Yesterday was a difficult day with grey skies and much wind from the side which is the worst. Many times I had to go on the wobbly foredeck to work the centerboard and sails. This is not how it should have been done. It should have been done from the safe position of the fore hatch. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. At first everything looked fine, then in the last days when the timetable was set, came a rush. The forepeak got filled up and its intended use as a safe place to handel the sails and centerboard was temporarily sacrificed. I eat myself to more space was the idea.
Surprisingly even after eating for now more than a month it seams as if I have as much provisions as when I left Ireland. I still have to work from the outside from the foredeck. Unfortunately because I do not feel completely safe there in the dark when the boat is healing rocking and yawing. Then the night was difficult to but in a different way. I am now in the really shipping lines for traffic to and from the Gibraltar straight. Some was coming very close. It is difficult to know if the crew is seeing me or not and I hate to bother them by calling them on the VHF. Everything went well and I awoke to a wonderful day. The wind had calmed down and the sun shone brightly from a clear blue sky. It was wonderful and very nice and warm. Then the horror of it, the port rudder did not work. It had jammed and was blocked in a position. I tried everything but to no avail. What to do? I did some thinking. I was sailing south. The hot morning sun did strike the port side. I have inside steering and no wind-vane or autopilot. The pipe steering lines goes to my bunk. I do not want any water there, specially not seawater. The trough hull connection consist of a piston mobbing in carbon fiber. To each end of the piston the steering rope is attached. Thus breaking the wicking effect and making it waterproof.
My boat is very narrow only 104 centimeter. She floats to deep and is very tender and rocky. I therefore use a lot of antislip tejp. They come in two varieties, black and white. To my yellow boat I thought black looked best. Black do get very hot in the sun, in fact it is uncomfortable to touch it. The heat produced by the black antislip tejp had so heated the piston that it had expanded and jammed in the pipe. I have now pealed it of. Now the piston is cooled and it seams as if the steering once again is a working construction. I have wanted to mention this as an example of how two things at first not connected to each other can interfere and cause big problems. One can not new things without testing them. Problem is here at the latitude of Gibraltar the sun is much stronger than in Sweden
I have a nice time out here. I spend my time working on Next Design which is coming out most satisfying.
Update to sailing report 6
I still have a problem.To day again the sun is shining brightly. Again the port rudder is blocked. I was happy yesterday. I thought I Had solved the problem by removing the black anti slip tejp. I hope I can come upp with a solution.
Update 2 to sailing report 6
The rudder problem gets worse and worse. Now in the afternoon when the sun comes in from the other side also the starbord rudder is blocked. I cannot steer my boat. Its a bad thing. If a ship is heading for me I cannot move out of their path. I try to find a solution.
Today I have been at sea for 4 weeks. I have now left the gloomy weather up north and it´s sunshine all day with a flat sea. Wonderful. This is what I like. The only problem is progress. My average speed so far is in the order of 1.4 knots. I had hoped for a minimum of at least two knots average speed. The last days have been even slower, probably not more than a total of 5 nautical miles in the right direction. It looks as if today is going to be the same. I enjoy my time out here and spend the time designing Next Design and yes – she is going to be faster and have a lot of innovative features.
Since Sunday afternoon I have been running under bare pooles before a persistant gale. Even without sails we are averaging more than two knots, luckily in the right direction. Exlex is behaving very well but the hatches are dogged and I use my safety belt inside the boat.
These small reflections arrived yesterday from Yrvind
A difficult night with one more gale and plenty of ships, included fishing boats, the worst because they have no destination and right of way and I have some problems to maneuvrate. The steering system will be much better on next design which I am working on. Things are calming down so I am working up enough courage to go on the foredeck to raise the daggerplate and set a sail. The original intention was to handel them from the forehatch but there is to much stuff there now. The solution is to eat the food and rearrange things. Progress is as you can see slow but I am nearly finished with Bay of Biscay.
Ipad is fantastic. I have open Europe, Africa and America charts and three routes to Dingle, Cape Finistare and Madeira. That way I can triangulate my position. I use very little food and water, eating only once a day for health reasons. Bay of Biscay was in its June gloom mode but now after 2 weeks the sun is appearing.
Got shock today. Port rudder did not work. Was blocked. At first impossible to understand unless the piston that keeps the saltwater on the outside of the inside steering ropes has got stucked. I went back and applied force to the tiller. Likewise blocked. Finally I looked down in the water, the rudder blade had rotated 90 degrees forward. Some idiot had made a bad knot. Not easy to fix but with the help of a rope I got some leverage and it swung back to its proper position. It was a bit rough and I got my shirt wet. However after fixing the problem I thought that the idiot deserved a new shirt. The old one been on for more than 3 weeks, but the moral is good.
Yrvind can send short text messages. Below some snapshots that arrived today. Exlex is an experiment and Yrvind is testing some of his boat design ideas. Part of the navigation he manages with ipads. He also has Wikipedia in six languages down loaded on them.
Now put one the ohter front sail. Strange, self-stering works fine with just one sail. Completely unbalanced. A set of preventants from where the front edge of the boom is pulling backwards.
Finnish solar cells Naps on the middle deck are coroding. Blows well, maybe 10 m / s. Has taken down the sail at the back. Just one sail up. Best to be careful.
The ropes I steer the boat from the bed with and the new winch invention work great except on the port side where the ropes and power cables are in blissful mess. Also spoon bow is a succe. The lifts go so well in the waves. Quite a breakthrough. Now I have also got a lot of crawling to get the wool socks on, they start to heat well.
Been fishing boats out of Ireland. Starting now getting into traffic Eng Channel – America AIS picks them up a long distance 30-50 miles and provides CPA.
Very cramped and rank. The fore cabin full of stuff, so I handle the sail and the boat center board from the deck. Will be difficult balance. Right now strong northern wind. Going like a spear. She rolls very much down wind. Depends on the weight. Better on Next Design. It’s cold and gray weather. Exceptional course stability.
Really good with ipad. Great with Wikipedia & Navionics. Working at Next Design. It has shrunk to 6.8×1.12×0.2 deep. The haul is a happiness hit. That I can haul the sail both at the masts and at the back of the hatch works great. Good to be tested for the next design.
Next friday 9 February 18:00 2018 I will give a talk at the Göteborg boat show.
I will talk about my upcoming non stop voyage to New Zealand, the boat Exlex and my search that started 1962 for a good boat.
After the talk if there is some in the audience with a positive interest in small cruisers there will be time to go elsewhere and have an more informal talk.
Click once or twice to enlarge.
Everyone much welcome.
Postscript. Dress code: Casual.
Exlex has started to live a life of her own. Now she wants plumbing. That was not planned, but she has reason, water handling will be much easier. With plumbing I can be busy doing other things while the rainwater fills up my jerry cans.
To get the water into the jerrycans I use hoses. There are two through deck fitting one forward and one back leading into the aft and forward compartments, from there, fittings connects through the waterproof bulkheads to the jerrycans in the holy sleeping room, holy in the sense that there is no direct holes to the outside.
The jerrycans have a very tight fit and are very secured in place. It would also be awkward to handle the 20 liter containers in the small cabin the solution is to use air pressure to transfer via hoses the water to one liter bottles.
The picture is from September 19 2015, the idea older. Now I have this idea to use this techniche on Next Design to transfer water to the windward side. This technique is not suitable for a big boat but for my boats I think it is appropriate. Back to the present, here are some details on Exlex plumbing.
I have now done four lifting ropes for Exlex. The dynema ropes each have a breaking strenght of ca 8 tons. I do
not think I will have any use of them. They can be used for lifting the boat on to trailer and launching the boat with a fork lift. Other ropes can be used for that purpose.
A situation may arise at sea when a ship comes alongside and for some reason likes to pick up Exlex and haul her out of the ocean and put her on its deck, then it will only be a matter of doing a knot and she be attached. As I said I do not think they will be used, but if they are handy.
The photos below is for the main anchor a 10 kilo SPADE.