Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A reminder of some of the forces we are dealing with out here.

We broke some gear. While crossing here from La Paz we spent 18 hours in a full gale and as we found out first hand, the sea state in the Sea of Cortez can build up short choppy sea. Unfortunately, unlike the open ocean, the wave patterns were of very short period and steep which means that the waves are hitting the boat more frequently making an uncomfortable bumpy lumpy sail. Hyo-jung and I were both inside during a shift change when we heard a uniquely ominous crashing wave approach IO. Not a second later we were hit and thrust sideways and over at least 40 degrees. Hyo quickly opened the hatch and in the moonlight we could see the cockpit was filled to overflowing with seawater. Sploosh! Another wave hit just then and with the door ajar water sprayed into the navigation station soaking the seat, walls, and spraying most the of the electronics. Being “pooped” like this can be particularly dangerous because while our cockpit is smaller than most boat designs, it can still hold over one ton of water and if it does not drain fast enough before another wave hits, the weight of the water could drag the stern of the boat so low into the water that the next wave could crash directly into the boat. Fortunately the second wave only splashed us but as we found out later, this experience left its mark.

While anchored in the beautiful Isla Isabela, Hyo noticed that the windvane rudderpost was looking funny. Upon closer inspection, we found that the post had been bent sideways about 10 degrees. Now this is not insignificant, as this post is 1 ¼ inch thick solid super-duplex stainless steel (stainless steel on steroids). This is the strongest individual piece of gear on this boat and one wave in the wrong direction bent it like a pretzel! Needless to say our wind-vane is out of commission and we are dealing with getting a new post down from Canada.

When we next pulled up our main sail, we noticed that two of the bolts that secure the main sail outhaul track (the bit that holds the main sail to the boom) had partially been torn out. I had to lash it down until we reached port.

We certainly have sailed through bigger wind and waves but that reminded us that the forces produced out here can be tremendous and that IO is just a small ship on a big ocean.


  1. I'm trying to watch my language here. Holy crap! The Hydrovane post is HUGELY strong - crazy!

  2. Sorry about your vane! Any words of advice for us?

    PS, thanks for all the posts, can wait to join you guys.