After an uneventful (relatively speaking) 37 day voyage from Cape Town, South Africa, Kiwi Spirit is once again docked at my home in St. Augustine. The crew consisted of Steve Pettengill, Mike Dolan and Kim Whitaker. They had one refueling stop in St. Thomas and also carried an extra fuel bladder which came in handy as many of the miles were windless. There were the usual manageable problems encountered by a cruiser on a long voyage – radar completely failed, the A2 (spinnaker) tore into three pieces and the starboard rudder once again gave cause for alarm as it worked loose and caused considerable “juddering” of the boat – but this they fixed while underway. But the toilet worked as did the refrigerators and freezer – so yes – relatively uneventful I say with tongue in cheek.
Steve made note of the vast amounts of kelp (sea weed) that he encountered along the way. At one stretch they were in it for 1,600 miles often having to stop and back down to clear the weed from the keel and rudder. With an engine this is quite simple – just lower and furl the sails, turn on the engine and go backwards for a few yards until it all floats free. But under sail and not able to use an engine I had on occasion to head up directly into the wind in order to literally stall the boat (in irons), and in fact sail backwards to clear the weed – not an easy trick. Fortunately for me while I saw a great deal of Sargasso weed and had minor fowling of rudders and hydro generators (you might recall I replaced three sets of hydro generator blades) I saw very little kelp until Cape Town was within sight and I was, having abandoned the effort, able to use the motor and so could easily back down. It was not all kelp, accordingly to Steve, they also were fouled with plastics, wood, netting and other flotsam and jetsam. It’s more than just a little sad to see what is floating in our oceans.
Kiwi will now go to Maine to be completed and offered for sale. I look forward to seeing her in this state as we purposely to save weight did not finish her interior for my two solo attempts. Two toilets will be added as well as several air conditioning units – such a luxury. A larger hot water tank and many other final touches will be made. She is a powerful boat and will when completed be a fast family cruiser as has been the plan. I will envy whoever buys her. In the meantime I am looking at a somewhat smaller boat and will be speaking to Lyman Morse and others about her design and production. Stay tuned. If I am to try again, it will be in November 2017 – at age 80! In the meantime I will be boat-less.