L'Eau Commotion Westabout

An (other) attempt to sail non stop Westabout around the world

Vessel Name: L'Eau Commotion
Vessel Make/Model: Northshore 38
Hailing Port: Brisbane Australia
Crew: Bill Hatfield
19 August 2017 | 100 Miles ESE Esperance WA
18 August 2017 | 180 Miles ENE Esperance
17 August 2017 | 25 Miles Offshore Round the Head of The Bight
16 August 2017 | 280 Miles East of Esperance
15 August 2017 | 260 Miles East of Esperance
14 August 2017 | 260 Miles ESE Esperance, West Australia.
13 August 2017 | 235 Miles South of Eucla, WA
13 August 2017
13 August 2017
13 August 2017 | 220 Miles South of WA SA Border
12 August 2017 | 190 Miles West of Coffin Bay
11 August 2017 | 180 Miles West of Kangaroo Island
10 August 2017
09 August 2017 | 135 Miles SW of Kangaroo Island South Australia
08 August 2017 | 115 Miles South of Kangaroo Island
07 August 2017
06 August 2017
05 August 2017 | 140 miles South of Mt Gambier Sth Australia
04 August 2017 | South Australian Waters - Again!
Recent Blog Posts
19 August 2017 | 100 Miles ESE Esperance WA

Learning The Ropes

11pm Saturday 18th August 2017. Even though I have covered quite a few miles in L'Eau Commotion very little has been done in strong following conditions and I had hoped that the poled out headsail, in this case the small staysail, would balance the double reefed main. Not to be and as the winds increased to over 25 knots the yacht kept rounding up till I eventually doused the main amongst much flogging and cussing. I then found the poled out jib needed no balancing and even in stronger puffs the tendency to round up was minimal and self correcting, so one of my concerns, to wit, the ability of the yacht to run straight downwind was alleviated. Of course hand steering and even the autopilot will handle this easily but I don't want to overuse it as autopilots have a reputation for wearing out and it is so handy to have during sail changes. Unfortunately the top batten of the mainsail broke during this kerfuffle but I took it out and seems repairable. Longer range weather indicates that I may be able to round Cape Leeuwin without too much stuffing around although having said that, with recent practice, I'm getting quite good at.

18 August 2017 | 180 Miles ENE Esperance

Rigging

10pm Friday 18th August 2017 ( UTC+9 ) The gentle breeze soon died down last night so dropped all sails until 5am and eased away under a quartering wind to a delightful morning. The crescent moon and the morning star hovered over the first blush of dawn as I set about a much needed tidy up and essential maintenance. The spinnaker pole is a bit big to handle on its own so gradually figured the correct run of sheets and halyards such that it can be set up and lowered in a slop basically using winches from the cockpit. With the poled out staysail got L'Eau Commotion to run more or less dead downwind but beyond 15 knots she tended to round up and so now with 20+ following winds we are running under double reefed main alone, which is mostly OK.

17 August 2017 | 25 Miles Offshore Round the Head of The Bight

Gentle Sailing

Its 9pm Thursday 17th August and what a difference a few hours has made. From blowing a gale at midday to a fresh breeze at 3pm to unfurl the staysail to 4pm to hoist the double reefed main to 6pm the full main and now just ghosting along. Hard to tell in the pitch black but even the swell seems to be rapidly dying down. I really should have the large jib up but with forecast winds of 25+knots in the next few days I'll play it safe. The only concern at the moment is that I might sleep through the alarms, being close enough to the shore to run aground by daylight should the wind direction change rapidly. After the thumps and bumps of the last few days I feel I could sleep in to next week but it's not to be.

16 August 2017 | 280 Miles East of Esperance

Still Hove To - Again

For a very brief moment this afternoon I toyed with the idea of presenting a little more sail to the slightly easing wind. This silly idea was wiped away by a squall and conditions back to those adequately described by the GMDSS Forecast, to wit: Gale Warning Winds 30 to 40 knots , rough to very rough seas, heavy swell. I am now about 90 miles off the coast at the top of the Bight so will have to consider a change in direction by tomorrow afternoon but hopefully the winds will also be more favourable by then. In the meantime the yacht is steady enough to start reading Ayn Rand's " Atlas Shrugged ", a pretty solid work of dystopian fiction. I have not read enough of it to come to a critical opinion, but the thesis is promising. One thing for sure is it won't be for lack of free time to absorb the 1100 pages of fine print. It is now 9pm Wednesday 16th August 2017 ( UTC+9 ) and time to call it a day.

15 August 2017 | 260 Miles East of Esperance

Still Hove To

It is now 3:30am Wednesday 16th August and still hove to. From just before lunch yesterday to dusk Tuesday the wind was around 38 knots from the West with occasional brief respite but seemingly more often severe squalls of 40+ knots with heavy hail. Not the weather to be on deck but the small amount of headsail showing had to be reduced further. The wheel which had been lashed just a few degrees to Port was wrestled to downhill and off with a rush! Fortunately the auto pilot could handle the 8 or 9 knots with surges to 13 knots straight downwind and it was relatively simple to ease a sheet here, take up some slack there, and present an even smaller area of headsail. Back to lashed tiller with the beam wind, no more rounding up and relatively comfortable with no knockdowns greater than 80 degrees ( as measured by the noodle soup on the galley wall.) Although forward movement seems insubstantial we are making about 3 knots slightly into the wind so the drift at 90 degrees to the wind is somewhat less than a knot, equivalent to the drogue setting, a lot less trouble and much more comfortable. The forecast is for another day of this 30 knots so another day of bunk bashing with heroics, and soup, on the back burner.

14 August 2017 | 260 Miles ESE Esperance, West Australia.

Hove To

"Long told long last, soon told soon past" - part of sailing lore. Well this particular blow coming has been on the cards for nearly a week now so it is fitting that winds in excess of thirty knots average are expected to continue for the next two days. With the thought of minimising possible damage to L'Eau Commotion I have decided to heave to for the next couple of days. The rig decided is a totally stowed main and half furled staysail ( now on the forestay ) with both Port and starboard sheets tensioned and an additional sheet to maintain sail shape. Whilst the main is fully stowed there is quite an area of the lazy jack canvas which will act, sort of, like a trysail to give balanced windage fore and aft of the mast. The Windpilot is secured up out of the water and the wheel lashed a little to Port . I have put a mark on the chart so drift and rate can be established but the intention is to be fairly near the coast after a few days to take advantage of any eventual bac king winds. That's the theory anyway - let the experiment begin!

Rolling Along

12 August 2017 | 190 Miles West of Coffin Bay
Yes the wind did gradually swing round to the Northwest a few hours before dawn which was duly noted and ignored. What's an hour or two next year matter when the precious comfortable ones right now engulf you in their warm embrace. But of course if the course is to the West and I'm making miles to the East reality reluctantly predominated; but at least between ignorance and predominance a much appreciated brew was inserted. Going about and shaking out the main in the 10 or 12 knots was easy. Just getting up was the hard bit. Time for some experimentation with the 12v reverse osmosis Desalinator. Dire warnings are issued about the destructiveness of any oil at all and also the dangers of silt, so in a commercial harbour such as Scarborough it was unthinkable to test run the apparatus. Now though in the still oil free waters of The Great Australian Bight and with the windmill pumping out the Amps to make Jay Weatherill proud now was the time. With a steady goosh- gaw the machine sputtered back into life with the water flavoured, how shall we say, with what once was. Naturally any life forms larger than a molecule of salt will not pass through the membranes and will live, then die, on it's surface. The application on shutdown of Sodium Metabisulphite will obviate this but also can cause another problem of corrosion of the stainless pump components in the resultant oxygen starved salt water. Because of this the application was not done. So, the resultant product. Fresh with hints of seafood cocktail and a salty tang that only a sailor could love. But drinkable and life sustaining?Yes!Yes!Yes!
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L'Eau Commotion's Photos - Main
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Created 23 July 2017
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Created 23 July 2017
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Created 22 July 2017
Northshore 38
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Created 14 September 2016
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Created 14 September 2016