Logbook Tres Hombres (May 5, 2012)
DATE: 05/05/12 GMT:0830 POS:37 41 N, 28 20 W COG: 050 SOG:6.2
Tack off! by Teao 1st mate
We spent an extra day in Horta because there was no wind. I was woken up by Piet the next morning, "alot of wind and rain" he said. I put on my rain gear and went on deck. There was no rain, but alot of wind coming straight into the harbour. After the captain's final business on shore and a charity run for old ropes, we took on our pushboat and were all ready to go.
The first part of the maneuver had to be done in a tight space between rocks and yachts, I knew which ones I'd rather hit. A boat from the marina and a boat from our friend Albino stood by, to prevent any accidents. We set the topsail on the dock and the lines were let go. With the wind from our port quarter the boat started to make way, at first in the yacht's direction, then slowly she turned to port, towards the narrow gap. The marina boat driver gave us a little tickle with his engine on the starboard bow to ensure we wouldn't hit the yachts, and I cannot be sure about what would have happened if he didn't. We continued to set sail and creep up on the wind. Before we knew it we were at the other side of the harbour and made our first tack. We had a maximum distance of 315 yards between the two breakwaters, any closer and we would be shearing the hull on rocks or scratching the nice paint of the Stad Amsterdam (the famous three masted full rigged clipper ship). We quickly set the main topmast staysail on this tack, which made 6 sails all together (topsail, main, fore topmast staysail, main staysail, inner jib & main topmast staysail). We tacked again. The wind had just dropped off enough that the mainsail could be hauled over to the windward side by hand every time we tacked to insure the bow went thru the wind. One missed tack would have most likely caused us a lot of grief so the 2 boats followed us like baby ducks following their mother.
Like a racing yacht we tacked, over and over with no more than 2 minutes between tacks. The new trainees knew nothing about the boat or how it worked, all they knew was "pull". We made alot of noise when tacking in front of the Stad Amsterdam, whose crew were lined up on the railing sending all the noise back. Before we left Jorne said it would be 6 tacks to get out, I retorted with 8. For sake of "the captain is always right" I will leave out the final number. On our last 2 tacks we saw friends on all sides, and as we cleared the pier head we made a mighty racket saying farewell to the sailors, the yachties, the extremely nice people of Faial and to the friends we made there.
Taeo, 1st mate
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