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Old 17-07-2018, 19:00   #1
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Wafting

Lately our discussions have been about Storms, but on the other end of the spectrum,
conditions when just a zephyr of air barely moves your boat and you have the option to just waft.

"Wafting", a rarely discussed treat!


Personally, I can't do it if I've got a destination.
It's like tempting the Gods or maybe just a character flaw I have.

However, if I've arrived too late at an unmarked coral entrance and the winds are very light, I am happy to waft back and forth all night, till the sun shows a clear pass.

Then, I find myself far more enveloped within the subtle movements of my dark floating world.
Perhaps similar to being put in an isolation tank....
....my mind just wanders to previously unseen corners.

When do you like to simply Waft?
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Old 17-07-2018, 19:26   #2
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Re: Wafting

If by wafting you mean just ghost along?
Pretty much never, unless Iím just wasting time, but if Iím trying to get somewhere Iíll crank the motor and go.
Only real light wind sail I have is my code zero, my white sails are pretty heavy cloth, and with any sea state to amount to much in light wind I dislike watching and hearing them collapsing all the time, I figure it canít be good on them.
But with this code zero, maybe I can sail in much lighter winds, that was sort of the point in spending the money.
I donít have much experience with it yet, and now Iím holed up about 20 miles up the St Johns river, so no sailing until likely November
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Old 17-07-2018, 20:18   #3
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Re: Wafting

I decided to not use the engine on a recent passage unless I couldn't keep going in the right general direction. I have an Aries and a Tiller Pilot for the windvane. I averaged under 4 knots sometimes under 3. As long as the boat can steer itself I think I'm good, it's so easy.
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Old 17-07-2018, 20:57   #4
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Re: Wafting

We were stranded in the doldrums when I messed up and twisted off the bleed screw after rerouting the fuel hose. There had been a storm in the southern ocean and it had sent 10 foot swells up to us but now wind. Really miserable with the 90 plus degree heat, humidity to match, water temp nearly as hot as the air temp and the boat banging and slatting at the mercy of the swells. Saw one of those net covered Japanese GLASS floats on the horizon probably about 4 miles off. Spent the entire day using every trick I could think of including sculling with the tiller/rudder to get the boat moving to capture that float. Took me most of the day but was finally about to close that short distance and haul the float in. Much to my chagrin the float wasn't glass but plastic.

In desperation made a thorough mess in the boat rummaging through every drawer, locker, storage bin and cubby but finally found a screw with the proper thread and diameter to replace the bleed screw. Bled the engine and motored for 24 hours before picking up enough wind to sail. Sometimes wonder if we still wouldn't be becalmed in the doldrums to this day if i hadn't found that bleed screw substitute.

Now, I'll try ghosting for awhile but when it starts getting even a hint of miserable turn the iron jib on.
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Old 17-07-2018, 21:29   #5
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Re: Wafting

Sigh.. I'm also guilty of using the iron sails when it gets too light. Heck I'm even guilty when I have the time to spare (short sail, lots of daylight).

However, a buddy boat of ours recently lost their motor. Damn they sailed all the way from Gaudaloupe to Grenada in short island hops. Sailing on and off anchor. They were becalmed behind a couple of the islands and spent hours and hours just bobbing.

Spending time with them made me feel a little guilty about my motor use.
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Old 17-07-2018, 21:40   #6
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Re: Wafting

Quote:
Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
Saw one of those net covered Japanese GLASS floats on the horizon probably about 4 miles off. Spent the entire day using every trick I could think of including sculling with the tiller/rudder to get the boat moving to capture that float. Took me most of the day but was finally about to close that short distance and haul the float in. Much to my chagrin the float wasn't glass but plastic.
That's like a desert mirage on the ocean!
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Old 18-07-2018, 15:32   #7
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Re: Wafting

Pelagic,

When the first little cat's paws appear on the mirror of the calm sea, then, with almost no air, one can try and get this boat moving. It doesn't matter which direction, really, she won't go fast enough to matter, really. It is about the only time I like to play the light air game, and it's better than slatting.

It may be that having an easily driven boat has a part to play in the game: you know you can ghost along, if you pay attention. And, yes, if you're somewhere prone to surprises, it does leave you out there longer, a target for mischievous weather gods.

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Old 18-07-2018, 16:12   #8
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Re: Wafting

I guess I should have used the term "drifting" instead of "wafting", but I really like that word.

In the conditions I mean, I am not trying to sail, I do protect the sails from slatting and just move and twirl with the light wind and current, killing time till daylight allows me to enter the pass.

Its rare because you also need calm conditions within the Lee of an Atol, otherwise you would be sailing back and forth for comfort.

I guess, even more rare these days because in the old days before GPS, your eta was a lot broader and if too late, you had many hours to wait.
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Old 18-07-2018, 17:15   #9
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Re: Wafting

We still jig back and forth rather than go - after sunset - into somewhere not previously visited... Where we have been, it is usually under mainsail alone, reaching back and forth, maybe as much as 5 miles off, maybe a radar check every hr. to make sure we're staying far enough off, waiting for the sun to be high enough, and the off watch to wake up, so that both of us are above decks for the actual landfall itself.

For places we already have experienced what to expect, we are content to trust the chartplotter at night. Places where the chart reflects reality accurately enough to trust it. Some of our C-maps charts are spot on, others, not.





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Old 18-07-2018, 17:26   #10
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Re: Wafting

I’m not very good at it, but after binge watching some “keep turning left” I intend to do a lot more. A top down furler will help.
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Old 18-07-2018, 17:46   #11
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Re: Wafting

We were caught central Queensland coast only a couple of miles off shore beautiful country, no other boats or any sign of civilisation the water was all glassed over and we had no where much to be. At times we had to look at the stern to see if there was any water moving passed the hulls and we moved along at between 0.00000000001kn and about 3kn for 1/2 a day. We sat across from each other on the rear sugar scoops with a drink and talked some crap.

One of those good memories that last.

Otherwise if I have somewhere to be I have no problems running an engine.
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Old 18-07-2018, 19:55   #12
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Re: Wafting

With no agenda and no deadlines we enjoy sailing, not motoring. I will admit to hating the banging/flopping of limp sails. I mostly don't care which way I'm going since I'm going nowhere fast so I'll turn to catch any and all wind I can and just 'waft' along until some real wind comes up.

3 months ago we were at Lee Stocking Island, Exuma, Bahamas and were struck by lightening. We had a buddy boat hanging with us for fun and after the strike we came to depend on them. They don't like wafting and darn it we had to start motoring. Our buddy boat wanted to help but they didn't want to wait around.

We motored quite a bit from there back to Stuart and didn't like it but certainly glad we had someone with us we could rely on. We were like Columbus, had nothing but a boat that floats, none of that nice electronic 'stuff'.

Reliance on a buddy boat cramped our wafting style! Once repairs are completed we will back to our own style.
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Old 19-07-2018, 12:05   #13
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Re: Wafting

Imagine what it would have been like a few hundred years ago on a square rigged boat when it glassed up for days, months from land, surrounded by the dodgiest crew ever.
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Old 20-07-2018, 02:33   #14
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Re: Wafting

It depends on where I am and the mood of the day.

If the passage is in the early morning past an interesting coast I'm happy to ghost along enjoying the sublime circumstances.

I also like to do it on warm nights with a full moon and have been known to have a glass of wine whilst doing so.
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