I left Norway 27 of June so now 27 of July I have been at sea for one month. It takes me a month to adapt and forget the world and start my own. Corona forced me to leave from Ålesund Norway. 2018 I left from Dingle Ireland. That was more easy. It was a question of departing or staying at home. It was more than I asked for. Myself is much to blame. I loaded Exlex with far to much food. I am a packrat. Exlex would not go to windward. Bad and dangereous. I had to be careful.
As I was getting near the Fareoe Island, bad wather was coming from the north. I took a chanche and tryed to sail between Shetland and Faereoy. I did not make it before the wind changed. Threre was also oilfield west of Shetland that I was afraid of. I went north rounded The Fareoe Islands. Now I have pasted them.The weather up here is cold grey damph. It´s a lot of rain and drissle. There is no sun. The heroes are the Sunbeam System solar panels. They give me all the power I need. Luckily I had hoped to bee across the Bay of Biscay before August, before gales. From my present position north of Scotland it´s still a long way to. I can handle most tasks good. The good thing: moral is high and I am in a very good mood and shape. Before leaving many persons was worried that being 81 years old I was pushing my luck.
– Sven Yrvind
Update 28 – july.
Yrvind expecting bad weather coming thursday and friday.
Many followers of this website have been worried about Yrvind when they look at his tracker. His track looks sometimes as he is trying to send us some mysterious message from the sea.Has he fallen out of the boat, may someone ask, or is it something wrong with the boat? Yrvind is fine. He enjoy him self very much out there. He is at sea where he likes to be, a place he has been so many times before. Of course he struggle with tuff conditions, he is wet, it’s cold and he has a lot to worry about. But that is a normal situation for him.
One of the reason to his wobbly progress is that the boat can’t go up wind to an acceptable degree. The memorable follower of this website may remember that he just tested Exlex during last year’s sailings and the boat sailed acceptably against the wind. Yes, that’s correct. But now Exlex is heavy loaded. The weight balance is bad.
Too much weight at the stern. To much food, to much equipment etc. There is also a problem to lock the rudder from inside the boat. That’s very critical when it comes to make the boat going steady on course. The locking mechanism slips. He is very self-critical for all these short comings.
And there are calms. Remember, Yrvinds does not have an engine. When the wind is very light it happens that the current set him back. That was the case after he left the Norwegian coast.
Because how Exlex performs, he is also afraid of oil platforms and lee shore. He want to keep a long distance. That make him stop and wait for the right winds to take him safely away from these dangers.
But there are also good things. The boat behave very well in ruff sea conditions. There were two situations when he had a nock down, but the boat did handle that perfect. She doesn’t need any micro management and steer nicely without wind wane or rubber bands.
Yrvind lets us know that he feels good, he is in no hurry and he isn’t going anywhere. He just want to be out at the sea. And soon he is sailing warmer waters. He takes it as a stoic person, he says. He is also working on the next boat design and let us know he had make great progress with all new experiences he got so far. He greets and feel grateful for the interests people shows him.
Yrvind can write short messages with his tracker. This was received yesterday.
I am on my way. Plenty of food and water onboard. Unfortunatly most have to be stored aft.That immerses the transom. Decreasing severely speed and vindward performance. I have only made 110 miles good since 27 june. A conseqence is that I have to keep lots of distance to Shetland and Färöarna. Its cold here at lat N 62.
Good thing. I have no destination and plenty of time. I enjoy the sail plenty. I have 10 000 books, paper in plenty to draw and calculate next design. She be much faster and have more load capacity. I got already many new good ideas.
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.
As always please help to support my research by donating on Pay Pal and Swish.
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.