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Reducing radio noise and interference

A shaft rebuild afloat

A voyaging family refitting their boat on the fly 4

A Norwegian couple start a family while circumnavigating 40 Prop shaft repair tests voyaging couple’s ingenuity By Ellen Massey Leonard 44

How to get better HF radio performance for offshore communications By Jeff Williams


Emergency refrigeration repair Patching a system until you can get to an HVAC technician By Harry Hungate 14

Hardened protection Designing and installing an aluminum hard dodger By Rich Ian-Frese

A jury-rigged rudder Voyagers and villagers band together to devise temporary steering By Fay Mark

47 47

FIDDLER’S GREEN Notable mariners who passed away in 2012 51




Tapping into 20-something power

For a voyaging family, offshore safety goes beyond mere equipment 24

By Nat Warren-White

Medical risk management

Offshore safety checklist Weatherfax stations and broadcast schedules U.S. Coast Guard HF/MF weather broadcasts Radar controls Geographic range table Set & drift calculations Distance, speed & time formulas Satellite communications systems GPS compass adjustment AIS explained Medical resources Temperature conversion Internet links Atlantic distance table Pacific distance table 2013 races of note Logbook 2012: The year in review

Offshore voyaging requires skills at both assessing situations and using practical techniques By Jeff Isaac, PA-C 30

Pumps and priorities Voyagers need serious dewatering capacity to respond to rapid flooding By Ralph Naranjo 35

For more on voyaging, follow us on:


Annual 2013 — Issue 209






10 11 14 16 19 21 23 26 27 33 37 43 46 46 50 51

30 56 Cover: Voyaging boats at Direction Island, Cocos (Keeling), an Australian territory in the Indian Ocean. Alison Langley photo.


Split Lead SSB Antenna M M No need for backstay insulators M Easy installation M No swaging, no cutting M Tough, waterproof, reusable M Highly conductive RF elements M Watertight leadwire to antenna connection M Stiff 34’ LDPE housing secures firmly to backstay wire


GAM Electronics, Inc. 191 Varney Street Manchester, NH 03102 Phone: (603) 627-1010 Fax: (603) 622-4738

All Departments: 207-772-2466 fax: 207-772-2879 Communications expert Gordon West reports

“I have done numerous SSB ham and marine radio checks with this system and have found no discernible signal losses, even when used with a wellgrounded backstay aboard a steelhulled vessel. The antenna...can bang out a signal just as though it were suspended in mid-air.”

EDITORIAL Editor Tim Queeney

ASSISTANT Editor Larissa Dillman

Art Director Kim Goulet Norton

contributing editors Scott Bannerot

Twain Braden John Snyder Nigel Calder Harry Hungate Eric Forsyth Jeff & Raine Williams David Berson


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indy and Michael Robertson sold their Washington, D.C., home and dropped out of their highpressure lives in 2011 to voyage with their two daughters, Eleanor (9) and Frances (7). They bought their 1978 Fuji 40, Del Viento, in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and have been refitting her as they go. They are currently in Victoria, B.C., and headed for Alaska this summer.  The couple met as 20-somethings in 1996, when Michael was living aboard his 1980 Newport 27, Del Viento, in Ventura, Calif. He was preparing to go cruising for the first time and found Windy on a crew list

After seven months, they’d transited the Panama Canal and made it to Florida, broke and in love. They sold the boat to start living up to society’s expectations and eventually had a house, careers, and a family. But the sirens of the voyaging life grew louder and in their 40s they returned to the sea as a family. They document their journey at www.logofdelviento.


What is your philosophy regarding voyaging gear? Do you like a systems-rich approach or do you prefer to keep your gear simple? Our first cruising boat was bare-bones: no refrigeration, radar, SSB, or digital charts. Our current boat is much more complex, and I have to say that we absolutely enjoy a cold beer and value the safety radar facilitates. That said, our previous experience and appreciation for the time and cost savings associated with cruising simply informs our choices with regard to upgrading, repairing, or doing without as systems age. For example, when we bought new instruments and electronics this year, we leaned towards the basic. Our sailing instruments are hard-wired and tried-and-true (a couple generations old). For electronics, we bought the most basic fixed-mount GPS to augment our hand-held GPS. Our VHF is the Matrix model from Standard Horizon that includes an AIS receiver, probably the most “cutting-edge” piece of gear we have. Except for a connection between


MR: Windy and Michael Robertson are on their second round of live-aboard voyaging, this time with their two daughters.


published in a regional sailing magazine. He was on a tight budget and looking for an extra pair of hands to help manage his tender boat with an unreliable tiller pilot. Windy was looking for an adventure and a cheap passage to Costa Rica to meet-up with her half-sister. From day one they had the time of their lives.

our GPS and VHF (for the AIS receiver), all of our electronics (radar, GPS, sailing instruments) are stand-alone, modular units. While I like technology, I’m uncomfortable (now) with the amount of systems integration. It sounds good to have one or two built-in touch-screen monitors that serve as chartplotters, instrument displays, radar displays, etc. — all from the same manufacturer — but I’m concerned there are several potential failure points in such a set-up that could strand us with nothing. I think this approach — and the wireless sending unit technology (such as used by Raymarine’s Tacktick line) — is the way of the future, but I don’t want to be an early adopter. With regard to non-electronics gear, we are relatively simple. Primarily because of the increased power requirements, we don’t have powered winches In This Section

A voyaging family refitting their boat on the fly

Michael Robertson

Bluewater Gear

• Reducing radio noise and interference • Emergency refrigeration repair • Hardened protection


or an electric head or a freezer. If our daily amp usage increased, we’d need more battery capacity and more charging capacity — it all gets expensive and heavy. We have a water heater that works off the heat from our engine coolant and we have pressure water. Both of these systems were installed when we bought the boat — we would not otherwise have them. We have an icebox fitted with a 12-volt refrigeration system and an SSB. I guess we are systems–rich, but in the simplest possible way. What tools do you have on board? Electric tools: drill driver (doubles as a drill), small buffer, Dremel, Multimaster, jigsaw. Note: all of these are corded tools. Batterypowered tools sound good, but tools can sit for months without use; I don’t want to worry about maintaining batteries. Hand tools: pick, ax, shovel, several hammers, hacksaw (and many blades), dozens of screwdrivers, standard and metric socket wrenches, standard and metric combination open-end/ box wrenches, chisels, several pliers, wire cutters, crimpers, multimeter, strippers, ViceGrips, Channel Locks, pipe



wrenches, large adjustable wrenches, bolt cutters, dental tools, Wiss metal snips, lots of flashlights and knives. How do you decide what spares to carry? Has your mix of spares changed as you have voyaged more widely? I think of spares in terms of consumables and non-consumables. Consumables include zincs, oil filters, fuel filters, water filters, motor oil, lamp oil, transmission oil, WD-40 and other lubricants, impellers, thermostats, fuses, hose clamps, pump rebuild kits, etc. These are most of the spares we carry. Our non-consumables list



continues to evolve. So far our cruising grounds have been Mexico, the U.S., and Canada, where parts are readily available. Even still, I don’t see a lot of value in carrying non-consumable spares for the engine. Alternators and raw water pumps are in use all over the world and can be serviced almost anywhere. Additionally, I make it a point to proactively service the serviceable parts of our engine and thereby reduce the chances of failure. For example, after we bought Del Viento, the engine ran, but we had the turbo charger, injectors, and alternator serviced. We are up in Canada now and over the winter I am having the heat exchanger and oil cooler serviced and the raw water pump rebuilt. Off the engine, our nonconsumables list includes plenty of sail repair goods, lots of hose (different types, diameters, and lengths), lots of wire, all kinds of butt connectors and terminal fittings, and tons of stainless hardware (screws, bolts, washers, nuts). But we consider areas of vulnerability. We don’t have self-steering aside from our autopilot. I don’t think we’ll ever cross an ocean before coming up with a back-up, either obtaining a spare head and motor for this system or figuring out a way to fit a wind vane — it would be a difficult piece of gear to do without.


Top left, the Robertson’s 1978 Fuji 40 Del Viento at the dock in British Columbia. Below, Del Viento at anchor in the Sea of Cortez in Mexico.

Bluewater Gear


How much repair work do you attempt yourself? What kinds of repairs do you think all voyagers ought to be able to handle? I try and do everything that I know is possible to do myself, myself. Even if I’ve never done it, I take the time to teach myself to do it. In the end, I learn what tools I need aboard and there is nothing better than the feeling I get knowing another system aboard, inside and out. Also, this knowledge helps me determine what spares to carry. I have a hard time qualifying a list of repairs all voyagers ought to be able to handle. I think it’s more important that a voyager have all the basic tools on the boat, be familiar with them, and be willing to tackle any project that comes up. I just helped circumnavigator Jeanne Socrates prepare for her third attempt at an unassisted, solo, non-stop circumnavigation via the Southern Ocean. I got to know her. She is a 70-year-old woman sailing her 38-foot cruising boat in some of the most arduous conditions. Her self-sufficiency is tested for months at a time. She has coped with knockdowns and several breakdowns. She’s


not a shipwright and she’s not Nigel Calder, but she’s smart and willing. When her Raymarine wind instrument recently failed 2,000 miles north of Cape Horn, Jeanne did her best to troubleshoot from down below. She climbed the mast to check out the sending unit. She solicited advice via radio. She found spare Raymarine cable she knew she had aboard. She ended up removing the sending unit from the top of the mast, fabricating a bracket for it, and attaching it to her stern arch using her shorter spare cable. All voyagers should be able to do what she did. Do you use wind vane self steering at all or do you rely on an electric autopilot? We have only an electronic autopilot, a Raymarine, electric ram attached to the rudder post. I would love to have a wind vane, but they’re expensive and we need to figure out how to use it in conjunction with our davits and solar panels. I’m sure that’s possible, but I suspect we will keep on with the set-up we have. Is your boat equipped with a watermaker? How easy is it to use and to maintain?



No watermaker. My biggest reservation about a watermaker is the power consumption. If we had a watermaker, we’d probably use it only when the engine was running — and then would we tend to run the engine when we otherwise would not? Also, my understanding is that these are complex and delicate machines. My concern is that maintenance and repair needs would be both expensive and restricting. Do you have a mainsail furling system? If so, what type (in-mast or boom)? Any other important sailhandling gear? We don’t. I would gladly sacrifice a bit of sail efficiency for a mainsail furling system, but it would be pretty expensive to switch over to such a system, so it is unlikely to happen. I would favor an in-boom system for accessibility, lower center of gravity, and the ability to retain battens. For our main, we use lazy jacks and have a love-hate relationship with them. (Another argument in favor of a mainsail furling system.) For the boom, we use a Wichard boom brake. I think a brake




Ocean Almanac


Offshore safety checklist The following lists contain items that most well-found cruising boats have on board for extended voyages. Items not considered essential are included in the “optional” list. Navigation sextant Nautical Almanac for current year sight-reduction tables chronometer plotting sheets charts for intended route ship’s log tide tables Light List Coast Pilots and cruising guides pilot charts radio receiver for time and weather radio frequency lists binoculars


adjusted compass hand-bearing compass dividers course plotters and parallel rules calculator speed and distance log depth sounder GPS and/or loran spotlight Emergency & Safety flares spotlight horn smoke flares radar reflector

signal mirrors EPIRB fire extinguishers first-aid kit backup prescription medications spare eyeglasses safety harnesses life jackets flashlights knives for each crew bungs for seacocks life ring and/or life sling storm sails storm anchor and rode parachute sea anchor and/or drogue extra chafing gear

for lines emergency tiller or steering system backup autopilot or wind-vane parts tools and repair materials jumper cables abandon-ship bag emergency food and water life raft

hand-held VHF radio waterproof case for hand-held emergency antenna for VHF horn bell whistles for crew radio frequency lists AIS receiver/transponder

Communications VHF radio emergency procedures card near radio emergency contact information

Optional sight-reduction calculator Radio Direction Finder electronic chartplotter or computer electronic charts

radar radar detector SSB radio ham radio satellite communication weatherfax Navtex signal flags personal strobes and/or EPIRBs survival suits wet suits or dry suits solar panel for emergency charging emergency generator watermaker for life raft


or preventer is vital safety equipment — plus it can save your sail (and maybe rig) in case of an accidental jibe downwind. Do you rely exclusively on electronic charts or paper charts or do you use both? Aboard this boat, cruising from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, to Victoria, B.C., we have used nothing but our iPad and guidebooks for navigation. We have paper charts aboard and a hand-held GPS and a Standard Horizon fixed-mount GPS, as backups. We use the Navionics and Navimatics apps and have been very pleased. I’ve heard people say that the iPad GPS (only on the models that are cellular-data capable) doesn’t work, or isn’t accurate, away from cell tower range. This is false. We’ve been in remote places with zero cell connectivity and were astounded at the accuracy, perfect. We love the




hardware interface, the ability to drag the map and change the scale with our fingertips. We generally use this in the cockpit only sporadically, just to get a position fix. If we’re entering a harbor and need to refer to it often, we’ll leave it on. If it is drizzling or damp, we stick it in a Ziploc freezer bag and the touch-screen still works great. As we head north up the Inside Passage this summer, navigation will be more challenging and precarious with swift currents, rocks and islands everywhere, and narrow inlets. We are always mindful of the fallibility of electronic charting and we check multiple sources during passage planning. One time, we noticed that at one particular map scale, Cedros Island, off the Pacific Coast of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula, disappeared.


The Robertson’s Fuji 40 Del Viento underway on Oregon’s Columbia River.


Bluewater Gear


Have you equipped your boat with a tablet device like an iPad? Do you use a smartphone? Yes, we have an iPad 2 (3G capable) aboard. In addition to navigation use (see above), we rely on it for anchor watches and homeschooling learning games for the girls — in addition to e-mail and Internet access. One app I recommend for everyone is Offline Wiki. It is the complete Wikipedia like you could access online, but with pictures omitted. Underway, we are often without Internet access and having the ability to look up almost anything answers a lot of questions that conversation provokes. The only downside with Offline Wiki is that Windy is often able to prove me wrong. We do have two old, partially functioning smartphones aboard,




but use them mostly as iPods for the girls. As cruisers we are on the move too much to commit to a plan. On our to-do list is to unlock one of our smartphones so that we can buy a chip and use it ad hoc as a phone. What mix of communications gear do you use when voyaging? For voice communications, we have an SSB (Icom M710), VHF with AIS reception (Standard Horizon Matrix), floating hand-held VHF (Standard Horizon). For e-mail, we have two laptops and the iPad. To connect to the Internet, we often use a cellular data device and pay monthly for a plan (usually about $50 a month in Mexico, U.S., or Canada, but a unique plan/device is required for each country). When we can, we use our Wi-Fi booster antennae (Wirie), but have found free,


unlocked Wi-Fi to be scarce. That said, if you’re in a marina, the antennae can boost your reception of the marina-provided Wi-Fi. What new gear do you plan to purchase for your boat and why? The systems on our 1978 boat were dated when we bought her. We’ve been refitting her over the past year (new sails, rigging, chain plates, water tanks, holding tank, upholstery, port lights, electronics, dinghy, etc.) and there isn’t much left to do. We no longer have a list of gear to buy and that’s a relief. We’ve talked about getting a second kayak someday, but I think we will just wait to find one at a marine swap meet or something, someday. Folding bicycles would be handy in some of the places we’ve cruised, but storage is an issue. Until something breaks and needs replacing, we are good to go. n




Reducing radio noise and interference

ow often have you heard a voyager complain that every time they try to use their SSB, it kills their autopilot? Or those who say they can never receive weatherfaxes, though the boat next to them gets crystal-clear charts everyday? These are common enough complaints and they often lead to disuse of radio equipment or the perceived need to rip everything out and start over. That’s an unfortunate reaction since the problems are solvable given a little understanding, some patience, and a bit of forensic work. Any time radio signals get into places they are not intended for, we use the phrase radio frequency interference (RFI) to describe the situation. In the case of a voyaging boat, we’re on both sides of the RFI fence at once: it’s our autopilot that’s getting knocked offline and it’s our radio receiver that can’t get through the ship’s noise to hear the weatherfax. Reducing interference Let’s deal with these two categories of RFI separately, starting with how our HF radio signals get into autopilots, stereos, and reading lights. 2013 OCEAN VOYAGER

Jeff Williams

Bluewater Gear

There are two ways that your radio signal gets into other equipment: conduction through physically connected wires and transmission through unintended wires acting as antennae. Here are three basic steps to cleaning up unwanted interference: 1. Keep it clean. Your radio is designed to transmit clean signals and, in a perfect world, it will. But the world is imperfect: that backstay antenna is a compromise in length, the ground system is a mishmash of copper foils and metal surfaces, and the wires connecting everything together are slightly lossy and tarnished from living in a salt-laden environment. One step you can take immediately to clean up your radio’s output overall is to reduce your output power. Typical output power for a marine SSB is about 150 watts peak. If you try to wring more out of it than this, it will behave badly, going nonlinear we say, and producing all sorts of unwanted spurious transmissions. You can reduce or eliminate spurious transmissions by operating your radio at

lower power. And with SSB transmissions, this is no big deal. The difference between a 50-watt transmission and a 150-watt transmission is almost indistinguishable at the receiving station. In fact, your likelihood of establishing a contact is much more dependent on how well a particular frequency propagates over the necessary distance than it does on the power involved. So find the knob or programmatic setting that selects your output or transmit power and cut it to 50 percent. This will immediately reduce some of your interference problems. If a boat near you is transmitting, talking on one channel, and you can hear splatter on adjacent channels — voice-like ‘splat’ sounds that decrease with increasing channel distance — then the radio on that boat is probably being overdriven, going non-linear, and causing all sorts of interference on their boat and yours. (They may not be aware of the problem and a polite conversation about output power could be beneficial.) A second step to cleaning up your transmissions is to literally clean up the antenna

How to get better HF radio performance for offshore communications by Jeff Williams

Jeff Williams at the top of his J/40 mast working on his HF radio backstay antenna.


Bluewater Gear Ocean Almanac


Weatherfax stations and broadcast schedules

Boston Call sign Frequencies NMF 4235 kHz 6340.5 kHz 9110 kHz 12750 kHz

Broadcast times 2030–1039 Continuous Continuous 1400–2239

New Orleans Call sign Frequencies NMG 4317.9 kHz 8503.9 kHz 12789.9 kHz 17146.4 kHz

Broadcast times Continuous Continuous Continuous 1200–2045

Pt. Reyes, Calif. Call sign Frequencies NMC 4346 kHz 8682 kHz 12786 kHz 17151.2 kHz 22527 kHz

Broadcast times 1040-1608 Continuous Continuous Continuous 1840-2356

Kodiak, Alaska Call sign Frequencies NOJ 2054 kHz 4298 kHz 8459 kHz 12412.5 kHz

Broadcast times Continuous Continuous Continuous Continuous

Honolulu Call sign Frequencies KVM70 9982.5 kHz 11090 kHz 16135 kHz

Broadcast times 0519–1556 Continuous 1719–0356

All broadcast times are UTC Source: NOAA, National Weather Service


Jeff Williams

Radiofax, also known as HF FAX, radiofacsimile or weatherfax, is a means of broadcasting graphic weather maps and other graphic images via HF radio. HF radiofax is also known as WEFAX, although this term is generally used to refer to the reception of weather charts and imagery via satellite. Maps are received using a dedicated radiofax receiver or a single-sideband shortwave receiver connected to an external facsimile recorder or PC equipped with a radiofax interface and application software.

Above, an automatic antenna tuner in the aft lazarette. Maintaining tight connections on an antenna tuner will prevent it from leaking interference. Right, a toroid wrapped with wire acts as effective choke to RFI.

and ground connections. A loose clamp on your backstay antenna or a loose terminal on your antenna tuner will result in unwanted transmissions on all sorts of frequency. If a connection is arcing and sparking, it is producing unintended signals all over the radio frequency spectrum. Inspect all of your antenna and counterpoise connections. If they’re loose, tighten them. If they’re corroded, trim the ends and reterminate them. Avoid sharp bends. If you suspect anything is arcing, do an inspection at night while someone transmits — the sparks will be obvious. Finally, make sure your batteries are well-charged before you begin transmitting. An HF radio consumes a lot of power on transmit and is sensitive to low-input voltage conditions. 2. Choke it at the source. In our imperfect world, some of the signals inside your radio leak out on the power conductors that go to your batteries. If these signals are allowed to make it all the way back to the circuit breaker panel, then they can couple into the power inputs on other devices like stereos or sailing instruments. So, how do you isolate the radio without putting it in the dinghy? It has to be tied to the house batteries, right?

The solution comes from understanding that radio frequencies — while still electrical voltages and currents — are inherently different from the direct current (DC) that powers things. There are devices that can choke RF signals without affecting DC at all. (Not surprisingly, they’re called chokes.) What we need to do is install a good quality choke on the power supply lines going to the HF radio. A good choke can be easily installed in a few minutes using a ferrite toroid — a thing that looks like a small, metal donut. One recommended by the American Radio Relay League — a U.S.-based ham radio organization — is the Amidon FT240-43 ( Take the two power wires from your HF radio and wrap them several times

Frequency labels Radio frequencies are based on how many times the signal oscillates back and forth in one second. These are called cycles per second or hertz. Since the radio frequencies that we’re working with are numbered in the millions or tens of millions of cycles per second, it’s convenient to abbreviate the number by talking about somany thousands-of-cycles-per-second (or kilohertz) or so-many millions-ofcycles-per-second (or megahertz). A kilohertz is 1,000 hertz (or cycles per second) and a megahertz is 1,000,000 hertz. Also, it’s true that one megahertz is the same as 1,000 kilohertz. These two terms can be used interchangeably, such as 8,764 kilohertz or 8.764 megahertz. Different words, same result. By tradition, we use generally kilohertz to describe radio frequencies with an HF radio. Jeff Williams


Ocean Almanac


U.S. Coast Guard HF/MF weather broadcasts

Jeff Williams

around/through the toroid/donut. Do this as close to the radio as you can. The choke will suppress any radio frequency signals from getting out of the radio onto the power wires without disturbing the DC connection that powers the radio itself. Try to get five

Left, to prevent RFI make sure the lead from the tuner makes a good electrical connection to a backstay antenna. Above, when equipped with a wind generator and other electronic gear, there is plenty of opportunity for interference on a voyaging boat.

full turns around the toroid; three is the bare minimum. This provides several times greater impedance to RF signals in the frequency range we’re concerned with (1-30 MHz). 3. Filter unintentional antennae. Any wire on your boat can act as an antenna, given the proper circumstances. Having a cursory understanding of radio waves will help in visualizing the nature of radio noise and where it comes from and goes to. Radio waves are usually characterized by their frequency. For example, you can listen to Coast Guard Station NMN on 8,764 kHz (kilohertz) or to weather guru Herb Hilgenberg on 12,359 kHz or to WGBH Boston on 89.7 MHz (megahertz). In each instance, the number identifies the fundamental frequency (often called the carrier frequency) where you can find what it is you are listening for. Radio signals are a form of electromagnetic radiation, like light. And just like light they move at a very fast speed: about 186 thousand miles per second or 300 million meters per second in a vacuum. They move a little slower through wires and through air, but we’ll ignore this difference. Since the radio waves are moving at a constant (more or less) speed and since each wave has a fundamental frequency, we can determine how far apart adjacent peaks are in that signal — its wavelength. 2013 OCEAN VOYAGER

Wavelength (meters) = Speed (million-meters per second) / Frequency (MHz) or, Wavelength (meters) = 300 / Frequency (MHz) This means that for every radio signal, there is a characteristic wavelength as well as frequency. In the earlier example, I could have as easily said NMN on 34.231 meters, Hilgenberg on 24.274 meters, and WGBH on 3.345 meters. Any piece of metal or wire can look like an antenna if it’s the right length. The right length? One-quarter of a wavelength. For example, on 12 MHz — with a 24-meter wavelength — any wire that is a quarter of that length (six meters or roughly 18 feet) acts as if it is an antenna. That means when you’re talking to Hilgenberg, getting the latest on cold fronts and cold eddies, there can be a lot of hot 18-foot-long wires in your boat. And

General frequency bands used for marine radio: Marine band Typical frequency

4 MHz 6 MHz 8 MHz 12 MHz 16 MHz

4,125 kHz 6,125 kHz 8,101 kHz 12,359 kHz 16,525 kHz


75 meters 48 meters 37 meters 24 meters 18 meters

The U.S. Coast Guard broadcasts National Weather Service high-seas forecasts and storm warnings from six high-seas communication stations, most of them remotely operated from master stations on each coast. Transmission range is dependent on operating frequency, time of day and atmospheric conditions, and it can vary from only short distances to several thousand miles. All broadcasts use a synthesized voice (Perfect Paul), and all frequencies are upper singlesideband (USB) HF. Carrier frequencies shown. ITU channel numbers as follows: 4426 (#424), 6501 (#601), 8764 (#816), 13089 (#1205), 17314 (#1625). All times are in UTC. All frequencies are in kHz. Chesapeake, Va. / NMN Time Frequency 4426, 6501, 8764 03301 05152 4426, 6501, 8764 09301 4426, 6501, 8764 2 1115 6501, 8764, 13089 15301 6501, 8764, 13089 21301 6501, 8764, 13089 23152 6501, 17314, 13089 1 offshore forecast 2 high-seas forecast Pt. Reyes, Calif. / NMC Time Frequency 0430 4426, 8764, 13089 1030 4426, 8764, 13089 1630 8764, 13089, 17314 2230 8764, 13089, 17314 Honolulu / NMO Time Frequency 0600 8764, 6501 1200 8764, 6501 0005 8764, 13089 1800 8764, 13089 Kodiak, Alaska / NOJ Time Frequency 0203 6501 1645 6501 Guam / NRV Time Frequency 0330 13089 0930 6501 1530 6501 2130 13089 Honolulu, Guam and 25 Coast Guard Group stations also broadcast offshore forecasts on MF 2670 kHz following an announcement on 2182 kHz. Typical transmission range is 50 to 150 nm during the day and 150 to 300 nm at night. For schedules and much more information on National Weather Service marine products, visit:


Bluewater Gear the wire doesn’t have to be 18 feet long; it’s just that 18 feet is an ideal antenna length for that frequency. An effective way to block RF from getting into unwanted places — like stereos and autopilots — is to add chokes to some of the wiring associated with these devices. You can make chokes from ferrite toroids as described earlier, or you can use


the clamp-on variety which are much simpler to install. Basically, a clamp-on ferrite is a pair of half-toroids held in a plastic shell. When you click the shell shut around a wire (or wires), the two halves form a whole toroid and begin to block RF signals. Good ferrites are produced by Fair-Rite (www.fair-rite. com) and available from Mouser

Electronics (; their Type 31 manganese-zinc ferrites are recommended for 1-30 MHz. Clamp-on toroids are extremely simple to install, but they have some shortcomings: generally wires are not looped through them, but only make a single pass, and sometimes the plastic shells do not make a secure connection between the two halves. Still, working with pairs of half-toroids is much simpler than with a donut since you do not need to disconnect wires already in service. You can improve the efficiency of a clamp-on toroid by looping the target wire through the center three times and by removing the toroid from the plastic shell, securely taping the two halves together instead once they are in place over the wire(s). If you are having problems with RF noise getting into your stereo, add toroids to the power lines (positive and negative DC should run through the same toroid) into the stereo and to the speaker wires close to where they come out of the stereo. By the way, lamp cord (‘zip’ cord) is the worst thing to use for speaker wires — the long parallel runs pick up unwanted radio signals; use twisted pair instead. The power wires should be twisted too. If you are having problems with your autopilot, again add a toroid to the power wires close to the autopilot electronics. You may also want to add smaller toroids to any long wires coming into the autopilot such as connections to a compass, remote display, GPS input, etc. Even shielded wires with a proper ground will benefit from being wound on a toroid. For all other electronics, take the same approach — a clamp-on ferrite on the power wires and on any long connections (even antenna coax). Finally, recheck your RF ground system. A poor grounding system will result in radio signals using any metal they can find as reflectors and ground connections. If you haven’t installed a good RF ground, you will have more interference problems as a result. Additionally, you can take steps to further improve your ground system: you can add copper screening inside your boat or Dynaplates outside; you can add DC isolation capacitors in OCEAN VOYAGER 2013

your copper foils between the antenna tuner and your ship’s ground; and you can add line isolators between your HF radio and your antenna tuner. See the references in the accompanying sidebar for more elaborate solutions and ideas. Reducing your own RFI Your HF radio is an extremely sensitive receiver; it has to be to pick those weak signals out of the air. But that means that it is susceptible to interference from local equipment. All of the above suggestions have to do with keeping your radio signals out of other equipment. But what about keeping other equipment signals (intentional or not) out of your radio? Noise picked up by your radio will come from one of two types of sources — rotary equipment or electronics — and it will get into your radio by one of two means — through the antenna or through the power leads. The best way to diagnose where noise is coming from is to first turn off all other equipment on your boat: inverters, fluorescent lamps, instruments, radios, GPS, refrigeration, etc. Then tune your radio to a quiet channel and listen to the noise level. Now turn on one piece of equipment at a time, listening for increases in noise.

You will find that rotary sources — motors, wind generators, shaft grounding brushes — create wideband noise that sounds like an increase in static. This noise will show up pretty much on all frequencies that you tune to. Electronic equipment will produce noise that sounds intentional — it will generally have some pattern or rhythm to it and some characteristic tone or

tones. This noise may only show up on certain frequencies. When you find a source of noise, your simplest solution may be to turn that equipment off when using your radio. This might be a useful approach, say, for refrigeration, but not so practical for a wind generator half-way up the mizzen. Motors can be quieted by the

The Epifanes Look

Further reading This article is an overview of the cause of radio frequency interference and some simple steps to correct it. There are many good references available on the Internet. Some are basic and some go into elaborate detail. Useful sources, in increasing levels of complexity, are: • • • • Motor_Noise • SAC0305Ferrites.pdf • Jeff Williams



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Bluewater Gear Ocean Almanac


Radar controls Many of the following imaging controls are automated on modern radar sets, but it is still useful to understand how they work for those times when the automation needs adjustment or you ship out with an older set. Tuning This control adjusts the radar receiver to match exactly the frequencies of the signals being transmitted. The normal routine is to turn rain and sea clutter off, reduce gain and adjust tune for a known target. This is generally done only when starting the set and is now fully automated on some machines. Gain This adjusts the sensitivity of the entire screen. If the gain is too high, the entire screen will be covered with noise return. If the gain is too low, radar returns won’t show up on the screen at all. Generally, the gain should be set so there is a very faint bit of clutter showing. Gain often has to be lowered when switching from longer to shorter ranges. Rain clutter, or fast time constant (FTC). This control helps remove weak returns from longer ranges, usually caused by rain or snow. These weak returns can obscure the stronger return from a ship or landmass. The higher the setting, the stronger the return that is eliminated, so it is sometimes prudent to adjust the control frequently during squally weather. When the rain ends, turn it off. Note that some units have both a rain control for close-in rain and snow, and FTC for farther-away precipitation. Sea clutter, or sensitivity time control (STC). This lowers


gain for nearby targets, thus reducing the clutter of echoes generated by wave tops. Like rain clutter, it can hide real targets and should be adjusted carefully and shut off when not needed. There are numerous other radar controls you should understand, and they often have associated acronyms to simplify screen displays. Range is the most basic control, determining the distance covered by the bird’s-eye radar display, sometimes called the PPI (plan position indicator). If the range is set to one mile, the distance from the center of the scope to the edge is one mile. Shorter ranges usually offer higher resolution, meaning smaller targets can be identified closer to the boat; however, longer ranges are often useful for navigation and spotting large ships at a safe distance. Consequently, operators often change ranges frequently. Traditionally, a navigator compares the radar image to the active chart to determine which targets are fixed and to corroborate the DR. Range rings help with the cross referencing, and EBLs (electronic bearing lines), VRMs (variable range markers) and/or a screen cursor can be used to plot identified land features or aids to navigation relative to the vessel or vice versa. EBLs and VRMs are also useful for plotting moving targets. Plotted on a paper maneuvering board, you can determine how close the other vessel will get, termed the closest point of approach (CPA), and when, the T (time) CPA. With a little vector work on the board, you can calculate

the other vessel’s true speed and course, sometimes important to understanding the Rules of the Road situation and to making wise course or speed changes. There are several modern aids to target tracking. One is tracks, or wakes, which is simply the ability of the display to keep showing old target echoes, usually in a lighter shade or different color. The result is that fixed targets show straight-back tracks (actually plotting your motion), while moving targets show tracks that are the vector sum of your motion and theirs, aka relative motion. Radar sets integrated with heading and speed instruments can often perform MARPA (mini automatic radar plotting aid), able to lock onto userselected targets and show each one’s true or relative forwardmotion track and a data window with CPA, TCPA, true speed and true course. Nowadays, many vessels also have some level of integration between radar and chartplotter. Waypoints may appear on the radar screen as lollipops and/or radar cursor position may appear on the plotter as a TLL (target latitude/ longitude). There are other radar functions that an operator should learn, like IR (interference rejection), which is the ability of a receiver to reject the distinctive swirly jamming caused by another radar unit sweeping in its vicinity. Some users leave this off to help warn them of an active vessel. IR and other clutter filters can sometimes mask racons (special aids to navigation that electronically respond to a radar echo).

addition of capacitors across the power leads and from the power leads to ground. The BEAM robotics wiki in the references in the accompanying sidebar has a good explanation of the three-capacitor filter solution. Multilayer ceramic capacitors (0.1uF and 0.047uF) type X7R are inexpensive and good for filter applications. (Also available from Mouser Electronics.) If you find noise coming from systems that must be operational simultaneously with your radio, you can add these filters to the motors, wind generators, and shaft grounding brushes. Your alternator should already have a noise suppression capacitor in it. Electronics equipment often radiate unwanted noise on their power leads or on connections between equipment, remote displays, computers, etc. When you find a piece of equipment that produces unwanted radio noise, add clamp-on ferrites to the power leads and other wires close to the equipment case. In extreme cases, you may find that you have to relocate long wires that run parallel to your radio’s power wires, control cable, or antenna coax. It may also be necessary to physically move a piece of equipment to reduce or eliminate noise. On our J/40, Gryphon, our remote instrument display causes interference if you lay it in a certain position on our chart table. The solution? Don’t put it there! Also, if you haven’t done so already, make sure that the power leads into your HF radio are twisted and that you’ve run them several times through a toroid or clamp-on ferrite. Radio frequency interference problems still involve a certain amount of smoke and mirrors, though the level of witchcraft involved has decreased in modern times. Armed with a little knowledge and a lot of toroids, you can conquer this devil inside your boat. n Jeff Williams trained as an electrical engineer in the days when a computer filled a room and witchcraft was prevalent in antenna theory and design. He now drives remotely operated vehicles in the deep ocean ( okeanos/). He lives in New Zealand. OCEAN VOYAGER 2013

Bluewater Gear

Patching a system until you can get to an HVAC technician

by Harry Hungate

Top right, a refrigeration repair kit (see sidebar on page 17 for list of contents). Middle right, a low refrigerant level is indicated by the low frost line on the evaporator, indicating the need for recharging. Bottom right, using a brush and soapy water on the evaporator to locate the leak.

f your refrigerator/freezer quits while you are in U.S. waters, only a properly licensed refrigeration technician who has the required equipment (refrigerant recovery system, vacuum pump, etc.) may legally service your system. However, if you are offshore or in foreign waters far from a licensed technician, your best and perhaps only hope is to do the job yourself. This means planning ahead and placing a few extra items in your spare parts kit (see sidebar). Almost all refrigeration units built in the last 10 years use the environmentally friendly HF-134a refrigerant, but confirm the type of refrigerant used by your refrigeration system before proceeding. These items are available at most auto parts stores worldwide.

Diagnosing the problem If you happen to notice that your refrigeration system is cycling more frequently than normal or is running constantly, act quickly to identify the problem. You will save more of your refrigerated food and less damage will occur to the refrigeration system. Most of the world’s 12- and 24-volt refrigeration systems are based on a hermetically-sealed compressor manufactured by Danfoss. This is a highly reliable device and it very rarely fails. However, if it does fail, it cannot be repaired and must be replaced. So, the following is based on the assumption that the compressor still runs, the problem (at worst) is loss of refrigerant, and you have the necessary repair materials at hand.


Harry Hungate

Emergency refrigeration repair I

Do the easy things first • Inspect the evaporator (the cold part in the freezer/ refrigerator) carefully. If it is still cold enough to form frost, then note the frost level on the outside of the evaporator. It should be within a half-inch or so of the top of the evaporator. If much lower or no frost level is visible, then refrigerant loss is most probable. • Have a look at the compressor/condenser and ensure that the unit has an unobstructed source of cooling air and that the fan is working. Clean or replace the air filter and clean the condenser fins as best you can. Take care as they are very thin and are easily damaged. If your condenser is water cooled, make sure that the water pump is delivering adequate cooling water. 15

Bluewater Gear Ocean Almanac


Geographic range table The following table gives the approximate geographic range of visibility for an object that may be seen by an observer at sea level. It also provides the approximate distance to the visible horizon for various heights of eye. To determine the geographic range of an object, you must add the range for the observer’s height of eye and the range for the object’s height. For instance, if the object seen is 65 feet, and the observer’s height of eye is 35 feet above sea level, then the object will be visible at a distance of no more than 16.3 miles: Height of eye: 35 feet Range = 6.9 nm Object height: 65 feet Range = 9.4 nm Computed geographic range = 16.3 nm The standard formula is d = 1.17 x square root of H + 1.17 x square root of h, where d = visible distance, H = height of the object, and h = height of eye of the observer.

Height Feet Meters 5 1.5 10 3.0 15 4.6 20 6.1 25 7.6 30 9.1 35 10.7 40 12.2 45 13.7 50 15.2 55 16.8 60 18.3 65 19.8 70 21.3 75 22.9 80 24.4 85 25.9 90 27.4 95 29.0 100 30.5 110 33.5 120 36.6 130 39.6 140 42.7 150 45.7 200 61.0 250 76.2 300 91.4 350 106.7 400 121.9 450 137.2 500 152.4 550 167.6 600 182.9 650 198.1 700 213.4 800 243.8 900 274.3 1000 304.8

Distance nm 2.6 3.7 4.5 5.2 5.9 6.4 6.9 7.4 7.8 8.3 8.7 9.1 9.4 9.8 10.1 10.5 10.8 11.1 11.4 11.7 12.3 12.8 13.3 13.8 14.3 16.5 18.5 20.3 21.9 23.4 24.8 26.2 27.4 28.7 29.8 31.0 33.1 35.1 37.0

Source: Defense Mapping Agency, The American Practical Navigator (Bowditch); U.S. Coast Guard, Light List.


• Looking at the compressor, place your fingers on the two refrigerant tubes connected to the compressor. The smaller of the two is the liquid line and should be quite warm, much warmer than the larger line which is the gas or return line. If you can detect no temperature difference while the compressor is running, then almost certainly the problem is loss of refrigerant. • Make arrangements to move your perishables and all remaining ice to a picnic cooler as you will need access to the evaporator for a day or two. A friendly fellow cruiser perhaps will store your perishables for you. • If the refrigeration system is still cooling at all, then shut off the compressor to allow the refrigerant pressures to equalize. This will make any leaks in the low pressure side easier to locate. Make up a thick solution of dishwashing soap and water, and using a small paint brush carefully daub the soapy water on the surfaces of the evaporator and the refrigerant line which connects the evaporator to the compressor. • Look carefully for any sign of an oily deposit along the refrigerant lines, as this is a sure sign of a leak. Pay particular attention to the point where the refrigerant line joins the evaporator as this is a notoriously troublesome area. Also look for any possible contact between the refrigerant line and the wall of the evaporator, as the evaporator wall is very thin and any contact with the refrigerant line will quickly wear through the thin wall. (A good preventative measure before you experience a failure is to slip a short length of soft plastic tubing over the refrigerant line to separate it from contact with the evaporator wall or any other surface.) Watch carefully for bubbles being formed by leaking refrigerant. This will require patience if the leak is very small. • If the refrigeration system is not cooling at all, then you will have to add some refrigerant to be able to locate the leak with the bubble test. Adding refrigerant to compressor • DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES CONNECT

A REFRIGERANT CONTAINER TO THE HIGH-PRESSURE SIDE OF THE COMPRESSOR NOR TO THE HIGH-PRESSURE OR LIQUID LINE. If you have any problem comprehending this, STOP NOW and go no further. • Wear gloves and eye protection and use common sense during this entire procedure. Exert your best efforts to prevent any air or moisture from being introduced into the refrigeration system. • Turn off the circuit breaker to the compressor. Locate the service valve on the compressor and using two wrenches to avoid twisting the tubing on the compressor, remove the dust cap by turning it counter-clockwise. Under the dust cap is a Schrader valve just like in your bicycle or car tire. Use a small screwdriver or punch to depress the valve to let out a puff of refrigerant.

Operating parameters (in degrees Celsius): Action: Set point Differential P1 Calibration offset Lower limit alarm Higher limit alarm Alarm differential Alarm delay Compensation Control action Delay Min. time Min. time off Min time on Status of outputs Output rotation Time of PWM Probe type Probe cal. offset Min. value scaling Max. value scaling Probe response Temp. units C or F 2nd probe Min. set point limit Max. set point limit

Direct St1 1.5 P14 P25 P26 P27 P28 C4 C5 C6 C7 C8 C9 C10 C11 C12 C13 P14 C15 C16 C17 C18 C19 C21 C22

Mode 1 -2.2 0.0

0.5 0 5 5 5 10 2 0 20 0 0.0 0.0 100 8 0 0 -3 +38


This will blow out any dust or moisture. Attach the can adapter to the can of refrigerant and attach the charging hose to the can adapter. Slowly turn the valve on the can adapter clockwise to puncture the refrigerant can and then

Refrigeration repair parts: • Two or three 12-ounce cans of HF134a refrigerant (avoid the larger cans) • A charging kit consisting of a can adapter and a charging hose • Two packs of J-B Weld • A sheet of 320-grit sandpaper • Acetone or MEK • Kitchen film (Saran wrap or similar) • Optional items: one 12-ounce can of HF-134a refrigerant with ultra-violet (UV) dye for leak detection and one UV LED, a 9-volt battery and a 370-ohm resistor (NAPA auto parts sells a UV penlight for $17.95).

turn the valve counterclockwise to open the valve. With the hose aimed overboard and the refrigerant can held upright, vent some refrigerant gas through the hose to drive out any air and moisture. A five-second blast should do nicely. • With a tiny amount of refrigerant gas flowing through the hose to keep out air and moisture, and the can held upright, connect the charging hose to the service valve on the compressor. Open the can valve a turn or two and start the compressor, all the while keeping the refrigerant can upright to ensure that only gas is admitted into the compressor. (Otherwise, liquid


Connecting the charging hose to the compressor service valve. Make sure to wear gloves as the refrigerant container can get very cold as the gas flows.

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Bluewater Gear entering the compressor will cause permanent internal damage.) • The refrigerant container will get very cold as the refrigerant evaporates, so keep your gloves on while handling the can. • Add refrigerant for two minutes and then shut the can valve and remove the charging hose from the compressor. Replace the dust cap and cover the end of the charging hose with a piece of tape to keep out air and moisture. • Shut off the compressor and perform the soap bubble test on the evaporator until the leak is located. • If the leak cannot be located with the soap bubble test, then add the refrigerant containing the special ultraviolet (UV) dye. (Follow the instructions on the can of refrigerant if different from the following.) Turn off the circuit breaker for the compressor before beginning this procedure, as you do not want the compressor to run while you are adding liquid refrigerant. This time,


and this time only, invert the refrigerant can to introduce liquid refrigerant into the system as the dye will not be transported by refrigerant in the gas phase. (I had to learn this the hard way.) A two-minute dose of liquid refrigerant and dye should be enough to find the leak. Disconnect the charging hose and replace the dust cap on the service valve. Run the compressor for a few minutes to distribute the UV dye and then shut it off to allow the pressures to equalize. Connect the UV LED to a nine-volt battery and a 370-ohm resistor or use your UV flashlight. Shine the UV LED on the evaporator and refrigerant lines to locate the leak. (Shine the LED on the charging hose to get an idea of what the illuminated dye looks like.) It may require a second addition of refrigerant and dye to locate the leak. Repairing the leak While allowing the refrigerator/freezer to warm to ambient temperature, care-

fully and gently sand the area around the leak with 320-grit sandpaper just enough to brighten the metal and remove any paint. Clean the sanded area with acetone or MEK. If there is any refrigerant remaining in the system, vent it now by connecting the charging hose to the compressor service valve. Mix up some J-B Weld and apply a liberal amount to the area around the leak. Wrap the J-B Weld with kitchen film to hold it in place until the epoxy sets. If you notice a bubble being formed in the J-B Weld, vent the compressor again. Allow the J-B Weld to cure for 24 hours and inspect it carefully for any evidence of a bubble. If one is found, sand the J-B Weld and apply a fresh layer and wait another 24 hours for the J-B Weld to cure. Add a two-minute charge to the compressor and soap the repaired area again. If it is still leak-free, resume charging the system.


Charging the system If you were fortunate enough to notice the refrigeration failure before all of the refrigerant escaped, chances are that no damaging amount of moisture has entered the system and a successful repair can be effected by replacing the refrigerant. If moisture has entered the system, the proper procedure would be to evacuate the system with a vacuum pump for 24 hours to remove any moisture and non-condensable gases and have the drier replaced before recharging. (In the 15 years that we have been out cruising, I have met only one cruiser with a vacuum pump aboard, and he had no idea how to use it!) So here is an emergency procedure that usually works: With the compressor switched off, add refrigerant for two minutes, keeping the refrigerant can upright all the while. Wait for 15 minutes and vent the refrigerant to the atmosphere. Ventilate the area thoroughly. Use a hose to get the refrigerant gas overboard. It is not toxic, but neither will it support life, and worse, if it comes into contact with a very hot surface or an open flame, extremely poisonous phosgene gas will be formed. Repeat the two-minute charge, 15-minute wait, then vent cycle two more times. This should purge the system sufficiently to allow operation. Add refrigerant again for two minutes and turn on the compressor. The liquid line should warm up a bit and the evaporator should begin to cool slightly. Continue to add refrigerant in 10-second increments, waiting two minutes between charges. The evaporator should begin to frost by now. Continue this charge and wait cycle of adding refrigerant until the frost line on the evaporator is within a half-inch of the top of the evaporator. You may have to prop open the refrigerator door to keep the compressor running constantly. This is not exact, it doesn’t comply with the manufacturers’ instructions, and it probably voids your warranty. But, it certainly has a very good chance of returning your refrigeration system to operation, so you can celebrate with a cool beverage or two! When you arrive at a location where competent refrigeration repair can be obtained, it is a good idea to 2013 OCEAN VOYAGER

have the system properly evacuated with a vacuum pump and have the drier replaced. If your evaporator is over five years old, it’s a good idea to replace it, as due to the extremely thin aluminum used in its construction, your evaporator is living on borrowed time. Finally, it’s a good idea to leave your refrigerator/freezer running at all times, rather than shutting it down when you are away from your boat for extended periods. At ambient temperature, the evaporator will

corrode more rapidly than when it is cold, so by keeping it cold, it will last much longer. n Contributing editor Harry Hungate and his wife, Jane Lothrop, have been cruising on their Corbin 39 cutter, Cormorant, since 1997, and have had occasion to make emergency refrigeration repairs in exotic locations during their west-about circumnavigation. They plan to cruise the U.S. East Coast in 2013. Follow their adventures at

Ocean Almanac


Set & drift calculations Current may slow a vessel, increase its speed and/or throw it off course. Here’s a way to determine a course to steer (CTS) to compensate for current. You need four values: the desired course, the set (direction) of the current, the drift (speed) of the current and the boat’s speed through the water. Current set and drift may be taken from current charts or tables, or may be observed,

in nautical miles between B and C, divided by the time in hours, will yield the drift. Thus, if the time between A and B is 0.2 hours (12 minutes), and the distance from B to C is 0.3 nm, then the drift is 1.5 knots. In other words, a line plotted between where you thought you were and where you actually are is the tidal current vector. Additionally, a line plotted from where you started to where you actually are, A

but you will likely get the most accurate information by measuring it yourself. First, fix the vessel’s position (A) using navigation aids, visual bearings or electronics. Then proceed on your desired course for a specific time, plotting this course and distance on the chart (B, a DR position). Now determine your actual position (C) and compare it to B. The direction from B to C is the set of the current. The distance

to C, is a vector of your actual movement, indicating course over ground (COG) and speed over ground (SOG). Now that you have plotted the set and drift, you’re ready to determine what CTS will make good the desired COG. First plot a new desired course from your present position. Then extend the current vector for an hour to point D (this technique is known as the one-hour vector method).

Then measure with dividers the distance your boat can travel in one hour from the latitude scale on the chart. Place one point of the dividers on D and swing the other end until it intersects the desired course line. Mark that spot (E), and draw a line from D to E. The direction D to E is your CTS. So D to E is the vector of your boat moving through the water for one hour, while C to D is the current moving your boat for one hour. The sum of the vectors, C to E, is the COG that your boat should actually move during that hour (unless the current changes!). Hence, the distance from C to E will be your boat’s actual speed. The value of using waypoints with a GPS is that the unit can then do this sort of calculation continuously, delivering updated CTS as conditions change. It’s highly advisable to plot both these waypoints and connecting courses to better visualize where a route takes you and as a check against what you’ve input to the GPS.


Bluewater Gear

Designing and installing an aluminum hard dodger Story and photos by Rich Ian-Frese

Hardened protection W e had experienced enough gale-force winds and large seas on board our Tayana 37 cutter Anna to know that a bit of protection while standing watch in an open cockpit makes life a lot easier. That was why we replaced our tube and fabric dodger with a hard aluminum version. We had a few structural materials in mind, for the construction of our new hard dodger: wood, fiberglass, steel, aluminum. We also had a few restrictions to consider: availability of materials in a country

where direct access to some materials was limited. Additionally, we didn’t have access to a clean, shaded workshop where we could conveniently fabricate the structure. It was the brutally-hot summer (hurricane) season in Mexico. We were anchored out and living on the boat, in industrial, Guaymas harbor, Sonora, Mexico. What we did have, however, was limited access to the nearby

government docks and attached boatyard facility, which could provide us with 240V electrical power for welding, if need be. Additionally, we were 250 highway miles to the south of the U.S. border. If obtaining the right materials proved impossible in Mexico, we could make a run to the U.S. border town of Nogales, Ariz., to pick up the materials we needed. After considering the various options, we concluded that the only material with a high strengthto-weight ratio; the ability to withstand the corrosive effects of constant saltwater exposure; the stamina to withstand the potential Rich and Cat Ian-Frese decided their Tayana 37 Anna needed better protection for the cockpit. They designed and built an aluminum hard dodger while in Mexico.


of a direct strike by a breaking wave; and the promise of no additional routine maintenance over its lifetime was 5000-series marinegrade, high-strength, structural aluminum alloy. In fact, painting (or powder coating) 5000-series aluminum alloy is an involved, expensive, multi-step cosmetic application. We thought it better to simply allow the surface to naturally patina — to take on a subdued, gray tone. This naturally occurring magnesium patina is in fact innate to 5000-series aluminum, a protective surface layer that is highly resistant to the corrosive effects of saltwater.  The surface of aluminum plate can be polished — to either bring back a bright luster, or to remove a scratch. Scotch-Brite pads or wheels will do the job nicely. After a while, the aluminum will repatina, coating itself with another protective magnesium layer.  From a sketch to reality Our computer model was created with SketchUp (www., Google’s (managed by Trimble) 3D modeling program — both SketchUp and our initial aluminum dodger 3D model are available as a free download. SketchUp gave us the ability to accurately represent our prototype design. It gave us the opportunity to “fly around it,” and observe it from different perspectives. We could easily change the dimensions, or shape, of any individual component in the design. We could scale-up or -down the entire model. We could, for example, design a round porthole, or a rectangular porthole, and then view the field-of-vision for either design, by rotating the dodger on OCEAN VOYAGER 2013

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its axis and looking at the view as seen from behind the dodger. Once we had the design parameters locked in we drew the hard dodger to scale, then calculated the total area of the materials we would need, in square feet, or in linear feet (depending on whether it was aluminum plate, pipe, or flat bar). The next step was to find out how the distributors sold the material (size of sheets and lengths of pipe and flat bar). Then we could determine the minimal amount of material to order to complete the project. Logistics would play a significant role in our decision-making process. While we needed to make the dodger simple to

Three-dimensional computer model of the aluminum hard-dodger prototype. Ian-Frese used SketchUp, a 3D modeling program to produce plans for cutting the aluminum.

fabricate, and strong enough to withstand the elements, we also needed to make the design modular. The individual components (i.e., front panels, roof panels, side panels, handles, and so forth) would be fabricated from large sheets of structural aluminum alloy, which were pre-cut into smaller, more manageable sizes for both transporting the materials to the work site, and handling the materials once on site — it appeared that form was determined to follow function. Specifications The most important consideration when choosing aluminum plate, tubing, or flat bar is the specification of the appropriate grade and temper. For exterior applications in a saltwater marine environment, 5000-series aluminum alloy, which contains the highest percentage of magnesium, is well-suited for its high resistance to saltwater corrosion, strength, flexibility, and excellent welding properties. 2013 OCEAN VOYAGER

For non-anodized (or painted) hull or superstructure applications, 5000-series structural aluminum alloy allows for fabrication without the additional requirement of protective surface coatings. This translates to less expense, less maintenance, and easier repairs if necessary, down the road. In addition, 5000-series aluminum is weldable using standard shipyard techniques, employed worldwide. We chose 5086 because it has proven itself over time, and because it was readily available from a network of wholesale distributors located in our part of the world. After generating a scaled, 3D computer model of the aluminum dodger that we had in mind, we were able to accurately determine the dimensional area required for the aluminum plate, and the lengths required for the pipe and flat bar components. For the panels we chose quarter-inch 5086 H116 aluminum plate, for its strength-to-weight ratio. For the pipe we specified ha;f-inch inner diameter (ID) 5086 H32 schedule 40, for both strength and comfort — it would be used for strengthening the open (aft end) of the dodger roof, but also for the hand holds, steps, and chafe guards on the exposed, aft edges of the dodger. We specified quarter-inch by one-and-a-half-inch 5086 H111 flat bar for the roof racks that would provide a platform for our RAM-mount, angleadjustable solar panels. Construction Aluminum plate in the 5000 series has excellent welding properties. A standard tungsten inert gas (TIG) or metal inert Ocean Almanac


Distance, speed & time formulas Formulas for calculating Distance, Speed or Time: D = S x T S = D/T T = D/S Note that the unit of measure must be the same for time and speed, usually hours. To convert minutes to hours, divide by 60. Aids to calculation include the logarithmic scale found on maneuvering boards and the use of six-minute (0.1-hour) increments.


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Bluewater Gear gas (MIG) welder can be used to join the seams. Either technique will work very well. TIG welding is somewhat more sophisticated, but it is also significantly more time consuming than MIG welding. For our purposes, MIG welding was perhaps a better choice: it is more forgiving than TIG welding, and much faster if fabricating a design with more than just a couple of panels to join — an important economic detail. Since MIG welders are portable, they can be transported to a shipyard and plugged into 240V power. A wooden (door skin) template should be used to trace the patterns onto the aluminum panels. But it’s a good idea, once the aluminum cutouts

We double-welded the seams, that is, we welded on both the outside surface of the dodger and the underside, or inside surface, in order to fill in any gaps in the seams due to the angles at which the panels were joined. This added extra strength to the welds. Additionally, we welded schedule-40 aluminum pipe to the curved, aft edges of the dodger, and to the aft end of the roof for both chafe protection and strength. Half-inch ID schedule-40 pipe is strong (thick-walled); it provided us with handholds that felt comfortable and substantial. When we added the rack for the solar panels, we tied it into the set of handles running fore and aft on the port and star-

Left, sun-screen mesh shades the cockpit, yet lets a breeze move through the portholes. Below, mesh screening slides through a track — a slit in the pipe — making it simple and fast to cover all the portholes at once.

are completed, to tack weld the seams of the individual sections in place, right on the boat. That’s where it’s useful to have a shipyard nearby where you can pull into their travel lift bay or onto their dock and plug into 240V shore power, to complete the spot welding. Afterwards, the spot-welded dodger can be lifted off the boat, in one piece, and MIG welded at the shop or in the yard. It’s better to complete the welding off the boat, as hot sparks can fly and leave burn marks where they land. While TIG welding fuses perfectly cut seams together, MIG welding fills in to join the seams. So, if component pieces aren’t perfectly even on the edges to be welded, a MIG weld can compensate somewhat by filling in the gap. If using a metal shop with crude facilities — like using a 240V welding machine outdoors, with exposed wiring and a short-circuiting power box — a MIG welder is the tool of choice.  22

board sides of the top of the roof. Welding (tying in) all the pipes and panels and flat bar components strengthened the overall structure, it added rigidity. We opted for four rectangular portholes with well-rounded corners on the forward panels, which provided an excellent field-of-view. We also added two round portholes on the side panels for greater peripheral vision. We positioned handholds on the side panels, top of roof (port and starboard sides) and on the aft end of the roof. A step-handhold combination was placed on the outside of the side panels for easier access to the dodger roof or boom. We also opted for removable 3/8-inch Plexiglas panels to cover the portholes for ocean crossings (the panels are gasketed and through-bolted with over-sized

holes in the Plexiglas for expansion and contraction). We didn’t use plate glass because we wanted the option to have our portholes completely open, without any dogged window frames obstructing the area underneath the dodger (i.e., over the companionway), or even partially blocking the breeze. We did, however, want the ability to easily screen the sun or block the rain when anchored out or coastal cruising, and so we welded on a piece of round pipe with a slit cut into it (same pipe we used for the handholds and steps) just above the portholes, to provide a track for a curtain of strong, nylon-mesh screening. This would let air through, even if it completely covered the porthole. The mesh screening blocks 95 percent of the sun’s rays and provides some shading relief on a blazing-hot day. We also had a curtain of clear vinyl sewn within a border of sturdy, weather- and UV-resistant material — basically, an inexpensive Sunbrella knockoff — to provide protection in rainy weather. These curtains can be attached and removed, simply and quickly, by sliding them through the slot in the aluminum pipe. They may also be rolled up in place, and tied off for convenience. We thought about using half-inch Armaflex insulation on the inside surfaces of the dodger, to shield against the potential of coming in contact with a hot metallic surface on the underside of the dodger. But after installing the dodger and living with it in 100° F weather, during the summer season, in hot, hot Mexico, it was clear to us that the surface heat was not an issue that required insulation. We were surprised by this. But as it turned out, the solar panels sitting above the aluminum dodger shaded the surface of the roof. On a metal boat we would have welded the dodger to the deck. Since Anna’s hull is not metal, we used eight substantial through-bolts around the base of the dodger to tie it into strong points on the perimeter. The ability to easily remove the throughbolts makes removal of the engine possible, if necessary, without cutting the dodger away from the deck, as the engine is located directly beneath the companionway steps, which the dodger effectively protects. OCEAN VOYAGER 2013

freight charges by driving the materials across the border, along with some of our other personal possessions. In industrial and gritty Guaymas, we were allowed to use a shipyard’s travel lift bay and 240V shore power connection for a few hours, during a non-busy time of year, at no charge. It was so incredibly hot and humid, slow and deserted, during the summer months in Guaymas that it wasn’t much of a problem to schedule time to work on a project at the yard, or take up some unused dock space for a short period of time, if we needed it. People were very relaxed about scheduling or rules and regulations or business as usual.  We found a skilled aluminum welder with a crude shop near the waterfront. He had no experience working on sailboats, but that was okay, we did, and we knew what we wanted. Welders in Guaymas work on old, rusting, shrimpers and the occasional industrial job, or cracked frame on a school bus. But for the most part he was game to help us out with his funky MIG welder. We later found an upholstery shop off a dirt

Cost efficiency We were able to keep the project costs for materials and fabrication very low. By designing the structure ourselves and making both a 3D computer model and a small-scale cardboard mock-up, we could show exactly what we had in mind when it came time to communicate technical details, or concepts, where even a small language barrier can lead to misunderstandings and lost time. Since we made the design modular, we could buy the materials in bulk at wholesale prices, then have the oversized pieces pre-cut into smaller, more manageable sizes — before they are shipped from the manufacturing facility or distributor. That makes a difference when it comes time to pickup and deliver a skid of materials. The smaller the skid, the more practical and easy it is to handle. Additionally, loading the materials into the trunk of a compact-sized rental car is unlikely to set off red flags at border crossings with customs inspections. We were able to eliminate expensive importation fees and international

road with sinkholes that you could disappear into. The owner had a well-oiled, industrial-strength sewing machine and some strange-colored thread and a little free time on his hands to make up some sun screens and rain screens for us, based on some dimensions we gave him. He scribbled these out on his wall — where he kept all his other important, and not so important, notes and phone numbers and sketches and doodles. He tracked down the fabric we had in mind, ordered it for us, and it arrived a few days later. Labor costs in Guaymas are inexpensive, by U.S. standards. Our total cost for metal fabrication (cutting and welding) was $600 U.S. Add to that the wholesale materials cost for the 5086 marine-grade aluminum, at $1,350 U.S. We didn’t care if the welding job on our 5086 H116 aluminum dodger hadn’t looked computer-numericallycontrolled seamless. We cleaned up the metal surfaces later, with abrasive 3M n Scotch-Brite. Rich and Cat Ian-Frese live and voyage aboard their Tayana 37 Anna.

Ocean Almanac


Satellite communications systems GlobalStar Iridium Inmarsat Fleet Inmarsat Fleet Inmarsat Fleet SkyMate Broadband Broadband Broadband FB-150 FB-250 FB-500 Voice














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Fax machine capable Yes No No Yes Yes

Automatic weather/safety No


No (outbound only)

Yes, via Internet

Yes, via Internet Yes, via Internet Yes, via Internet

Receive weather charts

Yes, w/GRIB SW Yes, via Internet

Yes, via Internet

Yes, via Internet Yes, via Internet Yes








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Offshore Safety



favorable forecast and try not to allow ourselves to be driven by a firm schedule. Even if other crews are heading out of port, we may stay behind and wait for a better weather window to avoid trouble. We have learned to turn a deaf ear to well-meaning advice at times and trust our own judgment about what we are comfortable heading out in. On the other hand, having now lived aboard for nearly three years and crossed both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, I am amazed at how infrequently we have encountered truly uncomfortable weather at sea by cruising within safe seasons. (Knock on wood!)


In This Section

How do you approach the subject of safety? Has your experience sailing offshore affected your thinking on safety? Having a young child on board makes us especially safety-conscious. For us, prevention is more important than any single piece of expensive rescue equipment. This starts with a cockpit jack line that we can clip in to before leaving the shelter of the cabin, and extends to deck jack lines and safety netting. We take a conservative approach to every passage. We wait for a

Nadine Slavinski

Above right, Nadine Slavinski and Marcus Schweitzer’s Dufour 35, Namani, underway in the Marquesas. Right, Nadine and Nicky in the cockpit offshore.

Nadine Slavinski

For a voyaging family, offshore safety goes beyond mere equipment


n addition to being a liveaboard voyager, Nadine Slavinski is a teacher and the author of the book, Lesson Plans Ahoy!: Hands-on Learning for Sailing Children and Home Schooling Sailors. Her website,, provides many free resources for home schooling sailors. Currently on sabbatical from her position at an international school in Germany, she cruises aboard her 1981 Dufour 35, Namani, with Markus Schweitzer, her husband. Markus worked in management consulting prior to departing on their current cruise. On their first extended trip aboard Namani, the couple cruised the Mediterranean, crossed the Atlantic, and spent a season in the Caribbean before sailing on to Maine. Aboard with them was their son, Nicky, then 4 years old. Nicky is now 9 and is home-schooled aboard Namani as they cruise from Maine to Australia. They are currently in New Zealand and looking forward to new Pacific landfalls.

• Medical risk management • Pumps and priorities


We think of “safety equipment” in three categories: first, there are the things that should minimize the chances of getting into a distress situation. This includes standard equipment that should be on any boat such as jack lines, suitable storm sails, radar, and most importantly, sound and safe practices and routines on board: I guess you call that “good seamanship.” Secondly, there is the equipment that helps to communicate a distress situation: EPIRB, radio, flares and the like. Third, there are the things that increase your chances of survival in a distress situation: the ability to deal with injuries; to conduct emergency repairs on the boat to keep water out and the vessel under control; and a life raft, grab bag and its contents. The farther you move offshore and away from major shipping routes, the more important the third category becomes. You may be able to get a distress call out, but you will likely be far away from help and cannot expect others to endanger themselves to come to your aid. Our nightmare scenario has always been hitting a submerged object such as a stray shipping container, resulting in the boat sinking quickly. That has influenced our choice of life raft and the way we have installed it on deck. The other less threatening but equally uncontrollable event would be a lightning strike that fries all electrical equipment on board (including water pumps and hand-held GPS). Hence we need to be confident that we can make a safe landfall in a complete and lasting “power down” scenario. How do you plan for possible medical emergencies? Did you receive any medical training before you began voyaging? We carry a well-stocked first-aid kit and many prescription medicines (in both children’s and adult doses) from antibiotics to eye medication and malaria treatment. I found our doctors at home very helpful



in writing prescriptions and dispensing advice. Similarly, our local pharmacies proved very understanding in providing medicine with the longest possible shelf life. Though my certification has since lapsed, I once held a Red Cross first-aid instructor’s license, so I feel reasonably well-equipped to handle basic first-aid issues. Luckily, we have suffered very few accidents or illnesses. Our only hospital trip was in Saint Lucia when little Nicky, then 4, pushed a small piece of Lego up his nose! The same could have happened at home. Generally, we feel much healthier and even safer at sea than we did in our land lives, when we were often in enclosed spaces full of germs or driving at what now seem to be breakneck speeds. What type of life raft do you have? How often do you have it serviced? We now carry a Viking RescYou six-man life raft which must be serviced every three years. We chose this model in part because we knew it could be serviced relatively easily in places along our planned cruising route (for example, Tahiti, New Zealand, or Australia). We had a perfectly good BFA life raft before, but decided to replace it with the Viking because the BFA required annual service at considerable cost and inconvenience. We specifically chose a self-righting life raft in order to have one less potential obstacle to clear in this worst-case scenario. The life raft is mounted on the coach roof in a hard case. Even though we never sail offshore with more than four people aboard, we opted for the six-person life raft despite its greater weight and storage requirements. Nadine was once in a four-person life raft as part of a safety seminar and that positively convinced her it would be too small for three adults and one child for anything beyond 48 hours. It also pays to carefully examine the contents of your life raft’s survival gear. Most provide only limited quantities of drinking water, for example. This




Nadine Slavinski


concerned us, especially since we would be heading into the Pacific where even in the best case, rescue operations take place over long distances and therefore long time frames. We had the option to have extra items packed into the life raft; ideally, we would have liked to add a manual (hand pump) watermaker. However, the cost was prohibitive. Instead we settled for an emergency desalinator. What do you have in your abandon-ship bag? Our grab bag is a red waterproof bag that is always in reach by the chart table. It contains flares, a hand-held GPS, hand-held VHF, lithium batteries for both those devices, foil blankets, a compass, paper and pencil, fishing gear with knife and small cutting board, energy bars, a hand-crank flashlight, and copies of key documents such as passports. All these items are sealed in individual Ziploc bags. We also have an abandon-ship list above the chart table to remind us to take the EPIRB with us, as well as the satellite phone, the extra water container we keep handy, plus the spear gun if we have time. Recent additions to our grab bag are several emergency

Markus, Nicky and Nadine with a helpful navigational aid at Suwarrow Atoll in the South Pacific.



Offshore Safety Ocean Almanac


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GPS compass adjustment

The following method is useful for quick compass adjustments. The services of a professional compass adjuster should be secured to obtain the best accuracy. On a calm day in an area with no current, proceed to an area with several miles of maneuvering room. For best accuracy, use a GPS unit receiving corrections from a DGPS receiver. If you are not using DGPS, each course segment should be at least several miles long to minimize bearing errors. In any case, the longer the runs between waypoints, the greater the accuracy of the GPS bearings. An autopilot can be used to minimize steering errors. GPS bearings are very accurate, especially at distances greater than two miles. However, don’t use the coursemade-good display to correct your compass. The course made good is calculated based on rapid changes in position measured every second or two, making it much less accurate than a calculated bearing to a distant waypoint. Head to the center of an open body of water. Record a GPS waypoint (#1), then proceed on a course of 090, as measured on the main steering compass, for at least one mile when using DGPS (more than two miles without DGPS). Record a GPS waypoint (#2). Now note the GPS bearing to the first waypoint saved. It should be close to the reciprocal of 090, or around 270. While holding your steady easterly course, take half the difference between the

GPS bearing and 270, and turn the east/west adjusting screw on the compass to eliminate this amount of error. Half the error is corrected for on each run since it is assumed the errors on reciprocal courses will be about equal to each other. Turn the boat around in a tight circle and steer a compass course of 270 back to the vicinity of waypoint #1. Note the GPS bearing to waypoint #2, which should be close to 090. Again, correct for half the difference between 090 and the bearing to waypoint #2. Follow the same procedure for courses at 000 and 180. Always compensate for half the error. Once you have done all the cardinal points, the compass should be about as close to compensated as it’s going to get. However, it is a good idea to run through the procedure again to measure what the remaining deviation is. A card can be created noting the deviation on various headings. At a minimum, it’s good to record deviations at 000, 045, 090, 135, 180, 225, 270 and 315. A compass adjuster would probably measure the deviation every 15°. If errors of more than 3° remain on any heading, you should contact a professional compass adjuster. Unusual deviations are found due to the proximity of magnetic material, including eyeglass frames, radios, winch handles, large piles of anchor chain under the floorboards, etc. Every effort should be made to keep such items well away from the compass.


Nadine Slavinski

Markus on the bow of Namani while making landfall at the Galápagos.

desalinators made by SeaPack at a relatively affordable price. These are one-use, forward osmosis membrane filters that provide an extra (though small) water reserve. The advantage of these filters is price; the disadvantages are the bulk and finite quantity of water produced (one 3.2-pound package produces four liters — a little more than one gallon — of water). Do you have an EPIRB?


We have an ACR GlobalFix unit mounted near the companionway. Having initially purchased and registered the EPIRB in 2006, we were careful to check that the registration and battery were renewed before we set off on our most recent cruise in 2011. It is our understanding that due to the relatively high number of false EPIRB alarms, many


maritime rescue services will only act on an alarm if they can confirm that the boat in question could plausibly be at the transmitted distress position. For this reason, we make sure that the emergency contact data registered with the EPIRB is up to date. We also keep our contacts abreast of our cruising plans. In addition, we have our contacts spread across multiple time zones, with one contact in North America, one in Germany, and one in New Zealand. Lastly, we exchange EPIRB identification codes with other boats on our route. This is a 15-digit alphanumeric code that is printed on the EPIRB. It is also the code that is actually transmitted by the EPIRB. It is different from the MMSI (Maritime Mobile Service Identity) which is a virtual number assigned to the boat against which the EPIRB is registered. By making other boats in our vicinity aware of our EPIRB ID, these boats can also confirm the plausibility of a distress call without having to rely on someone making a cross border database

lookup for our MMSI and emergency contacts. They would likely learn of the distress via one of the SSB nets such as the Pacific Seafarer’s Net. We found that news travels very fast and effectively across the various radio nets. Do you have an AIS unit? If so, what class unit? We have a simple stand-alone AIS receiver that gets its signal from a VHF antenna splitter. We found it useful in the North Atlantic, particularly in being able to hail ships by name on the VHF rather than the vague “vessel in approximate position...” We do not use our AIS as a means to detect ships, however. Instead, we rely on visual watch on deck and radar in restricted visibility. For one thing, we are sure our simple unit can miss targets by alternating reception between A and B channels. In addition, we have encountered very few large commercial vessels in the Pacific once we had left Panama behind. Since we cannot rely on AIS detection for the smaller fishing boats


Ocean Almanac


Automatic Identification System (AIS) AIS is a shipboard broadcast system that functions like a transponder operating in the VHF maritime band. Its primary function aboard a ship is vessel identification and collision avoidance. With AIS, every ship within radio range can be identified for communication purposes (including vessel name, classification, call sign and registration number) and for maneuvering information, such as course and speed, closest point of approach (CPA) and time to closest point of approach (TCPA). When integrating AIS with radar, a navigator can now plot the target vessel’s course, speed and rate turn, along with an identity profile of the ship, simplifying bridge-to-bridge communications.


AIS Update: At present, you are required to have an AIS unit if your boat is over 65 feet in length and goes on international voyages or operates in a vessel traffic service area, or if you carry 150 passengers or more for hire. (Towboats at least 26 feet long and over 600 hp are also included). Proposed U.S. Coast Guard changes to AIS regulations call for adding boats with 50 or more passengers for hire, high-speed boats (30 knots or faster) that carry 12 or more passengers for hire, dredges or floating plants operating near channels, and vessels that haul hazardous cargo. Plus, the VTS-area re­quire­ment is being expanded for all U.S. navigable waters.

The Coast Guard’s comment period on the new rules closed April 15, 2009. Some 120 comments were received. Class-B AIS devices will be acceptable, though the Coast Guard prefers that Class-A models (SOLAS compliant) be used on high-speed boats or boats that operate in high traffic areas.

U.S. Coast Guard AIS Carriage Requirements Self-propelled vessels of 65 feet or more in length, other than passenger and fishing vessels, in commercial service and on an international voyage; • Passenger vessels of 150 gross tons or more;

• Vessels other than passenger vessels or tankers of 50,000 gross tons or more; and • Vessels other than passenger vessels or tankers of 300 gross tons or more but less than 50,000 gross tons.

International Maritime Organiza­tion AIS Carriage Requirements All vessels of 300 gross tons and upwards engaged in international voyages, cargo ships of 500 gross tons and upwards not engaged in international voyages, and all passenger ships irrespective of size.


Offshore Safety (or larger vessels fishing illegally without transmitting an AIS signal), we use it only as a source of additional information once we notice another vessel via other means. This would probably be different if we were still sailing along the coast of North America where AIS is probably a very useful tool.


What types of weather services do you use when making an offshore passage? How do you gather weather information? We basically use three sources for our weather information. First, we try to get synoptic charts (surface analysis and forecast) via radio fax (or the Internet when preparing for


a passage on shore). These provide us with a good idea of the “big picture” and relevant meteorological details such as fronts, troughs and convergence zones. Especially before longer passages, we try to follow these charts consistently over one to two weeks to get a feel for the rhythm of weather patterns and how well the forecast matches reality. Second, we use the output from NOAA’s Global Forecast System (GFS) model via Saildocs’ e-mail service in two forms. One is a moving spot forecast three or four days out with wind and wave data. The other is a longer-term outlook (seven to 10 days) on surface pressure via GRIB files over the same, large area covered by the synoptic charts. This gives us an idea of what the computer model thinks will happen beyond the forecast horizon of the synoptic charts, which is typically 72 hours. We take the GFS data with a grain of salt, given that it is “raw output” from a computer model. Still, it helps us to spot potential issues early on. Our third source of information comes from satellite images, which we can also receive via radio fax. We find these very useful for getting an idea of the intensity of fronts and convergence zones. The synoptic charts are a “daily must” for us. The GFS data and the satellite images we may only get every few days or when weather developments require more stringent tracking. Do you use a weather routing service? We subscribed to Chris Parker’s services twice, when sailing up the U.S. East Coast from the Caribbean in 2008 and again in the fall of 2011 when sailing from the East Coast to Panama via Jamaica. We found his service especially helpful in the latter case because weather windows were very narrow and late-season tropical storms still posed a significant threat. In the tropical Pacific outside cyclone season, on the other hand, we don’t see the need for a weather router. The passage from Tonga to New Zealand was a bit more challenging again with respect to finding a suitable weather window. We were lucky to get help and sound advice from a veteran cruiser (and amateur weatherman) who had sailed this route many times before. In the end, his advice




turned out to be very good and we had a very relaxed passage. There is always a learning effect from listening to someone with more experience and knowledge, so the need for a weather routing service diminishes somewhat over time. I would still consider some form of experienced outside support whenever there is a risk of a tropical system developing during a passage and/or if very narrow weather windows are a concern. I would want someone with actual sailing experience in the relevant sea area whom I can talk to over SSB rather than simply receiving e-mailed forecasts from sources without first-hand knowledge. Unless e-mailed forecasts are very detailed and highly customized, I feel you miss a lot by not being able to interact with the weatherman, to ask questions and understand their reasoning. Simply providing the current conditions at our position to the weather router may influence her or his evaluation of the forecast data she/he is looking at. In the end, it’s always your own judgment and your own decision as to what to do with the advice, and that is more difficult the less you understand the rationale behind the advice. Besides, you’re missing out on the learning opportunity. What types of safety gear do you plan to purchase and why? While we have invested in some essential pieces of gear (notably, a life raft, EPIRB, and rarely-used radar), we don’t feel that safety can be purchased and ticked off a to-do list. Our most important safety gear are our eyes, ears, and common sense. For example, we keep a constant lookout on deck. We are always surprised to hear of crews who spend most of their night watch time below decks (some even watching DVDs). We stay clipped on in the cockpit and only pop below to check the chart, get a snack, etc. Of course, we read or listen to music during night watches, but we constantly scan the horizon and feel the wind on our faces rather than simply monitoring the displays of AIS, radar, or any other equipment. This way we feel more in-tune with the conditions around us, rather than cocooning ourselves away from them. Similarly, we try to avoid trouble by tracking weather carefully. When we

can’t avoid a system, at least we can prepare for it. We reef early and switch to our smaller staysail. Finally, we also try to avoid dramatic emergency operations by checking the rigging, steering, and other vital systems before every passage. That way, we lessen the chances of having to leave the safety of the cockpit in rough conditions to repair something that

should not have been overlooked in the first place. That said, we know that the sea and our boat will always keep a few surprises in store for us. With a small boat and limited budget, we feel we get the most effective protection through the simplest systems: things like safety harnesses, equipment checks, and maintaining a good lookout.n


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Offshore Safety

Medical risk management Offshore voyaging requires skills at both assessing situations and using practical techniques by Jeffrey Isaac, PA-C

Above right, having help nearby can change the factors of risk management. Far right, certain behaviors, like jumping from the spreaders, must be weighed for risk when you are in isolated areas.



isk management and offshore voyaging may be a contradiction in terms to most people. But, we know that we’re really just trading one set of probabilities for another. You will stand a better chance of drowning, but less of a chance of being run over by a bus. You might avoid catching influenza in a crowded subway, but be more available to feed a mosquito carrying lymphatic filariasis. Preparation for medical emergencies includes identifying and mitigating risk where you can, and preparing for the consequences when you can’t. Nobody wants to think of their dream trip as an impending disaster, but this is actually a useful frame of reference. Offshore voyaging shares the far end of the spectrum of pre-hospital medicine with activities like space flight, remote land expeditions, and natural and man-made disasters. You are largely on your own, access to medical care may take days or weeks, and the environment you are working in is at least as big a problem as the medical issue itself. On the friendlier end of the pre-hospital spectrum are the shore-side emergency medical services. These offer a rapid and standardized response to medical emergencies by trained ambulance and rescue personnel, and is what most of us in the developed world have become accustom to. In this part of the

U.S. Army

spectrum, we don’t need to know much more about medicine than the numbers 9-1-1. The middle of the spectrum is the world of backpacking and river trips, coastal cruising, and combat (at least for the winning side). The environment is still often working against you and evacuation times may be measured in hours, but you can still expect an organized response to a medical emergency. You need to have enough medical skill to keep somebody alive long enough to reach port or for the Coast Guard to reach you. Long-distance voyaging, like other true wilderness travelers, move from one part of the spectrum to another, often without being aware of it. The temptation, of course, is to carry the comfort and complacency offered by 9-1-1 out to sea with you, well beyond where any such response is safe or even possible. Ironically, satellite phones, EPIRBs, PLBs, and reality TV shows may actually increase risk by creating an unrealistic expectation of rescue in remote and dangerous places. You might be able to call, but in heavy weather the deck of a containership coming to your aid could be as inaccessible as

the surface of the moon. If you don’t have reasonable resources for treating injury and illness on board you will be pressured to take unreasonable risks to evacuate. It will also encourage rescuers to take unreasonable risks to help you. You don’t have to look far for accounts of helicopter crashes and yachts smashed to pieces against the hulls of rescue ships. What constitutes reasonable preparation for medical care at sea is considerably greater than the basic first aid that you use while waiting for an ambulance, and more extensive in terms of duration of treatment than that needed by an EMT on a search and rescue team. Fortunately, good field medicine is not rocket science. It is not even advanced diesel mechanics. Being a competent medical officer is a critical and attainable part of your risk management program, just like your navigation, communication, and firefighting skills. You will be encouraged to know that, in the study of medicine, mariners have a clear advantage over most people. You understand concepts like integrated systems, fluids under pressure, leaks and blockages, and are not afraid of working in damp OCEAN VOYAGER 2013

and dark spaces with strange looking instruments. Most significantly, mariners are more comfortable making real risk versus benefit decisions. Risk management: probability Diving off the spreaders or playing human slingshot with the spinnaker is good fun in Key West. The low probability of injury is made even more acceptable by the nearby presence of the Coast Guard and a hospital. But that same probability without the rescue and the hospital makes that same activity a much higher risk in the Tuamotus. That’s why you won’t see a lot of horsing around in remote anchorages. Sailors inherently know that risk is a function of probability and consequence. In town, we rely on code enforcement officers, police, and school crossing guards to reduce the probability of an adverse event. We depend on the fire department and the emergency medical services to reduce the consequences. Offshore, you do it all. Reducing the probability of illness or injury requires a comprehensive program of preventive maintenance that starts before you set foot on deck. A pre-departure check up with a medical provider should focus on mitigating small problems that could evolve into big ones when you are far from help. You need to schedule this

Nat Warren-White


far enough in advance to schedule the studies that will schedule the procedures that will schedule the cure before your scheduled departure. Of all of the medical gear and training that you can spend money on, health preservation is your best investment. You might ask your doctor to remove that funny looking mole now rather than wait and watch for another few months as is often suggested. Ask your dentist to find and fix that sensitive tooth even if it only bothers you when eating raspberry gelato. But beware of excessive paranoia; removing your appendix now would only trade the risk of appendicitis for the risk posed by surgical adhesions and bowel obstruction. Complete your vaccinations. You may have heard that vaccines can be harmful, and in vanishingly rare cases, they are. But for the vast majority of people, the risks associated with vaccines are vastly outweighed by the benefit of avoiding the disgusting, debilitating and fatal diseases they prevent. Start early. The hepatitis B series, for example, is given over six months. For some diseases, there are no vaccines and no reliable cure. To avoid many of them you will need to get as serious about not feeding mosquitoes as you are about keeping your teenagers from jumping off the spreaders. The insect repellents to use are DEET and Picaridin. Period. Both are thoroughly studied, safe, effective, and a lot easier on the body than malaria or elephantiasis. Permethrin is also useful as both a repellent and insecticide on screens and clothing, and will last for days or weeks. Nothing else works as well or as long as these three products. Even prophylactic antibiotics for malaria are no guarantee of safety, especially considering the emerging strains that are resistant to all treatment. A travel medicine clinic can be a good source of information, vaccines, and other necessary meds. They may be more sympathetic than the average doctor when you ask for enough antibiotics and pain medication to treat the problems anticipated on a three-year circumnavigation. Please be aware, however, that you are not a normal patient and you are not an average traveler. It may take some research to find a physician

Offshore Safety who really understands that “return to clinic if worse” is not an option. Carry your medical records. Your baseline lab values, chest x-ray, and ECG can be very helpful if you do end up in a hospital somewhere. Records Some risk goes hand in hand with voyaging, like this fish hook accident.

Nat Warren-White

that used to be dense folders of paperwork can now occupy just a few megabytes on a thumb drive, smartphone, or on a micro SD card taped to your passport. Scan everything. Include eyeglass prescriptions and the generic names and dosages for any medications you take. If you don’t already have these baseline values, get them.

Basic offshore medical skills

Basic assessment and first-aid skills plus: Wound care • Topical anesthesia • Wound inspection, debridement and irrigation • Long-term dressing and wound preservation Oral antibiotics • Indications • Dosage and administration • Side effects and precautions Analgesia • Oral and transmucosal opioids • Oral benzodiazepines • Oral NSAIDS and acetaminophen • Side effects and precautions Antiemetics • Oral and transmucosal • Rectal • Transcutaneous • Side effects and precautions Splinting • Fiberglass • SAM (structural aluminum malleable)


Risk management: consequence Decide what level of medical care you are going to equip and train for and decide to do it well. Competent first aid is more useful than bumbled brain surgery at any latitude. As a good reference point, make it your business to understand medicine in at least as much depth as you do your diesel engine. You might not invest in the equipment and training to bore out a cylinder, but you certainly can inject antibiotics, swap out an injector, pass a urinary catheter, and troubleshoot a fuel pump (you will be amazed at the similarity between boat maintenance chores and basic medical procedures). If all of your sea time is coastwise, in the middle of the pre-hospital spectrum, you will be need to handle an immediate emergency and the consequences for several hours afterward. This is mostly focused on trauma, because any illness that seems to be getting worse can get ashore before it becomes serious. Starter doses of pain medication and antibiotics are sufficient, and well-monitored emergency splints and bandages are tolerable

Rescue breathing and airway • Pocket mask or NuMask • Basic airway adjuncts • Manual suction Short-handed lifting, moving, and extrication Reduction of simple dislocations • Shoulder • Patella • Digits Unstable fractures • Alignment • Splinting • Long-term field management Emergency treatment of anaphylaxis and asthma • EpiPen • Diphenhydramine • Prednisone Fluid replacement • Hypodermoclysis • Oral • Rectal Straight urinary catheter Stethoscope examination Otoscope examination

until you make port. You will need to learn a few skills beyond first aid, like wound cleaning and reducing simple dislocations. Most shore-side wilderness first-aid courses are directed at this level of care and duration of treatment. For bluewater passages and remote cruising grounds, you will need a medical toolbox equipped for self-sufficiency and the long haul. The first-aid procedures and techniques are pretty much the same, but any evacuation will likely be dangerous, expensive, and prolonged, if available at all. You will want to incorporate some more advanced procedures and know a lot more about long-term nursing care. Specific training for this unique environment and skill set is not easy to come by and should be researched carefully. You may need to acquire your skills from several different sources. Courses that meet Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) requirements are generally designed for a large vessel and crew on a stable platform, but can be a good source of training in the more advanced

Advanced offshore medical skills

King Tube Airway Emergency treatment of anaphylaxis and asthma Basic skill set, plus: • Draw and administer epi from amp Wound closure and vial • Wound infiltration for anesthesia • Intramuscular diphenhydramine • Staples Fluid Replacement • Tape • Hypodermoclysis • Sutures • Intraosseous infusion Incision and drainage superficial • Intravenous infusion abscess and wound infection Reduction of complex dislocations • Infiltrate anesthesia • Elbow • Incise and drain • Ankle • Irrigate and pack • Wrist • Follow-up care Dental injection for anesthesia Hematoma and joint block Dental procedures • Wrist • Temporary filling and crown • Elbow replacement • Shoulder Intramuscular and intranasal pain and • Antibiotics • Treatment for broken and avulsed anxiolytic medication teeth • Ketorolac Ophthalmic anesthesia and foreign • MSO4 (morphine sulphate) body removal • Fentanyl Oxygen administration • Naloxone • Barotrauma • Benzodiazepines • DCS (decompression sickness) • Side effects and precautions • Illness Jeff Isaac OCEAN VOYAGER 2013

Ocean Almanac


Medical resources


I nternational M arine I nsurance S ervices

There are numerous services and insurance plans available to sailors. Resources range from companies that assemble specialized medical kits or are ready to fax medical records in an emergency, to organizations that provide worldwide consultation and insurance, including emergency evacuation (medevac).

Marine and Wilderness Medical Training Medical Officer, Ltd; custom training and the Offshore Emergency Medicine course for long distance voyagers. Medicine for Mariners; offers the Annual Medicine for Mariners and Safety at Sea Conference. Wilderness Medical Associates International; one of the two major worldwide providers of wilderness and rescue medical training. Wilderness Medical Institute of NOLS; one of the two major worldwide providers of wilderness and rescue medical training. Various medical packs and bags, rescue equipment. Site to purchase otoscope (stainless model with LED is best) Commercial supplier of medications and equipment for ships. An example of a number of similar services. Dental emergency kit for travelers. FieldTex Products; medical kits day sailors and cruisers. A supplier to civilian search and rescue and military medicine.

Advisory and Evacuation

Reference World Clinic; concierge physician service for travelers, comprehensive and expensive. Medaire; medical advisory, training, and inventory service. Medaire is an International SOS company. Comprehensive medical, rescue and repatriation service. html An Italian site with free remote medical advice. Company specializing in medical evacuation and insurance. SPOT; messenger beacon (like an EPIRB only more versatile). plans.asp Divers Alert Network; travel and accident insurance. Worth doing even if you don’t SCUBA dive. RCC_numbers.asp U.S. Coast Guard Rescue Centers phone list. International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers. George Washington University Maritime Access program.

Medical Suppliers Retail and wholesale medical products. Retail and wholesale medical products. Retail and wholesale medical products. Retail and wholesale emergency medical services products.

2013 OCEAN VOYAGER memo.pdf Medical recommendations for offshore yachts from the CCA fleet surgeon. Mobile drug, disease and other medical reference. seafarer_information-medical/mcga-dqs_ st_shs_ships_capt_medical_guide.htm Free download of Ship Captain’s Medical Guide in pdf. Centers for Disease Control links to 1 imis25v.indd travel medicine and alerts. table-of-contents.aspx CDC Yellow Book for traveler’s health. index.htm Sports Medicine Advisor. Information on injuries. Jimmy Cornell. Lots of info including medical links. CompliancePolicyGuidanceManual/ ucm074403.htm FDA position statement about drugs onboard ship. aprqtr/pdf/21cfr1301.25.pdf DEA regulations concerning controlled substances aboard commercial aircraft and vessels. aspx?ID=cb88853d-5b33-4b3f-968c2cd95f7b7809 Download site for the book Emergency War Surgery – A U.S. Army publication. International Society for Travel Medicine.

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Offshore Safety procedures at the person-in-charge level. This can be a considerable investment in money and time, but usually well worth it. You will need to extrapolate the big ship perspective to your small yacht or fishing vessel. Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) training is often mentioned for sea service. But, while EMT training does a fine job for ambulance personnel working with ambulance equipment, it does little to address the other parts of the pre-hospital spectrum, and nothing in the way of long-term care. At 180 hours plus, it would not be a worthwhile investment to use just for cruising. A wilderness first responder course from a reputable company would be a better introduction to the remote perspective and basic skill set, especially if you can find a course taught for sailors and fishermen. A nurse friend may be able to add the more advanced skills like intramuscular injection and urinary


catheterization. Your doctor or travel medicine clinic can add the medications and instructions. Don’t expect the process to be easy or quick. You didn’t learn to sail in a weekend, did you? By all means, plan to use consultants and references. Doctors do it all the time. A medical advisory service is ideal if you can afford it, but your doctor friend at home or a fellow cruiser with advanced training and an SSB may be a good alternative. Do remember, however, that you are the person with the best view of the patient and if anything has to be done, you are going to do it. So, what do you really need be able to do? The list in the accompanying sidebar represents the author’s opinion. It assumes that your training also includes the background assessment skills that allow you to determine what procedures are necessary and when. The basic skills are not so basic compared to shore-side first response,

but still represent low-risk procedures for high-risk problems and should be sufficient for most voyages. The more advanced skills require more training, practice, and judgment. If this seems like a lot to invest in something you’ve taken for granted all of your life, just put it on the same list as your EPIRB, fire extinguishers and other safety and survival gear. If your health maintenance and risk management programs are conscientiously followed, you will never need it. There is nothing quite as satisfying as finishing a long voyage with an unused life raft. n Jeffrey Isaac, PA-C is the curriculum director for Wilderness Medical Associates International and instructor for Offshore Emergency Medicine, an intensive course for cruising sailors, also certified by The Ocean Navigator School of Seamanship. He practices emergency medicine in Crested Butte, Colo.


Offshore Safety


Manual pumps The ubiquitous lever-activated, diaphragm pump

credit right

eeping unwanted water out of the hull is the first principle of staying afloat. Voyaging boats need an effective dewatering system. Bilge pumps give a crew aboard a leaking or down flooding vessel a fighting chance to staunch the flow and remain afloat. Bilge pumps come in a wide array of shapes, sizes and modes of operation. All carry some reference to their capacity to extract water from the bilge. More often than not, these gallon-per-minute (gpm) or gallon-per-hour (gph) ratings are a bit utopian and fail to reflect real world factors such as a four or fivefoot pressure head, the circuitous route of a lengthy discharge hose or other restrictions to flow created by the installation. For example, an electric centrifugal pump with a 3,500 gph rating is likely to only discharge about 2,000 gph when the pressure head (height water must be lifted) is six feet. When it comes to the topic of leaks and pumps, flow volume becomes a big deal. The difference between a dribble and a gusher is relative to the extraction rate of the pumps in play. The rate of water ingress is a simple interaction between the surface area of the hole or void and the pressure based on how far below the waterline the opening occurs. A one-inch diameter hole a couple feet below the surface is about all that the best of manual bilge pumps and a fit, adrenalin-fired crew, can handle.

Ralph Naranjo

Pumps and priorities


built by Edson has for decades served as a bench mark of bilge pumps. The original version of this cast bronze, flap valve pump was designed to lift wet cement as well as water. Today, the modern iteration of this titan is a 30-gpm pump that’s worth its weight in silver if not gold. It’s available in bronze or aluminum, and although durable in the latter alloy, the $300 difference in price ($900/$1,200) between aluminum and bronze makes the latter a worthwhile investment. Picking the bronze option eliminates any issues with

oxidation around the stainless steel fasteners holding the flap valves. There are also options when it comes to flap valve and diaphragm material that’s contingent on the type of liquid being pumped. The 30-gpm rating is based upon a 30-stroke-per-minute rate. A smaller well-built 18-gpm Edson pump is also available. Ideally, these high-volume long lever pumps are permanently mounted, securely plumbed and remain at the ready when the need arises. Those with less room in the bilge often rig the big Edson on a plywood board cut to fit in the cabin sole over the deepest part of the bilge. Hull design is a key factor and vessels configured with an extreme sump-less canoe body are hard to pump. In a seaway, water will rush fore and aft as well as athwartship as the boat responds to each change in water plane. Keeping a bilge pump pickup in the right place can be challenging. In addition to the necessity of a movable pickup hose for boats with no dedicated bilge sump, there’s also

Voyagers need serious dewatering capacity to respond to rapid flooding

by Ralph Naranjo

Left, a highcapacity manual diaphragm pump like this can move a large volume of water fast. Above, pumps deep in bilge areas have reduced capacity.


Offshore Safety the challenge of attaching a functional strum box to keep pump choking debris from clogging the check valves. International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Offshore Special Regulations, which are quite specific in certain areas of safety, remain fairly sparse when it comes to bilge pump particulars. Under section 3.23 it states that a bilge pump discharge may not be plumbed into a cockpit drain or a hose simply led to the cockpit, unless water may run uninhibited to the sea. Even if the latter is the case, dumping an oily bilge discharge into the cockpit can create more hazard for the crew trying to handle the vessel. Also according to the ISAF regulations, pumps and strum boxes must be accessible for easy maintenance and there should be one manual pump that can be operated in the cockpit. Lanyards should be used to retain pump handles, and a couple of rugged 2.4-gallon buckets also need to be at the ready. It’s interesting to

note that specific details regarding radar reflectors are far more explicit than those defining bilge pump capacity. Advertised pump capacity may be a starting point for comparing one product with another, but when it really comes down to knowing what you have to count on there’s nothing better than a simple timed output test of each pump you have on board. This real world evaluation includes the effect of friction caused by a lengthy run of hose and the serpentine twists made as the discharge plumbing makes its way aft. There’s also the effect of lifting water as gravity pulls against the ascending volume. Little things like hose barbs, thru-bulkhead connections, and check valves add resistance to the flow and conspire to diminish output. So when you actually measure the discharge with a bucket and a timepiece, don’t be surprised to find that the water being delivered at discharge thru-hull is considerably less than the rating of the pump. This is also a

good chance for the crew to get a feel for how a prolonged bout of manual pumping challenges shoulder and back muscles. Nuisance leaks in timber boats were and are a fact of life and sailors became quite familiar with their diaphragmtype bilge pumps. Each time the ship’s bell coaxed the watch to man the pump, an entry of the strokes it took to clear the bilge was placed in the ship’s log. The ritual became a matter of discussion and any increase or decrease was considered in context with the sea state, amount of sail area set and how hard the vessel was being driven. Naturally, any sharp uptick in the stroke count caught everyone’s attention. Electrical pumps Today, electrical and electronic bilge alarms have caused many crews to abandon the practice of counting strokes of a manual pump at least once during each watch. Instead there are many elegantly

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Below, a centrifugal pump with a strainer assembly for keeping debris out of the impeller. Right, the more twists and turns a discharge hose makes, the more restricted the flow.

Ralph Naranjo

simple approaches to an automated bilge alarm. For example, a simple mechanical float switch placed at a point in the bilge that’s just above the omnipresent low volume automatic electric pump can do the job. If the smaller pump malfunctions, or is overwhelmed by increasing volume, the high water alarm float switch lifts and a car horn or other unmistakable sound signal catches everyone’s attention. This is the time for a high-capacity DC pump to be switched on or automatically toggle into action. With a 3,500-gph rated capacity (about 2,000 gph with a six-foot head), these centrifugal pumps have the capacity to move plenty of water. However, their appetite for amperes can be considerable, and a 15-amp rating will quickly spike to more than 20 amps if debris starts to clog the intake. Care in engineering the installation involves both plumbing and electrical implications. Straight runs, heavy gauge wire and large diameter hose are the answers to electric bilge pump efficiency. The plumbing is meant to minimize restriction and keep the pressure low and volume high. Restrictions in the discharge loop do just the opposite, causing pressure to increase but volume to drop. Bilge pump discharges near or below the waterline need a centerline high loop and an antisiphon break that prevents backflow that can flood the bilge when an electric or manual pump is inoperative. As a vessel moves through a seaway, its dynamic waterline changes. This can submerge 2013 OCEAN VOYAGER

bilge pump discharge thru-hulls that at rest sit well above the static waterline. Centerline goose neck like risers, antisiphon valves and check valves have been used to lessen the chance of such back flooding, but each of these efforts adds more twists, turns and restrictions to the discharge plumbing. Many sailors have set their highcapacity electric pump up with as straight as possible a discharge run and a large ball check valve at a discharge point well Ocean Almanac


Temperature conversion In the United States, temperatures are usually measured in degrees Fahrenheit, in which the freezing point of water is 32° and the boiling point is 212°. Elsewhere in the world, the metric Celsius scale is used; freezing is at 0° and boiling at 100°. Fahrenheit° = (C° x 1.8) + 32 Celsius° = 5/9 x (F° - 32)

Celsius -25° -20 -15 -10 -5 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 75 100

Fahrenheit -13° -4 5 14 23 32 41 50 59 68 77 86 95 104 113 122 167 212


Offshore Safety above the waterline. The valve is kept closed unless an emergency warrants the use of the pump, at which time the lever on the valve is thrown open prior to turning on the breaker for the pump. This approach is based on the question: “Why introduce unwanted complexity, inefficiency and potential down flooding problems to a system that will spend about 99.9 percent of its time in a standby mode?” Properly wiring a high volume bilge pump is as important as providing large diameter, straight run plumbing. In an electrical context, the goal is to avoid voltage drop caused by excessive resistance. The more water to be moved through a given discharge system, the more energy in watts or lever thrusts will be consumed. And that’s why heavier gauge wire like larger diameter hoses, or a manual pump operator with the countenance of a fullback, make sense. As the cross section of copper wire

Free surface effect Water in the bilge belongs in a tank — otherwise it creates a doubleedged downside that can jeopardize seaworthiness. Every gallon that accumulates on the wrong side of the hull skin decreases buoyancy, and at the same time negatively impacts stability. The shortfall in righting moment is caused by what’s known as the “free surface effect” — a physical reality in which gravity coaxes a liquid toward the lowest point in any closed shape. By shifting the center of gravity to leeward, the weight of the water acts to further heel, rather than right a vessel. Ralph Naranjo




increases, its resistance to conducting an electrical current decreases. This results in maintaining a higher voltage, causing more watts to be available at the pump. In short, instead of wasting energy heating up small gauge wire, more current reaches the pump. Look carefully at the pump manufacturer’s wire gauge recommendations and realize that when a battery bank is 10 feet from the high-capacity bilge pump, the wire run is really 20 feet because the positive and negative legs must each be added to the circuit. Don’t be misled by a pump’s wiring gauge. For example, a pump with 14 gauge leads does not signify that 14-gauge wiring is appropriate for the circuit. If it’s a lengthy run, you’re much better off with heavier 12 or 10 gauge wire. Make sure that all junctions are created with highquality marine grade terminals and the crimping tool delivers a wide even compression of the fitting. Shrink tube sealing and other efforts to ensure watertight

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integrity are worth the effort. Corrosion at a wire to wire junction can be as inhibiting as a restriction in the plumbing. The corroded connection increases resistance and can cause a significant voltage drop despite the fact that the right wire gauge has been used. An under-rated float switch wired in series with a heavy-duty pump can be another cause of poor performance. It’s the reason why many skippers use a high quality manually operated single pole/ single throw switch to engage a highcapacity pump. Engine as bilge pump For decades, dockside wisdom has extolled the virtue of letting the auxiliary engine’s raw water pump save the day and rid the bilge of unwanted water. The idea is to swap the intake thru-hull for a hose to the bilge using either a dedicated Y-valve or a jury-rigged hose attachment. If all goes well, a steady stream of clean


accumulating water will both cool the engine and be extricated from the bilge. The problem is “clean” is seldom the adjective that depicts what’s sluicing around in the bilge when a sailboat or power cruiser has water rising above the cabin sole. The same debris that can clog strum boxes and the valves inside a diaphragm pump can also choke off water essential for the engine’s cooling system. The result is not just the loss of the newlyharnessed bilge pump, but now the engine is overheated and out of action. And so is the all-important alternator(s) that keeps batteries up and electrical pumps spinning. Incidentally, the total volume of water moved by the engine driven raw water pump on a mid-sized sailboat auxiliary isn’t as much as a big electrical pump can deliver. So you my want to think twice before turning the engine raw water pump into a tool for dewatering a boat in a jiffy. Other options include adding a

dedicated engine driven displacement pump with a mechanical or electric clutch as an emergency bilge pump. It can also be Y-valve plumbed to do double duty as a fire hose pump with an unlimited water supply. Another choice is the portable gasoline-powered high volume centrifugal pump such as those made by Honda. These compact pumps hurl much more water than anything thus far mentioned, but they can be finicky to start and prime, and need to be carefully maintained. They are a smaller version of the emergency dewatering pumps used by the U.S. n Coast Guard. Ralph Naranjo is a sailor, freelance writer and photographer based in Annapolis, Md. In 1975 he and his wife, Lenore, set sail on a five-year circumnavigation on their 41-foot sloop Wind Shadow, as told in his book Wind Shadow West. He is also the author of Boatyards and Marinas.


Voyaging Skills



What are the top skills voyagers need to know before going voyaging? Before setting off on a long voyage, we think the most important skill is to know your boat well, and to have a good set of navigation skills. If you know your boat well, it is much easier for everybody on board to enjoy the experience. For us, voyaging is not about racing or meeting some artificial deadline, but about making good passages and seeing the world. When the crew is happy, everything else is no problem. As long as you know your boat and are prepared, weather is not a problem. If you know your boat, a storm is only a storm. You reduce sail area, make sure you have plenty of food and water and you can stay comfortable on board even in heavy weather!



What is your planning routine prior to a

Depending on where we are sailing, the preparations are different. Cold waters demand more thorough preparation than cruising downwind in the tropics, for example. Once you leave the trade wind belt, the weather is a more important part of the planning. Stocking up the boat is an important task before setting off. A hungry crew will not perform as well. And varied food In This Section

Right, the Bogerud’s Bavaria 42, Empire, in Australia. Below, Marius and Eirik in the Whitsunday Islands, the swing was a favorite spot on the boat.


eidi and Eivind Bogerud sailed from Norway July 3, 2005, aboard their Bavaria 42, Empire ( They had quit their jobs, and sold their apartment and car before departure. Their plan was to be out sailing for roughly five years. If they followed the plan, the voyage would take them around the world. The circumnavigation was more as a result of the route they chose, than as a goal in of itself. When they arrived in Australia in 2009, Heidi was pregnant. Their first son Eirik was born in Grafton, New South Wales, Australia. After sailing north to Thailand, Heidi was pregnant again — and they sailed back to the same place in Australia, where Marius was born in October 2010. After seven and a half years they returned to Oslo on Nov. 3, 2012. Before they left on their circumnavigation, Heidi worked as an architect and Eivind worked in the yachting industry. Two days after their arrival in Oslo, young Eirik and Marius started in kindergarten and Eivind secured another job in the yachting industry (www. holmenyachtverft. no). Heidi, meanwhile, was back in business by the beginning of January at an architecture firm (

Heidi Bogerud photos

A Norwegian couple start a family while circumnavigating

• A shaft rebuild afloat • A jury-rigged rudder


makes life on board more exciting. Brown cheese (typical Norwegian everyday cheese) all the time is boring also at sea. To be ready for conditions and to be able to change plans while underway is also an important preparation. Sometimes weather or gear failures on board will force you to change plans. That’s an important part of life at sea — the unpredictable — if we wanted everything to be as predictable as on shore, we probably should have stayed at home. Another important planning issue is to plan enough ahead, so that you have time for unpredictable changes. If weather, equipment breakdowns, or illness/sickness on board forces you to change plan, it is important that being short of time doesn’t influence or force you to make the wrong decisions. What is the most valuable skill you have picked up while voyaging? The most important skill is the ability to be prepared — for changes, for spontaneity, for new people, for new places. Interestingly enough, if you go into a situation with no or low expectations, most situations turn out good. What skills do you most look for in a crewmember? We don’t have too much experience with unknown crew. It is much better to have a crewmember on board who admits he doesn’t know how to sail, than having a crewmember on board who thinks he knows how to sail. An “unskilled” crewmember will notify and ask, a crewmember that thinks he knows how to sail will try to solve different situations without knowing and without asking — maybe resulting in trouble, damage or not so comfortable voyage.


What are the biggest challenges in voyaging with children? Voyaging with children is no problem, we will say. We don’t know how to raise children on land, but we have learned at least something about raising children at sea. Small children do need attention. Shorthanded sailing with one — or two — kids, puts even more reliance on the boat and the equipment. As long as

or getting into some type of problem). Do you think the experience of voyaging has changed now that voyagers can stay connected while at sea? Yes — for some. Some people can’t let go and have to stay online even at sea. But the possibility to stay connected while at sea has also made more people able to let go of their land life — to go voyaging.

the boat and equipment don’t have any breakdowns, small kids are not a problem. An important task is to keep the kids busy. Our kids grew up on board from when they were born, they don’t know anything but sailing. It will probably be a different experience taking children from land life on board to go voyaging. Based on your experience, do you find voyagers more or less skilled than in years past? We think the variation in skill among voyagers is the same over time, but some nationalities (without mentioning which!) are represented more often than others when things go wrong (like yachts drifting on anchor









Does pressure to stay on a schedule make you take risks with bad weather? First of all — the experience of “bad” weather is different depending on the eyes looking. On land we used to say “there is no bad weather, only bad clothes.” To a certain extant this saying is also correct for life at sea. Of course, there is no reason to head out to sea when “bad” weather is in the forecast — if we are on a schedule or not. Normally “bad weather” is bad when you are close to the coast. At sea “bad weather” is only weather! You can always adjust your course to avoid the worst, as long as you keep an eye on the weather while underway.

The Bogerud family arriving back in their home port of Oslo in November 2012 after seven years and four months aboard Empire. During their voyage they sailed 6,500 nm.


Voyaging Skills

Sooner or later you will run into a storm — schedule or no schedule. Then it is important to know your boat and to know what to do and to know how to maintain a certain comfort level on board. When this happens, it is important to forget the schedule and make the right decisions! We don’t allow being on a schedule to influence the safety decisions on board. How do you handle provisioning? Do you have a system for determining the amount of food and water needed for a particular voyage? Our first long voyage was an Atlantic crossing from Canaries to Caribbean while participating in the racing class of ARC 2005. Since we had six people on board, we made long lists and did a lot of thinking and needed many days of shopping to prepare food and water



for the three-week voyage. And, of course, food and water was prepared as if the voyage might stretch to a sixweek voyage. For subsequent voyages, provisioning was much quicker. After having the experience from the first long crossing, stocking up has been Heidi’s task while Eivind takes care of the kids. Our provisioning routine takes a day with shopping and in the evening we store everything in place on board, ready to go. As important as the provisioning, is to create a system on board so that you know where to find what, and so that most crew know where to find what! Who or what inspired you to go voyaging? Eivind for a long time had a plan to go voyaging. When we met a few years before departure, Eivind warned me that he was planning to depart for a long


Above, Empire seen through floating ice in Greenland waters. Left, Eivind at the helm as Empire surges through the Beagle Channel.


voyage in 2005, my only answer was “I know!” We have both always loved sailing, but before we set off we did some short voyaging trips along parts of the Norwegian, Danish and Swedish coasts. That said, we do not believe that the experience of sailing since childhood is necessary to go voyaging. A reasonable level of skill, a good portion of common sense and the willingness to learn while underway is all it takes. What are your future voyaging plans? With mixed feelings we arrived in Oslo in November 2012, after seven and a half years at sea. If we had more money, we would have kept on sailing for some time. We are now training seriously to get used to land life. Most probably we will be land-based for some time. Still, even before we arrived in Oslo we discussed possible future projects. The last part of the voyage we just ended, was via northern waters: Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Greenland, and finally Iceland to Tromsø in northern Norway, before heading south. We are considering a three-year voyage starting from Norway, south to the Canaries, across to the Caribbean and then to the northeast coast of the U.S. and Canada before cruising around Labrador and finding a place to stay for the winter. The next season we would sail to Greenland, Iceland and Svalbard (Spitsbergen) and stay in Svalbard for the winter, with the boat on the hard. The following year we would sail south to Norway to enjoy a full season along the Norwegian coast before returning to Oslo. This is just an idea today, but all plans have to start somewhere. One day n we hope to go sailing again!



Ocean Almanac


With a Bristol Channel Cutter

Internet links Another handy site for weather-related information is the French weather service, Météo France, which includes an English-language Ocean Navigator. Your favorite magazine option for Franco-impaired users. (and seamanship school) has even more stories in its 16 years of archives. All links Maptech’s MapServer. Well-or­gan­ized mentioned below are posted. access to charts, topos, aerial photography. The mother of all maritime links. Incredible Seven Seas Cruising Association. Features list of links to all things having to do with very lively and open discussion boards and the water. downright scary news flashes. marine/home.htm Panama Canal. Information on the canal, NWS marine product information. NOAA’s Tim Rulon maintains an outstanding guide to including regulations and fees. all sorts of Web and radio weather resources. marine.html National Hurricane Center. Extensive tropical American Radio Relay League. Learn about ham radio for boaters. weather reports for the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. U.S. Coast Guard Office of Marine Safety. Regulations, publications and more. National Data Buoy Center. Get real-time weather reports from buoys at sea and The Daily Sail (formerly Mad for Sailing). An weather reporting stations. excellent British site covering ocean racing. United States Power Squad­rons. Navigation U.S. Sailing Association. The major racing instruction. organization in the United States. NOAA oceanographic products. RealInternational Sailing Fed­era­tion. Worldwide time and extended tide predictions, now racing news. improved. Offshore Racing Council. Details of multiple U.S. Naval Observatory. Sun and moon racing rules and worldwide race calendar. rise/set times, moon phases, eclipses and other data. Joe Mehaffey and Jack Yeazels’ GPS mation website. Much useful information U.S. Coast Guard Navigation Center, the about GPS, particularly Garmin handhelds. office that maintains GOS, DGPS and loran. Lots of communications information, local U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. Boating courses Notices to Mariners and more. and safety checks. dataexplorer An excellent resource for prospective boat NOS Mapfinder. Once you master the owners and for those researching products. complex interface, you can download lowresolution (85-dpi) versions of NOAA charts, The site also offers access to the excellent newsletter Scuttlebutt, which supplies daily aerial photos and more. racing news from around the world. NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey. Info on Reed’s Nautical Almanac. Extensive link ordering charts, also Chart No. 1 and many lists, cruising guide lists, free tide charts downloadable historical charts. and more. The Weather Channel’s Internet site. Offers weather-for-dummies-style products, includ- History, links and other resources for the celestial navigator. ing radar and satellite coverage, and zone forecasts. News, audio/video and links to Maine boatbuilders. The Royal Meteorological Society in the U.K. is a boon to the weather enthusiast or Links to the marine industry in Rhode amateur sailor, providing links for forecasts, satellite and radar images, and detailed infor- Island. mation on all weather-related activities.

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Voyaging Skills

A shaft rebuild afloat by Ellen Massey Leonard

Below, the harbor at Isla Flamenco, Panama, where Ellen and Seth Leonard worked on their sloop Heretic. Above right, Heretic’s prop and shaft during a haulout in New Zealand.


any sailors describe voyaging as “fixing boats in exotic places.” More often than we’d like to admit, this is accurate. Some repairs are fairly easily accomplished even in an uninhabited cove in Vanuatu, provided you carry your supplies with you, and others are impossible or next to impossible. But that “next to” is the crux of the matter. Pulling a propeller shaft, for example, is a delicate operation best performed by an experienced mechanic on the hard in a boatyard. On a long voyage, however, one doesn’t always find a convenient or affordable boatyard. Suddenly, an impossible repair becomes next to impossible. When my husband Seth and I set out on our global circumnavigation, we had just completed an extensive refit of our 1968-built cutter-rigged sloop Heretic. Unbeknownst to us, however, and unrevealed by our survey, our 40-year-old Perkins 4.107 diesel engine was sitting on rotten bed logs. It wasn’t until our propeller stopped turning in the Panama Canal that we appreciated

just how grave our situation was. The aft engine mounts had sunk into the bed logs, so the engine had come out of alignment and sheared the bronze key between the coupler and the shaft. The old Perkerbeke — the Perkins had been marinized by Westerbeke — still hammered away, but the propeller lay inert and useless. After a week sweltering in the jungle of Gatun Lake, Heretic received a tow to the Pacific. A haul-out in Panama City was not in our budget, so we decided that this extensive repair was not impossible, but only next to impossible. We set to work at anchor in the outer harbor, protected by Isla Flamenco. It was not an ideal location: in 30 feet of murky brown water, retrieval of any lost items was out of the question. But Flamenco was preferable to Balboa, which was constantly rocked by the wakes of ships and pilot boats exiting the canal.

Seth Leonard

Prop shaft repair tests voyaging couple’s ingenuity

A borrowed prop puller To remove the propeller shaft, we had to take off the propeller itself. This entailed several steps. First

Ellen Massey Leonard


Seth borrowed a prop puller from a friendly neighboring voyager. The tool works by hooking onto the forward end of the propeller and applying pressure to the aft end of the shaft, thus pulling the prop aft. When the propeller is freed, everything can come off all at once. Because it is possible to drop the puller and/or the prop, the project is better done in a shallow, clear anchorage where one can recover items from the bottom. We didn’t have this option, however, so we tied a line to the puller and to a stanchion on Heretic to prevent loss. Bracing himself against the propeller to keep the shaft from turning, Seth backed off the forward prop nut (there were two on the original shaft) only part way so that if the propeller popped off, it would remain on the shaft. Finally, he oriented the propeller so that its key was facing up. Thus we prevented the possibility of losing the prop puller, the propeller, the prop nuts, and the key. Then he removed the propeller and its assorted items. A scuba kit or hookah dive system would greatly facilitate the process as they allow you as much time as you need at such a shallow depth. It is important to be trained in scuba before attempting to use that type of equipment. With the propeller safely on deck, we turned to the shaft. In our case, it was already out of the coupler: its key had been sheared and its forward end had been OCEAN VOYAGER 2013

shaft, he let the first gush of water guide this line in. Then he jammed the cone into the hole, and I yanked on the line to make it fit snugly. There was only a tiny trickle until the wood swelled and sealed the hole completely. A local machine shop Our next step was to take the shaft to a machine shop to be repaired. Panama does not lack yachting facilities, but they charge a premium, so we settled on a more general machine shop in the city. Remote locations usually lack yacht services, but just about anywhere with a town will have a machine shop capable of this kind of work. Seth and I later had our Hurth transmission rebuilt on the Cocos

Seth Leonard

mashed by the force of the misalignment. Therefore it was possible for us to remove the shaft from outside the boat. Normally, the shaft would be extremely difficult to separate from its coupler. Boatyards employ a special tool for this purpose. If you need to remove a prop shaft that has not been damaged in the way ours was, it is much better to do so from inside the boat and thus keep the coupler and shaft attached. This requires moving the engine, or just the transmission if that provides enough space. However the shaft is removed, its absence creates a hole an inch or so wide below the waterline, a hole capable of sinking a yacht within minutes. We prepared a wooden cone plug of the sort that all sailors should keep ready to stop up a broken seacock. I inserted a wood screw into the tapered end of the cone, and then made a stout and slender piece of line fast to the screw. When Seth, diving under Heretic’s stern, pulled out the

Above, Heretic’s engine being moved forward using the main halyard. Left, the prop shaft and coupler were installed from the inside. A plug was used to prevent flooding while the shaft was removed.

(Keeling) atoll, 2,000 nautical miles from anywhere in the middle of the Indian Ocean. The machinist did have to order parts from Australia, but his

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Voyaging Skills workmanship could not have been bested by any boatyard. The fit between the shaft and coupler has to be exact, so they are best attached by the machinist. Therefore the engine, or at least the transmission, must be moved to insert the shaft from inside. Aboard Heretic, while our shaft was being machined, Seth and I moved our Perkerbeke forward into the cabin using a block and tackle system with our main halyard. We also repaired the bed logs. We had plenty of room to reinstall the shaft from inside, so all that remained was to coordinate with the person outside the boat, diving under the stern. Seth pulled out the wooden plug and I put in the new prop shaft. The last step was to reaffix the propeller, making sure not to lose the key, and to refasten the prop nuts. We moved the Perkerbeke and its

transmission aft again with our block and tackle system, and aligned it to its very exact tolerance with the coupler, measuring with feeler gauges. This was the only moment at which we hired a mechanic to help us and to teach us the process. In a final analysis, we had learned that bed logs must be fully encased in fiberglass and epoxy. Ours hadn’t been, which had allowed water to seep in under the mounts and produce rot. Regardless of your survey, it is always important to check your engine’s bed logs and mounts yourself. Our mechanic also showed us the benefits of a flexible coupler, which can reduce wear and prevent problems. Even with a flexible coupler, however, the tolerance for alignment is only 0.01 of an inch. A year and 7,000 sea miles later, in

New Zealand, Seth and I decided to upgrade to a newer Yanmar diesel. To make it easier on ourselves, we installed it ashore on the hard at the same time Heretic was due for antifouling. With the knowledge and confidence we had gained in Panama, we completed the entire installation ourselves. The full service Kiwi boatyard hardly counted as fixing Heretic in an exotic place, but we had found just how much one can accomplish in remote locations. Even when faced with limited resources, language barriers, or isolation, it is pleasantly surprising just how few truly impossible repairs there are. n Ellen Massey Leonard is a freelance writer who recently circumnavigated with her husband Seth on board their former boat, Heretic, a 38-foot sloop.

Ocean Almanac


Pacific distance table 3620 4262 4536 4839 7682 9642 3395 5140 4135 4789 4330 1585


Hong Kong



Pago Pago



Cape Horn


Los Angeles

San Francisco


Sitka 823 1302 1640 4524 7705 2386 4537 4635 6176 6595 5136 Vancouver 823 812 1091 4032 7248 2423 4396 4549 6191 6814 6361 San Francisco 1302 812 349 3245 6458 2091 3663 4151 5680 6448 6044 Los Angeles 1640 1091 349 2913 6100 2228 3571 4163 5658 6511 6380 Panama 4524 4032 3245 2913 4162 4685 4493 5656 6516 7674 9195 Cape Horn 7705 7248 6458 6100 4162 6644 4333 5381 6232 7301 10404 Honolulu 2386 2423 2091 2228 4685 6644 2381 2276 3820 4420 4857 Papeete 4537 4396 3663 3571 4493 4333 2381 1236 2216 3308 6132 Pago Pago 4635 4549 4151 4163 5656 5381 2276 1236 1565 2377 4948 Auckland 6176 6191 5680 5658 6516 6232 3820 2216 1565 1280 5060 Sydney 6595 6814 6448 6511 7674 7301 4420 3308 2377 1280 4086 Hong Kong 5136 6361 6044 6380 9195 10404 4857 6132 4948 5060 4086 Yokohama 3620 4262 4536 4839 7682 9642 3395 5140 4135 4789 4330 1585


Ocean Almanac


Atlantic distance table 6800 6920 6900 6882 6300 5886 4093 6282 6452 7151 4731 2338

Cape Horn

Rio de Janeiro

Cape Town





St. Thomas





New York


Halifax 600 790 1413 756 1595 2338 1785 2708 2364 6492 4630 New York 600 271 1100 697 1434 2016 2246 3180 2815 6786 4770 Norfolk 790 271 698 683 1296 1825 2401 3335 2979 6790 4723 Miami 1413 1100 698 956 991 1249 2900 3800 3578 6800 4879 Bermuda 756 697 683 956 872 1702 2201 2903 2651 6269 4110 St. Thomas 1595 1434 1296 991 872 1072 2393 3323 3279 5904 3542 Panama 2338 2016 1825 1249 1702 1072 3439 4351 4247 6508 4284 Azores 1785 2246 2401 2900 2201 2393 3439 946 1377 5040 3875 Gibraltar 2708 3180 3335 3800 2903 3323 4351 946 977 5072 4180 Fastnet 2364 2815 2979 3578 2651 3279 4247 1377 977 5880 4873 Cape Town 6492 6786 6790 6800 6269 5904 6508 5040 5072 5880 3273 Rio de Janeiro 4630 4770 4723 4879 4110 3542 4284 3875 4180 4873 3273 Cape Horn 6800 6920 6900 6882 6300 5886 4093 6282 6452 7151 4731 2338


A jury-rigged rudder S

haron and Vaughn Hampton and their crew, Dan Knierlemen, left the Galápagos on their boat, Reality, a 1982 51-foot Ta-Yang FD-12, bound for the Marquesas. The passage involved 3,100 miles of downwind sailing with winds ranging from 10 to 25 knots and seas from five to 10 feet — typical coconut milk run conditions. Six hundred and fifty miles into the trip, Sharon noticed that Reality was not holding her course. The autopilot stopped working. After a few attempts to stop and restart the autopilot, Sharon went to investigate the control box and discovered that it was unusually hot. She immediately disengaged the unit and took over the helm. Steering Reality to starboard was fine, but when she attempted to steer the boat to port, the helm was resistant. With little daylight left and concern that the cause for the autopilot overheating was tied to the port helm condition,

Vaughn Hampton photos

Voyaging Skills

Sharon and Vaughn decided to heave to for the night and strategize how they would go about diagnosing the problem. The next day, with plenty of light, 16 knots SSE and eightfoot seas, they methodically investigated the boat’s dual helm setup. They suspected a bad steering cable was the root of the problem. Their tests concluded, however, that both quadrants and cables were fine. This analysis lead them to investigate the lower rudder packing and it was eliminated as a problem. Vaughn, Sharon and Dan had 2,350 miles ahead of them and their options were to either hand steer Reality during threehour watches or to use an old Fleming wind vane (which they had affectionately dubbed Peggy). Otherwise, their least desirable option would be to turn around and head back, upwind, to either Panama or Ecuador. After a few hours, with the wind and sea state stable, Peggy the wind vane was in place. After 150 miles, Peggy proved herself and the decision was made to continue to the Marquesas. Strange noise from rudder On day 15, sleeping in the aft cabin, Sharon was awakened by an usual noise that Vaughn had also heard on deck. The noise was coming from the rudder shaft. The bolts for the lower rudder packing had sheered off and the Hamptons

were concerned about water entering the boat through the stuffing box. Quickly all hands gathered on deck. Peggy was left to steer while Vaughn and Dan removed the sheered bolts and Sharon searched through their inventory for new bolts. Working through the night, Vaughn had to cut slots in the sheered bolts to back them out and finish the repair. With 300 miles to go, remarkably, the crew’s nerves were intact. Reality made landfall at Anaho Bay, Nuku Hiva. Despite a thorough underwater investigation of the rudder, Sharon and Vaughn continued to be baffled by the problem at the helm. The next day, Reality went into Taahuku Bay, Hiva Oa, where Dan said goodbye and flew home and Sharon and Vaughn checked in to French Polynesia. For those readers who have not anchored in Taahuku Bay, the anchorage is small, requires both a bow and stern anchor and the swells from the SE quadrant of the bay refract off the cliffs on the northwest side of the bay turning the bay into a washer board. After a week Vaughn and Sharon set sail for Fatu Hiva, the heaven of the Marquesas Islands. However upon entering Hana Vave Bay, Vaughn realized that he had no steerage and miraculously sailed into the bay and immediately dropped anchor. It was in Fatu Hiva that Vaughn and Sharon finally saw

Voyagers and villagers band together to devise temporary steering by Fay Mark

Left, a crack was discovered in the rudder shaft. It spiraled to a point just above the lower rudder packing. Above, the jury-rigged arrangement for steering Sharon and Vaughn Hampton’s 51-foot Ta-Yang FD-12, Reality.


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Voyaging Skills the problem. A crack that started below the lower rudder packing had now spiraled its way just above the lower rudder packing. The washer board effect in Taahuku Bay must have sealed the fate on Reality’s rudder post. The post was severely cracked. The couple’s despair was temporary, however. The cruising community and the villagers from Fatu Hiva rallied together and over the course of the next week, helped come up with a remarkably clever solution that allowed Sharon and Vaughn to safely sail Reality to Papeete where she would be refitted with a new post and rudder. Initially a French cruiser offered articles with instructions on how to create drogues that would help steer Reality without a rudder. Vaughn and Sharon settled on two drogues; one made with a tire offered by a villager who was using it as a planter and the other made from a large canvas bag

filled with rocks. Sharon sewed the bag from canvas that was in her inventory for Reality’s awnings and the rocks came from Fatu Hiva’s beach. If the drogues were necessary, they would be deployed on 300 feet of 5/8-inch line that Reality had in inventory. A workable design Heribert, a German cruiser on Wassabi with civil engineering skills, came over to Reality to help inspect the situation, and after a few hours, returned to Reality with drawings showing how the rudder could be rigged to be controlled from the helm. Between the villagers, the cruising community and Reality’s

Since the broken shaft was no longer usable, a plate was bolted to either side of the rudder and lines attached to move the boat’s rudder.

inventory, a spinnaker pole, blocks, lines, eye bolts, wood and tools were harvested. At least half of the work needed to be done under the waterline so a cruiser from Australia helped

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Voyaging Skills

Left, a spinnaker pole, lines and blocks were pressed into service to control the steering lines. Below, the steering lines were led into the cockpit and onto a drum on Reality’s wheel.

Ocean Almanac


2013 races of note Annapolis to Newport 2013 Start: June 7, 2013; Annapolis, Md. 473 nm Marblehead to Halifax 2013 Start: July 7, 2013; Marblehead, Mass. 363 nm Transpac Honolulu Race 2013 (Los Angeles, Calif. to Honolulu, Hawaii) Start: July 8, 2013 2,225 nm Marion to Bermuda 2013 Start: June 14, 2013 645 nm Lexus Newport (Calif.) to Ensenada (Mexico) 2013 Start: April 21, 2013 125 nm Trans Atlantic ARC Race 2013 Start: Nov. 24, 2013 2,700 nm (Canary Islands to St. Lucia)


Vaughn by keeping him stable in the water while Vaughn applied pressure to drill holes into the rudder. Using a hand-held auger, Vaughn drilled four holes into the rudder and positioned two aluminum backing plates to mount the two eye bolts. They attached blocks to the ends of the spinnaker pole, which was reinforced by lumber lashed along its length. Lines where then connected from each side of the rudder to its respective side of the pole, through the blocks and onto the helm. This allowed Vaughn or Sharon to steer Reality by pulling one or another of the lines. Heribert’s design suggestion was to make these control lines a single loop. Then by wrapping this loop around the wheel hub, turning the wheel tightened one line while the opposition line was automatically released, thus turning the rudder. In addition to various items that were gathered for this jury-rigged steering system, Vaughn and Sharon were able to purchase 50 gallons of fuel from the cruising community. Not knowing how well and how long this system would work with sails, Vaughn

and Sharon knew that they would need to motor-sail most of the way back to Papeete, some 850 miles. Despite the additional 50 gallons, they knew they were short on fuel for the route that required they keep a wide berth around the low atolls of the Tuamotus. After a week of planning and preparing, it was time to see if all the theoretical solutions would actually steer the boat. With the assistance of five dinghies, Sharon and Vaughn weighed anchor. Chaos ensued for the first 10 minutes as the dinghies tried to pull Reality safely out of the anchorage. A lastminute wind shift began blowing Reality back into the anchorage and near the rocky shore. The dingy team was not making headway and Reality was floundering. Vaughn and Sharon realized that the lines controlling the rudder were run the wrong way. Vaughn quickly reversed his steering, Reality cleared the rocks at the mouth of the bay and they were on their way. Once out in open water, Sharon and Vaughn reversed the rudder lines so turning to starboard actually turned Reality to starboard. With Fatu Hiva fading into the distance, Sharon and Vaughn relaxed, gaining confidence with each mile that the jury-rigged steering system was able to steer Reality. Vaughan and Sharon safely arrived in Papeete on May 5th, sailing 850 miles in eight days without incident. They had been able to sail slowly, approximately 100 miles per day, and still had plenty of fuel in reserve. A tug assisted their entry into the harbor and after 23 days, Reality had a n new rudder and post. Fay Mark, a former high tech marketing executive, is voyaging with her partner, Russ Irwin, on New Morning, their 54-foot Chuck Paine-designed sloop. For more information about Fay, Russ, New Morning, and their cruising adventures, visit OCEAN VOYAGER 2013

Fiddler’s Green by John Snyder

Bob Foresman

Forespar founder, Dr. Robert Foresman, died at his home in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., on Dec. 30, 2012, at age 87. He was born in 1925 in Pasadena and was an orthodontist by profession. He served in the U.S. Navy’s V-12 program as an officer in the Navy Dental Corps in World War II and Korea. Foresman started sailing at a very young age. His inventive nature led him to develop numerous products for his own sailboat. He established Forespar Products Corporation in 1965. Foresman was involved in product development and came to work every day until late last year. He is survived by his wife, Juin, and three children: Scott Foresman, Guy Foresman and Gayl Foresman Beller. He is predeceased by his youngest son, Mark.

Frank Bethwaite

Frank Bethwaite died on May 12, 2012, at age 92. Bethwaite was a pioneer in small boat design and the author of High Performance Sailing (1992) and Higher Performance Sailing (2002). He had just completed his third book on apparent wind sailing to be published later this year by Adlard Coles. Bethwaite was born in Wanganui, New Zealand, on May 26, 1920. He learned to sail on the Wanganui River. He joined the Royal NZ Air Force during World War II and flew bombing raids in the Pacific for which he was awarded the DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross). He joined Tasman Empire Airways Ltd. (TEAL, later Air New Zealand), at the same time experimenting with model planes to find the most efficient wing shapes in competition. After five years of testing various designs and studying thermal lifts along the coastline, he set the world sailplane endurance record of more than nine hours aloft in 1952. Bethwaite and his wife, Nel, moved to Sydney, Australia, with their four children in 1958. They settled in Northbridge and became active members at the Northbridge Sailing Club, forming a group that designed the Northbridge Senior, a small light sailing boat. The NS14 is still actively raced on the east coast of New South Wales. In 1968, he had established a small manufacturing company called Starboard Products inside an old dance hall at Naremburn. The company produced masts and other boat parts. In 1975, he designed a new boat called the Tasar, with a minimum weight limit to encourage adults to sail and race competitively. Performance Sailcraft bought the design and manufactured the boat in Canada, the U.K., Japan, and Australia. In 2000, Bethwaite was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for services to sport. He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Nel, and four children: Christine, Mark, Nicky and Julian. 2013 OCEAN VOYAGER

Ocean Almanac


The year in review iPad navigation around Hatteras I have been a user of the iNavX marine navigation application for Mac for several years now and have been impressed not only by its ease of use and accuracy, but also by the company’s outstanding customer support and frequent upgrades. An e-mailed query gets an almost instant response — the problem is usually operator error! Using iNavX with a MacBook Pro laptop tethered to a USB GPS receiver, my mobile system easily rivals any marine chartplotter running state-of-the-art navigation software. But a 17-inch laptop is not the most convenient piece of hardware to deal with while getting tossed around offshore. What about using an iPhone, iTouch or iPad? Until now the biggest challenge to using these devices offshore for navigation is when you wander beyond the range of a 3G cellular network. A company called Bad Elf has elegantly solved the problem with a high-quality GPS receiver that simply plugs into the sync/power receptacle of all three devices. Download a simple application from Bad Elf’s website, call up iNavX or other Mac-compatible navigation software and you are underway. On a recent trip around Cape Hatteras, I ran iNavX on an iPad2 right alongside the boat’s high-end chartplotter and software for hours on end and found zero discrepancy between the two systems when it came to accuracy in position, speed and cross track error. Battery life on the iPad was also excellent since the Bad Elf GPS unit draws its power from an internal battery. When connected to house power the set will run 24/7. It seems to me to be a no-brainer for use as a back-up or even a primary electronic navigation system, coastwise or offshore. There is however one drawback, the iPad/Bad Elf combination is not marinized and screen glare is a nuisance. Are you listening Apple? In the meantime, visit and

Inspectors taking closer look at yachts Members of the Paris MoU (Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control), an organization of 27 participating maritime administrations has revised its inspection regime to include visiting cruising yachts. The organization includes European coastal States and the North Atlantic basin from North America to Europe. All visiting yachts, regardless of size are now subject to inspection by Port State Control authorities. Previously cruising yachts have been considered a low priority for inspection. Now, any vessel that does not have an inspection history is automatically assigned a “Priority 1: (Unknown Ship)” status almost guaranteeing it rigorous inspection when entering a Paris MoU region regardless of flag, classification society or management company. Both private and commercial yachts are subject to inspection with inspectors focused on safety equipment, charts, publications and voyage plans. Safety gear of primary concern is lifesaving and firefighting equipment. Inspectors will be particularly interested in the expiration of equipment such as flares, rescue devices, etc.


Ocean Almanac


The year in review Charts, publications and voyage plans will also be scrutinized and will include currency of electronic charts as well as paper. Inspectors will also look at crew licensing requirements as dictated by the vessel’s flag state. In 2011, more than 12 yachts were detained due to deficiencies. For more information visit

Lyman-Morse opens operation in Panama

Courtesy Lyman-Morse

Maine boatbuilder Lyman-Morse has expanded operations to southern climes with a new facility located in Shelter Bay, Panama. The new facility is strategically located near the Caribbean entrance to the Panama Canal and will provide yacht owners a source for pre-canal transit prep and logistics, service work, haul-out and storage services between cruises. The satellite yard will be managed by Peach Frederick, long time service manager at Lyman-Morse in Thomaston, Maine, who has relocated to Colón, Panama. Services will include aspects of boat repair for sail and power, including rigging, canvas, carpentry, mechanical, fiberglass and carbon fiber hull repairs, electrical and electronics, stainless steel and paint projects. The yard is equipped with a 100-ton travelift, so refit work, as well as extended and short-term storage is available. Plans include a new building for service work including paint and varnish, engine replacements and general refits. “The timing and location is perfect for us,” said Drew Lyman, vice president of Lyman-Morse. “The new locks will dramatically ease the cruisers experience of transiting the canal, opening up these cruising grounds and access to the Pacific. We believe cruisers will appreciate a familiar name in this area.” The new facility is located well south of the hurricane risk zone and features a secure closed harbor and a staging area to prepare for a Panama Canal passage.

New Russian Baltic race

Yacht Club of Saint-Petersburg

Five teams are slated to compete in a 750-nm race through the Baltic Sea dipping their keels in Russian, Finnish, Swedish, and German waters. The race is presented by the Yacht Club of Saint-Petersburg in Russia, and sponsored by Russian energy giant Gazprom. Dubbed the Nord Stream Race, the inaugural race scheduled for Oct. 16 is an invitational event open to Swan 60s. It features a prize of 100,000 Euros for the overall winner. So far the five teams that have confirmed their participation include: Team Europe sponsored by Nord Stream AG, Team France representing Yacht Club de France, Team Germany, representing Norddeutscher Regatta Verein, Team Holland representing the Royal Netherlands Yacht Club, and Team Russia representing the Yacht Club of SaintPetersburg. The start will be in Saint Petersburg with the first leg finishing in Helsinki followed by match racing. On Oct. 22 the fleet will depart for Gotland, Sweden, followed by a final leg to Greifswald, Germany. The race is scheduled to end on Oct. 27. Vladimir Liubomirov, commodore of the Yacht Club of Saint-Petersburg, commented “We aim to create an internationally renowned long-distance sailing race within the Baltic, bringing together the bordering countries to encourage the growth of international sailing in the area and promote a closer integration with the Baltic Sea countries.”


George Durward Griffith

George Griffith died on Sept. 10, 2012, at age 91, aboard his motorboat Sarissa, with the family rushing him from Catalina Island to the mainland. According to family accounts, just short of the beach, Griffith simply slipped his mooring and fell asleep. Born May 9, 1921, Griffith was a lifelong sailor. At 10 years old he built himself a nine-foot dinghy. He sailed his first Transpac in 1941, sharing the 45-foot cutter Pajara with his brother, Dave, and finishing second on corrected time. He attended Cal Tech and during World War II he was involved in building and designing warships in Houston, Texas. He worked at Chevron as an engineer, and also for the Atomic Energy Commission at Lawrence Labs, in Livermore, Calif. He worked with naval architect Bill Lapworth on the design of a 36-footer, and then a 40-footer, that would become the Cal 40. He used fin keel, spade rudder and light-for-its-time construction that would make the boat a serious downwind performer. In the 1965 Transpac, Cal 40s finished at the top of several divisions. Downwind distance racing has never been the same. George and his wife, Millie, were longtime members of the Los Angeles Yacht Club, Transpac Yacht Club, and Cruising Club of America. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Mille, daughter Mary and son David.

Alan P. Gurney

Alan Peter Gurney, designer of the Islander and internationally known for his offshore racing and cruising yachts, died peacefully on July 22, 2012, in Woodbridge, Essex, U.K. Gurney’s dream was to build a 36-foot yacht that would be a competitive racing machine, but that also could cruise a family comfortably. He succeeded with what became the Islander 36. Today there are more than 600 of these boats sailing the world over. Gurney designed boats the old fashioned way and without modern CAD systems. He was an accomplished seaman and sailor, and sailed extensively in England, trans-Atlantic, the United States and both polar regions. At just 24 years old, Gurney had won a prestigious competition for a modern club racer sponsored by the British magazine, Yachting World. His other designs also include Windward Passage, owned by the lumber tycoon, Robert F. Johnson. Johnson had selected Gurney for the new design having been impressed by the performance of George Moffett’s Guinevere, a 48-foot Jacobsen-built aluminum yawl that had won the SORC in 1966, the second of two ocean racers Gurney had designed for Moffett. He also designed the Competition 1000, a half tonner.

W. Bruce Lockwood

W. Bruce Lockwood died on Oct. 11, 2012, at age 90. Lockwood was born in Boston on May 14, 1922 and grew up in Ohio. He spent his early summers on the North Fork of Long Island, N.Y., where he learned to sail at an early age. In 1938, he and his brother, John, founded the Old Cove Yacht Club in New Suffolk, N.Y. A retired naval architect and engineer, Lockwood also OCEAN VOYAGER 2013

Henry “Mr. Henri” Strzelecki

Henry Strzelecki, co-founder of Henri-Lloyd, died on Dec. 26, 2012, at the age of 87. Known as “Mr. Henri,” he and partner Angus Lloyd founded the apparel and foul weather gear company that bears their names. A native of Poland, Strzelecki settled in his adopted city of Manchester, U.K. He was born in Brodnica and fled his Nazi occupied homeland during World War II. After serving in the Polish 2nd Corps in Italy he opted to stay in Britain following the Communist takeover of Poland. He built a career in the textile industry and married his wife Sheila in 1952. Strzelecki became a keen sailor and quickly identified the need for more suitable clothing for the sport. He began to explore the use of man-made fabrics such as Bri-nylon, which became the base of his earliest foul weather gear designs. In 1963, he established a partnership with Lloyd to form Henri-Lloyd Limited. Together they developed innovations such as non-corrosive zippers and integrated safety harnesses in their jackets. In 1993, the Henri-Lloyd business moved to a factory in his hometown of Brodnica. Among his many awards are a British MBE for services to the clothing industry. In 1990, the Gold Cross of Merit was awarded to Strzelecki by the President of Poland. Strzelecki retired in 1996. He was predeceased by his wife, Sheila, and is survived by two sons, Paul and Martin (the joint chief executives of Henri-Lloyd Limited) and a daughter, Diane, eight grandn children and two great-grandchildren. 2013 OCEAN VOYAGER

Ocean Almanac

LOGBOOK 2012 Coast Guard SAR pilots hit by green lasers A MH-65C Dolphin helicopter crew flying out of U.S. Coast Guard Air Facility Muskegon, Mich., on Aug. 17 was endangered when a green laser was directed toward them from the shore during routine training operations. At about 2200, the coxswain of a Coast Guard small boat again spotted the laser illuminating the helicopter, this time appearing to track the helicopter as it moved. The source of the laser was traced back to a group of individuals who were observed around a campfire flashing a pattern of light signals with a red light. When the Coast Guard small boat crew approached the shoreline and illuminated the group with a spotlight, all of the individuals scattered and fled the area. Following the incident the Coast Guard announced a $1,000 reward for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the individual or individuals responsible for the illumination by green laser of the helicopter. This was not an isolated incident in the area. On another occasion a Coast Guard helicopter was illuminated by lasers that originated in Canada. Also, in 2007, a Massachusetts man was sentenced to three years in federal prison, for the Dec. 8, 2007, illumination of a state police helicopter. The charges included “willfully interfering with an aircraft operator with reckless disregard for human life,” and making false statements to arresting officers. In another incident, a helicopter that was escorting a liquefied natural gas tanker through Boston Harbor was illuminated by 52-year-old Gerard Sasso, who aimed a Class 3B green laser, said to be “at least five to 10 times more powerful than an ordinary laser pointer” (approximately 25 to 50 milliwatts). The pilots took evasive action, but the cockpit was hit and filled with “an intense sparkling green light.” The pilots and Coast Guard were able to trace the source to Sasso’s apartment in Medford, Mass. News reports quoted prosecutors as saying that Sasso was the second person in the U.S. to be convicted of lasing an aircraft. They also pointed to the November 2009 sentence of a California man who received two-and-a-half years for shining a laser at two airplanes and temporarily blinding a pilot. Commercial aircraft have also been subjected to these laser attacks. In July 2012, a JetBlue pilot approaching JFK was hit with a laser and suffered minor eye injury. The plane landed safely. Green lasers present a significant risk to flight safety, especially for helicopters at low altitudes and aircraft taking off or landing and for boat crews operating at night. If any aircrew member’s vision is compromised during a flight, Coast Guard flight rules dictate that the aircrew must abort its mission. A delay during a search and rescue operation could result in the death of the people the Coast Guard is attempting to rescue. The Coast Guard encourages members of the public who witness someone committing this crime to immediately call 911 to report the incident. The Federal Aviation Administration reports laser incidents rose 902 percent from 2005 to 2011. Shining any laser at an aircraft is a federal offense under 14 CFR 19.11. Several people have been convicted under this Federal law as well as similar state laws. These convictions have resulted in prison terms as long as five years and fines of up to $11,000, and five years probation. USCG photo/PO 1st Class Timothy Tamargo

served in the U.S. Navy and after that was captain of the University of Michigan sailing team. Throughout his life, Lockwood belonged to many sailing organizations including the Woodridge Association, Ram Island Yacht Club, Shennecossett Yacht Club, Baldwin Yacht Club, Off Soundings Club, Storm Trysail Club, Palo Alto Yacht Club, and the Mystic River Mudheads. In 2007, he wrote the book Reflections-Off Soundings Since 1933. During the winter months, Lockwood raced penguins in Connecticut, snipes in San Francisco Bay, dinghies in the Phillipines, knockabouts on Peconic Bay, J-29s in Key West, and all types of sailboats on Long Island Sound. He was the winner of three Block Island Race Weeks, Key West Race Week, the Mumm 30 Northeast Championship, was an eight-time champion of the Mystic River Mudhead fleet, and won too many Off Soundings Series to count. His most recent win was the 2012 Off Soundings Series, four weeks before his death in October. Lockwood is survived by Linda Blair Lockwood, his wife of 15 years; four daughters and their families. Bruce was predeceased by Nancy H. Lockwood, his first wife of 44 years, and his sister Mary Oakes.


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From the Taffrail

Tapping into 20-something power by Nat Warren-White

A circumnavigator finds that energetic young sailors add energy and chutzpah to a voyaging crew


Nat Warren-White

hen Bahati, my Montevideo 43, landed on Christmas Island, the first stop in our 2010 Indian Ocean crossing, I had three 29-year-old crewmembers on board, all male. It had been eight days since our escape from Bali and the crew were a bit desperate for female companionship. Within three hours of landing the guys had discovered the Golden Bosun Tavern and three Bundabergs later they’d scoped-out and befriended the entire bar staff, including a wild-looking young Aussie woman who called herself “Kathy.” One of the guards from the local refugee “holding facility” (read: prison) warned me that we should watch out for “Kathy” as she was renowned for roaming the island on full-moon nights murdering feral cats with a machete. I tried to get the word out to my boys, but I was too late. My first mate, (call him “Bill”) did not return to the boat that night (Bill was the only one of the three who had committed to stay aboard as far as South Africa). When Bill did finally show up, he looked like he’d been rundown by a crazed kangaroo. I was relieved to see him alive and asked him how his night had been. He collapsed on his bunk. He could barely speak, and when he did his voice quavered like a war vet suffering from PTSD. I made

Sailor Bill with a freshly caught short-billed spearfish in the Indian Ocean.


a quick mental note to get us off Christmas Island and out to sea as soon as we could get the autopilot repaired and the ship’s stores replenished. My other two 29s left the boat and flew to Cocos (Keeling) the next day to do some surfing and pursue their own testosterone-driven quests. That left me and Bill to fend for ourselves. Before our departure prep was complete he’d managed to seduce a second, younger and decidedly more innocent waitress who jumped with him off the pier and swam out to the boat in a billowing Indian print dress to bunk down in the forecastle for Bill’s last lusty night in port. Morning came and Bill ferried his new friend ashore, bid her a sweet farewell, and returned to the boat hung-over and hangdog. We hoisted the dinghy aboard and prepared for another fortnight at sea. Now, I realize all this may sound like a long-distance cruiser’s sex-driven nightmare, but truth-be-told I’m extremely grateful for these rough and rowdy 20-somethings. I was fortunate to have 10 of them join me at different junctures during our five-year voyage. Two of them were rugged women and the rest were of the salty male variety. Our son, Josh (see “Voyaging weather communications,” Sept 2008, Issue 172), at age 26, spent 18 months generously and masterfully helping us find our way from the Caribbean to New Zealand. Without exception, male or female, they were ready to hit the foredeck, climb the mast,

or dive under the keel regardless of how nasty the circumstances. In the midst of the deepest low we encountered on our storm-plagued passage from Tonga to New Zealand, Tom, the most upbeat and gungho of the lot, was found on the after-deck in his skivvies, taking a bath and singing sea shanties. The rest of us were bundled up in foul weather gear and woolies. I recommend recruiting as many 20-something experienced hands as you can find en route. Younger crew contribute an extraordinary amount of energy, chutzpah, strength, and willingness to take risks. If they are real sailors (and all of ours were) they offer a powerful mix of the pirate and the highly dedicated seaman. It’s in their bones. I grew up sailing with mentors who trusted me to take the helm and make mistakes because they knew I’d learn best by doing, not by being told what to do. Committed younger sailors are willing to stick their necks out in every way. More often than not, that willingness results in gradual but sure accumulation of wisdom and a growing sense of caution as life goes on. They may sometimes challenge your patience, but they will inevitably serve your mission and your n boat well! Nat Warren-White recently finished a five-year circumnavigation on his Montevideo 43, Bahati. Accounts and pictures of the trip are at his blog at: OCEAN VOYAGER 2013

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Ocean Navigator #209  

Ocean Voyager 2013

Ocean Navigator #209  

Ocean Voyager 2013