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.
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.
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.
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.
Despite taking good care I found that I had some leeks in the deck. It was not much but it was in the worst possible place above the solar panels regulators.
I have a battery monitor. It was showing less and less in my batteries.
As I was depending on GPS for navigation I decided to shut down everyting tht used power. This included the AIS-transponder. After doing that the situation got worse and worse. The panels charged even less.
Strange tings started to happen. After I had looked at the GPS for a few minutes. The panels started to charged the batteries for a short time.
Electricity and me dont mix. Anyway I thought it was mighty strange. Becouse I did not have the AIS-transponder on one night I found myself very close to a ship.
I decided to take a chance. I decided it was the battery monitor which did not work. I switched on the AIS-transponder and sure enough the panels started to charge.
The AIS- transponder is excellent. Big ships se you and keep klear. Before they could run you down and no one would know. Now the know that other ships see whats happening. Therefore they are more careful. The know that there may be witnesses.
I recommend an AIS-transponder to everyone. That and the GPS and electricity have made life at sea very easy and comfortable.
Above is a screen shot from the french boat Tim´Jak as I was getting close to Porto Santo. When he saw that the size was 4 meter by 1 meter he did not belive it ( the AIS gives no decimals) he looked out nothing. He looked again then he could see among the white horses now and then something white, my sails. Now we are tied up to the same ponton and he gave me the picture.
After sleeping a night on my decision to end my voyage here I realesed that I would miss the sea to much. Therefore the new plan is to sail to Martinique instead to Florida.
I will probably start early in october.
There are two major problems with the boat. The first is that I got the mast to far forward. That means leehelm. That means that the chinerunners and the rudder are fighting each other. Instead of adding their forces they are cancelling them giving the boat very little lateral resistance.
I still think chinerunners are excellent but they have to be done correctly like Matt does it.
The secound problem is that the boat got far to heavy. Thats because I have a tendency to overdo things, to make everything far to strong.
Vector a freindly German Yacht gave me a tow out of Kinsale. the weather was not good but it was getting late in the season so worse was to be excepted later.
The course was to windvard. When the other boats put up their sails they went much closer to the wind and of course also much faster.
Being heavy my boat took much water over her but I had to keep fighting becouse I wanted to get outside the contenental shelf as fast as possible.
One night I was woken by heavy winds and rain. When I opened the hatch I was blinded by the rain on my glasses. At the same time a wave broke over her. I got a lot of water in the cabin.
To save windresistance I have no halyards. To get the sails up I use a stick. Unfortunatly now somehow the sails had got stuck. There was no other way to get them down than to climb the mast. It is not to difficult to do on land. In water, in calm water in a harbour it is also possible but more difficult. Now wind the wind blowing on a dark night half blinded I did not know what to do.
Unfortunatly there was nu volenters. I therefore took a deep breath and maneged to climb to the top of the mast and get the sails down.
Everything went well but later I was much more careful not to carry to much sail. Progress was therefore much slower.
It will take some time before I get organised and can write something useful about my trip. Here is only a commet on my water consumption.
I do have some material in the boat with witch help I probably can in a survival situation catch enough water to survive.
On my recent trip from Kinsale to Ireland I started with 45 liter water. I still have about half left more than 25 liters maybee more left. No problem. I have plenty of water.
The morning I sighted Porto Santo the wind died down. At sea I had been navigating without navigation lights saving my electricity for the AIS- and radar-transponders. So close to the shore I planned to put up a LED light powerd by AAA-batteries. It did not work. I had tested it before departure. I changed the internal batteries for lithium ones. It still did not work.
I decided to try to scull. The yuloh oar had only been tested a few minutes. It was a new design. But I had forgotten an important detail concerning the balance. It was difficult to work. After ten minutes I was tired. After half an houer I was more tired and already had blisters in my hands. Harbour was still a long way of.
I have a freind Rune Larsson. He is a ultramaraton runner. He can run 250 kilometers in 24 houers or something like it. Its super-humman. I have tried to make him teach me the secret. It must be fun he has repetedly told me.
In my difficult situation I was thinking of Rune. It must be fun I told myself and struggled on. At 72 years of age I dont have the force and stamia of my youth. On the windward side of the island the swell was choppy. The boat was rocking the oar went out of the water it was a fight with the oar. One houer went, two houers went. I was thinking of my freind Rune for him this would be nothing. He has also rowed across the Atlantic. I got the bright idea of putting on a pair of glowes to protect my skin. I changed the grip on the yuloh. I was tired and decided to make a shortcut over reef inside a small island. It was getting dark but the moon came out.
Once commited to the shortcut I just had to keep going. It was a question of life and death. The breakers on the vertical rocks was heavy and there was no way I could clime then. I have a tendency to put myself into interesting spots. I just had to keep going.
On my first visit to Madeira 1969 I had an second hand American chart. I still had that chart. It was from the 1930. I thought the rocks hadnt changed. Well they had not but more of them had been discovered. Finally after some breakers I came through. Next problem there was ny yacht harbour on my chart. The marina was not even here 1979 last time I was here, Finally in the dark. I tied myself up behind a very freindly Brasilian Catamaran from Bahia. I had been sculling for more then ten houers without a break. Thank you Rune. Fanny thing my body had no pain the next day. I am in excellent shape.
I was in calm water and safe. I was glad to bee alife. I was eager to start building my next boat. I decided to end the trip now and here and try get the boat shipped back to Sweden. At sea I had spent much of my time working on a new design and had many a wonderfull ideas of improvement. Learning by failure and learning by hindsigt.
This night I arrived in porto Santo after 30 days at sea most of the time on the Bay of Biscay. It has been a difficult voyage. I am tired and will write more about the sailing later. The good thing is that I am in a excellent physical shape.. The news about the boat is not as good, but more about that later.
Thursday 11 Augustn is a possible date for departure from Kinsale. I will sail towards Madeira Island. To my uneducated eye the weather forecast is not be the best. On the other hand from now on statistically the weather will detoriate and I have a small boat. Therefore if no sudden changes occor Thursday will be the day.
On sunday the Fastnet race starts with several hundred boats crossing my course. I like not to get into that fleet. I like to be gone before they reach here.
As my estimated average speed is 2,5 knots it will take me between 20 and 30 days to reach Madeira. More if I get much strong headwinds in the bay of Biscay.
The boat is only sailed about ten houers and have no selfsteering. I hope I can find a way to balance her so that I do not have to steer by hand.
She is also more heavy than planned. It will be interesting to see how she will behave in big waves offshore.
I will send positions from my SPOT. Testing hass shown that it works from inside my top window.
Respecfully yours Yrvind.
Everything is OK here at the Kinsale Yacht Club. I meet a lot of interesting sailors and everyone is kind to me. Now with a fairly long ocean passage down to Porto Santo in the Madeira island group in front of me I indulge in icecreams now and then I also buy books.
The weather out in the Bay of Biscay is not at its best but in a weeks time or so it seams to improve, but it is a long shot.
Jonas Åkerblom has succesfully delivered my car and trailer to Hunnebostrand in Sweden where it is now waiting for my return which might be arund Christmas.
Tomorrow night at about 7.30 I will give an illustrated talk in Cronins Bar Crosshaven for details call Tom Harding 087 9858029 everyone is welcome.
Hopefully the weather will improve.
Respectfully yours Yrvind