The stock does not pull your pocket: skippers who have crossed the Atlantic talk about spare parts that you will probably need too
Atlantic Rally for Cruisers is an annual transatlantic regatta. Start: Gran Canaria, Canary Islands - Finish: Saint Lucia, Caribbean
Yachting world interviewed 254 skippers who participated in Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) 2017 regarding the parts they took with them and the repairs that had to be done along the way. The lessons they learned during the Transatlantic can be useful to all of us.
So, you have a plan, the perfect cruising yacht, and a window of business - everything in order to sail into the ocean. Almost all. Have you thought about what to include in your kit of parts and tools? Have you thought about how you will repair key equipment if necessary? Having the necessary details, understanding how to do routine repairs and preventing problems before they appear is what distinguishes a smooth transition from the need to ask for help and make unplanned deviations from the route.
Fortunately, we can benefit from the experience of skippers who have already made ocean crossings. During ARC 2016, 60% participants from 290 boat fleets reported some kind of breakdown. So after the last race, Yachting world interviewed 254 skippers about what parts they took with them and what repairs they had to do. We have collected their answers in this article.
The boats cover more than 2,700 nautical miles during the regatta
In the six months leading up to ARC 2017, skippers spent an average of € 12,000 per boat on various parts - an indicative investment that demonstrates the understanding of the importance of such "insurance" in the transition. We learned from the skippers ARC 2017 and ARC + what exactly they took, especially regarding controls / autopilot, generators, engines, sails, food storage and preparation, plumbing and navigation.
Looking at their answers and the exhaustive list of parts taken, one can only rejoice at how well trained most skippers - and boats! - in our time. Must also thank World Cruising Club (WCC) for this, and for carefully designed manuals and minimum technical requirements.
However, no matter how well prepared you are, there will always be little things or problems that can reveal gaps in your equipment and require resource-intensive repair measures. Torn sails, their failure due to chafing - these are, perhaps, the most frequent cases among those who sail in trade winds. But the problems faced by the participants ARC 2017were, of course, more extensive.
Legendary yachtsman Jimmy Cornell - founder of Atlantic Rally for Cruisers
Steering / autopilot
A large number of yachts equipped second autopilot, shows how much skippers value e-steering capabilities. More than 20 captains noted that they had at least one spare autopilot and a variety of related parts, from rods to hydraulic fluid.
So the boat KALU 'III (Jeanneau SO49) had two steering systems and two autopilots. A GreyHound (Berckemeyer 48) had windvane and an autopilot, plus a spare autopilot drive and a computer.
At least 10 yachts have been equipped windwinesthat could be used in case of failure of the autopilot. For boat North Star (Shannon Pilothouse 38) windbreaker proved to be irreplaceable when it became clear that the state of charge of the batteries did not allow them to maintain the operation of the autopilot.
Vetropilot is a fairly popular backup "autopilot" system among cruisers
Barracuda of islay(Ovni 395), a particularly well-prepared boat, which had no problems and lack of tools, used wind turbine Pacific as primary steering control, and hydraulic autopilot as a backup.
“Vetropilot can handle almost all management situations that we encounter. An exception is the use of sails ParaSailor or asymmetric in gusty winds, ”says the skipper Graham Walker.
Our breakdown research on ARC 2016 showed that skippers who had control problems preferred Dyneime - and recommended to have a skein of sufficient length with you just in case. In general, it is wise to survey your boat control system and estimate how you will change each part if it fails. Do you know how to use a tiller? What will you use instead of a rudder pen if needed? Do you have a floating anchor?
“In case of rudder rudder breakage, we have a floating anchor Seabrakethat we can use for emergency taxiing, ”Walker continues. "We also have a spare blade, bolts, tools for the wind turbine, a set of parts and fluids for the autopilot."
Dyneema vs steel cable
What to do when the power is cut off on the boat and the lights go out? What is the best way for skippers to prepare for this?
Anyone who goes on a catamaran is certainly aware of the advantages of two engines. But the variety of existing alternatives makes it possible to competently establish energy supply at the monohull. Diesel, wind, fuel cells, hydro or solar energy - many skippers have at least several options to provide the boat with electricity.
Yachts Passepartout (Allures 40) and Shepherd Moon (Hallberg-Rassy 46) had no choice and used mixed power supply. Hydrogenerator Watt & Sea continues to gain in popularity, and has been aboard 17 boats as a backup power source.
Watt & Sea hydrogenerator becomes more popular among cruisers
As we observed from the 2016 report, power failures are often due to lack of regular maintenance or cooling problems (usually the impeller or water pump fails).
In general, this was also the main advice from the skippers who participated in the 2017 rally: make sure that you have enough consumables to properly service and, if necessary, repair the engine and generators. That is, enough: oil, filters, impellers, belts, fuses, coolant, etc. Some of the skippers also insist on having a spare water pump, diesel pump and generator.
After the engine, the second most important consideration is, of course, your sails. Reviews demonstrate the need to bring spare sails and sufficient ropes. And also - to learn how to repair the sails.
Adequate supply of sheets, halyards, blocks, Dyneema and clamps is more than recommended. A carefully assembled kit, plus the time and patience it takes to fix it, will prevent you from dragging too many extra sails into the voyage.
Wear of sails, halyards and sheets is another common problem for ARC members
Atlantic Yacht Repair: Lessons From Experienced Skippers
Navigation aids / amenities and galley
Most boats on ARC were extremely well equipped with electronic navigation systems., including reserve ones. Many had at least a couple alternatives to chartplotterincluding manual GPS and VHF... Also at least 24 skippers took on board sextants.
Steve Jobs probably did not assume that the products Apple will one day be used as a viable means of navigation for seafarers. However, some skippers use iPad and iPhone as insurance for navigation.
ARC boats are generally well equipped with primary and backup aids.
Others are more thorough in choosing alternatives. So, by boat Julia (Beneteau Oceanis 55) were: sextant, necessary reference books, iPad with iSailor, battery stock, manual Gps, two hand-held VHFs and a spare satellite phone. A boat Tairua (Bowman 48) had a SSB receiver, satellite phone, two VHF, two iPad, cards, sextant and tables.
Many skippers take spare water pumps or repair kits for each of the crew members. Solar shower is also a very useful thing. Electric stove or a microwave will be a good alternative to gas - provided that you have sufficient primary and secondary sources of electricity. Many yachts store from 3 to 6 gas cylinders for the passage. Cockpit BBQ is also a good substitute for conventional cooking, and can serve as a backup solution in case of problems with the galley stove.
Repair and renovation in the Transatlantic
Breakdowns happen even on board the most "stuffed" yachts, so you need to understand what to do when they happen. Answer: Have enough parts and tools you need, and be resourceful and resourceful.
Atlantic Yacht Repair: Lessons From Experienced Skippers
Ways to deal with chafing ends
Chafing and fighting ends is one of the most common types of repairs on ARC 2017... The use of Dyneem covers and windings on rigging is highly recommended to prevent chafing on long downwind crossings.
Galley cutting board was ingeniously used on board Julia (Beneteau Oceanis 55) to reduce chafing at the ends. “We used a spare halyard at the top of the mast, and when it also started to fray, we made a plastic galley board pad to reduce friction,” says the skipper. Louis Neocleous.
Also, by the way, the cutting board fell on Indian Summer (Hallberg-Rassy 42), when the team had to shaman the boom guy.
“We have rivets on the left where the guy is attached to the mast,” says Cecilia Hellner... “It probably happened when we accidentally plunged the boom into the water on a night watch during a strong wind while riding a butterfly. We took three straps and tied the boom guy to the mast as tightly as we could. Then we cut out IKEA-Vskoy plastic board pieces under the belts to avoid chafing. To reduce the stress on the guy line, we subsequently connected the boom with a spare sheet to the very bottom of the mast. ”
Even an ordinary plastic cutting board can do extra work at sea.
Ingenuity in fixing rigging
The team Haji (Rival 38) turned out to be a tense transition. They changed three sheets, patched a hole in the mainsail, re-threaded the massive yoke, and adjusted the two head sails.
On board Wild iris(Sweden 45) the clamps on the blocks of three 10mm cables broke due to the load. The crew replaced them Spectra (analogue of Dyneema).
When aboard a 72-foot Challenger 2 shrouds burst, both sides of the rigging were stabilized by cables passed through winches. On board Tommy (Bordeaux 60) Dyneema's spare skein was used to fix the genoa's electrical twisting system. On the boat Khaleesi (Wauquiez 43) I had to cut the spinnaker pole to get a smaller but more functional one. And finally on Victory Cat (Seawind 1160) used aluminum plates to make a temporary rudder, after the main one was damaged during transport of the yacht.
Something will always happen in the ocean, so spare parts and tools are a must-have for any skipper.
A set of the most useful on-board tools
Having enough tools on board is the key to being able to do the necessary repairs at sea. A standard set for such a purpose should include screwdrivers, a drill, wrenches and adjustable wrenches, pliers, hexagons, a set of bushings, a vice, nippers, a hacksaw, electrical tape and tape, a soldering iron, an ammeter, etc.
Of the less common tools, it is recommended to have rivet gun and rivet set - this is something that is constantly noted as a useful thing. As well as keys with replaceable heads and fabric straps.
The rivet gun is one of the most requested boat repair tools in the middle of the Atlantic
Among the main boatswain instruments most often noted are a good hand / head torch with a long lasting battery, a proven multitool, a knife and snorkelling gear. The thermal knife is "a great thing for working with ropes" - is talking Richard Savage, who reshaped the spinnaker halyard three times on his Shepherd Moon (HR46).
A good sail repair kit is also recommended - from needles and patches to sewing machines. Careful selection of adhesives and lubricants also makes sense. Skipper Nikita (Beneteau Oceanis 60) also advocates taking a fiberglass repair kit and long bolts in case the windows have to be repaired. And in general, as the team wisely observed Mood Magic (Moody Carbineer 44), "A creative approach in repairing something - rules!".
Life after losing the mast
Perhaps the most telling recommendation came from Stefan Mühlhouse, after he had to cut the rigging when his boat Lykke (Hallberg-Rassy 46) lost its mast 250 miles east of Barbados. “It was an ordinary night with 16 knots and a two-meter wave when the mast broke. And it was great that our "crisis management" worked perfectly. We operated automatically, and it was good that a grinder with steel cutting discs was on board. We were able to remove the rest of the rigging from the deck in 15 minutes without scratching the hull. The falling mast blew away everything in its path, and hydraulic fluid was sprayed all over the deck.
We waited until morning, made sure that nothing was wrapped around the propeller in the water, and after that we started the engine. We were lucky: the wind died down and we had enough diesel to drive 300 miles to St. Lucia on the motor. "
One of the team members built emergency spinnaker pole mast for VHF antenna. And the second informed the Maritime Rescue Coordination Center in Martinique, which called the nearby ships. " A French ship was nearby and escorted the boat to St. Lucia.
Emergency spinnaker pole spar on Lykke after mast loss
"Why did the mast break? The wind was only 16 knots, and in the spring we renewed the cables, stays and spreaders. In Las Palmas, Jerry the rigger said we had the safest rigging and even wanted to give us a prize! We did a rigging check every day, including before the night it happened. And they saw nothing unusual. The mast broke a meter above the deck. And slowly fell on the port side, with the cable and headstay intact, ”concludes Mühlhouse.
Lessons learned in Atlantic sailing
The main message of the skippers was: take all the "more". More fuel, sail kits, first aid kits, duct tape, generator parts, hoses, filters and duct tape. And, of course, more patience. Some skippers who had problems with generators advised taking spare generators and spare parts. Because a running generator is indispensable for comfort, especially if you don't have additional reliable sources of electricity. And, of course, pay attention to the batteries. In 2016, 15 boats on ARC had problems charging old batteries. And at the last rally, 2 yachts had to stop at a pit stop in Cape Verde to replace them.
Some skippers assumed that their batteries were in order, and then it turned out that they did not hold a charge. Therefore, it will not be superfluous to double check the batteries and measure their charge level before going out into the ocean.
Solar panels on board are a great additional source of electricity
We asked the skippers what changes or modifications they plan to make to their boats or individual systems after ARC. Answers ranged from "more power" and "better wind performance" to necessary additions or deck equipment (spinnaker booms, martin sticks, spare spinnaker halyards, pulleys and safety lines). Boat crew Tintomara summed it up simply: "More solar power, an extra wind / water generator, and more sails to go downwind." A La cigale wanted "one cheap used sail that runs full course for night crossings."
Many skippers planned to install alternative energy sources for their crossings: hydro or wind generators or more solar panels. The wish from the crew also sounds good. Mood Magicwho are planning only small improvements: "more cup holders, a refrigerator in the cockpit and balancers!"
The lessons about parts and repairs were the most helpful part of our survey. As said Brian Stephen, Brag (Island Packet 420): "Take it for granted that things will break - because they will!"
Jeremy Wyatt, Director of World Cruising Club, since 1998 visited all 20 Atlantic Rally for Cruisers... "Polls ARC show how seriously many of the skippers participating in the regatta prepare themselves to overcome potential problems at sea, he says. “And the sets of parts they take with them confirm that.
Jeremy Wyatt provided significant support for this survey of skippers.
One of the main concerns for anyone planning an ocean crossing is the question of what to do in the event of a control system breakdown. Usually boats are heavily loaded at the start, and they get caught in waves raised by trade winds, which puts an overload on the boat and its equipment. Of course, a thorough inspection and maintenance of the boat before sailing is extremely important.
However, many skippers participating in the regatta are preparing to deal with control breakdowns with a whole range of solutions. Probably the easiest way is using Dyneema or spare cables. For the hydraulic control system, it is necessary to have a stock oil.
Wind turbines with their additional feathers are very popular - in the regatta they were used on 19 boats. Probably the most surprising was the number of boats (30) with a whole double autopilot or with a full-fledged spare. Many had a linear actuator and / or a computer to provide control backup. Spare fuses can also help to fix the "tired" autopilot - 8 such breakdowns were recorded in 2017.
ARC participants are seriously preparing to be able to independently repair boat breakdowns during the regatta - there is no one else in the ocean to do this.
While fully equipped boats can safely switch to manual control if necessary, then having at least some kind of autonomous control system remains important for small teams. For them, the cost of a backup autopilot or windway is outweighed by the benefits they can bring in the event of a serious problem. As corny as it sounds, the best method is to regularly check your chest of spare parts, and make replacements if something starts to go awry. "
A source: Yachting world / Translation: Dmitry Bushuev
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