Log of SV Free Spirit and ships company

The chronicles of the schooner Free Spirit and her crew, embarking on an open ended journey upon the great rolling heap. Free Spirit is currently pursuing humanitarian and commercial goals in the Dominican Republic, on the island of Hispaniola. Working under the Ocean Reach USA and Paradigm Research banners, she is serving as logistics headquarters, workshop, and development laboratory for many ongoing projects. This is the log of her journey.....

Web sailfreespirit.blogspot.com
If you are joining us for the first time, click here for an introduction!
Books and more, at the Schooner Free Spirit Chandelry
Clothes and more, at the Free Spirit Logo Shop!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Prince William Sound in June

We will spend June on Prince William Sound aboard the Venture 24 Laura Ann II. Last year we took her to chenega bay and back.. it was a spectacular trip.

This area is among the best crusing grounds in the northern hemisphere, though the season is short. If you have a chance to cruise here, dont miss it - it -will- be worth the trip.

SF Bay sailing

In April I go to Isleton, CA in the SF / River delta area. There I will fit out and shake down our Roberts 27, Westward. She is simple and stout, her cabin built for the sea with few concessions. I hope she sails as well as she presents. I will also be trying out the autopilot for my friends sloop Feng Shui and testing the electronic charting program I have selected for use on Free Spirit. I anticipate lots of good practice working with the heavy traffic in the SF Bay area, and look foreward to an exciting and informative cruise.

Easting by the midnight sun

E by NE 2AM, under the midnight sun. Moon off the port bow.

Laura Ann II, Lake Harding

The chicks dig it!

Maybe the best reason to go sailing.....

Mrs. (Laura) Smyth and Rachel aboard Laura Ann II

Voyage Weary.

Schooner Free Spirit rests in lake Okeechobee at last, after enduring many tribulations on her way to the yard to be refit.


Mr. (Cliff) Smyth Aboard Sloop Laura Ann II


Sailing around the outside, Ft. Lauderdale to Port St. Lucie. Schooner Free Spirit, riding the gulf stream north.


Always experiment on family first...

One of the first sailboats I built. Here my little brother Cimmaron at perhaps age twelve, is learning the ropes of wind and water.


Cliff Shanghai's Schooner America!!!

As the crew looks on in awe of my navigational prowess, America responds to my every nautical whim as I squeeze every shred of speed out of her fine lines and enourmous sails...

Or... er, as I "take her over there and try not to let the current set you in toward that fuel dock this time" under the nervous and watchful eye of her skipper.....

Reality sucks sometimes, but not so bad as the alternative.

(key west 2001?)

IF, by Kipling

This is a poem by Kipling, which my father had me memorize when I was young. I took it to heart, and it has served me well:

If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,

Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,

And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;

If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with triumph and disaster

And treat those two imposters just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,

And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;

If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -

Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,

And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!


“Because something is possibly possible,

It doesn’t follow that it is necessarily necessary.”

”One must always remember amateurs built the Ark and professionals built the Titanic.”

-TE Colvin

On arrogance and guidance:

The nice thing about having people that really care about you, is that you can tell them exactly what is going on, and they can like it or not. Then they can tell you what they think about it. Then you take or leave the advice. Sometimes it is helpful, and I’ve found that in retrospect, -most- of it would have been. Trouble is, at the time it was given I was too ignorant to understand ... thus the reason for my ignoring the advice. This realization has led to increased respect for the ideas of people that have “been there and done that”. The foolish notion that we all have when we are teenagers that they "don’t understand" or "just don't get it" is just that, - a foolish notion - , if we are speaking of people who are sane and complete.

Life is a sea that has been charted many times, yet we all run up on the same rocks, strand in the same shoals, and founder off the same capes. Unfortunately, only once in a while is this due to navigational error. Usually, it is because of our arrogance, a vain fantasy that we are the first to make the voyage, so that the charts don't apply to our craft; an arrogance so foul that we scoff and belittle the old salts at the very moments that they try to warn us from the breakers, or try in vain to shield our ears from the siren's deadly song.

Perish for lack of knowledge indeed.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Sunset over Lake Okeechobee enroute to the glades for her refit, 2004.

Welcome, gentlereaders.

Welcome aboard!

First, you must meet the ships compliment:

Mr. and Mrs. Smyth, Captain and first mate respectively.
Bos'n Blayde and Bos'ns Mates Valin and Drake.

We are a family of five, embarking on an open ended journey upon the great rolling heap. Much preparation is necessary for a venture of this type, and in fact, most of it has now been completed. We will cast off in the spring of 2007, finally trading our ties with the comforting yet constraining grip of the land for the great wild oceans of the earth, unchanged to the sailor since the dawn of seafaring man. In doing so, we invite dangers, joys, sorrows, and triumphs, facing not only the vastness of the sea, but -perhaps yet greater- the vastness of the soul, of what it means to be alive.

Many will be critical of our choice, saying that it is irresponsible to expose oneself and ones family to the perils of the deep. May they prove to be wrong. We all face perils, the possibility of unavoidable, irrevocable demise. Whether by automobile, catastrophe, ill health, or old age, we will all face this final, uncrestable summit. To keep perspective, I submit that driving an automobile is yet more perilous than a well planned voyage on a well found craft. Certainly, there is the unforeseen circumstance, but at least in the case of the sailor there is often the time and resources to counter this challenge. The driver enjoys no such luxury, as he encounters hundreds of opportunities to greet certain demise in every hour spent on the highways, and like the weather, many of these are beyond controlling. Unlike the vessel at sea, no preparation or planning can mitigate the impact of a wayward automobile - one can only react, and hope that in those precious moments, one has chosen wisely.

Many will be joyful, glad to see us carry out our dream. May they not be misguided. To those that wish to follow their own dreams, but have yet to take those first, tentative steps, I submit that you must act now. There is no better time to begin. In fact, there is no time at all, other than the moment in which we live. Yet, there is an eternity to wait, to wish, to regret. Take the first step. Each one will come easier as your focus shifts from the mire you are in to the knoll which you seek. The mountains will melt to hills, and though they may take time to climb, the toil finds its reward in the view from the other side. In the end, you will regret more the moments that you did not live than those which you did, so step boldly, place each step firmly in front of the other, and raise your eyes to the prize. One will never arrive without first setting forth.

Welcome to our story....

Introducing Propcalc 4.0

Use Propcalc to easily match your hull with your engine, transmission, and propeller
Put the known data in the top fields, then hit the Update button to get the answers.
Results, of course, should be verified by a Naval Architect or qualified surveyor.
Data is provided for three bladed propellers of average type
For two or four bladed props, use the modifiers shown below.

Fill out the fields as follows:

Vessel LWL (ft) = Waterline length
Vessel Disp (lbs) = Vessel displacement
(max) HP = Rated Engine Max HP
Engine RPM max = Engine RPM at Max HP
Engine RPM cruise = Desired or estimated cruise rpm
(Cruise or Max) Kts = Speed to work the calculations for
Slip = Propeller efficience. 45% is average for a displacement cruiser.
Gear ratio = 1: Gear ratio of transmission
SL Ratio Adj. = This value will be added (or subtracted, if a negative value) to the calculated S/L ratio.

Key information:

If the "hp required" is greater than the "cruse HP", you have your cruise RPM set too low for your engine parameters.
If the "hp required" is significantly less than the "cruse HP", you have your cruise RPM set too high for your engine parameters.
If the "hp required" is greater than the "Max HP", then your target speed is too high for your engine/hull parameters.
The S/L ratio is calculated automaticaly based on your input. It can be adjusted if necessary, but normally it should be left alone.
If the calculated S/L ratio exceeds S/L MAX, then the results are likely to be non-predictive. Try a lower speed requirement.
SL Ratios of 1.1 - 1.4 are typical of displacement hulls. Semiplaning or planing hulls can go higher.

Typical propeller slip values:

Sailing auxiliary, barges, etc less than 9 Kts............45%
Heavy powerboats, workboats 9 - 15 Kts....................26%
Powerboats, Lightweight Cruisers 15 - 30 Kts..............24%
High speed planing boats 30 - 45 Kts......................20%
V bottom race boats 45 - 90 Kts...........................10%


it is possible to get irrational answers by irrational input , I.E specifying excessive speed for hull type and length
Any attempt to exceed hull speed (1.34 times the square root of the waterline length in feet) with a displacement hull are likely
to fail unless the hull is extremely fine (multihull) or otherwise exceptional. In such cases, an S/L adjustment would be in order.

2 and 4 bladed props:

For two bladed propellers, multiply the diameter by 1.05, and the pitch by 1.01
For four bladed propellers, multiply the diameter by .94, and the pitch by .98

Vessel LWL (ft) =
Vessel Disp (lbs) =
  (max) HP =
  Engine RPM max =
  Engine RPM cruise =
  (Cruise or Max) Kts =
  Slip =
  Gear ratio = 1:
  SL Ratio Adj. =
  Prop rpm max =
  Prop rpm cruise =
  Pitch =
  Diameter =
  Static Thrust =
  Cruise HP =
  Cruise HP% =
  SL Ratio =
  DL Ratio =
  SL Max =
  HP Required =