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Old 31-01-2010, 23:43   #1
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Challenge: Abby Sunderland vs Jessica Watson

This is not meant to be a betting place of who will best the other but I had to pick a title that was short and to the point.

But this is a thread where we can discuss and compare both camps without it being called thread drift.

So what is your thoughts on both campaigns in regard to preparation, readiness, experience or what ever is on you mind.


I will start by saying Im concerned at this point that Abby's lack of wind vane steering is a big mistake..compared to Jessica's...and if her chosen boat is incapable of being steered by a reliable off the shelf wind vane and therefor that is the reason she doesn't have one then the boat choice is a big mistake right from the get go.

I would like to hear from those knowledgeable about this and all other concerns.
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Old 01-02-2010, 07:29   #2
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Mike didn't have a wind vane either, for the same reason as Abby.




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Old 01-02-2010, 08:01   #3
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What is the reason for no windvane?
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Old 01-02-2010, 08:13   #4
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From Mike Perham Question Time

Quote:
Rod: Can you put a Monitor Windvane on the boat? So you don't have to rely on a microprocessor.


Answer: As great as it would be to steer from a windvane it simply wouldn't work on Totallymoney.com. This calibre of boat requires computers to keep them on course and stable because of the high speeds it can reach. Totallymoney.com will easily sustain speeds over 17knots and a windvane simply wouldn't be able to cope.
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Old 01-02-2010, 08:25   #5
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And, Abby's situation may be even worse. What's up with the TWO autopilots? When I first saw reference to this, I took it to mean that she had a spare. But, the boat specs and other references make it sound like she is using two active autopilots. Is this just a built-in redundant/fall back system, or does it actually require two autopilots to steer this boat?

This is a twin rudder boat and according to the boat specs on the web site, it has:

"2 Below Deck Rudder Mounted Hydraulic Auto Pilots (CourseMaster)"
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Old 01-02-2010, 08:28   #6
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I guess I'd be inclined to experiment with the vane still. While the boat can sustain 17 kts doesn't mean that's anywhere near the average speed. I've used a vane on a trimaran and it works flawlessly at 12 kts.
That being said Mike and his team were able to make the circumnavigation though with several stops for extensive repairs which I can't remember what they consisted of at the moment.
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Old 01-02-2010, 08:43   #7
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I agree about using a vane at slower speeds.

Mike's first problem was the AP. It kept glitching so he ended up in uncontrolled jibes and other unpleasant situations. He had to hand steer for way too long until they finally put in another brand of AP.

The second (and third ?) problems were the rudder bearings.

Mike's circumnavigation didn't end up being single handed or non-stop but it sure showed what an incredibly capable sailor he is.



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Old 01-02-2010, 10:26   #8
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I also think it was a mistake not to install a windvane. They could have used the relatively common modification of using a small tillerpilot for the input signal instead of the airvane. This will use a small fraction of the below deck autopilot(s) which have to turn the actual rudder(s). This setup would most likely give very adequate steering performance for well beyond 50% of her sailing time. If conditions pipe up to the point that the windvane is not working so well, then switch over to the power hungry below deck autopilots.

Finally, if/when her below deck autopilots fail, she now has a back-up steering system which should work fine - though perhaps she would need to scale back the sail area during sportier conditions.

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Old 01-02-2010, 11:42   #9
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Ok I have learned that @ 17 knots a wind vane wont keep up ( I did not know that) but there also seems to be modifications posted above by gdavids that could have been employed to make one work possibly ...if not?..IMHO she has the wrong boat for her task then ..and her campaign team made a poor decision for whatever reason...Just the risk of the complete dependence on electricity on this solo RTW attempt that is not anything like a balls to the walls professionally crewed Volvo race nor need it be..is mind boggling to me..

I hope they see the fly in the ointment..and modify the boat when she hits port the first time....I have a feeling Abby hopes so as well.

I sure would like to know what Jessica's opinion on the matter for Abby would be on this as well...I have a feeling I know already.
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Old 01-02-2010, 14:35   #10
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It's a long time since I sailed off shore, certainly it was before electric auto pilots were de rigeur.
How is Abbys( totallyand offesivelyirresponsible.com) set up going to handle sailing down wind in 60+ knots of wind?
I see Jessica was happy to do so under electric auto pilot, and was knocked down 4 times. Probably as a result IMO.
Is this the new thinking about downwind sailing at sea....go down below and trust technology.
It seems to me the difference between Abby and Jessica is that one is totally mad ,the other just a little naieve.
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Old 01-02-2010, 18:27   #11
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It differences between the two programs are pretty obvious,Jessica has assembled a very experienced crew of supporters and it shows in the preperations,the more i read about this girl the more impressed i become. Abby doesnt need a particularly fast boat for this task and if they had decided earlier to look for a lesser but seaworthy boat they may have been able to find a boat a lot earlier and had more time for prep and shakedown trips,what i would have been looking for is one of those skinny swedish boats,i think there is a Swede 41 like a smaller version of the swede 55.they are tiny boats but skinny boats go fast easily with small sail area and balance well even when over powered and a well balanced boat is easier for a vane or autopilot to steer = less amps,several of these type of boat have shown very fast passages in earlier solo races around the world. I have been very impressed with how little problems Jess is having and she seems to be having the time of her life.She seems to be collecting rainwater to keep the tanks topped up,smart.
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Old 01-02-2010, 18:48   #12
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The same thoughts re preparation and back up occured to me.
However Abbys dad is a boat builder ,as I understand it, and she seems to have had considerably more ocean sailing experience than Jessica.

Their attitude just seems to be coloured by a certain modern world view to me...money, faster, technology, wizz bang, razzle dazzle, which sits uncomfortably with sailing a small boat around the world to my old bones.

I agree the choice of yacht ,compared to Jesses very reliable S+S 34, seems cavalier, but Abby says that she's sure that" the Lord" provided the yacht so...I guess ,who was she to argue!!
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Old 01-02-2010, 20:08   #13
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infiniteblue - I am interested in your comment (and what appears to be a widespread perception) that Abby has considerably more ocean sailing experience than Jessica. Have you seen any evidence of this in the "public record" or is it from comment originating from Abby's web site? I can not find any older blog entries on Abby's site that actually detail any ocean sailing experience prior to the start of this campaign. Do you have any links for "third party" reporting of her prior ocean sailing experience or reported quotes from third parties of the following type which I found for Jessica ? Bow 2 Stern - Queensland's Free Boating Publication - Youngest sailor to circumnavigate
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Old 01-02-2010, 22:09   #14
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Thanks for the response. Actually I think that is an impression that I've gained from Abbys team and web presence.

Everthing else about her approach to the voyage makes me quite uneasy so I suspect I was hoping that she had a bit of relevant experience. How much you can expect to have at 16 is problematic really, and while I'm uncertain about Jesses storm tactics everything else seems to have been designed along pretty conservative lines.
I'd certainly prefer to be sending my daughter out in a S+S 34 rather than 'Wild Eyes', even if ' the Lord' has provided it for Abby
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Old 01-02-2010, 22:30   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by infiniteblue View Post
The same thoughts re preparation and back up occured to me.
However Abbys dad is a boat builder ,as I understand it, and she seems to have had considerably more ocean sailing experience than Jessica.

Their attitude just seems to be coloured by a certain modern world view to me...money, faster, technology, wizz bang, razzle dazzle, which sits uncomfortably with sailing a small boat around the world to my old bones.

I agree the choice of yacht ,compared to Jesses very reliable S+S 34, seems cavalier, but Abby says that she's sure that" the Lord" provided the yacht so...I guess ,who was she to argue!!
How does his sailing resume stack up against the likes of Don Mcintyre,Jesse Martin and David Dicks etc on Jessicas team,not too good id say
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