As I am writing this on New Year’s eve 2022, I’ll start with a spoiler alert that it seemed only fitting for us to celebrate New Year’s eve in our last port on this side of the Atlantic and get 2023 off to a great start by leaving in the morning on New Year’s Day for our Trans Atlantic crossing over to the Caribbean.
OK, now that you know where we are headed, let’s rewind back to where we left off in the last Mobius.World update “On the Run” when we were still in Tangier Morocco patiently waiting for a good weather window to head down south along the West coast of Morocco to the Canary Islands. It all worked out as I had written in that update and we checked out of Morocco and left Tanja Marina Bay on Wednesday morning the 21st December.
There was a bit more wind and wave on the nose than the forecast had predicted but it continued to settle down that evening as we made our way West and then turned South for the Canary Islands.
The conditions that first day gave us the opportunity to become more familiar with our Paravane stabilisation system to see how well it worked to reduce the rolling from the beam (on the side) waves and swell. This was the first chance I got to test out the latest rigging setup so I was keen to see how it would worked and very happy with the results in the end.
As you may recall from previous posts, Paravanes or “fish” as they are sometimes called are commonly seen on commercial fishing boats as well as a few recreational trawlers and provide a way to reduce the roll of a boat as it follows swell and waves coming at angles of about 45 to 125 degrees of the hull, which means on the beam or sides.
I used this design from some Canadian fish boats as they were very well suited to a DIY project and would let me experiment with various sizes and setups to find the Goldilocks just right setup and then perhaps make a pair out of all aluminium.
Here is what my finished version 1.o of these paravanes look like when they are all ready to go to work.
Each paravane is suspended by fixed length lines of Dyneema from the end of the A-frame booms that we set out at about 45 degrees.
These fixed length lines going down to the paravanes allow them to run about 6 meters/18 ft under the surface of the water. As the boat tries to roll to one side that paravane “dives” down and then as the boat tries to roll over to the opposite side the paravane resists being pulled up and thus reduces the amount and speed of the roll. Super simple all mechanical system.
Deployment is very quick and easy, just let the A-frames out by easing off the lines going from the tip of each A-frame over to the top corner of the Arch and then lower the paravanes into the water with the boat stopped or moving slowly.
The design of the paravanes is such that they automatically align themselves and dive down till the fixed length line stops their descent and they start “flying” through the water about 6 meters below the surface.
My previous rigging was to have a retrieval line, the white line in the photo above, attached to the top rear corner of the aluminium “fin” and just let this trail through the water out behind the paravanes. It worked fine but the retrieval was purely manual by hauling in that retrieval line by hand and in anything other than very calm conditions was quite slow and laborious and potentially dangerous so I came up with a different design.
Staying with the KISS approach, Keep is Simple & Safe, I simply used these aluminium low friction doughnut shaped rings that we use with our Dyneema lines in many other places on the boat. Easy to insert them into the orange Dyneema line going down to the paravanes such that this ring would be about a meter above the water and then run the White retrieval line through the ring.
If you look carefully or click to enlarge the photo, you will see that I added a block to the middle of the A-frame and ran the retrieval line through this block and over to the Arch.
Easier to see the whole thing when the A-frame is in its vertical stowed position here. You can see how that White retrieval line goes through the low friction ring, up to the turning block on the A-frame then over to the second turning block attached to the Arch and down to the horizontally mounted winch at the base of the Arch.
Here is the best shot I could get of what the whole setup looks line when it is fully deployed and working. The White retrieval line is kept slack and allowed to trail out behind the paravane so it flies freely.
Retrieval now became as simple and as safe as deploying by simply using the winch to pull in the white retrieval line which starts to pick up the tail of the paravane and put it in this neutral vertical position with very low resistance to bring to the surface.
I just keep cranking the winch to bring the paravane above the water and up to about level with the deck of the boat where I can use a boat hook to grab the line and pull the suspended paravane onboard.
The whole process was very controlled and safe and this setup allows me to retrieve the paravanes without having to fully stop the boat so the whole process takes less than a few minutes and then Christine can take us back up to speed and we continue on our way or head into our anchorage or port.
So how well did these paravanes help stabilize the boat and reduce the roll you ask?
I thought the best way to show this was with this screen of a Roll graph I created on our Maretron N2K View system you see here. This is a shot of the previous 4 hours and you can see the point a bit right of center where the paravanes went into the water and started working. Previously on the Left you can see that the roll on the vertical axis was much larger reaching up over 15 degrees side to side and then dropped off noticeably to about 5 degrees or less. At the time of this photo you can see that the roll was -1.3 degrees, negative being roll to Port, positive to Starboard.
The best way I can describe the effect is that these paravanes don’t eliminate the roll, they dampen it considerably both in degrees of roll and in speed of roll. There is still some roll but it is now much slower and less “deep” which makes for a MUCH more comfortable motion that makes it easy to move around the boat safely. I want to be clear that were we to have active stabilizer fins or Magnus effect cylinders, the reduction in roll would be much greater, however that comes with a significant cost in both complexity, price and maintenance. For now we are very happy with these early trials of our Paravane system and we will continue to learn and test it in different conditions as we travel the world. If they continue to work as well as these early trials indicate then we’ll just keep on using them. If not, the hull has been fully framed for active stabilizers if we decide we want to install them at a later date. I will continue to report the real world data on how well the paravanes work as we venture forward.
I will come up with a more permanent storage setup for the Paravanes when they are not in use but for now it is working well to stow them safely out of the way on their sides like this, lashed to the very sturdy AL stanchions with their own lines.
As it turned out we didn’t get a chance to use the Paravanes after that first day of our 3 1/2 day passage down to the Canaries as the seas flattened out and no stabilization was needed at all. Weather WonderWoman Christine had found us yet another great weather window and the rest of this passage was smooth and comfy as could be. These were our typical sea conditions. Hard to ask for much better and we even had a bit of a following sea to help us along.
As these two crew members can attest.
For those interested in overall passage performance this trip, the total distance was 678.4 NM in 78.2 hours. Average SoG, Speed over Ground was 8.7 knots and average fuel consumption was 1.76 L/NM. All numbers which we are eXtremely happy with and will continue to try out different combinations of engine RPM, load and prop pitch to see how these numbers change as we log more and more nautical smiles.
Other highlights of this passage include numerous schools of different types of dolphins who joined us for various amounts of time to the squealing delight of the Captain from her perch on the Bow.
We also picked up a few hitchhikers like this rather large squid but they didn’t travel too far with us before heading back to sea.
We had originally intended to head for the northernmost Canary Island of Lanzarote but we were not able to find a berth at the Port of Entry there so we headed over to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria instead.
A bit disponing for us because we had hoped to meet up with David, who we had met years ago on our previous boat Learnativity when we were in Vuda Point marina in Fiji. David has been following us for a long time now on the bloat and he very kindly reached out to us when he saw that we were heading to the Canaries where he was now working on Lanzarote. Sorry to miss you this time David but stay tuned for the next opportunity.
And so it was that we pulled into the very large Las Palmas Marina, which is where the ARC rally starts from each year in November. Even with those 200+ boats now long gone, the marina still only had a few spots but managed to fit us in on the end of the fuel dock you see here.
The night after we arrived another low front passed through with some sustained winds over 40 knots which caused a bit of problems for some of the boats inside and outside the marina so we had several of them come in during the middle of the night and this is what the scene looked like in front of us the next morning. Several more came in after this and we had one tie up alongside us to add one more spot for a few days refuge. All has been cleared up now but repairs are still underway for damage in the marina and on several of the boats.
Seems like the Canary Island people like to get an early start on celebrating the pending arrival of the New Year and Christine was able to get this shot of the fireworks going off over in the city the other side of the marina last night. I’m guessing this was just a warm up for the big show tonight so should be quite the celebration for all of us this New Year’s Eve.
Weather may change our routing but we are currently heading to the south end of the Caribbean islands to St. George’s on the West side of Grenada.
This zoomed out view will help provide a better overall picture of the typical routing many boats take for crossing the Atlantic both directions. Who knows, maybe we’ll just keep going and do the whole loop and end up back over in Europe in a year or two?
Our intended route from here in Las Palmas over to Grenada will likely be about 2800 NM and should take us somewhere between 13-14 days but of course weather conditions can change that both directions so we’ll just leave it up to Mother Nature to decide.
For now, we eagerly look forward to eXploring the many many islands and experiences awaiting us in the Caribbean which will also be a bit of “back home” for Christine from her many years sailing there since the 90’s. Fist though, we need to send 2022 into the history books and get 2023 started with our first Atlantic crossing in Möbius.
We have SO much to be grateful for from our experiences in 2022 so we look forward to tonight’s celebration. We’ll try not to stay up too late, which is pretty easy for us to do, as we intend to throw off the dock lines tomorrow morning and start making our way across the Atlantic. We want to sincerely thank each of you for all the time you take to join us throughout all our adventures with designing, building and now cruising on Möbius. It means a lot to both of us to know that so many people are ridging along with us and we hope we can continue to post updates that will want you to keep coming back for more.
We will be off line throughout the crossing so the next update here will be from wherever we land in the Caribbean and I can provide you more details on the passage mid January or so. Wherever and how ever you celebrate the end of 2022 we wish that 2023 will turn out to be the best year yet for all of us.
Happy New Year to all of you from all of us!
-Wayne, Christine, Barney & Ruby.