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Issuma
Ship in the distance
Richard
Mon Apr 13 10:00:00 EDT 2009

On the right, just above the rail, is the ship Mol Bravery, crossing six miles ahead. Have seen many ships this trip, they are easy to deal with mostly due to AIS.

Fortunately, have not seen many fishing boats so far. Have been avoiding the banks where they are likely to be working as much as possible. Fishing boats usually don't have AIS transmitters, the smaller ones don't show up well on yacht radars, and there are all sorts of warnings about small unlit fishing boats near this coast.

Sunset at the foremast
Richard
Sun Apr 12 9:30:00 EDT 2009

The genoa is the sail in the picture.

I mentioned a vessel or oil rig called Andromeda yesterday. When I got closer and the mist cleared a bit, I could see it was a very large tanker, just sitting offshore in 3000 metres of water. I guess it is waiting to get to the loading dock at one of the oil wells.

View from the foredeck
Richard
Sat Apr 11 9:30:00 EDT 2009

The sail on the right in the picture is the trinquette or fore-staysail, the sail in the middle of the picture (the highest one) is the fisherman, and the left-most sail (low) is the voile d'etai or main staysail.

After a few hours of no wind yesterday, a light, favorable wind came up and has stayed since, making for pleasant sailing in small seas.

The oilfield area mentioned yesterday has been passed, and we are in deep (3000 metre) water, so there should not be many fishing boats around. Something very large and well-lit appears to be stationary about 12 miles east. Too far to be able to see what it is with binoculars, the AIS only reports the name of it (not position, course and speed like it usually does), Andromeda. Doesn't sound like a ship name. I didn't think oil rigs drilled this deeply, but maybe they do?

Sunset
Richard
Fri Apr 10 9:30:00 EDT 2009

Had great wind yesterday (picture is from a couple of days ago, in light wind), force 3-6 from behind. Sailing farther offshore now to go around a Brazilian oilfield where access is restricted.

Squall
Richard
Thu Apr 9 10:20:00 EDT 2009

The rain (the dark area underneath part of the cloud in the picture) ahead has a squall (sudden increase in wind speed and often direction) with it. When this is coming for you, you get down some sails to be prepared for the much higher wind that you expect the squall to have. After a few minutes, it is generally over, and you tend to have the same wind speed and direction as you did before the squall.

There is an old sailor's rhyme about dealing with squalls: When rain comes before the wind, topsail sheets and halyards mind When wind comes before the rain, hoist your topsails up again

Yesterday the wind varied from Force 0 to Force 7, as it was mostly a squally day requiring lots of sail changes. The wind direction was favorable, though, so that was nice.

Sunset
Richard
Tue Apr 7 20:50:00 EDT 2009

Have had a lot of light winds, mostly from ahead, so far this trip. While that has resulted in really slow progress, it also makes for a lot of pretty sunsets.

Wed Apr 8 9:28:43 EDT 2009 | george Ray
Would like to read some commentary about sailing north up the coast as you are. Prevailing winds, time of year, commonly done or not, availability of harbors of refuge etc.
Fair Winds,
George
Thu Apr 16 16:38:32 EDT 2009 | Richard Hudson
Thanks for the suggestion, I've added some information on the route to the latest entry.
The Fisherman
Richard
Tue Apr 7 10:00:00 EDT 2009

The fisherman sail is a four-cornered sail that sets high up, between the masts of a schooner. The name fisherman comes from the use of schooners for fishing off the east coast of North America, where fisherman would hang their nets to dry between the masts. Later, sails put up in their place were called fisherman sails.

The fisherman sail is one of the nice things about the schooner rig, as it is not quite as difficult a sail to handle as a spinnaker (the multicolored balloon-like sails generally set poled out), and gets sail area up high, where there is more wind.

Originally, the fisherman on this boat was set from a roller-furling rig on the aft side of the foremast. That never worked well, as the roller-furling rig didn't entirely fit the sail, and setting the sail involved climbing 12m up the mast to pull the sail out of the furler. Instead of using the roller-furling rig, I had slides put on the luff (leading edge of the sail), so the fisherman is slid up and down the foremast for raising and lowering the sail. Keeping the luff attached to the foremast makes it much easier to raise and lower the fisherman by oneself.

Because I was not using the original furling mechanism, I started setting the fisherman upside-down from how it had been set before (it fit the space now available better that way). This resulted in different parts of the sail chafing against the wires of the rigging. So I had more chafe patches put on the sail to prevent the chafe from damaging it.

In Argentina, I asked a sailmaker to change the shape of the top, so that it fit the space even better. I wanted a panel added to the top, so the whole sail would be bigger, as well as one top corner cut down so it would be possible to raise it to the top of both masts. The sailmaker pointed out it would be easy to cut down one corner, but difficult to add to the sail. So the corner was cut down and the sail made slightly smaller.

I'm experimenting with how high I want the sail now (highest for getting the sail where there is the most wind, but the higher it is the harder it is to raise it without anything getting caught), which is why it isn't quite at the top of the masts in this picture. Raising it up is also going to change where the sail chafes against the rigging wires, so will involve some new chafe patches. The dark line in the sail is where the sail has rubbed against the rigging wires. After sailing with this for a while, I'll have a new line in the sail to look at to see where to put the chafe patches.

Sunset
Richard
Mon Apr 6 10:00:00 EDT 2009

Sunset over Isla Gorritti, Punta del Este. The sun is being framed by the windvane self-steering gear platform.

This picture was taken about 785 miles back (click on map for current location).

Genoa modification
Richard
Sun Apr 5 10:00:00 EDT 2009

I mentioned getting the genoa made smaller yesterday. This sunrise picture shows the problem with waves hitting the foot (lower edge of the sail). The seas are not at all rough in the picture, the wind is light, but when the bow cuts into the waves, water is forced up and some of it still catches the foot of the genoa, which strains the sail and the furler it is attached to. Waves are not high enough in this picture to require reefing the genoa, but when they get a little higher, the genoa will need to be reefed (and the boat will go slower). Now that the genoa has been made smaller (cloth was taken out of it), waves hitting it are less of a problem than they used to be.

Ship crossing
Richard
Sat Apr 4 10:00:00 EDT 2009

Ship crossing ahead. The genoa (the forward-most sail) was reduced in size in Argentina to make it easier to use. The foot is now higher and doesn't catch as many waves (also doesn't block visibility ahead so much).

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