The Lifting Keel

Rather than describe again that the winds are still light, I thought I’d mention some details of Issuma’s lifting keel. Lifting keels are not common, but are somewhat popular on offshore and expedition-type sailboats. At the price of additional complexity (and cost), they allow the boat to motor into shallow water when the keel is up, and to keep the ballast (weight) low when sailing (when the keel is down) so it can still sail well. Here is Yann’s picture of the keel before being installed in the boat. The keel weighs 4.5 tons and also carries up to 600 litres of fuel. On the lower left is the pin on which the keel pivots when raising and lowering. The upper left corner is the top of the keel (or the top aft corner of the keel when the keel is lowered all the way). The square shiny things are pieces of zinc, welded onto the steel keel to prevent corrosion.

Sailing Under the Sun

I sailed under the sun yesterday, and am now north of where the sun now is, at 12 degrees North. The days are getting measurably longer–not noticeably longer, but as I pay attention to the times of sunset and sunrise, I notice they are about 40 minutes longer. I’m hoping it gets cooler soon, but as long as the wind blows nicely, it is pleasant out here, far from land. Not much out here but birds and a few fish. After catching no fish for two weeks, a fish that must have been big took my lure yesterday. The brake on the fishing reel screeched a few seconds as the fish took off with the lure. Unfortunately, he completely took off with the lure, leaving me with just the line in the water (fortunately I have other lures to use).After seeing no other vessels for ten days, yesterday a Chinese fishing boat came close yesterday, seeming to be looking for fish (they didn’t have any gear out and was following what looked to be a search pattern), and last night a tanker passed. So it’s not as quiet here as it would seem from a look at the position.

Making Frames for a Schooner

Cajaíba, Baia de Camamu, Brazil
Hammering the nails into the frames. The nails are about 50cm (18″) long, of galvanized steel, and are covered with an oil before use. I understand the oil (I couldn’t understand the answer of what kind of oil it is) is for preserving the wood, but probably also makes it easier to drive the nail in.