Our resident YouTube addict Kass Schmitt explains why established solo-sailing YouTuber Patrick Laine's channel is a real must-watch

I write this from a cafe in Jamestown, Rhode Island USA, looking out across the East Passage of Narragansett Bay to Newport, the finish port for the Royal Western Yacht Club of England’s OSTAR (Original Single-handed Transatlantic Race).

Having started, but not completed, the previous edition in 2017, I had planned to take care of that unfinished business this year, but unfortunately I was not able to make it happen.

Instead, I consoled myself crewing on a delivery that allowed me to sail into Newport from the direction of the Bahamas, a much smoother and more convivial experience altogether.

It was not without its challenges, however, due to anomalous weather in the North Atlantic which has had racers, cruisers and delivery skippers pulling out their hair.

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A really good illustration of this can be seen in a recent series of videos by the established solo-sailing YouTuber Patrick Laine, who chronicles his voyage from Madeira to Bermuda.

I commended Patrick in my December 2020 column for rounding the Fastnet Rock on his Bavaria 40 in style (sipping champagne in a DJ).

He has subsequently traded the Bavaria for a much smaller, lighter and faster 2009 Bongo 8.70.

His chosen route would have been nearly impossible on the Bavaria, without taking months or burning obscene amounts of diesel, but on the Bongo he reckons he can skirt along the top edge of the trades to nearly the longitude of Bermuda before heading north.

What he doesn’t count on is losing the use of his spinnaker 2 days in, which greatly reduces his average downwind speed.

To make matters worse, the Azores High then positions itself well south of its customary location for this time of year, which requires him to route himself even further south to avoid being becalmed for days.

He deals with these setbacks admirably, and I especially appreciate his demonstration of sheet-to-tiller steering, which he employs when he finds the autopilot is using excessive amounts of power trying to follow a compass course in very light winds.

Patrick also gives a decent explanation of his use of the PredictWind Offshore app for weather routing.

If this interests you I can also recommend this video from my friend and former solo racing buddy George Isted’s new channel Refit and Sail, in which he sails his 1983 Westerly Sealord solo from the Caribbean home to the UK.

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