As we set sail for Hong Kong, it soon became clear that we had created what we had hoped for – a wonderful ocean cruising yacht. Under full sail and with a breeze of 10 – 12 knots at 60 deg of apparent wind, White Dragon heeled slightly as her speed quickly picked up to 7-8 knots. Then we cut the engine and experienced that moment of bliss – the moment when a new yacht forges silently forward across a pure blue sea, under sail alone.
The already impressed crew stayed quiet in anticipation as the breeze increased to 15 knots and White Dragon picked up speed to 9 -10 knots. Foam sprang from the bow as she cut cleanly through the waves as we dropped the land astern heading for the open ocean.
The wind held steady for the next 36 hours as we put White Dragon and her rig to the test; bearing away and running, then hardening up to come on the wind. Everything was so easy as we furled the sails then reset them at the push of a hydraulic control button. The mainsail rolled perfectly in the boom, with the bolt rope of the luff wrapping neatly around the boom mandrel as the huge fully battened mainsail dropped. We furled the genoa at the same time. All was simplicity itself. Having furled the sails, we set them both again. But this time we set the main and blade jib to test this excellent upwind sail configuration .This allowed us to sail at 26 degrees to the apparent wind and we were off again.We then furled the jib in favour of the powerful 140% genoa and we changed course to head directly for Hong Kong with the wind on the beam once again.
The first night watches ran smoothly. The dawn brought a little more wind so we tucked in a reef in both main and genoa as we cracked on again, still maintaining 9 -10 knots.
Perhaps the most satisfying element of the sail was experiencing White Dragon’s beautiful steady motion. As the seas increased, she remained very solid with hardly any pitch or yaw. And as the sun set at the end of the second day, all crew enjoyed a good off-watch sleep in her very comfortable berths.
As midnight came the wind began to die so we started the iron topsail and furled away the main and genoa. With the engine now running we were delighted that the extensive insulation system used on White Dragon (and all Kraken yachts) really makes a difference in reducing engine and genset noise. And the Aqua Drive absorbed almost all vibration from the shaft and stern gear. We noted that fuel consumption was slightly below our expectations as we achieved 8 knots cruising speed at only 2,100 rpm. Since we had opted for Coppercoat antifouling on White Dragon we expect this level of performance to be maintained for several years even in the tropics.
We arrived in Victoria Harbour Hong Kong some six hours ahead of schedule, having averaged just under 9 knots for the duration of the 400 nm passage. White Dragon’s maiden voyage had gone all too quickly. We headed into Gold Coast Marina, the home port of Kraken Yachts, a very happy crew.