Perth is listed as one of the top 3 windiest cities in the world and for a good reason, as it certainly blows a lot here, although Winter can be a bit hit or miss at times, but at others it comes howling through. Being new boat owners we wanted to get the most of our boat and sailed on a regular basis come rain or shine and large winds were certainly not going to stop us and if anything for a while we actually sought them out to test our boat and improve our skills – Going out in 25Kt+ Gusting to 30Kt+ was something we did a few times and although hard work, had its moments of fun.
One of the hardest parts was leaving the marina in a strong Southerly and a 2M swell on the beam as you leave the breakwater – This always had Trev white knuckling it and with a few murmurs of Hail Mary’s. Once out though the fun began and important lessons learned, such as Thou Shalt Reef early, as weather-helm at 25Kt and full sails is nigh on impossible to counteract in gusts and we found that Reef#1 should be applied at around 18Kt to 20Kt True Wind speed – Preferably earlier if you knew the wind was building.
A whole Winter of Heavy Weather Sailing is highly recommended as it not only builds your skills, but gives you the confidence that is really important in handling such conditions as you certainly would not want to experience such conditions for the first time in the middle of the Ocean, which I’d imaging could be truly frightening.