Tag Archives: experience

The worthy Hebridean

Two years on from building a Hebridean self steering system, I talk about the latest modifications, and show how well the system is working in practice.


2017-09-01 · 19:53

Wild Song’s final reckoning

I found the sailing blog of Wild Song via a reply to my YBW thread. It’s a good read in general, but the final post is very useful indeed. Here are a few extracts that I found particularly helpful.

Ocean sailing is much easier than you think. You spend too much time in advance worrying about bad weather when your time would be better spent considering light airs. […] Light airs do more damage to boats than heavy weather. Sheets fray and chafe, shackles work lose, knots come undone.

Junk rigs don’t suffer quite the same problems as Bermudans, but one serious problem is repeated “slatting” (knocking) of the battens against the mast. I’ve also noticed the sail swinging, rubbing the battens and making the parrels chafe the mast like saws. Sacrificial painting of the mast might be a good idea, but it might also be worth inserting sacrificial material between the mast, battens, and parrels when the wind is light.

I have learned that it doesn’t matter what boat you have.

Whatever boat you have you must know it inside out. […] You have to know every nut and bolt of every bit of kit, every rattle in the boat, every sound she makes, and then you instantly know when something is not quite right. It takes time- there’s no other way. But once you have that knowledge you can relax.

This is one reason I’m very pleased to have a small and simple boat. I will be able to know every part of it very well and carry spare parts and repair kits for almost everything.

I never reckoned on how much time would be spent doing nothing. Plan for boredom.

I’m very hard to bore. Wild Song’s skipper lists thing for consumption but I know that I must take things for construction.

I think the AIS receiver is possibly the greatest safety device of modern times.

I’m trying to avoid electronic gadgets, even though I’m a lifelong computer geek. But I have been thinking about AIS. So far I haven’t found something compact, waterproof, and portable, which is what I’d prefer. I really just want it for the proximity alarm and nothing else.

Do astro navigation. It’s rewarding to learn you way round the sky, and it takes up an enormous amount of time.

I love the night sky, and from the sea it’s absolutely magnificent. This will be no chore at all.


Filed under From Elsewhere

Kite-cam improvements

This chap has been taking pictures of his boat from a kite. I’ve been having a nice conversation with him about it in the comments section.

Travelling Aurora - journeys of a Cape Cutter 19

Whilst moored on the Deben, I had a chance to try out my improvements to the kite-cam rig for aerial photography with my gopro.


I have added pulleys and used a longer picavet cradle, in order to better damp the oscillation of the kite. I am getting better at aiming the camera and I’m pleased with the stability improvements.


However, I notice that the weight of the camera rig tends to stall the kite sometimes and I wonder if the tail could do with more drag to correct the angle of attack. The pulley are also lined up the wrong way and don’t seem to help with the main problem, movement at right angles to the kite line. Further, I wonder if a larger cross would’ve more stable. I can feel a Mark 2 coming on…

For those who have asked, here are some shots of the rig I used…

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Filed under From Elsewhere