Yesterday I tried out the Waterproof wet suit. It was a cold and dark night. Up here in Sweden it is kind of dark and cold 24/7 this time of the year. The idea of the wet suit is to be able to clean the hull when sailing the cold waters in the Southern Ocean. Also I am working on an drag device, a kind of pour mans Jordan Serius Drouge, a home made thing from plywood discs, but mostly I am just doing small odd jobs trying to get Exlex in peak performance to the spring of 2020. Its no major work and the list is rather long and as usual every job takes 3 times as long as estimated and for every job done 3 more seams to be added, but in the end like always finally everything will be done and the voyage starts. Patience is the ansver.
Today, thanks to Lynette, all the way from sunny California arrived the Fiorentino Para-Anchor. A new tool. I will use it in contrary winds not to be blown back or in the unlikely event if I am near a lee-shore with a strong storm.
Below is a picture of it hanging and Exlex in the background.
Hi I have had a bug and have been taking it easy for the last two weaks. Now the bug is beaten and I am in better shape.
I am doing odd jobs on Exlex lately mostly for storing water and food for the long passages. The longest one between Argentina to Australia is estimated to take 150 days in stormy seas. The first idea was to use water bags but in the end I did not trust myself to be able to secure them good enough. Nils Malmgren have been good enough to supply me with jerrycans of good quality.
Below is some photos.
A close up of the cap spanners. I have used a cap as a mould. It is a good fit.
For same time I have been working with handholds and steps on the outside to easier get back on board after a swim. That job is now done so today after the run and exercise I started on something new, to modify the rigging.
Unfortunately there is interference between the centerboard and the new sail. This I knew. The centerboard I was not able to mowe and there was no other place for the mast. So I did not have a choice. In Next Design the problem is solved. It is not so difficult to make a centerboard or a mast or the other hundreds of pieces needed for a cruising boat. The biggest problem is to make a design where they do not interfere with each other. After I have made a landfall in Australia hopefully there will be new interest in my talks and my books and my economy will hopefully get back on an even keel and also hopefully I can get other persons to get interested in this wonderfull kind of low energy boats that I am designing, because they are so much safer and simpler and more economical than what is used nowadays. Today I use the same size of boats that I used 50 years ago. At that time, in the sixties that size of boats where common, now they are a curiosity and yet they work as fine today as in those days. More and more people today do consider mans effect on the enviroment and they realise that in that respect an oar is better than an engine, also it is quiter, cheaper and takes up less space. Also it keeps its owner in good health. Cruising boats do not have to be 10 or 20 tons heavy 40 – 50 feet long. Cruising should be a hobby not a way to show conspicius consumption. Its OK if some boats are 40-50 feet long, but smaller boats should also have a place on the wide oceans. That is my idea.
If I can get 10 person interested in Next Design the tooling will be spread out on ten person and that will reduce cost.
Provisional the centerboard can not be fully raised. 15 cm or 6 inches will be below Exlex bottom when the new sail is used in full. If I take a reef in the sail then I can rise the centerboard fully.
In Next Design the interference problem is solwed.
During test sailing the AIS-reception and transmission was not good. Reason antenna was low down I guess.
Also Exlex proved to be very stiff. I decided to add a mast. One more mast will increase sail area by 50 %, from 4 square meters to 6.
The new mast will be a glass one. Glass masts are heavier than carbon ones but the AIS-antenna can be placed high up inside her. A third advantage is that by placing the third mast well forward it will aid Exlex running downwind. Exlex masts are self-standing having no shrouds. I can thus let out the sails more than 90 degrees with no chafe. Should Exlex head up into the wind the windward sail get more pressure and the lee one less thus making the system stable and self correcting. Exlex is a simple boat with no selfstearing gear. To make her keep her coarse I find a equilibrium between forces acting on her.
Usually a glass mast is more than twice as heavy as a carbon one. The glass one that I made came out at 2.8 kilos. The Europe Dingy masts are 2.5 kilos each for the same lenght. The reason that the different masts are nearly equally heavy is that, Europe Dinghy’s mast are restricted by racing boat rules. Their mast are forbidden to be as light as they can be built. The boats started out with wooden masts, then, came aluminum, then carbon. To be fair to the wooden mast owner’s carbon masts are ballasted with glass. Very democratic, but its one more example on how racing rules makes bad boats. Racing boats are not fast but fair. Cruising sailors that not compete should avoid boats influenced by racing boats. Unfortunately that is not possible unless you build your own.
Exlex mast holder will be attached to the strong center board case. To be able to fit the mast holder vertical I have placed a square piece of wood in her to have some thing to measure against. I did not have a pipe that fitted.
Doing a calculation using Pythagoras theorem. I found a neat formula that helped me to find the side of the wood, just divide the pipes inside diameter by the square root of 2.
Monday 2 of September 2019 Captain Thomas Grahn towed Exlex from Hunnebostrand on the west coast of Sweden to Västervik on the Swedish east coast behind his wife’s father’s car. Everything went fine. It took us five or six hours. It was a shortcut. Sailing from Hunnebostrand to Västervik is about 500 nautical miles; it would have taken many weeks.
To be able to trail Exlex is a one of her many desirable qualities. Last year we trailed the first Exlex 5.76 meters to Dingle in Ireland and then I sailed her to Madeira, 2011 I trailed the yellow boat 4.8 meters long to Ireland and then sailed her to Martinique, 1988 I trailed Amfibie-Bris 4.8 meters long to France and then sailed her to Newfoundland. I have trailed many of my small ocean going boats to various places. I suggest the idea. It adds a dimension of freedom, so why not?
Exlex, although small attracted much attention in Hunnebostrand. I had to answer many a question like if she was able to sail to windward, if I was steering with the sculling oar, what would happen is she capsized and more. I assured every one that she was a very able boat. I sold many brochure’s and some kind persons donated and some invited me to eat ice-creams.
I made a long list of possible improvement’s to carry out before the month of May 2020 when I plan to depart.
I am very pleased with the performance of Exlex. She pointed high and sailed fast. If I watch my steps the upcoming voyage will go fine
Something gone wrong with my computer I am unable to show more pictures. Hopefully friends will fix it.
After speaking to several friends I can now continue . Here are two more photos of Exlex being rolled over. This time it was not for stability but to test for leaks. There were still a leak on rolling to starboard in the ventilation system, a small one screew hole. I had plugged 2 screew holes before. Rolling to port she was tight, no leaks. The hatches were also waterproof. The one leak I think is easy to fix, but Murphy is sitting on my sholder trying to to keep me alert.
Good news to all lug nuts. Again I have I been out again testing Exlex, now in stronger winds guessing upper force 4 or lower force 5
She now pointed about 53 degrees from the the wind compered to 65 degrees in less strong winds. Well a friend told me that his double ender pointed 45 degrees from the wind so I made an extra effort to steer well.
Production boats try to copy racing boats windward performance. Racing boats are optimized for going to windward. Cruising boats sail passages downwind. A boat optimized for windward performance is not at its best downwind. For example deep ballast keels and weather helm is not a good thing downwind.
Exlex is optimized for downwind sailing. She has lee helm with her daggerboard up no ballast keel and balanced lug sails. I am often asked if she can go to windward. She do so very well although she will not win any races but she I hope does better than a production boat downwind with her lenght/displacement ratio of 150 and small wetted surface and square sails that outperform triangular Bermudan downwind.
Below is her track of todays sailing outside Hunnebostrand. It is 50 degrees between them and if my calculations are OK she sailed 65° close to the wind.
I am staying in Hunnebostrand with friends testing Exlex.
The natives are friendly.
Imam getting more and more used to handle her and the procedure to set and fold sails are getting quicker and quicker. To live in Exlex is very comfortable as there is plenty of space. She is very roomy. Exlex treats me very well and I am happy in her. I may stay a few weeks more here before bringing her back to my workshop on the east coast to do a list of modifications during winter. I May I intend to trail her to Dingle western Ireland then 1200 miles 25 days to Madeira then 5500 miles to Mar del Plata in Argentina 95 days, the 8000 miles to Albany Australia 150 days assuming 2,5 knots or 60 miles a day average. This is the plan a start. Reality may be very different. We will find out.
The lengths and sail area of sail boats have been taxed by governments and punished by racing rules to such an extent that these boats are inefficient.
Cargo boats naturally have to be burdensome and racing boats naturally have to be built to racing rules. Cruising boats do not necessarily have to have these restrictions, but human beings are sheeplike when they see a racing boat winning a race they think its fast even when its restricted by racing rules.
Only a few boat types, like the Cornish pilot gigs, about 10 meter (32 feet)long with a beam of 1.5 meters (4 feet 10 inches) and the whale boats about 9 meters long and 1.5 meters beam are uninfluenced by rules.
Both use oars and sails for propulsion, Using oars in a sail race is of course strictly forbidden.
The Cornish pilot gigs was used as shore-based lifeboats that went to vessels in distress. When the whale had harpooned it would often pull the boat in a “Nantucket sleighride” trying to escape, sometimes against a rising gale. In both cases seaworthy boats were needed.
Sail area are restricted by racing rules. This has led to the Bermudan rig. Its based on the airplane wing theory. The airplane has two wings they cancel each others healing moment. Sailboats are different they use deep ballast keels to get stability. Lead is heavy. Much sail area is therefore needed to propel them. The lead keel is little use downwind and cruisers sail mostly downwind. Lenght of mast is more important than sail area to the cruising man. This week my Next Design is six beam long 6.96 meter with a 1.16 beam. Hopefully my economy gets on an even keel when I get to Australia enabling me to build her.