Umm. I have feelings about being the first ever to break sail slides or slugs on a Mk 17-3. I rather have the euphoria of reaching Key Largo first in class or in fact the satisfaction of simply reaching there.
Instead I will share with you what I can about the incident that forced these slides to break. But first there are a couple of comments in preparing to make a couple of comments. While seemingly unrelated, in my thoughts, they play a major part in our boat prep and handling.
First, the picture Alan posted, one of my personal favorites, was staged at Pickwick Lake on the Tennessee River at the launch ramp which is well protected from wind. We had been out in gusty 20 mph winds and happy to test our reefing abilities. In the photo the mizzon has not been taken down yet. The main however had been lowered and then re-hoisted for purposes of the photo. That may distort some of the ideas about tension on the sail et.al.
Second, I carry a lot of different spare parts but never considered sail slides. As an aside sail sides from West Marine come in packs of four. St. Petes only had one pack in the correct size. Bradenton had another pack or two, but we wanted enough in spares so, my crew, Capt Kyle, also stopped at Sarasota to buy enough that we could have a sufficient aboundancy. Fortunately we were planning on re-launching for the EC 2020 in Englewood.
Third, last year I wanted the boat to be halfway pretty. This year I consider I am Groot as a tool.
Fourth, Capt Kyle and Capt Bones both come from a line of boating experiences from trawlers to running replica ships the Nina, and the Pinta around the country and many other experiences. None however, have prepared us for anything like the CS 17 Mk3 nor the EC until 2017.
Fifth, and most important to Kyle and I is the boat itself. This boat itself is like a professional third member of the crew. We can always count on Groot to be there, to guide us and protect us--as long as we do nothing grossly stupid. We have found, compared to our other experiences, this vessel requires a soft touch, a finesse of its sixteen little lines. Now let's get this part right. I am talking touch and finesse like a jockey on a 1500 lb thorough bred race horse at Church Hill Downs. A fine touch here and there to let the horse know what to do and mostly accepting feedback from the horse that tells you what it needs. My CS 17 mk3/1- Bones is like that. Easy to sail fast and safely, but it takes a bit more knowledge and an easy hand to sail it FASTER, HARDER, HIGHER. I am in the learning stages and of course, in all things boat, the more you learn the less you know.
I am Groot is so strong and light it feels like I could run it into a brick wall and it would just bounce off and keep sailing. Well WTF, WE DID! We tacked it into the concrete railroad trestle house just south of the Boca Grande Bridge due to a sudden gust curling around that small channel. The crew got re-positioned in the cockpit, but Groot shook it off as to say: "Please sir, may I have some more."
Here is how we broke the sail slugs.
We had a hard time this year getting off the beach and into the water at the start due to inefficient rollers. Once in the water I held the boat as Capt Kyle hoisted the pre-reefed sails. The boat sails off and I am trying to get on board by holding on to the stern ladder but the boat was moving faster then I could get my foot, ladened with five layers of clothes, on the ladder. Eventually I roll, fall, ooze and snake onto the boat. Since I came over the stern, Capt Kyle slide into the crew spot in front of the mizzen and I took the helm.
The start of any sailing adventure for us involves a certain amount of controlled chaos. This start may have been less controlled and more of a cluster____ then others due to the increasing wind as we got further away from the beach. Having said that we also usually get what we called "settled" within the first five minutes or so with everything under control.
We are running directly downwind not caring so much the direction until we reach that mental and physical "settled" state. Part of being in our" non-settled" condition is to strap everything down pretty hard--OK, very hard especially in higher winds. Since we are going directly downwind, while getting our stuff together, the only lines not tight are the running backstays. The mizzen is out at about 90 degrees and the main is past the mast, hard on the relaxed running backstays, and spilling wind but not flopping or flogging--it is controlled. We feel settled enough to take up a proper course for the end of Anna Maria Island. We know we have to either tack all the way around or gybe to our new heading. We elect a controlled gybe since the boat handles so easily in a gybe. Our gybe consists of the crew taking a handful of sheet below the attachment on the sprit to dampen its swing across the centerline then release it into its new position in a continuation of reduced and controlled force.
I throw the helm over and have no visual memory until the sail comes up hard slowing quickly on the running back stay and a startling, louder than normal, pop or snap but not as loud as a bang--but still loud. we feel the boat is not accelerating properly. We are slower. It takes a couple of minutes for us to see the loose sail at the top. We immediately start to work our way back to the beach Our progress is very slow and far off the wind. We ended about a mile west of the starting beach.
I do not know the specifics but what I have read on the previous posts are quite consistent with what we felt happened. Everything was strapped down. In a few more minutes of being settled we would have been re-evaluating our line tensions as we always seem to do and no doubt made adjustments. I have learned much from this and the most obvious is to keep things moderately loose until we get our zen going.
Please feel free to comment on any aspect. We are big people, we can handle the corrections and the disbelieving comments that we could be so ignorant of sailing such a wonderful vessel.
I say it again.
This is the best boat I have ever depended on to keep me safe. This wonderful little craft will continue to teach me how to properly sail it. I welcome all of your suggestions on how to sail my Core Sound 17 mk 3 also. Thank you B&B for this boat that seems to want to be a part of me.
I have pictures of the sail slides I will try to enter in a following note if not here.