Back from the yard

And voilĂ , Changabang is back from the yard with a new red bottom paint. It’s rolled on so possibly slower than the previously sprayed on. Hopefully, this Pettit Trinidad HD paint will last a little longer. I started out of Richmond under engine as the forecast called for very light winds. Certainly coming out of SF it was mostly on the nose. After a few hours, we were out of the Bay and headed South. Surprise! The wind was good in the 8-12 range and coming from about 60-70 TWA. I took me a while to get out of my motoring stupor but I hooked up the sails, hoisted them, and was happy to see us doing close to 9 kts or more! Oh, do I love the sound of Changabang planing!

Sadly, we hit a mola mola again. I looked back and it didn’t seem very happy. Being hit at 9 kts gotta hurt! There were whales but they (and I managed) to stay out of trouble. Getting close to Pillar Point, the wind died down and we motored for the last leg.

Ready to be splashed again!

While the boat was on the dry, I worked on shortening the mid-bowsprit tack to gain one inch or more of luff. I’ve also started replacing the control lines for the jib car (truly a plain low friction ring). Back home, I received the replacement ball bearing for the NKE anemometer. So I’m working to fix that. I purchased 7mm Dyneema line to replace the 6mm. I changed brand for stronger strength so even though I’ll reduce the number of lashing loops (21 to 12), I will gain a 20% safety factor. 12 loops should allow better positioning of the lashing loops on the bow fitting than the 21 loops. And that’s all for now.

Haul out

The last haul-out was before my first attempt, August/September 2020. I scheduled a haul-out and bottom paint job at Svendsen’s/Bay Marine. We sailed out of Pillar Point yesterday. It was a slow start with light wind in lumpy seas, but the wind picked up as we approached the Golden Gate. We entered through the channel as I was concerned about breakers over the sandbar. In the channel, we hit 15+ kts over GPS, which was nice.

The bottom looks fine, except for the paint peeling here and there. There are apparent marks where the posts had been positioned last time.

Not so good paint job marks.

Second haul out under my watch, no damage this time!

Work work work

For a while, I’ve been adding jobs to the list and not removing them so it was time. Yesterday and today, I addressed the Dyneema lashing keeping the headstay attached to the bow. The original rope used was Gottifredi Maffioli DSK78 Ultra 6mm, as confirmed by the rigger who put it in place. I purchased some from Seagull Sails.

I had been told that it would be a matter of a few turns on the outside shrouds turnbuckles. In the end, I did 15 turns on each vertical and 6 turns on the diagonal. When I then loaded the inner stay, there was enough slack that I was able to remove the old lashing. It then took many trials to get the lashing to the right length, and even then I’m not sure it’s just right (in other words as it was before). In fact, in the picture below one can see that some strands were cut off; it’s possible that the lashing stretched out. The measurement I took before removing it may be inaccurate.

All in all this took me 8+ hours of hard work. Today I also did a most annoying job, which was to remove the vinyl wrap on the port side of the coachroof. It was so much sun-damaged that removing it wasn’t just a matter of heating it a bit and peeling it off. It would peel off and break in many small pieces. A nightmare of a job. Now I need to remove all the adhesive residue, and maybe there’s an opportunity for a new paint layer or a few stickers to hide some paint-damaged spots.

Spring is here!

And with that, the weather improved just so that I could go sailing. The first time out was an easy sail under mainsail alone. Go out and back. For the second sail, I rigged the jib back up, sailed out, turned around, and popped the A1.5. I came back home completely wiped. I am not used to sailing anymore, having been mostly sitting for work. The third time, last Sunday, Alex joined me, and we did much of the same. The conditions were excellent with a reasonable swell and a good breeze between 10-15 kts. With the A1.5 up we did hit 12+ kts over ground thanks to nice long surfs!

I still need to solder the speedo cable to the connector and put the new NKE interface into production. I also would like to replace the control mechanism for the engine joystick. The big cost of the bottom paint is looming large over this season’s budget.

Downwind with the A1.5

Spring is almost here

And with that, I’m hoping to go for a sail soon. Over the winter I would visit the boat to check that everything was in a good state: get the rainwater out of the mainsail, charge batteries, start the engine, maybe go for a short ride in the harbor, and test the electronics. In doing so, I discovered that the NKE system needed troubleshooting as the bus was in short-circuit.

It took a while before I figured out the problem. I knew that the previous owner had flooded the forward ballast compartment, which is also where the speedo lives. I also knew that the speed readings on the NKE display would sometime look strange. A few weeks ago I finally connected the dots and opened the box where the speedo connects to the NKE bus. I discovered plenty of corrosion in the connectors. So I ordered a new interface and a new cable. The plan was to solder the new cable to the existing cable this weekend but I found out that they are different. I’ve reached out to NKE for instructions!

I’ve received a quote for a quick bottom paint: $4,000. Pfew … I ned to schedule this next.

New stuff & news

I had a mechanic service the diesel a week or so ago. There may be some follow-up work for him as the oil pressure alarm beeped today.

After much waiting, I’ve finally found an 18-foot spinnaker pole, which I can use as a whisker pole to pole out the jib when running downwind. Because of the load it will create on the mast, I had the mast beefed up and a Forespar fitting installed. Today I was able to test this setup with good success.

Toggle pin fitting

I used three lines on the pole (topping lift, foreguy, afterguy), which allows me to control the jib separately from the pole. To hoist the jib, I first fed the foot through the outboard pole end, then hoisted the jib. This worked to windward and to leeward in <10 kts. The same process in reverse is used to drop the jib.

Wing on wing!

To get the mainsail to set correctly I used a jibe preventer, which allowed me to pull the boom down and the sail away from chafing on the spreaders.

The mainsheet is eased out and the “jibe preventer” is doing the work.

No restart this year

In late August I was abruptly laid off and I considered leaving for the second attempt in October. I removed most everything from the boat and gave her a good cleaning. But then one of the companies I was interviewing for made me a good offer. I’m starting a new job in early October. I think it’ll be good as everything checks out.

All in all, maybe October 2024 will be the year, maybe with the Pacific Cup 2024 as the shake-down cruise. My adventure juices had started flowing again but it’ll be for another day.

Stocking on spare parts

Since I came back I’ve been watching for spare parts. I’ve recently acquired another Lecomble & Schmitt spare and another spare Watt & Sea generator, all used. I have hope for a spare NKE Gyropilot 2 but the price (even used) is still too much. With the Gyrpilot 3 just coming out maybe prices will drop.

Last weekend, we had good wind and made it to NOAA’s 46012 buoy. We used the water ballast, which caused the system’s usual tiny leak to re-open.

Maybe a plan for next year could be to sail in the 2023 SHTP, come back, fix/adjust things, and then leave again. It would be a good shakedown cruise but it would also age the boat and all systems another 5,000 NM. The Vendee Globe requires skippers to finish a race of about 3,500 NM. In the 2018 RdR, the IMOCA finished in 12 days and the Class 40s in 16. I could use that as my reference. The Global Solo Challenge requires a 2,000 NM qualifying passage.

Instead of sailing to Hawai’i I could go for a triangle in the South East corner of the High. Something like the picture shows below.

“High triangle”

It would be a rough passage for sure. Food for thought …

Is anything going on with CaB & PJ?

Not much. I’ve been doing small jobs such as replacing electric tapes with Rubberweld, tensioning lifelines and re-doing the netting, fixing the headboard cars’ linking pin, replacing blocks with low friction rings, and replacing some control lines. I’ve also purchased a replacement fixed mount VHF as the shielding for the fist microphone’s cable of the old one is coming apart. I’m hoping to install the new one next weekend or soon. I’ve purchased replacement parts for some of the clutches and will look into installing that here soon.

I’ve gone sailing a couple of times, to check that some of the changes I did are working, but no racing or anything like that. With summer coming I’m hoping to be able to dedicate more time to sailing.

That’s all for now.

Virtual attempt recap

After 7 months of mostly diligently plotting a course using PredictWind forecast/routing, we’ve completed a virtual circumnavigation.

Sailing virtually …

This was 27,692 NM for 212 days at an average speed of 5.44 kts. That’s not much better than Bill Hatfield who took 252 days.

From what I recall, there were really two difficult sections: the first doldrums crossing had a lot of thunderstorm activity, and rounding Cape Horn is very much a wild card.

As a key lesson learned, it is essential to leave with 8 months of food!

That’s it for this virtual attempt. Maybe I’ll do it again next September.

Link to the track file here.

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