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Old 11-07-2007, 14:24   #1
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And Aw a-a-a-a-a-y-y we go!

Well, it's been a very long time coming, but the rehab, repairs and refit are finished on Flying Pig. Those interested in the gory details are encouraged to go to the log sites, the photo galleries, and perhaps prior emails, but it suffices to say that we've come from a wreck to a gem.

New hardware, fittings and other niceties following the structural and hull repairs make our seatrialed vessel seaworthy, comfortable and otherwise a joy to be aboard. Despite the blistering hot temps here, we've survived with fans and a night-time shower. Unfortunately for us in those areas where we may be shortly, if it's 95 out, the fan we have in the aft cabin, where we sleep, won't be used, as it's 110V, and a high drain on our electrical system.

That said, we do have household current aboard, and will use it to charge our computers, power some of our internet and entertainment stuff, and, even (luxuries are found, even aboard), grind our coffee in the morning, saving me the 75 strokes on the manual grinder I had used for about a year, until we were given a very high quality electric unit which not only does a great job in grinding, but is so quick as to be nearly meaningless in load on our batteries which supply the unit which translates 12V to 110V.

I'll spare you the details on what we have done, but it's enough to say that it's been staggering, and regularly, on the telling of the umpteen acquaintances we've made as a result of our notoriety, goggled and jaw-dropped over and about both the amount and speed of our recovery. In the meantime, lots of new stuff (replacing old) was added, so we should be very good to go for a long time, ordinary maintenance aside.

A few days ago, we passed along (to a fellow cruiser) the vehicle which had, right after our wreck been given us by another cruiser, and, as I type this, will return the rental we had, later today. As always with departures, there are last minute runnings-around to attend to, but they're minor and will be accomplished quickly.

We've acquired so many new and helpful friends that it's difficult to try to enumerate them, but the significant ones of the moment are Erkki Taada and Phillip Savill.

Erkki used to build satellites for the Canadian government, and had a payload on one of the shuttles, among other things. Thus, he's pretty good at electronics, and has been working tirelessly to get us up and running in areas we've not yet had success in achieving. He's also very fully equipped, or has friends who are, where he's not, as a machinist and other very useful skills, and has helped immensely in the accomplishment of many mechanical areas.

Phillip is an accomplished power boat captain and master fisherman (delete questionable joke about baiting skills) who just happens to also be a master craftsman in wood, having built his own boat to look like a victorian salon inside, and having done many restorations of Tampa historic buildings. In the meantime, he used to build boats for a living, so knows more than enough to have been very valuable in many other areas aboard.

These two are joining us in our initial leg. We'll anchor overnight at Egmont Key, the location of our recent sea trials overnight stays, and head out at first light direct to Key West (nearly a straight shot south), going around there and continuing direct to Fort Lauderdale. In FTL we'll stop at the Seven Seas Cruising Association offices for more charts, attend to any issues which have arisen in our dash (anticipated time minimum 3, more likely 5-6, days from our expected Thursday AM departure) there, fuel and water the boat, and head out again.

From there we'll jump into the Gulf Stream, gaining 2-4 knots (half again our boat speed, perhaps), and barring any oddities in distress or weather, not get off until we either get to the NYC area, or, if it's *really* fast, perhaps even Cumberland/Portland Maine. The Gulf Stream, in opposing wind directions, is really nasty. However, this time of year, that's a very minimal percentage of the time, and the prevailing winds are favorable for a very fast passage.

The more time we spend aboard, and the more time spent sailing her, the better we love Flying Pig. We'll be out of touch by both internet and phone for the periods of our being at sea, but we're hopeful of being able to do radio-based email in the short-term future. Whether we get it done before we leave FTL is subject to reality, but when we have it, we'll identify how to find us that way, too.

We've just had a mini-storm here, washing the decks which are currently in total disarray, as we've not yet stowed all that we took off in our rehab. We also are currently (as I type this) without internet connection, so I'm hopeful I'm able to get it out before we actually leave. If you see this on Wednesday, July 11, you'll know I succeeded :{))

Finally, though I know you've heard it many times before, endless thanks to all who have lent support, work, love, aid and otherwise helped us turn our wreck around into something more positive than we can effectively communicate. We're very blessed, and continue to pay it forward. Obviously, what goes around comes around.

Stay tuned for further developments. As we regain connectivity, we'll post new pix in the new gallery "Away We Go - - AGAIN" in the Flying Pig is Aloft gallery - the first one in the link below.

L8R

Love from Skip and Lydia

Morgan 461 #2
SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
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"You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it come true. You may have to work for it however."
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Old 11-07-2007, 14:40   #2
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Thumbs up Good on ya . . .

Congratulations! I'm sure it's been an ordeal that you sometimes must have thought would never end. Your positive attitude comes through strongly in your posts, and I applaud you both for keeping your chins up.

Bon Voyage!

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Old 11-07-2007, 17:08   #3
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Originally Posted by skipgundlach
f it's *really* fast, perhaps even Cumberland/Portland Maine.
All differences aside, good work putting the boat back together.

See you when you make it up here.
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Old 11-07-2007, 19:31   #4
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Hi, Sean,

You're on Northern LIS?

We don't anticipate getting there this trip (unless, perhaps, we get to NYC very early and don't go north, in which case we might visit the sound), but there's some possibilities that we'll do the East Coast again, due to our short time this time around.

Stay well, and keep those battens in :{))

L8R

Skip

Morgan 461 #2
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See our galleries at Web-Folio -- Your Portfolio on the Web !
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"You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it
come true. You may have to work for it however."
(and)
"There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands.
You seek problems because you need their gifts."
(Richard Bach, in The Reluctant Messiah)
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Old 12-07-2007, 16:46   #5
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Congratulations Lidia and Skip. You have given shown us something very worthwhile.
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Old 12-07-2007, 16:59   #6
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Quote:
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Hi, Sean,

You're on Northern LIS?
Nope... we're North. See you in Portland.
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Old 12-07-2007, 17:38   #7
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all yhe best you have beeen inspiring
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Old 12-07-2007, 17:39   #8
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sorry for the spelling i`m not drunk but i think my computer is
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Old 13-07-2007, 01:48   #9
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Okay allready,

Skip,Lydia,GO,Get wet.I'm jealous,have fun and stay safe.And don't forget to send some pic's.Mudnut.
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Old 20-07-2007, 11:28   #10
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4PM Friday, July 13th - a great Friday the 13th it is, too!

We left our slip at about 10:30 yesterday and went up the creek to fuel. I'd
estimated we'd take 50 gallons, but it was only 48, instead. We executed a
close-quarters turnaround, and headed out on the rest of our lives -
again! - at a little after 11AM.

The wind was right on our nose heading south, so we motored our way under
the Skyway Bridge, perhaps for the last time. A few squalls caused multiple
openings and closings of our hatches and ports, in blistering St. Pete
summer with 95 degree heat.

Once under the bridge, we set sail on a perfect close reach, and once past
the shallows at the end of the Southwest Channel, headed direct to Key West
on a lovely beam reach. We set all the sails (well, the genny, the staysail
and the main - we'd been told that there would be more wind than would make
the spinnaker prudent) and pulled confidently forward in all of 5 knots of
wind, making about 5 knots.

Unfortunately for us, the wind was light, then died altogether, so we pulled
in the furling genny and motored slowly at about 4 knots with the staysail
and main pulled blade tight to minimize rolling. In truth, though, the
entire night and most of the next day was nearly flat water. We slowed the
boat down in order to not arrive in Key West before daylight, and as I
write, we're again at 4 knots, which will put us at a fishing spot right at
dawn.

We set up our watch schedules as 8 on/ 8 off, with a pair splitting each 8
hour shift. So far, that has worked very well, indeed. We were all up and at
'em in the beginning, of course, so we didn't start our shifts for the first
few hours. Lydia went immediately for a nap, having stayed up until 3:30,
again, so, needed the rest. Phil and she took the first watch at 4, and
Erkki and I puttered around with electronics and took naps, coming back on
duty at midnight in relief. After a wonderful breakfast of French toast and
eggs, he and I were entertained by not only the Milky Way, but also light
shows of lightning off in the distance, and even a few meteorites blazing
across the sky.

As I write, I'm waiting for the third of the satellite passes which are
giving us real-time pictures of the weather around us - for thousands of
miles. The most recent showed us the Gulf of Mexico and west of Central
America as well as down to about Guatemala and north about to Arkansas. The
next one showed us the Atlantic at about the same latitudes as the first,
nearly out to the western coast of Africa. When the satellite goes directly
over us, in about another half-hour, we get a view of an area from well into
South America and up to Hudson Bay. Overall, we have real-time information
on weather.

Last night, we got our first real test of the SSB - Single Side Band High
Frequency radio. I participated in the Mobile Maritime Net - the only boat
to check in, with the others being mobile (auto or truck mounted) or fixed,
land-based stations. We had been very concerned over our apparent inability
to communicate over our radio, but it turned out to be a hazard of marina
life - metal buildings, metal roofs, and a forest of masts. While we could
not hear the control (the guy who directs traffic, so to speak), I was
getting through loud and clear.

Today we started fishing in earnest. We put out our trolls, and quickly
caught a Bonita (sort of like a tuna, but extremely bloody - we cut him up
for bait for when we're in the Gulf Stream), two barracuda (which we tossed
back), and then a mackerel. A lovely fish, we filleted him immediately,
hoping to catch another for dinner.

In between, we believe we must have attracted a shark, as not only was the
lure gone, but the leader was much abraded quite a bit up the line from the
lure. Ever optimistic, we set again (all this while doodling along at about
4 knots). Interrupting the electronics project we had, as well as just as we
were going to stop the boat and take a swim, a very large fish hit our port
side line. After long time of reeling, as she'd pulled off a lot of line
before we got to the rod, we successfully boated a 48" king mackerel. I said
she because there was also a huge egg sac. We decided we'd better put away
the rods for a while, as we have something on the order of 20 pounds of fish
from that single catch. We've just finished a huge meal, immediately roasted
on the grill, which was more than awesome, not to mention filling. There's
still a gargantuan amount of fish left from the first half, which is all we
had room to cook. The second half is being saved for other delicacies -
sushi, sashimi, ceviche, a salad, and sandwiches, among others.

In 77 feet of water currently, the color is stunning, and while we can't see
(or, at least, know what we're seeing) the bottom, crystal clear. Our
delayed swim was tempered by the reality of sharks, so we waited until we'd
moved well away from the area over which we cleaned the King Mackerel. No
sharks showed up for the remains we were throwing over, but there was a
small crab which stood by and then latched on to one of the smaller bits,
immediately heading into deeper water. It was amusing to see him swim
sideways to keep up with the drifting boat until we tossed over his treat.
Once clear of the area, we put the boat into a hard turn, so that its motion
would be minimized, and jumped in, hanging on to mooring lines we'd put in
the water to wash. While the water was very warm, it was still refreshing,
and we took advantage of our stop to do a "Joy Shower" - Joy dish detergent
makes a great salt-water wash. So, we stood on the platform one at a time -
it's not that large! - and jumped in to rinse off. After getting off the
soap, we climbed out for our fresh water rinse with the shower on the stern.

That platform got a lot of work today, cleaning three fish, and washing down
with the pressure-fed salt-water washdown on the stern (with Joy, of
course!), so it looks great. We have taken to doing our entire exterior teak
with the lightest grade of olive oil available, so we thought we'd do the
platform as well. However, if this pattern continues, there won't be any way
we'll have any olive oil left on it! Our exterior teak looks marvelous doing
this - and there's no sanding, either!

Well, I'm now on watch, so I'll stop here. More to follow.







L8R

Skip

Morgan 461 #2
SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
See our galleries at Web-Folio -- Your Portfolio on the Web !
Follow us at Flying Pig Log | Google Groups and/or
TheFlyingPigLog : Morgan 461 Hull #2, Flying Pig

"You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it
come true. You may have to work for it however."
(and)
"There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands.
You seek problems because you need their gifts."
(Richard Bach, in The Reluctant Messiah)
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Old 20-07-2007, 21:27   #11
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July 15th - Oops - we missed Ft. Lauderdale

July 15th - Oops - we missed Ft. Lauderdale

Erkki and I had the dawn patrol today. Our shift included looking at lots of
shipping, as well as distant thunderstorms, on our radar, as we tracked the
Gulf Stream in search of a lift north. All the light shows resulted in
nothing, however, as they were too far away to affect us. One (additional -
after all the rest so far) problem which surfaced early on, however, was
that apparently our mast-top navigation light has no red light. That means
vessels approaching us from our port side can't see us. That's meant that we
have to run our deck level navigation lights, as well as our masthead, or
steaming, lights. As those lights are of the heat-generating type, they use
a lot of electricity. So, we'll have to attend to that rather quickly, as we
won't want to run our deck level lights any more than necessary - not to
mention that the mast-top light is new, and high-tech, so we want to get it
replaced immediately.

Fortunately for this set of circumstances, however, the wind continues to be
nonexistent - or so low as to require running the engine. Running the engine
generates more electricity than we use, so it's been ok about the lights. As
I write this, we're again under motor, with sails furled other than the
main, which is up to minimize rolling in the light waves which are present
tonight.

Earlier today, the wind was entirely dead, starting shortly after first
light. As sunlight is the biggest age component of sails, we stowed them
all, and motored on. Fortunately, the Gulf Stream added speed to our
travels, as expected, and we continued to make good time with light use of
the "Iron Genny" - so nicknamed for replacing the genoa (the big sail up
front) - similar to the "Iron Horse" of pioneer times.

However, it was so hot that we also took a swim and bath break around noon.
It was very refreshing, and lowered our body temperatures, despite the Gulf
Stream being in the upper 80s. We renewed our vigor and continued to motor.
As I was off shift, I went down to nap, again, and when I came up, the wind
had picked up to a wonderful 4 knots, in a direction suitable for putting
out the spinnaker. So, of course, we did.

Another phantasmagorical sail under that marvelous piece of rainbow cloth.
We were making 5 and 6 knots in the water, but with the Gulf Stream lift, we
were making 9 or more knots over ground. We'd been making such good time
since we entered the stream that we took a meeting and the crew decided we'd
go to Daytona Beach, instead. There, it will take less time to drive home,
and, as a bonus, there may be a ride available from one of Erkki's friends.
As I write, we're off North Palm Beach, making over 8 knots with a 4 knot
lift from the Gulf Stream. As it's such a boost, even though it goes
offshore rather much by the time we get to Daytona Beach, we'll ride it
until nearly 30 miles to go, then triangulate into the entry. This will
duplicate the entry I made all these years ago, on our proving cruise with
my second ex-wife's father. He'd been taking on crew as he did a
single-handed circumnavigation, and we were one of the last legs; it's what
convinced Lydia that it's what she wanted to do for the rest of our lives.

Tonight on the SSB was better, in that I could hear the traffic, and, while
the control in mid-Florida couldn't hear me, a guy in Texas could, and
relayed our information for us. We're now in the winlink.com tracking
section, so those interested could go to the web site and look for our call
sign, seen in the sig line, but KI4MPC (Kilo India Four Mike Poppa Charlie).
However, this time around also exposed a weakness, said to be a well known
difficulty in our particular radio. At high power, we get voice clipping.
Practically speaking, that means people can hear us but not understand us.
The good news is that it amounts to a product defect, and should be remedied
at no cost - albeit not only a delay, and probably at least the shipping
costs to return it to the factory or some authorized service center.

So, there are some things we'd like to get repaired or corrected, as soon as
possible. If there's a service center in Daytona Beach, it's worth spending
some time there to have that defect remedied. Of course, if there are
service centers, likely NYC would have one, which would be OK, too, as we at
least are able to check in with the Mobile Maritime Net. Likewise, if my
supplier can send me a replacement mast light overnight, I could get that
installed while we're in Daytona. Given the level of security that
represents in shipping lanes, that's a high priority. Fortunately for the
nuisance factor, there are also several other things I need to do up the
mast, so I can attend to them at the same time.

Overall, we're doing much better than hoped, and the breakages and
difficulties are part and parcel of cruising. The saying goes that "Cruising
is boat repair in exotic locations!" I'm not certain how exotic Daytona
Beach, and New York City environs is, but at least it fits with the usual
epectations of having to fix something after every voyage. Fortunately for
us, those things so far are minimal.

Erkki and I have the midnight shift tonight (ends at midnight) so I should
get another full night's sleep, and be ready to go at it again. So far, so
good, and we're thrilled to find that it's meeting our expectations.

L8R

Skip

Morgan 461 #2
SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
See our galleries at Web-Folio -- Your Portfolio on the Web !
Follow us at Flying Pig Log | Google Groups and/or
TheFlyingPigLog : Morgan 461 Hull #2, Flying Pig

"You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it
come true. You may have to work for it however."
(and)
"There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands.
You seek problems because you need their gifts."
(Richard Bach, in The Reluctant Messiah)
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Old 21-07-2007, 09:09   #12
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Saturday, July 14. Happy Bastille Day!

My apologies for the out-of-sequence posting. I was totally blasted from
the heat and sleep deprivation (why that was in later posts). The last one
will make more sense after this:

Saturday, July 14. Happy Bastille Day!

Last night was a litany of electronic difficulties. The mobile maritime net,
which, albeit with a relay, had worked so well before, this time was nearly
unintelligible to the folks on the other side. While I could hear very well,
I wasn't well heard. Tonight, I am unable to understand any of the traffic -
so I'm back to not knowing whether I have a problem, or it's just the nature
of the solar cycle or some other global difficulties.

Then, after we'd redone a wiring-problem installation of a depth sounder and
speed log, upgrading to being able to independently switch on the lights, we
found that the depth sounder wasn't reading the depth, and the speed log
wasn't working, either. Fast forward to the next day and the impeller (the
thing that gets pushed around by the water running by it) became loose,
again, apparently, rotating and providing electronic input to the display
unit and now we have a speed indicator that works. Another of our
instruments has the same difficulty, but I will pull it out (making a small
amount of water in the boat) and free it up. We concluded that our last week
in the marina slip,, with extremely high and low tides, as well as a case of
the red tide (which killed a lot of small fish and made for a very nasty
water environment), had gunked up our impellers so that they didn't work I
have one other minor check point to do in order to see about the depth
sounder - new right before we left! - and hope that it's a simple fix.

We're on 8-hour doubles shifts, which is to say that each pair can get an
entire 8 hours of rest. Before our expected changeover at midnight, Erkki
and I elected to let our relief sleep an extra hour, in order to allow them
more rest. After they arrived, and we had briefed them on what was happening
with our course, speed, and location, I went to bed. I got a great night's
sleep, but it wasn't so restful topsides.

Adding to our list of things to investigate or take care of is the
refrigeration. We believe that we are just stressing it immensely, with all
the constant opening and closing, insertion of warm water and newly-caught
fish, and the huge amount of heat added each time we trade out one slightly
colder bottle of water for another, newly poured, 90 degree gallon. However,
where we used to be able to easily maintain single-digit temperatures in the
freezer, and 35 degrees in the refrigerator, we're struggling to get to 20
in the freezer, and are over 50 in the reefer. Back to last night.

There were miscellaneous squalls to be avoided, but, primarily, there were
issues with each and every one of the instruments in our helm area. The
speed and depth logs mentioned earlier were already known inoperative, but
at various times overnight the chartplotter failed, the GPS integrated to
the chartplotter lost its fix (repeatedly), the other helm-mounted GPS
either wouldn't light, wouldn't acquire the satellites, or wouldn't even
come on. The speed indicator lost its light (apparently - it's connected
with the autopilot, which controls the light level), entirely. The fish
finder, which integrates speed, depth and temperature, is so old that the
display is difficult to read. Adding insult to injury, the speed portion is
the other impeller mentioned, which I will have to pull out (opening a hole
in the boat) in order to free up. Disappointingly, it's also the trip log,
so our distance traveled will have to be recorded based on the distances
between waypoints.

And, finally, the lashing securing the boom to the point of the staysail
where it attaches to the sheet (which controls how tightly it's pulled)
opened, creating momentary flogging and banging. The killer was, however,
that it required heading into the wind, in order to take the strain off the
sail, to repair it. While that job was pretty straightforward and simple,
the autopilot chose that occasion to hiccup, and the speed, autopilot,
chartplotter and GPS (both of them - the one below which controls the
autopilot, and the one at the helm) all took dumps at the same time. The end
result was lots of hand-driving to keep the boat pointed correctly while
repairing the sail, and, in the end, a lack of knowledge of where the boat
was, and how to get to where we were going, other than by compass.

While driving by compass is ok if you are confident of where you are and
where you're going, if you know neither, and are in the area of very shallow
water, as the end of that particular leg of the trip was, it gets a bit
nerve wracking. In the end, the instruments were persuaded to return to
duty, and the sailing resumed.

That's the good news - the wind had finally picked up enough to sail,
without having to run the engine. All through the night, Flying Pig
proceeded at a stately pace, timed to get us to our earlier-defined fishing
hole. Well, as might be expected under the circumstances, with all that fish
aboard, Phillip - the fisherman aboard - elected to pass on that exercise
and proceed directly into Key West's Northwest Channel.

Our trip through Key West was uneventful, if also boring (if you disregard
all the potentials for going aground!), and we set sail on a very close
reach in order to get to the Gulf Stream once in the channel. Well, wouldn't
you know, despite being able to tack from our exit directly into our track
for finding the Gulf Stream, the wind was again light, and, eventually,
died. Again, we struck the genoa (the big jib on a roller), and started the
engine.

The engine and all the related stuff has worked flawlessly - except for, you
guessed it, an instrument. The temperature gauge is flaky at best. It was an
electronic instrument I got, new in the box, at the first Seven Seas
Cruising Association convention I attended, in the Saturday morning flea
market. It's worked exactly as I'd hoped in its first few trials, but, on
this trip, it's totally unreliable. Fortunately, I have an electronic,
infrared, thermostat, and checking the engine temperatures at several
locations along the way have assured me that all is well - even though I'd
much rather receive real-time info about our coolant temperatures!

Lest you think this last day has been all bad news, last evening, before
being relieved by the others, Erkki and I were joined, as we frequently are,
by the off-watch crew (you can't sleep all the time, and nobody's seemed to
want to read all that much, either!) for conversation and dinner. Right
after dinner, we noticed a dolphin (well, a porpoise; dolphins are what we
hope to catch for dinner) jumping beside the boat. We figured he wanted to
play, and sure enough, he came alongside, did rolls and swoops, and then
raced ahead of the boat for about a minute before diving deeply. In between,
I managed to get a few good shots of him, including some of the ones where
he was looking back up at us, to see if we were watching him!

Our crew arrangements are working out marvelously. Erkki and Phillip are
great company as well as competent watch standers. As I write this, it
appears we'll make Ft. Lauderdale by mid-day tomorrow. Our entry to the Gulf
Stream was gentle and gradual. We could see the different color of the
water, but the expected temperature differential never materialized -
perhaps, because it's July, and the water all around is also very warm.
Initially we got some help with the usual slide that a sailboat does as it's
being pushed sideways by the sails. However, once we were on our course at
the edge of the Gulf Stream, we got about a knot of lift to begin with. Now
that we're fully in the stream, however, we're seeing a 3.5 knot (nautical
miles per hour) improvement in our speed. We'll stop in Ft. Lauderdale for
more charts, fuel, water, perhaps deal with some of the equipment challenges
we've found, and then head back out. If we can get a better wind, our trip
north should be a great deal faster!

Stay tuned...

L8R


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Old 22-07-2007, 06:31   #13
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July 16th - Hey!! Wasn't that Daytona Beach??

July 16th - Hey!! Wasn't that Daytona Beach??

After an extraordinarily short sail last night in very light wind, we again
gave up and fired up the Iron Genny. We continued to get a great lift from
the Gulf Stream,. 4 knots of lift, in fact, most of the time. In the times
we've had a decent wind, we're making 10 knots over ground. Lydia and
Phillip had the dawn patrol, and it was a very good one at that. Lydia's
been rather gun-shy of night watches after the wreck, but this one was very
productive. Thunderstorms and squalls were skirted after spotting on the
radar, her understanding of the operation of the chartplotter and GPS was
enhanced, and in general she felt much better about night operations.

As it was my turn off-watch, I had another good night's sleep, other than
that Erkki and I elected to allow the relief watch to sleep until 1:30, so I
got a late start. When I arose, I found that the crew had mutinied and
demanded to go to Savannah. We'd been making such great time, and the route
looked feasible, that - I think - they didn't want it to end quite so soon,
and so wanted to press on.

That sounded good to me, other than that I was concerned for our fuel and
water. Fortunately, upon investigation, we found that our smaller water tank
was the one which we had exhausted, and so the larger, nearly half again the
size of the original, was the one we were working from now. In addition,
we'd
already resolved to do salt water showers or swims, again, using the fresh
water shower at the stern, or the regular cabin showers, for (just) rinsing.
As it turns out, that won't be necessary, but it's good practice, anyway, as
Lydia and I expect to be enroute to New York in a few days, and not come off
the water except for emergency or disastrous weather.

However, there were several complications to the plan to go to Savannah,
having to do with transportation, scheduling, and others. In the end, the
problem which cinched my desire to go to Jacksonville (even though we'll
have to go to Savannah, anyway, in order to mail off our proof-of-export to
the tax people in FL) was that after detailed calculations, Erkki and I (who
very much wanted to go to Savannah) determined that we would be out of fuel
well before our arrival. On the other hand, we could comfortably make
Jacksonville, in the early morning hours, at the rate we expected to go.

In my absence (while I was asleep), the fuel tank had been sounded with a
stick they'd found. I had a chart of the tanks aboard as well as an
indicator of the depth as related to percentages of volume. The dipstick
which came with the boat had tank markings on it, and we had slightly more
than tank available. That was informative in that we could now extrapolate
our fuel usage, and how much more we had available.

In their enthusiasm for all the lift we'd obtained from the Gulf Stream, and
neglect of the impact of the fuel we'd have to burn while coming ashore from
the great distance we were out, the fact that we'd nearly certainly run out
of fuel before our arrival had escaped them. So, Erkki and I did a more
detailed analysis, and determined that we could safely - but with only a
small reserve - make Jacksonville. So, that's where we headed.

As usual, there's no wind today, so at about 5 we got ready to take our
swim. Oops. There's no wind because we're motoring in the direction of the
wind, at the same speed as the wind. Stop the boat, and there's a small
breeze. Boats tend to blow around when there's a breeze, and this was no
exception. Flying Pig is such a sailor that she doesn't want to stop. No
luck whatsoever in putting her in irons - heaving to - which makes her sidle
sideways with small jogs. So, we dumped all the sails, lay a-hull (sideways
to the waves and wind), and jumped in.

Because we headed in toward Jacksonville, we were now out of the Gulf
Stream, and the water was a few degrees colder. More, it was a very
different color - not nearly as pretty as in the Gulf Stream. However, it
was refreshing, and that was really the point. Notably, though, the wind
continued, and it was sufficient to allow us to put up the sails again. This
time, as it was nearly dead astern, we put out the spinnaker and set the
main sail in a wing-and-wing configuration. As I write this, we're making
more than 6 knots through the water, in dead silence - other than the
splashing of the waves from the bow. When the boat stands up, as it does
under spinnaker sailing (vs heeled over under standard sails), the water
flies off the bow, very impressively and entertainingly for those sitting in
the bow seat over the anchors.

Depending on our winds, we expect to be at the Jacksonville inlet shortly
before dawn. We'll make our way up the St. John's River and make
arrangements for our crew's car to go home, try to get connected to the
internet, post all the log notes and collect our email, and even more
importantly, attend to some of the repairs we need doing. It's been a great
run. We'll have done over 700 miles in about 5 days, and everyone's still
talking to each other!

My attempts to check in on the Maritime Net tonight were again frustrated.
As was the case a couple of days before, I learned that the difficulty was
some inconsiderate HAM using a digital form of communication. With thousands
of frequencies available, and this being a very long-standing net, an
experienced hobbyist (one who would use this type of communication would be
very experienced) should surely know that this frequency had a significant
purpose, and should have avoided it.

On the whole, however, if that's the only thing I can find to complain
about, I guess it's doing pretty well. I'll take another nap in a while and
then take the dawn shift with Erkki. We'll bring her home.

L8R


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Morgan 461 #2
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"You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it
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(and)
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You seek problems because you need their gifts."
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Old 22-07-2007, 06:51   #14
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July 17th - How revolting!

July 17th - How revolting!

Well, it wasn't quite an open revolt, but shocking, none the less. As usual,
the day was pretty flat and uneventful. We motored on into the still air,
sweating. Our watch rotations are working out pretty well, on our last day.
As is our practice, we've got the main up, blade tight, to minimize roll in
the swells by virtue of that great slab resisting movement by pushing the
air as it tried to flop one side to the other. The wind, however, while
apparently nonexistent, is actually a light breeze directly on our rear, at
the same speed as our progress forward.

Thus, when we stopped to swim and do our afternoon bath, the wind pushed the
boat forward from behind. We tried to heave to - make the boat stop moving
by stalling it by turning the wheel one way but the sails the other, but our
intrepid Flying Pig just kept going around in circles. Adding the genoa to
the equation didn't change matters. So, we dumped the mainsail and had a
great swim.

The wind came up as we were getting out of the water so we put up the
spinnaker, again, but this time, as it was nearly straight aft, we also put
the main sail out to do a wing-and-wing. Unfortunately, the wind was not
strong nor consistent enough, and the main interfered with the airflow over
the spinnaker. As has been common in the daylight watch hours, all hands
were on deck, and the actual watchstanders's responsibilities were not
strictly delineated. Whoever was in the cockpit tended to do whatever was
needed, whether it was their watch or not. It was thus that Phillip and I
found ourselves there, and Lydia and Erkki were sitting in the stern,
chatting, and Lydia doing some photo shoots.

By this time the winds were building and , the seas (what little there were)
were becoming a bit confused (due to the shifting winds), and it looked like
it might turn into a lovely downhill sleigh ride on spinnaker alone.
However, that meant that the main would have to be dropped. To drop the main
requires going into the wind - a maneuver which would put the spinnaker all
over the standing rigging and perhaps damage it. On the other hand, one of
the common techniques to drop a spinnaker is to "blanket" (cover, dropping
the wind) it with the main. It's a pretty simple process, but requires some
detailed steering in order to make the mainsail do its job. In the end, I
erred in not flopping the main over on the same side as the spinnaker,
which, as you will see, caused a little excitement.

Phillip and I made ready to drop the spinnaker. It's a maneuver I commonly
single hand, by taking the halyard (the line which pulls up the top of the
sail in one hand and the spinnaker in the other. However, first you have to
get the spinnaker sock down.

Under a lot of pressure (lots of wind), the sock which makes such a snap out
of dousing the spinnaker is a bit challenging to pull down. The other common
technique (if you're not racing and don't have to worry about what
direction, at what speed, you're going) is to relieve the pressure on the
sail by motoring downwind to the same speed - or as close as you can come to
it - as the wind. So, when the main, which was on the wrong side of the mast
for the purposes of our maneuver, didn't do its job, I started the engine
and began to do the downwind maneuver. See above about the sail - (!) - I
was doing a bit of steering to try to get the spinnaker blanketed.

Any change in engine state is cause for heightened attention on the part of
the crew. Combine that with full throttle operation and strange maneuvers,
and all hands jump to attention. Add to that inexperience in sailboat
terminology and anything other than the entirely flat water experience we'd
had all this time, and Erkki, jumping in to help, became concerned for our
safety when he saw Phillip struggling a bit in corralling the spinnaker
sock, which was flopping around due to the sea state. As he was trying to
help, he attempted to lower the spinnaker, but didn't understand either
which line, or how to deal with it. Compounding what was later more clearly
understood, Phillip was trying to direct him, being the guy on the foredeck.
It's a little like the blind leading the blind, as Phillip isn't an
experienced sailor (while being a very experienced mariner, on which, more,
later), so communicating what to do wasn't clear. What little I did to
attempt to assist, by identifying lines (while I was driving), it turned
out, wasn't particularly helpful to his comfort level.

Given that we were originally going to re-hoist it, Phillip and I were going
to simply lay it on deck, turn the boat around to drop the main, and then
put it back up again. However, it was getting toward dark, and one of the
general rules is that you reduce sail in the dark. If the wind were to
continue to build, it would be difficult to deal with the spinnaker in best
conditions, but perhaps dangerous in the dark. So, I made the decision to
stow it, rather than re-hoist it.

Unknown to me as I'd not been seeing it at the time, however, these
exercises had frightened Erkki, and, after it was over, he'd communicated
the negative impact of that experience, without the root cause, to the
others. He didn't understand what was happening, what the purposes were,
and, worse, stepped into a maneuver already in progress, where we didn't
have the time to make explanations. Not surprisingly, that led to something
other than an enjoyable experience. Add attempting to take confusing
direction from more than one source (Phillip and me, on opposite ends of
the boat from him). Add the elements of fear, and you have the reasons most
people leave sailing if they aren't incapacitated in some way, or have
responsibilities which force them elsewhere. Not only isn't it fun,
sometimes it can be dangerous. That it wasn't, at all, dangerous, wasn't
evident without the background of what was happening. Of course, I had not
seen any of this, and aside from the comments received by the others, was
totally unaware of his discomfort.

So, he was very ready to get off the boat. Revolt #1. Our dawn patrol watch
together was very good, and our discussions helped him understand how we got
to the point he'd gotten involved as well as that, while "exciting" (not
really, but not dull), not any more dangerous than walking around on a
moving boat can be, regardless of what 's happening at the time. However...

We're now into the next day, and have pulled into Jacksonville. On the way
in, before the shift change, I'd called around and learned about where to
fuel, arranged rental car transport for us in the afternoon and for Erkki
and Phillip to get home, and a place to tie up while we did some running
around (see below).

You'll recall that our electronics haven't been behaving all that well.
Erkki, being an extremely high-level electronics designer, and Phillip,
being an extremely high-level mariner, have not been happy with the state of
our electrical system. That's not to say that I am, but I'm a bit more
fault-tolerant, as that's just the way it is with older gear. Lydia, on the
other hand, has an extremely low tolerance for anything which involves
waiting (Lord, Give me patience - but I want it right now!), including,
perhaps, a warmup period for our radar, or effort, such as touching an older
piece of gear which was designed to require manual activation for a light,
auto-dark after a few seconds to preserve battery life. Thus, revolt #2.
Well, mutiny might be a better word. This is already too long, so I won't go
into technical detail, but it suffices to say that our electrical system,
from the stuff already aboard, to much of the newer gear added (including
the new and expensive radar) was either poorly installed, simply doesn't
work properly, or, worse, or perhaps in addition, has underlying issues
which were supposedd to have been resolved as we went but have gotten worse,
instead. Easily said from the outside, the consensus was that "something"
must be done, and worse, it was fatally dangerous not to resolve this before
making another move more than 5 miles from shore.

While I don't agree (people have singlehanded safely and successfully
without even the charts and other backups we have aboard which are not
high-tech), I did agree that we had a problem. So, after fueling and moving
the boat to where the Jacksonville Marine folks had so kindly allowed us to
park for a while, and picking up our car, we went
to lunch and hashed (pardon the expression) out our difficulties, first
attempting to identify the problem, and then possible solutions. It was
agreed that we'd do some diagnostic instrument shopping and return to the
boat for some inspection.

Again shortening the story, the best that can be said is that the
installations of electrical (including electronics) gear have not been tidy,
professionally standard, or, in some cases, complete. Compounding the
difficulties is that there are transients, dropouts, spikes and other
irregularities in the supply of electricity to our electronics. Thus, it is
impossible to properly assign blame to the instruments until those gremlins
are slain. At that point we can determine whether any given instrument is at
fault, or if those gremlins were causing the difficulties. Unfortunately,
that's a massive job. Whether we park ourselves somewhere for a couple of
weeks and hope that the next one who has his hands inside all the electrical
areas does it better than the previous several, or I do it myself, we've not
yet decided. Stay tuned.We hugged and grinned and said our good-byes and
otherwise sent our crew off in my rental car for their trip home.

Finally, as we were about to go to bed, it was evident that the refrigerator
and freezer were not making cold sufficiently. Investigation proved that it
wasn't making cold at all. Troubleshooting revealed that it was in
protective shutdown due to inadequate voltage. How revolting.

So, we have our work cut out for us. More later.

L8R


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Old 22-07-2007, 21:57   #15
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July 18th - Oh, Savannah! Re: And Aw a-a-a-a-a-y-y we go!

July 18th - Oh, Savannah!

Oh, Savannah, oh, don't you cry for me. For I've gone to go to Charleston,
the techie for to see!

We headed out the channel at 7:30, and turned the corner for Savannah. The
breeze was light, so we - again! - motored toward our destination of
Savannah at 23 degrees. As I was already very up and awake (see below) I
took the first watch and Lydia went back below to sleep. Soon, the wind
moved around a bit so I could put up the sails. There was a trawler in front
of me that caused some concern, as I'd have to change direction so that I'd
be in front of him. However, as I proceeded to put up the main under idling
autopilot, I saw that he was anchored. No problems! Even better, as I came
around on my port tack, and passed him, I saw what must have been 25
porpoises milling around the boat. Perhaps the shrimpers threw off by-catch,
attracting them, or maybe
the porpoises just wanted to show off, but they were all around the boat,
and their
blowing as they surfaced was clearly visible from the half mile away or so
that I was. Perhaps, one day at anchor, we'll be fortunate enough to have
our boat surrounded by porpoises, too!

The wind was still low enough that I motorsailed, but at least it was in a
position to do some good to our speed. Whenever the sails are useful for
sailing, they also stiffen the boat, so the ride was very comfortable. By
the time Lydia returned, just before our new, 4-hour shift change, the wind
had moderated, but still was providing some lift. I suggested that we
continue to motorsail at a relatively high rpm in order to fully charge our
batteries in case we found some wind and wanted to turn it off.

Of course, I reviewed where we were, and identified the various vessels in
the area. Three of them were warships - a submarine in the middle of what
may have been supply ships, as they didn't look like fighting craft. As we
were moving out of the area of our chartbook of the East Coast of Florida, I
went to the back of the book where there was a larger scale chart. Imagine
my surprise when I saw that Charleston was actually very close to Savannah,
in relative terms, Better yet, the coastline was curving so that we would
have relatively even less extra to go there. As our kids were not able to
come to Savannah, we quickly agreed that Charleston it was.

There is an overriding reason to hurry to Charleston, as well. It's where
the guy I know from the internet - the one who got me started down the road
to ship's internet connectivity - who loves to work on boat electronics, and
is component-level qualified, making his living as a theater and church
electronic organ repair professional. While he can't leave Charleston, if I
bring the boat to him...

Before we went to bed last night, I troubleshot the refrigerator to being a
low-voltage problem. We'd not had what I thought was low voltage, but
apparently the computer which controls the refrigerator does. Once we ran
the engine, and the sun came out, we quickly recharged our (rather large)
battery bank to "full", and the refrigerator continued to run until we shut
off the engine.

Once again, it stopped cooling, and the freezer and refrigerator temps rose,
even though the battery monitor shows "full." I'll have to run the engine
again, apparently, to raise the voltage. We need to resolve this quickly, as
it's crucial to our ability to live long term without shopping continuously.

Meanwhile, we'd been referred to an anchoring spot up the river as we were
leaving our kind hosts' dock. It proved to be nearly impossible (it was, for
us) to get a hook into what sounded and felt like hard rock and pebbles over
it. At least we got a polished anchor from the experience!

We looked at the charts of the river and moved much closer to the inlet.
That proved to be excellent holding, and while disconcerting to find
ourselves so close to shore if the wind and current were just right, it
never got shallower than 12 feet, and was mostly closer to 20. Two tidal
shifts later, we'd slept soundly and woke to head out again.

So, as I write, we're on a starboard tack, the wind having shifted nearly
opposite to what it was when we started, and it's picked up a bit, too.
We're
moving right along on a broad reach, with an easy and comfortable motion. In
the meantime, I've pulled the two most recent satellite pictures, with
another due in an hour or so. The most recent (last and upcoming) show the
area where we are, but also from Savannah out to past Mexico City, and from
Hudson Bay to Columbia. The next one will show from Texas to about 500 miles
from the African coast, and from Columbia and Venezuela to nearly the tip of
Greenland. This particular piece of electronic gear is very certainly a
bright spot in our otherwise mostly-frustrating electronic array.

Meanwhile, the wind has shifted, and picked up, so we're on a broad reach,
making 7 knots in 10-12 knots of wind. We just had a real treat of what
appeared to be a family of porpoises starting at the side of our boat, but
then going to the bow for about 15 minutes of fun. The little ones were
shepherded by a much larger one - don't know if it was Daddy or Mommy - but
they swam so as to look at us, as if to say, "Please, take our pictures."
So, of course, we obliged. Unfortunately, the water's not perfectly clear,
and the speed of our boat (and them, of course) made it such that there was
a lot of blur in the pictures. However, we believe we have many lovely shots
of as many as 6 together, playing under my feet as I sat on the bow seat. It
doesn't get much better than this...

My maritime net checkin was successful tonight, and we left a message for
the internet buddy who's also a ham, but only has his rig in his car, as
that's where he is most of the time. Also tonight we finished off the last
of the fish. Our master fisherman had failed to catch anything at all, let
alone something we could eat - but, boy, did we eat fish for the first 4
days! Of course, it's now our turn to become self-sufficient, so we'll have
to practice. Now, however, darkness looms, and we have to secure for unseen
circumstances, so I'll stop here. Next stop, Charleston!

L8R

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come true. You may have to work for it however."
(and)
"There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands.
You seek problems because you need their gifts."
(Richard Bach, in The Reluctant Messiah)
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