Summer Sailing in a Trimaran called Gypsy Wind
This post contains a great sailing report about Gypsy Wind, the Drifter 17 trimaran model we read about in an earlier post. The designer, builder and sailor, Mark Gumprecht, took some time to share a little about how he enjoyed her this past summer.
Mark provides us with a fun, breezy read about this 17-foot cabin cruiser. There are some pics and a YouTube Video at the very end. Thank you for sharing this with us Mark.
Sailing Gypsy Wind Summer of 2012
by Mark Gumprecht
S. Dartmouth, MA
I launched my 17′ trimaran Gypsy Wind in the fall of 2011, but only got to sail her a couple of times before the weather got too cold. Last summer I was able to do four trips in her, and sail her under a variety of conditions.
The local area I sail, Buzzards Bay, MA, can get quite windy in the summer, with choppy conditions, so you have to be careful with the weather in a boat this size. There are some nice islands not too far off shore, Cuttyhunk being my favorite destination, with a nice, very protected harbor.
I launch the boat in one of the local rivers, and it has to be high tide to get over the bar and out into the ocean. I spent the first night anchored in the river, and left early the next day at high tide for Cuttyhunk island. I had light west winds and calm waters, and had a very pleasant sail out to the island, where I anchored for the night.
Cuttyhunk is a beautiful island, with some nice hiking trails for exploring the island. The next day I sailed to Sakonnet Point, not too far from Newport, RI. The wind got stronger as I sailed down the Sakonnet River and anchored behind Fogland point in 15-20 kts of wind.
I was happy to see that the electric trolling motor had enough power to motor into fairly strong winds so I could anchor. The next day I had a nice breeze and tacked back out the river, and headed back along the coast. I had my wife meet me at one of the local beaches, and sailed around for a while so she could take some videos.
It’s hard to video from land and get close ups. The boat gets small really fast when you sail away from the beach. The only way to get good pictures is to have someone in another boat, and sail around them. I took another trip out to Cuttyhunk island, and this time I decided to sail around Buzzards Bay, something I always wanted to do.
I had a good forecast of light winds for the week, but I had some stronger winds than they predicted. I love it when the say it’s 5 to 10, and it’s 15 plus knots, and been blowing all night so there’s a good chop, and it to weather to the next harbor!
I put a reef in before I left the harbor, and was glad I did. It was very bouncy at first, but a little smoother as I go closer to land. Gypsy Wind handled the conditions very well, and it was a good test of the boat in some rougher conditions.
She really is a dry boat, and the only water I got in the cockpit was when she fell into a hole, and punched the ama through a wave. Having the deck overhang in the bow makes these small tris so much drier, and gives you more space on the bow when anchoring. When I crash into a nasty wave or wake, I can see the water shoot out under the deck, instead of ending up in my lap. The cabin also does a lot to protect the cockpit.
In September, I did my first longer trailering trip up to Maine, a place I’ve always wanted to explore. I never trailered at high speeds before, and it made me nervous. You really have to make sure everything is lashed down.
I towed the boat with my wife’s Subaru wagon, and it did fine, except it really hurt the gas milage! Something with a little more power would be good. Even though the boat and trailer only weigh about 850 lbs, there is a lot of wind drag at higher speeds.
I launched at the yacht club in Wiscasset where some friends of mine are members. What beautiful spot, and the people were great. They let me use one of their moorings while I was there. It’s an interesting place to cruise, but you really have to pay attention to the 10 foot tides! There are some strong currents.
I had an exciting sail one day after motoring out of a protected channel into another channel where the wind was 20 kts right on the nose. It was too strong for the trolling motor, and I had to get the sails up fast as I drifted toward the rocks.
After I beat out of that channel into the next one, it was too windy and rough to go the way I had planned, so I headed back up the river, with the wind behind me, but going into 4-5 knots of current. It was gusty, so now I had to get the main down, while going downwind, which is always fun.
I was glad I have an autopilot now, or it would have been impossible. I unrolled the genoa, and was probably doing 7-8 kts through the water, but just crawling up the channel. The winds got stronger, and gusty around the corners of the channel, so I rolled up the genoa, and put up the jib.
I finally anchored behind a small point and waited for the wind to die down, and finally made it back to the mooring about sunset. It was an exciting, but tiring day of sailing.
I had some nice sails in the harbor at Wiscasset, included one fantastic sail in some strong, very gusty conditions, when I really got her going! I do need a ratcheting block so I can hand hold the mainsheet.
It was hard to release in the stronger gusts. I also need some tiller extensions, so I can sit out on the amas during stronger conditions. It would make a big difference in a boat this size. I’ve done it with the autopilot on, and the boat flattens right out, but it would be dangerous in gusty winds.
Gypsy Wind is a great mini cruiser for one person, with a protected cabin, comfortable bunk, stove, sink and water tank, even a solar panel to keep the battery charged. She sails well, and seems quite fast, but it also seems like I’m always going to weather or downwind.
She really flew the few times I got her on a reach. I was across the channel in about a minute and had to turn around.
The wooden wing mast I built for her works great, with no problems so far. I’m looking forward to more adventures this summer.