This webpage contains a description and photos of some of our activities during the first part of our passage from Australia to New Zealand, namely from Southport, Queensland, to Lord Howe Island. As an adjunct, I am including (on a separate webpage) the daily passage reports which I had sent out via HF SailMail - Click here to read the Passage Reports.
|GoTo KatieKat 2002 Cruise Chapter Eight|
|18 November 2002|| Southport Departure||Mixed|
|21 November 2002|| Southport to Lord Howe Island||Yachties|
|GoTo Passage Reports||Yachties, maybe|
|GoTo KatieKat 2002 Cruise Chapter Ten|
This is the ninth webpage of our cruise covering the year 2002. This is one long continuous page, and clicking on any of the underlined dates above should jump your screen to the appropriate section on this page (or you can use the scrollbar on the right to navigate up and down this page). Joe Siudzinski
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Well, the long-anticipated day had arrived, and we finally were taking off from Southport, having cleared Customs the previous evening. At the last minute we were joined by my good friend Adam who flew out from Boise to give us a hand.
Nasty weather on the day prior to our departure, accompanied by this rainbow, preceded the stable conditions in which we departed.
Group photo, just prior to departure.
Leaving Southport. Gosh, are we low in the water! Thanks for the photo, Dave.
This passage was unbelievably beautiful. You can read my Passage Reports if you'd like details about this portion of the trip.
One of the items I was focusing on was getting SailMail to work - this system uses marine high frequency (HF) transmissions between the boat and dedicated shoreside stations for transmitting and receiving brief e-mails. My system consists of a HF transceiver, a Pactor IIe modem, a serial-USB interface cable to the Macintosh which is running a Windows emulator to run the PC-based AirMail program. An adjunct to this system is the ability to receive and display graphical weather images (called grib files, and they provide predicted wind direction, windspeed, barometric pressure and isobars) specific to our sailing area, and are a great supplement to the weatherfax images we're receiving. I had the whole thing working before I left, but a last-minute system upgrade threw a monkey wrench into the system - my fault, as I'm still struggling with Windows, being a Mac person since 1984, and a S-100 bus CP/M person before then.
Happily the weather was good, so I could concentrate on getting this system running. This photo shows the main saloon table/nav-station before I consolidated some of the instruments to make more room on the table. The headphones are used to listen to the HF.
Weather is what consumes so much of my attention while passagemaking. The left picture (below) is that of an Australian weatherfax whereas the right picture is a snapshot of the grib file at about the same timeframe. In the weatherfax, note that we are sitting in the middle of a high. On the grib file you'll notice the computer mouse arrow pointing at Lord Howe Island, and some of the information calculated for that arrow location is its geographical position, the windspeed, wind direction, and barometric pressure at that time. The grib file also contains a multi-day forecast for this specific area. Cool stuff!
Weatherfax and grib chart examples. The quality of the weatherfaxes improved later after I moved the receiving antenna.
All right, so what else do engineers do to amuse themselves while in such great weather on a passage? Right, we pull out the test equipment and get it ready to measure things. What my friend Adam had concocted was a scheme for answering the following questions:
1. What is the loading imposed ON drag devices (anchors, para-anchors, and drogues) BY my Seawind 1000 catamaran in response to wind and wave action?
2. What is the effect of rode length and rode type?
3. What is the loading imposed BY my drogue at various boatspeeds for various throat diameters?
4. What thrust do my two engines develop (at what rpm) when I back down on the anchor which will then translate into a minimum sustainable windspeed if anchored in sheltered waters?
In order to accomplish this, Adam had put together a very accurate load cell which is built into a shackle capable of measuring up to 15,000lbs(!) and yet has precision right down to weighing a bag of groceries. A precision power supply and bridge circuit feeds the versatile HP(Agilent) data logger, with the stored information fed to a PC and graphically displayed there. As the wind had come up briefly, we decided to start out by measuring something and so volunteered the mainsheet and preventer to be our initial guinea-pigs. All this was to get the instruments checked out so we could perform the measurements later on if things got serious enough to deploy the para-anchor or drogue. By the way, we still need a method of determining and recording wave and swell height, but that's another issue. For the record, with a wind of 12 knots at 90degT to the boat and a boatspeed of 6.5knots, the typical mainsheet load was 250lbs with a peak load of 550lbs induced by boat motion on the 1.5m swells.
Here, Adam is holding the load cell shackle. Note all the instrumentation on the table and the heavy-duty submersible wiring (gawd, the wires bundle is heavy!).
The left photo shows the preventer being tested while the right photo shows the mainsheet and preventer eased up and the tackle taking the full mainsail loading.
Here's an anecdotal demonstration of boat motion during the passage: Piggy is a little wooden decoration which lives on top of the TV in the master stateroom on a little piece of rubber non-skid. Piggy happily stayed there throughout the voyage and never toppled over, despite many instances of significant boat gyrations. Love that master bunk area, as it is located at the center of the boat's pitch axis and indeed has minimal motion, allowing one to sleep soundly and without leecloths.
For you non-sailors, to keep from falling off the boat at night or in nasty conditions or if no one else is up and one needs to go forward on deck, we wear a safety harness. A tether attaches to this harness, and the other end of the tether attaches to something called a jackline. Adam, ever the inventor, came up with another scheme for running a jackline on the boat - this one obviates the necessity to disconnect/reconnect that mine does. See the photos below. A single line runs from the aft center of the overhead canopy to the mast. One simply attaches the tether to this and it gives one the freedom to move all the way forward without disconnecting. The orange plastic float merely prevents the clip from rubbing on the hardtop.
New and improved jackline. The third picture shows the jackline attachment. The loop in the end of the line is superfluous, but was a nice termination for the end of the line (note the double bowline). The line dangling forward of that is used as a grab-handle as well as storage for the safety harness tether.
The Seawind cockpit has a number of drainholes for rainwater, in addition to large scuppers at the aft end should something significant slosh in. The problem with the drainholes is that in a seaway water occasionally squirts up into the otherwise-dry cockpit, despite protective covers on the underside. Salt is hygroscopic which in practice means things stay damp and clammy if in contact with saltwater, especially at night - we really try to prevent its migration down below. So, when its not raining and the seas aren't threatening, it's a good idea to cover those holes. I forgot to buy some drainplugs, so a holey (holy?) pair of socks was cut up and donated to the cause, held in by a spent winecork. Actually, this is a dumb solution because the sock itself became damp with saltwater, but at least it kept the water off the deck and was ok as long as you didn't step on it. Oh, the color of the deck is really a subdued gray - I fiddled with the colors and contrast to enhance this photo.
Moving right along with fiddly ideas... the Seawind's outboards have a restraining latch that develops a rattle at some resonance points. Pulling on the latch release string silences the rattle. The photos show an unobtrusive attachment for a ball bungie to pull that string. I utilize the holes which had been previously used to mount the latch/lock - the two upper are for a piece of string and the two lower for a short bungie (the lower small bungie keeps the lid down, actually unnecessary unless the boat is upside down). The second advantage of having the engine tilt release lever pulled while motoring is that the engine will nicely tilt upwards without damaging anything should it whap into something in the water. Just have to remember to release it when docking because that latch keeps the engine from lifting when in reverse.
Ball bungies are SO much better than ordinary shockcord with hooks.
Normally, I think of passagemaking as a great natural opportunity to lose weight. With Adam around, we were treated to these sumptuous meals - after all, he loaded us up with five shopping-carts full of food which we had to consume because NZ quarantine inspection was going to confiscate it. More food photos to come. Burp.
Adam loves our barbie!
Finally, we're approaching Lord Howe Island in the middle of the Tasman Sea (or is it the bottom of the Coral Sea?). Anyway, it's always exciting to see land loom up in front of the boat where it's supposed to be, even if nowadays with the GPS it's a no-brainer. Zip wind. In the left photo the athwartships line pre-tensions the shrouds to keep them from twanging in a heavy seaway (it makes a good stabilizing grab-line as well). The strap I'm holding is the overhead jackline, still handy to stabilize oneself but now no longer used as it has been superseded by the jackline on the hardtop. The white pole is the HF antenna for receiving weatherfaxes, which I subsequently relocated to improve signal quality.
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