Race 12: Panama to Washington DC

Life on board

While it was not technically part of race 12, we went through the PanamaCanal-a true engineering wonder, and a highlight for me. The race itself held surprises. The heat was expected but I had not factored in some of the wet weather, so a good soaking happened more than once! Upwind conditions turned to great downwind sailing, a few wind holes, upwind again at the end before the picturesque motor into DC up the PotomacRiver after the finish line.

Lessons learnt

Steer with the sails not the rudder. Our most experienced crew member taught this to me at the start of this race. He had noticed at times we alter the course of the boat to the wind direction instead of altering sail trim to allow us to remain on course more. So we now trim vastly more frequently, holding our line better. The results? We found ourselves more competitive more often. I also learnt how to tie a diamond knot!


Sometimes you don’t have all the equipment you might like. The choices include to potentially buy more stuff, rent it, buy second hand, go without, or find a workable alternative. Our boats are well equipped for sailing needs with all the ropes and rigging we can dream of. And yet on occasion we fall short and repurpose other equipment for a slightly different function. One example of this occurred during this race when we realised while using a dyneema strop rolling hitch to move the Yankee car that the sail looked better whilst held by the rolling hitch 5an sitting in the car, and we were faster when we had the rolling hitch holding the Yankee sheet against the guard rail. So we used the rolling hitch and a second tweaker to create a temporary tweaker to hold the Yankee sheet up against the rail.Thank you for the extra half a knot, dyneema®!