Thanks for the compliment on the Catalina Video - which one did you watch - "first crossing" or "exodus"?
Exodus was shot last summer, "First" was shot two years ago, and I'd figured out a lot more by last summer - like to pole that 140 out to leward while reaching, and getting the boat to sustain 6 knots in just over 10 knots of breeze while dragging my kayak
- and that was under autopilot
- she hit 7 knots a couple of times as the breeze filled in, and was doing 6.5 steady when I hand steered, kept the helm dead neutral and grooving, and played the quartering waves properly.
That was fun.
Note the white water rafting footage off Catalina's West end. My annemometer recorded 25 knot gusts, and I was broad reaching at 5 knots, so that's 30 knots true right? Approaching gale force - but the seas dont look too bad, right? Choppy, some white-caps, but not bad....
That's because its a local effect of the island's high mountains which compress the westerlies around the tip of the island, creating strong winds over a small area as you approach the island - but because the fetch is limited, you get the short, steep chop you see in the video. The prevailing winds 10 miles off were blowing about 15 knots as the inversion layer lifted and the marine layer burned off, just like they do all summer in southern california
Note also that I dont have the f-ing mainsl up. I am motorsailing here with my 110 up and broad reaching for Emerald Cove however.
For some reason I havent quite figured out yet, giving her a little push from behind stabilizes her dramatically under such conditions - a little push, like 1/3 throttle on a 6hp outboard
- I suspect its becuase it keeps her driving just a little longer after a good surf down a wave.
The engine is not essential here, but makes the ride much more comfortable - and that IMO is the proper role of the contraption - convience and comfort - not save-your-ass-in-a-gale safety
Prudent seamanship should keep you out of gales inshore, and storm sails
are for offshore work, or getting caught with your pants down inshore.
As far as the Contessa and my buddy, look carefully at the video:
1) Is he not wearing Jesus sandals on deck?
2) Does he not look perplexexed as he tries to unfurl his headsl?
There was a lot of spray flying, and I have a rather expensive camera
, so the upwind footage is brief. I am also attempting to simultaneously helm.
In a gale, like it or not.
You try helming a small, low, wet boat upwind with fouled sails in a gale with a perplexed, ill prepared, hot tempered, skipper yelling at you everytime you take a wave over the bow wetting his Jesus sandals (contessas have very little freeboard, flat sheer, little reserve boyancy, and thus, the bow likes to submerge ocassionally.) While trying to film his antics and ranting.
The reaching footage is telling.
My buddy decided he wanted his whole 110 up in the gale with just 1 reef in the main (just like Kirchbaum's boat had when it sailed skipperless up on Venice right in front of "On the Waterfront" beer
garden where I used to get drunk and pick-up tourist chicks which was folkboat
Now, we are entering MDR from the north, and the wind is from the West, putting us on a beam reach, seas on the beam, and jacking up over the shoal waters at the harbor mouth.
And because numb-nutts has WAY TOO MUCH SAIL UP for the conditions, the boat has monsterous weather helm, and keeps trying to round-up and broach.
Look again at the video - Skipper Bonehead has the tiller yanked at a 45 degree angle to weather - and that tiller is 6 feet long. He's out of helming options if a gust hits him.
In the video I'm telling him to ease the main or he'll round-up INTO THE ROCKS, which again, I think is kinda funny - becuase its not MY boat, and anyway, I have my PLB And HHVHF in my foulies, but those rocks are covered with bird and sea lion crap, and again, I dont like talking to authorities or identifying corpses.
My buddy is fond of telling me how he "Has 10 years of experience in that boat" btw. His idea of a good sail is to forget to bring a snack, head 1/2 mile off the breakwater, heave-to, brew some tea, drink it, get hungry, and sail back, which takes all of about 1-1/2 hours.
The day in the video he hoists his full main in the harbor - again, with a gale blowing, and when I suggest he reef it down before we head out, he says "I've never reefed it" - So guess who has to reef his sail for him?
And when I go to tension the foot with the reefing line, it stretches like a rubber band - because rather than using some decent low-stretch dacron for the his slab reefing system, he sourced the cheapest Home Depot nylon he could find.
"WTF did you get this line?"
"Home Depot - it was cheap!"
This is how the day began.
The first time I sailed with him, his packing gland
or prop shaft was leaking so badly the only thing keeping it afloat was the electric bilge pump, wich was running more or less constantly - and You already know the state of the boat's electrical system
He sailed his boat up to Santa Cruz
Island like this, and anchored out and played around in "windy lane" with it in this condition too!
Balls, not brains....and he and I argue abouth this sometimes, and we are still freinds.
I've attached photos of Nomad's transom, the PVC cockpit scupper, access hatch (yes, The Bomar
OEM gasketing is bogus, and it leaks
slightly into the bilge - its on the list) the original drain hoses (yes - TOTALLY BOGUS! - they dont even cross under the cockpit, and are installed bar-tight, meaning one good wack....and they are unsupported for thier entire length, terminating at yet another piece of crappy PVC lawn irrigation plumbing
, a schedule 80 elbow
Which is NOT shown, because I didnt feel like draging the deflated dink out from under the cockpit this morning just so the haters could ridicule my poor, sweet little girl's scars from her neglect at the hands of an otherwise kind, attentive and loving father.
We all have some childhood traumas to work through I suppose.
So I'm betting one or more of "Mr. SueThe Pants Off The Guys Guys Who Rescued My Ass From My Own Stupidity"s cockpit drain hoses let go as he was running before the tempest - with his mainsl up - like an idiot.
He probably dog-eared (how exactly does one dog-ear a book on tape anyway?) St. Charlie's book, "Kawabunga's South Seas Adventure" instead of figuring out how to properly sail his Flicka - because Charlie keeps his mainsl up and strikes his jib when running before gale after gale in his lame, jingoistic, bible bouncing account of his stunt voyage / cruise circumnavigation
of most of the Pacific Ocean
north and south of 40 degrees, 1/2 of it with his poor wife, aboard his little ship.
...and somehow, Kawabungua takes care of Charlie and his wife, despite his cluelessness, and they survive thier voyage, though if you want to get talked OUT of taking a Flicka on such a voyage (it was his first - and last from what I gather- offshore cruise
aboard that boat) read his account.
- his engine fails again after he fixes it in Tahiti
, again near the ITCZ, at almost the exact same lattitude, where it first chocked to death.
- he burns up both electric tiller pilots, one a present from a fellow cruiser who felt sorry for him after he melted down his first one. Say Charlie, you think maybe you had a fault in Kawabunga's wiring
- and (get this) he even managed to bugger his Monitor
Windvanes are supposed to be as bulletproof as, well, a Flicka. Windvanes while useless under power, would have definately helped spell him at the helm in the non-stop reinforeced tradewind conditions he and his poor wife had to beat into sailing from Palmira to Hawaai, becuase (get this) he ruined the instructions, and besides, he claims he didnt understand how it worked, and doesnt understand how to read mechanical "schematics" (its not a "schematic" its an "exploded isometric" drawing, and good ones are easy to read if you have at least the IQ of a slow chimp)
A fellow cruiser in Hawaii
took a quick look at his steering
gear, fiddled with something or other (Charlie calls it a "thingamabob or watchmacallit" in his book) and immediately got his winvane working again.
This is all in his book.
I think everyone contemplating taking a Flicka or other small boat cruising should buy it too, because its a great example of how NOT to sail a small boat, as well as a guide to Dewell's poor writing skills and lunatic fringe right wing talk show political fanaticism (He devotes an entire chapter to bashing the French Polenesian people for protesting France's detonation of a nuclear bomb on (well, under anyway) one of the Eastern Touamotu atolls they claim as thier "territory" - Uh, look Frenchy, youre nation is on the other side of the planet, and you took those atolls by force from thier native inhabitants so you could exploit thier natural resources via the Copra plantations that still grid those atolls. The roads you built killed dozens of reefs
by cutting off tidal flows too.
(Go on Google earth
if you doubt this)
You wanna play with underground nuclear blasts Frenchy?
Paris has an extensive network of catacombs, why not do your testing there and see how the Parisians react?
Charlie then goes on to call the Tahitians a bunch of lazy drunkards on welfare...He's a class act - very religous too - and he makes no secret of this, thanking and praising his particular flavor of God throughout the tome.
But I digress yet again.
As far as my mast inspection
, I've been keeping an eye on it with my 10x stabilized binos since I bought the boat. All the standing rigging was replaced with new 316 (swaged terminals unfortunately) in 1999, and the boat saw little use before I purchased and began refitting her.
I went up the stick solo, with the ATN mastclimber I just bought, mainly to sort out how to use that scary thing more or less safely, with a hospital 300 yards away (no kidding) rather than out at sea in a gale - no wait I mean in force 3-
The mast and its hardware
are fine, and since climbing it is a PITA, I'm gonna sieze rings on the lower cap shouds for gying the mast so I can use my boom as a gin pole and lower it (its tabernacled, another advant....oh, nevermind
.... to replace my tricolor and run the masthead VHF
cable INSIDE the mast rather than winding it around the backstay (!) like some previous owner had done.
I'll also be installing a masthound for the new stormsl halyard. Halyard and its tail will be stowed and belayed at the shrouds, where I'm planning to add a shearpole and eventually, Lord Nelsons so me and my crew can climb to the spreaders for entering tricky lagoons, and finding nude beaches.
The stormsl will be set flying, and I'll be tacking it down with a pelican hook, hoisting it well above deck, then tensioning the luff with a screwdriver or marline spike through its turnbuckle. Then, I'll evaluate the sheeting for fairness and angle, and will probably install a new set of tracks along the inner cabin
top so I can adjust the sheet leads and thus the twist of my new 9oz tripple stiched storm orange dacron 30 square foot headsl - yes, its just 30 square feet or a little over 5'x5' square, or the size of a child's bedsheet, (yet another advantantage of a small.... eh, forget it)
If I get this right, I'll be able to shape the sail with the sheet leads and tack hook, and I special ordered over head leech cords for both stormsls so I can adjust them at the TACK while I keep a death grip with my hands, feet, thighs, and teeth on the innerforstay, rather than while catelevering myself over the lifelines like an idiot and snatching furiously at the leech cord on my working jib then cleating it in that silly plastic cleat the its going to slip out of anyway the next time I come about.
Then I'll do everything possible to avoid ever having to fly those storm sails in anger.
I'm trying to avoid "Adventures" not court them.