Crossing Bass Strait This
17 September 2016 | About 95 miles NE of N tip, Flinders Island
Last night about 11pm put one reef in the mainsail as the almost following breeze of about 18 knots was just tending to overpower the self steering gear. Since then have been heading a little to starboard of the direct course to Tasman Island as there is a chance the wind will back to the NW later today. With this combination of main and jib the yacht is very comfortable in the almost following 16 knots though perhaps a little under powered, but working on the philosophy Less is Best this suits me to a T.
All systems are sweet with solar and wind keeping the fridge cool and the batteries topped up for lights and navigation equipment.
A few words about how L'Eau Commotion has been set up. This could not have been achieved without the constant help and advice of my good friend Hank Kauffmann, who as well as being the designer of the Northshore 38 also built the main hull plug and all the moulds for deck, cockpit and interior fit out. A true craftsman.
It was found that the original lead filled cast iron fin keel left the vessel a little tender so Hank designed the mould for a lead shoe which deepened the draft by 200mm and weighs 230kg. Steve Watson, President of the Northshore 38 Association gave permission to have this shoe cast by Central Foundries In Sydney who soon had this despatched to Brisbane. This perfect casting was soon married up with just a smear of epoxy filler and the 7 SS bolts, 5/8" in diameter were soon tapped into the cast iron keel to give a truly professional finish.
The original sloop rig has been modified to accommodate an inner headsail, referred to as the staysail on its own ProFurl roller reefing. Fletch of Boat Harbour Marine Scarborough made up the hardware for this as well as installing all new SS standing rigging and Dyneema running back stays to stiffen the rather tall 7/8 rig mast. The sail itself was made by Adrian and Jesse of Swift Sails, Scarborough who also made me a " Code Zero " on its own furler and stiff reefing stay, which is easily hoisted off the small bow sprit and just as easily stowed away in the fcsl.
On the stern was mounted a Windpilot Pacific Plus self steering vane, a sophisticated but at the same time rugged piece of equipment which with its own independent auxiliary rudder steers the boat well independently of the main wheel operated rudder.
I have also installed an electrically powered Katadyn E40 Desalinator which, drawing only 5 amps, should run comfortably off the solar panels or if the wind is ahead of the beam off the Silentwind. This HAS been tried and comfortably puts out 5 litres per hour of sweet tasting fresh water.
The original gas stove was replaced with a two burner Maxie metho stove which I am right now about to grill me a cryovac Porterhouse for lunch.