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.....

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

City By the bay

Thursday, April 13 0800

My crew (Mr. Raoul Chapman) had arrived the day before, walking in from the rain that had been soaking the already drenched California Delta for weeks. We set forth from Owl Harbor the following morning, with the good omen of a rainbow under a red sunset the night before. Winds were light and variable, so after backing out of our berth we cut the motor and ghosted out under sail. Our destination - San Francisco - lay some eighty miles to the West and South. Pleasant sailing conditions made for a relaxing day as we worked our way down the river, with an unspecified stop planned to provision along the way.

We raised Antioch some four hours later - under power as the wind had all but quit us - where we were informed that on this side of the river, recreational boating had been suspended due to the rain weakening the aging levees against wakes from passing boats. The fine if we were caught sailing on that side of the county line was a stiff $1000 , and if the sheriff's department caught us, there would be no warning, just straight to the fine, thank you very much - or so we were told. Since Westward ghosting along makes less wake than a duck, we chose to disregard the prohibition and trusted in our ability to slip through the fingers of the law.

We walked into town and provisioned - food, ice, hardware, stove fuel, etc - and returned to the marina just after closing. We scraped off Westward's registration numbers and replaced them with our new Alaska registration, loaded our stores and made haste across the river to the county line - home free! There was no wind, so we motored on up to Honker Bay where we would drop the hook and wait for the daylight and tide to slip through the Carquinez Straits.

The next morning came with rain and wind on the nose for the straits. Raoul pulled up the hook about 0700, and we headed out into Susuin Bay for Carquinez. We made good time with the following currents, and entered the straits with excellent timing. There was plenty of shipping, but a little vigilance and planning kept us well out of harm's way with Raoul's excellent helmsmanship as usual. Coming out of the straits into San Pablo bay, we set the sails and secured the motor, making a close reach to Pinole Point.

By the time we reached the point, the current was just turning against us so we ducked in and anchored off the old pier. Time for lunch, some battery charging, and a game of cribbage. When the current slackened, we set all sail flying for San Francisco bay- a slog to windward of course. The wind was brisk out of the south - straight up San Pablo bay, and we welcomed the opportunity to put Westward through her paces.

As we approached San Francisco bay, the traffic became heavy, as did the wind. With 20-30 gusting 40 forecast, we were pleased to find 15-25 gusting in the 30's an acceptable alternative. This touch of hard weather quickly revealed the strengths and weaknesses of the ship, as hard weather always will. She has an easy motion and is very seakindly for her size. She takes beam seas with aplomb, merely rising and falling with hardly any roll at all. She is tender. The reefing on the main had not been properly sorted out, and this was a serious issue for us as even without the jib she could barely stand up to her rig in these winds. There were issues with the mainsheet routing. Her recalcitrant captain had failed to practice reefing the new main in the harbor. Nonetheless, we were committed now, and there was nothing to do but press on.

Though overpowered, thanks to Raoul's careful helming we were never really knocked down in the gusts. We beat our way to the east of angel island, and with the wind backing to the southwest clawed in to find her lee. Out from the island the stronger winds were tripped down to the water by the summit. These "milliiwas" were in the high thirties or low forties, and we were forced to reef the untested main in order to close with the island, no mean feat at 40 - 50 degrees of heel. With Raoul carefully pinching the main as best he could, I managed a jury reef that would allow us to stand into the little tempest. In the gusts the wavetops would sometimes blow off to clatter into the sides of the hull, greatly adding to the drama of the moment. Finally in the calm lee of the island, we dropped the main, set the hook, and went below for some much needed rest. We were soon rewarded with the glowing skyline of San Francisco under a full moon, and we slept the sleep of mariners.

Checking the anchor occasionally throughout the night we woke to another blustery day, less angry than the day before. The chop was down, and the winds were 10 - 20, on the nose of course. We had a exhilarating beat across the remainder of the bay, this time with proper reefs and an improved mainsheet. There we reveled in the view of the Golden Gate, several tall ships, and a veritable cloud of sail on the bay. In a short time, we were entering the breakwater for the municipal marina where we found a comfortable berth for the good rate $.50 a foot. Having raised San Francisco from the horizon and now just footsteps away from her parlour, our thirst for revelry and the many comforts of the city was quickened.

If it was revelry and comforts we wanted, the city was destined to provide in full suite. We were invited to our friend's club for the evening, and we came out to find "bunnyfest", a rabbit themed rave - party thumping along nicely - the place was really hopping. Mostly present were the Burning Man crowd, and it was a great time to be had by all. Equipped with bunny ears and painted on whiskers, we embraced the human current well into the ebb of the morning.


Blogger SV Free Spirit said...

I am so blessed to be married to such a talented writer :-)

12:30 AM  
Blogger Sherron Herring said...

Always a good read! There is joy in the connection, of course, so it's best = better than a book, but, too, I "pick up the book" to read the story. Fun! Looking forward, as usual to events as they are posted. The water, a magical place, I found on your father's boat, our weeks out so that land was always changing beneath my feet. So, I have joy for your adventures! Then i find a smile in my heart while reading.
Hugs! mom

12:29 AM  

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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 =