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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Nature Abhors a Vacuum

(Co-Cap William is the author of this blog entry)

Dear Readers

    March approaches as does our ETD in three months.  We are also, therefore, two months post our “deadline” to complete our “major refit program”.  Consequently this co-cap’s brain has been endlessly exploring – awake/asleep/sober/and drunk!  What else can/could/should we do to make our voyage come true?  Result?  Obviously yet another biggie project.  Please oh please may June 1, 2011 arrive so that we may depart and stop all this preparation thing.  And thing it is as it (the cruising yacht prep) has taken on a life all of its own and in so doing taken over our lives.

 We Gotta Get Outta this Place...

The Last Project: Bowsprit and Solent Headstay with Accompanying Foresails

    It’s hard to know where this one started but from somewhere in the farther, darker recesses of my brain a long time ago.  Possibly the new PSC 37 brochure, Southern Ocean racing circuit or Beth Leonard’s writings.  In order to upgrade a coastal cruising SV to a voyaging blue water SV requires preparing for primarily sailing downwind in waves and swells.  Coastal cruising in the Pacific NW involves mainly short upwind fetches in chop and calm.  This involves significant sail changes which is the meat of this project.

Reviewing our sail wardrobe progressing from survival heavy air to light air and from forward to aft includes the following sail combinations: 

1)    Trysail and Storm Staysail for heavy air survival ( >30  kts).
2)    Working Staysail with Mainsail reefed once or twice for windward strong breezes (15-30   kts).
3)    Full Main, Working Staysail and 115% RFJ (roller furling jib) for moderate breeze ( <15 kts ).
4)    Assymetrical 1.5 oz. Spinnaker ~ 1,000 sq. ft. for light air (~ <10 kts.) from 100 degrees aft of the beam.

This leaves a gap in our downwind sail inventory to deal with moderate to strong wind 110 degrees and aft.  Multiple reports from westward tropical voyagers report 88% of the time spent in wind less than Force 4 (11-16 kts) with an angle of 110 degrees or more!  Consequently in moderate winds > 10 kts apparent from > 110 degrees; we have been limited to “wing on wing” with our Main and poled out jib.  This has been shown by our self steering wind vane “Monti” to be difficult in that Terrwyn rounds up with the COE (centre of effort) moved aft by the Main’s power.  This arrangement also puts accidental gybes and dragging the boom in the swell as real risks to the equation.

An alternative is to fly “Twin Headsails”, douse the Main completely and strap a staysail midships to dampen the roll.  This will move the COE far forward and this makes Monti a happier crew member.  This is very much like pulling a golf cart as opposed to pushing a golf cart in its tracking ability.

So this IS the Last Project. 

We will be sailing Terrwyn to Blackline Marine Canoe Cove, Sydney, BC mid-April to add a two foot bowsprit and a forward second Headstay with our roller furling Jib.   The second removable solent (headstay) will attach to the old stem from which we will be able to hack on our ~105% Yankee sail or our two Staysails or fly our new Drifter. 

This double headstay and double jibs enables us to sail downwind in all air.  Plus the sprit takes our anchors forward away from the stem and glass.  The longer J also narrows the jib’s sheeting angle to windward which PSC assures me was Bill Crealock’s original idea for this refit. 

Hasse (owner and expert sailmaker of Port Townsend Sails) has also suggested a 130%, 2.2 oz. nylon Drifter  to fly in ghosting conditions to windward, on its own reaching or as half of the “Twins” downwind with either the RFJ or with the Assymetrical Spinnaker. 

Working copy of the Treskilion inlay design on our new drifter being built by Hasse and Co. at Port Townsend Sails

 Can you see us carrying the blue and white chute next to the bright red drifter (with 10ft. diameter Triskelion inlay) as a blooper? … Oh my – be still my beating heart!

… If it’s the last thing we ever do…!

Sign off
Co Cap William

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Pirates of the South Pacific!!! NOT...!!!!

OK... those of you who already know that there are no pirates... (yes, I said NO PIRATES... ) in the South Pacific, are probably wondering why I would spend time on blogging about pirates when we are going through the South Pacific (where there are NO PIRATES)...

...except perhaps, this one:

(and only on DVD and only the 1st three episodes, at that, as the 4th one is coming out this summer whilst we are on the greatest adventure of our lives - to date)!

Of course, as in any part of the world, one can always find  thieves, burglars, pickpockets and generally just bad people if one were looking for them.  But, just as for bad weather, we take precautions for avoiding bad people.  As co-cap William always says "When in a large foreign city one does not wander around alone after dark."  (Okay I forgot that rule while in Athens... sorry!).  Hence in any of the large foreign cities that we encounter in the South Pacific we promise not to wander around alone after dark. 

So... that's that!!  Oh yes, and the other question that we've been asked:  Are you taking a gun?

The answer is no!  (Shhhhhh... please don't tell all those South Pacific pirates or they'll bound to come after us!)  :-)