Sunday, August 27, 2017

Underway

Destination Ruing, Flores, Indonesia
One POB
ETA late afternoon today

Ciendeh Bay, Indonesia

In Ciendeh Bay, Indonesia. Nice overnight stop from Rock and Maurole. With Althea, Chandara and Gambol. Gambol is in need of ATF for transmission. Intend Ruing tomorrow.

Took trip to town in search of ATF. Last bit of harbor is a mud flat with all sorts of obstructions. Fortunately it was high tide - the only time one can make it to shore. After a futile search for ATF returned to boats. Even small tidal change resulted in tide rips across the mud flats.

The town was small with a couple of shops. We visited both car (motor scooter) shops with no luck. We tried to buy a dozen eggs for Daisy U. Johnson but were only able to find six. The town has mostly dirt roads. Quite a bit of new construction was in evidence. The most remarkable thing was that every structure was fenced. The people were friendly without being aggressive.

Summary: Good overnight stop, not much point in going ashore.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Too Close?


Don't worry that I dropped my anchor right next to you, We all know that all boats in an anchorage swing the same way. NOT!

Fair winds and following seas ;)

Deep cleaning

This young man came out and helped clean the interior of Reboot. He also made a friend.
Fair winds and following seas :)

Winch Repair / Lubrication

Taking it apart. Replacing the broken ring. Then back together.




Lava

Indonesia was formed by volcanoes. We (Steve, Daisy and I) visited the famous three lakes - volcanic cones filled with water. I joked "if it starts boiling we had better run. Imagine my surprise when Steve called me on the radio to go look at the lava flow coming down the mountain into our anchorage area! I tried to rake a picture but night from a pitching deck gave me a big smear. And yes, thank you for asking, I do feel safe.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Friday, August 18, 2017

Vendor induced chaos

My frustration grows. In the beginning I had control of my stuff.
Granted the screens were green, there were no graphics, and a fast
modem (Hayes SmartModem) operated at 1200 baud. But I least I knew
where my stuff was. And vendors weren't downloading useless crap in
the background. And monitoring my every move. And installing useless
apps that both monitored my every move and downloaded even more
useless crap. Of course they also make it impossible to delete their
useless crap without a PhD in Computer Science. Not to mention
uploading my stuff without my permission to who knows where. (Only a
fool thinks the "cloud" is safe.)

Now that is bad enough. But it is not the focus of today's rant. (It
did get some airtime however.) I rant today about vendor induced
chaos. By this I mean the system where each vendor links their
equipment to only their apps. I take a picture on my Amazon Fire. Can
I upload it to my Google Drive. No. I have to upload it to the Amazon
Drive (which I neither need nor want.) I download a free book to read
on my Kindle. Does it get added to the library of all the books I have
downloaded from Amazon. Of course not. It gets buried so only with the
help of a third party application can I find it and read it. The list
goes on and on.

Of particular aggravation is the theory that I have unlimited access
to a reasonably quick internet at little or no cost. Not! Rural
Indonesia is not brimming with high speed free WiFi access.
Particularly a couple of hundred miles offshore. Joy of Joys when my
entire Kindle library of books that I have purchased and paid for is
rendered is rendered unreadable since the digital rights management
has expired and needs the internet to be reset. But that is another
story.

I would share some pictures of beautiful Flores Island in Indonesia if
I could figure out which vendor stashed them in which proprietary box.
Bull.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Carrying a dinghy

I was asked the other day how I carry the dinghy on Reboot. I replied on the foredeck. Some cruisers choose davits on the stern. I can't. The Monitor™ steering vane is in the way. Even if I could I would not. I have heard and occasionally seen the results of a dinghy ripping the stern off a boat from severe wave action in high seas.

So that leaves the foredeck or a tow. Towing might be reasonable in sheltered waters for short distances. I would never try to tow on a multi-day offshore passage. That leaves the foredeck. Not a great place. It is in the way every time one goes forward, e.g. to anchor, set up the whisker pole, set up or douse the asymmetric spinnaker.

A more critical problem is that it takes a beating in high seas going upwind. That green water across the deck is bouncing off the dinghy. It needs to be very secure. Over time my system has evolved into the setup in the pictures below. The stern of the dinghy is attached by two crossed straps attached to the stern of the dinghy and the deck. The center is held down by a tie down strap. And the bow is held down three ways: the painter and two diagonal lines to either side. These lines help keep the bow from shifting sideways.

This works well with one exception. The lee jib sheet tends to catch under the dinghy. It is thus important to assure a clear run before tacking or gybing.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Excellent Article on Politics in America

http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/267603/democrats-dangerous-dolchstosslegende-daniel-greenfield#.WZX46TC3NfR.twitter

Internet

Proving it is not easy to get internet and phone service that keeps working in Indonesia.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Saturday, August 12, 2017

What we are doing

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bUcT0PdkcUo&sns=em

Fair winds and following seas :)

View from Reboot

Looking towards shore and the anchorage. The Sea World resort dining room.

Maumere, Flores, Indonesia

082020ZAUG2017
S 08 37.951
E 122 18.625

Crazy trip from South Buru to Maumere. Chandara (Daisy and Steve) and I decided to skip the next two stops on the itinerary. The decision was based on a combination of criterion: easy of entering the anchorage, down time in each anchorage, etc. But the deciding factor was the apparent wind angles from North Buton to Wakatobi and from Wakatobi to Maumere. In both cases they indicated very unpleasant uphill slogs. With a puking XO that was the last thing I needed.

I left South Buru in a huff. The anchorage was terrible. Reboot spent most of every day and night rolling. XO spent the same time crying and puking. What was supposed to be a pleasant three to four day beam reach to Maumere turned out to be anything but. The first 24 hours was beautiful. Beam reach, moderate winds, making 6.5 to 7 knots. Then it all went to puppy poo. The winds got light. Combined with what little boat speed Reboot could generate we were looking at an apparent wind angle of 30°. Speed ranged from 1.5 to 5.5 knots. The vane could not steer so over to the electric autopilot. Finally the wind died completely. On came the iron genny. As I motored through dead calm seas Chandara reported 25 knot winds and 2 meter waves on the bow. I thought they were kidding. As I made my final turn into the bay at Maumere I discovered they were not. The last 15 nautical miles were directly into a strong shore breeze. What a crummy ending. I arrived, of course, after dark. Chandara talked me in. This morning I discovered that the rest of the boats in the anchorage were all listening and watching. Finally anchor down.

This morning I looked at my fuel gauge. The internal tank is almost out of fuel. Dodged that bullet. Joana (Wade), Chandara (Steve and Daisy) and I shared a car to town. That is the subject of my next post. I came back to Reboot and cleaned the starboard quarter waterline and then dove on Chandara. The water is beautiful. We will be here for several days so I will do a quarter a day and then dive on the bottom. Off tonight for a nice dinner.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Weather Helm

Weather, Lee, and Neutral helm describe what one has to do to keep a sailboat going in a straight line. Weather helm means the boat wants to turn into the wind. Lee means it wants to turn away from the wind.

Normally one wants a bit of weather helm. If the wind increases suddenly the boat will head up and stall. It is "in irons" or the more current and pathetic term in the "no go zone." There are two inherent problems which require reducing sail as quickly as possible :

1. Once the boat is in irons there is no forward motion. It becomes at the mercy of the unmerciful waves. And it falls back off only to be overpowered and head up again. And again. This is not good.

2. When running downwind the impact of the boat heading up is that the apparent wind (the wind the boat sees, the vector sum of the boat speed and direction and the wind speed and direction) actually gets stronger. Not good. Since the easiest way to deal with a strong wind is to run away this adds complexity. Usually the autopilot can not compensate if the sail plan is that out of balance. Hence the advice: "reef early, reef often."

Fair winds and following seas :)

Sailing Naked

I am sure this brought forth lewd and lascivious thoughts. Is my blog now appealing to the prurient interest?

Lots of things happen before, during and after a rainstorm. Dramatic changes in wind velocity and direction are common. This means one is going to be out in the cockpit and get wet. Perhaps several trips. (There is no point in standing in the rain once the boat is re-trimmed. Unless it is the only vantage point to look for other boats.) Another characteristic is that things happen quickly. I always marveled at my volunteer crew who thought it was OK to take 5 minutes to dress in their foul weather gear as Reboot was going crazy. 

In the old days I would just jump into the cockpit and do what needed to be done. This usually resulted in a large pile of wet clothing that needed to be dried when the sun came out. Sometimes that was a couple of days.. Now I just strip bare and get a free shower out of the deal. (It is useful to remember I sail solo.) This works because I am in the tropics. I would not recommend it on a passage from Newfoundland via Iceland and Greenland to Scotland.

Fair winds and following seas :)

090000ZAUG2017

Underway to Maumere, Indonesia

Collision Avoidance

Usually being a sailboat in the open ocean is pretty good. Under the COLREGS sailboats have the right of way over everyone except, in order of priority, vessels "not in command"*,) vessels "restricted in their ability to maneuver," and vessels "actively engaged in commercial fishing"**.) In channels "restricted in their ability to maneuver" is pretty common. The big ships stay in the channels, we flirt around the edges. But in the open ocean it is very rare. I just spent the last five hours dealing with a vessel (actually several) restricted in their ability to maneuver. Specifically two ocean going tugs pulling an oil rig. A very big oil rig! This was made more complicated by the presence of several other vessels. With AIS it is somewhat possible to predict the closest point of approach. I say somewhat because wind variations can change the CPA. There is nothing quite like expecting to pass across the bow of a big ship and having the wind die! Would I pass in front? Should I alter course and pass behind? In the final moments (CPA 2 nm) it was clear it was going to be close. So I did a 180 to pass behind. But a 180 was not possible without going into irons. As it turns out, doing a 160 was good enough.

Fair winds and following seas :)

* "Red over red the Captain is dead." A ship that can not maneuver. Usually because they have lost their engines.

** No, Joe SixPack doesn't qualify. Nor does a commercial fishing boat going to or from the fishing grounds.

081800ZAUG2017 Underway from South Buru, Indonesia to Maumere, Indonesia.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Roll

videoA little video to demonstrate the roll that leads to sail "snap" in light air. And yes, in tbis video Reboot is pointed upwind.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Hard day

Spent the morning working on boat projects.. Went in at noon to a terrible lunch. Spent the afternoon drinking Bintank - the
Iocal beer. Scored a T-shirt for the cost of a case of beer. If I ever get back to the USA chances are I will have a unique piece of flair. Then scored a ball cap. Its good.

Back on Reboot. Tide change so we are rolling. Or I am rolling from the beer. Not sure. Probably both.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Sunday, August 6, 2017

AIS & Internet Position Reports

A relatively recent addition to maritime electronics are Automatic Identification Systems (AIS.) These are ship mounted transponders that both broadcast the ships location, COG and SOG and report the same data from ships in the vicinity. Since they operate on the marine VHF bands their reach is about 25 nautical miles for big ships, 10 to 15 nautical miles for pleasure craft.* They are a real plus for sailboats as we are almost invisible on radar. Under the COLREGS sailboats have almost unlimited privilege. The powered vessels have to stay out of our way. In the old days ships frequently had to be in visual range to see a sailboat. This resulted in lots of close calls. Now they know we are here way out. It is fun to watch them tweek their heading a degree or two to give us a one nautical mile closest point of approach. One nautical mile seems to be the courtesy distance. They are a real safety boost.

But, as usual, I digress.

An unanticipated benefit of AIS is that it can be a passive way for friends and family to keep track of your location. Several companies have taken the strategy introduced (I think) by Wunderground for weather. They are seeding the world with shore mounted AIS receivers attached to the Internet as Wunderground did with weather receivers. Sail into the vicinity of one of these receivers and the boat's location is reported. Very nice.

The problems unfortunately are two. There are no receivers in the open ocean**. If you sail like I do you can disappear for days. And if you visit fun places like South Buru, Indonesia there are no AIS receivers either. Fortunately there is a way to overcome this limitation - at least with the provider Marine Traffic (http://marinetraffic.com) you can email position reports keeping your friends, enemies, and creditors up to date.

I am participating in the Wonderful Sail 2 Indonesia rally. There are about sixty boats. On a whim I upgraded in Marine Traffic so I could keep track of all sixty. (I think 5 are free.) The results were enlightening. Of all the boats in the rally only Reboot shows in South Buru. The other twenty I can see visually and on my multifunction display are somewhere else. Reboot is only here because I filed an email position report as there is no AIS receiver here. The rest are spread out from Horn/Thursday Island Australia to wherever they happened to pass a receiver (e.g. Some but not all the boats triggered the receiver in the Banda Island group.) So perhaps not so useful for keeping friends informed unless you fill in the reception blanks.*** But fun none the less.

Fair winds and following seas :)

* Due to power and antenna height differences.

** AIS reception by satellite works with limitations. To my knowledge no one provides AIS satellite tracking on the Internet for free. Also, I think some cruise ships echo the received data from their AIS to the Internet. Reboot's position has popped up from time to time when passed by a cruise ship in the Caribbean.

*** If you sail in highly populated areas like the United States you will get an almost continuous track.

Posted at anchor, South Buru Indonesia

Passage: Banda to South Buru

Just finished the passage from the Banda Islands to South Buru, Indonesia. It was a two day downwind trip in light air that left me both annoyed and frustrated. A few observations:

1. Even gentle seas (less than three feet) with waves abaft the beam can set up a rolling motion that "snaps" the sails. The motion creates a wind that collapses the sail on each roll. This results in a "snap" as the sail fills on the reverse roll. Not only does this beat up the sail but it slows the boat down. The closer to dead down the worse the effect.
2. Solo sailing places constraints that can be very frustrating. When "Harmonic" blew past me with their asymmetric spinnaker I rued my lack of crew. I have a beautiful asymmetric in a sail bag on my bunk. It is difficult but not impossible to rig with two, easy with three, suicidal solo!
3. Some sail configurations are more stable than others. Going "dead down" (wind at 150° to 180° relative) gives me a choice. I can sail on just the main or just the jib as the main blankets the jib. The advantage of the main is it "snaps" less in light wind. The disadvantage is that it introduces more weather helm. Since this requires more rudder angle to counter it slows the already slow boat down. Also as the wind puffs the heading shifts to windward faster than the autopilot can react. This can result in a continuous veer that needs to be countered. Downwind on jib alone Reboot is very stable on both electronic autopilot and Monitor™ vane steering. The downside as noted above is sail snap in light wind.
4. Overcoming bad experiences is sometimes necessary. With my roller furling jib it is easy to adjust for wind speed changes. With my traditional main raising, lowering, and reefing are not only more difficult but more time consuming. I have been caught out more than once with too much main in a squall or sudden wind change. The same thing has happened using the whisker pole solo. But that does not mean that one can ignore using the correct sail configurations.
5. Everything is a sail. That includes the sail bag on the boom. Particularly with very heavy cruising sails it is pretty big. I call it my 4th reef and actually use it as part of the sail configuration.

The trip:
Left Banda motoring to get out of the channel. Raised the main and made good progress until I got tired of managing the veer. Dropped the main for the jib. Made decent progress until the wind died. Motored for a while in light wind and occasional rain. I hate motoring! Back to the jib. Falling behind as other Wonderful Sail 2 Indonesia boats catch up and pass me. Feel stupid and frustrated. Making about 2.5 knots in 9 knots relative wind from 150 relative. Say to myself: "She can go much faster in this wind. We never were this bad when we raced her." Bite the bullet. Raise the main. Start to veer but doing a little better. Start easing out the jib. At about 50% of "J" it all comes together. She stands up and takes off at 5.5 to 6 knots. Weather helm drops. Roll reduces. Wow! I wish I had remembered this configuration 24 hours ago!

P.S. Of course this means we will arrive in the middle of the night to a new harbor. And we do at 3 a.m. Fortunately with a full moon and radar. As the Aussies say: "no drama." I have of course been very sleepy so I made coffee about an hour before arriving . Drop the hook. Wired. Can't sleep. The joys of cruising.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Anchored

Hook down for the night East end Singapore Strait.