My friend Jeff is doing a solo, non stop circumnavigation -Day 51

Jud - s/v Sputnik

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When people take production boats in the roaring forties, do they "toughen" them up by adding the "usual" stuff to go down South such as watertight compartments, exit hatch etc... or do they simply do what you would for say a fastnet race (storm sails + thorough check up of the boat).

May be I am a bit wimpy but I find that even the bay of Biscay or the celtic sea in just 30knots of wind can be really harsh on a production boat, if I were to go and "experience" never ending gales, I would be tempted to make sure that the boat is really up for the challenge and to add the kind of safety features you only find on offshore racing boats.
Take a look, for example, at Glenn Wakefield's site (https://glennwakefieldaroundtheworld.wordpress.com/westwindii-refit/ ) where he partially chronicles the refit of his older S&S Comanche 42'. He attempted a solo nonstop RTW, but against the prevailing winds...arguably harder than the other way!
One of the big mods he did was to *completely* rebuild the companionway hatch, and replace it with a big hinged watertight Lewmar hatch, like the big race RTW boats have. Huge job (and it looks great), but seems like a good idea for what he was attempting. (My boat has the same, but opens from the top rather than the side, which has always sorta concerned me, since if it ever unexpectedly fell closed immediately after being opened, it could crush your hand. His hinges from the side.)

 
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jack_sparrow

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Newer production boats won't cut the mustard. Their older cousins a lot tougher than many think. Providing you have dropped the keel and from there working outwards gone through and checked the integrity of all structure/hull connections re-tabbed etc. If you get rid of/seal penetrations down low locations of existing bulkheads can go a long way towards piece of mind at least with breeches at the ends. Not enough thickness in hatch thickness common problem but easilly solved. Pulling the rig out and going through with a fine tooth comb is a no brainer. Cat 0 Regs is a good check list for incidentals. Do all that and you should be able to go most places.

 
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Bob Perry

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My Tashiba 36 has internal ballast so "dropping the keel" is not an option. I am conservative in my scantlings and I have no reason to think the Tashiba 36 is not up to the challenge. The Baba 40, built at the same yard seems to be up to it. I'm not sure if there are any specific requirements, i.e. WT bhds in the rules. They are hard to retrofit.

 

Jud - s/v Sputnik

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Long, long, time ago (even before American Pie), a couple guys sailed a Cal 20 across to England. IIRC, they reinforced the transom.
I happen to have a particular interest in Cal 20s, since I've got one (1967), that I completely re-did/re-oriented the running rigging on per Robert Crawford's excellent book, "Black Feathers" (name of his old Cal 20 which he raced in the SHTP just a few years ago, which have me the crazy idea to maybe try it one day in mine). Somewhat surprising to me, he didn't do any major structural mods on the hull (but he did completely rebuild his hatch to make it more waterproof at sea, a very good idea for those low, little boats.). He didn't even upsize his standing rigging...and it's skinny stuff! All that being said, the SHTP is all downwind, so I suppose relatively easy on the rig, and he shipped the boat back to California. I'd recommend anyone interested in modifying one of these boats for ocean work to read his book - really informative book.. One other key mod he did was to enlarge the single (and very small) cockpit drain and basically rely on a large chunk of foam and the life raft volume to take up most of the cockpit floor, to minimize the amount of water he would ship on board in the event he was pooped (Cal 20s have huge 8' long cockpits).

I also remember reading an account of someone years and years ago who sailed their Cal 20 across the Pacific. If interested, see: http://www.oocities.org/thetropics/5471/chalupaprep.htm . That's quite a different voyage from just downwind to Hawaii, so he strengthened the hull, he said.

(My little Cal 20 is my "maybe one day modify for the ocean" project. It's WAY more fun to just sail the hell out of it!!)

 

Panoramix

Super Anarchist
When people take production boats in the roaring forties, do they "toughen" them up by adding the "usual" stuff to go down South such as watertight compartments, exit hatch etc... or do they simply do what you would for say a fastnet race (storm sails + thorough check up of the boat).

May be I am a bit wimpy but I find that even the bay of Biscay or the celtic sea in just 30knots of wind can be really harsh on a production boat, if I were to go and "experience" never ending gales, I would be tempted to make sure that the boat is really up for the challenge and to add the kind of safety features you only find on offshore racing boats.
Take a look, for example, at Glenn Wakefield's site (https://glennwakefieldaroundtheworld.wordpress.com/westwindii-refit/ ) where he partially chronicles the refit of his older S&S Comanche 42'. He attempted a solo nonstop RTW, but against the prevailing winds...arguably harder than the other way!
One of the big mods he did was to *completely* rebuild the companionway hatch, and replace it with a big hinged watertight Lewmar hatch, like the big race RTW boats have. Huge job (and it looks great), but seems like a good idea for what he was attempting. (My boat has the same, but opens from the top rather than the side, which has always sorta concerned me, since if it ever unexpectedly fell closed immediately after being opened, it could crush your hand. His hinges from the side.)
The companionway is definitely a weak point, his solution is actually really clever and practical.

I think that if ever I were to custom build an offshore boat and even just for atlantic crossings, I would specify watertight bulkheads and truly watertight companionway and hatches. These are not sexy but tend to keep boats afloat.

I can't remember the name of the boat but a French boat sank a few years ago for having the companionway open at the wrong time. With an open layout under deck the boat got flooded really quickly and once there was enough water in, there wasn't much that they could do to stay afloat!

 
AJ

Of course, you are right. My perspective was formed from the incredible exhaustion Jeff must have been in after dealing with the seastates of the last twenty days. To finally get an easy day, albeit, frustratingly headed, then to shred your big engine virtualy within site of the exit gate from the Southern Ocean.

I have a hard enough time loading one of Bob's big headsails into the foil in the slip, let alone on a pitching deck in the Southern Ocean after the passage of a nasty low. In a flash I would have considered slicing the halyard and sheets, kicking it over the rail and moving the staysail up front. Sanity would not have prevailed.

There will be no boredom chopping latitude as he makes his way north,lots of sail changes, reefing and board changes coming up. He might be able to start fishing again, too, and replace the rotten egg protein source?

I definitely would have kept the sail.

When eventually he turns north or encounters calmer weather, fixing that wreck of a sail will provide many hours of necessary mental stimulation to stave off boredom.

It's important to have something to do, to occupy the mind.
 
AJ

Of course, you are right. My perspective was formed from the incredible exhaustion Jeff must have been in after dealing with the seastates of the last twenty days. To finally get an easy day, albeit, frustratingly headed, then to shred your big engine virtualy within site of the exit gate from the Southern Ocean.

I have a hard enough time loading one of Bob's big headsails into the foil in the slip, let alone on a pitching deck in the Southern Ocean after the passage of a nasty low. In a flash I would have considered slicing the halyard and sheets, kicking it over the rail and moving the staysail up front. Sanity would not have prevailed.

There will be no boredom chopping latitude as he makes his way north,lots of sail changes, reefing and board changes coming up. He might be able to start fishing again, too, and replace the rotten egg protein source?

I definitely would have kept the sail.

When eventually he turns north or encounters calmer weather, fixing that wreck of a sail will provide many hours of necessary mental stimulation to stave off boredom.

It's important to have something to do, to occupy the mind.
 

Bob Perry

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TC: Jut trying to get the word out do El Jefe ca sell some books. Glad you are enjoying it.

 

jack_sparrow

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When people take production boats in the roaring forties, do they "toughen" them up by adding the "usual" stuff to go down South such as watertight compartments, exit hatch etc... or do they simply do what you would for say a fastnet race (storm sails + thorough check up of the boat).

May be I am a bit wimpy but I find that even the bay of Biscay or the celtic sea in just 30knots of wind can be really harsh on a production boat, if I were to go and "experience" never ending gales, I would be tempted to make sure that the boat is really up for the challenge and to add the kind of safety features you only find on offshore racing boats.
Take a look, for example, at Glenn Wakefield's site (https://glennwakefieldaroundtheworld.wordpress.com/westwindii-refit/ ) where he partially chronicles the refit of his older S&S Comanche 42'. He attempted a solo nonstop RTW, but against the prevailing winds...arguably harder than the other way!
One of the big mods he did was to *completely* rebuild the companionway hatch, and replace it with a big hinged watertight Lewmar hatch, like the big race RTW boats have. Huge job (and it looks great), but seems like a good idea for what he was attempting. (My boat has the same, but opens from the top rather than the side, which has always sorta concerned me, since if it ever unexpectedly fell closed immediately after being opened, it could crush your hand. His hinges from the side.)
The companionway is definitely a weak point, his solution is actually really clever and practical.

I think that if ever I were to custom build an offshore boat and even just for atlantic crossings, I would specify watertight bulkheads and truly watertight companionway and hatches. These are not sexy but tend to keep boats afloat.

I can't remember the name of the boat but a French boat sank a few years ago for having the companionway open at the wrong time. With an open layout under deck the boat got flooded really quickly and once there was enough water in, there wasn't much that they could do to stay afloat!
High sided, traditionally ballasted boats with a centred, well fitting hatch and secured washboard(s) will do the job with no drama. Low sided, moveable ballasted (water and or canters) with deep cockpits, open transom race boats are a different ball game in the companionway department.
Will be interesting to see how far north El Jefe goes once he has cleared NZ.

 
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Jud - s/v Sputnik

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I remembered the name since yesterday : TAO.That's the boat I was thinking of :

Not exactly a low sided boat, they got rolled by a rogue wave and the boat got flooded. IMHO With watertight bulkheads they would have stayed afloat. There is a big difference between being on a floating boat without mast and on a sinking boat!
I do remember the TAO rescue now.
Totally agree - the notion that a standard companionway with washboards is always ok (it usually is, until it isn't) at sea doesn't work for me - I like the idea that I can basically completely seal the boat by closing the hatch in about a second, if needed. I'm lazy, so for me, it's part of the convenience principle. Example: If my engine "room" (small as it is) has a few good bright lights, properly located, then I'm more likely to want to change the oil, do a quick look over the engine whenever, without the hassle of using a flashlight in that small, dark space. Likewise, if at sea and the companionway can be very quickly and easily dogged down when it feels like the time to do it, I do. (Of course, same goes for lots of things on board any boat - you're probably more likely to pull up and reset an anchor/move boat in middle of night in a gale, if needed, if you have an electric windlass instead of manual one...I can't afford one! )

In the link and vid I posted way above in this thread by a French guy who attempted a solo RTW in the 1990s on his 10 meter alu boat, he capsized and the boat stayed inverted for like 10-15 mins, I believe. He had a watertight or at least easily sealable companionway hatch. I don't know, but that's probably what saved the boat and him. (He writes as much, in French, here: http://alainkalita.blogspot.ca/p/blog-page.html?m=1 ; scroll down to two pics of companionway). Not sexy, but it kept him afloat...in an ideal world, we'd have perfect boats, but...

EDIT: I just watched the vid about TAO in your link. The narrator said the boat stayed inverted for five minutes. That should give anyone pause for thought. Accurate or not - I'm sure they weren't timing it!-- even a minute upside down with the companionway open scares the shit out of me.

 
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Panoramix

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Alain Kalita's door really seems watertight, there is something which looks like a seal around. His boat - even if it is a bit low tech and built on the cheap - is probably much more adequate to sail in the roaring forties than most production boats.

 
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Bob Perry

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Around Alone Days-124-125-126.

Day-124.

24hr.Run=69 NM. Pos. Lat.46*58'S. Long.158*01S. Weather= Bar=1014mb.Wind= N.0-15kts. Seas8-12ft. Cabin Temp=56*-64*.

Day-125.

24hr.Run=73 NM. Pos. Lat.47*10'S. Long.159*42'E. Weather= Bar=1010mb. Wind=0-12kts. from all directions. Seas4-8ft. N. Cabin Temp=58*63*.

Day-126.

24hr. Run=125 NM. Pos.Lat.47*10'S. Long.162*22'E. Weather=Bar=1007mb. Wind=N 8-25kts. Seas=6-10ft. Cabin Temp=57*62*

Total Miles Sailed So Far=16,744 NM.

Miles sailed last 3-days=267 NM.

Miles left togo to West Cape New Zealand =150 NM.

Top speed so far for trip= 14.1 kts.

The Rest of the Story.

Day-125.

It was about midnight on a restless night aboard Sailors Run, and I was having trouble sleeping, as the airs had become light and the sails were banging about top side, caused by the continual rolling on the seas.

I had finally had enough and rolled out of my bunk, dragging the spinnaker out from under the chat table and wrestling it up the companionway stairs and out over the top of the three storm boards into the cockpit; now that "will get" your hear pumping.

This spinnaker is a very large one off a Gulf Star 50 that my son owned and he had given it to me, knowing I needed one. And it was brand new.

Debbie and I had it cut down in Argentina to fit the Sailors Run. The sail is amazingly powerful with very broad shoulders, and will move Sailors Run at 5-6kts in 10-knots of breeze.

I launch the spinnaker and soon we are moving at near 3-knots and the wind vane is able to just barely steer with a little help from the mizzen trim.

I finally crash out below and dream of the spinnaker wrapping it self tightly around the forestay, and me aloft in the boson chair "franticly" slashing away at it with a butcher knife trying to cut it in the clear.

We sailed under Spinnaker for 9-hours before the winds increased to 15-knots and it was time to snuff the spinnaker, no easy feat for sure.

Once up on the fore deck I clip in after hqving already releasing the spinnaker sheet line and start the tug a war to bring the sock down over the "wildly popping and snapping" spinnaker.

Only by standing up on the foredeck and taking three wraps around my hand and falling back using al my wait and ending up laying on the deck do I at last get this monster contained in the snuffer once again.

I must "admit" it is times like this that you wonder if flying a spinnaker is the best idea for the solo sailor.

Day -125.

Today was a light air day once again and we were becalmed [no wind] for 8-hrs. At last we are moving along with a favorable breeze that filled in from the north.

It is times like this that I get a little nervous lingering in an area of notoriously bad weather and having to strugle to get out of here. If I was not sailing unassisted around the world I would have that motor on and scooting out of here, but that is not what this voyage is about.

Today I sewed on "Patches for 7- hrs. Then I got my weekly shower, something that really makes me feel so much better. I have eaten up the last of the potatoes although I do have some instant mashed potatoes, and tonight it will be a can of "Chunky clam chowder" and a can of corn for dinner.

Day-126

So far for us the weather looks great for getting around West Cape New Zealand, although possibly a little light at times.

I put in yet another 8-hrs sewing on "Patches", and there is still no end in site to this project. All of this hand work truly "sucks and blows", oh wait a minute, possibly just possibly I have defined the "sex life of the single hander"!

Wait a minute, now getting back to the sewing; I think the fingers on my left hand have more needle holes in them than a Bears paw stealing honey from a bees nest.

Now practicing the 3-Ss-Sun-Sailing and Sewing.

The Jefe'

 

Jud - s/v Sputnik

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Click pic to enlarge to full screen

west.jpg

 
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Bob Perry

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El Jefe closes on New Zealand, five capes down:

Around Alone Days-127-126-129.

Day 127.

24hr.Run=135 NM. Pos. Lat.47* 44' S. Long.165*03'E. Weather= Bar=1010mb. Wind=N 12-25kts . Seas=N 6-12ft. Cabin Temp 68*-54*.

Day-128.

24hr. Run=126 NM. Pos. Lat.47*02'S Long. 168*10E. Weather= Bar=999mb. Wind=N 8-30kts. Seas. N 6-10ft. Cabin Temp=58-60*.

Day 129.

24hr.Run

Total miles sailed so far

Total miles sailed last three days

Distance to go to Date Line

Top speed so far

The Rest of the Story.

Day-127.

Today we are closing on New Zealand, and New Zealand is called the land of the great white cloud, and low and be hold I seen the cloud but New Zealand its self remained invisible.

I got on the SSB this am at 1900 U.T.C. and talked to Edd on AKA the net controller filling in for Jim Bandy who is in Fiji, until he gets his new radio and generator going after cyclone "Winston a Cat-5. Edd was the first human being I had spoken to in 127 days, and that was really strange. The frequency is 8173.0 USB.

Debbie and I would like to put a shout out to our many great New Zealand friends as well as our friends from all over the world that are cruising or now living there "Good on ya Mates!

Day-128.

Today is a monumental day of the Voyage, as Sailors Run pulls abeam of West Cape New Zealand after 127-days 11 hrs and 55 minutes. This being our 5th and final Cape and now I must say "Debbie I'm coming home" keep a light on.

As we came in under the Cape we were about 8-miles north of the Snare Islands and I could actually see them, the first land I have seen since Cape Horn and I must admit although not so large they were green and looked pretty inviting for this sailor in off of the "blue".

It is a rainy day here south of New Zealand and I want to thank all of you out there for your prayers and best wishes as I have arrived here in pretty good shape. The Barometer soup is about to kick in and the next 5-days look like they will be rough, easing on Friday.

Tonight as darkness fell a front arrived out of the SE and I had 40-50kts. of wind and under staysail alone I recorded a speed in excess of 13kts. The main thing is now I can get into open ocean and fight it out with what's coming. One of the worst things is it's going to blow like hell from the NW then switch around to The SW where a big swell is being created by a low that is coming up over New Zealand and pushing up against the high creating a squash zone that will intensify the winds in the area. I suspect there will be 45-50kts with extremely rough seas and this is at its worst on Thursday.

I'm currently shooting north in 35 kts. under staysail alone trying to avoid the worst of the low that is coming. 'Only Time will tell", how this all works out.

Day-129

Today is windy and sunny day as we reach to the north. The winds are starting to die down as this day progresses, but that will be short lived as that North Wester should fill in by morning.

Early this am I had one wave break on Sailors Run and it got a small amount of water below through any breech it could find or create.

I now have over 50 hours of hand work into repairing "Patches" and still much more to go.

I just love the thoughtful ness of many of you out there, I even had one caring person offer to bring me food if I needed it since I was so close to New Zealand, and I truly appreciate the thought, but as you know the rules say unassisted, which means no such help, but it sure felt great to know how much people are willing to do to keep Sailors Run and Crew going.

Getting "Battle Ready" for what's coming, the Jefe'.

 
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