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Sun Nov 8 0:00:00 EST 2009

49er entering harbor, before tacking.

Thu Oct 29 16:25:11 EDT 2009, Montevideo, Uruguay

We've been busy working on a bunch of projects on the boat. Nothing really exicting, just a bunch of stuff that needs doing.

Tied up next to us on the dock is one of the Montevideo Pilot boats (pilots go out to meet big ships at sea, board the ships and help them into the port). The platform on the top of the boat is to allow the pilot to step off the boat and onto the boarding ladder of the ship.

Today was a pleasant, sunny, 30 degree (86 degrees Fahrenheit) day, and there was a photo shoot on the pilot boat. It seemed to warrant a picture (perhaps this just means I've been on a boat too long :) ).

The Case For Roller-Reefing
Tue Oct 27 0:00:00 EDT 2009, Atlantic Ocean

This is the first boat I've done much sailing on that had roller reefing (sails that roll in and out by pulling on ropes from the cockpit instead of going forward and raising and lowering them).

Previously, I did not think much of roller-reefing--it is expensive, complicated, adds windage and weight up high, and a big problem if it breaks. I discussed this with Yann, the previous owner, who said he wouldn't want to sail the boat without roller furling, due mostly to how wet one would have to get to handle the sails. At sea, you try to avoid getting wet as much as possible, because you often don't have dry clothes available to change into afterwards.

Now that I've sailed this boat a fair bit, I'm really glad it does have roller-reefing, despite the disadvantages mentioned above. Issuma goes to windward quickly enough that the foredeck (front of the boat) can be a very wet place, as seen in the picture, so being able to completely control the headsails from the cockpit is a really nice feature.

Sun Oct 25 6:38:56 EDT 2009, Montevideo, Uruguay

It seemed that almost every car in Montevideo was on the street last Sunday promoting the election to be held today.

Fri Oct 23 0:00:00 EDT 2009, Piriapolis, Uruguay

Ted steering off Piriapolis.

Thu Oct 22 0:00:00 EDT 2009, Piriapolis, Uruguay

Issuma at anchor off Piriapolis.

Thu Oct 22 8:13:28 EDT 2009 | George Ray
How is the new dingy working out? It looks like it gets a real workout in this anchorage. Did you keep the folding dingy?
Looks great!
Fri Oct 23 7:21:24 EDT 2009 | Richard Hudson
Thanks. The new dinghy is not working out yet...needs modification before it can be rowed usefully. The inflatable dinghy has several holes that are in the process of being patched. The folding dinghy is still the only one that gets used :).
Wed Oct 21 6:15:32 EDT 2009, Piriapolis, Uruguay

Piriapolis is a pretty resort town in Uruguay. It is popular among foreign yachts for its haulout facilities.

I stayed in Punta del Este for a day, where two of my new crew, Matt and Ted came aboard with the assistance of the ever-helpful Yacht Club Punta del Este. We then day-sailed in very pleasant weather to Piriapolis, then Montevideo (port of Buceo).

Sailing with experienced crew is a lot easier than singlehanding :).

Wed Oct 21 11:24:16 EDT 2009 | George Conk
Welcome to Matt & Ted.

Wish they had been there for the anchor flaling and the full force gale.

I suppose they'll have their chances in a maelstrom.
- George
Thu Oct 22 7:36:45 EDT 2009 | Richard Hudson
George, yes, crew would have been helpful during the gale and the anchor problems, and yes, I think they'll have their chance to see other gales.

Ben is now aboard also, so I have three crew!

A Full Gale
Mon Oct 12 0:00:00 EDT 2009

The picture is of the nice, downwind sailing conditions before the Force 9 (Severe Gale). I did not take the camera out or go to the bow while in the force 9 :).

After the anchor had been well-secured and I no longer had fears of it breaking loose, the forecast winds steadily increased. I was in deep water offshore, planning to cross the continental shelf (where the water is shallower) soon on the way to Rio de la Plata. The winds were forecast to be from behind me (NE) for a couple of days, strengthening to force 5, then 6, then 7. I felt it would be fine to be on the continental shelf for a force 7, but if it got to force 8 or above, it would be better to be in deep water, where the waves would be longer and less steep.

Despite really wanting to get into port quickly, I thought it would be prudent to stay in deep water in case the wind was higher than forecast. That was fortunate, as the forecast wind did increase to force 8 and 9 as the gale approached. The gale itself was force 9 for several hours, and force 8 for many more.

Gales are really not enjoyable...they are loud, wet and uncomfortable. I ran before the gale with a Galerider drogue, which is a kind of mesh bag that is designed to slow the boat down, not stop it. It was the first time I'd run before a real gale (previously I tended to heave-to), and the first time I'd tried using a drogue. It worked well enough, pulling the stern of the boat back when waves hit. Running before a gale seems to involve far more waves coming across the deck than heaving-to does, but seems a better way of handling bigger seas.

Everything on the boat held together, and after 18 hours the wind moderated and sailing became much more pleasant.

Mon Oct 19 14:42:35 EDT 2009 | yann
it seems that things are getting harder!!!

you can do it, and the boat can do it


Sun Oct 25 19:19:30 EDT 2009 | Paul Adison
Welcome Ben. Looking forward to following the trip.
Pleasant Sailing
Sat Oct 10 0:00:00 EDT 2009

I mentioned this has been an unusually busy trip. This has been due mostly to the number of things that broke. I wrote about the anchor breaking loose, and that was the worst of the problems, but there were others. There hasn't been a lot of pleasant sailing on this trip, but here is a picture of sailing in very nice conditions, late in the afternoon. As we get farther south, the days get longer, and the sunrises and sunsets are slower.

In benign conditions and safe waters, it is nice to have one glass of wine in the late afternoon. After spending all day hove-to, in an adverse current, going slowly backwards while securing the anchor, after I got sailing again, I decided it was time to celebrate the anchor being secure with a glass of wine.

As I was sipping the wine, it occurred to me that I was having a glass of wine when the windvane broke, and another when the fisherman sail ripped. I had not had time to fix either yet.

The wind continued to lighten, then died entirely. Frustrated that all day we had gone nowhere but about 10 miles backwards (due to the current), I decided to drop the sails and motor for a while.

Sails down, I turned the key and found that the engine would not start! Clearly, drinking wine was causing the boat to break! :)

So, no wind, no engine, current taking us in the wrong direction, past sundown, and being safely far offshore, the sensible thing to do was sleep--sail if the wind came up, otherwise just work on the engine in the morning. I tried to sleep, but kept thinking about the engine, and realized I could probably get it started with a boost from another battery. I did so, it started, and I motored for an hour to charge the starting battery. There is a master off switch for the starter motor on this boat (an odd thing to have), which I had forgotten to turn off when I left port, and that drained the battery.

After motoring for an hour, the wind came up, and we were able to sail again. The following day I was able to fix the fisherman and the windvane self-steering.

For the rest of the trip, I had no more wine, and nothing else broke :).

Sat Oct 17 21:43:42 EDT 2009 | Ben
Richard, you are clearly going to have to switch to rum!!! LOL
Anchor Secured for Sea
Fri Oct 9 0:00:00 EDT 2009

The anchor being lashed on by ropes and, later, chain to avoid the ropes being cut by the sharp edges of the anchor, as below, was enough to get through the near gale. No weather more severe was in the forecast, but I always try to have a plan for what to do if the wind gets two Beaufort Forces higher than expected.

My plan for the new anchor, if we got into a Force 9 (Severe Gale), was to disconnect it, unlash it and jettison it at sea. I really didn't like this idea--of throwing away a new and expensive anchor--but considering the damage that a loose anchor could do to the boat (especially the roller furlers, which I would need working later to continue sailing), if we encountered a severe gale, jettisoning the new anchor could be the least bad option.

As it was a light headwind day, the waves were quite small, and it was feasible to think about carefully moving the anchor and securing it better. I hove to and spent most of the day preparing and moving the anchor to the position in the above picture. I drilled a hole in the fluke and put a shackle in so I could tie a rope to the fluke and rotate the anchor up where it could be better secured.

The sharp edges of the Raya's shank were rapidly cutting into the plastic roller. By putting the anchor into a position where it only contacted steel, I hoped to avoid it cutting the plastic more (which would cause further movement as it cut away its support). So, after almost a days work (one needs to be very careful and ready to move quickly to work with an anchor on the bowsprit at sea as the boat is still going up and down in the waves), the anchor was well supported and secured with enough chains and ropes connected to shackles that I felt it was ready for a severe gale.

A few days later, there was a severe gale (Force 9), and I was very happy to have better secured the anchor, as it did stay in place. More about that later.

Tue Oct 13 16:55:21 EDT 2009 | george Ray
double OUCH!
Glad you got things sorted out for now. Rocna is in the process of developing a version of their anchor that disassembles into two pieces. it would make it a lot easier to have a BIG anchor and be able to stow it inside and down low when your out at sea. The Dashaw's keep a BIG Rocna in the bow of their boat but the cage that holds it is a beast. Seems that the Rocna 2-part should be hitting the market in the very near future. At the rate your voyaging you might just stop off in NZ and pick one up.

Dashaw bow:

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