Sea Mist appreciation day...3 cheers for Sea Mist and the bloaks from Wroxham who built her

Sea Mist > Sold to New Owners July 2016
John and Cheryl Ellsworth
Sun 21 Dec 2008 12:22
16 54 N  54 47 W
As our minds turned to thoughts of coastlines, shores, beaches …..AND
LAND...…we began chatting these last couple of day about this home of ours
and became more conscious of how good it is compared to so many of our
friends making this passage on much smaller and considerably less
equipped….but seaworthy!...sailboats that have been built recently or 10 >
20 > 30+ years ago. Crossing oceans is much more a state of mind and
capability of a crew than it is having a well equipped “big” boat…..our hats
go off to new found friends from far corners of the world and from Canada
whom we have met and who have tales to tell us “newbies” of their different
crossings over different oceans. For us to imagine a husband and wife
hand-steering a boat for more than 30 days across a broad expanse of the
Pacific Ocean is most difficult!...until you get to chat with and appreciate
the individuals and their mettle then and maybe still, years later, now
albeit a bit more tired like all of us as the years go by.

DTG 401 nm

Today's blog .....and this site is a "blog" site is a somewhat long and
rambling but intentionally focused reflection on what we treasure with Sea
Mist...our Oyster 56 that was built in 2005 by Windboats in Wroxham,
Norfolk, UK.

Most appreciated Sea Mist features (and we’re hoping we don’t hurt her
feelings or she may quickly show us how important another of her features is
that we until now had not sufficiently taken notice of):

- The freezer: In this blog, I have noted Chez Cheryl's cuisine and how she
had created these fantastic dishes and froze some 60 meals before we left
the Canaries. Hat's off to our huge freezer for, without it, we would not
have been able to enjoy Chez Cheryl's meals on-board....and how can anything
be more important than a well fed crew.

- Mister AUTO....Oh, did we not introduce you to our 4th crew member, AUTO?
A big miss on my part: we have a Brookes and Gatehouse 3 axis gyro
controlled, Hydra 2000 A/P that has performed flawlessly in its steering by
wind angle, by route waypoint control, by compass heading...whatever our
whim....unbelievably valuable in all its features, particularly in the tough
seas and winds where we could not have imagined having the wherewithal to
handsteer if Auto had let us down.

-The Genset: Our Westerbeke 10.4 kw generator is what keeps us cooking -
literally since we have a 220V 3 burner cook top and oven....and
figuratively, since the Genset keeps the battery bank charged to deliver
against a high demand....the batteries keep AUTO "fueled" since he is
electric/hydraulic.....keep the 3 powerful hydraulic furlers running so that
sail handling is a one person effort even with the onset of one of those
terrible squalls of which we had many. The Generator heats the water (lots
of times it is more than one shower a day for us enroute as the tropical
heat takes over)....pumps the water... and "the sewer"....and gives us the
luxury of keeping Ian and Cheryl with almost non-stop video and audio
entertainment...not to mention lighting. We have had the Genset operate for
47 hours to date to keep us running Sea Mist at about a constant 20 amp/hour
burn rate....AUTO being the BIG consumer and the various monitors/video
screens in as the big 2nd place that's a lot of power to draw
from our house battery bank and no way solar or wind could keep up with us
Seamisters' habits of burning electricity.

-The heads: We have learned to appreciate working toilets....and great
showers with lots of and cold.....BUT...just to make sure that
we weren't about to abuse these Jabsco "Quiet Flush" toilets, both of the
toilets let us down while still at the marina in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
An internal shaft pump seal on the forward head and a virtually plugged
discharge line/hose on the aft head (from lime scale totally filling the
hose diameter). Sea Mist was on our side....she made sure we had these
failures while still in port....thanks Sea Mist for the excellent timing!

-OH! WATER....did you notice that I mentioned water several times and using
lots of it? Well that is also the way we expect Sea Mist to serve us....and
she does.... with a 220 V Seafresh watermaker that can make far more water
than we can possibly use; water made during those times that the Genset is
charging batteries. Our 1000 liter water tank is full now as I write this
and has been throughout the passage.

-The electric winches and anchor windlass, the bow thruster and the
hydraulic furlers for in-mast main sail, yankee head sail and the
cutter-rigged staysail. Without these mechanical aids we would have had to
have 2 or 3 or more additional crew to manage Sea Mist but she does it all
on her own with a little guiding help from us.

-The center cockpit full Oyster Marine were not too
impressed with my demand to include this in the build as it would take away
from the design lines of the vessel when it was in place. Well we insisted
since Sea Mist would be our year round "home" in this new sailing life and
we wanted some protection from the elements as we imagined wet winters in
Portugal or Greece or wherever. What we didn't imagine was that the cockpit
enclosure would end up being in place most of the time....sailing in
drenching rain, howling winds 40kts plus and the like....all without us
having in the 3 years so far even brought out our foul weather gear from
storage. Thanks Sea Mist for the sailing environment that makes most sailors
jealous as we meet....them in their foul weather gear and us in t-shorts,
shorts reading a book or listening to music. Sorry Oyster Marine; looks are
one thing but comfort rates higher for the residents of Sea Mist....and,
besides, the enclosure really doesn't look bad at all to most peoples
eyes....albeit a bit out of place for die hard old timer sailors who need
the sea water and wind cutting their face just to know they're alive.

-The 100 kg ULTRA anchor: marinas have their place and for us now and then
are very important to this sailing life but, since Sea Mist is totally self
contained/self-supporting, we spend most of our cruising stopovers anchored
in attractive bays and the like. Sea Mist came with a 75 kg CQR anchor and
with it during the first year we could not gain confidence in safely
anchoring where we were assured the anchor wouldn't let go if the going got
tough. And then, at a little boat show in Istanbul, we happened perchance to
see a display of anchors...all makes in this simulator pit of gravel, rock,
sand etc. Here is where we found the ULTRA. Cheryl would say it has been the
best thing that we have purchased for Sea Mist. Switching from the CQR to
the ULTRA has changed our cruising life! Not an overstatement: we now drop
the anchor and it sets the first time everytime and when we are up on some
mountain top 20 km away and can see Sea Mist sitting way down there in that
little bay with winds now building through the 30 and 40 kt range...we don't
worry....just look on with confidence and pride in Sea Mist's holding
ability. Too bad she wasn't properly dressed when first delivered....she
would not have had to endure episodes of hearing such foul language from the
captain and crew during that first year.
-And finally...the Nobeltec Admiral Max-Pro sailing software and electronic
charts that is run on IBM Thinkpad centered hardware configuration fully
integrated with B&G instruments, a digital radome/radar, AIS (Automatic
Identification System - required to be transmitted by all big commercial
ships) and presented via monitors at both the chart table/nav center below
deck and at the steering pedestal in the cockpit. Having powerful software
that overlays charts, radar, AIS target information and every aspect of
sailing measurement has been absolutely empowering as it enables a crew to
be informed and on top of all aspects of the sailing passage.

A "small" sidenote: it is the middle of the night on the North Atlantic as I
draft this Sea Mist appreciation blog entry. I "know" that there is not a
vessel within 50 miles of us or more; the wind is steady at 15 - 16 kts and
sails are configured with spin pole holding the head sail out to starboard,
boom/main out to port as Sea Mist merrily sails along at 7.5 kts of speed.
Suddenly, I see a B&G multi-instrument display start flashing "pilot error -
wind measurement" at the nav-station desk where I am typing. Other crew are
asleep. I jump up to the cockpit and as I get behind the wheel to assess the
situation, I immediately see the Autopilot is telling me that the wind
measurement input was questioned by the system as to its reliability and
that the Autopilot has automatically switched over immediately to compass
steering until a person checks out the cause of the fault and approves/OK's
the return to the wind steering mode. Because the A/P did the switch
immediately on sensing a potential problem, Sea Mist continued without
interruption or course change, etc on the same heading and therefore the
same wind angle as before the fault was identified and therefore a totally
controlled/managed situation. I quickly recognize that the possibility of a
fault was triggered by some heavy swells hitting Sea Mist on the
beam/starboard quarter and that, very-sudden-strong, movement of the mast,
coincident with the swell, induced several rolls of the vessel...and that
the rolls had caused a significant fluctuation in windspeed at the head of
the mast and that brought into question a potential fault or exposure to
wind steering. I hit the reset button to switch back to wind steering. At
the same time as I can immediately assess that steering aspect, I am also
confirming on the screen that there is indeed no other ship or vessel around AIS targets nor radar targets....and in the dark but clear starlit
night, no visual sign of a navigational light from another vessel over the
entire 360 degrees around Sea Mist......AND with that 2 minute interruption
behind me, I am then back at the keyboard on this tribute to Sea Mist.
Sailing can be comfortable and safe!

Thanks Sea Mist for keeping us safe and moving us on our passages around
these waters of the world!!

DTG 401 nm