PT’s Singlehanded TransPac sailors are now completing their final tasks before the start of the race on Saturday, June 28th. After turning the corner and heading south,  Jak Mang in his 38″ Ingrid MAITREYA had a couple of days of easy sailing. But that changed as he got closer to San Francisco Bay and found himself in gale. Here’s his story from his blog, S/V  MAITREYA. You can follow the race at the Single Handed Sailing Society’s website.

Jak Mang's 38' Ingrid, MAITREYA.

Jak Mang’s 38′ Ingrid, MAITREYA.

Sunday, June 15, 2014, Tied up at the Berkeley Yacht Club at about 8:30 Saturday night.

Last couple of days was an entirely different trip. I was caught in a gale for a day and a half. This was 32 to 35 knots with gusts to 40. The real issue in that weather is waves. They were 8 -12 feet at about a 4-7 second interval. Very steep waves push the boat around a lot. You can suf down at 9 or 10 knots, but it is 4 knots going up.

Sustained some damage.

The cockpit had been dry except for spray until I took a wave through the companion way. This left the whole galley awash in about a 1/4 inch of water. A bit of splash hit the SSB. It seems to work in general, but the audio is gone.

Had to hand steer for 2-3 hours as the peak winds were causing the boat to round up when the main seemed to overpower the Monitor vane. Of course it was at midnight. Fortunately, there was a full moon to brighten things a little bit. When the boat would round up, you would have big waves on the beam really rolling the boat way over. I was sailing about 170 off the wind to try to hit a waypoint. This was important because I was getting near land. The boat might have been happier at 160, where the staysail was not blanketed as much and could balance the boat by offsetting the main.

Winds didn’t die much until I was in near the Farrallones islands.

Outside the gate we had 18 to 20 knot winds which seemed like nothing. I needed to gybe. When I did, I had a goosewing gybe where the boom shoots up and catches the backstay. This pins you backwinded rolling you pretty far. At that point, the boom brake is not really engaged and the half gybe back just about rips the boom and mainsheet off. I had been using preventers on the rail to pull the boom down and prevent an accidental gybe. These are disconnected to swing the boom. I’ll need to rig a vang to keep the goosewing from happening. The wild gybe ended up knocking the solar panel free so that it was laying on the tiller during recovery.

Corine has been working hard to fix some damaged sail hanks on the staysail.

Corine has been working hard to fix some damaged sail hanks on the staysail.

After the gybe problem I took down sails and had to hand steer for the last 5 hours. Also had to cross the Fourfathom Bank that is part of the bar since I was off course and avoiding shipping. That bar was thankfully not breaking with waves much.

I got a crack in the tiller while hand steering in extreme conditions.

The full list of problems to be fixed are:

Solar panel
Monitor wind vane chafe on steering lines
Need a spray skirt to protect SSB
Main halyard maybe off sheave a little
Still need to rig permanent tack handling system for spinnaker. The boat is too slow sailing deep with wing and wing white sails. Tack system will let me get the spin down and off the bowsprit quickly in a squall.

New StrongTrack mainsail track made reefing off the wind easy. New wireless instrument system working pretty well. It is a luxury to check wind speed changes and course from the bunk on iPhone.

Decompressing today. Repairs start tomorrow.