Monday, April 16, 2012


Noon Position: 40 15' S, 111 26' E, SOG 7, COG 090, Day's Run 142nm.
One of the things that I strove for in outfitting Odyssey was
simplicity. For the most part this was aimed towards simplicity of
systems, having no desire for any repetitions of the battles with
inverters (hah!), refrigerators, generators, air conditioners, and
electronics that were all too common aboard both Ocean Star and Argo.
Such things certainly have their place, particularly as boats approach
ships and start carrying more people (and more landsmen) but in my mind
the sea is no place for toasters or blenders. A goal of simplicity
does, of course, happily go hand-in-hand with keeping the budget under
control too. To that end Odyssey has minimal electronics - depth
sounder, gps, radios, radar and an AIS receiver and active radar
reflector. It's a little ridiculous thinking of that list as minimal,
but compared to many (if not most) similar sized boats doing long
distance voyaging I would be willing to suggest that it is. I tried to
make sure that any addition or change to the boat while I was fitting
her out would make my life safer and simpler, and not add needless
complexity. For the most part all that gobbledegook above stays turned
off except the gps and AIS receiver since there's not a whole lot down
here to need it for. I haven't seen a boat, or even a hint of human
existence, since somewhere around 50 W longitude in the South Atlantic.
Just as a point of interest, due to my total lack of instrumentation all
wind speeds reported here-in are necessarily approximations, and all
boat speeds and courses are over ground off the gps, not through the
water. To the same end sail handling gear is relatively simple -
furling jib, which is a godsend, with an inner forestay for hanked on
storm sails. Almost none of my lines are led back to the cockpit -
although I sometimes curse having to get on foulies and go to the mast
to reef, I'd have to go forward anyway to tie in reef nettles, and I
find that the lack of clutter and friction from having my halyards on
the mast is a lot easier to deal with, especially short handed, without
having two people to jump and tail halyards led to the cockpit. Reefing
is a one stop affair - ease the sheet a bit from the companionway, then
everything else is taken care of at the mast, close at hand in case
anything misbehaves. For being 35 or so years old, Odyssey was in
remarkably good shape before I started in on this southern ocean
beat-down, and has held up well - definitely shows some strain when it
gets nasty, but I'd certainly feel more secure in her strength and
ability to take it than I would in the modern 37'er that some friends
chartered in the BVI a few years ago, and Odyssey is designed as a
sailing vessel, not a mobile rum barge.

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