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Wed Dec 22 19:01:11 EST 2010, Toronto, Canada

After a total of two hours (including the turn) to get thru 300m of 3-4" (8-10cm) ice, we were free to exit the harbor.

Once out of the harbor, we had a pleasant afternoon sail with mild temperatures, gentle winds and light snow.

My neighbors at the marina took pictures and video of Issuma pushing thru the ice. There are pictures at
Don Proctor's Infrequent Photo Blog,
and video on Joe Berta's

Thu Dec 23 9:36:53 EST 2010 | Brian
Nice winter shots, you should have hung around Nain, no sign of any ice yet up here.

You and the crew have a merry festive season.
Fri Dec 24 20:30:44 EST 2010 | Richard Hudson
Thanks, Brian. I'm surprised to hear there's no ice yet in Nain--perhaps I should have stayed n Labrador :). Merry Christmas.
Sat Dec 25 9:20:06 EST 2010 | george ray
Glad you arrived safely at your winter destination. ... What heater are you using? .... Wonder if there is a way to leave the bowsprit and reinforce the bobstay and attachments. Perhaps have an alternate higher winter attachment point for the bobstay so that it would carry the furled sail and furler weight and windage and additionally only allow winter use of outer headsail as drifter and you would then more normally keep first reef in the main. when back in the tropics or on way to South Georgia you would move bobstay to the summer position.

Ian McCoglin who is on Woodenboat forum and Brion Toss forum is a good thinker w/ experience in these things.
Sun Dec 26 8:28:22 EST 2010 | Richard Hudson
Thanks. I have the little Sigmar 120 drip-feed diesel heater in the pilothouse, a Dickinson Alaska drip-feed diesel heater up forward, and some oil-filled electric heaters. Am still working on the heating system...the above is not enough heat for the temperatures here.

That's an interesting idea of moving the bobstay up and keeping the main reefed and not using the outer headsail during the winter. It wouldn't be a lot of work. Hmmmm. In the very short term, I'm planning on disconnecting the bobstay, then reconnecting it before setting sail. Thanks for the suggestions.
Sun Dec 26 13:57:03 EST 2010 | yann
Hello, I agree that the idea of Georges is intersting, but you have to remember that the bobstay is taking the strength of the mainstay, and the mainstay takes all the strength of the top of both masts; I am afraid that both masts would bend backwards upper than the second it possible to install another stay between the bow and the top of the mizzen mast? I don't remember. friendly.
Tue Dec 28 20:29:46 EST 2010 | Richard Hudson
Its hard to say if its feasible to put a stay (or temporary rope) from the top of the foremast to the bow. To use a ring that is already there to attach to, it would get very close to the anchor, and probably touch the anchor when it is stored there. Another attachment point could be put in farther away from the anchor, then it would probably work out ok.
Sat Jan 1 5:54:03 EST 2011 | George Ray
Yann has important point about forestay loads.
(1) If you don't use the outer jib and keep the main reefed then a bobstay that is shifted up seems worth thinking about a bit more.
(2) If Issuma's stem is strong enough you could theoretically beef up the bowsprit, the bobstay and the bobstay raised attachment point/area and let it go at that. I wouldn't know who to ask about a gut feeling for what you can get away with except Yann. (3) You might want to some trigonometric calcs to see how the compression loads on bowsprit and tension loads on the bobstay increase as the bobstay attachment moves up and angle between bowsprit and bobstay decreases.
Sat Jan 1 6:08:37 EST 2011 | George Ray
For attachment of temp stays consider lashing stainless rings using nylon twine/cord. (a) When there are sharp edges you can lay in a piece of soft plastic like milk jug wall and to be fancy you would sand it and glue in w/ 5200. (b) Lash in stages with locking hitches at each stage to prevent one chafe leading to complete unravel. (c) paint the finished lashing to keep the sunlight off and it should be near permanent. (d) When you do the arithmetic to figure total strength the turns of the lashing add up really quickly. Not unusual for 10 full wraps to be 3-4 thousand pounds breaking strength.
Sun Jan 2 3:05:03 EST 2011 | yann
happy new year to all of you,
I read Georges, I understand what he means
the problem is that the diameter of the bobstay is the same than for the mainstay, and the load is at least the double when you compare the angles; this means you would have to increase its size if you want to lift it; and about beefing up the bowsprit, I wouldn't like the idea to increase the weight of the bow! friendly
Sun Jan 2 13:48:16 EST 2011 | Richard Hudson
Thanks for the ideas, George and Yann.

The bobstay is 13mm, the outer jib stay is 10mm.

I tried disconnecting the bobstay at the top, it didn't work out so well, as it got banged up a fair bit at the bottom when breaking ice. Disconnecting at the bottom to break ice and reconnecting to sail is looking more difficult than I first thought, due to how far down in the near-freezing water one has to reach from a dinghy to re-attach it.

At the moment, I have the spinnaker halyard rigged as a temporary stay from the top of the foremast to the bow. When the wind dies down (its too cold to get much work done aloft now), I'll see about putting something stronger in place.

I'm working on the load calculations, but its been a long time since I've done this math :).

The best answer seems to be to remove much of the bowsprit. While that might be straightforward if I moved back both the outer jib and the inner jib, that means two sails to modify, two stays to shorten, and
Mon Jan 3 17:45:59 EST 2011 | Jean-Luc Arsenault
Hello Richard, Why not replace the bobstay by a heavy steel flat bar? That will only transfert the load to the bowsprit.
Wed Jan 5 10:21:55 EST 2011 | Richard Hudson
Jean-Luc, thanks for the suggestion. It would be relatively quick and easy to replace the bobstay with steel plate. The problem I see is that it would be putting extra weight in a bad place, so it isn't so good for sailing.
Sat Jan 8 23:31:11 EST 2011 | george ray
You could add a triangle of steel plate welded to the stem whose bottom edge is about the same as the line of the existing bobstay. The fwd top corner of the plate would have a hole and accept the clevis pin of the now shorter bobstay. This way the angle of the bobstay is the same but the steel plate can cut the ice. The steel plate can be 1/2" thick and the weight added to bring the bobstay up a foot would be less than 20 lbs. (1/4" steel is 10lb per sqr ft)
Mon Jan 10 18:34:29 EST 2011 | Richard Hudson
George, thanks for the suggestion. The weight sounds light enough, but I wonder if 1/2" steel plate would be strong enough to handle hitting the ice at an angle (in the case of a glancing blow to a piece of ice or in the case of making a turn in ice)? The boat would have to be hauled out to weld the plate on (since there are no tides here to dry the boat out on), so I guess I have lots of time to consider it.
Steady Progress
Wed Dec 22 18:59:13 EST 2010, Toronto, Canada

After getting thru the 90 degree turn, it got much easier to break the ice. The problem with Issuma in breaking this type of ice is that the bobstay (the pipe structure in front of the boat is called the bowsprit, the wire that supports the bowsprit from the bottom is called the bobstay) is low enough that it sometimes cuts the ice, instead of the hull riding up on the ice and then using its weight to break the ice. The bobstay supports the masts via the jibstay, so, even though I wasn't using much power (to reduce strains), it is not that good for the bobstay to be cutting ice.

Issuma is loaded heavily, and floats lower than it would in seawater (because freshwater is less buoyant), so the bobstay hits the ice more than it might otherwise. I think the solution is to remove the bowsprit (not a simple thing to do, it involves moving the jibstay back and shortening the jibstay and the jib and probably needing to compensate the sail area change forward by removing the roach from mainsail).

Thu Dec 23 15:05:47 EST 2010 | Yann
you are right Richard, the bobstay is really suffering, one can see it on the video!!!!
something could eventually break, but nobody knows if it is the bobstay, the main stay , the backstays or one of the masts! hope everything is OK :) happy christmas (should I say christmast?)
Fri Dec 24 20:32:46 EST 2010 | Richard Hudson
Thanks, Yann.

I think next time I go out I will disconnect the bobstay, then reconnect it if we use the jib (last time the jib furler line was frozen so we couldn't unfurl the jib anyway).

Merry Christmas
A Slow Turn
Wed Dec 22 18:56:13 EST 2010, Toronto, Canada

From where Issuma is (was) docked, getting out of the marina involves a 90 degree turn shortly after leaving the dock. This turn is quite difficult to do in ice, as it is hard to apply a lot of power in turning. Having two propellers helps a lot, but it still took an hour of back and forth and chopping at the ice with boathooks etc from the bow, to make this turn.

The auxiliary rudder was removed (you can see it on the dock), as I wanted to try breaking the ice in reverse as well as forward, and felt that might put too much of a strain on it. Issuma can only break very thin ice in reverse, as otherwise the ice is too close to the propellers (which would be very expensive to have to fix or replace). I think the main rudder (steel, controlled by hydraulics) is strong enough to back down into ice (slowly) without straining it.

Thicker Ice
Wed Dec 22 18:53:03 EST 2010, Toronto, Canada

It is getting more difficult to go out sailing. The ice in the marina is now 3-4" (8-10cm) thick. Issuma has gone backwards and forwards to break a path thru the ice.

Smooth Ice
Sun Dec 12 19:32:53 EST 2010, Toronto, Canada

Customs cleared me into Canada the morning after I arrived, and then Martin and Magdalene came aboard for the sail to the marina I'd arranged a berth in (Bluffers Park Marina).

It was a nice, pleasant, relatively warm (ie, above freezing) day with a light tailwind. We motored out of the harbor, then had a nice sail to near the marina, doused the sails, raised the keel most of the way and motored into the marina.

My assigned dock in the marina was a long way from the entrance, so after entering the marina, we had about 300m off thin ice to plow through. This was no problem, the ice only being about 1/2" (1.3cm) thick. In the picture, the boat is reversing towards the dock, and you can just see the ice that it has broken.

Mon Dec 20 20:21:54 EST 2010 | Magda
Richard - it was great meeting you and having the privilege of sailing with you. :) It was cold but definitely worth it. :)
Tue Dec 21 20:26:40 EST 2010 | Richard Hudson
Magda, it was great meeting you and Martin. Glad you enjoyed the sail.

Someone once told me it is never too cold to sail :).
Cold Sailing continued
Sat Dec 11 17:52:23 EST 2010, Lake Ontario

After dawn, things got easier, as they often seem to with daylight. Several of the ropes thawed out and became easier to work with. The wind steadily increased to a Force 5 as we approached Toronto. The waves washed the salt (that I'd earlier spread on the deck to melt the snow) off the deck (but were not high enough to wash the salt off the pilothouse roof).

Dropping the sails and motoring into Toronto harbor was straightforward. A cheerful harbor police officer asked me if I'd really come from Whitehorse (now that I'm in Canada, everyone knows where Whitehorse is (far north and inland, on a big river in the Yukon Territory), where I once lived and where the boat is registered. While preparing docklines, a boat which saw me singlehanding came out and offered to help with the docking. It is always nice to have help when docking.

Tue Dec 21 23:14:58 EST 2010 | bowsprite
I am SOOOOO happy I know where Whitehorse is. Now, i would like to say i've been there. Working on it!!!
Cold Sailing
Fri Dec 10 10:00:00 EST 2010, Lake Ontario, New York

Dawn along the southern shore of Lake Ontario.

After several days of shovelling snow while waiting for a favorable wind, the forecast indicated the break in the weather I needed was coming. The wind would not be favorable for long, so I left at night, just after the strong headwind died down, before it was to pick up from the south.

I motored out of Rochester harbor, then anchored immediately outside the harbor to fix some engine problems. After a couple of hours, I was underway again, motoring with some sails up.

The temperature was staying below freezing all night, but forecast to steadily rise as I went west along the shore as the southerly wind picked up. I had put salt over the deck to help melt the snow and ice that was on it. The salt helped, but the deck was still slippery in many places. I normally am attached to the boat at all times at sea via a safety harness that connects to a rope (jackline) that runs along the deck on each side of the boat. The trouble with this system in cold weather is that the rope running along the deck froze into the deck, and couldn't be used.

While I've done a fair amount of daysailing in winter with other boats, this was the first time I had gone sailing in below freezing conditions with Issuma. It was a learning experience. The rope clutches (which hold the ropes after you tighten them with a winch, so one winch can be used for multiple ropes) don't really work with frozen ropes, as the rope diameter gets bigger, so it jams when trying to get it through the rope clutch. This could somewhat be worked around by using smaller ropes than what the rope clutch is designed for, but that means that in non-freezing conditions, the rope clutch will not hold as well (because the rope is too small for it). I hadn't realilzed that when I installed the rope clutches.

Mon Dec 13 5:40:00 EST 2010 | georgelewisray
Anxious to read the post that says your safely in harbor digesting the lessons of sailing Issuma in freezing conditions. That will be interesting and surely there are many places a people who will contribute to the discussion. Please share the lessons/discoveries.
Mon Dec 13 21:49:15 EST 2010 | Missy
Yes, hoping to soon hear you are safely in Toronto!

Wed Dec 15 8:14:31 EST 2010 | Miles A
Looks downright chilly, Richard. Hope you are keeping warm at night. I was sailing on LIS on Saturday; it was a balmy 43. Fair winds!
Thu Dec 16 15:21:32 EST 2010 | yann
Please Richard, send news as soon as possible, how was the last leg before Toronto?
Thu Dec 16 15:56:57 EST 2010 | Richard Hudson
Thanks for the comments. Sorry for not updating the blog. I've been in Toronto for almost a week now, putting a lot of work into the heating systems aboard Issuma. It's been between about -3C and -13C for the last several days. Haven't had time to do much else, no internet access working in the marina and the Iridium phone is no longer powering on so no satellite email. In the next few days I hope to catch up on email and the blog.

Fri Dec 17 12:25:01 EST 2010 | yann
nice to know you are alive, I nearly called the Coast Guards!
Sat Dec 18 17:55:09 EST 2010 | Richard Hudson
Thanks, glad you didn't call the coast guards :).
Getting Colder
Tue Dec 7 18:32:55 EST 2010, Rochester, NY

In Rochester, Shumway Marine had a big enough (40 ton) travelift so they helpfully hauled Issuma out and fixed the problematic thruhull, and welded over (closed permanently) three other thruhulls, so they could not cause problems over the winter (when the boat may be frozen in) and replaced some zinc anodes and we painted the bottom of the boat.

After launching, in a mad rush to finish up enough of the rigging work to be able to leave on the fair wind that I had for only a short period of time, I left in mid-afternoon. I was still rigging lines at sea, before I could set all sails. Days are short in December, and the Coast Guard stopped me for a safety inspection, which took up more of the daylight time that I had to finish things underway. In the evening, with much still to be done, I turned back and returned to Rochester to await better weather.

Better weather was forecast only after a week of strong headwinds and snow. I've been shoveling the snow twice daily for several days now--more keeps coming. Forecast is for the headwinds to die down, then become favorable late Thursday, so I have a little longer to continue getting ready to sail.

Fri Dec 10 17:50:55 EST 2010 | Missy
Just looked up the weather in Rochester....hope you've gotten away or will tomorrow. Burrrrrr Wonder how long it will take to cross to Toronto.
Take care.
Sat Dec 11 14:10:33 EST 2010 | will
having grown up in the rochester areas, i know what the snow demons fabricate in terms of snow: they are prolific in their output. great snow pic though.
Up With the Masts 4
Tue Dec 7 18:18:28 EST 2010, Sodus Point, NY

The masts went up in the morning and early afternoon, then I moved to a slip in the marina for the gale that was coming that night. I was busy attaching the rigging wires (the new ones were cut to fit after the masts were in place) until dark. I spent a few more days in Sodus Point, working on tuning the rigging and reconnecting electrical wires, and starting to get sails attached.

I needed to haul the boat out to fix a thruhull problem, and the marina in Sodus Point was closing the entire week for Thanksgiving, so when I had a light, favorable wind, I motored (and had one sail up--the rest weren't ready yet) to Rochester.

Up With the Masts 3
Sun Dec 5 0:00:00 EST 2010, Sodus Point, NY

Yard crew putting the foremast in position.

Mon Dec 6 8:11:13 EST 2010 | Jesse
Been enjoying 'following' your journey north. Snow flurries here today for first time. Keep thinking I went the wrong way when flying back from sunny and warm mid 80 temps of the BVI, and then I check your blog and feel a tad envious of your journey to the north. Nothing beats being on the water on a good sailboat, nothing. Kudos to you and Issuma as always.
Tue Dec 7 18:05:23 EST 2010 | Richard Hudson
Jesse, thanks. I have to admit, though, that the BVI sounds appealling at the moment.

We have no shortage of snow in Rochester, NY, and more is still falling. Snow adds to the challenges of sailing, if not so much to the enjoyment of it :)

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