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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Dec 31, 2007- Passing Hin Daeng Rock

wingssail image-fredrick roswold
Sailing alone in the night

The wind filled in as we cleared the Butang Islands just before sunset and we set sail on our return trip bound for Phuket, Thailand. By 10:30 the wind was solid and steady and under #1 genoa we held a good course on port tack right up the rhumb line. Good sailing.

We'd spent a few days in Langkawi, got our passports stamped so we could go back to Thailand with a new visa, bought some duty free, saw the sights; mission accomplished.

Now just a short overnight sail, 120 miles, and we would be back in Thailand.

No moon; a black night.

I don't know when we first saw the rock on the chart called Hin Daeng. At first neither of us said anything but around midnight we could no longer ignore it; we could see that our course was trending towards it. It was drawing us like a magnet. It was my watch and I told Judy not to worry, I'd take care of missing it. She went to bed, which I took for either a vote of confidence or resignation.

I thought we might be able to clear it to weather and I hardened up. Sheet on the genoa, trim the main, adjust the wind vane, and we went into point mode; as close as Wings could sail to the wind even at the expense of some speed. I wanted to get some room between our course and the rock. I watched on the chart plotter and saw our course carve slightly to windward, away from Hin Daeng. Nice. It seemed now like we would clear it by ¾ of a mile, probably enough but it the black night it still made me nervous.

Now I was peering to leeward with the binoculars into the dark night looking for Hin Daeng which I knew had to be out there somewhere. I hoped it was to leeward, not directly in front of us. The chart showed we'd clear it after I'd pointed up the last half hour as hard as we could make Wings go, but charts can be wrong, and on a moonless night it could be anywhere even right on our bow.

I saw nothing.

I turned on the depth alarm and set it to 60 feet, then changed it to 100. If the alarm went off it would mean we were getting close to Hin Deang.

The depth alarm remained silent.

When the chart showed us abeam of it I looked again and against the lights of a distant fishing boat I saw a black bump moving on the horizon. Its bearing changed rapidly and I knew it was Hin Daeng. We passed it safely. Now it was astern.

Then the wind came up; too much for the #1. We changed to the #4.

And the wind shifted: it went from west to north-east. I looked on the chart; we had almost turned a circle around Hin Daeng. What a shift; we were headed back to Langkawi!

We tacked and then we were still well below our course on starboard tack. The wind went light. I didn't feel like changing back to the #1. I eased the sheets to keep us moving in the light wind and leftover chop. It could be a long night.

We sailed on.

But the wind was good to us. During Candace's watch it increased and lifted us back to the rhumb line. I went on deck and again sheeted in. We sailed higher and still made good time through the night. Daylight saw us within sight of Phuket Island.

We were back in familiar waters, where we'd sailed during the King's Cup, and Patong Bay lay just ahead.

We'd be there by noon.

Our trip to Langkawi had been successful and now we were having a good sail back.

That's the way we like it.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Phuket Thailand

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Dec. 27, 2007-Night Passage to Langkawi

wingssail image-fredrick roswold
Raising Anchor

We had a fair run last night: five hours or so at 7 knots with just a full main in a nice Nor' Easterly, no jib, Monitor steering. That was nice.

This morning the sea was flat, glassy, no breeze to speak of, but we can see the peaks of Langkawi coming up out of the haze and at 09:00 the wind is building a little. Maybe we can get a good sail in today too.

We sailed from Phi Phi Island, Thailand, at 17:00 on Wednesday; Boxing Day in Australia. We expect to make port in Langkawi, Malaysia on Thursday around noon. It will be a short stay in Malaysia, just a few days to see the sights, pick up some duty free, and get new visas for Thailand; then back to Phuket.

All is well on SV Wings, we'll write more later.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, on passage

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Dec 20, 2007-Candace Visits Thailand

wingssail image-judy jensen
Elephant Ride

Our Granddaughter Candace flew to Thailand for a bit of touring and sailing. First stop: Ayutthaya. The elephant ride was manditory.

Next we'll go for a cruise in the Andaman Sea including Phuket and Langkawi. We'll update you with stories from that trip as soon as we can.

Meanwhile, click here to see a few other images from her visit.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Bangkok

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

December 10, 2007-King's Cup Remembered

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Today I awoke before dawn and left my bunk while Judy lay still sleeping. I started coffee and made ready to get underweigh. By daylight she was up too and we had the anchor up and were motoring across the bay, threading our way through the quiet fleet.

Now I am on deck and looking down through the open hatch I see Judy below moving around and it gives me comfort to see her. She hands me a hot cup of coffee and something to eat. How many times have we performed this ritual; up before dawn and underweigh at first light, passing the other anchored yachts in the early morning gloom headed for open water? It seems so familiar; must have been countless times before.

There is a bit of wind from the NE and it looks like the day will be a light air beat. We set sail and work our way north, tack on tack, keeping up with another yacht which is motoring. The tide is flooding and hereabouts a flood goes north so it is with us. It helps; the tacking angles on the chart plotter look good. We make steady progress with just the #4 and the Dacron main.

We are returning north to Yacht Haven Marina after a successful King’s Cup Regatta. We won our class counting four first place finishes and dropping a 5th in the fifth race but I blame the Race Committee for that one; they didn’t set one of the marks of the course. The other boats simply skipped the missing mark but our indecision cost us enough time that we finished third and corrected out to 5th.

Otherwise it was a very good week: We had perfect sailing conditions with blue skies, and 12-15 knots of wind, and the long courses set for our class gave us plenty of time to stretch out a lead. The crew work was excellent too: and the boat went around the course like a finely tuned machine, never missing a beat. We loved it. Probably the highlight of the week for me was in the second race when we started to leeward of Sarabande and I was able to foot out ahead and then pinch right up in front of them; it was beautiful. Our string of first place finishes got some attention from the other sailors and the media, and we were interviewed a couple of times during the week. This attention was nice, as were the photos they printed and the comments they published such as, “classic IOR racer”, “revelled in the upwind conditions”, and “dominated IRC 3 class.”

Now on the return trip we have to pinch up again, this time to clear a shallow patch, and even while cruising Wings puts her sailing abilities to good use. When we turn west to go up the passage to Yacht Haven we set the asymmetrical kite and it pulls even in the light reaching conditions. Judy and I have time on this delivery to talk and we discuss the week: We agree that it was a lot of work, maybe too much work. Judy feels bad because her back problem kept her out of the action. Her contribution was limited to observations and tactical suggestions, which were a big help to us but she didn’t feel that way about it. She wants to work her position like everyone else. I tell her that her position is to be part of the afterguard and it is thinking we need, not muscle power. She is quiet about this but I know the issue remains with her.

The worst moment for me was the last race when our 1.5 oz kite tore in half for the second time. I’d already repaired it after the 2nd race when it failed completely on a blustery tight reach. We used it successfully the next two days but on day five it gave out again in a new spot in only 22 knots of wind. Well, after 21 years I guess we’ve gotten our use out of it.

That wasn’t the only repair I had to make in the week. We sailed hard and things broke every day, but with Andy Kung’s help we kept up with it. We were glad we had the rental car though so we could make runs to the marine store and up the island to the store room where we had left some of our spares. Pierre made quite a few trips.

The other King’s Cup memories will be about the crew, Andy, Pierre, Bob, Jennie, Marco, Tessa, Tobias, Euan, who came together as a real team and will be friends for life, and the parties we all attended every night. King’s Cup is famous for the parties and these did not disappoint even if Judy and I often left early, exhausted after the day’s sailing. We parted company with this wonderful group of people on the night of the last party and we will miss them. (Maybe another regatta, at another time, and we can get together again. We’ll look forward to that day.)

Now King’s Cup is over and it was all that we could have hoped for. It will remain in our memories as a great event and a wonderful part of Wing’s history. I don’t know when or if we will do another regatta like this, maybe never, but if it turns out to be the last one, it will have been a good one to end on.

Click here to meet the crew.

Click here to see how we honored the King of Thailand

Click here to see a few scenes from the regatta

Or click here to go directly to December wingssail images and see all our photos from King's Cup and more

NEW: Click here to go to Pierre's slideshow

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Fred & Judy

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Phuket, Thailand

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Dec 7, 2007-Bulletin From King's Cup

Just a note from Phuket where we are sailing in the King's Cup Regatta:

We're having a great time sailing in perfect conditions in the Andaman Sea off of Kata Beach on Phuket Island. The crew is super, the boat is going fast and we've already had some success on the race course.

The partes are good too!

We don't have much time to write or post photos but you can check out the official website for King's Cup here:

Fred & Judy, SV WINGS, Phuket

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