Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sea Trial and Photos

Today's sea trial went well. Sea trials being meant to find problems... we found ourselves a few. Nothing too big or bad but now we have a few extra things to add to our list. We'll do a bit of work tomorrow and hopefully get out again, this time with the rigger.

If that all goes well, I'll head out in the afternoon for a day or two alone, just to test things out. If that all goes well, I will be leaving on Saturday.

Here are a few pictures of today's sea trial, not to brag or any thing... but I'm quite sure I have one of the most amazing boats ever! And she really looks good in the pictures!


  1. Abby, the sunset during the sea trials is amazing, & with the new mainsail logo 'Wild Eyes' is looking a treat,I am sure that the way you talk the problems appear minor. I am not sure if the dodger has been fitted in these photos, unless your father extended the existing coach house without a step up. It would be good to see some stronger winds in the trials, but we can't control nature.
    Keep smiling.
    Hervey Bay. Queensland, Australia.

  2. Abby, Beautiful sunset pic, I wish I was out there! I will follow along if you don't mind, as you flash your "wild eyes" around the world.

    Richard W
    SV "Shaba"
    Whitehall Creek, MD

  3. Bonjour Abby,

    Wild Eyes!

    Hurry slowly.

  4. Hi Abby and Team,
    Thanks for the beautiful pictures of "Wild Eyes".
    It's great to be able to follow some activity on open the moment I have only ice-boats, ice-huts and snowmobiles to look at here.
    Abby, have you ever been ice-boating?....I know YOU would love it! Smooth ice, a seat pad and a helmet and away you's a rush.
    Good luck with your trials. The excitement builds. Good luck.
    Bay of Quinte, Lake Ontario, Canada

  5. Nice pics, Abby, thank you!
    Things are on their way now.
    Enjoy this weather, you won't have the same all along!
    Take care of everything, and of yourself first.
    We feel much better now than we did one month ago!

  6. Hello Abby,

    Beautiful "picture postcard" perfect photos! You and Wild Eyes will be marvelous on your solo trial. Hoping your provisioning goes smoothly. Triple check that list!
    I'm very keyed up with anticipation for your departure. Wishing I could be there to toot my ♪♪horn♪♪ when you head off. Anchors Aweigh!

    Mike D

  7. Hope your solo test run goes well. Your excitement level must be quite high. You seem to reflect a calm spirit. Big letters on my calendar for Saturday.......

    Captain Abby departs !!!
    -----Go Wild Eyes------

  8. Abby - You are correct....Wild Eyes is looking mighty trim and fit in the water! Know you are 'wild eyed' excited and eager to get under way for real!!! All the best to you, Abby! I will be continuing to follow your blog with eager anticipation.

    GO GIRL!
    Janell from Oklahoma, USA

  9. A few weeks ago, someone asked abouts pumps and how Abby would get the water out of her cabin during a capsize or if a big wave filled her cabin as she entered or exited. Since she never responded to that do any of you experienced sailors know the answer? I think the question about what happens to electronics when thet are submerged also came up?

  10. Thanks, Abby
    Nice photos
    All the best
    Luv u
    Richard (QLD)

  11. Beautiful pics Abby, thanks! Will you be announcing exactly when and where you'll be departing from in MDR when you're completely ready? If so, I would love to see you and "Wild Eyes" head out on your adventure.
    Hope sea trials go well,
    Greg, in SO CAL.

  12. Fan-tabulous!

    Hope all goes great this week. I'm sailing next Saturday too, so I'll keep my eyes peeled for Wild Eyes beautiful colors!

  13. Incredible photos of a great boat, and that sunset photo is amazing! Makes me want to be out on the water right now. Of course, Wild Eyes will look a little different with just the skipper aboard, and I can just imagine boat and skipper at sea with a good wind. It will be a great ride, I'm sure!

  14. 01-11-10 @ 14:23
    Hi Abby,
    Well, I'm glad you found the problems here, and not a way out yonder. Doesn't sound like anything major, so get 'em fixed and get your couple of days checking her out, and then you'll be on your way.
    She looks beautiful, and why shouldn't you do some bragging, She's yours!!!!!!
    Saturday, wow, just a few days.
    Well Abby, I can only wish you all the luck in the world, and keep you in my prayers. Are you bringing any little friends, someone to talk to????
    Take good care of yourself, and I’m still looking forward to that “Sailing Day”.
    Good luck to you Abby, and may God bless and guide you.
    Michael(75)from Kingwood, WV

  15. Great photos

    Calander is marked.

    better to find the troubles and problems now.

    Thanks for the update.

    all the best.


  16. I was lucky enough to see you heading out for your sea trial last night as we were coming back in. I was the one that shouted, 'Go Abby!"

    Hope the wind picked up a bit after sunset for you. There wasn't much all day!

    Good Luck!

  17. Abby,

    You have a right to brag, the boat looks fantastic. I'll bet the adrenaline is really flowing, isn't it? Hope the dodger fabrication is going good. I'm looking forward to see the finished product. I'm sure it will turn out perfect and will be really appreciated on your trip. Good job of working the bugs out during the sea trials and have fun on your solo sails this week. Thanks for the update, Abby.

    From Seattle, WA, USA

  18. @Tina: Good questions about what would happen with a capsize.
    The good news is that it's extremely unlikely Wild Eyes will capsize. But if the boat were caught in a prolonged gale (the longer the wind blows - and of course the harder the wind blows - the larger the waves get) there are all sorts of scenarios that could lead to a capsizing: malfunctioning autohelm (ala Mike Perham) slamming the boat off course; broaching (turning sideways down a steep wave); pitchpoling (coming off of one wave so fast that you bury the bow into the back of the next wave, which stops forward motion, while the wave behind keeps pushing the back of the boat up and then over); or getting hit from the side by a rogue wave (which is a wave that joins with another wave and then another to become a towering mass of water -- e.g. if the normal wind waves are running at 15 to 20 feet tall, a rogue wave might be 30 to 40 or more feet tall ((rogue waves can come at any time, as Zac can testify to, as he had what @bluesails referred to as a "Mr. Graybeard" come aboard his boat, and drench some of his electronics.))
    Again, just because such things can happen, doesn't mean they will. If the boat gets knocked over so far by wind or waves so that the mast is parallel with the water, that is called a knock-down. Abby's boat has a very long keel with a weight on the end that is designed to counter the force and pop her boat upright.
    The problem would come if the mast went beyond a knock-down at which point the boat would capsize: keel in the air; mast pointing down in the water. With a more traditional boat like Jessica Watson's Sparkman & Stephens 34, the keel is so large that the boat would pop back up within several seconds. It could still be a disaster, as the mast would likely be broken. A cabin window might blow out, allowing the sea to gush in. Depending on how much water came into the cabin, and where it hit, you could lose your electronics. But at least the boat would go upright.
    With an ultra-ultra light displacement boat such as Jessica's once it turned over, it might stay that way, especially if she had sails up at the time of the capsize, as the force of water against the sails would counter the force on the keel. Her boat might pop up, but there is a chance it would stay upside down. This is why Abby's Open 40, and Mike Perham's Open 50, and the Vendee Cup Open 60s are all equipped with an escape hatch on the stern of the boat. In the last Vendee Globe race there was a terrifying story about an Open 60 capsizing in the Southern Ocean. The single-handed skipper managed to find an air pocket in the bow of the boat and stayed there for some days until another competitor heroically found him (based on emergency beacon data) sailed back and forth calling to his friend, who then had to swim under water (inside his boat) and make it to the emergency hatch. The other single-handed sailor then managed to rescue him from the boat, although in the process he damaged his own boat and had to drop out of the race. At the time he was in 3rd place, and the Race Committee very appropriately awarded him 3rd for risking his life, and his boat, to save a fellow competitor.
    If Abby's boat capsized, the big question would be: How water tight was the boat at the time it rolled over? Abby has a water-tight companionway hatch (her doorway to the cockpit). If the hydraulics continued to work, she may be able to use a water ballast transfer. If the cabin takes on water, things become more complicated. The wind and sea state also add to the complexity.
    It's just the possibility of a capsize, or any number of other problems, that makes Abby such a brave 17-year-old.
    - Grant Fjermedal, Seattle

  19. Anonymous said...

    A few weeks ago, someone asked abouts pumps and how Abby would get the water out of her cabin during a capsize or if a big wave filled her cabin as she entered or exited. Since she never responded to that do any of you experienced sailors know the answer? I think the question about what happens to electronics when thet are submerged also came up?

    Tina, You will see that 'Wild Eyes' is an open racing hull design, this means that there is no transom Stern letting any water in the cockpit become self draining when the vessel is upright, also any waves that will come aboard will do the same with any water being drained out behind, the hatchway doors into the inner cabin can be closed to prevent forward access of any water and keep Abby in her own little cocoon in rough weather.
    Hervey Bay, Queensland, Australia.

  20. It's your life Abby, live it! Godspeed.

  21. Abby, I am not sure if I have read anywhere the diesel oil you use for the heater needs to be arctic proven, and not just standard heating oil as this will thicken in the lower latitudes causing the heater not to work efficiently.
    Hervey Bay, Queensland. Australia.

  22. Abby,

    Thanks for the pictures..Looking good!
    My favorite is the healed Wild Eyes under the About The Boat tab. Fantastic action shot!

    Can't wait til Saturday!


  23. Well done, Abby. Good to find out what the bugs are so you can deal with them now rather than at 2.00 am in the middle of a storm in the middle of nowhere all by yourself!

    It must be so exciting for you to actually be able to name the day with confidence. I hope the trial sail you do on your own has a bit of weather so you can see how you will manage things on your own.

    I'll be counting the days to Saturday with you. I'm in Oz, so Saturday will be a long day for me here while you catch up in California!

    Good luck with the last of the preparations.


  24. @ Grant- I did catch your note re: dodger just before I got on a plane back from NJ, but I try not to post too often so didn't acknowledge it.

    @Tina re: capsize and electronics - Grant's summary of the possibilities is as good as any - none of which sailors want to have to deal with but all plan for as best they can. All of those scenarios have multiple variations that can complicate the situation - just as an example - an event that capsizes the boat risks losing the rig (broken mast and/or boom) at the same time. THAT would be bad enough but, if you study the photos, you'll see that all that is held in place by rigging that rarely (if ever) never comes loose of its own accord when the mast itself does. That means that in the event of such a serious problem, you also have the very real possibility of the broken mast battering the hull or cabin top until you can cut away the rigging to allow the mast/boom to leave the boat, AND all this drama almost always occurs when the seas that caused (or at least contributed to ) the problem continue to run unabated.

    For my money, the pitchpole scenario is the worst of the bunch. Boats are better able to handle being thrown on beam ends or rolled 360, than being flung head over heels.

    Just a note: Neither Grant (I'm sure) nor I, make these comments in an attempt to scare Abby or her team. They are well aware of these possibilities and I'm also sure, have planned for them as best they can. This stuff is part of the stark reality behind an attempt such as Abby is planning.

    Boats in general, and sailboats in salt water in particular, are the "Mother of All Consumer Reports Testing Programs". Even while only at rest, they float in a mild acid and are subject to high humidity levels. In motion, especially pushed in race mode, virtually every part of the boat is under constant strain; nuts work loose, lines chafe, electronics are subject to even greater humidity and constant jarring. The rigging carries the strain of the wind on the sails down to the chain plates and disburses that force through the hull. The pressure on the sails is attempting to push the boat over, while the force of gravity in the keel resists that force to keep the boat (reasonably) upright. The stronger the wind, the greater the load on the sails and rigging, the higher the weight of keel is lifted and the stronger the pull to right the boat. That's a whole lotta physics going on - day in and day out!

    That's my 2 cents for the day,

    Steve in California

  25. Kath, Qld, AustraliaJanuary 11, 2010 at 2:39 PM

    Hi Abby,
    what gorgeous pictures, your boat looks fabulous. Another 2 beautiful gals about to set sail, wishing you all the best. Look forward to following you around the world via the net.

  26. hi abby,

    Me and my friend Caitlyn are counting down the days till Saturday, we wish you the best of luck on your journey around the world. We will be following you and Wild Eyes on your journey.
    Great pictures and hope to see alot more.


  27. Well a wave would have to aim its entirety on that little door inbetween being opened and closed including the body inbetween. There's probably some formula out there if person exits or enters small cabin entry and wave hits, due to their crouching upon entering or exiting do they expand sideways and block more or less. E.G 4 foot x 3 ft door way 5.5 ft by 4 ft person compressing/expanding blocks the water's way/

    3rd time:

    The cabin's watertight for a reason,the you close the door when you enter and exit, this is the purpose of the remote control tillers.

    Lock and load as they say.

    An Open 40 is a machine.

    Door open/ door closed, cop a wave, take into account who opened it or who closed it, size weight clothing on.

    That is it's not (let's hope) like they're like a doorman and gladhandly grab the door open it and stand aside and let the gushing water run on in.

    Without meaning to be rude, it's a silly question because even if it is a "jessica" boat or a "Zac" boat, why to ask if you know what happens to theirs IF it happens and and pretend to suggest it should or could happen to Abby's.

    When in fact it hasn't happened to either.



  28. You Might Use Kerosene as a Backup Heater

    Recently read the circumnavigation account of the first American to round Cape Horn singlehandedly (No, not Joshua Slocum, as he took the inside route via Magellan Strait.)

    He was a crazy dude, as I wrote about him before: No electricity whatsoever, no engine, no lifelines, and a boat (Ericson 37 I think) that leaked horribly throughout the entire trip.

    ANYWAYS . . . one thing he was happy with was his very simple kerosene heater. Kerosene is stinky and messy, but you can get kerosene stoves that are extremely simple. (I know, you don't want to hoist anymore stuff aboard. ;-) But . . . might consider taking along a mini heater (hand warmers like skiers use?) and a supply of fuel in a sealed container.

    @Brian Riley makes a good point about treating your diesel so it doesn't thicken up in cold weather.

    For Weather Fans: Go to and zero in on the Cape Horn vicinity. Crazy Weather this Year! A couple of times I've noted that Jessica has had great Southern Ocean weather this year, but she may be in for a bumpy ride around the Cape.


    The wind is blowing the wrong way! ;-)

    Over the next two days it shows up to 30 knots of air going into the Cape, being met by 30 to 40 knots of wind coming the opposite direction right at the Cape. And . . . the Easterly (wrong way) wind prevails at least over the next two days.

    Go down to the third screen on and you see that the waves roll the wrong direction as well (as waves move with the wind.)

    If the forecast holds, and coincides with her rounding, could be a very bumpy ride. And would be prime conditions for rogue wave formation as the Eastbound wave system collides with the Westbound wave system.

    The weather charts also show a very narrow, near-shore band of air that is relatively light and is flowing in the proper direction, from the West. If the band remains, and if her weather routing team can keep her in it, she could still make a smooth rounding.

    Should be interesting to hear her reports. If you've never looked at the oceanic forecast charts you might enjoy it.

    - Grant Fjermedal, Seattle

  29. Abbymmenters,

    There is more to an "Open 40"
    than an "open transom":

    And, while we are all at it
    let us watch this action video
    of an Open 40 out on the water.

    I think a low-profile dodger can be designed into that cabin top.
    Look forward to seeing that picture, Abby.

  30. Grant,
    Thanks for the great answer! I still wonder if the electronics would recover if soaked and also, are there automatic pumps that would empty the cabin if flooded - or would Abby have to scoop it out bucket at a time? Also, if she is sweep off the deck by a wave (in a careless moment if not clipped on) how could she make her boat stop since it's on autopilot? Are there remote controls she could wear that not only put out an emergency distress signal, but that she could use to tell the autopilot to circle so she could eventally hop back on board? Us non sailors wonder but we have no way of finding out without your generous responses.

  31. Grant,

    An inside old fashioned unvented heater with kerosene is bad because of the fire danger, and moisture as a combustion byproduct. Not to mention CO poisoning, and the horrible smell. A vented heater with a "Charlie Noble can have issues as well, and would be problematic in this style of boat.

    The type of heater she has, probably a Webasto or Espar diesel forced air type heater, has an outside air combustion intake and outside exhaust, so that the inside cabin air is heated with an air to air heat exchanger exactly like a modern home furnace. This creates a drying effect. This is very important for drying wet clothing. It would turn the cabin into a clothes dryer! She would obviously need a CO detector as well.

    You can run these heaters on straight kerosene if you have to in the winter, but a more common thing to do in cold climates is mix in a certain percentage of kerosene into the diesel fuel, along with anti fungals, and fuel stabilizers. In any case, the diesel engine should be ready to fire off at any time or weather condition for safety sake.( For point of reference, I used to own a Peugeot auto shop years ago, and did a lot of diesel work, before I changed to an IT career. I also repair everything I own). I want one of these heaters for my Sabre sailboat! I could then sail the Chesapeake Bay in the winter with none of those 3&%$#@ powerboats around!

    I'm sure after following Jessica's lack of heat problem (which is still a huge problem, as she has the South Atlantic, Indian Ocean and Southern Ocean to cross), Abby and support crew will make sure that "Wild Eyes" can be toasty inside ! Abby should also learn how to service and do basic troubleshooting on it, because it is so important.(Did you hear that Abby? wink)

    Richard W

    PS Thanks for the weather links

    January 11, 2010 6:05 PM

  32. Hi Abby

    I understand one of the risks with a hard dodger is knocking your head against it - here's a link to the rough weather gear Jessica Watson trained with before she went:


    Have a great trip, and I hope it all goes well for you.


  33. Tina,
    Others can better answer the questions about the pumps, but if Abby is sweep off the deck, she will always be wearing a 406 MHz EPRIB which can relay her position to the nearest satellite and will also transmit at 121.5 MHz (if I recall correctly - it's been a while) and nearby ships and rescue planes and choppers can pinpoint her easily within something like a 25 mile radius which will get her found quickly. Abby will have also had extensive first aid training which would have included survival techniques and dealing with hypothermia - an almost guaranteed situation when falling overboard in the southern seas! Someone else can also reassure you with some detail on the jackstays she'll stay clipped to at all times on deck that will prevent a "man" overboard situation. Again, someone else will need to address a device that would stop her Open 40 if she made contact with the water. Grant?
    Tad Reemus

  34. Abby:

    Wild Eyes is a very pretty boat. You all have indeed worked very hard and it shows. Have a nice trip around the world. I will be praying for you, your team, your family and your boat.

    L- Indiana

  35. Hi Abby. I'm going to wish You a safe voyage a little early since we're headed out this morning for a week or 2 to where there's no wi-fi (cold turkey). Stephen Mann isn't the only adult in this scenario, U just happen to be a 17 year old one! Since nobody asked I thought I would share another idea with U: Diesel engines run great on kerosene IF U run out of the other stuff. If it makes U feel better add an ounce of lube oil to each gallon to improve lubricity. When my boss sent us to Lister school up at Bolstad (in Peedro) we also learned that some guys in Alaska burned their used lube oil (gradually)to dispose
    of it.I would only add it to a day tank tho. But a can of kero got us to Monterey one night when we ran out off Pt Sur, and it did'nt blow up or anything.>I hate to get off subject but for the benefit of those who are wondering,sailing terms can be interperted pretty literally. When we used to infuriate our poor sailing instructors by harpooning sabot masts off the dock, then have them pop back into our laps,we were overcoming their forward motion with their bouyancy, or "pitching poles". The Alamitos Bay cartwheel which follows is entirely optional and technically not part of the definition. Or when there is a round shaft with a groove in it and a square thingy to lock maybe a V belt pulley to that shaft, that squarish groove was "broached" into that shaft the same way a keel cuts a square ditch in the water when the boat gets dragged sideways, usually by a wave. >Anyway I think U have a great chance of success simply because while Man goes up against Nature, Women seem to flow with it. You are having a Huge and Profoundly Beneficial Effect on Thousands of people. Thank You Abby Sunderland! -Marty in Santa Barbara

  36. oops i think I wrote 17, Please correct Abby's age 4 me. Thank You

  37. Hi Abby,
    Saturday sounds like a sure bet, fingers crossed. I've just read Grants and Steve's comments about the Physics of Sailing, you guys had me glued to each word!...thank you for such an interesting and informative post from both of you, we can only hope that non of those possible scenarios for causing a boat to roll over never happens to Abby or Jessica....


    Clint - Melbourne

  38. @Grant. I am impressed with your efforts to give us all the information that you do. I recall your similar efforts when Zac was at sea. It is those like you, as well as Abby's team, that give the rest of us a considerable comfort level and very helpful knowledge about what lies ahead for Abby. Thanks! (I'm just sorry I can't join you for a beer in Seattle.)

  39. Tina,

    I'll take this one on. Yes, there are high volume bilge pumps inside the hull that automatically activate, and pump water out of the inside of the boat.

    If her nav station where all the electronics are installed, takes some spray, it shouldn't damage her electronics. Modern marine electronics including laptops are pretty robust, and water resistant these days. (Many military tested) Modern marine electronics in a humid salty environment sometimes just stop functioning properly without being submerged. If the navigation station is actually submerged under water, Abby won't be worrying about her electronics working again.

    Abby will be wearing a safety harness on deck, and will be carefully attaching it to jacklines,(webbing lines running bow to stern) or padeyes that keep her from falling overboard. If Abby goes over the rail without a harness, the boat will sail on without her and won't be turning around. No there is no remote autopilot control that functions at that distance. If she falls over the rail while teathered to her harness, she most likely won't be strong enough to pull herself back aboard against the pressure of rushing water. My wife and I have sailed offshore thousands of miles, and when we are on deck alone, or at night, we always envision peering over the edge of the top of a skyscraper when we are near the rail, because if one of us were to fall over, the result would most likely be the same.

    Abby has sailed enough to fully understand these risks, and has decided for herself that living her life that "close to the edge" is worth the danger.

  40. HI ABBY

  41. Tad, you meant jackline not jackstay right?

  42. I've enjoyed watching some of Mike Perham's videos. His boat was an Open 50 so it's similar to Abby's and you get the feel of what it's like to ocean sail. Here's the link:

  43. Anonymous, Jan.11 2:37 PM points out that should the mast break, you must deal with the rigging to free up the mast to keep from getting battered. In addition to an inventory of tools to make repairs to the rigging, it’s important to have the appropriate tools to quickly cut the rigging in such a case. Only once have I’ve had to cut rigging in a similar emergency in heavy seas and having the proper cutting tools readily available saved any further damage to my boat or myself.

    From Seattle, WA, USA

  44. Thanks to our teachers Grant, Steve, Richard and the good informations and links, Abby's blog has become a fascinating sailing and engineering school... It is really great to take pleasure in reading the blog, and go to bed less ignorant about every day.
    I wish I could bring some help of any kind, more in my means, but I don't see how, so I can just say CHEERS to all and BEST WISHES to Miss Abby!

  45. Rod,
    Well said! Yeah, I've been overboard with a 6 foot tether. Even at 5 knots I was helpless and would have drowned if I hadn't had a knife handy and quickly cut myself free. Fortunately my mates saw me go over and came back for me! I'm sure Abby's parents will make sure she's on a 3 or 4 foot tether to prevent the overboard dragging.

  46. Hi Abby,

    Things are getting ready and the time of your departure is arriving, Im sure you are pretty excited about it. Take time to be with your family, even if you are going to be in touch with them everyday, spending some quality time with them is very important. Take time to play or read with your brothers and sisters, that will be good for them, they will probably miss you a lot and maybe do not understand how long your trip will be.

    Have a safe trip around the world, I hope you enjoy good weather and your boat performs well on the big oceans. Make sure everything is being checked before you leave.

    God Bless you and guide you always.

    Marina from Turin

  47. Hi Abby........ so you hope to leave on Saturday!
    Jesse should be rounding the Cape tomorrow.Her parents are ove there and they hope to do a flyover. The Argentinian and Chilean Navy also have ships in the area. Guess it will be a really emotional time for her.
    Take care sweetie and good luck !

  48. Jackie,
    Wow, how'd I say that? Yes I meant jackline!
    Dwayne, the problem with a 3 footer is sometime you need more reach. You could use a 6 footer looped over to make a 3 footer then extend it to 6 when needed. Rod? Grant?

  49. Hi Abby,

    Thanks for the latest pics. They are beautiful. Yes "Wild Eyes" looks a real beauty doesn't she!

    WOW, how exciting. Only a few days now before you set sail. I am so excited for you.

    Enjoy every moment of the next few days and soak up all the attention Abby. You have worked so hard to get to this point.

    Wishing you safe travels and fair weather winds. Will be following you throughout your travels and backing you every bit of the way. Jan (Auckland, New Zealand)

  50. @Tina: In addition to the electric bilge pumps others have spoken of, I'm sure that Abby's boat will have a high-capacity hand pump mounted to a bulkhead either inside the cabin, or out in the cockpit -- preferably in both locations. And of course you hear a lot about plain old buckets being used in emergencies.

    @SaltyDog: Yikes! Interesting to hear you've dealt with a dismasting. Something I haven't faced and hope I never will. You're right about needing to get the mast cut loose so it doesn't batter the boat. And at same time need to make sure halyards or stays won't be blown toward keel and rudder where they could foul.

    ABOUT JACKLINES: Great information has been offered here - including what Tad Reemus said about having a 3-footer and a 6-footer. The shorter one is the safer, but as he points out, sometimes you need the reach.

    NOTE TO TEAM ABBY: Hope you can keep the jacklines as inboard as possible, (dual amidship lines along either side of the mast?) so when Jessica is on the short tether it would catch before she could go over the side.

    What Dwayne said about nearly drowning while doing a modest 5 knots is scary. And shows why a knife should always be worn, although for a single hander there would be no one there to circle back, so either way would be a disaster. When I raced on a Santa Cruz 50 to Hawaii we used to joke that the jacklines were just so they could retrieve the body. I always figured that when we were doing 16 knots or more, the snap of the line on your harness would likely break your back. If that didn't happen you would certainly drown in a hurry if your pals weren't able to get you back aboard in a hurry. Of course the scary thing about single-handing is that there is no one there to pull you back aboard. In reading about a nasty Sydney to Hobart race I was surprised by more than a few mentions of a person being washed overboard by one wave and (because they were tethered) washed back aboard by another. But you sure can't count on that kind of a lucky lift back aboard, especially if the boat has forward momentum.

    @Rod Jones gets it right when he speaks of how he and his wife during their thousands of miles of ocean travel always treated the edge of their boat like the edge of a skyscraper's roof.

    Take all of this discussion, add it up, and you've got just one more reason why Abby is a very, very brave person to be doing this trip.

    Note to Abby: You probably already know this, but interesting advice that came out of the last Vendee Globe race was from an American skipper, the oldest in the race, who said everything he did was methodical. He knew exactly how many turns of the winch it took to raise a sail, the exact measures for reefing a sail, the number of steps to the mast. Have read the same about other singlehanders: Slow, methodical. Everything a set of patterned habits, and when something goes wrong you just fall back to these habits (as much as circumstances allow) and from this foundation comes a lot of safety.

    - Grant Fjermedal, Seattle

  51. Your Oklahoma Well-WisherJanuary 13, 2010 at 7:39 AM

    Beautiful pictures, Abby! Looking forward to the next entry and reading about the progress and plans! Peace, Your Oklahoma Well-Wisher

  52. Tad - I'd be going with a 3ft AND a 6ft. Dual tether lines increase safety because you can clip on to a new point without releasing from the old point. While jacklines are great for moving up the deck, they are often not the best/safest point to be tethered to when in the cockpit or working at the mast. In heavy weather solo I use 2 tethers...they are probably both too long, but a 3ft and 6ft would be a good combo.


  53. @Tad - The topic of tethers, jacklines and harnesses is one always good for a virtually endless round of debate. (Best done over the rum-and-the dilution of your choice.) Offshore (especially solo) wisdom says always use two tethers - one to stay attached to the boat while you are moving to clip to another. It's a safe program but almost uselessly cumbersome to use especially if you are trying to rig a headsail in the dark on a bouncy foredeck.

    In a perfect world the boat would be fitted with dedicated pad eyes bolted to the boat accommodate being clipped on within the most common areas of movement - ie. at the helm, watch positon against the bulkhead, etc. Tethers are equipped with various types of metal closures, to allow quick attachment and release and these are usually too large to allow them being passed through the padeye itself hence allowing both fittings at either end of the tether to be attached at the harness (ie. leaving the tether itself through the padeye). That approach would work for jackline attachment of course but (at least in my off shore days) jacklines were usually present only running along the deck outboard of the cockpit - hence useful for moving forward from the cockpit, but not present inside the cockpit itself. I suppose you could loop around a deck top jackline while at the helm but I don't think the 3' length would give you the range of motion you'd need.

    That's enough from me. Others while likely have their own stories, let alone comments about the debate about jackline attachment systems (how many attachments points, how taut to rig them to reduce slack that potentially allows an overboard sailor with a six tether to be drug along a dozen feet behind the boat, etc)

    Unlike Rod, I've never gone overboard and put it to the test...kinda like air bags in cars, ya just keep being sure they are there for ya and are very glad you never had to see if they really work.

    Steve in California

  54. Jessica Watson Has Rounded Cape Horn

    It's official: Jessica Watson has rounded Cape Horn.

    A major milestone, for sure!

  55. Dear Team Abby,

    Sailing Anarchy today has an EXCELLENT analysis of the capsize of a Class 40 boat in a storm during a crewed delivery trip from Mexico to France in December. It's on their front page today (January 13, story titled "Abandoned").

    I urge Team Abby to read this before departure --it's an excellent analysis of what happened, and the lessons from the capsize of the same or similar type of boat as Abby (most telling, of course, is the skipper's remark that, once inverted, the boat seemed quite comfortable to stay there.) Their skills for dealing with the boat as it stayed inverted were critical.

    Conditions were 40+ knots, 10 meter seas, location east of Bermuda. Crewed delivery with very experienced skipper. Boat was knocked down, then inverted by the second wave and stayed inverted for 15-20 minutes until the mast broke, allowing the keel to do its work and right the boat. Anyway, again, a very insightful analysis of what went wrong --it's especially interesting because it's basically the same kind of boat Abby will be sailing (and as we all know, those types of boats unfortunately don't right very well when inverted).

    Although I'm sure you've done extensive research on Open 40s, I urge you to read this article as it's an excellent analysis of what occured during a recent capsize in non-survival weather conditions. Be prepared.

    Fair winds,
    Mark Whittaker

  56. Hi Abby,
    That is an awesome boat.
    I would be mighty proud of myself too if I was driving a yacht like that round the world.
    Let her rip!!!!

  57. Grant,

    I guess I should have clarified my statement. I said “similar” situation. It wasn’t a dismasting. Years ago, I had a 40’ outrigger on my commercial fishing boat break off with not only all of the stays, but also fishing gear dragging through the water to contend with. Being of a similar size and weight to a sailboat mast and in a tossing sea it was, I believe, a very similar experience to a dismasting. It definitely needed immediate attention to keep from getting too battered and to keep any of the gear or rigging from getting fouled in the prop or rudder. Having quick access to tools capable of cutting the gear and rigging was important.

    From Seattle, WA, USA

  58. 01-13-10 @ 16:27
    Hi Abby,
    You're getting a lot of good advice from some experienced sailors. I know it's hard to remember all the advice that you get, but this isn't your first sail. You've probably experienced some of the situations they are talking about so the only advice that I can give you is to hang on to as much of the new info as you can. You will do fine. Mercy, Mercy your poor head. LOL....
    I don't know if I missed it or not, but have you decided on your route yet????
    Take care, be safe and cautious, Saturday is acoming.
    Good luck to you Abby, and may God bless and guide you.
    Michael(75)from Kingwood, WV

  59. @Mark Whittaker points to a MUST-READ article about a boat very much like Abby's capsizing and staying upside down until the mast broke off. Agree with Mark about its relevance. One wave knocked the boat over on its side. The second wave rolled it the rest of the way over.

    Talks about having to cut away the rigging, the best placement of ditchbags and knives, waterproof communication devices and other essentials.

    The URL is at:

    It is the 3rd or so article down on the front page. A long point-by-point debrief.

    @SaltyDog: What you describe sounds every bit as dangerous as a broken mast in the water. Glad things went ok.

    - Grant Fjermedal, Seattle

  60. Class 40 and Open 40 are not the same boats.

  61. To Anonymous Jan 13 2:19PM : True the Open 40 and Class 40 are different, but not by much in the greater scheme of things. Class 40 rules were derived directly from the Open 40 with a view to making the boats more economical.

    The information in that article is still highly relevant to Wild Eyes.


  62. @anonymous at 2:19 p.m.

    No one said they were the same boat. But they are quite similar. Sailing Magazine ran a Bob Perry joint review of both the Open 40 and the Class 40, which noted how they were based on the same design. The review in part says:

    "The boats are very similar as you would expect. The Class 40 rule was derived from the Open 40 rule and is an attempt at producing a more economical exotic racing boat. With the Open 40 class established, the newer Class 40 can use the work done in the Open 40 to get off to a quick, refined design start."

    The review can be found at:

  63. Wowza, that's a lotta tech stuff. You guys could work with Industrial Light Magic. Makes me want to find Magpie and put my feet up a just stare at the sea. Enough about capsizing already.

    Nice photos, Abby. Now from the gotta have everything Virgo mom: Pack matches, candles, (don't use them if you've got the kero going!) measuring spoons, hot pads, can openers, scissors, funnels, tools to clean fish with--you get it... all the small checklisty things. Think of all the comfort food and drink mixes you like and your favorite mug you can wrap your hands around while you ponder the next move. Citrus and fruits that last a bit. Things to write with and write on. Something to study that you know nothing about. Stuff to polish hardware and fittings. A sea mammal and bird identifier. Magnifying glass. Hot water bottle to get feet warm. Gloves you can keyboard with. Sticky-sided velcro. Safety pins, bungees and twisty ties, ziplocs. Boat papers. Your papers. A few photos. Leatherman. Decorations for a few holidays. Get your boat lived in a bit. Bake something and pretend to try to fix something. Then you'll know. Best wishes. Albacore Lia Fail, from Northern Nevada

  64. Hey!

    I'm not going to be able to get your song really finished before you go, but I got a rough draft on line, with me singing it instead of the woman who'll be on the released track. If you go to my myspace page, or the "My Band" page on my FaceBook, Erich Marse, then you can hear the proto-version. It's called "Wild Eyes". Hope you like it.

    Still praying Numbers 6:24-26
    Mouse in Whittier

    Buy "Death and Coffee" here!

  65. Hello Abby,

    What lovely photos of 'Wild Eyes' and how beautiful she looks. She looks 'rarin' to go'. So glad to hear only minor problems arose for you. I can't begin to imagine your excitement as your departure date looms closer.

    God be with you, your family and your team.

    from Sunshine Coast, Qld. Aus.

  66. Hi Abby,
    I read in our Dutch news paper, you would go round the world, it is an amazing, that you do this. Enjoy your voyage and sail safely.
    I am following you.
    greetings Els from the Netherlands.

    (I hope you can read my school English)

  67. Abby,

    Can you please post some more details about your planned route? I don't see anything on your sites or blog. I bet that a lot of us non-sailors here following your plans would love to know more! Very exciting! For example, when I go to Jessica Watson's site, I can see all the "legs" of her journey, both already done and coming up-- . Sorry if I missed it on your two sites and blog here, but I didn't see anything.

    By the way, how long do you expect it will take you to get to Cape Horn? So I guess that means you'll be close behind Jessica! How long will it take after that until you get back home?

    Good luck with everything!!


  68. Hi Abby,
    I was looking info about OUR Abby North (or Nord?) here in Vancouver BC but instead I found you! Our Abby will be 16 in April (is also blonde) and she's departing from the marina tomorrow - Friday morning. I talked briefly to a little dude who said Abby was his big sister and apparently she's 100% twittering her trip around the world. Then he told me he wasn't supposed to talk to people and I left when I saw a couple of guys coming up the pier towards me. If anyone here gets her twitter address please post it so people can request to get the tweets. She said they've already got hundreds of people who plan to light night time bonfires on the beach as she signals and passes them sailing down the western U.S. coast. The boat looked to be 50 to 60 ft long with a tri-hull sort of like outriggers. The sail is like shiney silver and says "North" and has a bunch of other logos too. I'm going to come back later this evening and see if I can get a closer look and maybe some pics. When I was there, the dock was loaded with a flock of suits all pointing and laughing. Some appeared to be Japanese (imo)
    I've haven't heard a thing about this on the news...does anyone have any more details?

  69. why is the boat called 'SHOE CITY'???

  70. Abby,
    We've never met. I read about your journey.
    I think its fantastic that you have set sail for a voyage around the world. I wish you a safe and happy sail.

    All the Best.....Bob G.
    Southampton, Pa.

  71. Hi Abby:=)

    I read now about your journey. Its fantastic. So young and nice girl like U alone sail around the world.I wish U a nice and safe trip.I stay with U. Greetings from could Prague. Cross fingers. Frantisek :=)

  72. The adventure of a lifetime. Godspeed, Abbey!

  73. .. awesome,.. I wish you favorable wind in your sail .. ;o)
    Frank (Czech republic)

  74. Good luck Kiddo...Being a Mariner I know the joy.Fair Winds

  75. wow Abby ... by tomorrow all my family will have your site and blog... we all love sailing and wish you well on your journey... you are not alone all our prayers with each moment... Beale Smith in Florida

  76. Oh Ya and as a Mariner (tug boats) don't open anything upside keep the superstition going..Have fun.

  77. My prayers are with you. Stay safe, and good sailing.


  78. good luck in all your endeavors,...godspeed and good sailing!!! I know you are going to come across some wildlife out there. When you come across your first whale on your trip take some photos if you dont mind.

  79. Dear Abby,
    You can and will get this done one day at a time. We are praying for you everyday. I sailed with my Dad for 51 years. He passed away in Dec. So I am honoring him with your Victory in His memory and with your permission.
    In His Grip,

  80. AbBY





  81. good luck ! been E. to W. Cape Horn ! Wild ride ! Your route fair weather hopeful ! - - - Z. Malan Jr.

  82. Dear Abby
    My thoughts and prayers are with you for safe sailing. My 90 year (old salt) Dad passed away a few weeks ago. I am honoring him with your voyage with your permission. We sailed together for over 50 years may you have many more years than that. In His Grip !

  83. Abby,

    The Colts beat the Jets ... Vikes and Saints are tied at the half ...

    Fair winds and calms seas ...

    doc brown, nj

  84. удачи киска!
    with love from Russia

  85. I'm going to follow you! I saw the article in the LA paper.... good luck to you and sending good wishes for a wonderful experience.

  86. 01-24-10 @ 21:24
    Hi Abby
    Well there you are young lady, you have finally made it. Yahooooooo, to you.
    I can only wish you all the luck in the world and God speed and protect you.
    I'm already looking forward to your first post from the sea. lol.....
    Take good care of yourself and "Wild Eyes" and have a safe and enjoyable voyage. I’m very proud of you and I know that you can do it.
    May God hold you in the palm of His hand and may the Angels keep your sails full, and I, I will be praying for you.
    Michael (75) from Kingwood, WV

  87. Happy sailing Abby. Your voyage will do much to instill adventure and dedication for many your age. I will be watching closely as you write about your expedition. For I too feel as though I'm on a journey with you.

    Good Luck

  88. Wow,,,,it is simply amazing that you, a 16 year old is going for such an incredible journey. I am from Saskatchewan, Canada and have two teen daughters myself and we live nowhere near the ocean (but have visited and swam in it many times),so to be honest, I find it rather daunting,,,beautiful yet daunting. I know it demands respect. I wish you well and plan to follow your blog on your trip. I will inform my daughters of your great feat and I am sure they will be interested to keep up with you as well. As a Mother of daughters myself, I can only imagine what is going thru your parents' minds even tho they have been thru this before. I wonder about your loneliness out there, busy as you may be at times,,,,lots of time to ponder. Take care of yourself out on the waters and I will keep up with you. Good luck Abby!

  89. hi its me keyla!!!!!!missing u abby im 10 years old im istested in you alot

  90. Weather Forecast is a set of all the phenomena occurring in a given atmosphere at a given time. Most weather phenomena occur in the troposphere, just below the stratosphere. Weather Today refers, generally, to day-to-day temperature and precipitation activity, whereas climate is the term for the average atmospheric conditions over longer periods of time. When used without qualification, "weather" is understood to be the weather of Earth.