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3-30-18-First Real Test of Man Machine
By Guy S Jones
Posted on 12/30/2018 2:37 PM

From: Guy Jones <>

Sent: Friday, March 30, 2018 10:31:18 PM

Subject: The First Real Test on Man and Machine


Hi All


Well, another day another island in the South Pacific but this time, at least for me and Footloose it will be a test of equipment as well as seamanship. We depart Santa Cruz tomorrow with our destination being Marquesas at 1200 hours local time. The passage as the crow flies will be 2980 nm but by the time we get there it might well be 3300 nm.


This passage will bring into play issues of fuel and water management and wear in a way that I have never even considered before. If you assume that Footloose as I have noted can cover about 160 miles a day, then the passage will take approximately 21 days.


From an informational perspective, we carry 244 gallons of water which if we assume four people at 5 gallons per day, we have enough water for 13 days or 60% of the passage. Fresh fruits and vegetables will last about 2-3 weeks and we must carry these as well as the stables with us as there is not a Whole Foods between Galapagos and Marquesas, as of yet. However, rumor has it that Amazon is currently evaluating various properties alone the route. Finally, as I have mentioned previously mentioned, imagine total strangers, ok only one total stranger being in a space how big, 45’ by 14’ by 7’ for 21 days with 90 degree temperatures and 90 percent humidity . While the logistics from a personal perspective maybe challenging the real hurdle is what, weather?


No. Fatigue.


We operate as two teams or watches. Emitt and Paul are a watch and Don and myself are a watch. Every boat has different watch schedules based on a number of issues but our schedule is six hours on and as many off. While this may seem civil, being off does not mean that you will not be awaken in the event that the task requires “all hands” and it does happen. Next you have to sleep during daylight hours and night time hours as well and the platform you are trying to sleep on is always moving up and down and from port to starboard. Moreover while you are off watch, there are task that need to be performed such as housekeeping, making water and meals, hygiene, communications, evaluation of weather reports and routing and lets not forget mending the boat.  Fatigue is the largest concern for passage making crews and this is the first of three extended legs (>3000 nm) that we will encounter during our circumnavigation.


Well, Tuesday was suppose to be a lay day correct? Well it was not. Our rigging inspection disclosed a damaged top foil section on the forestay and a severe chaff situation on the genoa halyard. This was in the area of the deflector and we quickly determined that the deflector plate was the cause of the chaffed halyard. With regard to the top foil section, it appears we may have inadvertently wrapped the topping lift in the furl of the yankee which caused the foil damage. There was a great deal of discussion on that issue to be sure.


After much discussion about both issues and a call to Phip at Rig Pro, we determined a plan of attack on both fronts. With regard to the foil, we would remove about three inches of the top foil and insert a new plastic cover that we had as a spare. This process required Paul (last photo) to go up the mast for about three hours so that he using a hack saw could cot off about three inches of the foil. He had to be careful that he did not cut into the forestay. With this done the next step was to place the two part plastic cover in the foil and at that point drill two pilot holes so that we could secure the foil to the plastic cover with stainless steel screws. At ground level this a moderately simple task at ground level but at 57’ above the deck with 10-15 breeze and water taxis creating wakes, this was no walk in the park. Finally we place black gorilla tape over the cap and around the foil and that was done. If you blow up the first picture you will see me in my role as it relates to these repairs.


The next task was the genoa halyard. Although a diverter was installed 3 months earlier to prevent entanglement and chaff, the diverter box itself was causing the chaff. We purchased a large U shackle and the intent was to install the shackle on the diverter on the leading edge of the mast. However the pin of the shackle would not fit in the holes on the diverter.  Therefore, Paul reversed the shackle and lead the halyard through the shackle with the halyard resting on the pin of the shackle. Obviously, this was a “field” fix and we would fix it properly at a later date. Three hours later, Paul was once again back on the deck of Footloose. He had bruise marks on his chest and inner thighs and headed straight for the showers and bed, he was done. The joke among the fleet was that I hired Canadians to do the hard work because they are cheap. I have two Canadians on this leg and both are exceptional crew members. Oh by the way, this was Paul’s second day on the boat. A great way to welcome him to Footloose and Blue Water Sailing.


After that, we were done and the only scheduled task was our traditional ‘last supper” where I take the crew to a very nice eatery for dinner and Finch Bay met the requirements to the “T”. We even expanded the quest list, for the first time ever to include another boat in the fleet, Ice Bear and her three person crew.


A great time was had by all.


As of all of us went to bed that evening we knew that tomorrow, at 12:00 noon would be the start of the longest passage any of us had ever undertaken and we had no idea what awaited each one of us.


The next installment. Day 1


Fair Winds



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