PxPixel
Numbers: 20.28 knots - Sail Magazine

Numbers: 20.28 knots

In sailing, numbers are ephemeral. One second, VMG is up; the next it’s down. Crews battle for gains that are won and lost in heartbeats: The New York Stock Exchange can be more stable (now) than the parade of numbers dancing across “the truth display” situated under the boom. But it's these cycles of feast or famine that make sailing an intellectual game, and that's why so many
Author:
Publish date:
08KWRWnumbers



In sailing, numbers are ephemeral. One second, VMG is up; the next it’s down. Crews battle for gains that are won and lost in heartbeats: The New York Stock Exchange can be more stable (now) than the parade of numbers dancing across “the truth display” situated under the boom. But it's these cycles of feast or famine that make sailing an intellectual game, and that's why so many people are drawn to the mind-boggling thrills of moving crisply at 12 miles per hour. When you’re hot you’re hot, and boy does it ever feel sweet.

But. While some numbers constantly fluctuate, others hold strong, at least for a while. Example: 562.96 nautical miles (world crewed 24-hour sailing record set by a monohull, Seb Josse and “the kids” on the Volvo Open 70, ABN Amro Two); example: 794 nautical miles (world crewed 24-hour sailing record set by a maxi trimaran, Franck Cammas and crew on Groupama 3); example: breaking the 50-knot barrier (may this happen soon, and preferably by a sailboat – even if it has to be a multihull -- rather than by a windsurfer). And on a personal level: 20 knots, the elusive barrier that I’ve been chasing since I first signed on as a bowman on an old PHRF warhorse back in 1993 at the tender age of 16. Sure, my contemporaries may have been chasing other numbers (insert agenda for a typical 16-year-old virulent male), but for me, joining the 20+-knot club was the real deal.

So, when an opportunity came to join Dan Meyers and his friends aboard Meyers’s immaculate new weapon, the Judel/Vrolijk-designed IRC 66, Numbers, for a day at the Acura Key West race week I leapt at the oppurtunity. Perhaps my elusive number quest and Numbers could generate some sweet math. And Mother Nature did not disappoint: consistent winds of 20+ knots laid down a choppy sea, but as we sailed out of the harbor under main alone, easily cresting 10 knots, I knew that the good times were about to roll.

Flash forward—

08KWRWnumbers2

The first windward mark of the second race is two boat lengths away. Winches groan. The linked-pedestal system fires Herculean power to the halyard hoisting the massive masthead-Asymmetric spinnaker. The bowman rifles off hand signals. The trimmers start easing sheets. And Dan Meyers gracefully bears off, carving a perfect wide-and-tight arch in the turquoise waters as we round the mark and the yarns holding the kite explode. WHOMP! The A-sail fills, the racing blade drops to the deck, and the rudder returns to neutral. A puff hits and the boat surges, practically tossing crewmembers backwards as the bow lifts. The truth display flickers, its fast processing chips barely able to keep pace with Numbers’s raw power: 12.3, 14.7, 16.8, 18.3, 19.5. I hold my breath, my eyes glued to the fun-meter. Then, in a moment of pure magic, a puff coincides with a big stern wave and the boat takes off and the truth display flickers—20.28—before sliding south, vanishing in the spray, froth and wake as so many other numbers have done before it.

The moment is fleeting, but sweet.

Posted: January 23, 2008

Related

3DiNordac_webheader

3Di NORDAC: One Year In

One year ago this month, North Sails launched a cruising revolution with the introduction of 3Di NORDAC. The product promised to deliver a better cruising experience for a market that had not seen true product innovation in over 60 years. Today we’re celebrating the team that ...read more

HB96k_EP

Sea Eagle’s HB96 inflatable SUP

What SUP?Dinghies and kayaks are all very well, but there’s nothing like a stand-up paddleboard for exploring interesting new shorelines while giving you a good workout. Sea Eagle’s HB96 inflatable SUP makes a fine addition to your boat’s armory of anchorage toys, either on its ...read more

DSC_0031-43

Charting the USVI and Spanish Virgins

When my friends and I booked a one-way bareboat charter with Sail Caribe, starting in the U.S. Virgin Islands and finishing in Puerto Rico, we were a little nervous about what we would find in the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria—even seven months later.When our plane ...read more

SailRepairKit

Know How: Sail Repair Kit

Despite your best efforts, there will inevitably be times when your sail gets damaged while at sea and needs to be repaired. First, no matter what the job, you will need to do a quick damage assessment, a task that requires a flat wooden surface, sharp scissors and a helping ...read more

01-061018ROAC-8149

Coming of Age at the Atlantic Cup

Midway through the final race of the inshore portion of the 2018 Atlantic Cup, the three boats in the lead—Mike Dreese’s Toothface 2, Mike Hennessy’s Dragon and Oakcliff Racing, representing the Long Island Sound-based sailing school of the same name—suddenly broke free from the ...read more

01_silken_2018-03-08-0052

North U’s Regatta Experience Program

“Want to check the keel?” North U Coach Geoff Becker calls to me from back by the transom. We’ve just suffered our worst finish in the regatta and are absolutely flying on our way back to shore, spinnaker up and heeling at an angle that feels like maybe we’re tempting fate. ...read more

Navy-Sand-Dune_1080

Tucket Footwear’s Giller Shoes

Just for KicksMove over Crocs, there’s a new plastic shoe in town. Unlike the aforementioned fashion crimes, Tucket Footwear’s Giller shoes are made for boating. Water will get in, yes, but it will also run straight out again via rows of “scuppers” in the uppers and a dozen drain ...read more

01-m3113_git170829-294

France’s Maxi-tri Ultime class

It’s hard to believe how far foiling has come since the Moth class figured out how to reliably take to the air in the early 2000s.Was it really only in 2013 that the America’s Cup was dragged kicking and screaming into the foiling world by Emirates Team New Zealand back in San ...read more