Sailing the oceans with *Argos*

Gorinchem May 1, 2019

In October 2018 the Boat has been pulled out of the water and placed in a shed, so it is possible to work on it in the winter. a lot of maintenance and additions necessary for blue water cruising had to be done.
Anchoring is a good/ the only alternative to go ashore. Then you need a dinghy, an outboard and davits to stow the dinghy.
I chose an electric outboard instead of a petrol version the reasons are threefold. First the quality and capacity of the current batteries are quite enough. Secondly, you do not need to stow petrol on board so there is less risk of fire and explosions on board. Thirdly the batteries can always be charged on board. No need to search for petrol in an unfamiliar harbor
Electricity on board a sailing yacht is a search for a balance between use and production. Nowadays with all the modern gadgets, the use is ever increasing. On the other hand, I want silent sailing instead of a noisy diesel slurping engine.
So a wind generator (Rutland 1200) is installed and the traditional lights are replaced with LED. In theory, this wind generator produces in 15KN of wind enough energy to compensate for the use. In practice, there will be periods that there is not enough wind. So in time, solar panels should be added. On my first trips, I want to and determine how much solar panels I need. In the meantime, the traditional generator will be supplying the shortage of electricity when present.
Safety measures on board had to be extended an EPRIB, a PLB, a new life raft, a satellite phone, and flares were added
Apart from the changes to the boat, the captain had to learn new skills.
First I did a course of Astronavigation. Very interesting to understand how our forefathers found there way on the sea and how surprisingly accurate it can be.
I studied the theory from the book “De zon als GPS” by Dick Hughes and a two-day course given by the author. He explains the theory and the history of Astro Navigation in the book and during the course in a very clear way.
The second step is to learn how to use the sextant to do accurate measurements. In June I will go with Dick to sea with Argos and learn this skill.
There are a lot of electronics on board. On the sea when there is a malfunction you should try to repair it. That is a challenge for me. So I have bought a book about the subject to get an understanding of the theory. When that is done I will ask an electrician to go with me through the boat and explain to me how everything is set up.
For example, the boat has a bow thruster. Last year it malfunctioned in July. I searched for the reason for months and thought I would need a new bow thruster. In the winter a technician looks it over and came to the conclusion that the bow thruster only works when the dynamo of the main engine is producing electricity. The dynamo is a little old and does only work when the main engine is started and revved up sufficiently once or twice.
In short, you have to understand the technicalities of the boat.

Gorinchem June 14, 2019

The last three weeks of May I did a lot of nice sailing on the waters of the south-west part of Holland and the North Sea. All the repairs and new additions worked well. It was fun learning to understand everything. I tried anchoring for the evening and the night. What a beauty and tranquillity on a quit sunny evening
The 27th of may the fun ended. On the way to England one of the genoa sheets got lose and hit me against my head and full on my eye First it looked just a knock on the head and a bleu eye. At that moment the wind was a force 6 Bft dead against us and 6 hours to go to England, no fun at all. We decided to turn back to Ostend, nice sailing with a back wind. Two days later I had no vision anymore with that eye. In Middelburg I went for medical help to Dr Bruynzeel a general practitioner. He was very kind and decisive. He send me to an ophthalmologist in Flushing. Again a kind and helpful professional. Great medical help. There is a big blood clot in the anterior eye chamber before my pupil. So no light passes to the back of the eye and therefore no vision. So now I am at home and patiently waiting for the blood clot to resolve and get my sight back.

Gorinchem October 7, 2019

The excitement is rising in two days (10th of October) I will start my journey from The Netherlands to the Canary isles.
The last months my eye has healed completely, I have done a lot of testing and made improvements on the boat.  At the moment not everything is ready but I will get it done.
In the winter there were davits installed for the dinghy, but when I went to sea the dinghy was not fastened tight enough to keep it under control. Due to the waves it moved a lot with the result that it was damaged. The hoisting system has been changed so that the dinghy is now tight against the horizontal part of the davits and extra points of attachment have been made. Now it is quit stable.
A second change has been on  the electric system. A lot of rewiring has been done, the charger has been changed so that it is possible to charge on 220V and 110V. In Europe we have electricity with 220 V but a lot of countries have 110V  So now it is possible to charge with wall power everywhere (if it is present).
Also an inverter has been placed in the boat. With this it is possible to have 220V on board from the batteries or from wall power 110V. This means that I can use my computer on board and charge it when necessary.
Another big change is that my stepson wants to come along on the trip from the canaries to Martinique.
In September we sailed together for 4 days with  a lot of wind. The first day we stayed on the Haringvliet to practice with the Argos on the standard manoeuvres, that went very well. The next day to sea with 30Kn (force 7) of wind nicely reefed with the wind on the nose. The Argos didn't have a problem but the crew was seasick. After 3 hours of pounding against the wind, we decide to go on a beam reach to Scheveningen, then it was pure fun. The next day we went to Flushing and then inland to Herkingen (Grevelingen). Still a lot of wind but no problems with seasickness anymore.
Last week I have stopped working. It was a strange feeling to walk away from all the exiting things which are happening within the group. It is very difficult to leave the company I have helped to create with all my energy for a period of 30 Years. I am proud of what it has become and I know that a lot of people are working very hard to do a good job. They are well qualified and are good people.
So it is time to start sailing  around the world.










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