September 30, 2011
The proportion of singlehanded sailors has increased dramatically.
Before now a singlehanded sailor was a rare bird. Now here in Porto Santo there is at least 5 singlehanders may bee 20% of the fleet.
Modern electronics like RADAR, AIS and radar transponders has made the sailing much safer. Now there is always someone on watch and that someone keeps an outlook much better than any crews ears and eyes. On a dark rainy night many times you can not see even half a mile. Now 20 – 30 miles is no problem
Also navigation and sailhandling has been revolutionised. To find your position even in a dark stormy night is only a matter of looking at the plotter.
Also now the sinlehander has an engine to his help and it is the boats most powerfull propulsion system, many times stronger than the sails. It has an endurance of hundreds of miles. And of course it can push the boat right against the wind. No need to tack.
Sattelite phones and compact shortwave radios lets the sailor communicate whith people a shore.
I am sure much more is to come like electronic charts with tide currents and weather. Even systems to navigate your boat from your house ashore may not be impossible for the whealthy in the future. With helicopter delivery, then the sailor can chose the most pleasant parts of an ocean passage. When bad weather arrivies he cals for the helicopter and puts the boat on selfsteering, then when the bad weather is gone the sailor let the helicopter put him back onboard and takes over the sailing from the automatic systems.
September 29, 2011
A VISIT TO THE HOSPITAL
Soon after I arrived here a bug bit me a dark night, a mousquito or a flee or something. I do not know.¬† A few days later a blister developed on the spot. The blister grow and grow instead of getting smaller and smaller as I had hoped.
As my late mother used to say; always respect pour freinds and small wounds. Therefore this morning I took a walk to the hospital.
Outside the hospital I hesitated. Was the blister really big enough to bother the doctors. Also would I catch a new set of desises and finally I realised that the hospital wisit would cost me so much money that my icecreamconsumption would have to be severly reduced.
I am glad that I finally went in. Everyone treated me very kindly. Not only that, the microbes had multiplied and spread now they also had spread beyond the blister and invaded the whole leg below the knee.
The big blister was punktured. The pus was squesed out. Antibiotica was applied and I was told not to shower.
In this heat several showers a day has helped me to survive the heat.
After arguing a bit with the doctor he allowed me to continue with my showers if I put plastic around my leg.
After thinking a bit I bought household wrapping plastic and when back on the marina wrapped it around my leg to prevent the water to reach the punctured blister. The showering was succesful.
I have to be back at the hospital on saturday. I feel that the trouble and the money is well worth it.
It is not a good idea to start a long ocean voyage with microbes in the body.
NO WEATHER FOR SAILING
The weather situation seems stagnant. There is a lot of depressions out there moving the Acores out of its place. Also right here there is a high pressure with nearly no winds.
What wind there is comes from the south and is much to warm for a swede.
Too keep reasonably cool I been in the water polishing the hull. A stationary boat attracts slime, no good. I hope to be on the move soon.
Unfortunatly I most probably will be here an other week.
Best regards Yrvind.
September 28, 2011
Yrvinds Bris in Madeira 1973
Then there was plenty of space. Now the harbour is full. Things have changed.
September 27, 2011
COUNTDOWN TO DEPARTURE
Yesterday the last of three packages for my crossing to Martinique arrivied. This morning I filled up with the exellent Porto Santo water. I have now about 70 liter. More than enough for a leasury philosophical voyage. I will take my time enjoying the beutiful ocean life.
I hope the crossing will take a long time. I prefer the life on the ocean wave to life ashore.
I am testing the SPOT tracker to make shure you can follow me. It works.
I have rearranged things aboard. The anchor and the fender are now mowed from the forehatch to the back on the outside. I have mowed some sails to the forehatch. This has brought the center of gravity further back. Good for down wind sailing.
I will do some more diving scrubbing the bottom more and buy some more luxurary privisions like cakes and chocholate.
Before leaving my webbmaster told me I must use Mac not PC. The Mac gives less trouble but it uses a different system for pictures. It will take me a long time to relearn. Thats the reason for no pictures.
I hope to have learned to the Mac photo system to the next boat.
The wind is from the south it seams like a big depression is uppsetting the usual weather pattern. In the end of the week it may bee back to normal and then I hope to be ready to leave.
September 23, 2011
A DAY IN PORTO SANTO
To day I have written twenty postcards to freinds. I took a walk to the willage and posted them at the postoffice.
I also bought 3 extra five liter jerrycans with water. I have eight before. Now there is 55 liter water plus some bottles in my boat for the passage more than enough. If all goes well the ferry from Madeira will bring two boxes of grapefruits. The local resturant have promised to keep them in their fridge untill departure. The grapefruit is a gift from the commodore of the Madeira Yachtclub Vasco Bra’s. Manuel Silva and his wife has helped me with all the details here. Everyone here is extremely freindly and helpfull including the authorities.
Nelson The marina manager drove me to the dentist and waited and translated while a touth broken at sea was fixed.
The day before yesterday I dived and scrubbed the hull. I got a bit tired as I did not have any swimming fins on my feet also it was four years since I had been in the water swimming. It was when I sailed to Florida with my 19 year old Captain.
Most things are in place. Only the Garmin map of the West Indies is still somewhere lost in the Madeira post system.
I hope to leave in about a week.
I am longing for the sea. The life for me in port is more boring than the interesting days at sea. I am looking foreward to maybee two peacefull months at sea. Eating my musli and sardines drinking my fill of water, sleeping peacefully through the quite nights. Day after happy day coming, seemingly without end.
I am surprised at all the big boats that turn up here in Porto Santo. By far, I am the smallest. Most of them are longer than 40 feet and I can assure you they cost a fortune, first to buy, then to fit out, then upkeep and running costs. They also have to spend much time here fixing their complex machines and waiting for spare parts and lifting their boats out of the water to fix rudders, propellers and engines.
Often they fly the ARC-flag.¬† ARC is an Atlantic Rally. Between 200 and 300 boats start at the same time from the Canaries in the end of November bound for the Caribian. During the passage they have to daily report their position to the organisers.
ARC is an algoritm or cook book. Its a procedure where you are told how each step are to be taken. You do not have to make your own decision based on your own knowledge. It is like long division or baking a cake. If you do everything exactly according to the book the result will be excelent.
Like cooking and long division you will never know why certain steps are taken. Therefore the the people on the big ARC-boats are surprised and confused to see me in my little boat happily and unafraid sailing the same ocean as they. They foolishly think I do something dangerous. They tell me that the trade wind is not yet established. The do not study pilot and routing charts. Therefore they do not know that the trade wind blows the whole year and that its limets mowes north and south with the sun.
But why should they acquire knowledge. It is very much easier to follow the algoritm or cook book and do what they are told by their experienced leaders, people who know the ocean crossing buissness much better than themself. They listen to the professionals becouse an amateur can never be as good at something as a professional, on the other hand a professional can never enjoy something as much as an amateur. By definition amateur means “lover of”.
What pleasure a person gets from doing what he is told escapes me.
Of course and unfortunatly no one can buy happiness and satisfaction. The big ARC-boats do not experience the same joy as me who has designed, built and sailed my own boat. Therefore I perplex them. I try to explain, but fail. I can not make them understand that I am completly happy in my small boat. On the contrary all their modern conviniences and plenty of space would make my life dull and boring.
September 21, 2011
A VOYAGE OF PLEASURE
Problemsolving gives me great pleasure. When I started to build the present boat my intention was to sail down to Mar del Plata in Argentina. From there east to west round Cape Horn to Valdivia in Chile from there to Japan.
However as building progressed she was becoming heavier and heavier and when launched I found that the mast was to far foreward, my mistake, but when experimenting, not always everything goes according to plan, but thats the pain of progress. The sea is the biggest touchstone.
However the boat was not useless. In fact, despite not being perfect, she is nice and pleasant. Therefore I decided to sail her across the Atlantic in a voyage of pleasure.
If a problem is to difficult, it is frustrating, if it is to easy it is boring. The metaproblem of solving problems is to find the right amount of difficulties. Designing, building,and sailing boats has for me the right kind of difficulties. It gives me great pleasure. Therefore I am still at work designing a small funtional boat capable of rounding Cape Horn from east to west, non stop from lat 50 south to lat 50 south, the classical clipper ship definition of a Cape Horn rounding. During the passage from Ireland to Madeira I was able to solve many problems which I had been working on for decades. I was able to do that by looking at them from different angles and going back to the fundamental principles.
A big big problem still exists. The life expectancy for the Swedish male is 78.59 years and I am 72.5 years old. That would give me 6 more years according to the laws of average. However I never been average. I never smooked. I never tasted alcohol not even beers and I am in eccelent physical shape.
Therefore even if it will take time to earn enough money to build the new boat, build it and sail it I have good hope of succeding.
September 19, 2011
IS 1.7 KNOTS A BORING SPEED
During my latest passage I averaged 1.7 knots. During a previus voyage From Baltimore Ireland to St Johns in New Foundland in an other 15 feet boat I averaged 1.9 knots. Many people ask me about my speed. When I tell them the true I see horror written al over their faces.
I am sure they think “how can he stand it” “It must be terrible to getting nowhere”
For me the ocean is a sacred place. I really enjoy being out there in the wilderness far from people and the mad hurried civilised life.
Once you are out there having a few thousends miles in front of you even if you are making 5 or 8 knots it is going to take weeks. Such long times will be boring. Even flying to Australia is boring. That is unless something happens unless your days are filled with something, unless you have a feeling of speed and progress.
On my small boat I feel the movement of the boat, I hear the water rushing by the hull, costantly every moment. I am close to the water. Also there is no dull moments. I have plenty of books with me. I work on the design of my next boat, which is a very rewarding and complex problem. As i have no selfsteering or autopilot I have to use my wits to balance the boat to the present conditions. Succeding in that also gives satisfaction.
So many thoughts and actions fill my days that there is no time to be bored.
It takes about a month for the body including nervcercuits to adabt to the life on the ocean wave. I argue that most people spend so short time at sea that they never really learn to enjoy it.
Also when with a fast boat they reach the other shore, what are they going to do? Sitting in a marina is that more fun than being out at sea doing the sailing.
For me 1.7 knots is not boring on the other hand going faster is not boring either.
September 15, 2011
TRIALS IS TEN HOUERS ENOUGH
Before leaving Ireland for Madeira the boat had only been sailed ten houers. Some people think thats to little.
However the conditions in the Baltic does not make a good test ground for a deep water boat.
For me the testing was done on the Bay of Biscay. The boat is more than enough safe. She is very strongly built. She got good hatches and a good heavy weather ventilation system.
The disadvantage of testing the boat in the Atlantic is that it is far from my workshop. Still I was learning much. I already knew that the boat was to heavy and that I wanted to build a new one.
The offshore milieu is very inspiring and I have created a fantastic new design, something I do not think I cold have done ashore.
Like my previus boats I was able to make YRVIND.COM selfster without windvane or autopilot.
Previus boats I have succeded with are 40 feet DUGA, 20 feet BRIS, 19 feet aluminum BRIS, 15 feet amfibius BRIS and 27 feet MAJA a production boat.
In fact when leaving Kinsale in Ireland a boat gave me a tow out of the harbour. When he had let go of the towrope and I had got up the sails YRVIND.COM just keept sailing strait if I remember right for about three days or more. the course was hard on the wind. The easiest, but even on other courses like downwind i very light conditions I had ny problems to make her keep her course.
September 14, 2011
ARE SMALL BOATS DANGEROUS?
1962 in August I left Sweden on my first sailing voyage. The boat was 4.75 meter long and had two masts. Last week I arrivied at Porto Santo in a boat 4.8 meter long it has two masts. The new boat is 5 centimeter or 2 inches longer than the first one. For nearly 50 years I have been building and sailing small boats and reading yachting magasins and sailing books and from my experience I can guarantie that a small boat if well done is much much safer than a big one. Unfortunatly there are few small boats built for the ocean. And why should it so be when there is much more money in big boats. The true is however small boats small problems and thats no rocket science.
Many people look at my boat and tell me that I am very brave to sail such a small boat.
I laugh in my moustache, thinking I am not brave but the people looking at my boat are. Many of their boats are more than 40 feet long and weigh many tons. Fanny enough the boatbuilding industri in conjunction with open and covert advertising in yachting magasines has succeded in convincing people that bigger is safer.
The opposite is of course true. Even a child can understand that the bigger boat you have the more dangerous it is. The forces on a big boat is enourmous and if you lose control of them they can cause much damage.
To control those big forces the boat has to be equipped with complicated machinery and of course the more complicated a boat and its equipment is the bigger the chances are that something will go wrong.
The bigger a boat is the less control you have over it becouse there is always a lot of places often hidden where unwanted things happen often in the other end of the boat.
A big boat in heavy weather have a lot of things that can be thrown around including its crew.
Of course there is more money in big boats therefore salesmen do their best to convince worried women that they are safe. Few people tell the truth about the safety of small boats.
Of course it is nice when girls look at you and think that you are a brave man. Therefore when people stand on the dock admiring my bravado I do not usally tell them that it is my boat wich is safe and their boat is dangerous. Still there is no lack of stories in yachting magasins aboat big boats coming to greif.
Kinsale in Ireland is not far from Fastnet rock a later version of the disastrus race 1979 was going on the same time when I left Ireland even this year boats had to be rescued. I chose to mention Fastnet race becouse I was passing through those waters at the same time as the racing fleet.