Saturday, February 27, 2010

Tsunami & Photos

From the bow of Wild Eyes

From the cockpit

Today I called home in the morning as usual but this time everyone sounded more than a little worried. While I was talking to my mom, my dad was on the phone with the Coast Guard. They Had recevied a lot of calls from people who were worried about the tsunami. They were calling to check my position to see if I was in any danger. They were pretty concerned and said that I was right in the middle of where they were expecting the tsunami to go. The guys at Commander's Weather assured us that I would not be in any danger but it was a good reason to just go over everything on the boat since the boat is not heeled over as much as she was earlier this week.

I went over the boat and made sure everything was ready just in case, but in the end, I didn't even get a big swell. I am almost three thousand miles off shore so it wasn't very likely for me to have felt anything at all. With the tsunami behind me now, my main worries are my genoa that's chafing on the pull pit. But even that isn't a serious problem. All I need to do is pull out my sail repair kit and put a patch on it.

Other than that every thing is going extremely well out here. Last night my wind started to die down quite a bit, and I was starting to get a little worried but it picked right back up this morning. The wind has shifted around more from the east, so I'm at a very comfortable point of sail and making great time!
So I'll be keeping Chile in my prayers and also praying that the tsunami doesn't do too much damage where ever it does hit.

A miniature flying fish. This is for the blogger that was curious about my visitors :)

Abby & WIld Eyes OK

Hi All,
Getting a lot of calls and emails about Abby and her safety in light of the massive earthquake in Chile. She is well and has not experienced anything out of the ordinary. Her current position is 16 19S and 123 26W heading south at 6.5-7 knots. Winds are light out of the NE.

The ocean depth is so great where she is there is very little chance that she will experience even an unusual swell. The effects of a Tsunami are felt when the wave action reaches shallow coastal waters. In fact being near the Southern California coast, we may be in more danger than her!

It was a bit alarming waking up to concerned calls from the Coast Guard but we do appreciate all of your concerns. Abby will blog later on today and will be checking in more frequently today in light of the situation.

Our prayers are with those who have been effected by this catastrophic earthquake in Chile.

Team Abby

Thursday, February 25, 2010

How Wild Eyes Got her Name, etc

I've finally got some nice steady wind! The past few days I have had about 15 to 20 knots of wind (nautical miles per hour). Being close hauled, it hasn't been all that comfortable as the boat really heels over, but the wind is starting to shift more to the east so I'll be on a more comfortable beam reach then.

I must have gone through a school of flying fish last night. I went up on deck this morning as usual to go over everything and there were flying fish everywhere!! They're all pretty small, the biggest one was only three inches long! And they wedge themselves in everywhere!

One nice thing about being close hauled is that the wind hits my wind generators with it's full force so that they are really starting to help out - they need a good 10-15 knots over the blades to really charge well. For the past few days I haven't had to run my engine at all to charge the batteries. Its really nice not having to worry about my power so much as I used to.

Its already starting to cool down a bit. It didn't get above 88 today, which may not seem like a big deal but it was pretty nice. Maybe its just me getting used to the heat. It's been pretty wet up top lately so I've been spending more time down below. I was all nice and dry today and just running out side real quick to do the dishes. I had finished everything up, still nice and dry, I was just on my way inside when a great big wave crashed over the top of us and soaked me!!

That, by the way, is how Wild Eyes got her name. When we were in Rhode Island picking up Wild Eyes. the previous owner explained to us how she actually came to get that name. When a great big wave breaks over the top of the boat and soaks you, what does your face look like? Most people come up with some pretty interesting ideas of how she came to be named Wild Eyes, but once the name is explained, it is really a very fitting name for an Open 40!


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Getting Wind

I've finally got some good wind. I'm close hauled with about 15kts out of the SE. I've had to go a little farther west then I would have liked but the wind should be shifting around soon, coming more from the east so I'll be able to head directly south. Its a bit bumpy out today. Wild Eyes is plowing along and doing great!

Its too hot to stay down below for too long, so I'm sitting up in the cockpit typing this, but every now and then a big wave crashes over the boat which is not making this very easy for me!

Yesterday I found that something bit the lure off the line I've had out. The more I thought about what it was that did it, the less I felt the need to jump in and go for a swim...

It's really very nice out today. If it was maybe 20 degrees cooler it would be just about perfect! But the cold is coming and in a few weeks I'll most likely be wishing I was back here in the heat!


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Over the Line

I crossed the equator at about 3 yesterday!!

It's really exciting to have finished the first leg of my trip, even if it is a small one... on to the Horn!! The equator itself isn't the most exciting thing in the world. There is no line through the middle of the world or anything, in fact, the southern side of the world is very much like the northern side!

I was a little worried that I would end up crossing the equator twice in one day! I had hardly any wind getting across. About a mile over the equator the wind died completely and all I had was a current pushing me backwards!

The wind has picked up a little now. I'm not racing along or anything but I'm moving and the wind should be picking up more soon. I think crossing the equator once a day is plenty and I'm glad I didn't have to do it again!

It looks like its going to be another warm day today. At 7 this morning and it was already 90 degrees out!!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Abby the Shellback

Just a note to let you all know that Abby officially crossed the equator at 3:00 this afternoon. She will blog tomorrow and let you all know how it went. She was busy trying to catch up on some sleep!
Team Abby

Inching My Way to the Equator & Photos

Sitting in the cockpit at sunset.

Sunset in the doldrums

I had planned on crossing the equator yesterday. But the weather had other plans. Right now I have hardly any wind and the little bit that there is is coming from the south, so it has been pretty slow going.

I am 6 miles away from the equator, so I should be crossing it pretty soon! I've been pretty busy out here lately. I ran my watermaker for the first time yesterday. The water that was coming out, though not salty, tasted and smelled horrible. Due to the heat here, the little life forms that live in salt water had died and begun to really smell! I had to clean out the pre-filter, run it for a little while, and then it was working nicely again!

I also needed to change my fuel filters as they had gotten pretty dirty. So after a lot of crawling around under the cockpit in the very back of the boat she is running strong which is good, because when there isn't enough wind or sun for my wind generators and solar panels that is how I charge the batteries.

Boiling hot and covered in diesel, but things are ship shape around here and I'm headed in the right direction , so all is good out here!

I'll let you all know once I've crossed the equator!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Skype and Wind!

Today has been a really good day. It started out much like all the others, 90 degrees while pouring rain and rolling around not going anywhere. I'm officially in the doldrums, and they are not fun. But today the wind picked up to 20 - 30 kts and it made today one of the best I've had in awhile!

I also got to do a Skype call with the family! It was really great to see them all again. Little Ben was sleeping, and a few of the others weren't around, but it was good to see Katherine and have Zac there to tease me. We're working on recording some video so I can do a video blog, so I should be able to get something up here soon.

The past two days I have hardly made any progress. Luckily, the dead patch is really small, only about 100 miles long. I've got some great wind now, but I'm not sure I'm out of the area with no wind. The wind often picks up for a few minutes here and there, this time its lasted quite a bit longer then usual, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed and hoping to doesn't die down.

It's been so hot recently that I'm really looking forward to getting down into colder weather. Of course, I'll probably be wishing that I was back up here in the heat once I'm down in the southern ocean! I think I'm safe from the squid now. I haven't had any more in a few days and I don't get so many flying fish either. I have seen a few birds around and was really surprised to see them so far offshore!


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!! It's quite a nice day out today as long as I stay outside. Down below is pretty miserable but outside there is a nice breeze so it isn't as bad. I was getting really hot earlier today so I dumped a bucket of salt water over my head... it was much colder than I had expected!

I have been making good progress the past few days and I'm actually ahead of my updated schedule now. I haven't discovered any jumping spiders so far, so I'm still very much single handing, except for the occasional flying fish. But seeing as fish don't have hands, I may not be completely alone but am still single handing! I've been able to make about 170 - 180 miles a day so I should be down at the equator soon! I have to think of something to do once I get there!

There isn't a whole lot of wind right now, but Wild Eyes is moving along nicely. I slept outside last night. It was so nice compared to being down below and the cockpit floor was even more comfortable than my bed! I would have slept very well if I hadn't been so worried that a flying fish or squid would land on me. It was really very worrying because the squid and fish keep seeming to land around the same spot, which was entirely too close to where my head was!

Hope you're all having a good Valentines Day back home!

Babsy :)

Friday, February 12, 2010

A Fish and Some Sun

I didn't get my 50 knots Wednesday night. I did get some nice wind, getting all the way up to 35 knots. Nothing that big, but that is the strongest wind I've had since I've been out here and it was very nice to have! The swells have been pretty big. Today they're not so big, but Wild Eyes and I have been having a lot of fun surfing out here except for the occasional wave crashing over the whole boat.

I haven't had any luck with my fishing so far, but I have caught a fish! It is a flying fish about one inch long... nothing too impressive...

The sun came out today and it was a very nice change from all the clouds. It was nice to have my solar panels charging rather then running my engine. But now its all cloudy again and just starting to rain. Eeven with all the clouds and rain, it has been incredibly hot, especially down below. I have had to spend most of the day outside, at least the water is still cool... I'm not looking forward to getting closer to the equator where even the water is hot!

Looks like I'll be experiencing the doldrums sooner rather than later. The area of no wind is stretching as of right now from 12 30N to about 7N. Once I get south of 7N I should be able to pick up the Southeast tradewinds and sail pretty nicely from there. From there we will be close hauled trying to sail in the SE winds and make my way towards the Horn. I will not be getting near the coast of South America because the winds are contrary and there is a high pressure system off the coast there.

For now all is good on board. I'll get to some video uploading soon now that things should be calming down a bit and also to answering more of your questions.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Rain and More Squid

There hasn't been a lot of excitement out here since my leaving Cabo san Lucas. The first few days where nice and sunny, but then it started to rain and its been pouring ever since. I've had a lot of squally conditions. Nothing too big or bad, but enough to keep me from getting much sleep at night with the frequent sail changes.

There is a low pressure system not far to the south of me that I have been trying to avoid by passing it to the west. I found out this morning that there's another boat about 300 miles ahead of me that is hove to getting smashed with 50 knots. There's a possibility I could get into it some time tonight. I might not, but just in case I went over the boat to make sure everything is ready, so now I've just got to wait.

I've had a few more squid that have decided to join me on my trip recently which I thought was a bit weird as I hadn't seen any the last few days before getting to Cabo. Other than the occasional squid I haven't had a whole lot of interesting wild life. I did see dolphins pretty often while I was close to Marina del Rey and I did see a few whales far off the day I pulled into Cabo but that's about it for wild life.

So far today I've had pretty steady, light wind, so I was finally able to catch up on my sleep. Speaking of sleep, I am going to go try to get some...


Monday, February 8, 2010

A Blog From Dad

G'day All,

Thank you all very much for your encouraging words and support for Abby and the team. During the last week of prep in Marina del Rey there were many challenges that were overcome by the team and Abby. What compounded the issues was the weather. You've all heard the song that it never rains in Southern California - it's just not true. During that last week of prep we had torrential rain every day and the barometric reading had dropped to its lowest reading on record at LAX Airport which is just down the road.

Thanks to some very dedicated people, the depature was able to go ahead as scheduled. It was a fresh day in Southern CA but the sun was shinning which was a big plus. There were very light winds with a nice swell running. Our friends at the Del Rey Yacht Club were happy to host the event. A big THANK YOU to all of them.

After the press conference, it was time to say our goodbyes and see Abby off. There was a nice flotilla of boats to see Abby off along with the Sheriff, Bay Watch, Coast Guard and Fire Department whose presence added to the jubilant occasion. The light winds were a little frustrating for Abby, but did allow her to settle into her routine at sea gradually. It was a proud and emotionally charged moment for me looking at my confident, young daughter take control as captain of Wild Eyes and to embark on a quest and goal that she had set herself.

Having her be led out to sea by her older brother Zac, who completed his own solo circumnavigation seven months prior and becoming the youngest man and first under eighteen to solo circumnavigate the world was just awesome. Zac was very excited for Abby and was a wealth of information as they often would talk long into the night about the challenges she would be faced with.

Abby settled in well to her life on the ocean, establishing a sensible sleep pattern for the different areas she was to pass, operating the equipment on board, setting up parameters on the radar and AIS, checking twice daily for weather updates and news and to report any trouble with equipment. As Abby made her way south, she encountered technical issues with some of her charging systems and some of the wind instruments were giving inconsistent readings.

This was compounded by intermittent problems with other equipment. Abby, although frustrated with the issues so soon in her trip, took action, calling the various members of the technical team, performing various tests and remedied many of the problems. Numerous times before Abby left we discussed the possibility of equipment failure and issues.

Although Abby had sea trialed Wild Eyes after her refit, the team would have liked to have seen extensive sea trials which time did not permit for meeting her weather windows. We knew we had the option to bring Abby into Cabo san Lucus to critique equipment, increase battery capacity, add fuel for charging, and finalize any equipment alterations that might be needed. Although having received some criticism for this, the extensive, local sea trials would not have revealed the issues that the 1350 nautical mile trip did. The technical team are second to none and should not be doubted.

The trip to Cabo was incredible. As with Zac's trip, the help and generosity of locals was unbelievable. As if there had been a divine hand in it, doors would open and what would seem impossible would be taken care off. Our initial problem was getting two very large batteries along with other equipment into Cabo and through customs. Pilot, Bill Bennett offered his plane and services to fly them to Cabo but Bill did much more than that. Not only did he fly the equipment and myself in his Buccaneer, he also worked hard on Wild Eyes once we were there.

We often worked 18-20 hr days. It was not easy to maintain the pace but the team worked with relentless passion to get Abby back on the ocean. Bill also took some incredible pictures which you have enjoyed here on the blog. Then there was Chris, who was renamed St. Christopher. We met Chris at the Harbor Master's office before Abby arrived keen to help. He directed us to everything we needed and took us out to meet Abby just off Cabo Falso in the 64ft Bertram that he manages. He also took us to see Abby off on her departure. His words would echo in my head, "What next, I'm here to help". He would show up at times with coffee, lunch or dinner as we plunged ourselves into the project at hand regardless of mealtimes. He also went to the top of the mast, something I personally would rather not do. He plunged in and replaced some of the problematic water ballast hoses then placed tissues under the connections to assure that they did not leak.

Then there was Scott and Jeff from Team Abby Marina del Rey, solid as a rock on the technical end, who flew down and matched hour for hour. They complimented each other amazingly well as they troubleshot and carefully executed the integrated electrical repairs/upgrades.

Ted from Magnetic Entertainment carefully documented all the work and interactions along with Bert Rudman from Good Morning America. The local Marina, IGY, provided a little apartment above the Marina office for Abby and I to stay in so we could be close to the boat. Their hospitality was royal and much appreciated. The Hotel Mar de Cortez provided rooms for the crew. Ted provided a rather huge chocolate cake. How he managed to come by this cake still remains a mystery!It was great to see Abby in Cabo.

Although she would have much rather kept on going south, she realized the importance of her brief stay in Cabo. She was in good spirits, not fazed by what she had just accomplished or what lay ahead, but more focused than ever.

There was a nice flotilla in Cabo to see Abby off, along with the port captain and local boat captains. Abby was also pleased to receive a specially crafted line for fishing from Kevin. Abby found time to conduct local radio, newspaper and TV interviews both national and international.

As Abby made her way out of the harbor, a rather proud team Abby looked on from the Bertram hosted by St. Christopher. Winds were light, but for anyone that has had the pleasure of sailing in this area, Cabo Falso can whip up a stiff breeze rather quickly which is exactly what happened. Once out of the harbor, Wild Eyes went from no breeze to 15 knots and building and she took off. It took a little while for Wild Eyes to find her stride and settle into the groove.

Later that afternoon, Bill and I flew out along Abby's waypoint line and found her flying along sitting in the groove. With a reef in the main sail and stay sail out and the sun setting, Bill turned the Buccaneer back to the San Jose del Cabo airport. I looked back one more time, satisfied and so excited. This was one of those rare points in life when the English language does not have words for what I was feeling.

I gave thanks to my Maker and while Bill climbed to altitude to head back I was once again humbled by the generosity of so many people, the answered prayers and the commitment of the team.


Laurence aka Dad

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Back at Sea

I'm back out on the ocean and happy to be here. I was really beginning to miss it! I left Cabo around 10:00am on Saturday. Things are going really well now. I'm on a nice beam reach and making great speed. I've had good wind all day and I should be able to make up for lost time quickly if it keeps up.

Cabo san Lucas was a lot of fun even though there was a lot of work and everyone was working hard. The people there were all great and I'm looking forward to getting back there in six months. Thanks to Capt Chris, Capt Kevin, and Capt Dave Ive got a good fishing line now and I'm hoping to catch something soon!

Having my AIS working has been great even though its not a vital piece of equipment and I could just use my radar for spotting ships. It does make things quite a bit easier. I spent last night in a pretty heavy shipping area but didn't have a ship come within 3 miles of me all night long.

It's been a lot easier getting settled in this time than it was when I left Marina del Rey. Leaving was a lot easier and after being out one day I'm pretty much all settled in. This whole side track has been a good experience; all the way from dancing around a restaurant with the party host, who happened to be a Mexican guy in a funny suit, to all our new friends, to the hours spent up the mast and in the hold working.

Even though it wasn't intended that way, I'm looking on the past as a sea trial. I found a few problems, and now they're fixed.

This time, I'm ready for the world!


Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Note From Cabo Team Abby

After Abby having a great shakedown cruise to Cabo, here is what we accomplished over the last 3 days with much help from Jeff, Pilot Bill, Myself, Abby's father Laurence, Cabo Captain Chris, many cabo locals, and Abby herself. A special thanks to Enrique, Norma, and especially Augusto of IGY Marina Cabo San Lucas for a warm welcome in which they went out of their way to make our stay short and sweet.

Repaired faulty plug for wind instruments at top of mast
Installed loud radar alarm to warn Abby when ships or boats are close
Repaired Faulty GPS antenna cable on AIS system to warn other ships or boats of her position, speed, and course
Interfaced AIS watchmate to AIS transponder so power could be conserved by not running raymarine chart plotter to see AIS traffic
Installed loud AIS alarm to warn Abby of close AIS traffic,
Relocated one autopilot fluid reservoir
Repaired ballast water plumbing leak in cabin
Adjusted shaft log
Reworked some alternator brackets
Derated one of the high output alternators to reduce belt wear
Installed two additional battery boxes and batteries (she now has 885 AH of battery storage) Loaded an additional 70 gal of diesel fuel for a total of 130 gal to use for engine charging and diesel heat
and several other things I can not remember now since 4 of us each spent over 50 hours working on Wild Eyes over the past 3 days.

It is now all in Abby and Wild Eyes' hands. Abby will now depart Saturday morning and I am looking forward to seeing her in her next port of call, Cabo, after sailing the worlds' oceans.

Good Luck Abby,

Scott Team Abby

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Photos of Abby's Arrival in Cabo

Photos of Abby's arrival in Cabo san Lucas - Many thanks to Ted Caloroso!


February 3, 2010 Cabo san Lucas, Mexico
I'm sitting here in our hotel room with no Internet connection. I've been trying to get a blog up but I can't seem to find anywhere to get online here. I'll probably have to send this from my boat tomorrow.

Everything went really well getting in here at Cabo. I got in Tuesday afternoon in the pouring rain. The past three days I had been living in swimming suits because it was so hot! I was a pretty funny sight coming in bare foot in my foul weather jacket and board shorts! It was good to finally get in here. My dad and the guys that came out from my team came out and met me while I was out a few miles. Everybody here has been so helpful. The guys had planned on coming out in a little panga to meet me but a local boat owner here, Chris, heard that I was headed in and offered to come out in his big power boat with my dad and the team to guide me in. Since then, Chris has offered to do whatever he can to help. Everyone that hears about what has happened and what I'm doing here seems to be so excited and eager to help out.

The work on the boat is going as well as can be expected. We couldn't get a whole lot done on Tuesday because it was getting late and raining pretty hard, but six o'clock this morning we were all hard at work and luckily the weather has been sunny and warm all day!

I met another young sailor today, Emily, and it has been really great hanging out with her a little. So few younger people sail and even less girls do. Its nice to get to know people who are doing similar things and talking to someone who knows what it is like.

The dock master of the marina was very excited to have us here and is letting us stay in an apartment over the office so we can be closer to the marina. Instead of making the two hour row out to the far end of the anchorage Emily is staying with us tonight. There are a ton of good pictures! I've just got to find someplace to send them from. I will send them as soon as I can!


Monday, February 1, 2010

Ask Abby

Hey everyone!
Things have been going well today. I've had some nice wind for a good part of today though its just starting to die down. I got a bit of a shock last night. I saw a ship for the first time in at least four or five days! I just saw it on my AIS and it was 86 miles away, but still, I guess I'll be seeing a lot more now that I'm close to shore.

I should be into Cabo sometime tomorrow afternoon. From the comments it looks like there is a bit of confusion as to how this affects my attempt. I'm not going to be a non-stop stopper. One of the rules of a circumnavigation is that you have to cross the equator twice and since I'm north of the equator still, I can just re-start from Cabo. This will mean that my voyage will officially end back in Cabo.

Also, with the timing and weather windows and all that we had been concerned, but with my weather router's guidance we will take each leg one leg at a time. I almost certainly won't go south of New Zealand but will go north via the Tasman Sea.

My mom sent me a list of questions from you guys, so I'll do my best to answer a few of them.

1. How do I wash my clothes?
I don't get to wash my clothes very often, but when I do I do it in a bucket.

2. Do I use Sailmail?
I don't use Sailmail. Sailmail goes through the Single Side Band high frequency radio. The coverage for that system isn't very reliable in the southern ocean. I have Inmarsat through my Thrane & Thrane Sailor 250 unit. That is how I get online, write blogs, check email, and all that.

3. How do you carry enough water?
I have a thirty gallon water tank and a water maker so I can fill my tank whenever I need to.

4. What kind of cameras do you have on board?
Most of my cameras were sponsored by Gopro. They're really awesome little things and we have them set up in water proof cases. They are also called point of view cameras becasue you can put them on your head or your chest and film what you are doing while you are doing it. I also have a Canon video camera (thanks to Samy's Camera) that isn't mounted for video blogs and pictures.

5. How do I keep from falling over board?
I wear a harness whenever I'm on deck and if I were to fall off, Alan Blunt, the rigger that was working on Wild Eyes, set up a system for me to get back on board. If for some reason that didn't work I have a hand held epirb (or PLB) that I keep with me all the time when I'm outside. This was loaned to me by Dr Daniel Chen from Microwave Monolithics. Check out his link on my Sponosr's page. His design of PLB (personal locator beacon) is used by a lot of government officials because they are so powerful and reliable.

6. What kind of music do I have on board?
I have 50 gbs of music on my ipod, so there's a little of every thing.

7. Who is the little girl in the picture on my nav station? (the picture is on my Facebook for anyone who hasn't seen it yet)
She's my little sister Katherine. I was thinking of bringing her with me... but I don't think she would have liked being in my little boat for so long :)

8. Do I have an anchor?
Yes, I have two anchors. You never know when you might need one!

I think that answers just about everything for now, but please feel free to ask anything and see the Ask Abby page on my web site for more answers to other questions.

I'm still working on figuring out my cameras but I'll try and get some pictures on the blog soon, maybe some video too!