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!

Friday, May 02, 2008

The Dry Tortugas

Free Spirit, anchored in the Dry Tortugas, with a resting, non seasick crew! We left Fort Myers Beach on the 21st of March headed out for the Dry Tortugas, our first crossing. It took us about 26 hours from anchorage to anchorage, and we left at 2:30 pm. It is hard to express the vastness of being at sea. It was fun, scary, tiring, wet, exciting, educational and fantastic, sometimes all at the same time! We had 6 foot beam seas (which means that we had 6 foot waves hitting the middle section of the boat). It made for a really uncomfortable, hard to manage vessel. The whole crew suffered from severe seasickness, except that I managed to get away with only about 1/2 hour of it. The main thing that we learned on the trip was that it will be impossible for us to crew the boat with anything less than 3 adults. Although the boys are really hard workers, they lack the maturity to make split second decisions when at the helm. We had no real casualties, and nothing broke!!

A HUGE grouper swimming around under the boat. We had a old fisherman tell us that if you swim in the water with them, they will eat a whole arm at once! Of course after spending a little time with Mel, we realized that he just may be a little crazy :-) It was enough to make the boys at least a little nervous though!

We made new friends aboard the above vessel, Pilgrim. They were a wonderful family, and we really enjoyed spending time with them here. They live in Orlando, and have dreams of living aboard, but for now enjoy any time they can get away and sail. They had 4 children ages7, 10, 12 and 14. Their oldest was in was away on a mission to study sea turtles in Guyana, so we have not met her yet. We look forward to seeing them again, and spending more time getting to know one another.

Drake, getting ready to take the plunge, while on the lookout for man eating groupers :-)

Tamer and Shep rigged up Drake's trapeze bar so that they could swing off the boom into the water. GREAT FUN!

Shep, just hanging around....

~Our floating home~

View from the sea wall.

New anchorages, new birds, new boats and new experiences.

Just a little sea fan....

The Dream Is Coming True

One day while we were in Matanzas Pass, the boys went with Philip from Pilou exploring in the dinghy. The went up, around and inside the mangroves and did general exploring. They came back with excitement and lots of stories to tell!

Having to say "See ya later" is not always an easy thing to do. We have now met up with P'tit Louis again, but it was hard to leave them before we went to the Dry Tortugas.

On our way out of Matanzas Pass.

Pilou and her crew escorted us out of the channel and sailed with us for a couple of hours. It was a wonderful send off!

Making a little lunch on the back deck before we hit the Gulf of Mexico.


Beautiful Pilou under sail, with Philip lounging on the bow sprit.

Off the aft port side of the boat, she was gaining on us quite fast :-)

Tamer and I on night watch together at the helm.

Blayde, feeling a little, lot seasick.

Drake feeling a little bit seasick....

Valin, about to become extremely seasick because he is reading, inside his berth. 2 things that are highly recommended to beat seasickness are; 1. DO NOT attempt to read or focus to heavily on anything, 2. DO NOT stay inside the boat, but get fresh air and watch the horizon.

Blayde the next day, still not feeling so hot, listening to music on the aft deck.

AH HAH Valin!! Now this is better :-)

The day after leaving the Dry Tortugas, none of us were sick, and we had a fantastic day of sailing to Key West.... But that is another post!

It's The Little Things ~March~

The morning after our first night anchored in unprotected waters just off of Fort Myers Beach. We all managed to get a bit seasick that night... It was really rolling and we had some good sized waves. Here we are picking up Nathalie so that we could go provision and return a rental car.

Pilou, Stefan's boat... Anchored out next to us.

We decided to move into the mooring field at Matanzas Pass in between Fort Myers Beach and the mainland. This area is much more sheltered and made it possible to get a bit of work done before we headed 'out to sea' for the first time.
I ended up taking a couple of weeks and doing a quick refinishing of the decks, so that we could get at least one coat of non-skid down. It brought back vivid memories of the boat yard :-) Nothing is a quick project on a steel boat, and as I have written many times, it is always a multiple step process. First I had to sand and protect any exposed steel. Then it needed 2 coats of amerlock, and after sanding that down one full top coat of Rustoleum. Then, it had to be taped off, and a coat of non-skid material in Rustoleum had to be applied.

Painting away....

Pretty and shiny!

The starboard side before the final coats, I am applying the Amerlock.

Amerlock done!

Port side, before Amerlock.

Sanding, sanding and more sanding....

Shep, doing his part to prep the aft deck for Amerlock.

Somehow, I managed to not get any finished pictures except for this one. I ended up using about 500 feet of blue tape to tape off the areas that did not get non-skid. Here is the good news!! We are going to have to do this project all over again this summer. We really need to have 2 good coats of non-skid for safety reasons. We did not have the weather or time to get them on, so it will all be redone this Summer while we are holed up for hurricane season. I have also decided on a little bit different color scheme for the deck areas. I consider it a redecorating project.... With a 'twist' :-)

We are still working REALLY hard to get proper storage built inside the boat. This is a view of the library bookshelves and supporting wall shelves from the open cargo hold.

Tamer's ingenius idea to utilize the 4" wall between the library and the hallway to the focsul. It is a whole bunch of little cubbies that hold all his screws/nails/washers and misc. loose hardware. Now each shelf has a flip down door and it is all closed in.

Blayde working at the top of the mast in the bosun's chair, doing a very important job (although I cannot remember what it was right now). He is the most amazing rigging monkey!!

Just a cool shot!

Bunch Beach & Beyond

Nana exploring Bunch Beach at sunset.....

I hope to never bore you with pictures of sunsets over the ocean.

The boys, and Terrie's son Robbie, from Wahini played well after dark in the creature filled water.

I had to slip just one more in there :-)

Terrie, Mom and Gina having cocktails on the beach. Terrie had brought Robbie out to play and visit one more time. We ended up seeing them again, but it was really nice to be met on shore by friends!

Amazing sea life was abound on this beach... More so than any other place that we have visited. A local shell collector informed us that Bunch Beach was a protected area and there are something like 100,000 living creatures in every square yard of beach. You are also fined $500 if you remove any living thing from there. We of course, did not take any chances, but held and inspected many things we had never seen before.

Cool snail, huh??

Blasted! How did another one get in here???

Just a lit'l crab...

So, this is what happens when you "think" that you have gone to shore during low tide and you leave the dinghy. Apparently, the tide was going out, because we ended up having to carry it about 20 feet when we left. It's all fun and games, and noone got hurt!

Drakes first time jumping off the rail and into the ocean. All the boys had been waiting for what seemed like an eternity to do this.

Then Blayde....

then there was Valin, who wanted to test the water off of the swim ladder, before jumping in head first. Eventually, they were all swimming away!

Some very odd plant on Fort Myer's Beach.

This Momma was also on Fort Myer's beach, and we enjoyed watching her feed her babies.

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 =