Sunday, September 24, 2017

Respect the weather, Respect yourself

Hiding inside a Coffee Bean to escape the Waikiki afternoon heat, I took some time to reflect on the last "disastrous" passage from Maui to Honolulu.

A series of mistakes and choice ended up costing me a new Fiddle block (150$), Sail repair (800$), and damage on the pulpit ($$$) and bottom paint ($$), and more important some bruises in my pride and slaps in my captain face.

To be clear, I am not pretentious when I sail. I am actually very aware of my lack of experience and any trip is always like an adventure. Which is why I like it so much, even if I do not sail that much.
But a day sail in between islands, I thought I got it.
The ocean was there to humble  me.

I knew it was gonna be windy. Small craft advisory, a small low just went by the island few days before, clearing winds and strong trades (25+knots) on tap. Of course, 25 knots of predicted grib wind means 35+ in the channel.
Solo I would have certainly push back one week. But a friend was coming by plane, the ticket was taken... Anyway, that was a test for the boat.
Well, I guess I failed it.
In between Lanai and Molokai , we had gusts of 40+ knots. As a kitesurfer, those numbers never really scared me. You just rig smaller and tight your butt.
 As a sailor, this is more than atypical winds and require a set of skills I do not have yet.

High wind, but no waves. Pictures rarely capture the intensity of the sea.

Typical - The furler jammed with a double reef in the jib.
We could have go with it until Honolulu, after all, it was very unlikely to be worst.

Sunset. We still had a genoa at that time.

I waited for the night to fall - no moon - (why not ?) to decide to try to solve this - just in case - (of what?).
Which means unfurl the full sail (Genoa 140) and put it down, on deck.
This is doable by going upwind or heave-to. Heaving-to with a 140 Genoa in that kind of wind, I was not feeling it. There was a bit of shade behind our double reefed main, and I thought I could bring it down on deck while we were running (Really?). Obviously, some maneuvers you do in 8 knots of wind do not work in 30+.
Of course, the sail went in the water, generated an immense amount of force and drag,  teared along the furler, and went under the boat to tangle on the prop.
Dragging this huge mess under the boat, we slowed down to a mere 2 knots of boat speed and the motion became really uncomfortable.
Which made me sea sick - but not incapacitated, except while throwing up.
Losing control, we ended up jibbing involuntary a couple of time until the traveler gave up and the main slammed a last time.

In the morning, that what the sail looked like.

Fast forwarding, we eventually managed to bring most of the sail on board, jury rigging the main, disentangled the prop while drifting in front of the harbor and made it safely to the slip, 6 hours later than expected. Overall, no harm.
As they say, we kept "the people in the boat, and the water out of the boat".
Following this simple rule, nothing really critical can or should happen.

Once docked, easier to notice the bent bow pulpit.
Still few lessons I learned the hard way.

If you can't fix it and don't have to, just go with it.
(At least, wait for the morning and daylight)
140 Genoa is too big of a sail for Hawaii - if just fine from San Diego where I got the boat.
(I am gonna save some money to buy a smaller one)
Go upwind, motoring if needed,  to bring down the headsail.
(I got an idea how to disentangle the furler with the sail on, but that need to be proven)
40 knots is a lot of wind for a small sailboat
(even for a kite)
I need to up my game
(If I ever want to cross that pacific equator solo)

Actually not so bad. there is 3 or 5 tears like that one.

Repairing the traveler

Positive lessons:

We stayed calm the whole way and never endangered ourselves.
(according to the fact that working on deck by night is dangerous by definition)
If I was on a passage, I think I could have fixed all that mess on board, alone - eventually
(After the wind calmed down, as it usually does)
If I was solo, I certainly would have avoided this mess by being more cautious.
(Need to learn to always sail as I was solo)
We kept control of the boat and never were on a lee-shore.
(Even if we were not going fast)
The boat and the rigging took it without grim.
(For an old grand pa that is almost as old as me)

Safely in the harbor, enjoying the sunset

Anyway, I slowly getting back in the pace of working on the boat, which was the plan of this month on Oahu.
Adding more things that will break one day.
Fixing what I just broke,
And maintaining what did not break yet.

Chinese made Stainless vents. They look awesome.

Mostly on the program for this time, electrical and electronics.

AIS Transponder
Iridium Go
Steaming Light
Anchor Light
And half a dozen of smaller things.

Adding a deck and steaming light. Easier to work at night on deck.

Plan is to stay in Ala Wai until my time is up (6 weeks left on my transient permit for 2017), a couple of back and forth to stay with the family on Maui, and get most of that s**t done before next year.
And if that was going as planned, that would be freaking awesome.
For a change.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Greener and Smaller

Finally did it. I have been considering going electric for a while. Everytime I was filling the truck, it made me sick. 12 miles to the gallon.
Maui Electric and Nissan really help by cutting 10K$ on the price of the new Leaf.
Add the federal tax rebate of 7k$, and you get your new EV almost half price.
Hard to beat.

Green in Black, our new Leak soon to be
Obviously, on top of being economical - and a pain in the butt to plan for the range  - and the lack of truck bed to throw in all my kite or boating stuff - this is a major step in my re-alignment toward cutting our carbon footprint.

Monster Truck has to go 

And again, on Maui, the sun and wind are free, this is almost a crime to still burn fuel.

Now even getting a new car on the price of a used one is still a big leap on my always growing mantra against consumerism.

The minimalists - Deep and witty

Well, hard to reconcile buying a new car and my minimalist aspirational goals.
At the moment, we own 3 cars, one motorbike and one sailboat. Hardly minimalist.

Hence, the truck will go, obviously, pretty soon. The bike is the next one. Sure, I like to ride her time to time, but it is just impractical to put any gear on it. We cannot function on one car anymore in our family. A bike is cool, but does not carry a paddle board or a dinghy. It will go as well.
1 car in, 2 vehicles out.

What I am actually buying is free of mind. less stuff. better quality, less maintenance, less hassle.
After all, the only thing that matters is time.
Spend your time wisely on what actually really matter to you.
Spend your money on stuff that bring value to your life. Deeply.

As the minimalists say :

"Love people, use things. The opposite never works."

As for the boat ? It is not a thing. It is a Her.