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Thread: What worked, what didn't.

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Alameda CA
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    174

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    Quote Originally Posted by cafemontaigne View Post
    OK, my turn:

    What Worked

    SNIP
    Breathable Foulies - They work for a couple hours. I had several sets of waterproof gear, but next time I'll have a pair of non-breathable ones for when I'm really getting soaked. I spent the first 3 days of the race wet and mildly hypothermic.

    Ankle boots - I have an aversion to high boots, but 3 days of wet feet has probably cured that. I'm lucky I didn't get trench foot.

    SNIP
    ===========================================
    Adrian
    Idefix
    For the first few cold days, and the colder day of the delivery home You might use http://www.mustangsurvival.com/produ...uct.php?id=286 a Mustang Coverall Flotation & Worksuit MS2075.

    I have used one teaching on the bay for years. Even teaching docking on a hot day, the zipper down to the waist lets the body breathe enough so you do not get overheated.

    As for boots, a replacement I have used for years is to use Sealskinz waterproof socks ( available at REI) in Tiva sandals, or regular deck gripping sneakers. These socks are breathable, and never seem to build up grunge inside to require washing. The only way I have discovered to ruin a pair of these is to wring them out. This rips the middle ( breathable) layer so from then on your feet are indeed wet.

    Although you seem not to favor gloves, Sealskinz waterproof gloves might prevent the look your hands had on arrival.

    John
    Blueberry, Nonsuch 22 sail#48

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    San Rafael
    Posts
    21

    Default Mustang Suit

    John,

    Curious, could such a suit replace foulies on delivery or is this material not that good? Seems to me for 300 bones you can have foulies instead of spending 600 + for some Musto stuff.

    Mark

    Quote Originally Posted by jfoster View Post
    For the first few cold days, and the colder day of the delivery home You might use http://www.mustangsurvival.com/produ...uct.php?id=286 a Mustang Coverall Flotation & Worksuit MS2075.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Alameda CA
    Posts
    174

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    Quote Originally Posted by markm View Post
    John,

    Curious, could such a suit replace foulies on delivery or is this material not that good? Seems to me for 300 bones you can have foulies instead of spending 600 + for some Musto stuff.

    Mark
    I use them in place of foulies in all racing and delivery situations except tropical water conditions.

    These Mustang work suits are commercial grade work suits. I bought mine many years ago, and used it for just hundred of teaching days on the water. It shows little degradation other than sun fading. My Mustang Float Coat, for estuary use in beer can race evenings, dates back to the late 1970's. Apart from some sun fading, it also has held up well.

    They are not breathable, but I simply unzip the zipper an amount needed to regulate my body temperature and sweat content back to what I want after serious exertion.

    The closed cell floatation foam is what provides the hypothermia insulation.

    Mustang shows their various work suits ( not to be confused with their immersion survival (gumby) class of suits) at http://www.mustangsurvival.com/produ...tegory.php?t=2

    If you are curious about the clo ratings shown for these suits, check out their discussion on their page http://www.mustangsurvival.com/resou...ypothermia.php

    By the way, I carry a fully charged, but turned off, hand held VHF inside one inner pocket on my suit, and my FastFind 210 PLB in an inside pocket, for use should I ever am swept off Blueberry in some accident while sailing single handed. The inside pocket provides a foam barrier to protect those items from mechanical and water damage that might somehow happen if carried in an outside pocket.

    John

    John

  4. #14
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    105

    Default Mustang work suits

    I was sailing with a couple guys who were wearing the work suits for Swiftsure last year. They seemed really nice, but the guys did complain about sweating like crazy inside the suits, even though it was a pretty chilly night.

    In the Northwest we're often faced with near-constant rain, but relatively mild temperatures. In these conditions you'd have to zip up the suit to stay dry, but then you'd overheat. I think this is where non-breathable waterproof gear is nice. You stay dry, but can layer underneath appropriately for the temperature.

    If you're going to be frequently doused in cold water, or sail in the winter, the work suit would be ideal.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    2,846

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    I can't resist the temptation to tell you that I never put my wet gear on in the 2008 SHTP, not even going out the Gate. I did have my Dubarry's on to keep my feet dry but never got cold/wet enough for foulies.

    By the way, those Dubarry's are not worth it. The uppers are nice and they are very comfortable, but the plastic soles get hard and then become very slippery. I don't wear them anymore.

    The other stuff above is gold - keep it coming!

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    517

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    Here goes ...

    What worked

    Raymarine X5 autopilot: I used it for about 80% of the race, and unlike Paul and Adrian I had no ram failures. I did worry about it though, and reduced the response from 5 to 1 or 2 every time I turned it on to reduce the power consumption, wear and annoying noise. No interference issues with the SSB.

    NASA "AIS Radar" receiver: it was always on. No problems, and simple enough for a technophobe like me. And cheaper than the same device with a SiTex nameplate.

    Navman 5500 plotter: Also always on, providing the GPS signal to the AIS. On this trip I finally got fluent with setting up waypoints and routes.

    Xantrex LinkLite monitor: Occasional mystery messages, but I always felt I had a good picture of the state of the batteries.

    Solar panels (2 ea 54W from Northern Arizona Wind & Sun) and Genasun controller. I mounted the panels on the stern pulpit with Sea Dog rail clamps that allowed them to pitch forward and aft, plus two little guy lines on each panel. Easy to adjust and they never slipped. It would have been nice if they could rock port/starboard, but they still gave me plenty of power.

    Sperry Fathom boots: Comfortable, warm, good grip, and half the price of Dubarrys. The leather always looked wet once it was exposed to salt water, but it didn’t seem to affect the function. Beware of buying online: I had to go 2 sizes up from my shoe size.

    Duofold wicking polyester underwear. I had serious boat butt after stupidly starting the race in my everyday cotton undies. When I changed to the Duofold, it cleared up immediately.

    Trader Joe’s chili. Trader Joe’s Indian Fare. Trader Joe’s roast beef hash. Trader Joe’s Harvest Grains blend (couscous, quinoa, orzo …) – cooks fast, tastes good, smells better.

    What didn’t

    Navman/Northstar wind and speed instruments: The wind gauge failed for the second time in May, and I installed a new masthead wand the day before the start. But I never trusted what I saw on the display. The knotmeter got wet inside, such that the LCD display was flaky. Much of the time I kept the gauges turned off, relying on the Windex and the GPS.

    My 7 gallon polyethylene jerry can of water sprung a leak on the way home. Luckily I didn’t need it. Also, a full 7 gallon container is hard to move between beach, dinghy and boat.

    Heater Meals: Convenient, but they generate a heck of a lot of trash. And the taste is pretty dreary.

    The windows leaked. The foredeck hatch leaked. The keel bolts leaked. I think the hull-deck joint leaked.

    (speaking of leaks) My kidneys didn’t work too well: I got a kidney stone 12 hours after getting home. Ouch! Probably something to do with using <15 gallons of water in 21 days. But the morphine in the ER was great ...

    Mixed reviews

    SSB: No problems with the Icom radio and tuner, but my antenna and ground setup left something to be desired. The antenna was a 21’ wire tied at intervals to a line with a dacron cover over both, hoisted up a small halyard between a stern cleat and the masthead crane. For a ground plane, I had a length of 1” copper braid from the tuner that I tossed overboard at checkin time. I also hose-clamped it to the stern pulpit for strain relief and on the thought that the pulpit/lifeline assembly might help out as a counterpoise. For whatever reason, I couldn’t hear some people reliably and some couldn’t hear me. Fortunately, I was always near Culebra with his excellent setup.

    Jeantex breathable foulies: The jacket was great. But the bibs are several years older, and if a little water washed over the cockpit seat I would immediately feel it coming through.

    Twin jibs. They were fantastic when I wanted to stay below but there was too much wind to leave the spinnaker untended. But they were a hassle to set up or take down. I don’t have a matched pair on a common luff: I hoisted my 125% high-clewed jib in the foil with whisker pole, and free-flew a wire-luffed staysail on the other side. My double-ended spinnaker foreguy isn’t long enough to reach the tip of the whisker pole, so I had to unreeve one end from the cockpit to the foredeck. And I think I tweaked the pole slightly the first time I put it up, so it was very difficult to extend with the control line.

    Outgrabber: The spinnaker pulled the boom inboard about as much as the boom held the clew outboard. Still, it looked really cool.
    Last edited by Critter; 08-26-2010 at 09:54 AM.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Honolulu
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    228

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    A bit late on this, but here goes:

    What worked:

    NKE autopilot- a bit confusing, but i'm going to list this in the "what worked" and "what didn't work" category. The unit was extremely reliable, steering me most of the way to, and from, Hawaii. The reliability of the hydraulic ram and system were great. The performance however, was lacking.

    Mount Gay 30- Again, I am going to list this in the "what worked' as well as "what didn't work" category. The boat was extremely solid in my qualifier and SHTP. On the way home, uh, it wasn't so much....

    Yanmar diesel with Balmar alternator and Lifeline batteries- Although I would personally prefer some type of "renewable" energy, the Yanmar diesel with Balmar high-output alternator and Lifeline batteries proved to be very reliable. Simply check voltage every hour or so, and fire up motor when you need more juice. Run for 1 hour- 1 hour 15 minutes, every 12 hours or so and you're golden.

    Icom SSB with Pactor 3 modem- This is the second boat i've had with an ICOM SSB radio and Pactor 3 modem. And my next boat will have the same setup. Weather fax, email, gribs, you name it. $250 a year gets you access to Sailmail, which gives you access to everything you need to stay in touch and stay up to date on weather when crossing oceans. Great system. The grounding plane and antenna were great, and my install worked very well. Very pleased with this gear.

    Apple iPod- Music the whole time. Draws very little to charge it up via 12V socket.

    Mountain House freeze dried food- If you have a very spartan boat with only a water boiler, then I would highly recommend Mountain House freeze dried camping food. Costs about $6 per meal. I ate one for dinner every day on SHTP.

    Spinnaker wrap preventer- This piece of gear was invaluable during the race. My next boat will have some type of wrap preventer, for sure.

    Quality sailing shorts and tech shirts- Comfortable, quick drying sailing gear for warm weather, trade wind sailing is great. On my next SHTP, i'll bring far fewer clothes. I brought way too many clothes, and ended up just wearing my nice sailing shorts and tech shirts the whole time. Quality instead of quantity.

    What didn't work:

    NKE autopilot- The autopilot did not work nearly as well as I had hoped. Going downwind, using TWA, the autopilot was slow to make corrections and just simply wound not hold me on course. I ended up getting no sleep when the kite was up, rounding up all the time, and constantly having to make corrections. The thing was so retarded that I actually switched it to compass mode, and it worked better.

    Mount Gay 30- Great boat, but difficult to sail to it's potential when solo. When you sail it well, it's extremely fast, but it's very difficult to do that when you're by yourself. I think an easier to sail boat would have been better. The thing was designed for fully-crewed, water ballasted racing. Not for one person, un-water-ballasted racing. Handicap racing is all about sailing to the boat's potential, and the Mount Gay is just very hard to sail.

    Charging system- Although the charing system was reliable and worked well, I will for sure, undoubtedly, go with solar panels in the next race. For peace of mind, and to eliminate the sound and burning of fossil fuels.

    Wet boat- I did a lot of work to make the boat dry, but it still wasn't enough. In my next race, I will absolutely go overboard on making the boat as dry as possible.

    Letting your competitors beat you- I have found that in any type of competition, letting your competitors beat you never results in a win. Adrian kicked my ass, and as a result, I did not win.

    Losing keels- Losing a keel while mid ocean is extremely bad and I would not recommend anyone ever do it, under any conditions. On my next boat I will inspect the keel extremely thoroughly.

    Not enough sleep and dehydration- I pushed myself extremely hard to keep up with Adrian at times, and as a result I became too tired and dehydrated. In the next race, I will throttle back at times to sleep, and will make sure I constantly drink too much water.

    I might edit this list later, but that's the big stuff.

    Ronnie

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    7

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    "The thing was so retarded that I actually switched it to compass mode, and it worked better."
    WOW! Please don't tell me that you are as disappointed with the NKE as i am with the B&G! it appears to be that these both big brands are awesome only when you get special attention from their “engineers”….why is it that Raymarine can make a good pilot and not good instruments? And Broken & Garbage can’t get their pilot and instruments to work without having to pay tens of thousands for to have their guys come and give you special treatment…
    It would be interesting to know if the Raymarine guys have successfully used their pilot in downwind-reaching with some seas

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    517

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    I only used the Raymarine in compass mode. My instruments are Navman/Northstar, and I read somewhere that relying on NMEA to get different manufacturers' gear to communicate would be too slow for the autopilot to work well. So I didn't bother hooking up the NMEA.

    Since my wind gauges weren't accurate anyway, I'm sure it would have been a disaster to steer to wind angle.

  10. #20
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Novato
    Posts
    122

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    Quote Originally Posted by Astolfo View Post
    "It would be interesting to know if the Raymarine guys have successfully used their pilot in downwind-reaching with some seas
    Sorry to respond late. How about I make up for it by being particularly wordy? I would be one of those Raymarine guys, and neither a strong proponent nor critic, because in general I would say this: it works just fine if you don't expect miracles, and it's a good value (performance vs. price).

    Sailing a compass course with the gyro compensated tiller pilot was quite good with a spinnaker up and a following sea, even when the sea state included a nasty beam-on component (which it did for several days). When the nasty component was there I had to put the gain up, which I think put a lot of wear on the ram. So yes, it works downwind with a sea if you're willing to put the required wear on the ram.

    In wind trim mode it worked just fine for me, too, because I only ever preferred wind mode when I wanted to sail to apparent wind, such as sailing a close reach and following the wind shifts. Sailing on true wind might have been nice when going off the wind, but I found that using compass mode off the wind was just fine instead. Gyro compensation is essential--I've used both non gyro and gyro compensated Raymarine units and the noncompensated units just plain do not work, not at all (off the wind with a chute). Regarding true wind mode, most of you know the issue, but here goes my explanation anyway. The trigonometry of the vector problem expects very small errors in the transducer accuracy. The calculation of the true wind is based on the subtraction of two components that could be very near each other in magnitude, and then applying a complex trig funtion such that small measurement errors (the transducers) are magnified into a huge computed errors (the resultant true wind speed and angle). I don't think I had my transducers dialed in well at all, so the errors were too large for some wind angles. I know I could have calibrated them better if I'd been able to find a patch of water in the bay that had no current, or at least constant current, but alas I couldn't. So there was definitely room for improvement, but only so much. This is what I mean by not expecting miracles and being okay with the performance versus price trade-off: with this instrumentation, even in ideal conditions, I'm of the opinion you can't calibrate the transducers very accurately to expect a good calculation of true wind angle for sailing off the wind in a messy sea.

    Nevertheless, I got really good results sailing in apparent wind mode exactly when I needed an apparent wind mode, upwind with wind shifts, and I got good results sailing on compass mode (when the gain was high enough) when the apparent wind was aft of the beam. So I was not unhappy at all with the performance for those 2 applications. But I'm also not one to expect top end performance out of admittedly "everyman" kind of gear.

    There was one application that I hated: waypoint mode. The Raymarine processor is programmed to steer off course by a large angle back to zero XTE as soon as the XTE climbs just a little. That's okay when you're motoring or maybe even beam reaching, but not when you are close reaching, which I did a ton of on the return home. Of course the drift was always to leeward, so the XTE correction was always to windward. The headsail would luff up for a full minute or two while the XTE was reduced back to zero. I soon gave up on waypoint mode even though waypoint mode was really preferred for the excessive drift I had (while crossing eastward through the beam seas between the East Pac High and the CA coast). I checked the manuals and asked the technicians at Raymarine. It isn't configurable (unless I'm missing something). There was no self tending using waypoint mode, a real drag.

    Paul/Culebra

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