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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Books and more, at the Schooner Free Spirit Chandelry
Clothes and more, at the Free Spirit Logo Shop!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

No worries, we still have fun :-)

Drake - With a bit of paint on his forehead...

Valin, assuring us that everything is A-OK!!

Blayde, joyfully running through the sand blasting sand!!

Valin was the first brave customer of "Crazy Cliff's barber shop".... More customers will surely follow, muuhhhh, huhhhhh, huhhhhh :-)

Tamer and the boys take an afternoon to rig their dingy for some sailing in the Caloosahatchee River. It makes for some challenging maneuvers on a windy day!

The Boys' new friend Rachel... Her family is headed out on their boat early next week.

Rachel, chasing Drake around to get him to play with her :-)

I had the opportunity to daydream a bit at Home depot a couple of weeks ago. I have never been very motivated about Interior Decorating, but am inspired with the boat for some reason. My plan as of now is a slew of Caribbean colors, throughout the boat. The first card of blues will be the colors for the Forward cabin. The yellows will dominate the bathroom and guest cabin/library. The oranges will really brighten up our cabin in the aft of the boat, along with the pilot berth located there as well. The teals will fit nicely into the main salon/galley/living area. Of course, the brightest of these colors will only be used as highlights in each area....

Sometimes, Steel Hull Repair is the pits....

Filling in the pits

Mid way in the process...

Grinding smooth

Porthole openings sandblasted and painted

In a steel boat that has suffered some neglect like Free Spirit, there will inevitably be some corrosion. Fortunately, we caught ours before it got too far, and only a few spots need to be corrected to get her back to sea. The deepest pits are filled, smoothed, and repainted. the shallow pitting will be smoothed over with an epoxy compound and painted over for a smooth finish. Although sometimes the positions were awkward, I found that my welding skills were still strong, and it has been very satisfying work to make our ship whole again. The hull is now complete, and the deck and stanchions are getting done now - then it will be time to turn our attentions to the anchor locker and the work in the interior. Refitting a 50' boat is a huge job, but with each day we tick off a few items on the list toward completion. We have come to recognize the smell of bottom paint as the ultimate landmark of success....


So, we got word from the yard that we had to be moved. In two (!!!) hours!

Fortunately, we had Matt and Margaret there to help... Thank You!!!

We borrowed a trailer and loaded up our shop and genset into it using the boat as a crane.

...then they used the lift to move our boat to the working yard.

Cruising the road...

Our new home, across the drive from Pet't Louis!!

Our old encampment, photographed for the last time.

Blayde passes down a line...

This post brought to you by Go-Jo brand hand cleaner....

Figuring out how to rig the genset crate for hoisting...

Matt taglines the crate into the trailer.

In te end, we managed the whole move in 2:15. No small feat for moving an entire production shop, sandblasting rig, twenty-five ton boat and a trailer!

Finally Working!!

The new and improved workshop area and home for Free Spirit.... The post following this one will highlight this unexpected but welcomed transition...

Blayde had been awaiting an opportunity to find himself perched at the end of the bowsprit. He claims that it was much better than being at the top of the mast in a bosun's chair last year during our visit. I believe that this would be an amazing place to be while at sea, assuming that you had very secure safety lines holing you aboard. His job here was to catch a rope ( the following picture) and help to rig a device to haul a 700 pound crate out of a trailer, and place it below the bow of the boat for storage. He is such a strong and amazing boy!

Catching the rope.....

Headed back, rope in tow.... He actually ended up turning around and heading aft facing that direction.

Matt lending his great welding experience to the success of the day!

The Aft cabin is now as far apart as we think it needs to be. There was quite a few pin holes that needed to be fixed, as well as some big areas that needed new plating. In order to prevent fires, any area that will be welded on the outside, has to have a "safety man" in the interior on watch. I cannot believe how well the boys have stepped up to help us with this project. We would have a tough time doing it without them.

Blayde finding and marking with duct tape the pin holes that need to be welded.

Laura, working on the removal of the ENTIRE forward cabin.

Aaahhhh..... Finally it comes free!!

Drake diligently removing screws :-)

P.S. Valin was a very active worker during these projects, but somehow managed to stay out of all the pictures..... Thanks for your hard work buddy!!

Wow! What a shame to have to take everything out of an already furnished cabin. But, because of the length of time she has been sitting, there was a bit of rust in the bilges of this area. Also, because of the way the interior was installed, we were not sure what lay beneath the wood furnishings. All in all things look good, and we have already picked some different options for the layout, once we are ready to reinstall the cabin fixtures. This area will serve as a cabin for Blayde and Valin, as well as (hopefully) 2 small desks, and a large majority of their school books.

Olivier hard at work, enjoying the use of the lathe, fabricating parts for his boat Petit Louis.

~Tool Time at Free Spirit~

Hmmm....... I bet between the three of us we can figure it out :-)

Matt & Margaret


and Margaret.

Just before we left Fairbanks this previous August, Margaret called us in response to a flyer that we had hung advertising the sale of most of our collection of sailing books. The visit with her was brief, but long enough for us to know that she was a kindred spirit. Due to scheduling conflicts we never had the opportunity to meet her partner Matt. We have stayed in touch via email since that time, and were pleasantly surprised to hear that they were in Florida searching for their first sailboat. They joined us last Wednesday, and departed today on their journey to find the perfect boat for their plans. They willingly offered their help to us, and it could not have come at a better time! They both have an incredible spirit, and we are thankful to have gotten to know them better. Thanks you guys for all of your hard work and friendship..... We will see you on the water!!

Matt looks on, as the lift prepares us for yet another "transition" .

Margaret takes a moment to ponder over the data on the sailboats they have already surveyed.

Working on the removal of the forward cabin's (the foc'sl) interior.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Holey boat!

Well, now you've done it!

Marking the damaged area for cutting. The corners were located using torch-cut holes

We made the cuts with a metal cutting skillsaw... It works great!! Very fast, just like cutting plywood! The saw is $99 at Harbor Freight. I managed to damage some of the carbides on the blade somehow, so I had to get a new one for our friends on Petit Lois. (previous post)

Blayde scaling the anchor locker, Valin standing safety watch. I'm chipping rust. (imagine that!)

Today we cut out the damaged metal in the anchor locker. Tomorrow we will finish removing any scale, and sandblast / paint the rest of the anchor locker. Then we will fit new panels, weld them in place, and touch up with the sandblaster and repaint. Five coats for the anchor locker, a persistent problem area. After the epoxy paint, I'm thinking of maybe spray in bed liner for a cushioning lining... we'll see what we come up with.

In all, it was a very productive day. It feels good to get some work done for once!

Monday, January 22, 2007

P'tit Louis

Our new friends....

Olivier & Natalie of.....

P'tit Louis

Being in the boatyard has given us the benefit of constantly being around like minded folks who feed the dream. Olivier & Natalie immediately fell into this category. As fellow steel boat owners, we have a lot in common with regards to the work ahead on both our vessels. Due to the fact that they came before us, they have been invaluable in there knowledge of local suppliers and such. Natalie has also taken it upon herself to bake the boys things to sell to the other boaters in the yard. She will not take any portion of the profits, but Blayde is trading her jewelry for her awesome goodies. Thanks you guys!!

Cuban Odyssea

You just never know who you are going to run into along the way.

The Author, Chuck Jones

The hardy little ship, a Catalina 27 beefed up for the trips with a new, keel stepped mast, 4" cockpit drains, through-bolted (non)sliding hatch, and countless more of the little details that go into making a ship ready to cross even "little" oceans.

Chuck Jones has spent the last 6 years taking his little ship, Our America across to Cuba some twenty plus times, bringing humanitarian aid to the island nation and researching his book, Cuban Odyessea, available on Amazon as an e-book starting March 31 of this year.

This evening, we discussed his soon to be released book inside the cozy confines of the Catalina 27. "A lot of (Americans) that want to see Cuba buy a boat." he remarked. The book, among other things, serves as a "guide to getting there" detailing his experiences and lessons learned. Because he was in Cuba as a humanitarian (not as an author or press member, who would have had an official "interpreter" present at all times), he had virtually the run of the country, and offers his insight from a uniquely unfettered perspective.

Like most Americans, he sees the "travel ban" on Cuba as unproductive. Though he shares the view that the ban is an affront to our natural liberties as US citizens, he is in no way supportive of Castro's regime or policies. He was able to travel well past the "tourism zones" and see the real condition of the little nations oppressed peoples, who live in poverty as serfs to the all powerful government. Of course, economic sanctions do nothing to improve their plight, and Chuck observed that the embargo has only strengthened Castro's grasp on the people.

Somehow, news of his book and his dim views of Castro got out, and the last time he tried to enter Cuba, he was told he was "persona non grata", a dramatic turnabout from his formerly welcomed status. The immediate prospects for a return to Cuba seem bleak. "It's been a hell of a ride." Even in the pale LED cabin lights, a deep sympathy for the Cuban people is easily visible in his expression. "What we really need to do to help them is to stay out of their business, to not interfere", he comments, but there is a distinct lack of hope in his voice - a knowing glance tells me that he knows as well as I that that will not likely happen that way.

Anyone who wants the inside scoop on Cuba would be well advised to read this book. The information is current, salient, and unfettered by officialdom. Mariners considering travel to Cuba will be especially interested in the details of his preparations and the voyages themselves.

A unuiqe book on a relevant subject, you don't want to miss this one!

Yesterday.... All our troubles seemed so far away....

Well, as I mentioned in an earlier post... Sunday's have become and will remain indefinitely as our official day of rest. It is easy to forget that your brain really needs down time to be creative and to recharge. Tamer enjoyed a dingy sailing lesson with Valin & Drake, I enjoyed a good read and cat nap, Blayde was loving the creative, quiet time to experiment with the precious metal clay that he got for his birthday, Valin went crazy with his waxmation and Drake practiced his reading. We ended the restful, peaceful day with the weekly Potluck up at the Office. Of course, we were "really busy" gaining knowledge from our new friends Olivier & Natalie the owners of Petit Lois.... (More on them later) While we were enjoying our cup of wonderful coffee on board with them, the time sort of slipped away, and I ended up having our food ready an hour late for the Potluck. No worries Mon', the party went on til after midnight :-)

So, during our refreshing time on Petit Lois, the boys decided that they were going to each set up a booth to sell their wares at the potluck. (I am sorry that we forgot to get a picture :-( )The previous week, there had been a gentlemen selling garments from around the Guatemala region, who inspired them. They each had some shells, jewelry, and Drake was even selling fishing gear... Our dear friend Rose had sold each of them some sterling silver pieces for dirt cheap, for them to sell along the way to add funds to their sailing kitties. By the end of the night, they became very confident in their venture, each had their own shtick, and made about $20.00 each!! I am soooo proud of them for their entrepreneurial spirit.

~It's five o'clock somewhere~

Tim, the owner of a beautiful Catamaran that is also in the working boat yard, has a business doing karaoke at various engagements in the area. He decided to set up for the Potluck to add some excitement to the party. Little did he know that the Free Spirit Boys, were professionals at Weird Al Yancovich Karaoke.... WHAT FUN they had!! It was a blast, and they had the audience in stitches. I can't believe how much nerve they had, to get up in front of everyone and perform. I am humbled as well by the amount of compliments that we got on them in general. They have made themselves an accepted part of the boat yard community, and earned the respect of all. We are prouder of them than you can imagine.....

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 =