"One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time." -Andre Gide

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Flares 101

#1 Reason for Failing a Safety Check by the Coast Guard . . .

. . . . having expired flares on board.

All the other items are easy to keep track of.  Lifevests.  Check.  Registration numbers on boat.  Check.  VHF radio working.  Check.  But, everyone forgets to check the expiration date on their flares. 

Which begs the question: What does one do with expired flares?

We'd never lighted a flare before.  But, hey, it was expired!!!!  It seems silly to light a flare when we didn't need any help.  No S.O.S. here.  But, now we know that flares don't burn in water.  They are bright.  They are hot in your hand.  We think that they burn for 13 minutes.  I hope help is closeby if we need it!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cool iphone App for Star Gazing

We featured an iphone Compass app in a past post.  This post is here to tell you about the iphone Star Guide app!

Have you ever looked up and wondered what constellation is overhead?  This iphone app uses the GPS and accelerometer to determine what constellations are in the direction that the phone is facing.  When you look at the night sky, point the phone's camera at the night sky, the screen displays the stars, their names, and constellations!
At SEA~ During the day, we were able to tell our direction by the sun.  When a sailor wakes up the morning, he looks for the sun.  Going from Hawaii to California, the sun should be directly in front of the boat or on the starboard side every morning.  The sun rises in the East and sets in the West.  Daytime orientation.

During the night, we set our intention to sail on a heading in line with a notable constellation.  The Milky Way is bright and bands the night sky.  At dusk, the sailor sets his compass to a line and holds it until the stars come out.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sail Repair

We took our torn mainsail down to the local repair shop.  This place is pretty cool!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My Boat has a Martingale?

You may remember that our boom snapped in two during the Zongo Cup. The wind had shifted after rounding Point Buchon and as I eased out the main sail (let out more line to swing out the main sail) I failed to loosen the boom vang. The boom snapped right at the attachment of the boom vang. The boom had a lot of corrosion around this spot, but not easing the boom vang didn't help matters. So, I decided to do some research on how to properly use a boom vang.

To my surprise, there are various names used for a boom vang. Currently, boom vang is used in the US and kicking strap is used in the UK, but and older term is martingale.  Basically, it is a pulley and/or a piston/rod systems that is used to level the boom and controls twist in the main sail.

Great, but when do you use it?

After searching around a bunch of books and web sites, I found a decent working description on the Sailing USA site:

"If the boom is over the water, one may want to first trim the lower part of the mainsail by using the mainsail's sheet , then loosen the boom vang until the aft (top) portion of the mainsail or telltales start to luff then tighten the boom vang until the luffing stops and the telltales (along the leech or back edge of the sail) are streaming backward." This is for sailing on a reach or down wind. Why do you want the sail twisted? The wind blows at different angles near the water or the bottom of the sail than it does 40 feet off the the water. In order for the whole sail to provide the maximum lift the sail needs to twist to meet the wind at the proper angle. 

If sailing close hauled or into the wind, the main sail doesn't really have twist.  The boom vang is used in strong winds to flatten the sail and reduce the lift force of the sail.  A flat sail can help avoid having to reef the main and will reduce excessive heeling.  

p.s. If we had been smart like those folks on the Bella Star we might have found the corrosion under the boom vang plate and fixed it! 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

It's Fall!

This is the first Saturday morning in 3 weeks that I've had to lay in bed as long as I want then troll around with a cup of coffee for as long as I want.  It seems like heaven!  Sure, there are a ton of things we could be doing to fix up Lil'Wheels and Training Wheels.  We could don our weekend warrior masks and tackle the boom remake or sanding the mast.   But, why?  Can't I just sit here and drink coffee? 

There will always be work to do.  But, this is the perfect day for reading Moby Dick!  It is overcast and cool outside.  No reason to rush over to the dock just to get cold and wet through to the bones.  Last month I finished Treasure Island and Mutiny on the Bounty.  I think both books are wonderful and quaint.  They remind me of the boyhood I never had.  Just fun adventures all around.  I was just a serious little girl growning up!  I think that Moby Dick will be more on the serious side!  I'll let you know!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Motion Sickness and Nausea Antidotes

One of the first questions I asked Truman when he got home was, "Well, so, did you throw up?" and then "What do you mean, you didn't get sick at all?" and then, "How was this possible?"

Motion sickness was first described by Hippocrates; nausea being from the root word "naus" or ship in Greek.  Seasickness is something that every serious sailor takes seriously.  My own history with queasiness was the number one reason I was hesitant to buy a boat.  Motion sickness is very familiar to me; all deep sea fishing and whale watching trips turned into the most expensive naps on the planet as I popped Dramamine like candy! 

All joking aside, My captain went to Hawaii packed with anti-nausea ginger gum, MotionEaze drops, and over-the-counter Dramamine pills.  The guys spent two weeks working on the boat and sleeping on-board so they got used to the boat rocking in its slip.  But, the first venture out to Kauai was pretty rough. 

Truman says that he has never gotten seasick.  He admits to getting a little green in the past, but as long as he took the helm he was fine.  He didn't want to leave anything to chance in Hawaii.  And he didn't want to have anything threaten his performance as a crew member, so he premedicated with Dramamine two nights before leaving port.  He doesn't remember if he read somewhere to do this, but it sure worked!  He never used the gum or drops.  After leaving port, he took the Dramamine daily for the first 4 days at sea prior to his "sleeping" shift, usually 4am to 8am.

In looking back, if one is prone to seasickness, it would be good to have a large supply of scopolamine also at hand.  Scopolamine patches are great!  Apply 1 patch behind the ear at least 4 hours prior to exposure and every 3 days as needed; effective if applied as soon as 2-3 hours before anticipated need, best if 12 hours before.  I would go a step further and recommend that very sick persons use two patches, one behind each ear, and switch them on alternate days.

Despite not vomiting, Truman says that he had no appetite for food for the first 3-4 days.  He says that he didn't want anything spicy.  Bland food was best.  And he certainly didn't want any alcohol.  I am happy to report that he lost no weight on the journey.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Go For Broke: Motor Sailing Rock-n-Roll

I have been home a week.  I am finally ready to start blogging again! Plus, I bet it is time for a technical post before I loose all the guys following blog. The First Mate's posts are good, but generally a little girly.  Ha ha, but seriously, I had a great time and learned a lot on my cruise aboard Go For Broke.

When we left Kauai, we had to slog directing into the wind for the first 20 miles to get out of the influence of the island. The island influence is due to the mountains, volcanoes, and shallow water around the islands that cause confused seas, steep swells, and often strong and/or shifting winds.  Heading directing into the wind we tried to get the Jib up to steady the boat. Raising a sail will always make for a smoother ride even when motoring.

We had to deal with the rocking and rolling of motoring.  How you power boaters out there deal with this I have no idea. In the the video below is Go For Broke leaving Kauai under power (motoring) with no sails set.

The video below really shows the advantage of "motor sailing" as opposed to just plain motoring. While departing Oahu we were motoring-sailing across the swell in the video below and the boat is still comfortably level. 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Go For Broke Picture Tour

In no particular order . . .

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Morro Bay Harbor Festival 2010

Go For Broke docked in Hawaii today!  I was happy to report to family and friends that Truman is back on dry land safe and sound.  He will be home in 2 days.  Meanwhile, I went to my first Harbor Festival! 

Garlic and Butter!  Hmmm. . . .