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Preparing for the Worst

September 11, 2013

In the attached photo, two men at the yard are making a "sleeve" around the boom. Once the carbon fiber sleeve is made of sufficient thickness and strength, it will be removed and stowed. Then during the voyage, should the boom break, and they do, I will attempt to repair it using the sleeve, epoxy and screws. Just another piece of equipment that I hope never to use. So what else is on the boat that is in the “hope never to use” category?

  • Two life rafts on deck and one below in case the boat goes upside down and I have to get out from an emergency opening.

  • Three EPIRBS. These are radio transmitters that send out an impulse in an emergency. The first one floats off its mount and starts sending signals automatically, or I could turn it on manually. Sometimes these go off when they should not, creating a false alarm. However I have a second one and should it go off thirty minutes later, for that is the duration I have chosen, then all will know that the first was not a false alarm, and that I am in danger and still alive - so please get cracking! Also, I have a third one on my safety harness so that if washed overboard and separated from my boat I can send off a satellite signal. However that will be a pretty serious situation as survival and rescue in such situations are rare.

  • I also have a collection of wooden and rubber plugs to plug holes, and a good supply of epoxy and fiber to fill them over. In the event of a collision with an object that makes a hole, such as a log, bergy bit from an iceberg, or a container, I also have a "collision mat" which goes over the hole from the outside. However, my first recourse would be to change tack, i.e. change my heading and lift the hole as high as possible out of the water, slow down, use the water tight bulkheads to isolate the problem, use the mat to stem the flow and then begin the process of repair.

Who was it that said that “sailing is hours of relaxation punctuate by moments of sheer panic?"

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