We had heard that the big bad new Beau Geste had some sort of problem, and we asked sailing master Gavin Brady for the scoop. Being quite the opposite of some of the uptight douchebags in the pro game, he told us the deal…
We got Beau Geste out in the English Channel to see how she performs in a few conditions. The English weather turned on its normal 20 plus knots and loads of current. It is a great place to really test a yacht with the large waves produced when the wind is against the current.
We found ourselves in 27 knots of wind and 3 knots of current and with a reef and small jib we were still going too fast. It is a hard one as you either luff high and the boat comes down and slams hard or heel the boat over and go fast but land on the side. It seems everyone has a theory on this but at the end of the day you are going to see what the boat is made of. I decided to slow her down and head more offshore in less current but the waves were still very sharp but the boat was performing well. After a few big waves we heard a new noise which sounded more like a string of a tennis racket breaking. That is what it sounds like when carbon breaks under load so it was back to the dock for us.
It turned out to be the side of the cabin in an area that is not highly loaded. I am not sure if there is an area of the boat that is not highly loaded but anyway Karl and I could sleep better knowing it was not a major structural area of the boat. We have a number of cabins below decks on Beau Geste and this helps keep the deck and cabin stiff. This crack was three inches in the middle the main saloon area so when the boat bends I am told something has to give.
The Fastnet Race will be our first race in a month so we will be ready to go by then. Who knows if we will see 27 knots or be anchored off Portland Bill waiting for the tide to change, either way you have to be ready for anything in the Fastnet Race.