Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Passage Notes - Random Thoughts, Pics and Info

Paul on s/v Black Swan told us "Secure everything.  I mean EVERYTHING.  If you think you have it secured, go back and lash it down some more."  Man, was he right.  Apparently they almost lost their dinghy off the deck of their boat on a previous Gulf Stream crossing and he was SURE it was secure prior to setting off.  Luckily, we had the assistance of our dock neighbor Galen in Morehead City NC.  Galen helped Tom and John secure our dinghy to the foredeck.  Galen recommended deflating it - less windage then they turned it upside down and really racked it down with come alongs and Gorilla tape - super duct tape.  Thanks Galen!  And thanks to Paul for stressing this point.
Here we go - Floy and Joe USA flag a flying!
We should have done a better job with items we temporarily stowed in our forward head and stateroom.  Most of it was non-breakable - Spinnaker, enclosure screens, salon pillows, TP, paper towels, etc....so it was ok it got tossed around but next time we will secure that area better.

Lee Clothes worked well.
Another awesome John pic - he should take pics for a living
Duct tape over forward solar vent in shower helped but it still leaked and that was under the dinghy!  I also taped the forward head hatch and the big hatch in our stateroom (also under the dinghy).  While the tape kept moisture out during this voyage, I did find when removing the tape that some moisture had seeped in under the tape.  If the voyage had been longer or we would have gotten more rain and waves, it might have leaked all the way in.
Sailing along
We had minor leaking on the starboard side around the chain plates.  Looks like re-bedding of chain plates is now on our TO DO list.  Honestly, I suspected previously that this might be the case and now we know.  It was very minor but still....add it to the list.

We lost our bow light lens to the waves.  After two days, we could already see corrosion to the exposed fixture.  I took a cheap solar yard light that I had onboard and colored the lens green and red with sharpies but it only lasted two nights before the elements got to it.  Someone suggested on SSB to use the dinghy bow light.  Unfortunately we don't have one.  Even if we did, it would probably have been in the dinghy storage - strapped upside down on the foredeck so impossible to access while underway.  Another Caliber lost their bow light lens as well.  We are currently looking for a buy one get one free deal on bow light lens but something tells me that is going to be hard to come by.  Actually we have ordered an encapsulated LED bow light from Marine Beam.
Good in theory but not really made for sea
Broken toilet seat.  Big wave slammed s/v Honey Ryder on the side.  I was in the galley but I had just unhooked.  I went flying across the galley full force backwards into the aft head, slamming into the toilet seat on the way to the floor.  I broke the seat clean off.  Luckily I didn't break me but had a massive bruise on the back of my arm and a little bit of swelling.  We took the forward seat and put it on the aft head.  We found a replacement seat in Roadtown BVI - Golden Hind Chandlery (awesome place). 
One of many bruises
*Once we arrived at Bitter End Yacht Club, it wasn't hard to spot the women that had sailed here vs flew in....those of us that sailed down have quite the collection of bruises.  I noticed several Salty Dawg Rally chicks with bruises, scratches, Band-Aids and such.  Battle scars I guess.
**Ladies, fyi- if you want to lose weight, sail down with your boat vs flying in.  The Gulf Stream crossing and passage south diet is sure to take off some lbs.   

Secondary anchor was secure with 3/8 stainless steel through bolt -that locked the anchor in place - It's gone.  At some point it must have come undone somewhere (even though Tom really cranked it down tight) or sheared off.  We tied it down with a line for the rest of the trip.

Chafe on headsail sheets from staysail rigging.

Chafe on dodger from preventer line.  We will be rigging preventer differently in the future.  Possibly looking at boom break.
:(  chafe piece needed and should have been part of design
Enclosure - LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!  We cannot say enough how wonderful it was to have the enclosure.  While we still got some blue water inside the cockpit, it wasn't bad.  We would have been flat out miserable had it not been for the enclosure.  Crew member John previously sailed from Newport to USVI without an enclosure and he said the difference is HUGE!  Soaking, wet, cold vs dry and warm.  I came up into the cockpit early in the trip and asked "Is it drizzling?"  John replied "Who knows with this enclosure and who cares!" and then he laughed like a loon - it was slightly disturbing.
Looking good, feeling good
Staysail splice failed and subsequently we lost a staysail block.  We have already found a replacement here in Roadtown BVI - Wickham's Cay II Rigging.  BEST rigging shop to date ANYWHERE!!
Galley -s/v Honey Ryder's galley is not good in heavy, lumpy seas.  This is disappointing.  For future passages I will make up more meals ahead of time and have more snacks.  Pressure cooker worked well.  Water bottles with clips are great in the cockpit.  Carmels - the square ones you see around Halloween time were our sweet treat - two bags.  Dried pomegranates and cran raisins were good too.  We could have used more apples as we ate them all the first week.  Cheese and crackers rule as always.  Special thanks to dock neighbor Elizabeth.  She gave me two sleeves of saltines right before we left.  I had crackers but not those.  We ate both sleeves during the Gulf Stream Crossing and not much else.  Donna Robinson made us a big batch of cookies for the trip but we got those two days before the trip and immediately dove into them and thus they were gone after our first full day at sea.  HEY - they were homemade cookies people - what did you expect! 
Stove is level!  I repeat, stove is level, everything else is heeling.
Sleeping - I made up the salon seatees with mattress pads and sheets.  Both lee clothes were up.  Tom and I slept here most of the time.  John slept in the aft cabin.  During the Gulf Stream crossing we often got into our bunks fully clothed, including foulies a couple of times.  However our cockpit enclosure kept us dry for the most part   I slept in my harness more than once.  We all took turns sleeping in the cockpit.  We found early on that the windward cockpit cushions would not stay in place.  While one could sleep on the leeward side, confusing seas and the occasional odd/rogue wave meant that person could/would get dumped onto the cockpit floor.  Tom took matters into his own hands, building a nice nest of cockpit cushions on the floor of the cockpit.  It worked out rather nicely in heavy seas.  We heard from another Caliber 40 that they did the same thing on this trip. 

Watches.  We ran three hour watches at night.  2100-000 Tom, 0000-300 Sabrina, 300-600 John, 600-900 Tom.  I would get up at 6:30 ish to do daily position report and then the morning 7:15 SSB radio check in.  I would make coffee and breakfast and listen to Cruiseheimers.  During the day, watches were loose depending on who was awake, who needed a nap and such. However we always had someone at the helm.  Tom made most of our lunches.  AT 1800 I will listen to Chris Parker's weather report on the Doo-Dah net and then all the check ins.  We didn't have to check in but sometimes I did.  Dinner was sometimes before the Doo-Dah net and other times after.  We usually set the sail plan for the night after dinner.  Tom and I would generally take naps after dinner.
Hello?  Major Tom?
I developed a cold 5 days out.  Totally sucked.  Luckily it was more like a short "summer" cold vs the full blown "deathbed" type cold.  I still stood my overnight watch but the guys did cover for me one whole day as I rested.  FYI - I would NOT recommend a cold for a ocean passage.  This delayed my getting into the passage making groove.
Breakfast frittata was a huge hit
Most of the time we were all clipped in while in the cockpit.  We were always clipped in at night.  We were always clipped in during rough, lumpy, bumpy seas and/or  suspect weather.  We were ALWAYS clipped in to go forward on the deck regardless of weather or time of day.  We NEVER went out of the cockpit without letting someone know.  NO PEEING OFF THE BOAT...EVER!- we all used the head.  Way too many men go overboard and are found with their flies open - no kidding.  While underway...we all sit.  Too dangerous and messy to stand.  Too much info?
Fucarewe Tribe cruising along
We picked the right boat.  Our Caliber is rock solid and she will take us wherever we want to go.  From day one, we have had 110% confidence in her.  Thanks Honey Ryder!



  1. Owie -- that bruise looked painful! Glad you had an extra toilet seat, or the rest of the passage could have been interesting, no? Thanks for sharing so many of your observations and experiences. It sounds like you had no more than the expected minor issues, but nothing too serious, thankfully. GREAT JOB GUYS! So proud of you!

  2. After the washing machine in the Gulf Stream it might be a good idea to check steering cable tension even if you did during your preps. Even slightly loose cables can chafe and get shock loaded. C