Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Slow and Steady

Well, finally the mast is back on and so is the boom. We were a little delayed because the rack that holds the wind generators and two solar panels on the stearn wasn't made quite right and the end of the boom hit the the wind generators - so we ended up shortening it a little. Luckily, the new main sail was a little short along the boom so we could cut about six inches off the back, clearing the solar panels and wind generators while still being a good length for the sail. While it was a small job it took awhile and set us back a day.

We were hoping (though it wasn't too likely that we would be able to) to go out for a sail that day, but it didn't happen. Yesterday the boom went on and today we finished up putting the sails on. We had all been hoping to get out for a little sail today, but by the time we were ready to go it was low tide and just looking in the water we could see the keel was completely covered in mud.

I was really disappointed. Its been way too long since I've been out sailing with Wild Eyes! We are now scheduled to go out at ten tomorrow morning with Allen Blunt, the rigger, and Oliver, from UK Halsey. They are going to tune the rig and I'll hopefully get to go up the mast just to get a feel for what it will be like out of the marina. I'm really looking forward to it, since I'll have to get myself up the mast probably more than once on my trip. I'd like to try it out before I leave. It should be fun! :)

Well, I'm slightly exhausted from all that's been happening and I've still got some packing to do, so I'll let you all know how things go tomorrow!

Abby-- ~♥A♥~

PS There are some new photos on the web site photo gallery. Also, the 'Boat' page should be updated tonight with lots more info on my equipment and photos of Wild Eyes' insides.


  1. Hello Abby,
    this is my first comment on your blog. I have been following Jessica Watson (I'm an Aussie like Jessica), since she started her solo, unassisted circumnavigation from Sydney in October, and just a couple of days ago, started following Dilip Donde, who is also doing a solo circumnavigation, though he seems to be having just a few stops along the way. I look forward to following your progress and wish you well with your final preparations and your journey. You are indeed most courageous and most fortunate to be able to have your parents' support as you follow in your brother's footsteps ... or is that your brother's wake!

    Best wishes and trouble-free final preparations.

  2. Abby,
    I know that it must be frustrating to be so close and yet have so much to finish up. But taking care of all the details now is so important. Keep your patience, you'll be on your way before you know it. Have fun getting out on the water tomorrow.

    From Seattle, WA, USA

  3. Sweet Dreams tonight Abby. I like the website. Very classy.
    Many prayers for a safe trip from beginning to end. Have Fun,
    Kathy - Bend, OR

  4. 12-30-09 @02:34
    Hi Abby,
    Looks like a sailors work is never done. But I admire your tenacity to keep plugging along. Good for you.
    I'm glad everything worked out for you on the boom.
    I really feel for you, every day there seems to be a little setback, nothing major, but enough to wear on your nerves. Chin up and cheer up, you're getting closer and next thing you know you'll be out there.
    I hope that you'll get out there tomorrow and that everything goes smoothly for you.
    Be careful going up the mast and enjoy the view. LOL....
    Get yourself a good nights rest and try not to knock yourself out. Passage Weather shows good weather for the next week or so, so maybe you’ll get a little rest after you set sail. You’ll probably be so excited about being under way that you won’t want to rest. LOL…
    Take care Abby, you’re almost there.

    Good luck to you Abby, and may God bless and guide you.
    Michael(74)from Kingwood, WV

  5. Fun to see your extensive list of equipment.

    Would be interesting to hear how many sets of reef points you have in the main. Would think it would be 4 since I don't see a storm trysail listed in your inventory -- and perhaps ULDB boats like yours don't use such sails.

    Would any of Zac's sails fit on your boat?

    If the luff tape is the same size might be good to take along his storm jib in case you blow out a sail or two. (I realize that it isn't always blowing a storm out there . . . and Jessica so far is enjoying a cake walk toward Cape Horn -- even in the Ferocious 50s -- but if you did lose a sail or two up forwards during the trip, might be nice to have an extra one or two (though I realize that space and weight are big factors on your ultra light displacement boat.) Might also want to grab some extra jib sheets and other lines from his boat. Carry armloads of stuff off of his boat. He might not notice until after you shove off, and your boat is faster than his, so it isn't like he could catch you.

    You've got dual autopilots. My ignorance of speedy 2-rudder boats like yours is such that I'm curious whether both powerheads are used at the same time, or whether one is a spare and the 2nd rudder simply moves with whichever is connected to the the autopilot.

    Saw mention of ability to integrate with a wind vane. Would be interesting to hear if you'll be bolting a vane onto your transom.

    Was funny to hear you sawed off the end of the boom. Just not as much as I was lobbying for. ;-) Even if the boom could clear the upper runners like I was suggesting, realize the mid-position runners would still be in the way, but if you had enough beef in the rails there might have been a way to work around that. Oh well: You'll just have to make sure you don't do an accidental jybe. Mike Perham had a couple of accidental jybes, thanks to his whacky autopilot, and woke up with the boat sitting on its beam ends because the boom was caught by the running backs, but I'm sure you already read about that over and again from his blog.

    Reading the tea leaves (your Web site no longer mentions "unassisted") it sounds as if you're opting for the Panama Canal. If so, it seems as if it may be safer for you to round Cape Leeuwin after Cape of Good Hope rather than going through the potential pirate grounds that your brother travelled north of Australia and through the Torres Strait.

    Whichever path you take, you'll have plenty of folks watching and cheering you on.

    - Grant Fjermedal, Seattle

    Post Script: Pack lots of Duct Tape and nylon zip ties, and even more Duct Tape.

    Post Post Script: Borrow Zac's handheld GPS's as well.

  6. Hi Abby! Slow and steady one the race (tortoise and the hare)even though disappointed a job well done without major sail re cuts. Wild Eyes is going to look awesome with the eyes situated on the side of the hull.
    You women and your packing Wild Eyes will sail Without you :-):-)
    It appears 2 solo sailors will be rounding Cape Horn together with the Indian Navy sailor closing in on Jessica.
    All the best in the sea trials.
    Hervey Bay. Queensland.Au

  7. Take photos and videos.

    I like the web site photo gallery; was looking at it the other day.

  8. Thank you for this interesting update, Abby. Things are so often slower than our hopes! Not a real worry, as it is better to sort things out before leaving than once at sea, but for sure, it is full of little disappointments... and exhausting.
    One small suggestion would be not to "take off" exhausted... Get some real rest, even if it is only for one or two days, before sailing away...
    Good luck and be patient, for the works as for the sailing, patience is a necessary virtue.

  9. Thanks for the update given what must be a very hectic schedule.


    Don Stubbs
    Summerfield, NC, USA

  10. Bonjour Abby,

    Thank you for the update. Looking forward to the technical infos, specs and pictures!

    Happy New Year and Best Wishes to you and Wild Eyes, your family, your team and your followers!

    2010, certainly will be special!

    Keep safe.

  11. In just a few short hours from my posting this, you will finally be out on Wild Eyes for a little test, and up high on that mast! Thanks again for the update -- good to read that everything's progressing, even with little set-backs, still moving steadily forward. Best wishes on the sea today! Peace, Your Oklahoma Well-Wisher

  12. Great to see you getting ready. when are you going to do your test run, was it around the Channel Is? We're in SB so would love come out and watch you go by.

  13. Fans, fans, fans and more fans.

    Make sure you got a large diameter fan for the cabin, it's going to be swelltering hot in the tropics in that little cabin and you'll need to be moving air. Now's the time to test what or which one works best.

    Also you can prepare now, paper shades for all the porthole windows. Again you'll have blazing sun beating down and through the porthole windows, very simple paper shades covering them will keep some light and keep some heat out. Now's the time to prepare and make those :-)

  14. Hi Abby,
    With "wind generators and two solar panels" you could stay in the southern oceans for-ever, lol.

    That Aussie built yacht will absolutely fly around the roaring forties.
    As some people are beginning to realise,this is an entirely different and challenging way to tackle the round the world records.
    You have to think outside the square these days with all these technology tools at your finger-tips.
    I can't wait for the photo's on your Quest.

    Happy New Year ☺☺☺ Whoopeee ☺☺☺

  15. Can you let us all know if you still plan to go unassisted?
    I find it crazy you're opting for the Panama Canal.
    You only get one shot at becoming the youngest.

    Why take the easy way out so early in the trip?

    Have a great series of sea trials, take your time and get the boat right.

  16. I'm so excited for you Abby we're going to be praying for a safe journey.

    I love your personal pictures so much you have a wonderful eye. Keep sending pictures back from you trip and to try think about composition and lighting when you film. Picture taking is as important than words as they can reflect your emotions so well. I'm not sure about the other though they don't catch your passion.

  17. Yep, duct tape....rolls of that and Pop Tarts were the key to a Pacific Cup to Hawaii years ago.
    Glad to see even a few inches off the boom. Odd how things work out huh Grant?

    Steve in California

  18. Hi Abby just dropping in to say Happy New Year! Bet you are getting excited. x

  19. Steve in California makes a good point about taking along Pop Tarts.

    The weird chemistry of those things is such that if you were in need of fiberglass repair you could probably just add a catalyst to the Pop Tarts, and (with gloves) mush it into place. ;-)

    - Grant Fjermedal, Seattle

    Post Script: In addition to swiping the storm jib, some jib sheets, and extra GPS's from your brother's boat, what kind of sail repair stuff does he have? If you had room (a big if with your wee little rocket sled) I'd suggest taking along his main (sounds like he'll be either practicing his mountain climbing or diving into the art of motorcycle repair.) And for sure his foul weather gear. If you leave without a dodger you'll need all sorts of that stuff. ;-)

  20. 12-30-09 @03:42
    Hi Abby,
    Just in case I don't get a chance to send you another post, I want to take this moment to wish you and your beautiful family a Happy New Year and may all your wishes come true, for now and all thru 2010.
    Which ever way you decide to go I'm still with you 100%. Just go the way you feel is best for you. Remember, I once told you that you are the main person that you have to satisfy.
    Good luck to you on your shakedown, hope it goes well.
    Good luck to you Abby, and may God bless and guide you.
    Michael(74)from Kingwood, WV

  21. Dear Abby Folks,
    Grant is strung out
    on (Seattle) coffee!!!

    It's an Open 40 not
    a Westsail 32.
    I'm not reading your
    comments anymore, Grant.
    Maybe study a little about
    mainsail roach, please.
    It's a speed boat not
    a tug boat.
    Just relax and go
    visit Stan Boreson.
    Leave Abby to her own
    plans. Now I am having
    fun with this. You see
    I do read all your comments.
    It started with Zac's trip.
    Haha. I wonder if Abby
    takes your comments seriously --
    very funny!

  22. Happy New Year, Abby! May all your dreams come true!

    Blessings to you always,
    WA St.

  23. Puzzeled where the idea that we are going via the Canal comes from while we're frantically preparing to depart next week? What's the rush if going via the Canal. Latest news interview still says non-stop unassisted. Believe the news interview was from yesterday late in the day. Can't be correct. Even if so hope they installed high defintion on the one lock that didn't have it when Zac went through.

  24. @Mike
    I don't get how you can be so sarcastic about Grant's comments. All advices may be helpful, and he is quite competent. And let me tell you that a solo around the world sailing is definitely not a race, even with a rather fast boat. Being responsible is not a subject for fun. If you go and sail off by yourself, do as you like. Here, Abby is a teenager, and no one should feel entitled to push her to take any extra risk. At least no true supporter would.

  25. @Mike --

    Agreed, it is kind of funny all the stuff I'd like to jam onto that ultra-ultra light boat of Abby's.

    Part of this is just the fun of being an armchair adventurer, tossing out ideas. If something sounds good, grab it. If not, be happy that someone is bothering to read your blog.

    I did a Vic-Maui on a Santa Cruz 50 -- back when that was considered an ultra light displacement boat. But compared to an Open 40, the Cruz 50 is a battleship.

    It was on the Cruz 50 that I developed my dislike for running backstays. We didn't have any mishaps, but it sure added some steps to the mid-ocean jybing routine.

    To defend the idea of hacking off the boom and reducing the sail accordingly: Kind of a conservative idea, but back then she was talking about the trip being nonstop. I figured by reducing mainsail area you could reduce stress on the mast. And if you could get rid of the running backs: An accidental jybe might be less damaging. Remember Mike Perham waking up on bean-ends after an accidental jybe, and being thankful the wind wasn't blowing enough to send the boat mast-down.

    As far as taking along an extra sail or two: Still seems like a good idea. But only time will tell on that.

    And I've curmudged in favor of a non-electronic/non-electric self steering vane for the obvious reason: Salt water and electronics don't get along very well. And just look at the problems Mike Perham had with his autopilots.

    If Abby goes out there without a windvane steering mechanism, and loses her power or if the autopilots go whacky, then how will she steer the boat? In the old days you could rig a line to the tiller and cobble together self steering, but I'm sure that wouldn't work on an Open 40.

    As far as the doger goes. Seems like it would make for a more comfortable ride. But if Abby leaves town without one she should be able to pickup some foul weather gear manufacturers as sponsors.

    More recently Abby has downplayed the nonstop part of the voyage, and she has said that the Panama Canal is a possibility, so this might become a more forgiving journey.

    Still, it seems like she would want to be as self-sufficient as possible, which makes things like backup non-electrical steering vanes (even if her hotrod boat would only accept such steerage on a reach or on the wind) a good idea. And carrying along an extra storm jib doesn't seem like too hilarious of a suggestion.

    And I'll continue to believe that she would enjoy her voyage more if she had a dodger to protect her from getting doused by waves and rain.

    But . . . I also have a cast-iron wood burning stove aboard my Cal 2-30. The kids love it because it looks like a toy stove from the olden days. And in the rain and cold, it puts out a nice cheerful heat.

    That gives me an idea . . . Hey, Abby: Have you thought about installing a cast-iron stove?


    Wishing All a Happy New Year

    - Grant Fjermedal, Seattle

  26. Happy New Year, Abby! I wish you a wonderful adventure, and a beautiful journey around the world.
    Don't bother about the Horners and the Panamists,only three things actually count: 1) your personal challenge 2) your personal fun 3) you personal safety.
    All the blah-blah about records, race, speed etc are just off bounds.
    If anyone wants to sail solo, blindfolded and gagged, let him go by himself! It's YOUR life, YOUR boat, YOUR odyssey.
    YOU are the SKIPPER.
    And I know that you are a very wise and able one. I have no worry at all about your decisions.

    Again: All the best for a magnificent year 2010!

  27. RichieParis sure makes a lot of sense about not bothering with the debate between Horners and the Panamists.

    Whichever way the voyage takes you, let it be and enjoy it to the max.

    RichieParis provides three nice points to follow as well (Personal Challenge, Personal Fun, and Personal Safety).

    I'm off to a New Year's Eve with friends. My wife navigated the garage to unearth the wine cellar I kept before becoming a responsible married guy with kids. She came up with a nice old dusty 14-year-old bottle of Bourdeaux, and we'll also carry over a bottle of Pol Roger Champagne, which is the brand Winston Churchill is said to have favored.

    In the midst of such luxury and comfort will be thinking of Jessica who is already out there, and Abby who is preparing to set sail.

    Previously I'd mentioned that Jessica has had fairly nice weather so far (thanks in large part to great project planning and weather routing), but if you check her blog today you'll find she just survived her first Southern Ocean 40-knot gale in the Ferocious Fifties.

    Was fun to hear the excitement in her dispatch, the most mysterious part of which spoke of a dolphin who accompanied her for the worst 6 hours of the storm. Got to be some good karma to that. ;-)

    - Grant Fjermedal, Seattle

  28. 12-31-09 @ 22:08
    Hi Abby,
    For RichieParis:
    If you don't mind I'd like to second your comment. I have made similar suggestions to Abby and so I can only say I totally agree with you. She has only one person to answer to and satisfy, and that is herself.
    God Bless You Abby.
    Happy New Year to you all.
    Michael(74) from Kingwood, WV

  29. Hi, Abby.
    I have been following Jessica Watson's
    trip, daily checking on her.
    All the best for your adventure.
    You will have a lot of followers
    praying and cheering you on.
    Richard (QLD) Aus.