Greetings From The Gulf Stream

With all this boat building on SetSail recently, and before that bucolic cruising in Maine and down the IntraCoasal Waterway, you may get the impression that we have become soft in our old age. If so, you would be correct. We use our boat speed, a rudimentary knowledge of weather, and total disregard of rigid schedules to keep ourselves comfortable. Of the aforementioned attributes, boat speed is at the top of the list.

That said, as we write this at 2000 hours on Friday evening, we are at sea headed south, into the teeth of a breeze varying between 20 and 38 knots, in waves that occasionally top 12 feet (3.7 meters) as they pass us by.

Wind Horse is five tons over what we consider her full payload, carrying upwards of 5000 gallons of fuel and water.

Normally we’d wait a few days and wait for calmer conditions. But in this case, we desire what might be considered unpleasantness, for the good of FPB science. We are, gentle reader, blasting through these seas, to test stabilizer settings for FPBs to come, and examine relationships between waterplane area, longitudinal stability moments, and how the change in curve of area that the waves see as they pass by the hull affects cruisers who are silly enough to be caught out (and you know who you are).

Speaking of relationships, our friend and boat yard owner/operator, Cory McMahon from Triton Marine is aboard. Cory wanted to see what an FPB felt like offshore going uphill, in conditions and speed that would not be possible in other waterborne vehicles available to the long distance cruiser. Wind Horse is giving him an eyeful. She is, for the most part, quite the lady. She does pitch a little, mainly dropping a bit on the square backed waves. But she is generally given to gentleness, which belies the 10 to 11 knots through the water that those little Deeres in the engine room move her while they are turning 1850 RPM.

We occasionally change speed and note the difference in motion. Should you desire to carry out similar science, note that it is best done at night, where what you feel is not influenced by what you see.

As it is now time to write up the log with our notes for the past two hours, we shall bid you adieu from the enveloping warmth of the Gulf Stream. We shall report in again if there is anything of interest going on. Otherwise, perhaps we’ll send a few photos from the Bahamas.

Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 7, 2012)

4 Responses to “Greetings From The Gulf Stream”

  1. Bob N Says:

    Long may your focuses (foci?) reign.

  2. Kent Says:

    I would say you have more than a “rudimentary knowledge of weather”.

  3. Steve Dashew Says:

    Respectfully, we disagree. Nobody, not even the best professional weather routers, have more than a basic understanding of what happens offshore. We cite our recent experience, barely offshore, in a relatively simple area to forecast (Gulf Stream temperatures notwithstanding) compared to mid-ocean as an example.Anyone who ventures offshore thinking otherwise, feeling secure in the knowledge of others more expert, is eventually going to learn this lesson the hard way. We’ll avoid the more difficult topic of long range, as in multi-year progs for now.

  4. Rod Manser Says:

    Thanks for keeping us there with Wind Horse as you continue to explore the envelope.

    Love to get every scrap of information from your posts to help understand your unique capability.

    I suspect there is not anything else in the world like it.