Today was the first day of sailing on the brand new Smart 40 Trimaran and what a beautiful place for sailing. Yesterday when we arrived it was blowing dogs off chains and it would have been totally unfair to send a new boat out in that.
Today was much milder and we hit the hit with about 4-6 knots which we thought was a nice gentle way to settle everything in. In the photos you can see glass on the water and yet the Smart was pulling 7 knots. Not bad at all but its that feeling that she just wants to surge forward a whole lot more!
We sailed about 10 km’s just taking it very easy and what a comfortable motion. It is a float flat design which means the amas sit in the water until she’s really pressed. The amas (floaters) have a great degree of buoyancy and she was conceived to be an “easy to sail package rather than a radical boat”. All the controls come readily to hand right in the back of the cockpit where two nice seats are mounted in a very welcoming manner. “The boat is designed to be easily handled in a very relaxed style but, we didn’t want a slow boat!”
The boat was built around Danie’s 1.95 metre frame that means lots of clearance under the boom as well as down below! Full standing head room (2m) in the head and shower is very nice.
The very Smart bit is the electrical package onboard.
A generator provides current for the microwave, continuous boiling water, all the electronics and… provides motoring thrust via two electric sail drives. With the batteries fully topped up you leave the berth almost without any noise at all and it is very surprising just how much thrust is available through the drives. Impressive enough to think ‘why don’t all boats do it this way’. Pure linear thrust is available from a soft touch on the throttle levers next to the mainsheet winch. Incidentally, all the winches are powered as well as all those hard tasks have just become as easy as pushing a button! NICE!
The mast is a clean aerofoil and spreaders less relying on a set of upper and lowers to keep it in column. We’re just bedding it in until the rig builder comes and eyeballs the rig. But it worked perfectly well today. The Dyneema shrouds will take a few days to get mechanically settled so there will be no deploying Code Zeros and Kites for the time being.
We sailed out of Table Bay around North Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years! On the way out of Table Bay with just the mainsail and self-tacking jib up the Smart peaked at 17.4 knots and was not even pressed at this speed. The knuckle of the bow was barely kissing the wate so this platform has a lot more in it. At this stage the wind was probably peaking at about 12 knots so there is plenty yet to come.
Steering from a proper seat is a very comfortable position, why don’t more boats do it?
On the way back into Port the Smart returned 14 knots uphill in a very easy manner. Also nice… No water was coming up and over us. Good thing too as the water is about 16 degrees. Returning to the Port is really wonderful with the CBD surrounding the Port’s activities. Tie up, wander across the swing bridge and you are right in the action. Capetown certainly has got it right!
Tomorrow will be another day on Table Bay with a slightly tightened up platform and really looking forward to that oh, plus… The wind has been forecast to increase throughout the week! So by the end of the week all the dogs should have been blown from their chains!.. Yehaa…