The Lunacy Report

DRYING OUT: Not Afloat Aboard the New Lunacy

Anchor and boat

I’ve been looking forward to doing this ever since I got this boat. Mind you, I’ve done it before on another boat. My old Golden Hind 31, Sophie, conceived by Maurice Griffiths, a true shoal-draft aficionado, had three keels (one shallow full keel on centerline, plus two small auxiliary bilge keels) and was designed to take the ground with impunity. So I tried drying her out, once, in the St. George River off Thomaston in Maine. I did not know the ground there, and it turned out the mud flat I grounded her on was composed of very (very) soft mud. When the tide was out she was sucked way down into it, bow first, and I was afraid it would never let her go.

Lesson learned: before parking your boat on the inter-tidal littoral, you should know what it consists of.

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TWEAKING NEW LUNACY: Mainsheet Modification

Lunacy under sail

Now that I’ve got the new boat on the Left Side of the Pond I’m starting to think seriously about how I’d like to change it. Of course, I’ve been thinking about making changes all along, even before I accepted delivery, but I do believe you should first spend some time sailing a boat the way its builder and designer intended before you start mucking with things. Presumably they had their reasons for doing what they did, and you should strive to understand those before making alterations.

My first modification pertains to the mainsheet, the run of which can be easily followed in this fantastic photo taken by Clint Davis, from a boat called Corsair, when we crossed paths between Bermuda and Newport last month. Many thanks to Clint for sharing this (and a few other pix)! It is always great thing when you can score off-the-boat images of your own boat under sail.

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NEW LUNACY TRANSAT: Phase Four to Newport; Phase Five to Portsmouth; All Done Now!

Self in new shorts

It’s over… at long last! My seventh transat done and dusted. This has been true for nearly a week now and still I’m waking up in a bed in a house every morning in a confused wobbly-footed fuzzy-headed daze feeling like I just stepped ashore.

I must be getting old or something.

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NEW LUNACY TRANSAT: Phase Three, Big Jump to Bermuda

Lunacy sailing

This was a hard one this. For one thing it was a bigger jump than I had sketched out in my head. For some reason I had fixated on 2000 as the rough mileage between Porto Santo and Bermuda (see last blog post), but in fact it is 2,400 and change, even via a great circle route, as the chartplotter dourly informed me once I plugged in the distant waypoint. In all, due both to contrary winds and aggravating technical problems (more on that coming up), it took us 23 days and about nine hours to transit the gap, which via the meandering route we followed involved moving much more than just 2,400 miles.

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NEW LUNACY TRANSAT: Phases One and Two Complete

Shiny boat

Talk about shiny new. (It’s a camera defect, actually, that makes the boat sparkle so.) This is us on Lunacy crossing the Bay of Biscay, en route from Treguier, France, to La Coruña, Spain, late last month. (I would have posted something about this earlier, but finding a reliable Wifi signal in La Coruña proved challenging.) This passage, a distance of 400-plus miles, took three days. Highlights included the comfortable deep broad reach you see here (a wing-on-wing-on-wing configuration, as I call it, with the staysail splayed out opposite the poled-out jib), some vivid phosphorescent water filled with spiraling dolphins one very magical night, and one very sporty night with wind howling straight on to our beam at 27-33 knots true for hours on end. The boat, flying a double-reefed main and the staysail, was much more comfortable doing this than we were.

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EASTER SUNDAY MASSACRE: First Solo Sail on New Lunacy

JFD on deck

It went pretty well actually, except for one part at the very end. The weather at least was fabulous. Bright and sunny with a moderate 15-17 knot breeze out of the west. I motored down the river, Le Jaudy they call it, against the dregs of the flood tide, and raised sail just before reaching the entrance. There followed a few hours of experimentation in open water. Took a reef in the main. Played with the Windpilot windvane for a while. Diddled with the electronics. Reveled in the moments and all. One of the highlights was when I turned back in and saw the creator of the Boréal, Jean-François Delvoye, heading out on his own new boat (that’s him on the foredeck trying to take photos of me) for a bit of an Easter Sunday jaunt.

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BOREAL 47: New Lunacy Afloat and Lying (Also Flying) en France

New Lunacy under sail

In fact I have been in Treguier here in France for a week now, grappling with the project of getting to know the new Lunacy while simultaneously studying printer’s proofs for the new book. The book now has been irretrievably committed to the press, and just yesterday Jean-Francois Eeman of Boreal Yachts joined me for a maiden sail on Lunacy. We had a broad range of wind to work in, from 8 to 25 knots apparent at various angles, and exercised all the sails, including the spinnaker, which has, as you can see, quite the modest color scheme.

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TRUE CONFESSIONS: The New Lunacy

New Lunacy bones

I have been shy about mentioning this to people, for various reasons, but now it’s time to come clean. You’ll have noticed I am trying to sell Lunacy, my faithful Tanton 39 cutter of the last 10 years, and some have asked what comes next. The answer, of course, is another aluminum boat. Two of the many things owning Lunacy has taught me is once you’ve had an aluminum boat, or a boat with a transom skirt, there’s no turning back. So, yes, the new Lunacy has both those things, though that photo up there won’t tell you much about the skirt.

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SOUTHBOUND LUNACY: Delivery to Annapolis Completed

Departing Manhattan

Not surprisingly, the very best weather window for getting Lunacy from Huntington to Annapolis came over the Wednesday and Thursday of the Thanksgiving holiday, when abandoning hearth and family for the vicissitudes of offshore sailing would have cost many spousal brownie points. It’s hard not to feel a little anxious about these things this time of year. Every day lost means the day of departure, when finally it comes, will likely be colder, with a smaller weather window and a greater chance of stepping in something.

Not to worry. After the trauma of grinding my fingers through the anchor windlass I was due for a run of good luck. Stroke one: my old partner-in-crime Hank Schmitt (see image up top), a professional delivery skipper no less, was willing and able to ride shotgun on this next leg. Stroke two: it looked like our weather window was stretching out for a bit.

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