Saturday, January 9, 2010

Test Sail Today and Departure Soon

Its been a good couple of days. The dodger frame is finished, the boom is on with the rack and lazy jacks, the staysail is on, and the main and jib will get put on this morning. After that we'll head out for a little bay sail to check on things.

Mark from Maritime Communications has spent the past few days in the very back of my boat (not the most comfortable place) working on hooking up the auto pilots, but today once things were ready to go, they weren't working right, so there is a bit more work to be done there.

I pulled myself up the mast twice today, and it was a lot easier then I thought it would be! Of course I was in the slip and it will be harder once I'm out there, but I'm glad I got a little practice today.

The dodger is going to be great to have. Anyone who has sailed on an Open boat will probably understand how open the cockpit is. In bad conditions it can be really miserable to be standing up there at the helm. Its probably hard to imagine a dodger on a boat like Wild Eyes, but it is possible and if it works out how we've planned it will be great.

If all goes well with the test sail with the riggers today, I will set off on my test sail tomorrow and leave at the end of the week. I'll be sure to let you know the date!



  1. Thanks Abby for the update. Be sure and check that tight space in back before you leave for a stowaway older brother with a trick or two up his sleeve. You know how older brothers can be.
    I hope that your shakedown sail goes well. The weathwer looks good for awhile.


  2. Sounds as though everything is coming together as planned. Each small obstacle being overcome as needed, then moving on to the next. That's the way to do it.

    I finished writing (and rewriting) your song, but I'm getting a friend of mine, with a great girl-power voice, to record the vocals, so it probably won't be ready to release until just after you leave. E-mail me if you'd like to hear it before you go, and I'll send you (or your folks) an Mp3 of the rough draft.

    In more germaine conversation, thank you for the inspiration that your voyage provides. My teenage daughter still has no interest in sailing (beyong being able to lay out on a foredeck and get a tan), but my wife and I are hoping to earn our shields skipper certification this year, so that we can rent the open keelboats with the kids for daysails. Baby steps...

    Still praying Numbers 6:24-26
    Mouse in Whittier

    Buy "Death and Coffee" here!

  3. Congratulations to you and your amazing team, Abby. The support you are getting is incredible, and you must be very happy about that!

    You are also getting tons of best wishes and support from those of us on the 'reading' side of your blog. I'm sure many of us are happy to hear about your dodger, and I suspect it will make a big difference to your comfort (and safety) at sea.

    I'm sure the days leading up to departure will go very fast. As your adventure is about to begin, I'm sure all of us wish you the very best!

  4. The big day is coming up so quickly! I can't imagine how excited you must be. I'm following Jessica and Dilip, as well, and have been wondering what someone does for exercise at sea - do you have any plans, or is managing the boat enough of a workout on its own?

    Scott, Denver, Colorado, USA

  5. Abby,
    You must be getting excited to start the voyage. Hope the test run goes perfectly and you can depart with confidence. Not being a sailor I had to look up "dodger" and hope you'll add a pic of it soon.
    Wishing you success!

  6. Thanks, Abby
    Good that all is going well
    Luv u
    Richard (QLD) Aus

  7. 01-10-10 @ 13:47
    Hi Abby,
    Thanks for the up-date, you're just full of good news today, glad to see that you're going to use a dodger. I think you'll enjoy the cruise a lot more with that on. Can we get some pictures of that??
    Well Abby, get them auto pilots straightened out and don't forget to run over your check lists.
    Good luck on the test sail, did you get all of your food aboard, or is that after the test sail? Be cool and don’t push yourself to much.
    May God hold you in the palm of His hand and may the Angels keep your sails full, and I, will be praying for you.
    Michael (74) from Kingwood, WV

  8. Hi Abby. I think that whatever Laurence can come up with for a dodger will be great. From my perspective Every post is important and valuable so if someone has something to say Thank You ALL for sharing it.>I've found that any boat with two sails a keel and a rudder can be made to heave to.

  9. Thanks for the news, Abby!
    And whooopppeee for the dodger. It won't make you sail faster, but will probably bring you comfort and relief.

  10. my biggest concern with your adventure Abby is that you are pushing so hard to set the record that you are leaving at a bad time in terms of the Horn.....Jessica has had great weather so far and she has been extremly lucky to get it, but you are going to be arriving there much later than Jessica and may not be so lucky. Please be safe in your planning, the record means nothing, its the experience that matters and in this sense it is of vital importance that you give yourself the best chance of success. This is not a small undertaking and the horn should never be taken lightly. Please, please be very careful. Good luck.

  11. Hi Abby, Shame about the Auto pilot,lets hope it is a quick fix, the use of the lazy jacks will be of great assistance when at see and reefing down and lashing to the boom. The dodger is the most brilliant idea for an open race design and will keep you cozy, with all your main sheet winches in the canopy this will improve the room available to you.Up the mast in a sling is not the easiest solo, but as you will always be on the windward side a stop and rest is not to uncomfortable. Once had to slide down the main to stop bashing into the mast and spreaders because of the conditions,quite interesting way to go.
    Hope all the Sea trials go well, please make sure the auto pilots are sailing true to course. Can't wait to see the new mainsail logo.
    Keep Smiling.
    Hervey Bay. Queensland.Australia.

  12. Bonjour Abby,

    Watch for those boys during your test sail tomorrow! (look up Jessica's blog for that one) :-)

    Abby it!

  13. How exciting is this, Abby! The end of the week! Wow! Things are really coming together and moving towards the ending of one stage and the beginning of the next. It must be becoming ever more real as you edge closer to your departure day.

    I can see from your website we will be able to follow your progress as we have been able to follow Jessica's and Dilip's. I look forward to that.

    As for the dodger, of course it can be made to fit in with the lines of the boat without looking out of place. And it is essential for avoiding the sun and staying cool, and for avoiding the worst of the bad weather as well.

    I guess the last minute stowing is happening too, as well as beginning the good-byes. What a tumultuous time for you. All sorts of emotions mixed in together.

    Good luck for your work this week and hoping for an uneventful departure.


  14. Things are coming along well! Don't forget NOT to leave on a Friday.

  15. Hey Abby, You are getting so close and I can hardly wait to get your first post from your journey. I recently shopped - totally fun everyone. Help Abby out and go shopping.

    Prayers for you,

  16. That is great news. But double check and have double checked the electronics especially the autopilot. You don't want to have the same trouble as Mike Perham did, when he set off. Would be a shame, if you had to stop over at San Diego, to get things sorted out.

    How long do you expect to sail down to Cape Horn?

    All the best,

  17. @ Grant
    RE: Your Book:
    And so it begins… “A team of Swiss neuroscientists and computer engineers plan to program a computer to create a brain. The scientists, in collaboration with IBM, are launching the effort by building a computer model of the neocortical column of a rat, a single circuit of about 10,000 cells, each of which is capable of thousands of connections. Rat brain information is being downloaded into IBM’s Blue Gene computer, which can crunch through 22 trillion operations per second.” Big Blue to Build a Brain- by Susan Kruglinski

    Mike D

  18. Best of luck Abby. Sail safe.

  19. Congratulations on making another step closer.

    Others have already voiced the two concerns I'd have: making sure electronics and autopilot are bullet-proof; and keeping an eye on your weather window. Fall in the Southern Hemisphere begins March 1st.

    @Anonymous 12:17 p.m. correctly points out that Jessica has had dream come-true weather so far for her Southern Ocean trip. Yes, she's had some blasts of 30 to 40 knots, but that is only to be expected down there, and there hasn't been much of that heavy air. Crazy as it sounds she's been BECALMED 200 miles from Cape Horn for about 2 days now. That is crazy! ;-) But it beats the heck out of getting bashed by a 60-knotter.

    If you get down there in early Fall there might be more breeze. Or . . . maybe not. At this point no one knows, which adds to the adventure of it all.

    @Mike D: Yikes! I hadn't seen that news about IBM actually getting into creating a silicon version of the human brain. The scientists I interviewed for my book were forecasting that something like this would happen (as per my note of January 9 at 10:02 p.m., which posted so late no one likely saw it.)

    >> This makes the heroics of Abby and Jessica all the more important. A robot could be trained to sail a boat, but only a human could love doing it and feel the triumph of overcoming obstacles and fears. So, there is plenty in my book "The Tomorrow Makers" that I hope never comes true.

    @RichieParis: See my note of yesterday (Jan. 9 at 10:02 p.m.) if you'd like a copy of the book I wrote about the future of humanity. You were kind enough to say you liked my writing, so I planted my e-mail address at the end of the note, saying send me your mailing address.

    @Bob in Seattle: See same note for free burger and beers if you'd like at my yacht club.

    @Steve in Calif; @Harold; @bluesails. Tucked in notes for you as well. These blogs are kind of like newspapers: Current for some hours, and then history, though it is a bit easier to access the back issues.

    Yikes again for what @Mike D reports! This is scary (although may be another 20 or 30 years before something actually comes of this.) But the idea of smart, really smart, robots coming our way sure makes me want to say: Go Abby! Go Jessica! Go humans!

    - Grant Fjermedal, Seattle

  20. Hi Abby,

    Best of Luck

    Are you going to share with us all your intended route?

    All of us, Arm Chair Sailors are keen to follow your every move

    When do you expect to be at the Horn?


  21. Abby left today, Sunday, ...??? Saw her motoring out if MDR with several yachts following her and a camera crew aboard. Just a test sail...??? Or is she off?

  22. Abby,

    I am looking forward to following you around the world. I have a whole shelf full of books from people sailing around the world (Dove being my favorite)and it will be a real treat to read about your trip as it happens.

    If you ever get bored out there, or find the adventure tedious, just think of all the people, me included, who envy your opportunity.

    Good Luck!

  23. Hi Abby
    In your food supplies take the makings for home made icecream you will be able to freeze it no problems down the bottom of the world.
    Can I suggest you take along a personal hand warmer I noticed one the other day on Ebay and thought what a wonderful idea and they keep your hands warm all day.
    I wish you well in your preperations for your trip
    evie from Bendigo Victoria Australia

  24. Wow.. You must be getting amped up! It's getting close.. good for you!

    Had a thought to bring playing cards if you hadn't already packed them...small and time consuming.

    Take care and remember, One day at a time!

  25. So excited for you! Safe travels and know that we'll be sending the most amazing energy your way!
    Go, Abby, Go!

  26. Hi Abby , So glad you got to meet Captain Steven Mann. We followed his journey last year and will follow your's as well. Good Luck & Keep the Faith.

  27. Abby, When I heard about your journey I began to welt up. How amazing that a young lady such as you could gather up so much nerve and desire for a adventure like this. I salute you and have the utmost respect for young people like you. Simply amazing teen with equally amazing parents. May the wind always be at your back. Godspeed young lady!

  28. Ahoj Abby,
    držím vám palce a přeji vám,aby vás na tak dlouhé plavbě doprovázelo jen hezké počasí a dobrý vítr do plachet.Čus Pepa