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.

It’s a wrap for the virtual attempt!

We are sailing under the GG bridge tomorrow! It’ll be exactly seven months at sea. Link to virtual attempt here.

There haven’t been many new developments:

  • we got the mainsail repaired (the top batten pocket had been ripped) and checked all batten cars. We discovered that the headboard card is damaged. The pin/axle connecting the two cars holding the head was bent: how is a mystery. And the mainsail cover got a lot of love too.
  • we got the gennaker repaired as the leech started to come apart.
  • we got the bottom cleaned up.
  • I did go sailing a couple of times and managed to put the flying fish spinnaker in the water. I also have concerns again about one of the hydro-generator, which made an unexpected sound at speeds above 7-8 kts.
  • we signed up for the YRA Blue water bash next weekend.
  • I’ve reached out to the WSSRC who is willing to grant me a one year extension.

It was interesting to follow Ryan Finn as he rounded Cape Horn going West.

That’s all I have for you.

Time passes …

And nothing happens. I haven’t sailed in 3+ months. I do visit CaB to take care of things such as bailing water out, charging the batteries, spinning the hydrogenerators, starting the engine, going for a motor ride; I also get the hull cleaned every 6 weeks or so. What I am doing is working as a soccer referee, making pocket change to pay for berth fees and to purchase small bits. I am also still running the virtual attempt, where we’re on our way back from rounding Cape Horn. More about that here.

In 2020, around this time, I was sailing CaB up the West Coast from San Diego, opening up to the realization of a dream. Two years ago.

I’m still not sure what I’m going to do next. Continue to work for another few years to continue to beef up retirement plans? Or stop working again and go for another attempt, the outcome of which is most likely to be the same (i.e. statistically something else will happen)? Finding a job after another long sabbatical will be very difficult. In a few years, our daughter goes to college. It’s a difficult time to make big changes like this. The status quo seems to be a wise choice but it also means living a dull life. What to do? How would I justify my choice to myself being on his death bed?

What matters more? Spend 8 months at sea isolated from everyone? Or build a retirement nest?

Happy New Year

Set goals, build plans, give life a try! Live dangerously.

As for me not much is happening with CaB staying put for the past two months. She did get a bottom clean up. And the owner of Obportus picked up on my ad on the Class 40 website. So this is ours now:

Essential NKE spare parts: compass, rudder angle sensor, anemometer.

No goals yet for 2022 …

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