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Functional Art
Wed Oct 29 12:24:14 EDT 2014, La Paz, BCS, Mexico

Normally, the first thing I notice when arriving somewhere isn't the garbage cans. However, on the Malecon in La Paz, I was struck by the nice job they had done with them.

Wed Oct 29 18:26:36 EDT 2014 | Ron Ouwehand
Hello Richard, good to see you are underway. I'm figuring in my mind how to work a way to come and see you in the southern hemisphere. Fair winds from Old Hand.
Self Stering (Technical Post)
Fri Oct 24 22:37:16 EDT 2014

Since leaving San Diego, we have been doing a lot of sheet-to-tiller self-steering.

At first, it was just for something interesting to do. At other times, it was because the tailwind had lightened enough that sheet-to-tiller steers better than the windvane does (because of friction in the windvane and because the windvane paddle (sensor) is much smaller than the sensor (a sail) used for sheet-to-tiller.

Sheet-to-tiller self-steering is worth at least practicing on any voyaging boat in case the windvane ever fails, and for downwind in very light conditions when the windvane can't handle it.

In theory, sheet-to-tiller steering is simple:
1. When the boat heads up, apparent wind increases, which increases the force on the sheets. If the sheet is indirectly connected to the tiller via a turning block on the other side of the boat, it can turn the boat away from the wind when the boat heads up (due to the resultant apparent wind increase).

2. A bungee cord or similar pulling the tiller in the opposite direction will turn the boat towards the wind. When apparent wind decreases (which decreases force on the tiller, allowing bungee cord to exert more control)

Note that the sheet does not directly connect to the tiller. The sheet is made down as usual. A control line is tied to the sheet in such a way that it deflects the sheet, and this deflection of the sheet is what goes through the turning block to the tiller.

In practice, there is some trial and error involved (much more at first, until one learns the system). It will take some messing about to get the right positioning of the control line and the right amount of elasticity for the wind speed and point of sail that you are on.

--What sheet to use? Any that one can get a good lead on the control line from. I usually use the main staysail, but any sheet can work.
--How many bungee cords? I usually use one, sometimes two, and aim to get the bungee close to neutral (no pull) when the tiller is at or near midships.
--Where on the sheet to attach? Depends on how much deflection you want--I aim for a deflection of about 15cm/6".

After learning how to do it, it takes a few minutes of adjusting to get sheet-to-tiller setup for a particular course.

Sheet-to-tiller demands a better balanced boat than a windvane does. Either will handle a slightly unbalanced boat, but, for instance, Issuma's windvane can usually steer on a broad reach with or without poling out the jib. Using sheet-to-tiller on a broad reach, Issuma's jib needs to be poled out. This also means that setting/dousing/reefing sails is likely to require an adjustment of sheet-to-tiller steering.

So, while I really like Issuma's windvane, its great to be able to use sheet-to-tiller as well.

Fin Whale
Wed Oct 22 23:03:15 EDT 2014

Often these whales seem to swim along with us for a while. We've been seeing them since southern California.

Fish Latitudes
Mon Oct 20 19:38:00 EDT 2014, 25 16'N:114 8'W,

We have had great winds since leaving Ensenada -- Force 3 to 5 from astern, with a mix of sun and clouds (clouds are wonderful--they keep the sun from being extreme).

Flying fish came aboard last night and we fried them for breakfast. The flying fish jump and fly for a while (they have wings), to escape other fish, I think. They don't see the boat at night, and land on deck--one hit me last night before falling to the deck.

While we have been trying to catch fish all the way down the coast, so far, Issuma has 'caught' ten flying fish, and we have caught none :).

Sat Oct 18 18:44:00 EDT 2014, 33 27'N:117 43.5'W, Ensenada, Mexico

We had a pleasant downwind sail from Dana Point to Mission Bay and then to Ensenada, Mexico (pictured).

It took about three hours to clear Customs, Immigration, the Port Captain, get the Temporary Import Permit and a fishing license, but all the offices are in one building, near the marina, and everyone was nice.

We only stayed a day--leaving with yet another favorable wind-- so I didn't get much of a feel for Ensenada.

Now to remember (or learn, since I was never very good at it) how to speak Spanish...

Sea Lions
Sun Oct 12 21:32:00 EDT 2014, 33 27'N:117 43.5'W, Dana Point, CA

Lots of sea lions enjoying the sun on the San Juan Rock buoy off Dana Point, California.

We spent a pleasant few days in Dana Point, courtesy of my old New York schooner captain friend Peter and the friendly folks at Dana Point Yacht Club and Dana West Yacht Club, to whom I gave my Sailing the Northwest Passage presentation.

Tue Oct 7 11:06:15 EDT 2014

A whale came over to swim alongside us yesterday for about an hour. I'm not sure of the type of whale, but it was as long as Issuma.

Pleasant Headwinds
Sun Oct 5 22:30:02 EDT 2014

As should be expected by my talking yesterday about having had all favorable winds so far--before the passage is over--we got headwinds and fog today.

When the previously favorable wind went against us (at night), it was immediately warmer (the wind was coming off the land), so I thought it would be a really hot day. As dawn arrived, the fog came in and kept things from heating up, so today was a pleasant sail in light and varying winds. When the wind died, we went swimming and waited for it to return.

Light Winds
Sat Oct 4 18:02:00 EDT 2014, 34 42'N:121 10'W,

We`ve had very pleasant, light, following winds since leaving San Francisco. A 0.75 knot favorable current is also helping. Other than having once to drop the spinnaker and wait half an hour for wind (it was starting to wrap around the jibstay as we rolled in the swell), it has been great, smooth, easy sailing.

Dragon Boat Race
Fri Oct 3 17:34:00 EDT 2014, N 'N:W 'E, Treasure Island, San Francisco, CA

Most of Issuma`s time in San Francisco Bay was anchored at Treasure Island. I happened to be there during this Dragon Boat race a couple of weekends ago.

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