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Carlita's new adventure

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Looks like Graham's windex is his primary navigation instrument!  Looking the wind field doesn't look like it is giving him a lot of help. 

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Will Graham go out into open waters now? What is the weather like? Would he make more ground speed in open water? I would love to visit that part of the world - in a small yacht of course :) 

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The farther south he gets the warmer and nicer it will be on the outside. Lower temp and contrary wind of course have kept him in the waterway thus far. He has no plans to go outside but I'm sure he is watching the winds and temp closely to see if he has a bout of fair wind and calm seas that he could do a longer run and make use of that windvane. 

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Graham reported very strong headwinds this AM and he just ran out of his 2 gal of fuel. He's still about 2 miles from a bridge where he could turn more west and south but at the moment he's riding out the strongest of the NW wind at anchor wishing he had gone a couple extra miles yesterday which would have put him over the hump and into the South Edisto River. "Too much wind to carry sail right now" and 

"Taking spray over the deck this morning while at anchor" he reported. I guess there wasn't much protection where he anchored. 

 

The current windytv forecast for his location shows gusts to 42knots dead on the nose. Not letting up much till this evening. 

https://www.windytv.com/32.631/-80.297?32.605,-80.283,12

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This just in, Graham has had a setback. 

 

While motoring, the drag link that connects his windvane to the auxiliary rudder must have vibrated off and was lost. He has materials on board to effect a temporary replacement and get it working. But...he fears that having lost yesterday, he is very close to simply not having enough time to make it to the start line and does not want to flog his poor little outboard to death. 

 

Yesterday Graham found himself at anchor unable to make progress under sail due to extremely high winds. He was also high and dry at low tide during the latter half of the day which left him stranded from even trying. UUgh!

 

Today he had decided to sail to a boat ramp about 2 miles away to the west and ride his folding bike (or bum a ride) to the gas station about 2.5 miles down the road. There he can refill on gas. 

 

He is leaning toward stopping his trip and chocking it up to excellent field testing of the boat and returning home to make replacements for the wind vane and it would also give him time to finish sewing his spray dodger which he says he now has some great ideas for. 

 

No matter what he decides to do, he can of course still sail his boat back home from the Everglades Challenge. 

 

More when I have it.

 

 

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This just in. An update from Graham.

 

Graham reported that he has completed his field testing of the boat and saw no reason to continue sailing south.

 

Well....ok actually he decided that he could do the most good by stopping his trip south in the bitter cold and headwinds and return to the shop to replace the lost part of the wind-vane (and fix it so it can't vibrate loose again) and also finish sewing his spray dodger. Thus far, Graham's trip has been the most extensive testing of a B&B race boat prior to the Everglades Challenge. Well done I say!

 

His Track did not show up today but his current location is back in the vacinity of the Linehouse Landing Boatramp where his picture was taken on wed. 

https://goo.gl/maps/bJAM6KuC4ZJ2

 

He has already made plans for hauling the boat and returning to Vandemere tomorrow. 

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Good for Graham.  Good for going, good for learning all he did, good for going home to build on all that and get ready for the race.  It's been great traveling along.

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My Dad, who was in the Merchant Marine in WWII on the Murmansk run, used to say that the most dangerous thing aboard a sailboat is a schedule. (a U-boat might miss, but a schedule will torpedo you every time)

Graham is doing the right thing.

Can't wait to see his spray dodger- might turn out to be his secret weapon in the EC

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Staying at the tiller in a small boat hour after hour, day after day, motoring slowly along is a laborious task. Not fun. Add a deadline to that and it is a drudge.

 

In boating, it is much better to have a destination than a deadline. 

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Alex has made a point often unseen by those not involved in accident investigations. I've been involved with a bunch over the years in one capacity or other and the most common reason an incident occurs, is a skipper trying to meet a schedule. The push out into weather they shouldn't, because they need to be someplace at a particular time and the weather isn't cooperating, but they go anyway. Some try to out run a system, for the same reasons, not wanting to lay off for a half day, waiting for it to pass, etc., etc., etc. Compliance and overconfidence are big players too. We lost the Bounty replica to these reasons recently. Mix this into a tight schedule and the sea floor is littered with the results. An experienced skipper can recognize this and makes an appropriate decision, but you do need to have considerable time, farther from shore than you can swim back to.

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Par is absolutely right. I have lived in this area and have observed the weather for a long time and have a great deal of respect for it. I was not prepared to go out into the Atlantic at this time of the year without a good forecast. The systems came thick and fast, when the weather was good it was from the south west, on the nose. Back in 2000 I sailed a 32’ sloop to Cuba in February and jumped out at Cape Fear and sailed straight to Ft. Lauderdale. The second night was squally and nasty but otherwise it was a good quick passage.

 

I made good 205 miles in 7 ½ days including the weather hold on the last day. This put me behind schedule. I was tidying up the boat while waiting for the weather and noticed the missing connecting rod and swivel. I searched the boat for a couple of hours with no luck. Talking it over with Alan and Carla it was decided that it would be far more productive to come home and make a new part and use the rest of the time before driving down the Florida to finish some of the jobs that I did not finish. I also had time to observe my stowage needs and I will work on them.

 

I had a grand adventure and Carlita did a great job. The little Suzuki was put to the test and worked hard. The last day I sailed back 20 miles to get to the launching ramp. I had ½ gallon of fuel left and wanted to sail as much as I could to make sure that I would have enough in case the conditions turned worse. A light wind came from the south east as I was rigging the boat, a quick check on Windy tv showed that the forecast had now changed. I had a fair current for a couple of miles, the wind died as I turned the corner and into a foul current. I motored out of the channel and put the anchor down to wait for the tide change. The wind slowly built to a nice sailing breeze and I set off into the last of the foul tide. The rest of the day turned into a perfect sail and I made my destination well before dark.

 

Tony Day came and brought me home and we had very pleasant time telling stories.

 

I spent a lot of time today going through every locker on the boat just in case I had a mental lapse and stowed the missing part and forgot about it. No such luck so I get the have the pleasure of making it again.

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What a great adventure. As some people say - the adventure is as much in the journey as the destination, which is why I love to sail. Regarding incidents and accidents, in aviation we call this "press-on-itis". I have attended, as well as read reports of, many fatal accidents that should never have happened except that someone had a schedule in a light aircraft. When I teach navigation I hammer this into my students - area and terminal weather reports exist for a reason! Great decision Graham and good luck with your prep for the EC.

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To Graham or anyone else familiar with the ICW along the planned route:  what percent of sailing v motoring was expected? Friends who have done the Great Loop through the area in larger sailboats describe it as a motor route.  I'd like to know if a small sailboat makes it into a sailing route. Thanks.

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33 minutes ago, Beacher said:

To Graham or anyone else familiar with the ICW along the planned route:  what percent of sailing v motoring was expected? Friends who have done the Great Loop through the area in larger sailboats describe it as a motor route.  I'd like to know if a small sailboat makes it into a sailing route. Thanks.

 

If your boat is not rigged to be easily converted from motoring to sailing and back again, it will likely be a motor only trip.  Most "snow birds" wind up motoring only whatever their original intention and many will not even remove the sail covers.  It depends on the individual as well as which part of the ICW you are considering.  Maine to Sandy Hook to Cape May and Delaware is best under sail with the Chesapeake good for sailing.  From there all the way to south Florida, opportunities for sailing are less available but still, some have done it all the way under sail. 

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I have done the stretch from Miami to home twice and some stretches many times. Once I sailed about 95% of the stretch but there was no time pressure and we put down the anchor when we could not make progress. The second time I was the delivery skipper and every day cost money and we motored for 95%. It would be easier to sail from south to north. 

 

I have not done the Great Loop but with the locks involved and going upstream up the Hudson River etc. it would be pretty difficult to near impossible without a motor.

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Someday when this adventure is over, I'd be interested to hear more about this windvane. I built two.......the first one had a vertical axis rotation and it worked OK on the wind, but off the wind or running didn't work well at all.......oscillating band and forth about 20 to 30 degrees. The track on GPS looked like something a drunken eel might have left.  I later converted it to a horizontal axis and a different rudder in the water and that worked much better. Downwind running with the wind seems to be a problem for most of them. The third and final iteration used a servo oar  that controlled the rudder directly and it worked pretty well.

 

So option B is a sheet to tiller system, which may have good potential with a cat ketch rig.

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Howard,

 

Horizontal axis vanes and servo pendulum paddles are the most powerful self steering systems and are certainly required for large or heavy handed vessels. Carlita is a light well mannered boat and requires finesse rather than brute force. If you have not already seen the self steering video, check out the video and answer your own question. She is running almost straight downwind and surfing. After this video was taken she surfed to a little over 10 knots without misbehaving.

 

The key is an ultra light vane and very low friction. The lead counter weight weighs just 6 oz. to balance the vane. This makes the vane very responsive and reduces friction and lowers the mass moment of inertia. The next important feature is differential feedback in the linkage. This means that when the vane kicks the servo tab over and the tab turns the auxiliary rudder, the angle of the tab is rapidly reduced. If you do not have this feature the boat will hunt badly down wind where there is no natural balance from the sails as you do when close hauled. The whole thing is a delicate balance between power and feedback.

 

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I had not seen that video. Wonder how I missed it?

 

Anyway, to anyone who has studied windvane self steering and/or tried to build one, and then use one, there is a lot to like about this one. Am curious to see the thing out of the water to see how the trim tab on the auxiliary rudder is sized and attached. 

 

Also, do you adjust and move the linkage pin to gear it down or "dampen" it off the wind? Very few designs that I've seen do this and they need to. We called it "turning down the volume" or "turning down the gain".

 

Looks like in the video, you had about a 10 knot differential between wind speed and boat speed so enough apparent wind to power it up. How low as to wind speed will this continue to work?

 

 

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Graham,  What would be the effect of allowing the main rudder to react more easily by having it restrained by weak shock cord rather than being tied down on center?  Not good, I suspect as the main rudder is helping directional stability but don't know for sure.

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