heels.
The breeze had move light patches now and every time it went light we could feel Agrovation gaining. Fortunately there were enough gust coming through to keep us moving and we covered them through Humbug to get fastest time by a boat length.
We also scored a first on handicap with Agrovation third.
I like our No 2 genoa in 15 knots of breeze but once it gets below 12 knots we need more power. To compensate we move the mainsail draft through a very wide range of depths through the course of the race. I am hoping the new Passion X will have enough power to weight so that we can use a smaller easier tacking genoa more often. We will have to wait and see.

A crew busy bee yesterday saw all the winches and turning blocks fitted as well as the last five portlights. While the crew was doing that I was busy installing hose for the engine cooling system and the fuel supply. We had a deadline of 8 am today for the boat electrician to return and start the motor so there was no time to lose. More holes of the fuel line and plumbing routs had to be drilled and wet on wet coated with epoxy paint to seal the end grain of the plywood. The touch up painting was completed after 10 pm last night and I was up at 6 am today to pass all the hoses through the holes and connect the fuel lines. By 7:30 I was on the way to buy 20 litres of diesel. The Yamnar diesel started first time but we needed some advice on bleeding air out of the hot water system. I had all the gear needed to suck coolant through the hot water system and connect it to the motor so by lunchtime the engine was running sweetly.

Cooling water coming from the engine exhaust via the water lock muffler.

Cooling water coming from the engine exhaust via the water lock muffler.