Showing posts from April, 2014

Smooth Sailing

Author: Mark Date: Apr 27, 6pm MST Location: 07 45 S --- 123 39 W Conditions: 20-23kts @ 145T, 257T COG, 8 ? 9 kts SOG, 3m swell with 10s period We had a really good day today. Winds kept up to 15+kts which made us have a good sailing day with Parasailor. I spent a couple of hours working on additional tweaks to rigging and I am creating a 'How To' manual for Antares owners with Parasailor. Tricks we are learning has increased our boat speed close to a knot - which is significant. I'm much more satisfied now with our rigging changes. More on this later with photos, etc. Kids had a great day today. Their highlight was working with dad, gathering all the flying fish on deck so we can use them for bait. We then gutted the fish and created some fancy rigs, wings and all! They had a blast. Now we just need to land a darn fish. We had one on the new lure, but lost him tonight. Arg! Sarah and the rest of the crew are doing very well. Boat motion is excellen

Harken Hell

Author: Mark Date: Apr 26, 6pm MST Location: 07 11.87S --- 120 44.79W Conditions: 15-17kts @ 130T, 257T COG, 7.5kts SOG, 2m swell with 9s period Slight issue. We had two of our Harken cars come off the mainsail. After further investigation, the cars have a small Teflon like insert on either side to facilitate smooth motion up and down the track. Several of the cars had this piece come off, and one had both pieces off. This allowed the car to jiggle and wiggle, and wear down and eventually pop off. What does this mean? No mainsail until we get spare parts. We will most likely be able to rig it so we can use two reefs and spare a couple of cars on the mast. I will go up the mast and inspect the track to make sure there is not wear on the track itself from the chaffing of the cars with no insert. If there is damage, we'll need to replace a portion of the track. Not a big deal, if you have spare track lying around. We don't. Note to other Harken track boats, ge

Over the Hump

Author: Mark Date: Apr 25, 4pm MST Location: 06 56.57S --- 117 58.36W Conditions: 10-12kts @ 180T, 271T COG, 5.5kts SOG, 1.5m swell with 10s period We're over the hump! Yep, well over halfway to Fatu Hiva. We are currently on a really good run with the spinnaker. We are not sailing as fast as we would like (yes, I would buy the larger size Parasailor, and not our mid size) but it sure is comfortable. Comfort over speed is best. At least that is what Sarah says - grin. The kids celebrated by making special crowns for everyone to wear. We were required to wear this during our Argentine dinner last night - Milanesa prepared by Mali. It was great food, and everyone had fun. After dinner, the kids put on a dance show, with music as the adults sat around and watched. Fun for all, and yes, we are making a video of our trip - the dancing was hilarious. We've been skunked on fishing the last couple of days. Arg. Just as we got our leaders upgraded to high strength

Invisible Monster Fish

Author: Mark Date: Apr 24, 4am MST Location: 07 16.57S --- 114 05.20W Conditions: 10-12kts @ 180T, 288 COG, 5.5kts SOG, 2.5m swell with 10s period Yesterday was the best day yet. We are now flying the Parasailor spinnaker and made some course adjustments. The boat is settled and everyone is having a good time. I cleaned and organized all the fishing lures with help from Elizabeth. We soaked the rusted hooks in acid, sharpened all the lures and organized the boxes. It was great and Elizabeth was a big help. She LOVES to fish, and is always looking at lures and wanting to try new stuff. Its great to watch her get excited about fishing! :-) We landed two small tuna yesterday, and lost two other large fish. Overall we are doing fairly well on the fishing. My biggest complaint has been the invisible monster fish. We have lost four good lures that have snapped off on strike. We even had a steel leader get snapped almost instantly from a hit. Whatever the heck is rav

Time Flies

Author: Mark Date: Apr 22, 5pm MST Location: 07 21.48S --- 110 26.20W Conditions: 15-18kts @ 140T, 259 COG, 7.5kts SOG, 2.5-3m swell with 9s period I can't believe we have been at sea for over 9 days. It's going fast in most respects. We will reach the halfway point tomorrow. Yesterday was a good day. Elizabeth spotted a large sperm whale about 50 meters off our port side. It was beautiful. We've never seen a sperm whale, especially this close! WOW. It did not breach but it did put it?s head above the water and then dive, throwing it?s tail up in the air. It was also startling. You don't really want to ram into a whale at sea. They may win the "who's strongest" contest. Today has been a great day. It's mostly sunny and we are averaging about 7.3kts SOG at the moment. We have not caught any fish in the past two days. Arg. At least we have not been skunked as a couple of our other buddy boats (no, we're not naming names - gr

Happy Easter!

Author: Mark Date: Apr 20, 7pm MST Location: 07 03.90S --- 105 07.89W Conditions: 15-18kts @ 140T, 255 COG, 7.5kts SOG, 2.5-3m swell with 9s period Happy Easter! We had a very laid back day today on Field Trip. We celebrated Easter in the AM with the kids, read from the bible the story of the resurrection and had a good time. We caught a Mahi Mahi and had fish tonight for dinner. It was a good day! Keeping track of time onboard is more about the rhythm of our schedules. Time flies by. The kids check the schedule daily, and make sure nothing is missed. They remind us 'Today is Civilization game night' or 'Today we make brownies!'. It's safe to say they are enjoying the trip more than the adults. We are doing fine, they are doing great! Sarah is a little weary today. Sleep was a little rough the last night or two. We had some squalls and powered up to 13.6kts last night on a large wave. The boat once planing over 8kts has a small shudder sound

Autopilot Chaos

Author: Mark Date: Apr 19, 3:30am MST Location: 06 58.45S --- 100 47.58W Conditions: 13-15ts @ 140T, 255 COG, 6.5kts SOG, 2.5-3m swell with 9s period Yesterday was a heck of a day. It started at 9am - a loud alarm on the Furuno chartplotter. The autopilot was not working! At first, we thought it was a simple fix - a fuse. Nope. Second we thought it was due to moisture on the wiring harness in the starboard aft locker due to leaking water from the squalls. Nope. Third, we thought it was because four of the bolts fastening the Jefa autopilot motor to the gearbox had come off. Partially. To gain access to diagnose the problem required a lot of work. The water maker ETD has to be removed first, so I could crawl back and gain full access to the unit. Newer boats have an access door under the salon compartment. Our's was the first boat with the newer style electric autopilot, so we did not have that luxury. I was not looking forward to disassembling the water maker.

Wave Days

Author: Mark Date: Apr 18, 4am MST Location: 06 23.90S --- 98 27.80W Conditions: 12-15kts @ 135T, 5.8kts SOG, 2-2.5m swell with 9s period We are into day five of our journey, with about 12-13 days remaining. The last couple of days have been what Michael calls "Wave Days". This is the kids new lingo vs. say "Snow Days" when school is put on hold. It wasn't a terrible day for the swell, but mom and dad were feeling a little lazy so we decided not to have school and let the kids get settled into the boat routine. The kids got into the audio book Eragon, and spent about 5 hours listening intently to the story. It is narrated by a British guy. The first thing Elizabeth said when we started the book was "Is this the BBC?". Hilarious. For dinner last night we had BBQ chicken, baked beans, salad and broccoli. For desert it was fruitilla (strawberry) jello. After dinner it was "date night" for Sarah and Michael. They did a watch tog

Settling In

Author: Mark Date: Apr 16, 11am MST Location: 05 11.217S --- 94 20.656W Conditions: 15-18ts @ 100T, 8kts SOG, 2-3m swell with 9s period We've been sailing now for two days since our last post. Here's a quick update on how things are going, and what is happening aboard Field Trip. First, we are starting to get settled into our watch routine. It always takes a couple of days before this becomes more of a routine and our sleep schedules are adjusted. Sarah has the 6-9 (AM/PM), myself the 3-6, Carlos 12-3 and Mali 9-12. It's nice having four aboard. You get 9 hours of "down time" twice a day. That means lots of sleep (hopefully) and time with kids, reading, watching films or just talking. Last night we made carrot cake as our "special" event for the day. It was great. Sarah baked the cake with the kids and I made the cream cheese frosting. Eating well on a passage is important, it keeps the moral high, and the tummies fed. We had to h


Author: Mark Location: 01 54.45S --- 91 46.58W Conditions: 7-8kts @ 100T, 6kts SOG, 1.5-2m swell with 10s period It's all about schedules on a passage. On Field Trip we keep everything structured. It works great with the kids and crew. Everyone knows what to expect. We post activities, menus, and watch schedules . What makes it work? The kids get to look forward ?to the next day? and it makes time go by very quickly. Most importantly, the kids have fun. Every day is something to look forward to, and we make each activity a big deal. How has our first 24 hrs at sea been? Great. No one has been sick. Sea conditions so far are very good, even thought we have large swells, the periods are about 10s, which makes the motion decent. Not flat, but good. That?s it for now!

Preparing for Polynesia

Well, the time has come.  We are in the final provisioning stage for our trip to The Marquesas, and I am feeling a bit like this flamingo I saw the other day.  With news stories of a sailing family having to be rescued because of a sick child and another report of a ship that caught fire and had to be deserted by the crew, I just want to stick my head in the water and wait for us to get there.  Mentally, I know that accidents happen, and we have done all we could to prepare, but of course, my heart isn’t as easily convinced.  As I check off my list of things we need to buy, multivitamins, fresh eggs, bread, produce, dairy items, there is a shadow of nerves following me close behind me.  It tiptoes quietly into my thoughts while I stand in front of the grocery store coolers deciphering cheeses, causing my heart to beat a bit faster and a fluttering ache in my stomach.  I take a deep breath, say a prayer, and move on, deciding not to let the what-ifs take over.   Throughout this e

Drifting to Darwinland

Our sail to the Galapagos Islands from Las Perlas Islands of Panama, would be good practice for the upcoming three-week trek across the Pacific.  How would the kids do?   What would the weather be like?   How would the watch schedule work out?   How long would our fresh produce last?   We would be on board for at least 8 days, given the light wind conditions and distance of 980 NM.   It is the longest trip that the kids and I have taken on board, double the time it took us to go from Bermuda to Newport, RI.   To prepare for the trip, I pre-cooked some pasta and made some chili.  Mark went for a swim around the bottom of the boat to thoroughly de-barnacle the hulls.  Turns out, the Galapagos officials are very strict about the cleanliness of the boats, and actually have divers inspect the bottom to ensure no harmful species are introduced.  They also require a fumigation certificate, functioning holding tanks, and allow no plants (in soil) or citrus fruits to be on board