FIRST SAILING: PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENT
Duyfken was towed from Fremantle Fishing boat harbour at 1000 hrs and set the forecourse before leaving the harbour, then dropped the tow just outside the harbour. The main course was set by 1025 when the ship was clearing the Challenger Harbour groin.
Conditions were light 8 to 12 knots northeasterly breeze. The mizzen was set next. With the mizzen, the courses and no bonnets the ship did not steer well - the mizzen caused her to round up into the wind when trying to steer a beam reach. With the fore topsail set, steering was much improved and the ship averaged about 3 knots on a beam reach, starboard tack.
The main topsail was set by 1135 and shortly after that the ship was put into port tack by wearing round. The position reached (32O 01.70S, 115O 44.85) was about 4 nautical miles from the point where the main course was set seventy-five minutes previously. In the fifteen minutes between 1125 and 1140 very nearly 1 nautical mile was covered giving an average of four knots. The ship had averaged 3 knots under short canvas. Reaching back under almost full sail Duyfken made 4 knots at times and when the helm was put up to go clear of a container ship the GPS and the log of chase vessel "Tabby Cat" both indicated that Duyfken made 7 knots for a short space of time before turning back to a beam reach.
Seven knots in the light conditions is a remarkably good speed. Shortly before taking in sail and picking up the tow for return to Fishing Boat Harbour, the master, Greg Tonnison, ordered helm down to see how Duyfken would hove to with sails aback. She came up into the wind so quickly that he concluded she would easily tack, and indeed she did sail round onto starboard tack very easily. Flat water and light to moderate winds are ideal conditions for tacking a ship. Duyfken tacked remarkably easily.
Sail setting and arrangement of the rigging will be improved to allow the ship to sail closer to the wind. Based on the beam reach performance, Duyfken will be able to sail to windward and not make excessive leeway. The ship's speed was good. She responded to her helm and manoeuvred without problems. Steering was sensitive to sail setting.
- View the photos of Duyfken's first sail.