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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Monday, August 25, 2008

Everyone Should Read "The Rivah"! July 22nd - October 8th

Welcome to Urbanna, Virginia!! This was the first view that we had of Urbanna. We loved it here and I doubt that we could have found a community that was more welcoming and helpful. We have officially left a "footprint in Urbanna, Virginia".

Here is Blayde, off the deck as you can see, helping to raise the foresail. All the boys are really starting to understand the deck operations on the boat, and are readily becoming fantastic crew.

The way that we found Urbanna in the first place, was from a local magazine called 'The Rivah'. I was reading it one Sunday afternoon on the back deck of the boat, and found a whole section on a little town called "Urbanna". Of course, my first question was, where the heck is Urbanna?? So Tamer rode 38 miles round trip on his back to 'check out' the community and see if it would work for us. I do not think that there could have been a more perfect place! Tamer had to return to Alaska for 6 weeks for contract maintenance, and wanted us to be somewhere safe. The town marina at Upton Point was FANTASTIC!! We had a safe slip, water, electric, showers, laundry, wi-fi and a great staff there.

Here I am next to one of the trolley signs. The trolley runs until Labor day and costs only 25 cents to get where ever in town you need to go. We did not need to use it often though, because the pool, library, grocery store, coffee shop, video store, ice cream parlor, and favorite restaurant/social gathering place were all less than 7/10 of a mile from the marina.

A local church at sunset.....

The beautiful Miss Ann would come into Urbanna, and pass us at the dock every Saturday during their sunset cruise. She has recently been bought, and is out of touring commission.

The local miniature golf course and ice cream parlor provided some great entertainment the day before Daddy had to leave for Alaska on July 28th.

Hmmmmmm..... I think it should have gone in :-)

'The boys'

Blayde doing some work up the mast in the bosun's chair, shares his peace with the blog readers.

The epitome of The South! Garden & Gun was actually a very entertaining and informative magazine to read.

The Deltaville Experience 7-16/7-21

EEEW!! More jellyfish in the sea strainer! They clog up the filter, and the generator or engine using the seawater for cooling gets too hot.

Jellyfish frappe. Yummy! (but don't touch, it still can sting you!)

Jellyfish, frolicking happily, in search of a sea strainer to clog.... There were a lot of them in Deltaville - they call them sea nettles, I call them annoying!

A big one, on its way to someones intake.... Too bad you can't eat them, we could have stocked up for the year, no doubt.

Bottom job - once again, time to clean the barnacles off the dingy. This job usually falls to Blayde's work detail.

While we were anchored out in Fishing bay, just off Deltaville, we decided to do some of the more heavy work that might not be welcomed at the dock we were hoping to find there. A few cracks needed welding on the capstrip, and some unaddressed corrosion issues were found on the deck hardware as well.

ZAP! This is what I like about having a steel boat. Insta-fix, as good as new! (well, not quite that easy, but compared to wood or fiberglass, it is a cinch!)

This cleat was so badly corroded that it had to be cut off the deck to be repaired. I'm not sure how we missed this in the yard, but I guess we were bound to miss a few details on a project that size.

Here you can see the hole in the base of the cleat. We cut it off, and using the welder, applied layers of new metal to the old part to build it back up to it's original shape and strength.

A Half hour and 20 or so welding rods later, and wallah! like new. Now to weld it back on the deck...

...Which was easier said than done, because some of the welding had to be done from the dinghy, which was being buffeted by the chop and the occasional wake of inconsiderate boaters.

But in the end, the job yielded to the indomitable will of the ignorant, (they who either do not know or refuse to believe that a task cannot be completed) and the cleat was reattached.

... then Laura, painting in her nightshirt, adds her finishing touches - and one can scarcely detect that the job was ever done - or needed to be. Ah, the joy of steel!!!

Laura the lovely, sitting outside the 7-11 convenience store.... Luckily for us, they were having their grand reopening, complete with coupons for free drinks, slushies, hot dogs, doughnuts, and coffee. We scooped up far more than our share, and these coupons quickly became a hot trading commodity onboard. In the end, I think 7-11 supported our appetite for junk food for the better part of a week - gratis - and we still have many cupons left, which we shamlessly continue to use at other 7-11 stores, much to the consternation of the employees who know nothing of the promotion.

Do I feel guilty? Nope. 7-Eleven, Inc. is 65 percent owned by IYG Holding Company, which is in turn jointly owned by Ito-Yokado Co., Ltd. and Seven Eleven Japan. The latter is itself a 50.3 percent owned subsidiary of Ito-Yokado, which is a leading Japanese retailer. The result of all this you see, is that my mooching off the 7-11 dole is helping to balance the trade deficit, by keeping american dollars from flowing overseas. If only everyone was so civic minded!

Deltaville, like many other places we have been directed to, was wonderfully pleasant, but altogether inadequate for handling a boat our size unless we wanted to pay a premium price. It would be Ideal if we were under 40 feet, but at 65 overall, and 37GRT, we have the needs of a small ship when it comes to dockage.

Once again, we find that most sailors cannot apreciate how the needs of a boat our size might differ from those of smaller vessels, and I suppose I should have anticipated this.

If we had not needed to find a secure dock (I would be leaving the boat for a month), the anchoring was fine - but unfortunately, the marina that could accommodate us wanted to charge yacht prices for our workboat budget, and the other docks were either too dilapidated or too shoal to safely hold us during any kind of weather.

Fortunately, we found our next port, Urbanna, right away. By this time, I had begun to realize that the places where we were best served, and most welcomed, were old deepwater harbors. These harbors tended to have a stronger maritime tradition, better shelter, less shoaling, and a more embracing culture than their fishing village counterparts. The local culture seemed to intrinsically understand the needs of the sailor, and not just see every boat as a cash crop....it is like the difference between welcome to our town, and welcome home. The cultural divide is easily as dramatic as island vs. mainland culture, and now we were about to get our best example of it yet, but that is another story....

Everyone Said We HAD To Go To Deltaville.......

While in Great bridge, we talked to a lot of folks about what we were planning to do, and where best to do it. Almost everyone said "go to Deltaville, it will be perfect", so off we went! Here you can see through the bridge at Great Bridge, on our way to Deltaville. Because of the numerous bridge openings and traffic, we decided to make an intermediate stop at Willoughby Bay, on the way to the bay out Hampton Roads.

On our way out past Norfolk, we had the opportunity to see a lot of shipyards and related industry. Here is an old ship being scrapped - you can see the pile of steel that it is being converted to in this picture.... all that remains is the front 1/3 of the ship, still visible here. The steel will be recycled, perhaps into a new ship someday!

One of the many bridges that we passed through on the way to Chesapeake Bay. Usually, you just call the bridge on the radio, and they stop traffic and open for you. In high traffic areas they often open on a fixed schedule, making it important to time your run from bridge to bridge. Add to the mix the railroad bridges -which are normally open, but typically close 10-20 minutes prior to the passage of a train and remain closed for another 10-20 minutes after- and it can get interesting at times!

The view as we approached the two lift bridges, one of which is visible in the distance. Off to the left you can see a row of navy tenders, used to support other ships with supplies, workshops. They sometimes also provide a little unofficial r&r, especially for submariners - who always welcome the sight of their tender with its large compliment of female crew.....

The tenders, as we approached. You can see by their rippled skin that they have taken a beating on the stern, having been slapped around a bit in the heavy seas they encountered at various points along their journeys.

Another view of the tenders, showing their gracefully rounded sterns to good effect, a welcoming sight to many a navy man back from the sea!

The lift bridges. The operator rides up and down with the bridge in the little house in the middle of the span. The far one is up, and you can see the near one on its way...

....up, all the way for little Free Spirit to pass through.

And down again. Here you can see the pulley and cable mechanism at the top quite well.

We passed through many naval shipyards, this one putting the finishing touches on what looked like a new (or maybe refitted) aircraft carrier, if a small one. No smokestack means it is probably nuclear powered.

Some guided missile ships. Long and lean, you wouldn't even get to see these peek over the horizon if they were after you.

Another pair of imposing bows. Not what you want to be seeing, except at a dock!

Fishing for sharks, the navy way - in Willoughby Bay. We anchored here and had a sound nights sleep before the journey up the bay.

The sun sets on another days adventure for the crew of Free Spirit.

Intracoastal All The Way To Chesapeake, VA 7-8/7-14

There was a lot of this kind of scenery along the Alligator River canal....

We were extra careful not to go over 45, er, was that in knots or miles per hour?

Finally, we broke into some open water and hoisted the sails. The skipper (in blue) has obviously lost a bit of his cold Alaskan blood....

"Birdwatch", the new avian reality series features a lot of high drama moments such as this...

El sol Baha. Another beautiful sunset...

When the weather is light underway, the ships boys take any opportunity to break out a game, book, or other amusement. After all, boys will be boys, right?

Navigating up to Great Bridge was calm, if uneventful. Lots of time to relax, talk, and enjoy the moments.

Once we arrived in Great Bridge, near Chesapeake, VA, we had several days of dockside leisure to look forward to. Here the boys figure out how to use the cast net....

An Aha! moment... It really works!! (and not just for fishing!)
Great Bridge was an excellent place to stop. There are free docks, close shops, and great people. We even met some new friends, on S/V Crystal - I am sure that you will be hearing more about them in the months 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 =