KatieKat 2002 Cruise Chapter Twelve

KatieKat Year-End Musings

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GoBackTo 2002 Cruise Chapter Eleven
26 December 2002 Year-End Reflections
27 December 2002 Year's Highlights and Lowlights
28 December 2002 Boat Perceptions Update (Rev. 01/03)
29 December 2002 Feedback Request
GoTo 2003 Cruise Chapter One

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This is the twelfth 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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26 December, 2002 -- Year-End Reflections

[Map OzNZ] Map of our cruising area. As a rough idea of the distances involved, from Brisbane to the upper end of New Zealand is about halfway across the United States.

As I write this in California I realize that I've left the logbook on the boat and thus don't have the exact figures in front of me - we've now covered well over 11,000 nautical miles on KatieKat, and I have at least another 1000nm under my belt on other Seawinds. This year we sailed from Brisbane, Queensland, all the way down to the southern end of Tasmania, spent the winter around Hobart, and then sailed up the coast past Brisbane and Fraser Island up as far as Lady Musgrave Island/Reef off Bundaberg, then back to the Brisbane area before crossing over to the northeastern end of New Zealand North Island via Lord Howe Island (all these places identified on the above map). In addition, I helped sail another Seawind 1000 from Sydney up to the Gold Coast (about where Pt. Danger is shown on the above map), upwind and against the coastal current all the way.

Unlike last year, where most of our passages consisted of off-the-wind sailing in sheltered waters, this year we had more than our fair share of upwind slogs and tumultuous conditions, despite the relatively benign passage from Australia to New Zealand. Most notable were the Bass Strait (between Australia mainland and Tasmania) crossings, especially the return from Tasmania in July (middle of winter).

Further down this page I provide my annual update as to how my experience with the Seawind 1000 reconciles to my pre-purchase perceptions.

Perhaps here I need to reiterate that I am merely a private Seawind owner and have no connections with Seawind Catamarans - you'll note that I even poked a little fun at them when I saw my name appear in one of the Seawind ads. Richard Ward and the Seawind factory team have been very responsive to our requests for advice and a few replacement parts. I continue to be impressed by the quality and the improvements to the boats coming out of the factory, and I'm still very happy that I chose the Seawind 1000 for all the cruising we've done to date.

Other than our anti-climactic crossing of the Tasman Sea to New Zealand via Lord Howe Island, our most notable experiences this year were the Bass Strait crossings and the living on our tropical boat in the cooler winter climate of Hobart, Tasmania. Suffice it to say that those were positive experiences - click here to read about wintering in Tassie. The other notable experience was that we were actually able to package four additional blokes (with two racing bicycles and over 500lbs of their gear) into the boat and sail up the coast together and still remain friends - try that on any other 33' boat!

Our cruising plans are being influenced by events back home and around the world. We've learned never to say what our longer-term intentions are, because we like to remain flexible. For the near-term, the situation with our house (which we had rented out) is significantly influencing us. We are unfortunately finding out that factors back home outside of our immediate control are what cause us the most concern while we are cruising; nevertheless, we understand how incredibly fortunate we are to be able to live our cruising dream and are most thankful for that.

[Xmas Joe Family] [Xmas Kathy Family] [Boys Didgereedoo]

Christmas happily shared with our respective families. Son Alec and nephew Jonathan were having a blast with their Australian didgeridoos.

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27 December, 2002 -- Year's Highlights and Lowlights

As I said last year, one tends to remember the best and worst situations, events, locations, etc., and so here I'll try to summarize our highs and lows for the year. -

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28 December, 2002 -- Boat Perceptions Update

I just re-read last year's assessment of our perceptions comparison (2001 Perceptions Update), continue to agree with it, and here will elaborate on a few things that come to mind.

What I love about my Seawind 1000
I'm beginning to sound like a broken record, but the three most important elements to us are:
1. Protection afforded by the bridgedeck main saloon hardtop and awning, while providing 360-degree visibility while seated.
2. Sailing qualities recognizing that this is a cruiser and not a raceboat
3. Centrally-located main cabin bunk and galley for minimal motion at sea
January 2003: I just revised the above because I realized that I had left off what I take for granted on our boat: its sailing qualities!

Liveability -
The boat, with our custom accommodation modifications, continues to provide wonderful living quarters for the two of us, with enough room for occasional guests. The winter in Tasmania alleviated a lot of concerns regarding living aboard a tropical boat in a cooler climate - it worked out wonderfully as long as we could plug a couple of small heaters into dock power. For cruising in a cold climate some type of heater in each hull would be necessary. I'm currently working on a design for a double-insulated fabric main saloon enclosure which would provide improved sealing from the elements in snow.

Sailing Qualities - Corrected June 2003 -
Inasmuch as I've previously discussed this topic extensively, I'll focus here on upwind performance. This year we experienced a lot of windward work and I was able to better assess the boat's upwind performance, recognizing the penalty resulting from the windgen and carrying bicycles up on deck. The boat's pointing ability is primarily determined by sea state: in smooth water (the ideal is smooth water and an 18-knot breeze) she points quite well, and for optimum VMG the tacking angle is around 90 degrees. As the water becomes rougher, the mini keels slowly start losing their grip and as the winds get higher the windage drag of the structure and bicycles and windgen all result in the boat starting to fall off. By the time we're trying to punch into rough water and 25+-knot winds the tacking angle is up over 110 degrees. June 2003 Correction: The tacking angle stays around 90 degrees; however, the effective angle over the ground is increased due to windage, reduced keel lift, and (significant!) adverse ocean currents resulting from the headwinds. If I'm really intent on going upwind then I'll start up one of the engines and immediately improve the boat's pointing ability by 20 degrees (a huge 40-degree improvement in tacking angle!) - this motorsailing (at fairly low revs) to windward works extremely well as it also keeps the boat moving nicely through the waves. While there's no substitute for a long deep daggerboard to optimize windward ability, the fact that the boat can sideslip is actually ok with me since that keeps the boat from tripping over the keel in a beam sea. Quite frankly, I'm not interested in long upwind passages ("gentlemen don't sail to weather") and will play the weather forecasts to avoid them. As we figured out from our New Caledonia passage, if we're going to windward in the open ocean and the winds are up in the 30's, then we'll deploy the para-anchor to stop the boat dead and simply settle down and read a few books until the weather changes - we're cruising, not racing! During the latter portion of our New Zealand passage we did indeed beat upwind for extended periods of time - the winds were generally light and we had plenty of time to tweak the sail settings to optimize the VMG - had to be careful, as using the GPS VMG feature will also be influenced by any ocean current. I remember being very pleased with the boat's upwind performance in those conditions, with actual over-the-ground tacking angles of less than 90 degrees.

Engines -
The 9.9 Yamaha four-stroke engines each have over 800 hours on them, with each engine having an overall average fuel consumption of 1.14 litres/hour. When passagemaking, if needed, I only run one engine at a time. Knock on wood, they both continue to run wonderfully, and I'll replace their water impellers at the next haulout, having only done it once since new. As I've said before, they are wonderful on a boat this size and I even wouldn't hesitate putting them onto a larger boat in lieu of heavy diesel inboards. Their major attributes are lower weight than a diesel and the ability to retract them when sailing. The only negative is that the fixed engine cowlings do indeed protrude very low and get whapped often by wave action.

Summary -

For cruising as a couple with occasional guests, I very consciously chose our 33' Seawind 1000 after establishing my requirements and doing my homework comparing boats from around the world. After 2-1/2 years and over 11,000nm I am still very happy with this decision. Every boat is a compromise, and from my perspective our own (modified) Seawind 1000 has the key elements very nicely balanced.

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29 December, 2002 -- Feedback Request

I realize that I jabber way too much way too often, but rationalize it by thinking that our families are interested in hearing about our travels. Nevertheless, I'm sure that there are things that I can do to make your visit to my website a better experience for you. Please click here to send me an e-mail, as I'd appreciate hearing your suggestions.

Happy New Year!

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