Setting Sail on Pacific Wave

Pacific Wave sails magnificently on charter, graciously powering up the Sir Francis Drake Channel. But what has been happening behind the scenes while you savour breakfast coffee in the sunshine on deck?

After breakfast a crew member has been tidying up and securing the ship for sailing in the BVI. Hatches will be closed, cabins checked for loose articles, and cupboard doors locked. A large water tight door in the crew area leading to the forepeak, resembling something off a submarine, will be shut. At this point the generator that has been providing electrical power will be turned off. If a phone or e book reader needs charging Pacific Wave has an inverter to provide power for this.

Another crew member has been turning on radio and navigation master switches on the big panel by the aft stateroom. The anchor ball, a round black shape suspended over the bow which indicates to other vessels that Pacific Wave is at anchor and is unable to comply with collision regulations, is taken down. A snubbing line attached to the anchor chain, that transfers the pulling load on the chain from the anchor windlass to a bow cleat, is removed. At the helm station covers are removed and instruments turned on. The engine, a 350 horse power Caterpillar unit, roars into life and settles to a muted burble as it warms.

As the anchor is raised the boat is gently powered forward by the engine. She heads into wind for the main sail hoist, a 1200 square foot sail with battens or rods that run the full width and help make that perfect shape for efficient sailing. An electric winch is used to raise the sail. If heading into wind a running backstay on one side will be sheeted in tight. This helps support the hundred foot tall mast. The genoa or foresail is unwound electrically by a foot switch while the sheet is pulled tight by a large drum winch, looking like a trash can, turned by handles, the grinders. The boat heels slightly, settles comfortably, and we are off. Next stop Virgin Gorda for lunch and a swim!