Today 27 of August it is two months since I left Ålesund Norway. Most of the time the weather have not been pleasant. Lots of strong wind, very cold grey and damp. However since a week or so (have lost track of time), after having come south of bay of Biscay and south of Cape Finisterre, the weather now is exceptionellt excellent. Cannot be better. But hardly any wind so progress is very slow. I am still heading for Horta Fayal Azorena. I do not have any idea when I will be there. In fact north of Faeroes island a rescue helikopter came out to investigate after I had been becalmed there for a few days. Most sailors turn on the engine in small winds.
It is very warm in the days. To take a swim in the flat calm warm water is very tempting. But last summer I did and due to lack of boarding ladder I was not able to get back on board. I am getting older. Now I have a stirrup in a rope. I have not tested it and do not like to try it out here. I would feel silly if I was not able to get back on board. There is no sign of more wind but I still have plenty of food and water.
Thanks everyone that have donated, helping me to develop small sustainable cruisers
It is now i think 55 days since I left Ålesund Norway. It has been a grey damp cold sail. I think only 3 – 4 days a week at the most have been sunny. Again this morning drizzle. But now sunshine and warm nearly to warm with 28˚ Celsius. My sleeping room the main cabin is fine. But I have in strong winds a small leek of saltwater in the forepeak and back. It comes from behind the food stowage. I cannot see its source. The only possibility is the pumps. I hate saltwater inside a boat. I asked my hardware supplier for a seacock to put between the pump and the hull. ” That is not necessary he said. It is back-valves in the pump”. And so it is. However, in strong winds when waves with tremendous force bang against the hull, maybe they let in a bit of saltwater. It must come from somewhere. The problem is all the food that prevents inspektion. Thats the saltwater. There is also lots of condensation. I know where thats comes from. It comes from the hatch coamings. They are not insulated, creating a cold spot. I knew that, but I did not think I would have so much cold that so much water would be produced. The problem is now solved. For the next boat I will put the gasket not in the hatch but in the deck outside. That enables to build the hatch coamings with divinycell that insulates. The aft gets some ventilation. The forepeak is the big problem as I only open that hatch briefly to adjust the centreboard. Its all wet and mildew.
Progress have been very good. I am now past the latitude of Cape Finesterre at 42˚ 53`. The bay of Biscay is now behind me. The weather should be better. The good thing is there is still plenty of food and water. It’s sardines and kind of very simple müsli. Just oat flakes, almond powder a few raisins and powder milk. When I pour water on it it becomes kind of soap. Very liquid. Strange thing is. I was eating it for two weeks before I sailed 2018, and then 40 days at sea. Now 2020 I got tired of it after 3-4 weeks. I found it kind of disgusting. Each day it got worse. Then somehow I started to like it again. I guess there was no choice. Now its fine. Still I do look forward to fruits, cheese bread and at special occasions a nice ice-cream.
It’s fine out here on the big endless eternal ocean. I am happy. The moral is high. I work on the next design. I solve a lot of problems. Health is excellent. Although I worry about my leg muscles that have not seen any use for nearly 2 months. I take my time. There is still plenty of food and water. I am slowly heading for Horta Fayal Azorena. I do worry about getting into harbor as Exlex do not go to windward with so much food loaded. I do have my oar but having been idle for so long time, I am not in a good shape. However, Horta is an easy harbor and I have been there before, although its nearly 50 years ago.
Also very important. Thanks to you all for the many fine donations. I very much appreciate it. It makes this splendid voyage possible and the development of small sustainable boats.
Today its forty days at sea. It has been cold and grey. Luckily, now I am on an latitude south of Ireland and it is already a bit warmer. Exlex worked fine during test sails. She pointed high. Then I got a lot of food. When I was going to load her there was nonplace for it. Bad planning. I wanted my food so I buildt more storage in the ends of the boat. Never change a drawing. The plan had been to keep the ends of the boat empty so that when I opened the hatches, spray would bee easy to get out. The world is full of surprises. Not all of them are good. Two things happend. Exlex lost her ability to go to windward. This is serious. When tacking I lost about 10-15˚ everytime. A lee shore would mean me being wrecked. The danger is still here. Those that seen my track might wounder about all the windlings. I can dump 80% of my food in the water and she will sail fine again. Dumping is not good for the environment. Also I am to greedy for that. The secound problem is that spray coming in is making the food packages damp and salt. It means that acces to the centerboard and foresail is restricted also. The main hatch have to be watched. Once a wave broke over the boat, when it was open, I got a lot of water in the boat that I was unable to get out. Also some of my clothes are wet. Its no use flogging a dead horse. I will build a new boat. However its a long way to my workshop and I have not that kind of money. But by dividing the task into small manageble parts eventually I get there. Exlex by normal standards is still a good boat after some fixing.
The short term plan is to sail to the Azores. Unfortunately its against the prevailing winds. Catch 22. However I have built up good searoom. I plan to sail south intill I get into the northerly winds and then south of Azores, sail west and up to the islands. Whats most worring is entering a harbour and being blown on the breakweater and there be wrecked. I do not know how this will work out. We will see. Luckily like most of the time moral is high. I am happy and I have good plans for the next boat.
Message from Yrvind received 27 July.
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.
There have been some worries about Yrvind and his sailing among followers. We can report that Yrvind is fine and an update and explanation on his website is coming soon.
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.
After some initial minor problems and very light winds with north going current, Yrvind is now heading west in good winds. He writes he enjoy himself and are very happy to be out at sea again , however a bit cold.