With all modifications finished I’m ready to start the next leg of journey – Saint John’s Newfoundland to Crosshaven Ireland – 1796 nautical miles as the crow flies. I will have good Westerlies for the first day or two but will have to deal with awkward north-easterlies for a few days after that thanks to a high in the arctic pushing the lows south and off my track. But waiting for the perfect weather patterns can be a mistake. They may not arrive until it it is so late in the season that you risk get battered by Autumn gales.
Regarding sailing directly downwind, I discovered on my sail here that I was unable to adequately sail goose-winged. The foresail failed to hold sufficient wind, even in a fresh 12 – 15 knot breeze, due to the blanketing effect and turbulence caused by the main. The foresail would only stay out for a minute or two and then start swinging back and forth with the motion of the boat. Not holding any wind it added no benefit and sailing under main only was just as efficient. For a brief time I tried sailing directly downwind under foresail alone but found the rolling of the hull significantly increased with this sail arrangement.
A huge benefit of the junk rig over the conventional sloop / triangular sails becomes obvious in dead calms. When I was sloop rigged I would have to pull down all sail and lash everything on the boat. Of course the boat would roll in the swells and a sleepless night of clanking and straining would be in store. (If I left the main up the the force of the sail flapping back and forth in the air turbulence caused by the rolling was much greater discomfort and stain on the rigging and hull.) With the junk rig I simply keep both sails fully hoisted and sheeted tight amidships. This has effect of reducing the swell-induced rolling to a gentle swaying with no strain on the rig, the hull, or my nerves. Deep sea dead calms in no longer something I dread.
The sun is rising and the sea beckons. I will up date this blog will a full report of the rigs performance on a transatlantic when I get plugged in in Ireland – say 3 weeks from now.