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Kite NA’s & Welcome to the Game, SDYC

Wed, 2014-10-08 22:02

SOME LIKE IT HOT.

It’s all happening in front of the Hotel Del. And remember, “Nobody’s perfect.”

That’s a set piece, son. Billy Wilder would have been happy to explain.

SAN DIEGO – Consistent breezes allowed for the completion of seven races on the second day of the 2014 Kiteboard North American Championships. With winds averaging about eight to nine kts, the Kiteboard class was finally able to get out on the water and onto the race course. During the day, the Kiteboard class finished a total of four races, while the Kitefoil class completed three more races for a total of five overall.

Though the winds may have improved, competitors found that most of the challenge was coming from underwater. A contestant in both fleets, Nico Landauer explains that although the kelp and weeds in the water were tough for Kitefoilers, it was far more brutal for Kiteboarders. “You are lower down so it just gets tangled up in your legs,” Landauer said of the board fleet. In fact, navigating around the kelp turned out to not only be a challenge, but became a prominent factor in who ended up as the scoreboard leaders. “The key is to stay in pressure, but clear of kelp. Whoever did that won the race,” Landauer said.

It would appear that ambition pays off, with the three pack leaders that have emerged after the second day of racing each competing in both fleets. Currently sitting in first place for the Kitefoil class and second place for the Kiteboard class is French kiter Julien Kerneur. Only one point separates Kerneur from Oliver Bridge, the current leader of the Kiteboard class and forth place position in the Kitefoil class. The third scoreboard leader is Nico Landauer, currently sitting in third place for Kiteboards and second place for Kitefoils. Rounding out the top three positions for the Kitefoil class is Bryan Lake.

With four races completed in each fleet, the competition is officially considered a regatta according to the racing rules. The Kitefoil class became eligible for a throw out score at the completion of the fifth race, and the Kiteboard class needs one more completed race to toss their worst score.

Results will be updated at Kiteboard NAs and depending on weather, Thursday’s racing is scheduled to begin at 12:00 PM. Spectators will be able to watch the competition from Coronado Beach. The racing will take place in the ocean, right in front of Avenida de las Arenas.

Preparing for the Indian Ocean

Wed, 2014-10-08 19:14

Jamie and I co-author the cruising column for 48° North, a Pacific Northwest regional boating magazine. He lead on this piece for their for October issue, with ruminations about what lies ahead for us with a big year coming. The complete magazine is free on newstands around the Salish Sea, and available online wherever you are.

Transition then Monsoon

Southwest monsoon season is active here in the Malacca Straits. Intense squalls with cold, biting rain, and streaks of lightning that are always too close divide the day’s oppressive heat. It is extreme weather – eerily calm, blindingly bright or catastrophically loud. Local fishermen live the pattern of these conditions, in rickety open boats.

Transitions between monsoon seasons are less predictable. Last year in southern Phuket Thailand a strong southeasterly surprised many sailors, leaving 40 boats firmly planted on the beach. Wind from the southeast, outrageous! What’s next- westerly winds?

It’s easy to fall into patterns that fit the season. Whether calm anchorages with good Thai food just a dinghy ride away or squally nights with a mug of strong coffee, cruising sailors adapt then settle, transition then monsoon. Sailing between regions confuses the pattern. We’re in monsoon season now, but on board Totem it’s all about transition as we gear-up to cross the Indian Ocean.

Ocean crossing preparations feel different this time compared our Pacific transit in 2010. The Pacific Ocean has a familiarity about it; partly from living along its eastern reaches, and partly from reading so many tales of the South Seas. Think of the Pacific and words like tropical, paradise, tranquil, pristine, exotic, and freedom come to mind. Even the island names sound enticing: Fakarava, Huahine, Naviti.

Think of sailing the Indian Ocean and piracy, rough weather and one missing jumbo jet come to mind. Many blue water sailors that press on to reach the western Pacific don’t continue beyond. The Pacific may have many more islands and a very peaceful sounding name, but it’s also more than double the Indian’s size and it’s not always so serene. Perhaps if early traders and explorers dubbed it Harmony Ocean, instead of referencing the Indian subcontinent, this stretch of water between Australia and Asia it wouldn’t intimidate sailors as much.

Reputation has a funny way of fooling us into believing without really knowing; but hearsay isn’t personal. If we’ve only learned one grain of wisdom while traveling it’s that you need to experience a place for yourself to begin to know it. Our favorite anchorage may be another cruisers worst place ever. Papua New Guinea has a terrible reputation as a sailing destination due to violent crime. After much hard research and trepidation, we sailed a safe path through beauty and ancient lifestyles to have an experience that was great beyond words.

The Indian Ocean does have its tragedies – Somali pirates around the horn of Africa and mountainous seas. The Red Sea route is clearly not a safe option so we’ll avoid the region. Consequently, the region of mountainous seas is not avoidable, but dramatic sea conditions are generally seasonal or predictable. So instead of focusing on Indian Ocean maladies, we’re looking forward to the Maldives – along with a small but growing number of cruisers rediscovering a host beautiful places.

Eliminating Somalia and the Red Sea, there are two routes to South Africa. The southern route begins in Indonesia’s Sunda Strait, in sight of Anak Krakatau (child of Krakatoa) born from the massive eruption of in 1883. From there it’s a relatively short 600 mile trip to Cocos-Keeling, visited by Joshua Slocum in 1897. The next leg is the longest at 2,300 miles to the islands east of Madagascar: Rodrigues, Mauritius, and Reunion. Each island has unique biodiversity, and cultural influences from African, Arab, Asian, and European traders and explorers.

Totem will take the northern route, which offers more stops along the way. From western Malaysia, the first is either India’s Andaman Islands, just 400 miles away, or Sri Lanka at about 1,100 miles. The Andamans look beautiful, but we’re put off by restrictive visa requirements and reports of better marine life elsewhere. In Sri Lanka, we hope to be one of the few yachts to visit the northeast port of Trincomalee since the end of the 25 year long civil war. Then westward 700 miles to the smallest country in Asia, Republic of Maldives, whose highest point of land is just eight feet above sea level. South 600 miles are the coral islands of Chagos, home to the largest marine reserve in the world. Underwater life is simply spectacular, or so goes the reputation –we’ll see! From there, we would love to visit the Seychelles, if piracy remains we’ll clear of the area; then south to Mayotte, Comoros, and Madagascar.

Visa requirements, adding pages to our well-stamped passports, endless boat maintenance, crew maintenance, and safety drills outline a simplified version of tasks during this transition from coastal to ocean sailing. We recently hired diesel mechanics for a 5,000 engine service – preventative maintenance. As we suspected, water pumps, start motor, and heat exchanger were in need of professional help. Unfortunately, there was very minor mistake made that led to a series of overheating events. Preventative maintenance became repairs required, due to a blown head gasket. Frustrating yes, and also educational and fun working with two upbeat Malaysian speaking mechanics that answered every one of my questions with “ok, ok, ok” (said very quickly).

Preparation is tiring in the tropics. As the sky blooms with the setting sun, challenges of the day fade. We look west to the places we’ll soon visit, and wonder. Will we swim with as many sharks in Chagos as in the Cook Islands? Will Madagascar have a bartering culture like Papua New Guinea? Have the French-subsidized baguettes and brie pad our waistlines in Mayotte as they did in French Polynesia? A few friends that are now crossing the Indian Ocean now are reporting better coral and more fish than they saw in the Pacific. In the last few months we’ve shared sunsets with veteran Indian Ocean sailors, South Africans mostly, waxing on with nostalgia of the beautiful anchorages and people along the way. It feeds our dreams, while reminding us of crossing the Pacific: tropical, paradise, tranquil, pristine, exotic, and free.

The engine is fixed. The rat problem is no more. The life raft is certified. And we can’t wait for the next monsoon season!

Well seasoned followers know we love it when you read this on the Sailfeed website.

ALBERT’S NEW BOAT: OPO Makes a Difference in Dominica

Wed, 2014-10-08 16:37

Hank Schmitt of Offshore Passage Opportunities first met Albert the first time he pulled into Dominica while sailing the West Indies several years back. He was the very first islander Hank met, so he took him on as his “boat boy,” though of course Albert is no boy, being all of 47 years old with three grown kids. “What struck me was how Albert was like any dad,” says Hank. “His kids are in nursing school and high school, and his oldest is working in the construction business, but they would come down to the docks and Albert would empty his pockets to give them money almost as fast as he was making it. Just like any other struggling family man.”

Hank visited Dominica regularly, and when he learned Albert’s daughter in nursing school needed a new computer, he handed Albert an old one he was replacing. When he learned how Albert spent the off-season fishing offshore in his rickety old wooden boat-boy skiff, which had definitely seen better days, Hank, a former offshore fisherman himself, decided he needed to help Albert get a better ride.

So Hank made a pitch to the membership of OPO, the biggest crew networking service in North America, and eventually raised $6,000 from 40 donors, one of whom, an “angel donor,” contributed about half the total. Hank bought materials for building a new boat through his Lewis Marine Supply account at a nice discount, managed to get it all down to Dominica and through customs (after kicking in an extra $2,000 himself), and then helped push the project through the last humps of the boat’s construction.

“Dominican men are the same as all men everywhere,” explains Hank. “They didn’t read the instructions and screwed up on the hardener, so I sent some more money this past spring so they could finish up.”

This past summer, at last, Albert’s new boat got splashed. Albert can fish offshore more safely during the summer and can also provide better service during the cruising season. Be sure to look for him if you spend any time at Portsmouth on Dominica this winter!

Meanwhile, I’m getting ready to head down to Annapolis for the show. Look for an update on that post haste.

ALBERT’S NEW BOAT: OPO Makes a Difference in Dominica

Wed, 2014-10-08 16:37

Hank Schmitt of Offshore Passage Opportunities first met Albert the first time he pulled into Dominica while sailing the West Indies several years back. He was the very first islander Hank met, so he took him on as his “boat boy,” though of course Albert is no boy, being all of 47 years old with three grown kids. “What struck me was how Albert was like any dad,” says Hank. “His kids are in nursing school and high school, and his oldest is working in the construction business, but they would come down to the docks and Albert would empty his pockets to give them money almost as fast as he was making it. Just like any other struggling family man.”

Hank visited Dominica regularly, and when he learned Albert’s daughter in nursing school needed a new computer, he handed Albert an old one he was replacing. When he learned how Albert spent the off-season fishing offshore in his rickety old wooden boat-boy skiff, which had definitely seen better days, Hank, a former offshore fisherman himself, decided he needed to help Albert get a better ride.

So Hank made a pitch to the membership of OPO, the biggest crew networking service in North America, and eventually raised $6,000 from 40 donors, one of whom, an “angel donor,” contributed about half the total. Hank bought materials for building a new boat through his Lewis Marine Supply account at a nice discount, managed to get it all down to Dominica and through customs (after kicking in an extra $2,000 himself), and then helped push the project through the last humps of the boat’s construction.

“Dominican men are the same as all men everywhere,” explains Hank. “They didn’t read the instructions and screwed up on the hardener, so I sent some more money this past spring so they could finish up.”

This past summer, at last, Albert’s new boat got splashed. Albert can fish offshore more safely during the summer and can also provide better service during the cruising season. Be sure to look for him if you spend any time at Portsmouth on Dominica this winter!

Meanwhile, I’m getting ready to head down to Annapolis for the show. Look for an update on that post haste.

The Volvo Race Adds Cool

Wed, 2014-10-08 12:50

By my definition, given the challenges to the ocean and its creatures, this is cool—

Volvo Ocean Race’s new official game has not even started yet but 28,000 players of it have already chalked up a big win by raising more than €15,000 to help a creature close to every sailor’s heart, the albatross.

The organisers, Virtual Regatta, launched a five-day, dry-run Leg 0 game last month to whet the appetites of players around the world for the game proper, which kicks off on Saturday with the first leg from Alicante to Cape Town.

More than 28,000 players took part and the €15,254 raised is being presented to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Birds (RSPB) for its Save the Albatross campaign.

The albatross is hugely important to sailors who traditionally believe the souls of dead seamen and women take the form of the sea-bird.

Unfortunately, longline fishing has threatened the albatross’s survival and the donation – plus another €15,000 being donated by the Volvo Ocean Race itself – will boost the RSPB’s campaign.

An albatross called Wisdom is the symbol and mascot of the world’s leading offshore race.

“We’re delighted to help in this way,” said delighted Virtual Regatta’s CEO, Philippe Guigne.

“Entries for the Volvo Ocean Race game itself are already flooding in. We have more than 30,000 already – it looks really positive.”

Players will follow the route of the real boats and face the kind of tactical challenges the team skippers will need to confront such as when to alter direction and when to change sails.

There’s also one other aspect the game will have in common with the real thing: “Our players have been known to set their alarms every four hours so they don’t slip behind in the race,” says Guigne. “They’re going to need stamina!”

Players can keep track of their progress over the nine months online and also via a regular digital video show.

Leg 1 begins at 1400 CEST (1200 GT) from Alicante on Saturday. The race covers 38,739 nautical miles and visits 11 ports in all including a pit-stop in The Hague.

Follow Me, SAILfeed Readers

Wed, 2014-10-08 02:23

As you know, the fine crew of Papillon is currently living ashore. Yes, we’re still firmly tropical on a tiny island in Papua New Guinea, but still. We are temporarily parted from our beloved yawl – and this on our fourth anniversary aboard. Sniffles all around.

For the duration of our sabbatical-from-our-sabbatical, the blog will not be syndicated on SAILfeed. This makes sense, because we are not sailing. So, dear SAILfeed readers, you will have to bookmark the original Sailing Papillon if you would like to keep up with our adventures. Otherwise, I’ll be back on SAILfeed circa April with cruising stories galore. (But, really, you don’t want to wait that long for me to come back. Better just to keep reading. Off you go, now.)

See you there.

Podcast: Desert Island Books, with NPR’s Scott Neuman

Mon, 2014-10-06 23:05

NPR’s Scott Neuman chats with Andy about their favorite books that they’d bring along to a desert island or on a long offshore passage. They get going discussing some classic sailing books, then venture into fiction and nonfiction. If you’re looking for something new to read, take notes! Thanks to Scott for inspiring this podcast!

US Match Racing Championship to Nate Hollerbach

Mon, 2014-10-06 11:20

Story and photos by Kimball Livingston Posted October 5, 2014

Taking a deep breath after winning his second US Match Racing Championship, Nathan Hollerbach allowed, “Going five races deep against Dave Dellenbaugh in the Final was stressful, I won’t kid you. This was the most competitive match racing I’ve ever had.”

With courses set along the San Francisco cityfront, under the windows of host St. Francis Yacht Club, the windward-leeward legs were either with or against currents that topped two knots in all three days of racing. Ebb currents were especially taxing because weather mark roundings compressed the distance between boats, and the counter-current extended time on the leg. “Racing downwind against the current was just exhausting,” Hollerbach said. “In that, you have to stay calm and not be your own worst enemy when you see the other guy catch a puff. I swear, this took a few years off my life.”

As high points skipper after two round robins, Hollerbach had his choice of opponents for the SemiFinals. He took local Russ Silvestri (“We knew he was fast; he knows the place and he knows the boats”) and quickly fell behind, 1-2, in a first-to-three contest. He had to come back from that along with his team of Taylor Canfield, Mike Rehe and Maggie Shea. He did, and they did. “They were tough,” Hollerbach said. Then in the Finals the Hollerbach team fell behind 1-2 to Dellenbaugh, who was one race win away from what would have been his fourth championship title, 30 years after winning his first.

Dellenbaugh slips inside Hollerbach’s line on an upwind leg of the round robins

That was not to be, but Dellenbaugh called this, “Perhaps the best day of match racing I’ve ever had. Something like 90 percent of the time, the boats were a length apart or less.”
October being a transition time in the San Francisco Bay seabreeze—and with a high pressure system driving offshore flow over the region—there were delays waiting for wind on Friday and Saturday, but superb conditions for playing the game when the time came. Often that meant 9-10 knots over flat water, in matched J/22s. On Sunday, the fog and the breeze were already in at sun-up, and it was game on.

Through the Round Robins, much of the tightest racing was the Battle of the Daves, Dave Dellenbaugh versus Dave Perry, both of Pequot Yacht Club in Southport, CT. Is it something in the water?
In the Petit-Finals, Silvestri, representing the host club, went 2-1 to win against Perry, four times the US Match Racing Champion. A Dellenbaugh win would have tied him, so the outcome was his consolation.

Only a few years ago the St. Francis Yacht Club made a commitment to build a fleet of boats for match racing and team racing. Yes, it’s a big “ka-ching” in the pocketbook, but the payoffs are huge.

Fog edged the course for the final morning of racing, and put on a show in the evening.

I’m Tired of Finding Plastic on the Beach

Sun, 2014-10-05 17:23
 

Imagine a desert island. Ocean breezes blowing, palm trees swaying, perhaps some decorative coconuts strewn about the place. Just you, your beach chair, the waves lapping your toes, and the gentle clink of plastic bottles washing up on shore.

Not quite what you pictured? After four years aboard, I am sorry to say that this is reality. Every windward beach has plastic. Unless someone works every day to clean it, flip flops and plastic bottles are the order of the day. Everywhere. And I am sick of it.

The girls and I went on a beach walk with some on their friends last week. The kids found shells, played in the water, watched hermit crabs, and generally enjoyed themselves on a fine spring morning.

Most of the time, my eyes were out to sea. I still find it disconcerting to see a freighter go by without a) the horizon moving gently up and down, and b) needing to determine whether we are on a collision course with said vessel. But as we came around to the windward side of the island, I tore my eyes away from the ocean and made the mistake of looking inland.

Look at that. Plastic bottle, plastic bottle, shoe, plastic bottle. A layer of plastic at the high-water mark. This is not a all local garbage – much of the plastic has blown in over the years from who-knows-where.

Nor is this a local phenomenon. Before we sailed through the Panama Canal, the girls and I went for a walk on the huge breakwater outside Colon. And what did we find? Drifts of plastic bottles and flip flops.

“But wait,” you say, “the Panama Canal one of the busiest corridors in the world. Surely that isn’t representative.”

Fine. Let’s take a look at Raraka, one of the atolls in the Tuamotus. It has no airport. It is serviced by a cargo ship once every two weeks. Its population is tiny. And it is in the middle of nowhere.
About as mid-Pacific as it gets.

One day, we went on a snorkelling expedition with our friend who lives in Raraka. We were many miles from the village, in a part of the atoll too far away to be accessible to fishermen. In other words, we were on a wild, essentially human-free speck in the middle of the Pacific ocean.

And what was the first thing we did? We collected plastic.

Bottles, flip flops, bottle caps, shredded nets, half-degraded fragments the size of my fingernail. We snorkelled, we collected plastic on the beach, we snorkelled, we collected plastic on another beach. And so on all day.

I don’t think I need to start moralizing here. Do you really need to see another picture of a turtle trying to eat a plastic bag, mistaking it for a jellyfish? Doubtful. Just consider this a friendly reminder that your plastic doesn’t just end up in a landfill. It blows away. It drifts. And it ends up on a windward beach.

We can do better.

What’s Up Hydroptere?

Sun, 2014-10-05 14:49

No announcements, teasers only, but Alain Thébault has secured financing from Finesse Solutios, a bio-tech company for an attempt at “another nautical record.”

Thébault’s hydrofoiler, Hydroptere, has been on the hard in Long Beach, California since 2013 and an abandoned plan to take a shot that year at a California-Hawaii record.

Details soon?

Hydroptere caused quite a stir during a visit to San Francisco Bay . . .

MFD and AIS anomalies, be careful out there

Sun, 2014-10-05 13:00

Written by Ben Ellison on Oct 5, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Consider this is a portrait of a deeply experienced boat guy who still remains skeptical about the wonders of modern marine electronics. Lord knows I tried, but gremlins sabotaged my efforts from the moment when my old friend Joe McCarty arrived in Rockland, Maine, for the trip to Baltimore. I was using the Garmin Helm app on my iPad mini to watch the tank gauge as I squatted on the deck pumping diesel fuel and Joe just had time enough to say, “Well, that is cool!” when the digitized tank reading plunged from 85% to 20% and stayed stuck there even as we topped off using the old-fashioned method of listening to the changing vent gurgles…

Though expressed electronically, the tank problem was actually a mechanical one, and the floating sender that had apparently been jammed down by the high volume diesel fill freed itself at some point that night, probably when Gizmo whacked a particularly sharp wave. But during the following ten days and 741 miles, we experienced several pure and truly peculiar electronics anomalies.

We learned, for instance, that the two Simrad NSS evo2 displays can sometimes confidently misidentify AIS targets. I didn’t get any images of the problem underway, but was able to find a good example here in Baltimore Harbor. The Garmin 741xs and Simrad NSS7 evo2 screens above both show lists of AIS targets sorted by distance and thus, the lists are essentially the same. Except that David M Krause is the real name of the tug tied up next to the Austin Krause across the harbor and “Onal G. McAllister” is definitely not!

If you compare the NSS7 details of the “Onal G McAllister” with the Marine Traffic David M Krause listing you’ll see that the MMSI, Callsign, etc. above are for the Krause, just like every other AIS display on Gizmo was reporting. And further sleuthing revealed that there is a Baltimore tug listed as the Donal G McAllister with entirely different details except that its Destination is “BALTIMORE” not “ALTIMORE”…

And it turns out that the anomaly is repeatable, sort of. I’ve rebooted all the systems three times now, and while the NSS evo2 MFDs seem to display some fifty AIS targets fine, they always misidentify the David M Krause, using the name and destination of some other current target with the first letter dropped off. Right now the still tied-up D Krause is listed as the “Aple Hill” with the Destination “S Bal” while the real Maple Hill (destination “US Bal”) is underway 4 miles away. Obviously this strange glitch could lead to some confused boat-to-boat communications.

Incidentally, the NSS displays are getting AIS over NMEA 2000 from the Simrad RS35 VHF I’m testing, while the Garmin and other systems are getting it over a separate N2K network from the Vesper XB8000 AIS transponder also being tested. So maybe the RS35 is the problem here, but darned if it doesn’t display the David M Krause perfectly well on its display and wireless handset. I could switch AIS feeds to further troubleshoot this issue, but maybe Simrad is already fixing it and besides, I have bigger anomalies to deal with…

For instance, the two Garmin MFDs being tested both lost all their built-in charts! The screen above is the best view the 741xs can show of Gizmo at that same (wonderful) Anchorage Marina slip seen on the Marine Traffic screen. I can live with the fact that Garmin (and other manufacturers) insist on tagging nearby AIS targets as dangerous, even though we’re all tied up on the same dock and I’ve turned AIS alarming to the absolute minimum, but losing the charts would be a serious problem if I didn’t have other chartplotters at hand. However, it is possibly the strangest MFD update issue I’ve ever encountered, and I believe Garmin’s claim that they’ve never seen it before either…

The problem obviously started when I updated the Garmin 741 and 8212 MFDs in early September, though I had no clue. The update was at least a month old — a strong indication that it hadn’t caused problems on other boats — and everything seemed to run fine until Joe and I found ourselves motoring off the charts halfway across the Gulf of Maine in the middle of the night. When I did the updates, an old G2 Vision card for Southern Maine was in one of the 741’s slots and we were using those charts over the Garmin network until we left the region, so only then did we realize that the MFDs had perversely decided that their built-in charts are that same South Maine v12 region, as seen above.

And aren’t they stubborn about it. I still don’t know if the vast portfolios of U.S. and Bahamas charts that came built into both machines are still there, but I do know that Factory Resets and reapplied software updates, old and new, didn’t make them accessible. The Garmin engineering team want to swap the MFDs out so they can investigate the problem, but I asked to try a less aggressive fix first. However, the US Marine Detail Update they sent won’t work on these machines, which stubbornly reply, “This update is not compatible with the built-in chart.” So, holy cow, it appears that a weird update glitch can wipe out all the built-in charts on an MFD network, which can only be fixed with a hardware swap. It may have only happened to me (and who better?), but if the latest hardware and software from Garmin can do this even once, I’d guess that any of the modern highly complex MFD systems are capable of very strange behavior, particularly after an update.

The Raymarine system that’s part of the glass bridge testing program wasn’t trouble-free either, though I failed to capture good illustrations. I updated this system, too, and we were happy to use the new auto routing available with Navionics chart cards (to be discussed in detail, and hopefully compared to Garmin auto routing, eventually). But somehow the IR and regular camera apps got mixed up. I accept some responsibility, as I switched the video inputs on the gS125 at some point, but it got so I didn’t know whether I’d get the FLIR thermal cam (very helpful during the delivery) or the Ray100 rearview cam when I invoked either app. The fix was to rebuild every favorite page that had either app window in it, but then I found that some of those favorite page icons vanished from the networked a77 (which doesn’t have an analog video input and doesn’t support the IR app). The a77 had a home page with holes in it that couldn’t be filled with the normal Customize/Homescreen/Edit Pages command. I thought I’d captured the odd homescreen before I did the reset that’s shown above and which wiped out all the existing favorite screens I’d created.

Toward the end of the delivery, the Raymarine ethernet networking started acting up. One morning the flybridge keypad wouldn’t work while the next morning (or reboot) it would work fine, but the radar wouldn’t come up or the two MFDs wouldn’t share charts. Now this could definitely be more of a yours-truly install issue than a Raymarine glitch, but that didn’t matter to Joe, who by this time would begin his watch with the taunt, “So what’s working today, Benny?”

He wasn’t the only one. I also got emails wondering why Gizmo seemed to motoring backwards on Marine Traffic. When I first tried the Vesper XB8000 AIS transponder on the water, I reported a reversed boat icon heading problem seen in Coastal Explorer using the Vesper’s USB data output. It was an especially odd problem because the Vesper was also outputting the correct heading it was receiving from the N2K network and I fixed the icon issue in CE by giving Heading Sensor a higher priority than AIS Heading (thanks to CE tech support). To my knowledge no other vessel has seen Gizmo’s AIS target backward and I never saw that on Marine Traffic until this trip. But I took that screenshot above as we headed west toward New York City on 9/11, after visiting Lloyd, Huntington, and Northport harbors going backwards as tracked on MT! Gizmo’s MT track looks OK now, though that too is mysterious as I haven’t changed anything about the Vesper install.

Meanwhile, the trip also confirmed that the Vesper XB8000 — wonderful as it is at distributing AIS and other data via NMEA 2000, USB and WiFi — is not good about joining an N2K network when it’s been on for a while and suddenly the 2000 network comes alive. I saw a bit of this in that earlier lab testing — plus a definite incompatibility with the Garmin network that was fixed in a Garmin update — but we found we had to reboot the Vesper at least half the time we started up the nav systems or the Garmin, Raymarine, and Furuno gear on the same network wouldn’t know it was there. Vesper has a software update available and I guess I should try it.

I have one last anomaly, and it took place as we entered Lloyd Harbor just before dark after blasting down Long Island Sound (fuel efficiently). We knew that half that harbor is too shallow for Gizmo to anchor and the Simrad NSS evo2 had told us that there was almost 6 more feet of tide to fall. So we were pretty confused when we quickly found ourselves in about 7 feet and I wouldn’t have dropped the hook except that we were right behind a large vessel on a mooring. It was only at rest that we noticed how whacky the NSS sunrise and sunset time predictions were (even though the current time was correctly shown) and used another tide source to confirm that it was dead low. Beers were enjoyed, and I’m pleased to add that I have not been able to duplicate that NSS tide prediction problem since. Apparently it was a fleeting anomaly.

I want to conclude with the fact that I’ve never seen so many significant electronics issues reveal themselves at once and that Gizmo is a highly unusual boat with so many new systems on board. Plus some of the problems may be my fault in ways I don’t understand yet, which I’ll be happy to acknowledge if enlightened. And finally there’s the fact that none of these issues caused us any real trouble. That role was taken by Gizmo’s Lavac toilet, which failed in a way that required a horrendous rebuild. Joe and I have sworn never to reveal the details but it did further confirm my longtime believe that he’s is a master of boat systems. Which is one good reason you might want to charter the fast and handsome Allied 42-foot yawl Furly B that Joe completely rebuilt and maintains. It even has a nice Garmin electronics systems, though it may be updated to the latest software version. The spectacular head failure is also why I immediately purchased five different snake/unclog tools, though I only plan to test them if I have to.

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Ugly weather off the coast of Malaysia

Sun, 2014-10-05 05:16

Well, that was unpleasant.

There are the beautiful days of white sandy beaches and gin-clear water, and then there are the days when you have your ass handed to you by the weather.

We spent just over a week knocking off a list of projects from rig tuning to galvanizing in Penang. It’s probably our last marina stay until we arrive in South Africa, more than a year from now, and some things are just easier to do at a dock when the boat is relatively motionless and the fresh water runs freely. But we were ready to get out and back in our happy place, rocking gently at anchor.

Totem slipped out in the morning from Straits Quay marina, waving goodbye to friends and poking out into the grey. Since we were heading generally north during the monsoon season that brings southwesterly winds, this was supposed to be a mild stretch with light daysails. Checking a few different forecasts made it look a little less pleasant; we’d have moderate headwinds, probably, and rain. But it as nothing worth changing plans for, and we were ready to head north. With a little more breeze, maybe we’d even get some sailing in!

Waterspouts are chilling

Penang was still in sight behind Totem when the squalls started forming. Jamie had hoped for a nap after a late night (fueled by delicious homemade chicken vindaloo brought to the boat by a new friend) and was resting below. The first few cells passed behind us and he might have gotten a nice break if we had more “normal” passing squalls, but that all changed with a waterspout forming and heading right towards Totem. Sorry honey- we need all hands! I wish I had a photograph, but it was a whole lot more important at the time to make sure we were prepared for the worst. While we scrambled, it approached, then wavered, then thankfully dissipated.

And then we lost visibility

Generally, the squalls we have in the area where the gust top out around 40 knots. Nothing to sniff at, but relatively manageable. This time, our sustained winds were in the 40s, and the gusts nearly 60. Not fun. Initially, the rain beat seas down to near flat, and gave us close to whiteout conditions.

Truly unpleasant seas

Later, even the torrential rain couldn’t keep sea state down. With the wind howling, we had a few hours of 4 meter peaks and the occasional pile-up above that. Totem was stowed down below in anticipation of a more typical day along the peninsula, not this kind of weather. The cabin was trashed with books and papers and the odd bit of cookware (that cast iron pan JUST missed my foot). At least the only casualty was our carved Komodo dragon’s tail. It’s not his first dismemberment and is fixed easily enough.

A radar would really help here

We don’t have a radar right now. Ours died about a year and a half ago, possibly the result of a near-lightning strike in the Banda islands. We never had a clear diagnosis since Raymarine refused to service the (still sold at retail) unit because it was “old technology”… so they’re not on the list of vendors for our next radar, which we hope to install before crossing the Indian Ocean.

Radar would have been nice in the low visibility, for sure. There weren’t a lot of other boats around us, and the fishermen all seemed to have wisely chosen to stay at home- unlike pretty much every other day along this coast we weren’t dodging fishing nets. But more importantly, if we’d had a functional radar, we could have seen what was happening with the weather as conditions evolved. Much sooner, we would have realized that this wasn’t just another squall blowing through, this was a bigger system and we had hours of bad weather ahead. We’d almost surely have made a U-turn and gone back to Penang. Even if we we had to anchor outside the marina, we’d have been protected from the worst in the lee of the island.

I thought we just fixed the engine?

When the rain slowed to drizzle and the wind backed off to the 30s and we could hear the engine again. While we were in Penang, Jamie fixed contacts to the engine gauges. They’d been inaccurate (or simply unresponsive) since the 5,000 hour service. They worked in the marina, but just our luck that they stopped working again, so our senses were the only way to guess at RPMs. With conditions mellowing the sounds of the engine made it clear that throttling up did not result in more power. Apparently, our slow speed was due to more than just headwinds and adverse current! When throttled up, the turbo on our Yanmar 4JH3/TE wasn’t kicking on. Speculating it was fuel starved, Jamie checked through the filters. Although our primary racors had been recently replaced (after fuel polishing in Puteri), they were full of crud. Most likely all that sloshing around in the seas had dislodged any bit of grit remaining in the tanks. Swapped, replaced, on again and… still not running. Now the engine is practically hiccuping. We’re bounding around, and I’m just waiting to hear it sputter and stop. This is not a good time to deal with blocked filters.

Jamie replaced the secondary filter, which we can’t see inside, but we speculate must also be gumming up. Engine on again and… normal again, but only briefly. It didn’t take long until the cycling sound of the engine losing power resumed. NOW what? The last line between tanks and engine is the Algae-X. Sure enough, great icky globs of bio gunk are stuck all over inside. Cleaned it out, fired up again, and finally we’re off and running smoothly.

At least there wasn’t lightning

Have I mentioned that this weather was all right on the nose? So much for fair/following in the southwest monsoon. Slow progress had doomed us to an after-dark arrival. We had our old tracks into the maze of channels and islets at the south end of Langkawi, but with the weather continuing to look unpleasant, we wanted to get tucked up safely as quickly as possible. So breaking our rule to avoid anchoring in a new place after dark, we angled up into what looked like a well protected bay and dropped the hook. Not quite 360 protection but well buried inside, we looked forward to a good night’s rest after a celebratory dinner of carbonara – a family favorite.

Unfortunately, even getting way up inside that little bay with all the islets outside to deflect, it was pretty rolly. Not gunwhale to gunwhale, but just enough to make you keep an eye on your drink and watch where something is put down, and plenty to prevent a good night’s sleep. And then- more squalls, in the inky  night, with the moon well hidden in the clouds. For only the second tie in six years, we dragged anchor. Jamie’s stoic: “looks like I’m going to be awake for a while!” And he will, so I get some rest. At least one of us would be functional enough to make coffee in the morning!

At rest

No pretty beach. No turquoise water. But for a while there, I could even forget that our refrigeration had recently broken, and we’d recently entered the ranks of “ice is nice” and had a stash of perishables to cook through before they go bad!

Mostly? I’m grateful for a calm, capable co-captain who truly has an iron stomach. I’m grateful the kids handle rough conditions so well. And I’m thankful to have a boat that is even stronger than we are.

Well fueled boaters know we love it when you read this on the Sailfeed website.

CASCO BAY CRUISE: Little Whaleback Island

Sat, 2014-10-04 13:25

Earlier this summer, while stopping over at the Goslings in northwestern Casco Bay, I noticed there was a small mooring field just off the north end of Little Whaleboat Island. It had never occurred to me to put in there, and I could find nothing about it in any cruising guide, or in my annual Maine Island Trail Association guide (which can be a great resource, by the way, when looking for obscure islands to visit). So of course I was intrigued. Late this past week, as I headed out on what will probably be my last solo overnight on the bay this year, I thought I might as well check it out.

The forecast was not perfectly propitious for such a venture. The moorings (located in the vicinity of the northwestern-most “23” sounding you see just north of the island in that chart down there) are exposed to the north, and the forecast was for a northeast wind of 10-15 knots to make up during the night.

I figured I could cope with that if the moorings seemed strong enough. Worst case, I’d have to bail out and go elsewhere in the middle of the night. So I doodled in under mainsail to scope out the joint. The first two moorings I inspected were light, seemingly intended for small boats, but the third seemed much beefier, so I picked it up and settled in.

Have I mentioned that you can now buy Dark-and-Stormies, with Gosling’s rum and ginger beer, premixed in cans??? It’s a fantastic innovation. The biggest thing since man discovered fire.

Well, I had one of those and then went ashore in the dink.

Sad to report, the island is thoroughly posted with No Trespassing signs, so I limited my exploration to the littoral zone, where I found a perfectly intact horseshoe crab. I used to find these along the shore in Maine fairly frequently when I was kid, but now they seem rare, so I was pretty pumped.

Can anyone tell me: what happened to all the horseshoe crabs? I remember reading somewhere once that they are one of the oldest life-forms on the planet, so I figure they’re pretty tough. They certainly look rugged, don’t they?

I rowed all the way around the island as the sun was setting. An epiphanous mini-voyage. A very beautiful spot.

The island seems to be uninhabited. At least I saw no evidence of any structures on it, though I did notice two campsites right near the shore on the north end. There are four private moorings, which seemed to have been fairly active during the height of the season this past summer. I’m not sure I’d recommend anchoring here, as things looked pretty rocky and weedy around the island, from what I saw during my circumnavigation. Although in Maine you never know–you find good mud in the strangest places.

IN OTHER NEWS: We’ve had further adventures with the new headsails.

En route to Little Whaleback I tried sailing under full main and staysail alone in 10-12 knots. This would have been pointless with the old staysail, but with this one I made 4 knots upwind. Very encouraging! It will be useful for short-tacking out of constricted areas.

Coming back I also had a chance to fly the new yankee jib wing-and-wing on a downwind run without a pole. It seemed no more or less stable than its predecessor, but was easier to jibe.

CASCO BAY CRUISE: Little Whaleback Island

Sat, 2014-10-04 13:25

Earlier this summer, while stopping over at the Goslings in northwestern Casco Bay, I noticed there was a small mooring field just off the north end of Little Whaleboat Island. It had never occurred to me to put in there, and I could find nothing about it in any cruising guide, or in my annual Maine Island Trail Association guide (which can be a great resource, by the way, when looking for obscure islands to visit). So of course I was intrigued. Late this past week, as I headed out on what will probably be my last solo overnight on the bay this year, I thought I might as well check it out.

The forecast was not perfectly propitious for such a venture. The moorings (located in the vicinity of the northwestern-most “23” sounding you see just north of the island in that chart down there) are exposed to the north, and the forecast was for a northeast wind of 10-15 knots to make up during the night.

I figured I could cope with that if the moorings seemed strong enough. Worst case, I’d have to bail out and go elsewhere in the middle of the night. So I doodled in under mainsail to scope out the joint. The first two moorings I inspected were light, seemingly intended for small boats, but the third seemed much beefier, so I picked it up and settled in.

Have I mentioned that you can now buy Dark-and-Stormies, with Gosling’s rum and ginger beer, premixed in cans??? It’s a fantastic innovation. The biggest thing since man discovered fire.

Well, I had one of those and then went ashore in the dink.

Sad to report, the island is thoroughly posted with No Trespassing signs, so I limited my exploration to the littoral zone, where I found a perfectly intact horseshoe crab. I used to find these along the shore in Maine fairly frequently when I was kid, but now they seem rare, so I was pretty pumped.

Can anyone tell me: what happened to all the horseshoe crabs? I remember reading somewhere once that they are one of the oldest life-forms on the planet, so I figure they’re pretty tough. They certainly look rugged, don’t they?

I rowed all the way around the island as the sun was setting. An epiphanous mini-voyage. A very beautiful spot.

The island seems to be uninhabited. At least I saw no evidence of any structures on it, though I did notice two campsites right near the shore on the north end. There are four private moorings, which seemed to have been fairly active during the height of the season this past summer. I’m not sure I’d recommend anchoring here, as things looked pretty rocky and weedy around the island, from what I saw during my circumnavigation. Although in Maine you never know–you find good mud in the strangest places.

IN OTHER NEWS: We’ve had further adventures with the new headsails.

En route to Little Whaleback I tried sailing under full main and staysail alone in 10-12 knots. This would have been pointless with the old staysail, but with this one I made 4 knots upwind. Very encouraging! It will be useful for short-tacking out of constricted areas.

Coming back I also had a chance to fly the new yankee jib wing-and-wing on a downwind run without a pole. It seemed no more or less stable than its predecessor, but was easier to jibe.

American Entry Takes Volvo Opener

Sat, 2014-10-04 12:46

The word from our friends at Alvimedica&#151:

Team Alvimedica has taken first blood in the Volvo Ocean Race, after winning today’s In-Port Race in Alicante.

Charlie Enright and his crew made a good but unspectacular start that placed them in the top half of the seven-boat fleet while a daring port-tack start by Dongfeng Race Team rewarded the Chinese with an early lead.

Enright was happier to take a more conservative approach. “Try to stay out of trouble, that was the aim. We didn’t have the greatest start but we wanted to give ourselves options. The pin end was really favored and we just tried to avoid the clump and give ourselves a chance. We took our times on the maneuvers, tried to keep it simple, and kept on chipping away.”

At the top mark the Chinese held a marginal advantage over Team Vestas Wind and managed to roll over the top of Vestas, forcing Chris Nicholson to jibe away. However Nicholson failed to spot the fast-approaching Team Alvimedica who forced another jibe on the Danish boat.

Meanwhile down the other side of the course Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing had avoided all the traffic and ploughed a lonely but successful path down the right-hand side of the track. This put Ian Walker’s team in front by a healthy margin with Alvimedica avoiding the logjam at the leeward gate marks. “You’ve got to commit to these laylines, and we owned our side of the gate, which gave us a clean exit on the second upwind leg,“ said Enright.

The early leaders from China and Denmark saw their advantage completely slip away as they got caught up in the jam at the bottom of the course, while Abu Dhabi surged away to a nice lead, with Alvimedica just ahead of the marauding pack. At the top of the course on the second lap, Walker again chose the right-hand side of the course to bring him back downwind while in second place, Alvimedica’s tactician Alberto Bolzan opted for the left.

Speaking on the TV commentary, Volvo Ocean Race CEO and former skipper Knut Frostad observed: “The guys on Alvimedica have probably been the most consistent on the race course so far today, sailing the boat really well. They’re just in their 20s or early 30s, but they’re showing real potential for doing well in the Volvo Ocean Race.”

Meanwhile, Bolzan’s tactical choice had proven correct as by the bottom of the course, Alvimedica arrived at the leeward gate neck and neck with Abu Dhabi, Walker’s lead entirely eroded. After splitting up different sides of the course, when they came back together at the final top marks, Alvimedica was ahead of Abu Dhabi. But on the final few hundred meters to the finish, Abu Dhabi went on the assault as they tried to roll over the top of Alvimedica just as they were completing their jibe.

For some heart-stopping moments it looked like Walker and his crew would steal Alvimedica’s wind but the crew wound the handles hard to get the gennaker fully set and pulling again. “We were at risk of being rolled by Abu Dhabi, but we couldn’t have played it much differently,” Enright said. “The boys ripped that sail around real fast, but he had a shot at rolling us, and luckily we got going again just in time. We were kind of lucky that the Spanish weren’t too far away, so Abu Dhabi had someone else to think about too.”

Charlie Enright and crew kept their rivals at bay and charged across the finish line in first place, by six seconds. A stunning victory delighted the crew and surprised some of the more experienced teams in the race. But was Enright surprised? “Surprised that we’re able to do well? Not that much. We’ve had some good practice, the guys have been working really hard on maneuvers, and we’re happy with the win. We haven’t done anything that counts for the overall trophy yet, but it’s a confidence builder, it gives us the feeling that we can do well again.”

Team website: Team Alvimedica

Final results for Alicante In-Port Race
1. Team Alvimedica 14:52:02 – 1pt
2. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing 14:52:07 – 2pts
3. MAPFRE 14:52:27 – 3pts
4. Team Brunel 14:52:48 – 4pts
5. Dongfeng Race Team 14:53:14 – 5pts
6. Team SCA 14:53:51 – 6pts
7. Team Vestas Wind 14:55:24 – 7pts

Podcast: High Adventure Essay

Fri, 2014-10-03 09:04

Andy reads a story called ‘High Adventure’ he wrote in February 2008. He and a friend, Michael, summited the hightes peak in Ireland. They were traveling together after meeting at a TEFL course in Prague.

Understanding engine overheating problems

Thu, 2014-10-02 17:19

Why is the engine overheating? Our Yanmar engine’s shrill alarm was the jarring start to some stressful hours during the last five months, and we asked that question many times. The answer was not one root cause, but more likely a series of related events, as a domino effect of different issues cascaded. I’ve written about the painful side of this before, but less so the final diagnosis and fix, so this is for cruisers like Mark, Lynn & Rick, Gary, and others who reached out and asked to learn from our experience.

It all started when tried to fix something that wasn’t broken. We’ve had great performance from our Yanmar 4JH3/TE, and want to maintain it properly so it continues to serve Totem well. In April, it had a major service (5,000 hour) done while we spent time on Langkawi island, a pretty spot at the far north of Malaysia’s west coast. This was a big line item on the pre-Indian Ocean checklist we’ve been working through as our budget allows.

As part of the service, the heat exchanger was pulled for testing. Because of all the calcification built up on it, the mechanics struggled to get it out and in the process of removal managed to crack it slightly. It was brazed, and pressure testing showed it should be fine, but the end cap seating was affected. We’re pretty sure that the O-ring leaked coolant into the sea water. This was the probably cause for our initial trouble with coolant loss leading to overheating, which forced us to shut down the engine when we least wanted to (in no wind, but plenty of current, at a major port entrance where large cargo ships converged from the shipping lane of the Malacca Straits). Not fun.

What did we do? In the near term, we kept coolant topped up as we made our way south, but rate of loss varied. Still, we heard the overheat buzzer a few more times along the way. At the next opportunity, we had more troubleshooting help from the mechanics who performed the original service- and a lot of support via the internet from various cruising friends and dockside mechanics (thanks to Chris, CJ, Richard, Gary, Colin, Mark, Robert and many others for their thoughtful advice and ideas). Ultimately, the issue appeared to be resolved by getting the end cap properly seated on the heat exchanger again. We spent many hours afterwards running the engine and checking for coolant loss reassure ourselves.

Thinking our engine troubles were over we departed Puteri, somewhat delayed but still hoping to sail east and spend a few months exploring in Borneo and possibly the Philippines as well. Unfortunately, those plans were quickly scuttled. After a full day motoring across Singapore to line up for crossing the South China Sea, weaving through traffic with vessels more than twenty times our size, we ended the day not just with a pretty sunset but with the engine temperature gauge rising to point at red again. Didn’t we just fix this problem? It was pretty frustrating. Sure enough, the coolant level had dropped again.

lots and lots of head scratching over the engine compartement

We topped up lost coolant, limped back to the west side of Johor, and called the mechanics once more. With the heat exchanger fixed, our problem was almost certainly the head gasket. With the head removed, the gasket showed four failure points. Was this caused by the overheating events? We don’t know, but it seems unlikely because it was not cracked or warped. The mechanics said that it’s possible that rust particles from the cooling ports under pressure could have caused or contributed to the gasket fail. This rust occurs when coolant is mixed with water. That’s not something we’ve done; if the prior owner did this, it’s percolated for some time before becoming the serious problem we experienced.

The mechanics we worked with were based in Kuala Lumpur, a half days drive from our location, stretching out the time for repairs. With the head gasket replaced, we were ready to put this episode of engine problems behind us.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of it. Jamie was running the engine while we were in the slip at Puteri Harbour, the oil cooler sprang a leak. In just a few minutes, it put about a liter of oil out through the exhaust: it’s really fortunate that he was right there and paying attention, so the engine was shut down before the oil loss caused a bigger problem. It had been cleaned and tested as part of the 5,000 hour service, so why it failed so soon after is a mystery.

Thankfully, these are all in hindsight now. We’ve motored or motorsailed more than 400 miles back up the Malay peninsula, and the engine has performed flawlessly again. As frustrating as it was to spend months being relatively stagnant instead of out exploring the islands in Southeast Asia, this was the right thing to do. Had we not done the initial 5,000 hour service, it’s likely that the debris from the heat exchanger would have caused problems for us during the big miles we plan to undertake in the next year. We’d much rather deal with a service problem while here in Malaysia instead of 1,000 miles from help in the Indian Ocean!

Chilled out sailors know we love it when you read this on the Sailfeed website

Podcast: Master Rigger Brion Toss, Part 2

Wed, 2014-10-01 08:31

Brion’s back to chat with Andy about some more technical aspects of yacht rigging, specifically to how it relates to ocean sailing, in Part 2 of yesterday’s interview. They discuss proper preventers, rig tune, rig inspections, Dynex Dux and the advent of synthetics, and much more.

Podcast: Master Rigger Brion Toss, Part 1

Tue, 2014-09-30 16:31

Master Rigger Brion Toss is on the show today for Part 1 of a very long and enlightening conversation with one of Andy’s heroes. Andy met Brion in 2009 at the Annapolis Sailboat Show, and their conversation was the deciding factor in outfitting Arcturus with synthetic rigging. Brion comes on the podcast to discuss his own history as a rigger and sailor. In Part 2, they discuss the more technical aspects of rigging.

At Home in Papua New Guinea

Tue, 2014-09-30 00:07

I´ve unpacked the bags and stowed the suitcases. No more waiting around for visas, no more airplane rides – we´re home now, and I plan to be sessile for the foreseeable future. The island is beautiful, our neighbours are friendly, and I have no reason to move off my porch.

Except, a troop of kids are marching up my driveway. And we´ve been invited to the pool. And a barbecue. Disco in the park. Movies, neighborhood-wide hide-and-seek… complete fun overload. I think I need another cup of tea.

Needless to say, the girls have settled in like they have been here for years. Whether they are especially adaptable from years of cruising or whether the local kids are just delighted to have new kids in town is up for debate. School holidays end on Monday, and all of the youngsters in town are determined to make the most of their days off.

But even the most energetic kids need a break. After a week of running here, there and everywhere, the girls decided to have a quiet morning of Lego.

Of course, they decided to set up shop in my office, but that´s life. Who needs a quiet space to write, anyway?

Later on, it was bicycle time. As you might imagine, the girls don´t have a lot of bike riding experience. Lovely as it is, the deck of Papillon isn´t quite that big, and even Erik doesn´t own enough Lanocote to keep bikes from rusting in the lazarette. So getting real, actual bicycles was a big event.

As for me, I´m enjoying getting to know the neighbours, finding my way around, and having the odd quiet moment with Erik on the porch.

I think we´re going to be happy here.

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