SV Kiviuq

A journal of the sailing vessel Kiviuq and her owners Marilou Kosseim and Alan Teale

Vessel Name: Kiviuq
Vessel Make/Model: Van de Stadt Madeira 46
Hailing Port: Inverness
Crew: Marilou Kosseim and Alan Teale
About: Marilou is a Canadian national, retired physician and Consultant Obstetrician/Gynaecologist. Alan is a British national, retired veterinary surgeon and animal molecular geneticist. Both are currently UK-based and members of the Ocean Cruising Club.
Extra:
Kiviuq is a van de Stadt Madeira 46 in alloy, with round bilge and deeper draft options. The 46 is the scoop stern variant of the van de Stadt Madeira 44, the scoop being developed by the builder, Alexander Beisterveld of Beisterveld Jachtbouw in Steenwijk, Netherlands. Kiviuq is rigged as a [...]
13 September 2019 | Shining Waters Marine, Tantallon, Nova Scotia
05 September 2019 | St Margaret's Bay, Nova Scotia
22 August 2019 | Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia
13 August 2019 | LaHave Islands, Nova Scotia
04 August 2019 | Yarmouth, Nova Scotia
28 July 2019 | Head Harbour, Campobello, New Brunswick
11 July 2019 | Belfast, Maine
07 July 2019 | Belfast, Maine
06 July 2019 | Belfast, Maine
13 June 2019 | Belfast, Maine
01 June 2019 | Burnside Lodge
15 September 2018 | Belfast, Maine, Nova Scotia
30 August 2018 | St Peters, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
18 August 2018 | Bay La Hune, Newfoundland
10 August 2018 | Isle aux Morts, Newfoundland
04 August 2018 | Baddeck, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia
30 July 2018 | St Peters, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia
26 July 2018 | Spanish Ship Bay, Eastern Shore, Nova Scotia
14 July 2018 | Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia
06 July 2018 | Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Recent Blog Posts
13 September 2019 | Shining Waters Marine, Tantallon, Nova Scotia

Dorian and the aftermath

We rode out Hurricane Dorian at anchor in Schooner Cove together with four other foreign boats that came in for the same purpose. All the boats rode safely to their best bower anchors, I suspect on long chain scopes of 10:1 or more. We certainly did. It seems that the latest consensus among the cruising [...]

05 September 2019 | St Margaret's Bay, Nova Scotia

Waiting for Dorian

It was going to happen sooner or later. A hurricane is heading our way. After devastating the Abacos and Bahamas and brushing Florida, Dorian is now close E of the coast of the Carolinas, and the current forecast is that it will go right over Nova Scotia on Saturday/Sunday moving quickly in a NNE'ly [...]

22 August 2019 | Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia

Downward and upward

I realise there is quite a lot of catching up to do since my last post, which left us in Grand Manan, so apologies if this becomes something of a travelogue.

13 August 2019 | LaHave Islands, Nova Scotia

Boarded!

After St Andrews it was time to begin making our way across the Bay of Fundy towards Nova Scotia. This we decided to do in two stages. The first involved retracing our wake across Passamaquoddy Bay and around the southern end of Deer Island, then up Head Harbour Passage to the northern tip of Campobello [...]

04 August 2019 | Yarmouth, Nova Scotia

Things that go bump in the night.

From Campobello we sailed southabout Deer Island, an area renowned for its cetacean populations (and thus also populated with whale-watching boats), into Passamaquody Bay and up to St Andrews. Here we picked up a mooring just 150m or so off Market Wharf, the large and well-appointed town wharf.

28 July 2019 | Head Harbour, Campobello, New Brunswick

Going Downeast

We left Belfast just over a week ago on Saturday 20th July to sail down Penobscot Bay with the intention of spending a night at anchor in Seal Bay, Vinalhaven. Seal Bay is beautiful, well protected and not that far from the popular yachting centres of Camden and Rockland. Perhaps for this reason it was [...]

Biggles' mental breakdown

11 July 2019 | Belfast, Maine
Alan
I have been told by a retired commercial airline Captain that aircraft autopilots are traditionally christened 'Nigel' by the crew. The tendency to give names to items of equipment also applies to boat crews, especially when the items concerned perform crewing functions. Autopilots and windvanes certainly do that by taking care of the tedious and sometimes arduous work of steering the boat in a direction of the crews' choosing, allowing the crew to perform other vital functions when underway such as snoozing, contemplating the wonders of the universe and eating cake. They do this without tiring and without complaint, sometimes for days or even weeks on end - that is the windvane or autopilot steering the boat, not the crew eating cake.

In our previous boat, Montaraz, the windvane steering was given various names, ranging from some that can't be used in refined company when it played silly b.....s, to the favourites 'The Red Baron' and the less formal 'Hermann', both of which reflected its national origin. 'Hermann' needs no explanation, it was just a name, but 'The Red Baron' perhaps justifies something by way of explanation, especially for some younger blog followers. The Red Baron was the nickname given to Manfred von Richthofen, the most successful World War 1 German fighter pilot ace; a superb aviator, a great patriot and a fearless combatant who accrued an unparalleled string of air victories before his loss in action not long before the end of the Great War.

'Biggles', or James Bigglesworth, was a fictional contemporary of von Richthofen, and the flying ace hero of a long series of novels aimed at young boys of the time like me. Written by W.E. Johns, new books in the series were eagerly awaited and then feverishly consumed in the manner of the Harry Potter books which they pre-dated by several decades. In retrospect I believe the Biggles novels contributed in no small part to development of my reading skills, which I well remember needed all the help they could get. I am forever grateful that my state primary school library was never slow in acquiring copies of new releases. So, at least for the purposes of this blog post, let us refer to Kiviuq's electric/hydraulic autopilot as 'Biggles'.

As of my last post we were pretty sure we had identified the cause of Biggles' breakdown. The prime suspect was the resistive rudder feedback unit, a sensing device used by Biggles to determine the position of the rudder relative to the centred position. The data provided by the unit are a key factor in Biggles' decision-making when he determines which way, and to what extent, he needs to steer the boat to obey the system's electronic commands. Failure of the feedback unit was a very plausible cause of Biggles' apparent catastrophic mental breakdown, especially after an hydraulic airlock was all but ruled out. But, eventually, Marilou and I did what perhaps should have been done earlier, and checked the electrical integrity of the coil in the feedback unit that varies the voltage sensed by Biggles, and which is rudder position dependent. With the aid of our Fluke resistance meter, and multimeters don't come any better than Flukes, we quickly determined that the coil was functioning normally.

This finding shifted suspicion onto Biggles' brain. Had Biggles suffered a stroke, or was he in a continuing epileptic state? If the former, therapy would be fiendishly difficult at best and could have easily necessitated a total brain transplant; a complicated and costly undertaking even if a compatible brain were still available. If the latter, an ongoing epileptic state, might it respond to shock therapy? With nothing to lose at this point, and with some invaluable guidance from a retired B&G engineer in Florida, we decided to go for it. Biggles underwent a total electronic reset. Signs of recovery were rapid, excitement and optimism grew, and a dockside test of function revealed no fault.

A dockside test needs to be followed up with a sea trial to re-programme a number of parameters, such as the rudder midpoint, rudder gain, rate of turn, etc.. So it was that yesterday morning saw Kiviuq out on a sunlit, placid sea in Penobscot Bay making some very strange and unpredictable manoeuvres. Reprogramming was completed in an hour or so, and subsequent testing suggested Biggles had made a full recovery. It was a happy ship that docked again in the Front Street Shipyard in good time for coffee and lunch.

Before the sea trial we had already ordered a replacement rudder feedback unit, and this will be kept among our collection of spares. It could be needed one of these days. In the meantime we hope that our Biggles will survive and excel when the action hots up, and justify his naming after the wonderful hero of my boyhood.
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Kiviuq's Photos - Main
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About & Links

IMPORTANT NOTE: In Map &Tracking above you can see where Kiviuq was located when we last reported a position to the blog. But please be aware that position reporting sometimes goes down. This can be due to a technical problem on board, to a problem with the satellite system or to a problem with the blog site. Therefore...... PLEASE NOTE THAT IN THE EVENT THERE IS NO POSITION REPORTING THIS SHOULD NOT ON ITS OWN BE TAKEN AS AN INDICATION THAT KIVIUQ AND/OR HER CREW ARE IN DIFFICULTIES. Technical/electrical problems are by no means rare at sea in relatively small vessels.