Lessons Learned

Jane’O has completed three significant voyages. She is definitely very fun to sail! Here’s what I learned:

The good:

  1. She likes 15+ knots of wind. She’s not very efficient at light winds. Gusts up to about 30 knots are fine.

  2. Upwind in heavy weather, she can achieve 7 knots with a reefed main and a slightly furled jib. I wish I knew this during the Baha Bash. With a staysail she can do even better I suspect.

  3. The masthead wind anemometer is GREAT. The autopilot can maintain a constant wind angle which means the boat can maintain a near-perfect angle of attack to the wind.

  4. Switching from motor to sail is fairly trivial. She motorsails well.

  5. Wing-on-wing sailing is fine, except for the pole part I talk about below.

The bad:

  1. Tacking is hard. The jib sheet and even the jib itself gets caught in the winches at the masthead. In heavy wind, it’s too hard to get up on the foredeck to fix it.

  2. Manual steering is hard. I let Gerry steer for a while but they weren’t able to do as well as the autopilot. I’m going to have to do some more testing here. On this diagram, the first few tacks were done by hand, with really sad results. The last two tacks were done by autopilot. Note that curve to the left was due to the traditional wind shifts as you get closer to the gate. Originally, we weren’t going to clear San Francisco without many more tacks, but the wind slowly shifted, and the autopilot automatically compensated. You can see the exact moment when we switched to wind mode, just south of Pacifica.

  3. Balance is tricky. When the jib is caught, and winds are heavy, the main turns the boat into the wind way too fast. You have to pop the main halyard to prevent this.

  4. Reefing is hard. On my first trip, I thought I had to go up to the foredeck. It helps to reef because otherwise you get too much windward helm (see #3). What I found out is that it’s doable from inside the cabin!

  5. Downwind is hard. Without a pole, a wing-on-wing configuration is hard unless you have someone on the foredeck willing to hold the sail to leeward. She really needs a pole.

The ugly:

  1. The faulty generator in the port forepeak is leaking something horrible. It might be diesel or it might be oil or something horrific.

  2. The jib seems to have developed a small tear. I’m going to have to have it checked by a sailmaker.

  3. The oil system on the starboard engine failed completely near Lodi. On the plus side, there’s been a persistent leak on the starboard engine that the prior owner couldn’t find, which was easy when the non-standard sensor assembly was found broken off inside the bilge. Some additional work is going to be required to get everything reassembled again and to properly clean the engine and engine room (yuck).

  4. The raw water belt is about to break. I ordered new belts and will get them installed soon.

  5. I took the Balmar alternator apart to check the brushes for wear and to consider installing an improved belt. There was so much belt dust from the assembly that keeps the belt tight that it’s amazing it still performed fairly well.

  6. The alternator on the port engine seems to have given up. It might be something as simple as a loose wire, but I’d like to get that alternator upgraded to at least 70A as well.


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