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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

July 28, 2010-Arrived in Sumatra: Tough Trip

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Rough Sailing

We have arrived in Sumatra, Indonesia and are anchored in Sebang after a rough two and a half day passage, all upwind and mostly in high winds and very rough seas.

Here is the story I wrote after the first day:

Judy took one look at the dark line of clouds and said, "We're going to get it".

It came fast and just as we got the jib down the first cold wind hit and the rain hit my back like icy pellets. The water and the sky were black but a layer of white spray swept over the waves. Then the spray enveloped us. Clouds of white water flew past to leeward, over the whole boat. The wind hit 38.

We soldiered along for a while maintaining our course under double reefed main alone but the wind just increased and increased. We saw over 43 knots. The sail flogged at times. I watched the clock and wondered how long it would last. These squalls don't last long I'd heard, and I hoped, but it went on for hours. We turned and ran off with it which helped quiet things down on board and the wind vane happily steered the boat through the wild waves. We were under control and surging along without any problem now but the wind still howled, the spray still flew by, the waves were big and hissed past us like angry cars, and we were going 8-10 knots towards a lee shore. Even at 75 miles away Sumatra loomed to leeward. It was only a matter of hours before we reached it. I was counting on the fact that the squall would pass and we could resume course but this might be a risky assumption. Perhaps this was not a squall but a storm. What if it persisted for the whole night? I didn't want to end up forced to beat off a dark and unknown shore; many ships have been lost in those situations. So after three hours of running off we decided to change strategy. We trimmed the sail to slow the boat down sheeting in very hard and we came up onto the wind with the sail over trimmed. It worked. Now sailing at 3-4 knots into the howling breeze it was rough and we were again covered in spray and all the lines and rigging groaned under the load I put them under but at least we were no longer heading towards the beach.

I watched the wind drop and when it was time for Judy's watch the wind was 20 and she came on deck. We were going 5 knots. Things seemed to be better.

I went below.

Soon Judy began to moan, "Oh, Oh, Oh!" The wind was back to over 40. I came back on deck as fast as I could get dressed and we turned downwind again.
This went on for most of the night. It was a very hard night. The tension of the high winds and rough seas was emotionally draining. It was one of the worst nights we've had on Wings and it was the first night of our cruise to Africa. We talked about whether we really wanted to do this anymore: cross oceans and get into storms. We need to have some serious discussions.

By midnight the wind dropped again and we turned on the motor rather than shake out the sails; we didn't know how soon we'd need to get them in again.

By morning the wind was gone and we set sail. The discussion about whether we can keep facing these oceans, or want to, is put off for now.

That was day-one. Day-two and day three were nearly as bad. We arrived OK, no problems, just tired and shaken and emotional for being tense and scared for three days. The discussion is back on.

Click here to see the other photos from the rough trip to Sumatra

Click here to see the chart of our trip

And click here for more shots from this trip

And here (before we left)

Click here to see the log book pages of this passage.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Sebang, Sumatra

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Saturday, July 24, 2010

July 24, 2010-Departing

kris adams image
Goodbye Thailand

Friday, July 23, 2010

July 23, 2010-Blue Peter at the Yard

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Blue Peter at the Yard

There comes a time when everything is ready including the crew and the pull of the blue ocean, the deep blue sea, is as strong as the flow of a spring tide and the yacht strains at its mooring lines eager to be free, free as a bird, free of the land, free to roam.

That time of readiness has come.

We leave tomorrow.

Blue Peter at the yard.

We leave on the tide and look for a good wind to carry us out.

Out past the south cape, out through the gap in the islands to where the horizon is wide, out to the open ocean.

Bound for Sumatra.

Sumatra, Indonesia, the first port of call.

Sumatra of the Minangkabau people and the Mentawi Islands.

Sumatra, that island of light winds and rain, of volcanoes and fire and earthquakes and tsunamis.

Sumatra of coffee and spices.

We heard the food is good there.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Phuket

Click here to see the full itinerary of our next cruise.


July 23, 2010-Indian Ocean Itinerary

Click Image to enlarge

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Our Route

Sailing Legs


Sailing to Sumatra
Two hundred and fifty miles to windward from Phuket to Palau Weh in Banda Ache. Keep an eye on the weather and pick your time to tack.
Departing July 25, Sailing time: 2-3 days

We sail first to Banda Ache, to the port of Sebang which, with any good breeze, we should make in a couple of days and at any rate by the end of July we will call there to pick up our Indonesian permit, arranged by Lytha in Jakarta. After Ache there are the bays and harbors and unpopulated islands down the west coast of Sumatra to explore, the white sand beaches lined with coconut palms, the small towns, the surfer camps. We’ve a list of twenty or so stops and the chart shows many more but with only a month allowed in Indonesia we can’t hit them all.
Pedang, just south of the Equator, is the capital of West Sumatra and there is a good market so that is where we plan take on provisions and from where we will, by the end of August , take our leave of Indonesia.
Cruising Sumatra-The month of August

Sailing to Cocos Keeling
From Pedang we’ll be heading nearly due south past the off lying islands and towards the atoll of Cocos Keeling. Standing out from Sumatra Island we should soon begin to sniff out the SE trade winds which blow through the gap between Australia and Java. Then we’ll leave the light winds and rain of Sumatra behind and enter the belt of steady trades which bring boisterous sailing and the white wakes across blue seas which mark the passage of a fine sailing yacht on a speedy, if wet, close reach.
Departing August 28, Sailing time: 4-5 days

Cocos Keeling-Early September
Four of five days of sailing will bring us to the twenty four coral islands around two atolls which were once the domain of the self proclaimed king of Cocos Keeling but now a possession of Australia. the Cocos will offer a respite from the hard sailing and a last chance to pick up a few items at the supermarket on West Island.
Staying in Cocos Keeling-5 days

Passage to Chagos Islands
This is what we came for and the vision of Wings racing to the horizon, romping across the seas under the clear blue skies, with the sails free…that is the vision which is impressed on our brains. Downwind sailing in the SE Trades; across the Indian Ocean. Here we go!
Departing September 8, Sailing time: 8-9 days

After sailing west across 14 degrees of longitude we will drop anchor in the uninhabited northern atolls of the Chagos archipelago around mid-September . Exactly in the middle of the Indian ocean, Chagos is remote, protected, a reserve, and yachts who visit there are restricted by the British who own it to a few locations, and none anywhere near the US Base on Diego Garcia. But for natural beauty, good fishing, and peace and quiet, this is the spot.
Staying in Chagos –two to three weeks.

Passage to Rodriques Island
This could be a hard leg: over 1100 miles of close reaching in fresh trades. Wet, rough, fast. This leg might be the one to endure. We’ll have to manage our speed to stay comfortable. Stay tuned to see if we do that.
Departing October 2, Sailing time: 6-8 days

Rodrigues Island
Forty two square miles of mountainous terrain occupied by 35,000 mixed African and French creole speaking creole island dwellers (with maybe a bit of English or French) this island is way off the beaten path, receives few visits from yachts, and Port Maturin, the sleepy capital of this remote Indian Ocean outpost will be an interesting place to drop a hook and recover from the passage down from Chagos.
Staying in Rodrogues, 1 week

Passage to Mauritius
Two hundred miles running dead downwind…should be easy sailing.
Departing October 15, Sailing time: 2 days

A country of with an interesting past (Dutch settled, French owned, British takeover, and independent since 1992) a mix of primarily African and Indian people, English speaking, democratically elected government, free education & medicine, bustling tourism and business, Mauritius was a major port before the Suez canal changed the world shipping routes and a major sugar producer until falling sugar prices led the government to a program of agricultural diversification and manufacturing.
There are ports and marinas here and we are looking forward to a visit but by the time of our arrival, mid-to late October, cyclone season will be approaching. The duration of our stay will be limited.
Staying in Mauritius, two weeks or less

Passage to Reunion
121 miles, it’s an overnighter. Piece of cake.
Departing end of October, Sailing time, 24 hours.

French to the max, the island of Reunion is a Department of France, rugged, remote, claimed to be one of the most unique spots on earth. We’ll call there for a brief stay and watch the weather for a departure for Africa
Staying in Reunion, Maybe only 3 days

Passage to Africa
The longest and most dangerous passage of this whole trip, we’ll sail southwest around the southern tip of Madagascar, and then cross the Mozambique Channel and the Agulhas Current watching the weather intensely as being in that south running current in a southern gale presents extreme risks to yachts.
Departing November 2, Sailing time: 8-10 Days

Africa-Richards Bay
A town of 54,000 and a good harbor with a healthy marine industry, this will be our destination and first stop in Africa. This is as far as we’ve planned so we’ll have to wait until later to fill in our African itinerary, but rest assured in includes wild animals!
Staying in Africa: Unknown

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Phuket, Thailand

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

July 11, 2010-Mini Sea Trial

wingssail images-judy jensen
Heading out for a mini sea trial

The next time we untie the dock lines in Thailand we won't be coming back.

We've now got two weeks until we leave Thailand to begin our voyage to Africa.

It's time for some sea trials.

Not that we have a lot of new systems to test out or that Wings is unproven, it's just that we know better than to depart for Africa after sitting at the dock for several months.

Shit happens.

So to see what might go wrong we went out for a short sea trial.

A "Mini Sea Trial".

Just a little trip to Phang Nga Bay, do a little sailing, do a little motoring, test everything, fix what is broken, then come home feeling a little more prepared for the big departure.

It went well. Oh, we had a few bugs, and fixed them all, but mostly it was an uneventful trip.

That's the way we like it.

Now we are back at the dock in Yacht Haven and counting down to the big cast off.

Next time we have to take the dock lines with us.

Click here for some photos from our sea trial.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Phuket, Thailand

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July 1,2010-Visa Run to Kuala Lumpor

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Waiting in Malaysia for the Fast Train to KL

"You must leave the country".

The immigration man was pleasant but firm: there was no way for us to extend our tourist visa's for another month, we had to leave Thailand the very next day!

"What flights do you have tomorrow?" we asked at the Air Asia counter.

"Kuala Lumpor, Malaysia."

"OK, two round trip tickets to Kuala Lumpor please.

And the next morning we flew out at 07:30 to KL, came back at 10:00 PM that night with new tourist visas.

Click here for some photos of our whirlwind trip.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Phuket Thailand

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July 4, 2010-Time to Hang Some Art

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Anchor Wat in the Morning

Our walls have been bare for several months and we've been meaning to hang some new art to replace the photos and paintings we had up for a long time and which came down when we repainted the cabin last year.

Finally we found the impetus we needed when we started to pack provisions aboard for the trip to Africa; all those old framed works took up valuable space in one of our lockers.

We could clear out the locker if we re-hung the art.

But we wanted new art.

So we printed off a few photos we liked and sent them out to be matted just the size to fit our existing frames and they will all be hanging in a few days.

Wings is our home and what is a home without art?

Click here to see our selection.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Phuket, Thailand

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Friday, July 02, 2010

July 4, 2010-Wings Refit Project List

It's taken three years to complete (nearly) the refitting of Wings but we are almost done now and it feels good to to have the bulk of the work behind us and know the boat is in better shape.

It has been more a program of continous improvement than a single refit project:

We started in Singapore in 2007 with major deck & engine work. That was followed by the purchase of the first of the new sails and new running rigging.

In 2008 & 2009 we continued the project in Phuket, Thailand with some major interior work, more engine work, a lot of stainless steel fabrication, some hull repair, new topsides paint, more new sails, and a mirad of other projects. The three months in the boat yard in 2009 constituted a major push to get the big jobs finished.

Finally some critical work was done in 2010 while we had the boat in Langkawi, Malaysia and since our return to Phuket this year we have been finishing off with preparations for getting underway.

Of course, boat projects never end. We might have completed the original list but new items come on every day. Our "program of continous improvement" is ongoing.

Here is what we've done.

  • Charging System

  • Regulator for Alternator New, 2009

  • Alternator New, 2008

  • Regulator for Alternator Reprogram, 2010

  • Computing

  • AIS System New, 2010

  • Computer New, 2010

  • Printer New, 2008

  • Scanner New, 2010

  • Pactor Test, 2010

  • USB Modem CDMA EVDO RevA New, 2010

  • Nav Station Monitor Mount New, 2010

  • Inverter 220 v New, 2009

  • Inverter 110 v New, 2009

  • USB Modem HSPDA New, 2009

  • Computer Monitor New, 2009

  • External HD's New, 2009

  • Ground Plane Straps Repair & Replace, 2007

  • Nav Station Rewiring, 2010

  • Deck

  • Deck Leaks, recore deck around chain Plates, 2007

  • Lifeline (new), 2010

  • Deck leaks Fixed, 2009

  • Deck Repair around rudder post, 2009

  • Cockpit paint, 2009

  • Cabin Skylight New, 2009

  • Running Rigging New (sheets, guys, running backs, etc), 2009

  • Running Lights (side light) New, -

  • Foredeck Sail Netting New, -

  • Mast Boot Replacement New, 2010

  • Hatch Seals New, 2010

  • Radar Reflector New, 2010

  • Baby Stay deck seal revise, 2010

  • Laz hatch hinges and lock-resecure , 2010

  • Jib Tack Bungie New, 2010

  • Jib Tie down hooks New, 2010

  • Deck Brushes New, 2010

  • Oar Bag New, 2010

  • Repair Traveller Bale, 2009

  • Stern Railing (Port) Straighten & Reinforce, 2009

  • Starboard Compass Lights New, 2009

  • Fuel Tank Vent New, 2009

  • Spin Guy Block Stand-ups New, 2009

  • Fenders 1 New, 2009

  • Salt Water Washdown Pump bolts replace, 2009

  • Genoa Turning Blocks Sheaves New, 2009

  • Deck Light New, 2009

  • Bow Hatch Leaks Fix, 2009

  • Deck Bungies New, 2009

  • Stancion Bases (Replace Broken & Rusty), 2009

  • Jib Cars #3 Fix, 2009

  • Cockpit Windows New, 2009

  • Baby Stay Cylender Rebuild, 2008

  • Anchor Light New, 2007

  • Dingy

  • Dingy New, 2009

  • Dingy Wheel leashes New, 2010

  • Dingy Floor (old) fix, 2009

  • Dingy Lifting Bridle New, 2009

  • Engine

  • Engine, Remove and R & R bolts and paint, 2007

  • Engine, Remove and repair transmission aft shaft seal, 2007

  • Engine Electrical Connections Service, 2010

  • Battery #2 (new), 2009

  • Exhaust Elbow New, 2009

  • Exhaust Manifold Refurbish and machining, 2009

  • House Batteries,New, 2007

  • Engine Hour Meter repair, -

  • Shaft Coupling R & R , 2009

  • Oil Pressure Guage fix, 2009

  • Water Pump impellor New, 2009

  • Gear Shift Neutral repair, 2009

  • Stern Gland Repack, 2009

  • Exhaust Hanger Repair, 2009

  • Alternator Pully New (for lower speed), 2009

  • Alternator Wireing Repair & Replace, 2009

  • Battery Box Rebuild, 2008

  • Galley

  • Modify Cup Holder, 2010

  • Faucet backing blocks New, 2009

  • Broiler Heat Sensor Fix , 2009

  • Galley Baskets New, 2009

  • Spice Racks New, 2009

  • BBQ Rebuild, 2010

  • Stove Grill Welding, 2010

  • Galley Faucets New, 2009

  • Propane BBQ Valve New, 2010

  • Stove Refurbish, 2010

  • Ground Tackle

  • Windlass Service, 2010

  • Hull

  • Hull Topsides Paint Awlgrip, 2009

  • Repair Stern Tube, 2009

  • Hull Fiberglass crack repairs, 2009

  • Rudder shaft repair and strengthen, 2009

  • Antil Fouling, 2009

  • Through Hull Skin Fittings & Valves New, 2007

  • Zincs, 2009

  • Hydraulic

  • Hydraulic Panel New, 2009

  • Rebuild Hydraulic Cyl Flattener, 2009

  • Vang Hydraulic Hose Replace, 2009

  • Instruments

  • MFD lighting & Data Signal(center )Fix, 2009

  • Depth Sounder Bezel Fix , 2009

  • Intrument Mast Cable Check, 2010

  • Interior

  • Cabin Interior Painting, 2009

  • Cabin Sole Resurface & Varnish, 2009

  • Cabin Trim Varnish, 2009

  • Cabin New cockpit floor Interior & Brace, 2009

  • Cabin Sole Dent Repair , -

  • Forepeak Sole Repair, -

  • Art, Cabin, New, 2010

  • LED Reading Lights New, 2010

  • Shower Curtain New, 2010

  • Fire Extinguishers New, 2010

  • Refridgerator Fans new, 2010

  • Upholstery cloth on settee cushions new , 2009

  • Refridgerator Gas refill, 2009

  • Lighting Shop New, 2009

  • Sewing Machine Latches New, 2009

  • Cabin Light over Table Rewire, 2009

  • Cabin Lights New, 2009

  • Cockpit Window Bezels New, 2009

  • Galley Splash Plate New, 2009

  • Head Fixtures New, 2009

  • Mast

  • Mast Head Sheaves Check, 2010

  • Mast Inspection, 2010

  • Spreader Tips cover sharp parts New, 2010

  • Misc

  • Fishing Tackle New, -

  • Tank Tender & Hoses Fix , 2010

  • Fix Tank Tender Pump Fix, 2010

  • Master Torch New, 2010

  • Music

  • Stereo New, 2010

  • Outdoor Speakers Bose fromCrew New, 2008

  • Paint Speaker Grills, 2009

  • Woofers New, 2009

  • Outboard

  • Spark Plugs (mercury) new, 2010

  • Plumbing

  • Water Heater New, 2009

  • Water Tank remove and repair, 2008

  • Toilet Pipes R & R , 2010

  • Toilet Pump Leak, 2010

  • Water Maker Test, 2010

  • FW Accumulator Tank Service , 2010

  • Shower Sump Pump New, 2009

  • Shower Head New, 2009

  • Propane

  • Solenoid Propane New, 2010

  • Regulator Propane New, 2010

  • Propane Tanks New, 2010

  • Propane Locker Floor refurbish, -

  • Safety

  • Life Raft New, 2009

  • Sails

  • Mainsail (Cruising) New, 2009

  • Genoa (Cruising) New, 2009

  • A2 Spinnaker New, 2008

  • S2 Spinnaker New, 2008

  • #3 Genoa New, 2008

  • Mainsail (Racing) New, 2007

  • Genoa (Racing) New, 2007

  • A3 Spinnaker Used, 2007

  • Sewing

  • Flags for foreign ports, new, 2010

  • Spin Repair, 2010

  • Gas Can Cover New, 2010

  • Chain Locker protective cover New , 2010

  • Compass Covers New , 2010

  • Sail Bag Ties (# 2 Bag) New , 2009

  • Sail Bag Lables, 2009

  • Fender covers New, 2009

  • Solar

  • Solar Panel Replacement New, 2010

  • Solar Panel Instalation Including brackets, 2010

  • Solar Railing Supports New , 2010

  • Solar Panel impact protection (from tiller), -

  • Spares

  • Filters for water & water maker New , 2010

  • Printer Supplies, 2010

  • Hella Turbos (6) New , 2010

  • Fan Belts & Spares New , 2010

  • Starter Spare Rebuild, 2010

  • Dremel tools New, 2010

  • Fuel Filters & Spares New, 2009

  • Fuses Spares New, 2009

  • Bulbs Spares New, 2009

  • Drill Bit Spares New, 2009

  • Bungie Cord Spares New, 2009

  • Coffee Grinder Spare, 2009

  • Toilet Rebuild Kit Spare New, 2009

  • Sailcloth Spares Yardage New, 2009

  • Steering

  • Windvane total reconstruction, 2009

  • Autopilot new, 2009

  • Auto Pilot parts New, 2010

  • Wind Vane Control Wheel refurbish, 2009

  • Wind Vane Gear Adjustment, 2009

  • Autopilot Electrical Plugs New, 2009

  • Storage

  • Water & Fuel Jugs New, 2010

  • We assume that while all of this will make Wings more reliable more capable and better looking we still know that when we go offshore other stuff we didn't fix, and in fact never thought of as needing any work, will be what fails and causes us grief. That's the fact of life when you go sailing.

    And then there is the cyclical nature of boat work; it's already time to start over: the deck needs to be repainted, and then... and then...(boat projects never end).

    Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Phuket, Thailand


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