November 2012 – Salty John : The Blog

As the sun sets on our holiday in the USA we look forward to getting back to business and shipping the items you purchased whilst we were away. We arrive back at the weekend and shipping recommences on Monday 3 December. To those that bought items in the past couple of weeks – thanks for your patience.

Bumpkins (or boomkins or bumkins), are like bowsprits but at the other end of the boat. They provide a securing point for the backstay and/or for the mizzen or mainsheet. Bumpkins allow the mizzen to have a longer boom or to be set further aft. They can be a simple spar or a vee-shaped creation in varnished wood such as the one in the picture, snapped at a Texas marina. We’re enjoying a winter break here in the southern USA where today it’s a sunny 77°F.

We’re heading across the pond to America for a couple of weeks of sun and fun.  

The shop is still open for business so you can place your orders but be aware we won’t be shipping any goods until December 3. I’m hoping to find interesting subjects to blog about as we carouse the Gulf Coast states from Texas to Florida in pursuit of sun, sea and anything boaty, so check back from time to time.

From the MCIB report on the loss of Rambler 100 when its keel fell off during the Fastnet Race:

At approximately 18:09 hrs, ‘ICAP Leopard’ (another 100 ft maxi yacht and competitor in the Fastnet Race) passed within 400m to leeward. All attempts by the crew on ‘Rambler 100’ to attract their attention by hailing or using the lights and whistles attached to their PFDs failed. It later transpired that those who used the whistles attached to their PFDs found them to be ineffective.

Even a little thing like a more effective whistle is important when the stuff hits the fan. That’s why the Storm whistle which we sell was developed. Approved by the US Coastguard and used by the US Navy it can be heard at half a mile over water. 

It can also be heard at a quarter of a mile in trees but that’s probably less handy for your average sailor. Oh, and it has a range of 50 feet underwater, should you ever be asked to referee a game of underwater football!

The concept of apparent wind is largely unknown to non-sailors but if you sail a boat it’s a fundamental fact of life: apparent wind is what you sail in. 

Apparent wind is the wind you experience when the boat is moving – it’s the true wind modified by the boats motion. A 15 knot breeze coming at you from 45 degrees off your bow when you’re stationary becomes a 20 knot breeze at about 35 degrees off your bow when you’re moving forward at around 6 knots. The boat speed adds to the true wind speed, and modifies its angle of approach.

Conversely, when the wind is from behind its speed is reduced by the speed of the boat. A 15 knot breeze from dead astern is an apparent wind of just 9 knots when the boat is moving at 6 knots. 

When you’re sailing you don’t really think about apparent wind – it’s the wind you’re sailing in and that’s that. However, there is a time when you really need to consider the effects of apparent wind and that’s when you change from a course off the wind to a course on the wind. 

If you are running dead downwind at 6 knots in 15 knots of true wind and you then round up onto a close hauled course, the apparent wind goes from 9 knots to over 20 knots quite quickly. It can come as quite a shock! You need to be ready for it.