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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Thursday, March 13, 2008

~ On Our Way To The Big Blue ~

Leaving the dock and new friends in Labelle on our way to the big blue ocean.

Of course, looking back on our departure port we saw the looming squall line quickly approaching, so we set the ship up for rain!

Tamer, motoring ferociously down the river trying to beat the rain. We all ended up getting soaked to the bone!

Approaching our first swing bridge... It was very interesting because the bridge operator had to walk to the midway point of the bridge, and then operate the opening/closure from there. We were also really happy that Terri from Wahini, on her way across the bridge to head home, was stopped by our request to pass. She stood on the shore and waved us through the next bend in the river. What a great surprise!

Me, happily steering through the rain with my bare feet, while Mom prepared a fantastic lunch down below.

Shep, proudly raising the Alaska flag... No pirate flag today folks :-)

I found it utterly amazing that I looked soooooo calm, while Shep and Drake are in the background pretending to maim one another. Being on a boat with all boys eventually numbs you to all of this chaos.

Here we are at the Franklin Lock, tying up for the first time to dolphins. We needed to stay the night here to await the lock opening at 10am the next morning. It was a bit tricky, but each time we have to deal with something new in mild conditions, it makes us that more prepared for doing it in harsh ones. For all these experiences, we are super thankful!

Almost to Fort Myers; and although we had passed the power plant on the highway too many times to remember, the view from the water was way more exciting!

Drake the navigator :-)

This statue is in the river just east of the Fort Myers Yacht Basin. As soon as we passed under the last bridge before there, we had a real porpoise that followed us all the way to the dock. At one point, it looked directly out of the water into my eyes, and I KNEW we were going to have a safe journey.

Nana, sailing peacefully on the back deck.

~An interesting view~

We stopped at the Yacht Basin to get a little fuel, take showers, and do some provisioning. This is just before sunset, headed out to anchor for a couple of nights.

Safely hanging off 2 anchors, at sunset..... Although we are not quite to the Ocean, you can certainly smell the salt from here!

SV Wahini

Back in November, out at Glade's we had the pleasure of meeting the Thompson Family of SV Wahini. We started talking because we happened to have Free Spirit in the exact same place in the work yard that their steel boat Wahini had been for 18 months. Robert is a professional welder, Terrie is a chef and their only son still at home is a wonderful 8 year old named Robbie. We did not see them again until our first trip into Labelle back in January. They have since become good friends and have gone above and beyond to be kind to us. It was really nice to have some local friends to hang out with!

Here they decided one week-end while we were in town, to bring Wahini from Port Labelle into the city dock to clean her up a bit. They are in the process of figuring out when they will move aboard, and were very inspired by our journey. It is amazing to me how fast like minded people can become close friends.... It is great to share a dream :-)

Terrie working hard cleaning the topsides of her ship. I was outside applying epoxy to the newly built plywood deck boxes, so we talked between the boats as we worked. After she was done, she offered to help me, and learn a bit about epoxy/cabosil/micro balloon application.

Wahini is a Thomas Colvin design and I 'think' 60 feet overall. Here they are headed back to Port Labelle for storage until the next little journey.

When we left Labelle, Terrie happened to be waiting to cross the swing bridge headed home from Fort Myers. When she looked east down the river she spotted Free Spirit, got out of the car, and wished us well on our journey. Part of the journey that we are embarking on includes a sadness when we have to leave newfound friends. But the beauty of this is the fact that we will always have connections to places with memories of good friendship....

Thanks you guys, for all you time, effort and encouragement!! We cannot wait to share cocktails on the beach!!

All Work & No Play Makes Us Dull

We had been promising the boys a trip to Universal Studios as a reward for when the boat was launched. We waited for Nana to come in March, and we finally made true to that promise. Here are all the boys in front of a very unique plywood painted structure.

Blayde getting coached to be part of a 'real movie'. He had to jump off the stage, and then it was added into a 3 minute movie trailer that showed him jumping off of a mountain!

Shep, just taking a moment to sit and relax in one of the chairs from the set of Van Helsing.

This was the stage for the special effects show. It was one of the funnest parts of our 2 days spent between Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.

Here, a member of the audience shows us how easy it is to get your arm gashed open with a fake knife and a bladder of blood stored in the sleeve of the host. She ended up being quite freaked out by the whole thing!

My dearest Valin refused to humor me and join the other boys in a rare photo op with Shaggy and Scooby. I still feel that it would have been proper payback for all the Scooby Doo episodes I had to endure when they were little :-)

My ABSOLUTE favorite ride. It combines roller coaster, with 3D and 4D effects. We went on it more than any other ride!

If you are ever in need of a Super Hero, this is the place to be!!

Getting ready for our first roller coaster ride of the day. There were a few rides that Drake could not go on, so we tried to go on all the other fun ones, just for him. The first day that we were there, it was REALLY cold (about 50 degrees), and we did not go on any water rides. Even though the next day was a little warmer, we still froze our tushies off after riding them!

This just seemed 'wrong' to me.....

This is an aerial view from the strange little kids ride that went around the top of Dr. Suess land. I think that the kids would have enjoyed this area WAY more if they were younger. But it was very imaginative and colorful!

We figured that this may be the only opportunity for the crew of SV Free Spirit to practice 'saving us all from a killer shark!' :-)

Much to the boys' disappointment, the Simpson's ride was opening the next day. They all thought is was cool to at least get a picture to share with all of you!

~Another beautiful Florida sunset~

The Head And The Library Are Now Seperate :-)

The finished black water tank! Tamer designed, constructed and installed this system, and it works perfectly. Not that I would expect any differently from my amazing man!

The back wall of the head (bathroom) where the tank was about to be installed.

Installed and beautiful, it is one part of the boat that you really do not want to leak :-)

Getting things ready for the toilet to be installed!

It's almost ready!!!!!!!!!!!!

Shep getting the wall installed between the forward section of the bathroom, and the aft part of the library.

The side view.....

All we need now is the toilet seat! It was soooooo much better than the stinky port o potty!

The Dr Pepper water experiment.... We ordered these 15 gallon refurbished drums for our extra water tanks. 4 of them fit perfectly in the forward section of the library. The only side effect to this fantastic deal was that they had originally been used to carry Dr Pepper syrup. We don't really dislike Dr. Pepper, but I gotta tell you, water flavored a little bit like Dr. Pepper is horrible!

Strapped down and full of 'fresh' water..... After the 3rd fill, the flavor had pretty much gone away, thank goodness!

Goodbye Glades, Hello Labelle

The day we left the yard.... Bittersweet, to be sure! If you look carefully, you can see Margaret of Drummer, to the left of the tree taking departure pictures of us. I hate to say that we will never be back, but if we need to be I am thankful to have this safe harbor.

I bet there are very few of you that have been to a "Swamp Cabbage" festival?? We happened to take our voyage 'out west' to Labelle just in time for a week-end of crazy fun at this event. It started about 20 years ago as a way for the local stores to gather and show the people of Labelle what they had to offer. It has now turned into a very big celebration, and is visited by folks from all over the state. We had some wonderful neighbors at the City Dock, and they were nice enough to show me this huge pre-cooked batch of swamp cabbage.

The start of the parade!

This here rig differs a little from the rigs up here in Alaska :-)

These folks were advertising their races for later in the afternoon.... We were not able to make it, but I am sure there was fun to be had by all!!

Tamer decided to enter his bike in the Full Throttle Magazine's Bike Show..... Hmmmmm..... Believe it or not, I think his got more attention than the rest!! He is always a winner to me :-)

Tamer getting hammered by Drake's West Coast inflatable torture device.

Mom taking a day sail down to Port Labelle with her new friend that we met at the Labelle dock.

This GPS unit was given to us by a couple who have temporarily retired from sailing. The local residents of Labelle were wonderful to us! We will remember them all with fondness :-)

Another fantastic new friend brought us a bag of hand picked citrus every other day. We even had some when we left for the Dry Tortugas! Thanks so much for the thought!!

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 =