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Monday, June 21, 2010

June 22, 2010-Africa Planning

wingssail images-judy jensen
Making Flags

Long months of indecision seem to be behind us; we're going to Africa. South Africa to be exact. After that into the Atlantic Ocean and eventually to Europe the long way.

I know it seems a bit out of the way compared to going directly across the Northern Indian Ocean to the Red Sea but there are reasons (including pirate activity in the Northern Indian Ocean) and compensations (we get to visit a lot of islands in the south like Cocos Keeling and Mauritius which we'd miss otherwise) plus Africa itself is an attraction.

And it should be some good sailing; the Southeast Trades blow steady in the South Indian Ocean.

We'll leave within a month. The itinerary includes: Sumatra, Cocos Keeling, Chagos, Rodrigues Island, Mauritiua, Reunion, and Richard's Bay, South Africa. At least that is the plan. We're excited. We're making flags for all these places.

But this is not cast in concrete; things can change. We'll keep you posted.

AIS

On June 11 computer screens around the area lit up with a new symbol: Wings. We installed a new charting system, OpenCPN, with AIS (Automatic Indentification System) which shows our position to ships (and shows ship's positions on our own computer screens).

It works well as far as we can tell here at the dock with little traffic around. I turn it on a couple of times a day just to look around and in the example below there are three other vessels showing, including two right here in the marina. Nothing dramatic about it yet, but it is really an advance for cruising yachts. Ships will see our name, position, speed and heading (look at the example at the right of the image). We can kill the transmission of our information with a "Silent" button at any time if we want to be sneaky.

OpenCPN Electronic Navigation with AIS

Other than that the boat projects are coming along fine and the list is getting short. Today we pick up our refurbished stove and that will complete the rebuild of the entire propane system from tanks to hot water heater: everything but the gas piping will have been replaced or rebuilt. In a few days the canvas dodger will be rebuilt and all the other minor sewing projects (like flags for Africa) will be finished.

Provisioning remains the big item, plus repacking the boat to make room for the food and drink we need for a three month trip. Actually, we will probably only be away from stores for about 5 weeks at the longest time, so it shouldn't be a hardship. Still, we'll take everything we can carry and the wine locker will definately be full.

So it looks like we'll be in Africa in November.

When we get to Europe is anybody's guess.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Phuket, Thailand

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Monday, June 07, 2010

June 7, 2010-Boat Projects Resume Despite the Rain

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Yacht Haven-Phuket Thailand

"April is the hottest Month".

The locals told us this frequently in Bangkok but it also applies to Phuket; it turns out.

OK, say we accept that, can you explain, please?

What about July and August?

It's all about the rain.

You see, by April the NE monsoon has stopped and the with it the cooling breezes from Asia. It gets hot in Thailand without those breezes.

May is about the same, actually, but this fact is not mentioned by the locals.

But by June the SW Monsoon, with its rain showers, begins to assert itself.

And in advance of each rain shower the air cools down.

So June is cooler.

And the rain continues until October, or so.

Ergo: April is hottest (ignoring May).

Well we like the rain, and we were glad to be gone in the heat of April and May, but too much rain cramps our style when it comes to boat projects.

Like fixing some paint which got scratched while we were gone. The frequent showers (some might call them squalls, but what is 25 knots between friends?) make it tough for the painter to do his little repair job.

Even simple tasks like hooking up the new solar panels can only be completed in fits and starts as we have to retreat under the boat cover whenever a big rain shower comes.

Or are we just pansies unable to work in a little bit of rain?

Maybe.

Anyhow, with all the major work completed last year we are now left with just a few dozen minor boat projects on the list (which of course we will ALWAYS have) which must be completed before we depart to cross the Indian Ocean in August.

August! That's close!

We hope the rains give us a break.

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
More Rain Coming!

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Phuket, Thailand

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Friday, June 04, 2010

June 1, 2010-Back in Thailand


After two months and a week, a period of time which seemed to fly by, we are back in Thailand.

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Thailand Scene near Yacht Haven, Phuket

Back from the cold of the Pacific North West of Washington State.

Back from the sunny but cool south of the USA.

Back from Iowa.

Back from Golden California Sunshine.

Back from bustling Hong Kong.

Back to steamy Thailand and back aboard Wings.

And, most of all, again separated from all of our loved ones and friends back home. We loved the times we had with you all, and we will miss you. Again, apologies to those friends we could not visit.

You can click on the archives for April 2010 and May 2010 (on the right side of this page) to go to the stories and photos from the whole trip.

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Wings, waiting in the rain for us

Now we have work to do: we brought a load of parts (some of it pictured below) which need to be installed or packed away, and we have preparations to make for our next ocean voyage.

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Waiting to be put away.

Some time withing the next 3-4 months we will depart Thailand to cross the Indian Ocean.

That will be a big adventure.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Phuket Thailand

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