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Old 27-07-2008, 20:10   #1
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skipgundlach's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Currently on the boat, somewhere on the ocean, living the dream
Boat: Morgan 461 S/Y Flying Pig
Posts: 2,210
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Life's a beach, Part II...

Life's a beach, Part II...

We're in Fernandina Beach, on Amelia Island, having returned from
15 weeks ashore, getting ready to leave for Maine, thus the Part
II, here being where we left you last time. This was being
written in the middle of July, but as you'll see below, it's up
to date...

So, what's up in the future? Lydia returned about ten days ago,
and, assuming we're buttoned up on the remaining issues, and set
up with customized weather forecasting over the radio, plus
cooperation from the weather conditions, we'll set sail for Maine
sometime early next week. Between now and then, we'll do some
minor sea trialing, as well as get a couple of last-minute
shipments in the office.

Those reading Lydia's log know that we've been testing a unit
which will email a few people who need to know, when you push the
"OK" button, and otherwise and also give you a googlemaps view of
the track we're on. You'll be able to track us as we go; if
there's a signal, we're floating :{))
SPOT Shared Page
will take you to our most current track. Unfortunately, it only
displays the last 24 hours of activity, so you won't be able to
see a continuous track.

We'll also have the pleasure of being able to pick satellite
pictures out of the air, as the satellite goes over, through our
satellite tracking program connected to a special High Frequency
radio, connected to our computer.

This will allow us to see, as much as 1500 miles away from us,
any weather systems which might be forming. With hurricane
season upon us, we'll see the realities a long way away. When
we're full time in the Caribbean, that will be invaluable, as
we'll have to serve as our own weather forecasters.

We'll do it in one jump, assuming no weather or equipment
failure requiring us come ashore more quickly. We anticipate
getting on the Gulf Stream and taking advantage of the speed lift
it provides as much as possible. One of the programs we have for
weather is for ocean currents, so we can either avoid counter
currents, or take advantage of the lift, so we'll keep as close
to the Gulf Stream as possible, or take advantage of the
helpful - though slower - inshore currents.

Another program is one for wind speeds, and I've been tracking
our route for over a week. Winds, nearly always southwest, have
been relatively light, but never dead, nor extra stiff. Of
course, if Bertha had come ashore in any of those areas, the wind
arrows (symbols which show the velocity and direction of wind)
would have a great deal more feathers! Anway, it looks almost
like a spinnaker run for the entire trip, or at least hanging out
all the canvas for the rare (unless our speed increases the
angle, and moves it forward from the nearly-astern of the
forecasts) beam reach.

On the other hand, if there's NO wind, we'll sit and sunbathe,
and swim, and read, and otherwise relax. We want this to be a
sailing voyage, and unless there were an emergency, we want never
to turn on the engine other than arrival and departure
conveniences. So, we'll sit and marvel at mother nature.

Otherwise, we expect a 10 day best, very unlikely, to probably
more like 2-2.5 week passage. I'll use that time to study up for
the general-level Ham exam, read some of the many books we
brought, and, if the wind and sun cooperate, watch some of the
600 movies we have aboard. The wind and sun bit is that we
generate our power that way, and store it in a massive battery
bank. When the wind's blowing, and the sun's shining, we pull in
a lot of power. If there's ample battery capacity, we might
"blow" some of the stored power by running the gear needed for a

On the other hand... If it's really blowing (say, over 20
knots), our wind generator will oversupply the battery. That's
the time that all of the rechargeable items aboard are plugged
in, we get out the vaccum, and when it's over, if it's still the
same way, pop some popcorn in the mikey, and relax with a good

So, we're very much looking forward to this trip. If I'm
successful in getting it posted for me, I'll try to make regular
reports in this log mailing list, so you'll see what's happening
with our progress. The SPOT tracker is literally amazing, in
that if you visit the website, you'll see where we are every ten
minutes. If it's transmitting, it's afloat - and so are we :{))
You'll be able to see us every splash of the way.

I'll save the balance of this for just before our departure, when
we'll be able to give you definitive information about our plans
and our trip.

Lydia's done lots of other things since she arrived. We needed a
new mast boot (what keeps the water out of the boat, instead of
pouring down the hole left when the mast went through the deck),
and other deck chores done. She's made our provisions list and
will buy them just before we leave.

We're going by way of the Gulf Stream's extra lift, and then
sticking with the lesser northbound currents. About Cape Cod or
so we'll turn north and head for Maine.

A new fishfinder has lighted up our binnacle, too, in our refit,
and I cut a new plate for the NavPod in which it and the prior
items are being mounted.

So, we're doing sea trials, to make sure all the new gear is like
it should be, and that all the rest of our modifications are
standing up to actual use, tune our rig, and head out.

Our first trials were Saturday July 26, as we left on the
afternoon tide-fall at about 4:30. We could not have asked for a
better day to sail, despite NOAA's usual inaccuracy. In this
case it worked to our favor, as the wind was nearly double the
doldrums forecast.

It was a good time to test out our gear, in general. Sure enough
some, minor failures occurred - two with the sail system. First,
the shackle holding the swivel from the main sheet (the thing
which controls the angle of the boom) apparently lost its clevis
pin, and the boom crashed outward.

Fortunately, we were on an extremely close point of sail (heading
nearly into the wind), and it just luffed (flapped without
providing drive). We came into the wind, dropped the sail, and
as we did so, suffered our next failure.

The lazy jacks' (which help guide the sail to stay on top of the
boom rather than falling off to one side or the other) hoisting
line, going to about 2/3 up the mast, on the starboard side,
parted. That is, it failed. It was right at the turning block
(a pulley mounted to the mast), a point of higher wear. That was
a pretty minor problem, other than I'll have to go up the mast to
reinstall it after I've spliced it. The splice, cutting off
about 6 inches and losing another few for the splice itself, will
be before the turning block, so will not interfere with the
tightening of the jacks in the future.

However, one gets spoiled once you have lazy jacks, since the
sail is normally "corralled" instead of flopping. My cure for
that was to backwind it a bit, holding the boom out to starboard,
forcing the sail into the port lazy jacks, and "reefed" the sail
as I lowered it, which tended to pull the reef points out,
straightening the sail a bit.

Once we got it settled in, I went below and got another shackle,
installed it, and we continued with our sail. Winds were 15 knots
or better most of the time, and we tested on both sides on all
points of sail, from extremely pinched to reaches to a
wing-and-wing run, followed by a jibe to the other side's
wing-and-wing, as we came back in.

Oops. Getting dark, and the tide's in strong ebb. On comes
Perky for the last mile or so in order to not dock in the dark.
He doesn't like extended flat-out running, so he complained a
bit. Shutting him down for a couple (literally) of minutes while
I sailed on the genny alone let him catch his breath, and we
docked entirely uneventfully. The current helped hold us in
position as Lydia lassoed a cleat on the dock, snubbed it to the
bow, and I swung Flying Pig's hip into the other. We just picked
up the dock lines we'd left, put the loops over the cleats
aboard, and we were back home for the night.

The final failure was our newly installed 12V power system for
our computer peripherals, including our internet phone.
Unfortunately, the replacement we had also failed before we even
got it installed, so we're without some of the things we'd
expected, but still have internet acces when we're in range.

We'll have a couple of minor things to do tomorrow, after which
we'll head out, assuming those minor things go well. We'll post
a float plan as well.

Stay tuned; when you get the float plan, we're on the way out the



Morgan 461 #2
SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
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