There is less than a week to go before we leave the shelter of Sydney Harbour and head north to Port Stephens via Newcastle. I am excited about the trip and the chance to catch up with friendly competitors and hopefully show off the sailing capabilities of our new Passion X. We have had Passion X out on the water in 20 knots of breeze with the big genoa and the full mainsail and she has been so well behaved that we should be able to handle most conditions with the No 3 genoa and two reefs in the main. We have a storm jib and a third reef in the main but as we found with Passion it has to be a real storm to reef down that far.
Our efforts to get an IRC certificate were stymied by the lack of weighting facilities for the hull at this time of the year. We are booked in for the first group weigh for the next season and that will both get us a certificate and improve our ORCi Club rating. Sailing Australia were very helpful in getting all the IRC measurements over to my ORCi Club application from July last year but my declared weight is probably 200 kg underweight based on the crane weight when we lifted the hull out of the back yard. The extra 200 kg will reduce the 1.11 rating a little and based on the ratings of other yachts we race against we will need all the help we can get. I say this a bit tongue in cheek as I am delighted with the VPP projections and hope we can sail to the rating. We rate higher than the prototype Didi 38, Black Cat, because we are 600 mm longer, have a 200 mm deeper keel, a 150 mm taller mast and genoa position, a 150 mm longer boom and have a fat head main. We also have a spinnaker pole that is 600 mm longer than our 4.100 J measurement. All these changes were made to improve the light and heavy air performance of Passion X so it is no surprise that we rate faster than Black Cat but I am surprised by the increase in the VPP. On a 135 degree broad reach in 20 knots our predicted speed is a knot and a quarter faster than Black Cat and the same as the VPP for the Pogo 12.50 series of extreme cruisers. The Pogo rates 1.13 but for non spinnaker we rate 1.0299 which is higher than some Pogo 12.5s. As we do a lot of non spinnaker sailing I am pleased with that rating.

The Club rating will soon be on the International web site but for now here is a picture.

Our ORCi Club rating

Our ORCi Club rating

I am working away at the services and interior of Passion X and have installed the water system up to the hot and cold shower on the transom where I need a couple of hose tails to complete the connections. On Friday I replaced the hot water lines with ones with a 90 degree C rating. The hot water hose I had already installed was not branded and I could not confirm the temperature rating. As the water is heated from the engine via a heat exchanger it can get quite hot so I replaced the hose with one rated for the duty. Up under the V berth I have installed protection for the 240 Volt cables that run to the water heater and three pin outlets which let us enjoy creature comforts while attached to the Marina shore power. Because we will also be storing heavy headsails and spinnakers under the V berth it was important to have very strong protection for the 240 Volt wiring runs. Now that it is finished four sails are stored under the bunk and the front end looks much tidier. The gas bottle is now secured to the base with a strapping system. I have built in a 12 mm high section in the locker to keep the base of the bottle up out of any water that might get into the locker. The locker needed a 12 mm gas drain hole at the base and the Nylon ring around the hole stops the last traces of water draining out so I will drill a 12 mm water drain hole as well and make sure there is no lip to retain the water.

The Category 4 safety equipment is finished but I had a perplexing problem installing the catch for the sliding hatch. It needs to lock the sliding hatch into position and be accessible from below and above. I did the first half one day and made it lockable from below and did not think how I might get into the boat the next day. I needed to find a narrow blade to fit between the top of the sliding hatch and the vertical one and lever the barrel bolt out. The only readily available solution was to fold and old steel measuring tape into half and insert the folded end into the slot. The very first job after that was to connect the external pull line so that I don’t get caught a second time.

On the cabin top I have installed jack lines which double as hand holds and it is a shame racing was cancelled on Wednesday night before we had a chance to try them out. Our spinnaker sheets are ready to go except for locating the pole downhaul position. A 35 mm deep deck stringer runs down the centre of the foredeck so I might put the pad eye a little off centre rather than drilling a big 8 mm hole through the stringer. The other option is to attach the pad eye with screws secured in the very big laminated beam at the back edge of the anchor locker.

I am also pondering how to attach the tack of the asymmetric spinnaker to the bow. Over winter I will make a nice 600 mm long removable carbon fiber prodder but in the meantime we will fly the asymmetric spinnaker off the tack for the tight reaches and pulled back on the pole for the broader angles.  Depending on the conditions we might stick with the symmetric spinnaker.

This week I would like to find time to touch up the screw holes in the galley area. They are all filled but need a decorative coat of white paint to disappear. ¬†If I don’t find time a bit of grey insulating tape will make a nice finishing trim for the week.

Last night I was feeling pretty contented with my effort for the week and paused as I rowed ashore to photograph the fastest, shiniest yacht in the bay.

Passion X is the fastest shiniest yacht in the bay. It is only a little bay.

Passion X is the fastest shiniest yacht in the bay. It is only a little bay.

 

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