About my threads and trip posts

Entering the Crinan Canal in 2021
during my second solo round GB trip.
I post about my cruises as and when I can during the trip with some updates and corrections when I am weather bound, but with limited time, bandwidth and computing power the final version of posts and threads, hopefully corrected for dyslexia and autocorrect induced errors, will not be available until sometime after I get home, perhaps the following winter when I have lots of time to spare.

Some posts will be written in real time and some retrospectively so the tense will vary from post to post and sometimes within one, I do not generally "correct" this. 

Some posts, in whole or in part, may have been posted on the Achilles Flickr site and / or on Facebook where I check in frequently so that people know where I am and my intentions. Posts on these sites are generally not updated. 

A lot of the posts on seamanship, tips etc. were written in response to questions - mainly from owners new to keel boats - on the Achilles Flickr or for the Achilles Owners web sites both of which I became admin for in 2020, rebuilding the latter.

My current location can usually be found from my page "Where is Sancerre" (above).

Pictures, and particularly videos, may be limited or of poor quality until I get home when I can more easily photoshop them (primarily to make horizons horizontal) and create slide shows. If I post by email via Iridium there will be no pictures until I get back to civilisation.

The second and subsequent lines of the bar at the top of the blog page are links to threads of selected cruises, a full list of my cruises in Sancerre can be found in the Cruise Index (above).

Charts are variously screen shots from:

  • SeaPro 3000 my general navigation program run on a laptop, connected to the boat systems but also with a u-blox76 GPS.
  • Garmin ActiveCaptain on an iPad which shares charts, tracks etc. with the Garmin plotter.
  • Admiralty or Antares charts displayed via the MemoryMap application on PC or iPad.
  • Marinetraffic.com. 

Pictures are by me unless otherwise stated.

Distances are in nautical miles (about 15% longer than statute miles) and usually "GPS" miles over the ground, distance through the water could be more or less depending on tides. 

A good time to be in shelter, the 46Kt
wind when I turned the instruments
on is almost storm Force 10.
Unless otherwise stated wind speeds will be "true" / "speed over the ground" rather than "apparent" / "speed over the deck" (which is influenced by the speed of the boat, tide and relative angles).

I often refer to having 1 or 2 reefs in the headsail, it is actually roller reefed and therefore continuously variable but typically I reef to close to one of two markers that approximate to the #2 genoa and the working jib originally specified for the boat, see my page "The Achilles 9m and Sancerre" for these specifications and more.

Wind speeds may be in knots or more often these days in Beaufort "Force". F6 is highlighted in the inshore water forecasts (UK & Ireland) with a "Strong Wind Warning" but it is best to assume that gusts will be one force or more higher than mentioned in forecasts. 

Although I should be able to cope with much stronger winds (I carry heavy weather and storm jibs, have a deep storm reef for the mainsail and as a last resort can lie to a drogue), I will usually try to avoid sailing in F6, not so much because of the wind speed, but because of the resulting sea state that would likely be very uncomfortable. An exception might be in sheltered waters, going down wind or to avoid even stronger winds.

DSCF1137
Sheltering in Kinsale 2022, wind about F5 in sheltered water, earlier it had been F7-8.

For non-sailors, the following is from The Royal Meteorological Society: 

Wind Force

Description

Wind Speed

Specifications

Probable Wave Height

Sea

State

 

 

km/h

mph

knots

 

metres

Max

 

0

Calm

<1

<1

<1

Smoke rises vertically. Sea like a mirror

--

--

0

1

Light Air

1-5

1-3

1-3

Direction shown by smoke drift but not by wind vanes. Sea rippled

0.1

0.1

1

2

Light Breeze

6-11

4-7

4-6

Wind felt on face; leaves rustle; wind vane moved by wind. Small wavelets on sea

0.2

0.3

2

3

Gentle Breeze

12-19

8-12

7-10

Leaves and small twigs in constant motion; light flags extended. Large wavelets on sea

0.6

1.0

3

4

Moderate Breeze

20-28

13-18

11-16

Raises dust and lose paper; small branches moved. Small waves, fairly frequent white horses

1.0

1.5

3-4

5

Fresh Breeze

29-38

19-24

17-21

Small trees in leaf begin to sway; crested wavelets form on inland waters. Moderate waves, many white horses

2.0

2.5

4

6

Strong Breeze

38-49

25-31

22-27

Large branches in motion; whistling heard in telegraph wires; umbrellas used with difficulty. Large waves, extensive foam crests

3.0

4

5

7

Near Gale

50-61

32-38

28-33

Whole trees in motion; inconvenience felt when walking against the wind. Foam blown in streaks across the sea

4.0

5.5

5-6

8

Gale

62-74

39-46

34-40

Twigs break off trees; generally impedes progress. Wave crests begin to break into spindrift

5.5

7.5

6-7

9

Strong Gale

75-88

47-54

41-47

Slight structural damage (chimney pots and slates removed). Wave crests topple over, and spray affects visibility

7.0

10.0

7

10

Storm

89-102

55-63

48-55

Seldom experienced inland; trees uprooted; considerable structural damage. Sea surface is largely white

9.0

12.5

8

11

Violent Storm

103-117

64-72

56-63

Very rarely experienced, accompanied by widespread damage. Medium-sized ships lost to view behind waves. Sea covered in white foam, visibility seriously affected

11.5

16.0

8

12

Hurricane

118+

73+

64+

Devastation. Air filled with foam and spray, very poor visibility

 

14+

---

9

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