Thursday, March 31, 2016

Voyaging the House-Charts and Maps

Paper charts.  Analoge.  In the land-house, we have maps showing topography for hiking or rivers for rowing, etc.  Of course, we still use big road maps when planning trips.  Digital information, GPS and map software/apps are very handy for automobile travel.  On the water, paper charts still rule for planning and even detail.  We can draw on them, annotate with notes.  We use digital charting in many ways.

Voyaging?  Maybe the best way to spend part of an evening with other sailors is with a large area chart spread out and the dream machine running full speed.  Which charts?

Start with the Pilot Charts.  Then move over to the various large area charts.  I have pictures below.  These aren't fancy images of never-been-folded charts.  My charts are marked up and well loved.

The pilot charts show statistical information about expected winds, current, sea temperatures, barometric pressure, ice, and wave heights for a give month on a given ocean.  Planning to sail from Newport, RI to Antigua?  You can get an overview of the conditions at sea for the month you plan to sail.  Invaluable.

These charts came from Chase Levitt in Portland, Maine.  Other sources known to me are Landfall Navigation in Greenwich, CT and Bluewater Books and Charts in Ft Lauderdale, FL.

True story:  Planning a trip to St Maarten in 2004.  Local guy asks if I am going down the coast from Massachusetts to Florida before crossing over to the Caribbean.  I said, "No."  He asked why and I took out the pilot chart, showed him the distances and wind directions.  He asked, "So why do so many people do it that way?"  "Dunno?"  Maybe a long offshore trip is unpleasant.  Maybe they just never looked at a pilot chart.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Voyaging the House-Keels and Rudders

As noted in earlier entries, hull forms of yachts are interesting to view.  Winter, when yachts are hauled, makes for a great time to wander yards and take a look at the part we seldom see during the sailing season.  Planning to go for a voyage as opposed to a coastal cruise, knowing what's under the water is an early part of yacht selection.

Rick and Jasna of Calypso have some good comments about the importance of protected rudders.  Read about it at their blog, SailingCalypso:

What are the pros and cons of protected rudders?  Maneuverability and speed vs security is the essence of it.

A good site for reviewing sailboat designs:

Pictured above is a Morgan 36 One Tonner of 1973 design.  The rudder is supported at both the top and bottom of the skeg.  Back in her era, most racing boats had skeg-hung rudders.  The keel is an innovation, fast shape but of very questionable strength.  We don't any longer see new boats built with that shape.

The Aphrodite 101 I own.  A race boat designed in 1977.  The skeg is gone as a structural element and the keel is much less swept back.  The rudder is a balanced shape which reduces tiller loading but not shaft load.  The rudder shaft is supported by the tube at the top and bottom, no attachment to the small "fillet."  The folding prop and shaft provide a small amount of protection to the rudder by deflecting flotsam.

Mc Curdy designed 35 footer that shows a good combination of keel shape and rudder with skeg.  The skeg is full length and supports the rudder top and bottom.  The keel has a long root.  A folding propellor, in my opinion, would greatly reduce drag and catch less annoying flotsam such as weed and drifting lines, nets, and plastic.

A very old design, an Albin 27 with a full length keel, rudder supported top and bottom.  These craft are sort of cult boats among the small-voyager crowd.  Good sea boats.

The rudder from our Aphrodite 101, Averisera.  The Stainless Steel shaft is strong... but... there are two issues that bear watching.  SS is capable of corroding in the absence of oxygen, deep the rudder. The single point of load is at the rudder shaft interface which may be weakened by corrosion.  The rudder was removed for inspection and there is no weeping, no rust, and no sign of distortion of the fiberglass so back in she goes.

Another thing we like about tiller steering is that the rudder comes out easily.  Wheel steered boats require a bit more effort to drop the rudder.  Drop the rudder once in a while.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Retire and Go Sailing-The young can do It, Too!

Read a lot of books on the subject of "we went for a cruise and wrote all about it."  Most are really fun to read.  There is an amusing difference between the ways men and women record the voyage.  Two authors worth following are:  Annie Dike and Jackie Parry.  I doubt they have met.  When they do, I'd love to be a fly on the wall to follow their conversation.

Sometimes young folks sort of drop out to go sailing.  I don't like to say "drop out" but it is in the contemporary vernacular.  For example, my mom and dad were both born in 1926.  They married at the end of the war and started a family, blah, blah, and then... bought a boat, sold the house, packed four kids and the dog on board to take off for two years in the Bahamas, Florida Keys and the US East Coast/ICW... in 1960.  They were 34.  Thanks mom and dad!  I skipped 6th and 7th grade.  Wow.

My mission someday when I am old is to scan in the Thetis pictures and tell the story.  Meanwhile Annie and Jackie and their spouses are having the time of their lives "taking off."  So much better an expression than dropping out.

Annie Dike and Philip on Plaintif's Rest

Jackie and Noel on ....?

A superb survey of men and women about cruising by Deb Cantrell:

Retire and Go Sailing-Henry Holt's Book-New or Used?

New Boat versus Used Boat

Finished the book by Henry Holt of his cruise around the world.  I liked it.  The story starts out sort of sad and ends joyfully.  His wife and he split up at the beginning.  By the end he finds a new love and marries her.  I hope everyone is happy.

However:  the most interesting part for this writer is the new Island Packet 350 he uses for his adventure.  I have sailed an IP 350 and they are nice boats... not for me, certainly for many sailors they are just the ticket.  As he revealed his cruise I compared it to a similar cruise made by my friend Tim on Slick.  Tim used an aged Beneteau First 37 that he refitted.  At about the same place in the round the world cruise, 2/3 of the way around, both boats called out for a refit.  Hmmm...  Just a fact of life not about new or old at the start.  I know how Tim sails and he is a gentle sailor.  I can't comment on Henry's ability in any way.  He didn't seem reckless.  Links follow: