Archive for September, 2011

“We’d be better prepared”

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

I’ve just been reading an article about a couple who sailed from San Francisco to Oahu, Hawaii. The 2080 nm voyage really challenged them, for a number of reasons.

The first being that the skipper, Ray Schmahl, 58 was an experienced coastal and bay sailor but had never sailed in the open sea. His boat, You Never Know, a Baba 35 is, however, a good cruising boat – a double-ender with a full keel. 

As they left the Californian coast they saw one sailboat, then spent the next 25 days alone on the sea apart from a few freighters, thankfully in the distance. To ensure their safety, Ray or his partner, Catherine Zimney, 57 took turns on watch. But this led to them both becoming exhausted, only ever having four hours maximum for sleeping, plus change-over time, meals, etc.

For the first week there was no sunshine and they were relying on solar power to keep their batteries topped up. For my money, I’d want to have several ways and would install a wind generator. At the same time, it would be impractical to use the boat’s engine as you’d be unlikely to have sufficient fuel to do so.

As you’d expect during a voyage of this length, they also experienced a significant storm and were also becalmed for two days.

If you like, you can read the full story of their voyage.

A fortnight or so after their safe arrival in Oahu, Ray said: “I would do it again. We’d be better prepared and know more about how things work.” 

Skipper & Crew CD cover

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We have developed comprehensive checklists to  help you prepare for a voyage. You will find them in Skipper and Crew, Knots and The Language of the Sea.

In their own words: Charles Landery

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

Catherine Zimney*, who lamented not having an astronomy professor aboard to name the stars for her, would appreciate today’s quotation. A star chart is a pretty satisfactory alternative. And it’s cheap and doesn’t eat much!

The pleasures of being becalmed became threadbare; there is a limit to untutored star gazing.

Charles Landery was an American who served in the Royal Navy in WWII wrote a number of books, including Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1940), So What? A Young Man’s Odyssey (1940) and Whistling for a Wind (1952). The latter is an account of his post-war travels from England to Rhodes in the Greek Islands aboard his tramp sailor, Bessie.

*See the post “We’d be better prepared”.