What You Know What You Learn
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What You Know What You Learn

What You Know What You Learn

What You Know What You Learn

“It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts”
John Wooden

I don’t know if Mr. Wooden was right about many things, but he is most certainly right about this.

One of Seaburban’s less desirable tendencies is to lay abeam to the wind and seas when hove to. I felt there had to be a fix for this as heaving to is a tried and true way to deal with conditions when progress can no longer be made safely. Knowing it all, the fault lay not with me.

This passage of the last low afforded me an opportunity to either find a fix or abandon the tactic altogether.

The plan was to sail close hauled north and let the building winds bend my course westwards as the low and accompanying trough approached. West of the disturbance would mean I would be clear of the core of 45 knot winds and 6-8 nmeter seas with s clear path east as soon as the wind backed into the south west.

Once the winds got to be 35 gusting higher, I hove to the goal being to get Seaburban’s bows into the wind and have the yacht lie in the protection of the slick that is formed by the side-slipping hull. (For us nerds, the slick is really a Von Karman Vortex Sheet.. Don’t ask now I know …)

I tried everything I could think of but I simply could not achieve both. Either w would fore reach with a wake trailing behind, or we would lie beam on the seas and get pounded while the slick trailed off the quarter doing a marvellous job of calming the breaking seas.

I watched and wished. I wished it would work. I wished there wasn’t so much wind age forward. I wished the forefoot was deeper. I wished the triple-reefed main had more drive. After wishing all my wishes, I remembered John Wooden’s quote and did two things.

Firstly; I pulled my head out of the dark hole you can see south of me when I am northbound and secondly; I set out to learn something.

I took the Snark Drogue out of the starboard cockpit locker, the spare drogue warp out the port, shackled them together and did what the manufacturer says not to do. I put it through a mooring hawse over the bow.

This is not an original idea. Jerome Rand, who circumnavigated in 2017-2018 had mentioned to me that he carried a 200′ warp and anchor in case he wanted to keep Mighty Sparrows head up. In the Drag Device Database there is an account of a yacht using a GaleRider over the bows to heave to. But, as you might remember, knowing it all it never occurred to me to do something similar.

Once deplyoyed, Seaburban’s bows moved from 110 degrees off the wind to about 65 and she lay comfortably within the slick created by her underbody. Moreover, the harder it blew, the better it worked.

The $64,000 question for me is always once the whole lot is over the side, how do you get it back? I had bitter end of the rode led to a sheet winch figuring that when it was time to go, I would grind away. With the wind in the upper twenties and out of the south west, I started turning the winch.

The novelty of this wore off after I had recovered ten of the 200 feet that was out. I had monitored the loads while hove to and they were less than a fully loaded jib close-hauled. Now they were even less so rather than winch, I went to the foredeck and hauled it all hand-over-hand in no time flat.

The pictures show the rode streaming to windward and us laying in the slick streaming off our hull.

Heaving to. One more trick in my bag of tricks. Thank you Mr Wooden.

Follow my tracks in real-time:


  • BT
    Posted at 10:41h, 02 July Reply

    Bert, you are amazing! Following you progress and posts with great admiration for you courage and wishing / willing you success. You are on the downhill run now. All the best from an Aussie follower BT ( 2 degrees of separation from your Uncle Joe).

  • Sandi Lyon
    Posted at 03:20h, 06 July Reply

    That looks about right. When it’s hot out in the ocean, its foggy and wet on the Wet Coast. That means you’re on the right track, heading the right direction. Finally. Woohoo.

  • Anita Kuntz
    Posted at 00:10h, 08 July Reply

    Following you journey and am truly amazed.

  • Suzan Persons
    Posted at 15:43h, 09 July Reply

    What an amazing journey!!

  • Karin Hill
    Posted at 15:27h, 13 July Reply

    Been following you for a couple of months now. What an amazing journey! Your blog is insightful and humorous. Almost home. Safe travels!

  • MountainJack
    Posted at 19:52h, 14 July Reply

    Has to be an amazing feeling to be so near home, Bert.

    Have spent months at sea “steaming”, not sailing, gaining my sea legs with the constant motion just became second nature. Getting back to a stable platform at dockside or over on the beach left me wobbly for a day or two. Cannot imagine how you’ll feel after a year of hardly ever being stable. There is that other thing having been on your own for that long; the familiarity of constant aloneness , the feeling of approach avoidance, being forced back into humanity. Might feel as though you could just extend a little bit more and savor the experience just a little longer…naw, probably not.

    Welcome back home, Bert. You’ve completed one heck of a feat.

  • Arthur Oliver
    Posted at 04:33h, 15 July Reply

    Getting oh so close. What’s the ETA?

  • estelle C whiddon
    Posted at 02:58h, 16 July Reply

    Bert, your homecoming Saturday will be a joyous occasion! I have followed the voyage daily and hope your arrival home brings much joy.

  • Peter Jungschaffer
    Posted at 07:19h, 18 July Reply

    This has been so great. Thank you!!!

  • BT
    Posted at 09:50h, 18 July Reply

    Hi Bert, you are just a few hours away from home. We are cheering for your most successful journey. We are especially amazed at the sailing conditions below Australia and New Zealand, as we can have some very big polar blasts hit us at this time of the year. Cannot imagine what it was like to sail through that type of weather. Can only take of hats off to you I amazement. Hope that you make it to Oz for a visit. What a wonderful achievement you have accomplished. /bt

  • Antonio Corbelletta
    Posted at 16:15h, 18 July Reply

    Congratulations! What an adventure! Well done. I have enjoyed tracking your voyage everyday just wish I would have know about it earlier, from the beginning.

  • Suzan
    Posted at 18:13h, 18 July Reply

    Yeahhhhhhhhh Bert!!! You have done it!!!
    Happy Homecoming – And stay safe!!!
    It isn’t the same world that you left!!
    I’m going to miss reading your travels and your adventures!! But thrilled that you’re home (almost) safe and sound!!
    Next trip around the world, hope that you’ll stop along the way and post your photos of the locals and the ports!!

  • Raegan Elford
    Posted at 19:23h, 18 July Reply

    Soldier who has logged more sea time than this Navy sailor.
    What an incredible accomplishment (the journey vice logging more sea time than I)

  • Marianne Scott
    Posted at 18:25h, 19 July Reply

    Congratulations on your accomplishment! I guess we will have to put up a plaque commemorating your voyage on the Victoria Harbour wall.

    Hope to see you this week.

    Marianne Scott

  • Tom Cory
    Posted at 07:40h, 23 July Reply

    Congradulations Bert from Annapolis MD. A Great Adventure.

  • Mark
    Posted at 12:24h, 29 July Reply

    I don’t think that anyone that attended Estevan Junior High could have imagined that this was in the future for one of it’s students. I checked in at different legs of the journey and was fascinated every time. Congrats!

  • Marcel Neamtu
    Posted at 07:14h, 06 December Reply

    What an adventure! But i do have a comment about the structure of the blog: it’s very hard for a late reader to read your earlier posts in a timely order or something. Very annoying to scroll all the time to your earlier posts..is there anything or I can be done? Am I missing something? If yes, pardon my ignorance.
    Cheers and take care!

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