Today I uploaded a video on internet. It is self explanatory but a little clarification might not be out of place.
The praparations are now mostly done. Corona has caused a lit of disruption. I like to start my sail from a place with little marine traffic and close to open spaces. One such place and a beutiful one at that is Ålesund in Norway. At N 62° 28′ it is a high latitude place. The idea is to sail west round the Faeroe Islands and then south down to Saragosso Sea and spend time there until I run out of food in maybee November. Then to find a place to reprovision. Santa Maria in the Azores seams to be a good place. Few plans survive the first contact with the enemy but we will see.
I have a about 20 year old car that have not been running for over two years due to my bad economy. Our gouvernment have imposed a driving ban on her but I will try to start her tomorrow and try to get her past an inspection. Then I trail my boat to Ålesund. Frinds will drive car and trailer back to Västervik and when weather permits I be on my way hopefully within one month.
There is food and water in Exlex for about 120 days. I had hoped for more. Therefore my plan is to build a boat with better range when my economy so allows. In my spare time I scketch her. At present she is 7.2 meters long with a beam of 1.2 meters. Draft is 40 cm. She is a bigger wessel than I like on the positive side she has plenty of stovage and even a bunk for a small lady. There is also a flat space on deck 1.8 meter by 0.8.
She have a small 30X20 cm canard trimrudder that can be adjusted from inside.
She have a new type of ballasted centerboard 2.4 meter long that descends 20 cm to increase her stability a bit for windward sailing and help to prevent leeway.
It is of course a complication but life favors complication evolution is increadible complex. I might get away with it. Anywhay it is fun to experiment.
Thuse equipeded she can sail in 50 cm shallow water.
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To those that already have donated. A great thanks it helps an old pensioner a lot.
Living systems maintain a steady state of internal, physical, and chemical conditions such as body temperature, fluid balance, pH of extracellular fluid, the concentrations of sodium, potassium and calcium ions, as well as that of the blood sugar level. These conditions help organisms to functioning optimally.
When I design and build my boats I try do it in such a way that they keep their internal conditions of temperature and humidity in a steady state whatever the outside weather. Into this, for the sake of good seaworthiness, I also include the orderly, methodical and harmonious arrangement of all gear and stuff including myself.
At sea there is this deal between my boat and me. My boat gives me good internal conditions. That way I can be in optimal shape and navigate her to a safe haven. Thanks to this deal I do not have to worry when evil storms are raging, when waves in their terrible fury are battering my boat I am resting snug in my bunk reading a pleasant book.
Sure my boat and I in her will be tossed around by the waves but animals have since dawn of time been used to such quick movements and adapted. Do we get seasick when we are moving quickly when we run in broken terrain or are engaged in a fight on life or death?
We are not because the motion that causes seasickness is different. It is slow and unnatural. Lots of inertia is involved when a big ship moves in bad weather. Our genes have had no time to adapt to such movements that’s why some people get seasick.
Here are some of the qualities I have designed into my boats:
My boats are so strong that no matter how furious the storm is they will suffer no damage, not to their hulls, nor to their deckhouses or riggings.
My boats are waterproof at all angles of heel. Even when they are 180° upside down no water enters. They are as tight as a corked bottle.
There is a place for everything and everything is in its place, even after they have capsized.
The humidity and temperature in cabins is within a comfortable range.
As my boats have the above qualities I am safer in them at sea than on land. I also feel safe out there no matter what.
Not all sailors feel safe at sea. Same sailors are dead scare. When I 1980 cruised the Falkland Islands the islanders told me about a single hander who had stopped there on his way to round Cape Horn. He had kept procrastinating; there had always been one more thing to do. After months of delay the day to cast off had finally come. He was a nice man and his new friends where there to see him off.
He raised his sails and cast off and sailed away but after only half a mile he run into the opposite shore. The men could see no signs of life so after some time they went to investigate. They found the man dead. He had died of fear.
Death by fear is common in scary times. During world war two many lifeboats drifted ashore with plenty of dead sailors aboard despite fine weather and only a day or so in the lifeboat.
Same thing happened with the airplanes crews that parachuted into the North Sea. When the rescue boats found them a few hours later in their inflatable life rafts they were already dead, dead out of fear.
Over the years I have know several sailors that out of fear have refused to leave port, in Madeira and Canary Islands and other places. Of course they did not say so but they always had some ridiculous reason not to leave just then and so they kept delaying until it was to late.
I do not fear fear because I have my trusty boat to which nothing can happen. That is a wonderful thing.
How do I achieve this? It is a complex problem. It has taken me many years to figure it out partly because I had to unlearn much of what the grown ups have been telling me. Here are a few of my rules.
First rule, small size is fundamental to strength and safety. Science has known this since Galileo who lived from 1564 – 1642. His square cube law says that the weight of a structure increases by the cube of its scale while its strength only increases by the square of its scale. Example, if you double the scale of a structure its weight will increase eight times but it will only become four times as strong. This is why bridges and buildings get more and more difficult to build the bigger they become until it is impossible to build them any bigger. To build a small bridge on the other hand is child’s play. If you want something to be strong, keep it small. Do not trust the grown ups. Trust fundamental engineering.
Second rule, I use my sandwich-structured composite. It gives me insulation, therefore the temperature and humidity in my cabin is fine. It gives me buoyancy therefore my boat cannot sink. It gives me strength and that combined with her small size makes my boat unbreakable.
Third rule. I make my boats waterproof. How this is achieved is a bit more complicated to explain. Here are a few details. All my deck hatches have deep gasket’s and are bolted down in heavy weather. That way even when boat is upside down they let in no water.
My ventilation system is also waterproof. Fresh air is ducted from one side to the other then down to the bottom of the boat were a dorado box separates any water from the air. The dorado box drains into the center board case.
Everything remains in its place, nothing brakes, no water enters, and soon my boat is back on even keel, therefore there is no reason to worry when the boat is upside down.
Illustration Pierre Herve
Fourth rule. I have a place for everything and everything is in its place. This includes myself. In my bunk and at my eating place there are safety belts that I use. They keep my fixed in my desired position.
Fifth rule. My boat has a positive stability range up to 180° of heel. It is accomplished by designing her so that the center buoyancy is always to lee of the center of gravity. Before I set out on voyage I do a rollover test.
Video showing roll over test.
If you pay attention to the above simple rules you can have a cheap and safe boat that can take you to most places in the world. The idea of homeostasis is as old as the beginning of time.
Mitochondria are a good example of how an organelle has found a peaceful life. As I understand it, long time ago there was no or little oxygen on earth. Then cyanobacteria started to produce oxygen causing the great oxidation event, which in turn caused many spices to die out. Oxygen is a terrible corrosive poison. However Mitochondria use oxygen to burn fat and carbohydrates and as a byproduct ATP is produced. ATP is concentrated energy.
A cell once swallowed one of these mitochondria. The mitochondria ignored that she had been swallowed and continued to live inside the cell as if nothing had happened.
As she was eating the dangerous oxygen and producing energy the cell that had eaten her was very happy. The cell got rid of the oxygen plus it got energy. And the mitochondria were happy because inside the cell she had a safe place with plenty of food.
Today you and me have hundreds of mitochondria in almost every one of our cells, still the mitochondria is a stranger to us because she has her own genes.
When sailing the oceans it is important to believe in oneself and not to trust the grown ups. It is important to design for safety and logic instead of rules because the rules of production boats as specified and made into law by the EUs Recreational Small Craft Directive severely limits the seaworthiness of boats. Category A Ocean does not require that a boat be engineered to survive any stronger winds than a force eight gale. It is well known that out on the vide ocean it is not rare for the winds to exceeds force eight. Nowadays an alternative for a safe boat is to call for help, but that’s not my strategy.
I have mentioned mitochondria because I used the idea of homeostasis when designing my boats supply so that they can create a safe environment like the cell supply mitochondria with a safe environment. No person can cross an ocean by himself but with the help of a small functional boat we can live in a safe environment and sail between the continents. We humans must do this in a sane sustainable way.
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Somehow I hope to leave Sweden end of June. How depends on Corona but I find a way. Most of the food and equippment are now stowed.
Below photo of raincollector that will supplement the 125 liters on board. I use about a liter a day.
I now spend much time watching the internet to be updated on Corona.
I saw a video from Italy on an intensive care unit. The Doctor told the reporter: As you can see most of the patients hera are obese.
I have always been on the fat side but I am controling it by eating only once a day. I really love to eat, icecream, cakes and other sweet thing. In preparation for my long sail I had the tempting idea to eat not only healthy food. Of course it was not realy rational. It was like an alchoholist always finding a rationale for a drink. Anywhay when test sailing my boat in Hunnebostrand quite a few persons invited me to a resturang. I chose icecream over healthy food.
My weight is now 78 instead of my maximum BMI 72. I realised that I have to get more healthy. To do something about it I now run every day for one and a half houer and after that do exercises for 30 minutes. The idea is to get bigger lungs and get back to a healthy BMI, to get very fit.
What is worse our gouvernment do not think it is important with face masks and social distance. Our neighbors Finland, Denmark and Norway do as do most other contries. The Corona will be very happy about that.
Even worse. We do not have enough equipment to handle the sick. Therefore instead of getting better hospotals The Council for Hospital Ethics have come up with new guidelines and regulations: Older persons should be unplugged to give place for younger. It certainly is an easy way out, but it scares me.
I am 80 and most persons are younger. I ask my readers to help me. If you see a Doctor trying to unplugg me from a lifesaving machine. I plead to you all, talk them out of it. Tell the Doctors that Yrvind is good for an other 80 years. If not, you can be sure, there will be no more posts on this site.
I sincerley hope nothing bad happens to me, I keep myself isolated. If Norway opens up I leave from Ålesund, If not I start from Bohuslän the Swedish west coat. It is not good sailingwise but the only left option. I have AIS also now thanks to Bövik Marine 2 strobelight of good quality.
My distination still depends on Corona, but the general idea is to sail south, west of Madeira, Canary Islands, Cape Verde, crossing the equator, keep sailing south until I reach high latitude. When I run out of food after 5000 – 10000 miles I try to find a small port and restock. There I will reorient myself with respect to Corona and make a new decision.
On the latest post I write about the idea of starting fråm Ålesund Norway becouse the Corona gave problems trailing Exlex to Ireland, many contries have blocked their borders.
Now also the Norwigian border is closed.
I also got a phone call from Madeira telling me that all their marinas are closed and it seams that many ports worldwide now are closing. It is to early to make decisions. But it seams that I will have problems to be able to round Cape of Good Hope before December. It is important to sail the Indian Ocean in the summer.
What to do?
I am not shore. I do not feel safe to cross the North Sea single handed even with AIS, but maybe if I get desperate I will do it anyway. I did it singlehaded 1973 and 1976 without AIS but it was tiring to keep awake.
I am about to pack food but if the situation do not improve very quickly I might be forced to do the voyage to NZ with more stops, that will take two years. An other solution would be to figure out a very different, long, interesting, non stop route that takes me into stormy weather. I now have all the food and I really like to start this summer, but of course such an voyage would be meaningless if it did not test Exlex in difficult conditions. I have some ideas, but they must come to maturity. This new type of simple sustainable boat ideas needs more testing before I start building Next Design, now 7,8 X 1,3 meter, six beams long.
Corona is a world wide problem. Besides medical problems there will be economical problems affecting many more than me.
I have heard that 20 % of those like me over 80 years will die even if they get good hospital treatment. I am over 80. I do run once a week and do 20 min exercise evry day. Now from tomorrow I will run twice a week hoping that it increase my chance of survival to 12 %. They say that 70 – 80 % of the population will get infected.
Untill the situation becomes clearer I will work on the next design a boat in wich two persons can spend a long time at sea.
The plan was to trail Exlex to Ireland in May and from Dingle sail her to Madeira. Due to Corona I now plan to sail out from Ålesund Norway in the beginning of June. The distance to Madeira is more than twice as long and in tougher and colder conditions. I see this as the best alternative even though this later will press me time as it is important that I round the Cape of Good Hope not later than 1st of December when the summer down there begins. Below is the planned track Ålesund – Madeira drawn with a lead pencel by me on the British Routing chart for June. First I will sail west to not have much of the Gulf Stream against me. I will also try to keep well west of Scotland, Ireland and the Bay of Biscay before going east to catch the northely winds outside Portugal.
Click once or twice to enlarge.
Below frequency of gales for the same month.
The time at sea will be much more demanding, on the other hand time on the road behind the car will be a piece of cake compared to the trail to Ireland, no ferries and a distance of only 1000 kilometers and a stunning Norwegian fjord landscape. Deep water is just outside Ålesund, I like that.
Unfortunately the Boat Show in Stockholm has been stopped. It was meant that I should have given 3 talks in Stockholm about the ideas and development of Exlex. I hope to write something about here here instead.
I like to thank the following for help with the video
Part one the rollover test.
Petter with the help of a boat hook is confirming that Exlex rightning moment is positiv at all angels up to 180 degrees.
I am inside Exlex during the rollover test. The idea was that it was going to be a controlled rollover. However, Exlex is exceptionally unstabel upside down, dispite lack of ballast keel, but due to plenty of boyancy in her topsides so she just flipped over, and a good thing that is. I was not prepared and using one hand to hold my expensive phone I did not like to drop it so it was not easy get hold of something to hold on to, but on a small boat a rollover is a small problem. Now the are safety belts in the two cabins. I am in good shape and did not get hurt.
The secound part of the video show her sailing in Hunnebostrand. She is very stabel and easyly driven. The two sails each has an area of 2 square meter about the same as an Optimist dingy. Exlex is loaded with 70 kilos of water 4 anchors and some chain maybee 40 – 50 kilo and 4 40 amps batteries also my friend Thomas Grahn guessing 80 kilos. Thomas Grahn 2 anchors will stay ashore. 130 liter water more and about 150 kilo food will be added and maybe 50 – 100 kilo other things including one more mast and 2 square meter more sail area. During the passage from Dingle Ireland to Madeira I will only be carrying 70 liters of water. It will test the boats speed and behavior. In Madeira I will load her for 200 days and 13400 miles to Dunedin NZ. She will at the beginning be overloaded but the first part of the voyage is in the relativly light trade winds of the eastern part of the North Atlantic. Already when reaching the equator and the South East trades she will be lighter and when passing south of Africa she have lost half of her load and hopefully me and her, we have found our peak performance.
I am trying to get order in the boat in such a way that things do not interfere with each other. It can be taxing.
Here is how some things are stored.
I also made a small hook to pick up things and mesure the boats speed through the water at the top and bottom of waves. This is for my theory of wave dynamics.
The eagle eyed observer, no doubt have noticed that Exlex is unpainted inside. The reason I soon be in NZ and start to build a new boat, therefore I focus on utility and function. I am eager to get sailing.
A video. Make sure to subscribe to my youtube channel
80 years ago I lived on the windward side of a small island close to the North Sea. It was me, my mother, her mother and my grandmothers mother, my father a seaman had left us 15 of January 1940. In 1941 the English sunk his ship in Hong Kong. Good for the war they said. I never saw him again.
Nazi Germany invaded Denmark and Norway in April 1940. I was a one year old idealist and Sweden prepared for war. Our island and the waters around it were declared restricted military area. Only residents were permitted access. I saw few people during my childhood. Our house was situated within a stones throw from the sea on an insulated peninsula, far from the village. I played in the water and learned to handle small boats. I did not need toys. Eventually peace came and I was old enough for school. Being curious I had looked forward to be taught the wisdom of the grown ups but I was bitterly disappointed. School meant route learning. We had to learn by heart the names of rivers and towns. I was unable to do that. During the forties the official policy was harsh discipline. Teachers were encouraged to beat lazy children who did not do their homework. During the breaks my mates did their best to assist my teacher. I got beaten badly sometimes walking home with blood on my face. Despite the beating my homework did not improve. I was stubborn man. Born a stoic, raised by women I did not cry. I am sure though that had I been less proud and rebellious I would have been beaten less. After four years of that inhuman hell it was found out that I was dyslexic. My kind and loving mother was able to send me to a very nice and understanding boarding school with reform pedagogic. That was a real paradise.
60 years ago, an early February morning 1960, the doors of a maximum security prison opened and I was let out into a dark, cold street. What had I, a gentle, honest, curious, industrious, righteousness, young man done to be an inmate of an institution with such a bad reputation?
Not much, just being stubborn, more stubborn than ordinary persons. I had been conscripted, but within hours in the army, for no reason at all, my sergeant had taken a strong dislike to me. My early schooldays had thought not to give into grown ups that humiliated and treated me unfair. I resisted. Things escalated. I did not give in. Eventually the punishments increased until I was sent to prison. As I was clearly innocent, I had just been bullied; I saw no reason to repent. That infuriated the jailers. It gave the other prisoners something to laugh at. I was accused of stirring up a mutiny. Now it was the establishment against me. They decided to break me. I was transported me to a maximum security prison. There I immediately was put into solitary confinement and ordered to do stupid work. I refused. I was told that for every day I did not work an extra day would be added to the length of my punishment. I did not let that influence me. To me it was not hell sitting in a heated room. I was feed three times. I used the precious time to reflect on the wonders of life. Finally they sort of gave up on me. One day it knocked on the door. That was odd, as the jailers did no knocking. I nice woman a psychiatrist came in. She had a paper in her hand. She told me, a bit embarrassed, that I was causing a lot of problems but if I signed the paper that stated that I was a psychopath they would let me out and give me 25 dollar to start a new life. If not they would keep me forever. Of course I am not more of a psychopath than you, but I am probably more stubborn.
They kept their part of the deal, but I soon realized that the testimonial was useless and as things stood a bourgeois career was not for me. Instead I bought a rotten old boat and become Captain of my own ship. I soon realized that a new type of small cruising was desirable. I decided I was the to be the man to fix that. That was 60 years ago.
40 years ago 1980, still stubborn after many attempts of improving the state of small ocean going cruising boats I singlehandedly rounded Cape Horn. I was the first swede to do so Cape Horn. I did it east to west against the prevailing winds and currents. My boat was just 19 feet. No smaller boat had rounded the Horn before. It was 16 of June 1980. It was winter. It was cold and very dark. It was the time before GPS. My navigation was done solely by sextant and dead reckoning. The storms and the cold were difficult, but by far the most difficult part was the navigation. Astro navigation is only possible if you can see the celest objects. Because the frequently bad weather it was often so that many days passed without the possibility to get an observation. The days were short and the sun was seldom visible. At noon, in June, south of Cape Horn, the suns altitude is not higher than 11°, same as here in south Sweden today New Years Day. A GPS is a thousand times more accurate than a sextant at any time and it gives you your position instantly in any weather in at any time of the year. It was a hard but satisfying forty day offshore passage. It had showed me the passage with the most fearsome reputation and I had done it under the worst of circumstances. I was awarded the Royal Cruising Clubs Medal of Seamanship. The same medal had been given to Chichester, Knox-Johnston and Moitessier. That was 40 years ago.
20 years ago my rounding of Cape Horn had in the eyes of the public magically transformed me from a deplorable psychopath into an established and admired hero. I had written a book and become a sought after public speaker I had married a wonderful girl we had bought a piece of land and built a house on it and I was still experimenting with small boats still trying to improve small ocean going cruisers. The future looked bright and settled. Then just as I held the golden apple in my hand, a surprise came. Right under our house was the world’s largest stockpile of oil, 2,7 million cubic meters. It had been built in secret during the cold war. The idea was to fuel the coming war against the Soviet Union. 20 years ago the Soviet Union had been dissolved and our government did not know what to do with 2,7 million cubic meter of oil so they sold it to an oil company for the neat sum of one hundred dollars. The oil company was happy and decided to commercially exploit the stockpile. Unfortunately that meant that they had to build a plant right where our house was. Might is right. Employment wins over environment. The company started to build. Permission they would get later. They were creating hundreds of jobs. Good for the community.
My response was to get four TV-teams the national newspapers etc to my workshop. There I told them that there would be action at the refinery. We acted fast. With friends I let off 150 smoke bombs plus super big firecrackers in a protest. Panic aroused. In the confusion the refinery’s security personal called in the police to assist them to take care of the terrorists, but as the smoke began to clear they realized it was just me, the crazy trouble maker. The directors know that they had no permission for what they were doing, that they were doing something illegal. They definitely did not want the police involved. With the help of newly invented cell phone they got hold of the speeding police, told them that the alarm was a mistake, that everything was OK, that they would deal with it themselves. They asked the police to turn back and forget everything.
I was able to stop the project but to a price. A big oil company has much influence in a small community I was harassed I lost my wife and our house and mowed to the other side of Sweden. That was 20 years ago.
Now we have the year 2020. I am 80 years old. I am still stubborn and still experimenting with small boats. In April, in just a few months, I have to hurry; a friend will trail my new boat Exlex to Dingle in Ireland. Exlex is 5.8 meters long 1.2 meters beam with a draft of 20 cm and an empty displacement of 0.6 tons.
By the way, Exlex is Latin for outlaw. Ex means out, Lex means law. It’s the European Union Recreational Craft Directive that has criminalized her. They do not want small boats; there is more money in bigger ones. That they cause more pollution and give less happiness to their crews is the price we pay for growth and more GNP.
My plan is to test sail her the 1200 miles to Porto Santo Madeira. If I can keep an average speed of 3 knots it will take 17 days. Year 2018, with a boat 4 cm shorter, that same passage took me 40 days. I do not always get everything right. Is this new improved boat that much faster? Time will tell. Based on this trial I will in Porto Santo provision Exlex for a much longer passage. The ultimate destination is Dunedin NZ about 13400 miles and 186 days distant. I intend to sail south of Africa, Australia and NZ. Will I make it? I do not now. A less stubborn person will definitely not make it. The boat is on the small side for such an long passage. Will I be able to carry enough food and on my small boat? Hopefully, because I have trained myself, for two years, to eat only once a day. And water? On previous voyages I have drunk one liter water a day so I will carry 200 liters. Watermakers are too expensive and too unreliable even if I carried several. The original idea was to make a landfall in Western Australia. For that I needed a visa. However I got angry when I was advised sort it out with phone calls to Australia. I like to spend the little money I have on food not on long distance calls. The visa problem is stupid. They have an embassy here in Sweden and they must surely have computers and e-mail in Australia – why do they make things difficult for me?
In 2040 I be 100 years old. I have never smoked, not even one cigarette. I have never drunk not even one bear. I use my body and I use my brain that favors my sustainability. Hopefully people will get the idea that simple habits, small boats favors our worlds sustainability and everyone’s happiness. Big boats – big problems. Small boats – small problems.
At sea things better work! Better to find out before leaving port. I am testing the pump.
Test everything you can. There might be surprises. For example spare parts. The most prudent thing is to undo the original part and install the spare part. Then you learn whats involved how to properly the work, you also will have to find the right tools for the job and you know that the piece fits. Manufacturer keep without notice change things.
Like my pump. I ordered two extra pumps from Plastimo same as I had. I got the same pump, but it was an improved version. Improved from the factorys standpoint. It is lighter and uses less material. Sure that good for the world and our enviroment, but it was not easy to install. In my workshop with all the tools it went fine but it took several houers longer than the first version would have needed. The problem was the holes for the screws were situated under the pumphouse inaccesable. I had to take the pump apart. There were no instructions but I am a problemsolever so that was OK. Also the hoseclamp had to be put inside the handle holder. If fitted on a big boat with ample space there is no problem to twist the pumphouse into position. Exlex is not a big boat.
That being said. The new version is more efficient as can be seen from the video below. It realy emptied water at a fast rate. But if I had to do the fitting at sea without my workshop it would have been different.
The good thing is the membram is now outside the pumphouse giving it a much longer stroke and thats a really good idea. The pump has gotten more efficient.
A video with the pump in action.
Hope you will have happy free time over Christmas and New Year.