Michael Hennessy, a/k/a “Rail Meat” has been telling great stories to the SA community for years now from some of the world’s great ocean racing events. Now we get to repay him by cheering for him as he learns the art of solo racing aboard his own ride, the Class 40, “Dragon” in the Bermuda 1-2. RM makes it easy to support him with funny, exciting stories like this one from last night:
You ever have a bad day on the water? I probably have you beat.
It started out rough… after a night of variable wind strengths and directions, plus rain, I had not gotten much rest. Then just as dawn broke there was another bought of rain that sucked all the wind away. It is difficult to get this boat moving in 3 knots off breeze, and more so when the swell is tossing the apparent wind all over the place.
When the wind did fill in, it blew 12 + from the north. I have a confession to make… I kinda suck at deep running. Set aside the fact that this is a sprit boat and does not like to go any deeper than about 154 true. I still suck at it. Invariably, some thing goes wrong.
This time I get a nice clean set and off we go. I get a couple of good hours in, although keeping the chute filled with the swells is and the point of sail (did I mention deep?) is a challenge. But my fuck up was when I put the pilot on the job without adjusting the gain upwards. The next thing you know, the boat is on her ear and horrible flapping is coming from the bow. Then… the sheets flog themselves off the sail (Jim… I know. Always put a wrap of tape on them).