2012: PROOF OF CONCEPT
After whole year of moving (prototype of) Seascape 27 around Europe, from Norway to Atlantic, to Swiss lakes, we decided to put her performance and seaworthiness to final test. Having great memories on Jabuka race from our Mini650 days, bringing her to Tribunj came as a “no brainer”. Even though it was not possible to enter the race officially, due to 9.4m length limit, organiser was kind enough to allow us to join the fleet as a proof of concept for following years. That meant that everything was as if we would be racing, except we wouldn’t be part of the official results.
Weather was standard for that part of the year with fresh NE wind forecasted for the duration of the race. Since that was the first offshore race of the Seascape27, there was huge amount of interest to join our crew, and if Tome Basic wouldn’t be called to a last minute meeting of Croatian Sailing Federation, we would be sailing in 6. On the other hand, we knew that she is perfect for shorthanded sailing and were interested to see how can she accommodate 5 crew members for a long race like this.
As usual in this kind of conditions, start of the race is a tricky thing – downing in the middle of the night, surrounded with much larger boats. Luka did a good job keeping us in clear air, which kept us in the top 10 for the first reaching part of the race. After turning Komorica we were back to our masthead kite. As the wind and waves picked up going further offshore, so did that funny mixture of fun and unease, typical for that kind of sailing. Whoever was helming seemed relaxed enough, but for the rest, going downwind, in pitch dark, averaging 12-13kt, while flying a masthead kite on a mast, without any backstay or runners, felt a bit funny. Coming from Minis, I knew that 20kt of wind is a point where you switch the big gennaker with a medium one, and the wind we were having, was occasionally well over that mark. But once you took the helm, everything seemed under control. Due to huge volume in the bow and rig geometry, 27 had a very comfortable bow up position and didn’t decelerate too much hitting the waves we were overtaking. That kept loads reasonable and number of broaches down to one.
We were amazed to see we were not loosing to much ground to two Class40s ahead of us and we ended up rounding Jabuka on the 3rd place, 10min behind the leading AkilariaRC2 and just in front of Grand Soleil 50R Marina Kastela. That meant that 27 needed only 5h and 10min for the first 44M averaging 8.5kt of VMG.
Return proved to be a bit slower going upwind in 20-25kt bang on the nose. We were trying out different sail combinations, going all the way down to first reef and staysail, but our main problem was we took the wrong side of the massive shift and consequently lost a lot of additional places.
Final 10M of the race ended up being a proper driftatlon where everybody except the first few boats compressed in a tight stationary bundle. This suited us just fine and we managed to win back some of the places lost banging upwind in chop.
We ended up finishing at the same time as X46 MucaMaca, which put us on 23rd place in a fleet of 68 finishers. But more importantly, 27 proved her value and we were sure that a year that follows will be even more fun.
SLO1 – prototype
Unnoficial entry – finished 23rd out of 68 boats with a time of 18:27:11
Average speed on the rhumb line: 4.88kt