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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Friday, June 27, 2008

It's Always Something!

It's a good thing that this did not have to be explained to a boss!!
One of the risks associated with setting 2 anchors (which we pretty much always do), is that especially in the dark, you can easily get the 'set' anchor rode fouled in the prop. I did not completely understand this risk until it happened to us in Tavernier, and there were some choice words exclaimed from the helm and the bow at the same time!
The picture above shows where Raoul had to dive down, in the dark, and tie a rolling hitch from the black line to the anchor line. We had to do this so that we could manage the rode (anchor line) better and relieve some of the tension so that it could be un-fouled from around the propeller.

Finally we had it in our hot little hands!

Raoul taking a little breather, overcame some of his worst fears and dived down to do all the dark, creepy underwater work. (Diving in the dark, under a 25 ton ship, with fish nibbling at your toes and ears can be a tad unnerving.) Although we did have support from the whole crew, he was definitely the hero of the evening!

A few days later, P'tit Louis came to visit and tied their dinghy up to the regular stantion.... The wind was blowing quite hard, and much to our dismay it managed to completely break the stantion right above the deck. It turned out that it had not been welded, only tacked when we repaired it in the yard. Needless to say, all other repaired stanchions were meticulously checked, with no other problems found. It is a testament to the strength of steel that even thouh this one was welded on only about 1 / 20th ofthe way around, it still held for months, routinely bearing hundreds of pounds of loading, and only breaking when it was jerked hard enough to cause the whole 25 ton ship to lurch a bit.

The biggest challenge was figuring out how to weld it back in place, without damaging all the cables that were running through it, all the way up the mast! I went ahead and headed to town for my provisioning.... Of course, when I returned it was completely repaired and there were NO damaged cords. Once again..... My honey saved the day! We wrapped the wiring in a dct tape insulator to protect it from the red hot metal and keep it centered. Then we welded the stantion in increments cooling it between welds.

Once again, we had an unexpected problem... This one, like almost all the others that we have had, could not have happened at a better time. We had just (and I mean JUST), rafted up to P'tit Louis to watch the space shuttle launch, and we lost propulsion! The funny thing was that for about a week or so before this, I had been telling Tamer that there was a new weird sound coming from 'down there', when we were under power.

So here's Tamer replacing the bolts that had become completely sheared off in the shaft. And, oh yah, it was affirmed that the strange noise I was hearing was from this problem :-) We were really thankful that it happened after we were securely tied up to P'tit Louis. It could have been a bit more difficult if it had happened while we were underway in the Intracoastal, though we always kept an anchor hanging for just such an occasion.

Can anyone guess what the boys are doing here?? I will give you a hint: Some little boys on shore must do this to their family car....
Yes, you were right, they were cleaning our family dinghy by scraping all the barnacles off the bottom. I'm sure that you all knew as soon as you saw the picture :-)
Happy Washing!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, There Is Still Work To Be Done

Raoul, The Free Spirit 'Sailing Master', is back again! Unfortunately, I have very few pictures of Raoul hard at work on the ship. But please know that he has been very dedicated to making our ship not only safer on deck, but all of his meticulously done rope work is incredible! And although he has been knocked around the deck quite a bit, he is always on top of all the sail changes and anchoring. The boys have learned a lot from all of his knowledge, and his patience with them is awesome. Thanks for joining us in our journey, Raoul :-)

Finally, there is enclosed storage space in the head (bathroom).... The black water tank is in the cabinetry directly behind the toilet, and also holds all the medical kits. The shelving above is all the extra toiletries and such. Dave is constantly doing his best to make things easier for me to store, and the kids enjoy working with him on projects. Thanks Dave for helping me to get rid of boxes and tubs full of stuff :-)

The shelf.....

We have completely broken Smyth tradition, and put a door on the head! Some of our readers will really understand what a monumental occasion this really is :-) When the installation is completely finished, there will be a fantastic fold up antique sink in the big open space on the inside of the door. So, when the door is open and latched the sink can be used conveniently from the shop area. When is is closed, it can be used by the person using the head.

As a joke, Dave glued these luan cutouts to the outside of the door. I loved them so much because they reminded me of an Alaska outhouse, so we kept them.

We salvaged a fantastic bimini frame from Glade's before we left, and my dear husband installed it along with the 200 watts of solar panels. The bimini cover really needs to be redone, and offers absolutley no cover from the rain, but does provide shade for the helmsman.

Now that we have a 'Ship's Carpenter', many jobs that seemed daunting before, are now getting done! I would have to say that the thing that Tamer dislikes the most about working on the boat is carpentry. Dave does a great job at finishing our living space, and we are grateful to have him aboard.
Above, Tamer's workshop/Lathe area was a disaster before this project was started. We cleaned out everything from around the Lathe and the big project began.

Hard at work, rocking out as usual!

The new and improved shop area!

The shelves on the left are just that, shelves.... The ones on the right are actually removable trays that hold sorted hand tools. It was quite an undertaking to do this part of the project, due to the fact that every shelf had was a different size, shape, and had different angles. The are also built so that they cannot accidently slide out while we are underway.

Like the removable shelves, all 10 of these bins are all unique, can be removed one at a time. All in all it was a huge undertaking, and a job extremely well done! Thanks to Dave, Raoul does not have to sleep with 300 pounds of tools piled around him in the library :-)

We Are Finally Off! Wait, There Is Just One More Thing.....

Before we left Marathon, we had to retrieve our extra dinghy motor from Gina's rowing dinghy. Sooooo.... For those of you that follow the blog closely you may remember the 3rd world water fill post??
Tamer wanted to try a ship to ship retrieval, because it is always easier to learn and practice something, rather than have to do it under emergency or stressful conditions. He brought the boat as close to Gina's boat as possible, so that Blayde could jump off the bow sprit and remove the motor from the dinghy.

The Hand off!!!
After much circling, and a couple failed attempts to get the motor back on Free Spirit, we were ready to get Blayde back on board. I have learned that one of the ways that I deal with stressful situations, is to take lots of pictures, and pretend that there is no possibility of lost limbs or danger :-)

The pick up!!!
Dave propped himself up on the dolphin striker (petter), so that he could help Blayde get himself from the chain, up the cutwater, around the nets surrounding the bow sprit and back up onto the deck. Once again.....
It was all fun and games and NO ONE got hurt!!!

Under way, on our way to new harbors with our full crew aboard.

It's better To Say See Ya Later, Than To Say Goodbye

Thank you! It is hard to put all of feelings of pride, thankfulness and love into so few words. You must always remember that your participation in our journey, will never be forgotten. You made sacrifices and worked your tail off, but left us as a strong, confident young man on a mission of his own. You will always have a home here on Free Spirit!!

It is almost impossible to get a picture of all 3 boys smiling with one of them not looking like an alien from Pluto. Unless they are sleeping, of course :-)
The day before Shep had to leave we went out for one last sail. For him, as well as for our new sailing master, Raoul to get a quick days lesson on the workings of the rigging and sails from Shep.

We had all us Smyth's including Shep, Dave our ship's carpenter, Raoul the new sailing master, Gina the occasional activities coordinator, and the crew of Second Star, Jason and Josh. 11 of us altogether for an afternoon sail with some amazing snorkeling.

Shep's last project while the kids and I were in Alaska, was to rope work netting around the bow sprit. It was great that he and the boys got to enjoy the fruits of his labor on his last trip out. It is a wonderful place to relax, listen to the water rush by, and talk to the dolphins swimming and playing around in our bow wake.

You would never believe how hard it is to get decent pictures of dolphins. They play fast and furious, and I probably get 1 pictures for every 50 sightings.

Just taking a little snooze......

A few days before this sail, we had bought the boys and I snorkeling gear. Although I have a terrible claustrophobic fear of being under the water, I knew that I had to do it for them. Not only that, but we are going to be sailing to places where it would be a tragedy to not see the beauty of what lies beneath our keel. Blayde and Valin took to it like fish in water, but Drake had a harder time with the whole mask/snorkel idea. He did put on his fins and goggles to see some of the more exciting underwater creatures.

Blayde and Valin snorkeling away! Once I got in and overcame the initial hyperventilation, I had a wonderful time, and spent about an hour and a half exploring and taking pictures.

Just a little plant dancing in the current.

A few colorful fish amongst the reef.

Although the picture is a little cloudy, you can still clearly see that this is a 6 foot barracuda! The funny thing is that I was the only one left in the water, and everyone was telling me from the deck of the boat that there was a barracuda in the water. I figured that can't be that dangerous so I decided to swim over and take his picture. It was not until I got about 15 feet away and saw all of his sharp, jagged, nasty teeth that I quickly got to the swim ladder and joined everyone else for lunch.
It's all fun and games, and NO ONE got hurt :-)

We left just a few days after Shep did on the 21st of May, to head on our first jaunt North to Tavernier, FL. P'tit Louis had departed the day before, and we had heavy hearts leaving Gina and San Patresha behind. She will join us for some great cruising adventures this fall when we return to Florida before we head further south around November.

It is interesting that when you are on land with a car, life has a completely different prospective. The cruising prospective; It was going to take us a full day of sailing, an hour or more to find a suitable anchorage, and a 30 minute (wet, wet, wet) dighny ride to get to shore. The shore prospective; get in the car drive for a little lesss than an hour and you were are there! I point this out because when you are travelling by sea everything seems longer and harder, but at the same time it is slow and easy. You may have a few more hardships, but you have the time to enjoy and savor the experience that you are having at that moment of your life. You gain a much greater appreciation for your surroundings and the many, many things that landlubber's take for granted. More thoughts on this later.....

Back To Boat Life

A sight that I never though I would see a year ago! Our dearest friend Gina arrived on May 14th and moored next to us in the mooring field in Marathon, Florida. She bought her Tayana 37 at Glade's while she was there helping us get Free Spirit launched. One day she announced that she was going to buy and live on a boat, and this one came available just a few weeks later. Tamer and our mutual friend Margaret, along with her dog Cody, helped Gina get San Patresha from Fort Myers to Marathon. It was also at this moment that Tamer and I were reunited after the kids and I returned from Alaska on May 12th.
Happy Times!!!

The next day our wonderful friends from P'tit Louis also arrived from Fort Myers! We are getting close to having a fleet :-)

After P'tit Louis arrived, the kids had to jump in the water to swim over and get 'chocolate' from Nathalie! Here is Drake getting ready to head out....

All 3 on their way!
(Notice that Shep, Tamer and Dave decided to greet them with the dinghy.)

The dinghy full of Free Spirit crew, ready for another adventure!

Drake, asleep at the helm, must have been partied out from Shep's going away party on the 18th.

My sweet, strong, wonderful little boys, sleeping with a little fresh sea air on the cabin top...

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Home Will Always Be There

To our dear friends that we hold close to our hearts that we did not make it to see...... We will be sure to see you on our next journey home!

Above, we had a great, although short visit with our old friends the Botulinski's. The kids had not seen each other for about 4 years, and it was a wonderful afternoon reunion. We wish you well on all your future travels and endeavors!

Blayde and sweet Evelyn having a special moment... We so enjoyed seeing all your socks and shoes! I do not envy your parents when you are a teenager :-)

Our little Karen, who I was able to see come into this world, is such a beautiful, smart little lady! Tell your mom and dad that we can't wait to meet out on the water!

Here we have a collection of busy boys at Richard's 6th birthday party. I cannot believe that it was 6 years ago that you came into the world. What a smart young man you have become!

My amazing twin nieces.... Can you tell them apart??

What could be better for a going away party at Goldstream Park than; Friends, fire, fun and hot dogs??

There was still enough snow left for a little snowball fighting.

Drake and Max enjoy a little popsicle action, while Ramey and Annabelle slide on past.

The yard of my refuge..... My dear friends allowed me to take a break and stay at their new house with them for 2 weeks, without children or obligations. It was a well needed resting place, and I will be thankful for years to come.

~Twisted Birch~

My last night in Fairbanks, I vowed to see the sun set and the sun rise in the same waking time period.
This is the sun setting over the porch on Gilmore Trail at about 10:00 p.m.

Here is the sun rising off of the same porch, but about 45 degrees to the East of sunset at 3:45 a.m.

The start of a new day, brings new visions of the day ahead, and more adventures to come.

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 =