Saturday, June 30, 2012

Two-Boat Cruisers
By Michael

The Robertsons in their new
family car.
(courtesy Jim Mumy)
Most cruisers set out with three boats: a primary vessel that features a head, galley, and berths; a dinghy, which functions as a launch for going ashore when anchored out; and an inflatable life raft to be used as a refuge in the event the primary vessel sinks. It is a nearly universal approach.

But there’s an alternative, a two-boat approach, whereby a ship’s dinghy is configured to serve also as a life boat, should the need arise. Back in November 2010, I wrote about the pros and cons of this dinghy-as-life-boat (DALB) model and our intent to implement this strategy (and interestingly, it is by far the most widely read post on this blog). But at the time, I wrote from the perspective of a man living in a house, imagining the cruising life to come.
Once in Mexico, we began cruising with the standard three-boat set-up; Del Viento came equipped with an 11-foot Mercury Hypalon inflatable dinghy and a 6-person Plastimo Offshore model life raft. We decided to live with this configuration to see whether, in a real-life setting, it still made sense for us to change approaches.

So how did these first many months of cruising go? What factors confirmed our pre-cruising theory that the two-boat set-up would work best for us?
Well, that roomy 11-foot inflatable was nice in the water, but it was so big that stowing it on-deck was impractical. We did it (for the duration of the Baja Bash) but the entire foredeck was covered. It made it difficult to access both the main halyard winch on the mast and the windlass (I could have deflated it, but our life raft certification was expired and I wanted the dinghy ready to go as a back-up). During our months cruising with the inflatable dinghy, I spent hours repairing leaks in the tubes and I spent money to have leaks in the floor repaired. Maybe it is a quirk, but I really dislike leaking inflatable things. And despite an inflatable keel that never leaked, the dinghy rowed like a barge and I often envied the hard dinghy cruisers who exercised their way back to their boats.

The life raft situation was worse. It was the valise model, meaning it was packaged in a tough vinyl bag and had to be kept out of the elements. On our boat that meant either in a dry lazarette or down below. The bag was large and it weighed a ton. We eventually settled on a home for it in our only lazarette. It was very difficult to retrieve from this place and I counted on sinking-ship adrenaline to assist me if the time came. Plus, the valise robbed us of space we could have used for other things. If we were going to stick with the life raft, we’d not only have to have it recertified, but transition to a canister (very expensive) and find a place and build the infrastructure on deck to stow it topsides.
So in San Diego this past month, having then lived aboard Del Viento for as long as the human gestation period, we transitioned to the two-boat model. We sold our 11-foot inflatable (and large outboard) and our 6-person life raft and replaced them both with a Portland Pudgy. While the Pudgy is not cheap, we offset the cost with the sale proceeds of our old boats and a discount we got for buying old inventory (last year’s model).

And so far, we are very pleased.
The Pudgy is the Swiss Army knife of dinghies. It is a rugged, unsinkable, self-bailing, 8-foot-long polyethylene boat that rows beautifully, features a gaff-rigged sail kit, and an inflatable canopy for service as a lifeboat. Astoundingly, the sail kit (including mast) and life boat canopy (and more) stow nicely in the hollow gunnels of the Pudgy. It has a compass mounted in the coaming and a fender/rub rail around the bow. Deep gutters keep the sole dry and both the sole and decks feature molded non-skid.

I could sing her praises all day long, but I don’t think even a chorus of all five-hundred Pudgy owners to-date would steer a big percentage of cruisers away from the tried-and-true three-boat model. She is surprisingly large for being less than 8-feet LOA, yet she is less than 8-feet LOA. For very large people, and families with more or older kids, the Pudgy may be too small to serve as the family car. Also, we can’t go fast in our Pudgy (3-hp max outboard) and these days, for many cruisers, speed is the name of the game. It is fun and practical to zip across the water in a dink, especially when you have a long distance to cover. Many argue that a RIB with a big outboard expands horizons, making it possible to reach and explore more remote places, especially with a few people and dive equipment aboard. Also, despite the Pudgy’s amazing stability compared to other hard dinghies, she pales in this respect when pitted against just about any inflatable.
We knew about these shortcomings going in, and none of them have yet proven to outweigh what we gained in the transition.

In Dana Point and Catalina recently, it was much easier (and fun!) to row ashore than to fuss with a motor. As we head up around Point Conception in a couple weeks, the diminutive Pudgy will be stowed neatly on the foredeck, snug as a bug and out of the way of the areas to which we need ready access. Pulling our dink up to rocky shorelines in the Pacific Northwest, I won’t worry about tiny hard-to-find and difficult-to-repair punctures. I haven’t yet played with the sail kit, but I look forward to sailing around with the girls, teaching them. And I can’t wait to trigger the CO2 canisters that inflate the canopy that transforms the Pudgy into a life boat—oh, no, I’ll wait for that…
--MR

Our kayak, pictured next to the Pudgy in this pic, is
11-feet long by comparison. Note the sheer on the
Pudgy, very pleasing!
(courtesy Jim Mumy)

It is clear that I have no idea I am not rowing in the right
direction. A few seconds later, I likely saw Del Viento
and made a course correction. And would you look
at the tumblehome at the stern, just gorgeous!
--no matter that she is plastic.
(courtesy Jim Mumy)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Good Enough Sailor
By Michael

This is our new mainsail, designed, built, and
delivered to us in Mexico by Dave Benjamin
of Island Planet Sails. My biggest concern
ordering this new sail was that it wouldn't
solve any of the poor sailing experiences I
was attributing to our old mainsail, that my
lack of knowledge about sail trim was the
real culprit. So I was very pleased when we
sailed with this for the first time and
realized a HUGE improvement. We have
about 1,500 miles on this sail so far and
it is doing well.
In conversation with a landlubbing friend a couple weeks ago, I offered that I am not a very skilled sailor. Oh, did she laugh. I insisted, “Really, I can haul the sails up and get the boat someplace, but when it comes to sail trim and such, there is a lot I don’t know.” I don’t think she really believed me, or thought my assertion was a display of false modesty.

It occurred to me that many non-sailing folks—and maybe day sailors—assume that anyone who casts off in a well-provisioned blue water boat is at the top of their sailing game, that they have tens of thousands of miles under their keel and are able to squeeze the last tenth of a knot of boat speed out of any point of sail.
This past week, I came across a classic DVD stowed aboard that I’d never watched: The Shape of Speed. In it, Lowell North and his friends (a Who’s Who of sailing luminaries) go over strategies for trimming the mainsail, headsail, and spinnaker. The audio is clear and the supporting video footage is excellent. The onboard presentation is calm and matter-of-fact, and often using the words basic and simple. I don’t think I understood 50% of what they said.

When we raise the main aboard Del Viento, I’ll trim it using the mainsheet and traveler car—not using any proscribed formula, just doing what I need to do each time to position the boom for the point of sail, eliminate any sail flapping, and make sure that the shape is pleasing to my eye.
According to The Shape of Speed, a sailor should move the mainsail’s point of maximum draft (measured by a percentage of the chord length) by taking in the outhaul, easing the baby stay, tightening the running back stay, and adjusting the cunningham so that it is not too slack and not too tight. Then one should sight the top batten from the edge of the boom and use the mainsheet to address too little or too much twist. Then it’s best to use the leech telltales for more precise trim. Oh, and “in puffy conditions, the traveler must be tended constantly.”

Whew! Where do I put my beer while I do all of this?
The girls try and make a
friend in Marina del Rey.
I wondered how many people with cruising dreams are needlessly intimidated by exacting sailing instructors or videos like The Shape of Speed? How many cruising dreams are cast aside when the sailing reality seems too overwhelming?

There is nothing wrong with knowledge, and for skillful sailors—racing sailors for sure—all the information related in The Shape of Speed is second nature—and they go fast. In fact, the more of this information any cruising sailor knows and can put to use, the better. But it just isn’t necessary to make a passage, or to cross an ocean. Like Del Viento, many cruising boats don’t even have much of the equipment aboard to effect the basic sail trim described by Lowell North and his friends (no adjustable back stay or second car on the genoa track to adjust sheet leads).

To the hopeful cruiser I say: don’t be daunted by too much information. Like many pursuits, sailing can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. My instructions for someone with cruising dreams begin with learning the basics of theory and terminology (even from a book, like I did) and then:
  • Sail in all types of conditions throughout the year (warm weather, cold weather, light air, during small craft warning, with sails reefed, in the rain, in the fog, at night, overnight) until you feel comfortable heading out. Because, as Capt. Ron said, “If anything’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen out there.”
  • Practice anchoring and docking.
  • Know your boat’s systems and have the tools and spares aboard to resolve the common problems.
  • Reef early, try and stay within your comfort zone, and don’t push your boat like a Volvo or Velux racer—ultimately your judgment will develop.
And that’s all it takes to be as competent as me and most of the cruising folks I know. You will continue to gain experience with each mile that passes under your keel and each unexpected event.

And be open to the unexpected events. They’ll come in time—and maybe scare the heck out of you when they do—but you’ll learn from them, exactly what you need to learn. With experience, you’ll gain the confidence to expand your comfort zone and be in a position for more challenging unexpected events, thereby further increasing your experience and confidence. You may never learn precisely where your mainsail’s maximum draft should be, or how to get it there, but you’ll be ready to cross oceans.
--MR

On a brisk beam reach between Santa Cruz Island and Ventura, the
girls watch as a fast-moving container ship passes in front of us.

As Bill went by, the captain came out from the bridge, at least 12 stories
up, to give a wave, probably because we headed up to let him pass.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

New Tank, New Problem
By Michael

We arrived in Avalon, on Catalina Island,
yesterday. Like any tourist trap, there is
no shortage of pidgeons and ice cream.
When the new holding tank arrived at the marina office via UPS, it was a heavy monster. I took the 28-gallon beauty out of the box and showed Windy just how thick the polyethylene was.  Surely we were one installation away from an odor-free vessel.

Not long after I installed the new tank we began to notice the smell.
“Maybe it is residual from the old tank.”

A day passed.
“Are you sure you cleaned up really well from the old tank?”

A week passed.
“Did you forget to tighten a hose clamp?”

We hadn’t needlessly replaced the old broken tank—it was cracked and the flanges where two of the fittings attached were leaking—but could we really have made things worse?
Then the smell became unbearable. What the heck?

I checked and rechecked everything, again. I bought some microbe pellets at West Marine that are supposed to naturally keep odor in check. Things seemed to get worse and each of us, in turn, began to miss our old leaky tank.
Then I found the problem.

Our brand new, nearly $300 Todd tank was defective. The welded polyethylene flange at the top of the tank, threaded for the inspection port, was leaking. I called Todd. They seem like nice folks, but they were not keen on discussing tank problems over the phone, they wouldn’t even hear me out. I was told to take pictures of the problem and send them a description and they’d get back to me within five business days. Nonsense. [Ed: note that a previous version of this post indicated that I talked to Todd's Mexico and Central American representatives, E&P Marine, but that was incorrect, I spoke with Todd customer service directly.]
Del Viento on her mooring, the
iconic "casino" beyond.
So I turned to my friends at Google and learned everything there is to know about repairing polyethylene. The sealants we commonly use aboard don’t work on polyethylene, not even the tenacious polyurethanes like 3M’s 5200. Learning how to seal and repair the material would come in handy as everything is made with the stuff these days, from our kayak to our new Portland Pudgy.

It turns out there are several different approaches, but I went with Gougeon Brothers’ G/flex epoxy. So long as the surface is prepared correctly, the stuff sticks to and seals polyethylene very well. I abraded the crevice with a Dremel, cleaned it with rubbing alcohol, heat treated it with a butane torch, and then mixed and applied the epoxy. A couple weeks later, I am happy to report that the bond is strong and the head odor is completely gone.
While I’m on the subject, I’ll pass along a tip we learned from someone before heading out: oil and vinegar are your toilet’s friends. We keep a spray bottle of oil and vinegar at hand and we shake it up and give a couple squirts with each flush. The vinegar is a sanitizer that keeps hoses from calcifying and the oil helps lubricate the pump. Use a cheap vegetable oil and plain white vinegar, anything fancier and you risk developing an unwanted negative association that will put a damper on your salad cravings.

--MR
The West System G/flex epoxy is yellow when cured.

We took the girls to the Ocean Institute before leaving Dana Point.
The place is pretty cool and dedicated to teaching folks about
marine science. The entry fee to the non-profit was $22 for the family.

The girls dissected a squid during their visit; here Eleanor is
finding and removing the beak.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Me And The Mayor
By Michael

Windy with Ray, his truck, and SUP.
Ray said Dana Point tourists often
confuse him with The Most Interesting
Man In The World, a character in
a Dos Equis beer commercial.
“Hey, that’s different.” I said to myself staring out the passenger window of our friends’ car. “A guy in the park back there is wearing a ushanka and swinging his large dog in a hammock next to a teepee surrounded by temporary fencing.”

In a neat, clean park next to Dana Point marina, just 100 yards away from where Del Viento lay at anchor, we rolled slowly by the man-dog-hammock-teepee scene. The guy looked up with a big smile and waved and I called a pleasantry out the window, “It’s a dog’s life, eh?”
“Oh, you gotta see!” he called back, waving us over. “All of you, get out of your car and come see!”

The guy’s enthusiasm was like a hook. We stopped the car and did what he asked. The girls rushed ahead of Windy, me, and our friends, Jim and Jan. By the time the four adults ambled over, the guy had Frances in the hammock with his 75-pound German Shepherd and Eleanor asking to join them.
“Ray, the Mayor of Baby Beach,” is how he introduced himself. Ray has the gift of gab and is not so much a storyteller as someone with an endless supply of fascinating, outrageous vignettes he uses to expound on any subject. All of them are too incredible to be believable, except that there is a veracious quality to Ray’s delivery and, well, you just can’t make this stuff up.

“That’s a nice looking dog, she sure looks happy,” we offered.
“Nice looking? Oh, my gosh she should be. This dog is…” and Ray continued on about the  dog before us. Apparently our girls were nestled up in a hammock with a $25,000, registered, pure-bred dog born in Germany and descended from the highest order of world-class, Schutzhund-trained animals. I had trouble following along, but there was something about a wealthy couple and months that Ray spent caring for this dog without pay, about a contract he wouldn’t sign, about an unexplained urgent need someone expressed much later to make sure Ray had the dog. He named her Bruna and she looked remarkable to me.

Switching subjects, I asked Ray about security concerns at the public dock were we’d tied up our new Portland Pudgy. I mentioned we didn’t have a means to lock up our dinghy, but I was going to get some chain.
“What kind of chain you need?” And he was off before I could answer, heading for the box truck he said has been his home for 13 years. He disappeared in the back. I noticed the license plate on his truck: BRUNO. He reappeared with a 2.5-gallon plastic water bottle and looked me dead in the eye, “I’m going to get you some chain. While I do, please get me some water.” He handed me the water bottle and pointed to the outdoor sink and spigot on the pier. I don’t know what I tried to say to politely tell Ray not to bother, that I would buy some chain later, but he was gone again, rummaging around in his home.

Eleanor playing on the
sandstone in San Diego
on one of our last June
gloomy days there.
When I returned from the pier with Ray’s water, he had several lengths of chain laid out on a towel. He picked up one with a hefty padlock attached, “This is what you need. I may have the key for this lock, but you’ll have to go through a bunch of keys to find it. Are you ready?” I nodded.
The length of chain he handed me was perfect, exactly what I needed. I went through about 50 keys he gave me, looking for a match, but nothing fit. He seemed disappointed. “Okay,” he said, “you take this.” He handed me a very nice, shrouded, stainless steel lock with a key in it. “The key is bent, you’ll have to be careful with it, or replace it, but it’s yours.”

“Oh, I don’t know…”
“Take it. If you take this lock and chain, tomorrow I’ll have three more handed to me. That’s how it works for me.” I convinced Ray to accept a $10 bill I found hours earlier and he regaled all of us with more tales before we said goodbye.

The next day, we confidently locked our expensive, unregistered new Portland Pudgy with my new chain and padlock to the public dock and left. When we returned later, it was gone. I scanned the harbor and channels and beach and rock jetty. There was no sign of it. Windy searched from the top of the pier. It had vanished. I noticed Ray’s truck was gone.

A woman sat fishing on the dock where we’d chained our dinghy. “Hi, did you see anyone take a yellow dinghy that was chained to this dock?”
“They got it, came took it away.” She pointed to a sign posted high up on the rafters of the pier above. It listed an Orange County ordinance number and a warning that this was a dock for temporary tie ups, no more than one hour.

“The harbor patrol took our dinghy? They cut our chain? How long ago?”
She nodded, “About 30 minutes. Sorry.”

We found our sprightly yellow dinghy locked to the dock in front of the harbor patrol’s office, at the other end of Dana Point Harbor. The deputy we spoke to wasn’t taking this lightly.
“Your dinghy was impounded by the Orange County sheriff’s office. The fee for towing it over here is $150 and the storage fee is $50 per day. I can release it now for $200, tomorrow after 10:50, it’ll be $250.”

“Ouch, yeah, none of us noticed the sign restricting parking to one hour, it was pretty high up there, the dock was empty…can you issue a warning?”
“No. I’ll need proof that you own the dinghy to release it.”

“The paperwork is on the boat, at anchor. The dinghy is how we get to the boat. Can you give me a ride out to the boat?”
Jim and Jan at the helm of Del Viento,
out for a June Gloom-y day sail. They
are the reason we stopped in Dana Point
and they've known me all of my life--
that's 43 years, Jan.
“No, we can’t take any passengers.”

“Okay, so I’ll have to swim. Do you take credit cards?”
“No, cash or check only.”

On the way back to the pier, wondering how we would get to Del Viento, we stumbled on Ray, parked in an adjacent lot abutting the beach locals call Baby Beach. We told him our tale of woe. Within minutes I was standing in my street clothes on Ray’s priceless, unstable, one-of-a--kind, varnished wood stand-up paddle board headed for Del Viento. It was the first prototype by some guy who owns a company that entered the market early. It really is a work of art, with Maori-inspired designs and puzzle-piece-shaped scarf joints. Ray has a two-foot-tall plastic owl—the kind that fail to keep seagulls off boats—strapped to the bow.
I returned with our ownership paperwork and we stood around shooting the breeze with Ray for a bit, eager and anxious about getting back to the Sheriff’s office and my long row back to the anchorage. Just as we finally said goodbye, Ray asked us to wait. Two county employees were driving by in a golf cart and Ray called out a string of insults and obscenities to them. The employees stopped and began work on a public shower drain 25-feet away. Ray called out again.

“Get the hell over here. Don’t even pause. Don’t get me started or I’ll take you down.”
One guy approached Ray, “What the hell do you want?” And he glanced at us, the little family of four huddled 10 feet away, waiting for something.

“The sheriff impounded their dinghy, I need you to tow it back for them. Can you do that?”
And I’m thinking, “No Ray, we’re going to go ahead and pay, I don’t want to steal it back from the sheriff….” but I said nothing.

And then the county maintenance guy asked me when we were going to be at the sheriff’s impound dock with our paperwork. I told him we were headed there now and he said he would meet us. And sure enough, when we got over to the other side of the harbor, two county maintenance guys were there in a county boat, waiting for the sheriff to release our dinghy to us.
As they towed me all of the way back to Del Viento, I thanked them and made small talk. But I was distracted all of the while with the notion that maybe Ray really is the mayor? I mean…no, of course not…but maybe…? I thought to ask these county workers, but didn’t. I know the Mayor, he’s a friend, and that is good enough for me.

--MR
Dana Point harbor from the cliffs that border it.
Ray's custom performance SUP is not nearly as stable as
a beginner board. Halfway to Del Viento, as I teetered
and tottered, I remembered that I had the electronic
keys to Jim's and Jan's Lexus in my pocket--
miraculously, everything stayed dry.
Frances, Eleanor, and Bruna.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Gypsy Lore
By Michael

Frances and I received our new
dinghy when it arrived. I'll write
more about this in a future post.
Before kids, Windy and I cruised aboard the first Del Viento for seven months through nine countries without once using a windlass to manage our ground tackle. This makes sense, as we didn’t have a windlass. We spent ninety-five percent of our nights at anchor and I routinely lowered and retrieved our 22-pound Bruce attached to 125 feet of ¼-inch chain and 200 feet of ½-inch three-strand. I would open the anchor locker on deck, don gloves, and sit with my feet braced against the pulpit bases. Sometimes Windy assumed this role. It was a simple, straightforward approach that worked every time.

Aboard the new Del Viento, things aren’t the same. Our Bruce is three times as heavy and instead of being attached to 91 pounds of chain, it is attached to 465 pounds of chain. We rely on our windlass and it is usually Windy who operates it.
Her work begins before we reach an anchorage, removing the retaining bolt that secures our 66-pound Bruce on the starboard roller. As we get closer, she turns on the windlass breaker down below. She doesn’t bother with gloves. When we agree on a suitable spot, I report the depth. She pulls a foot of chain up from the locker to create slack and then coaxes the anchor halfway off the end of the roller so it is ready to fall.

Then everyone on board takes a deep breath because shortly after she begins to lower the anchor, things often go bad.
The first time the chain jumped the gypsy, 30 feet or so ran out over the top before it caught, jerking the windlass so violently we both thought the next time may result in a giant hole on deck and a windlass on the bottom.

On her solo trip to D.C., Eleanor
caught up with many good friends.
She also visited Mit, our amazing cat
we left with Jana and Shawn.
Mit is very old and not doing well.
The baby shirt she wears is to
protect her tumors from herself.
I love that animals don't suffer
self pity.
3/8-inch chain pulled out-of-control over the top of a gypsy by a falling 66-pound anchor is loud and unsettling, and potentially dangerous. Until the anchor hits bottom, the forces multiply as more chain runs out, speeding everything up.
The chain appeared sized correctly to the gypsy, but the anchor roller was proud relative to the gypsy and we weren’t getting the recommended 90 degrees of contact. I had a carpenter in Puerto Vallarta make a 5-inch-tall base of hardwood on which I mounted our windlass on deck. We were still not getting the contact we needed, so I had a stainless guy in La Cruz make a second anchor roller that drops the chain four inches. These modifications put a lot more chain on the gypsy and were sure to solve our problem.

Nope. Whether we lowered the anchor with the windlass, or eased the clutch to let it fall, it would usually jump at some point. Fortunately, we weren’t anchoring often at this time.
Never having owned or used a windlass before, we talked to the former owners of Del Viento. They were familiar with the problem, but always kept a foot pressed down over the top of the gypsy to prevent the chain from jumping. Windy started wearing shoes, but was uneasy with this solution. Restraining the chain with a part of her body didn't feel safe.

And the chain didn't jump every time or under specific circumstances. Sometimes Windy would raise and lower the anchor three times in a row without incident and her comfort level would begin to rise…until it would happen again.

The night before we sailed into La Paz was the worst. There was a lot of chop in the anchorage and the wind was up. Windy went forward and began her routine. The anchor went down but didn’t set. She’d nearly raised it to try again when the chain jumped and ran over the top of the gypsy. Then, for the first time, the runaway chain left the gypsy. We both thought the sound of chain running over the top of the gypsy was bad; now we knew it could get much worse. This time the runaway chain ground a chain-sized gash into the corner of the hardwood block onto which our windlass is mounted.  Fortunately, the chain stayed on the roller.

In La Paz, I added a larger, ¾-inch polyethylene windlass backing plate below decks to mitigate the damage we feared may happen. And we again asked several folks their opinion:

“Does this gypsy look sized correctly to this chain?”
“Could our chain be stretched?”

“Does our gypsy look worn to you?”
Our windlass is at least twenty years old, a Lofrans Cayman. The folks at Imtra are helpful, and they know windlasses, but they know nothing about our old model. They said they have no drawing, specs, parts references, nothing. We emailed back and forth, trying to troubleshoot. I sent pictures and descriptions. The Imtra consensus was that our bronze gypsy was worn. They had replacements, but they were for newer models and they couldn’t assure me they would fit. With tax and shipping, we were looking at $300 for a new gypsy.

I took our unreliable gypsy off the boat and put it in our rental car. Out and about, I began asking everyone in San Diego their opinion. The old salt who runs a chandlery and sells windlasses opined that my gypsy was fine. A self-professed windlass expert at Downwind Marine said mine looked worn. A couple yard workers weighed in with varying opinions. The customer service desk at Trader Joes said they'd never seen a gypsy nor a windlass.
I took the $300 plunge.

The new gypsy fits our old Cayman, but is different. The shoulders that border the chain link pockets are broader and taller, forming a much narrower channel for the link that rests vertically, I think mostly by design and partly because of lack of wear. Windy conducted testing here in the slip and she’s elated with the results. Once we even saw the chain emerge from the locker with a twist, yet it seated itself perfectly in the new gypsy.
This episode is especially gratifying because the windlass (along with booms and winches) is a piece of equipment on board with the potential to be the source of severe injury to crew. Now that anchoring will be safer aboard Del Viento, I may give Windy a break and take my turn on the foredeck.

--MR
This is our 3/8-inch proof coil chain resting securely in the
pockets of our new gypsy, a huge improvement.

Here is the same chain sitting in our old gypsy. Note the red
arrow pointing at the shoulder for the vertically oriented link.
The cutaway angle you see begins lower in the pocket than
on the new gypsy and creates a much wider gap between
links, leading to the jumping. Some of these shoulders
were a bit more worn than others, resulting in the
inconsistency.