Sailing Florence preparing for crossing the Indian Ocean

We really enjoy the video’s from Amy and Matt on Sailing Yacht Florence. Here they are preparing to cross the Indian Ocean, far from any boatyard facilities, having been trapped in Indonesia for over a year.

Their rig check show some of the challenges that have led us to our dyneema rigging plans and long-term sail plan.

First, as Matt checks the rigging he comments that he doesn’t know what they will do if they find a problem as they can’t buy replacements for any of the rigging where they are. By carrying some spare parts that are not heavy and don’t take much space ie

  • dyneema line of a few sizes and some seizing line and chafe protection sleeve
  • low friction rings
  • FR4 board and some epoxy
  • a few bolts (sized for our mizzen and our main mast)
  • some sunbrella fabric and stuff to sew it
  • a few basic splicing tools

With that little lot (which we admit isn’t cheap for a ketch as we need so many dyneema line sizes) we can replace any part of the standing rigging. And we really mean any, it is enough for us to replace any chainplate, any shroud, any mast tang, any shroud tensioner or change the chafe/UV protection anywhere in the rig.

Second, as Matt tries to inspect the forestay and the roller furling but demonstrates that it isn’t possible. As with Vida when we bought her, the forestay and it’s end fittings are all hidden inside the roller furling. That has to be a worry. especially as they have been unable to get the mast down for an inspection in a lot more than a year. Our plans remove this problem. We are going to have a dyneema forestay that will only be used for a sail when sailing downwind with 2 headsails. Our yankee (which is smalleer than a genoa with a higher clew because we are switching to a true cutter rig) will be on a continuous furler and will be lowered to the deck when not being used. This means that our forestay can be fully inspected at all times. If we have a problem with it that we need to fix then we can use the inner forestay, the yankee halyard and the code zero halyard to support the mast while we fix the problem.

I don’t think we are anything like as adventurous as Amy and Matt 🙂 Especially when it comes to exploring so much of Asia and staying around the equator for so long. However, being able to inspect our whole rig and both carry replacements and be able to fit them outside a boatyard is very important to us. Not only from a safety point of view but also a financial one. By spending some money up-front (at least before the first ocean crossing) our budget is much more predictable.

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