Tuesday, 27 November 2012

The Quarterly Report

Having spent most of my career as an international civil servant, I can still write quarterly reports in my sleep. (Some of my best work was done that way.)  In a fit of nostalgia, I decided to drag out my U.N. reporting language and results-based management training to give you this update on our first 3 months of sailing Spray.

Title:                                              The Spray Project
FUND CENTER:                              Him

Expected Results:  World peace promoted through travel-induced education and culture at the individual level.

Implementation strategy:  Buy a boat and sail it around the world.

I.  Identification of needs:  Education and cultural awareness promoted through travel is a proven method for facilitating world peace.  Implemented at the individual level, this process is a cost-effective way of building community networks that can foster synergies at national and global levels.

II.  Modalities of action:  Buy a boat, learn how to maintain it, learn how to sail it short-handed, gain experience in a protected environment, gradually expand range and conditions of sailing, sail around Europe and the Mediterranean, begin world tour.

Performance indicators: (method of verification = self-reporting):
  1. Days at sea this quarter:  28 days out of 92 = 30% 
  2. Miles logged:  difficult to determine as speedo was not calibrated until early October and only discovered later that this information could be obtained from the main GPS unit (which also sometimes doesn’t work). 
  3. Short-handed sailing manoeuvres mastered :
    • Hoisting and furling sails (10/10)
    • Tacking (9/10):  Genoa lines get snagged on railings, shrouds, etc.  Rollers not yet in place.
    • Jibing (9/10): Not 100% smooth on all occasions with only 1 person handling both the main and headsails.
    • Reefing the main (8/10): Sticky automatic reefing system not fully mastered yet.
    • Changing the headsails (10/10).
    • Hoisting the Spinnaker (0/10, see knowledge gaps). 
    • Port manoeuvres (7/10):  Needs improvement, taking into account wind conditions and best order for fixing lines in given conditions and port configurations.
    • Mooring buoy manoeuvres (10/10).
    • Anchoring (9/10):  More experience needed for choosing the most comfortable site given wind and swell conditions, horizontal area and water depth available, and length of chain.
  4. Environmental Conditions Encountered:  dead calm on several occasions, several moderate squalls of up to 25 knot gusts with heavy rain and 2 meter swells, one major squall with 37 knot gusts, heavy rain and 3 meter swells.  Several occasions of fog, one in total white-out conditions for several hours while sailing close to a labyrinth of rocks.
  5. Navigation Range / Places visited:  Hoedic Island (Port), Houat Island, Belle Ile (Ports and Moorings), Groix (Port), Port Haliguen, Port Crouesty, Auray River.  Ports = 55%, Moorings and Anchorages = 45%. Longest sail = 8 days.
  6. Maintenance techniques mastered (9/10):  see Annex 1 (Maintenance Log).  Most maintenance, repairs and installations performed without outside professional help.

Knowledge gaps
  1. The auto-pilot, very important for short-handed sailing, is still temperamental and thoroughly untrustworthy.  I recently removed the spare 12 kg anchor from the cockpit locker that was perhaps too close to the auto-pilot compass flux-gate, which seems to have reduced its schizophrenic tendencies.  We need to put the pilot through the “automatic learning procedure” described in the manual, and then manually set various features to optimize performance.  We also need to replace the 2nd ball joint under the steering column to reduce play in the tiller, which should also improve pilot performance.
  2. Hoisting the spinnaker has been put on hold until the auto-pilot is able to assist.
Next quarter goals
  1. Repairs and Upgrades for next quarter:  fix the lazy-bag support on the boom, replace plexiglass on portholes, investigate leak in the exhaust system waterlock, add waste water holding tank, change 2nd ball joint under steering column, fix rollers on lifelines to facilitate passage of Genoa, add coconut fiber / latex mattress support to aft cabin to reduce humidity, figure out why AIS system is not recognized by MaxSea navigation software.
  2. Winter training, sailing in colder / wetter / rougher conditions.  Expand range of navigation if weather permits.