Open sea capability

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pbesley
Inlägg: 5
Blev medlem: 26 okt 2006 10:20
Ort: London

Open sea capability

Inlägg av pbesley »

How are IFs in the open ocean in a gale? It would be great to hear from anyone who has done a long distance cruise or been caught in a storm.

Many thanks
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maja
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Inlägg av maja »

Small cruisers like the IF-boat are not primarily designed for ocean crossing, as, even if such a boat may be very seaworthy, it will be quite inconvenient for the crew to stay in such a small boat for such a long time. Anyhow, we know about at least one IF-boat which has crossed the Atlantic and there are also several boats that have crossed the North Sea and Biscaya.

If the IF-boat would have been EU seaworthness classified today, it would have got the 2:nd highest class. The only thing preventing it getting the highest class is the (small) size (only 26 feet of length over all).
Marek, IF-båt SWE-829 "Ingela" från Lagunen i Malmö
Medlem i IF-båtförbundet sedan 1985
IF-båtägare sedan 1983
aadewar
Inlägg: 24
Blev medlem: 28 aug 2006 23:43

Inlägg av aadewar »

Our IF actually did cross the Atlantic, and I spoke with another that did as well. One more near our harbor went from the US to Australia and back.
Cthulu SWE-1043
Inlägg: 18
Blev medlem: 26 aug 2006 21:24

Inlägg av Cthulu SWE-1043 »

Personally i have yet to tried much in open sea, but what i have heard it's said to be a safe boat but the ride will be very wet. Any aspects on this matter? :)
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maja
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Inlägg av maja »

A sprayhood and a working jib is strongly recommended.
Marek, IF-båt SWE-829 "Ingela" från Lagunen i Malmö
Medlem i IF-båtförbundet sedan 1985
IF-båtägare sedan 1983
AMN
Inlägg: 1
Blev medlem: 22 okt 2006 12:46
Ort: Sankt- Petersburg, Russia

Inlägg av AMN »

Another famous Folkboat is a Jester, this boat crossed Atlantic many times! She is not IF, but in the hull lines/form - no difference.
pbesley
Inlägg: 5
Blev medlem: 26 okt 2006 10:20
Ort: London

Inlägg av pbesley »

I'm keen on an IF but live in London. My thought was to buy in Sweden or Denmark and sail it back. Mad? I don't know; I need to do more research! I see the comment about a wet ride, which I guess is related to the low freeboard. I've also been reading about the Contessa 26, another Folkboat derivative, which has a number circumnavigations to its name.
FredrikH
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Blev medlem: 29 aug 2006 11:53
Ort: Göteborg
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Inlägg av FredrikH »

I think it is no problems for you sailing the boat from scandinavia to UK. The boat is very stable and you can go with full sails up to 30 knots of wind (even with spinnacre!). The best is to be three persons. The conditions for cooking are not so good when you are at open sea, I recommend that you prepare as much food as possible before you leave the harbour, and be prepared for a lot of sandwiches if the weather is bad.

Good luck!
pbesley
Inlägg: 5
Blev medlem: 26 okt 2006 10:20
Ort: London

A few more questions

Inlägg av pbesley »

Many thanks for the useful replies. It sounds possible, but a bit rough and wet! I had a couple of other questions:

* One route is across the North Sea and the other is down the North coast of Germany and Holland to cross at Dover. Anyone sailed these or have any stories?

* Does the IF have a chain locker? What size is it?

* I notice on IF drawings the head/toilet is shown both in the V-berth position and also to starboard. Where is standard, do all IF's have a head/toilet (I noticed the old Folkboats just use a bucket), and how good are the heads/toilets?
blighbaum
Inlägg: 18
Blev medlem: 29 okt 2006 21:26

IF at sea

Inlägg av blighbaum »

I have personal experience sailing my IF out San Francisco's Golden Gate and out as far as 200 nautical miles out to sea. Some people say the Gulf of the Farallones outside the Gate is California's North Sea, although people who have sailed in both places say the North Sea is harder.

The seaworthiness and seakindliness of the IF will be the least of your concerns. If things get rough, you can always heave to; the IF does this well.

Bear with me if you are an experienced sailor who already knows what I will suggest. I had to learn this stuff the hard way!

1. Cold. Wear ski clothes under your foul weather gear. Wool and polartec; no cotton.

2. Light winds. If the North Sea is really like the Gulf of the Farallones, you are just as likely to encounter light winds (probably with fog) as a gale. Get a nylon drifter headsail.

3. Seasickness. I didn't think I got seasick until on my first trip offshore I went below to cook. Now I use the patch behind the ear, which works well and does not make me drowsy.

4. Safety gear. Lifejacket, lifelines, jacklines, teather, vhf radio, etc.

5. Fog and shipping. There is nothing quite like sitting in drifting conditions in the fog at night, and having the radar detector go off and then hearing an engine and seeing an approaching glow! You will of course try to keep out of the shipping lanes, hoist a radar detector, and monitor the vessel traffic on your vhf. But fishing boats don't normally keep in shipping lanes, so watch out!

6. Are you going alone? You will only be able to sleep in 15 minute intervals, which really wears you down in a few days. After a 4 day trip alone, I was so exhausted that I ran aground on the breakwater of the Marina on the way home. One of the best sailors I know was so addle-brained from 3 days of sailing alone that he committed a series of misjudgements on returning that left him standing stark naked and dripping wet on the dock at 2:30AM. Apart from being tired, you may find, as I found, that being alone on a small boat at sea is unnerving (although I plan to try it again).

7. Are you taking a pal? This is much safer, but nothing tests a friendship like a few days together on a small boat.

8. Lines led back. It's great to be able to reef or drop your headsail without leaving the cockpit. I use a jib downhaul, not roller furling, because a jib downhaul cannot fail.

9. Self steering. An IF responds well to sheet-to-tiller steering, which takes some practice to get right. In a pinch, on an upwind course or beam reach, you can simply tie down the tiller. I also suggest an electric tillerpilot, which is xx and easy to install, but they can be finicky and they use electricity.

10. Electricity. Another great sailing experience is having all the lights go out at night because the batteries are run down! Invest in good batteries, wiring, etc. I also carry emergency running lights that run on flashlight ("torch" I think in the UK) batteries.

11. Engines. Some folks pooh pooh having an engine, but an engine with an alternator can be run in neutral to charge the batteries, or in gear to get out of the way of a ship in light air. If you are going to use your IF when you get it back to the UK for daysailing and weekending, an engine is always great to get home in the evening when there is no wind and an adverse tidal current (of course an engine is little good against a 5 knot current) and you have to be at work the next day. But I always develop "engine trouble" when I have to be back for dinner with my mother in law. I prefer a diesel because it does not involve weight over the stern and I am afraid of gas ("petrol") on a small boat.

12. Anchors. You asked a good question about anchors. The IF has no fixed anchor locker. When at sea, I keep an anchor and rode stowed below, centered under the mast step, which is good weight distribution. But be sure you can get the anchor and rode back on deck instantly! I learned this literally the HARD way. Marek suggest carrying a second, lightweight anchor without chain in a lazarette, so you always have something to throw over the side, which I do now.

13. Sprayhood. This was mentioned in earlier post. My original sprayhood (that I think was standard equipment with IFs) blew out on my first trip offshore. I replaced it with one that has a substantial aluminum frame and aluminum sidehandles.

14. What you don't need: (a) a fancy cooker. Some folks say the two burner Origo is no good, but really it's fine. You can always heave to when cooking if it's rough; (b) a fixed water system and a sink. Water in screw top bottles with a bucket as a sink is enough; (c) a head. Use a bucket when the requisite legal distance offshore (NOT the same bucket mentioned in item (b)).

This is way too long! Good sailing, and let us know how you make out crossing the North Sea! - Tom Kirschbaum, IF637 Feral
pbesley
Inlägg: 5
Blev medlem: 26 okt 2006 10:20
Ort: London

Inlägg av pbesley »

Tom, thanks for the really excellent and detailed reply. Sorry I've not posted a reply earlier; I've been pretty busy lately.

Some comments on your points:

* I have completed a few channel crossings to France and been along the UK southern coast and back - a bit of blue water experience, but not enough. Getting the IF will mean jumping in properly and regularly. I'm looking forward to it immensely but well aware there will be many a time where I wish I was anywhere except stuck on the boat miles from anywhere...I'm sure this just comes with the territory.

* On the cold: noted. I would be making the passage from Sweden to the UK in the spring/summer, however it seems sensible to assume the worst: a cold storm.

* Light winds: I'm concerned about this one. The IF seems better in light winds than original Folkboats but I hear is nevertheless slightly underpowered. Could you tell me more about the "nylon drifter headsail" - thanks. One can always reef main and/or headsails in winds however if the sail area isn't there in the first place for light winds I assume this is a problem. Is a larger custom-made genoa an option? Or even converting the fractional rig to a mast-head rig (like a Contessa 26)? Ever heard of anyone attaching a forestay and staysail to make a cutter??

* "Luckily" all my passages so far have involved Force 6+ winds and somewhat terrifying seas (to me anyway) and I have experience of the seasickness you mentioned. At first I was unsure if I should ever sail again. On another passage however I adjusted by the second day. Now when the sea gets up into a state I expect seasickness and it is more of a nuisance than anything else. In particular it is annoying having to stay on deck and not being able to go below and navigate properly. I have not tried medication yet but I will try the patch you mentioned. May I ask at what point in time you apply it? Some medication appears to need to be taken long before. On seasickness in general, I've noticed that when you scratch the surface a great number of sailors do actually get seasick but it's just that no-one talks about it, which I find a bit ridiculous given it has such a big impact on your experience at sea.

* Safety gear: Do IF's normally have jacklines? The IFs I've been looking at have not had lifelines, so jacklines would be doubly important, but I've not seen these either. I'd be interested to hear from anyone who has fitted lifelines or jacklines to their IF.

* Fog, shipping: To my mind, this is the biggest issue. I'll be sailing through the busiest shipping concentrations in the world. Unfortunately more UK yachtsmen lost their lives this season to shipping. Engine failure in a calm seems the worst possibility. The IFs I've looked at have outboards. Carrying two seems so cumbersome...whatabout oars?! Other than that all I can think of is installing masthead lights and a permanent mast-fixed radar reflector (ugly as they are, not to mention windage).

* Solo: I'm going to make every effort to make the passage in with another, more experienced person. I have a 1yr old son and am well aware of what strange shores sleeplessness can blow you to.

* Lines let back: yes. I've heard you can thread a line through every other hank on the foresail and downhaul that way in a blow.

* Electricity: emergency running lights running on flashlight batteries - noted, thanks.

* Anchors: noted. I wonder if an IF could take a stainless stem/bow wheel fitting which would allow the anchor to be permanently kept on deck in position, ready to be dropped. I have seen many CQRs in this position.

* Head: what do you do when inshore??


A few further questions:

* Bilge pumps: how many are there, what type, and how are they operated?

* Scuppers: If green water comes over or getting pooped..how well/fast do the scuppers drain? Could they be enlarged without too much problem if necessary?

* Companionway slats and hatch, and vents: have people found these adequate, and any reports of leakage?

Many thanks

Pete
blighbaum
Inlägg: 18
Blev medlem: 29 okt 2006 21:26

Inlägg av blighbaum »

A belated response to you, Pete:

1) You do not need a cold storm or a winter passage to feel cold on a small boat at sea at night. If the water temperature is 60 degrees F (15 degrees C), you are going to feel cold at night even in good weather; if you are wearing cotton clothing, your teeth are going to be chattering.

2) Note that, while the IF is not a sportboat, it's not a total dog in light air. My nylon drifter headsail is a 155% nylon genoa that hanks onto the forestay. It can well make a difference between doing 1 knot and doing 3 knots. I'd be interested to hear if someone has a better idea for light air sails on an IF. The IF in the slip next to mine was rerigged with a masthead genoa and a forestaysail. The mast had been upgraded to a larger-diameter two-speader mast. I don't know if all that was worthwhile. It was bought by a fellow who sold his standard IF to buy it, so obviously he thought it was worthwhile. He recently sailed it from San Francisco up to Humboldt - normally a notoriously rough passage where many vessels have been lost - and arrived safely.

3) The patch (actually, Transderm Scopalamine) is a prescription drug in the US, but I suspect may be over-the-counter in the UK. The instructions say to put it on 4 hours before going out, but in my experience it works faster than that. It will repress seasickness without making you drowsy. It may make your mouth dry or slightly blurr your vision (I have not noticed a vision problem at sea, but I have when driving home from the marina). Being able to go below without feeling sick makes a big difference! Also, a trick that a wise old sailor taught me is always to sleep on the boat the night before going out.

4) My jacklines run from the forward mooring cleat back to pad-eyes that I have put in on deck on each side of the boat about 6 feet (that's about 1.9 metres) from the stern. My tether is about 6 feet long; the idea is that I can't be dragged behind the boat if I do fall off. My jacklines are webbing that I bought at the local marine store; many folks go to mountain climbing stores and buy their webbing there. There's a vast literature and discussion on sailing blogs about jacklines and tethers. Some folks say that lifelines are useless and even dangerous because you can trip over them and fall overboard. Personally, I wouldn't be without them. When I go on deck, I crawl if it isn't dead calm; I find the lifelines very helpful. The interesting question is, when you fall off and are hanging by your tether, how do you get back on the boat? I carry a mountain climber's ladder in the pocket of my foulies, with a hook at one end that can go around a stanchion. A buddy of mine actually jumped overboard in full foulies and was able to get back aboard this way -- at the dock! Only King Neptune knows whether this would work at sea. So remember, one hand for the ship and one hand for yourself -- don't fall off in the first place!

5) I don't think you need two outboards. Your question about rowing is an interesting one. I think you could row an IF in calm water, especially with a proper oar and rowlock, and perhaps with some practice. I carry an oar, but I don't have a proper rowlock. I once tried to row, without success, but there was a chop running. I have meant to try on a calm day on the estuary, but I haven't got around to it. I have heard that, to do it right, you would need a rowlock mounted on a pole about 18 inches (.5 metre) above the deck and an oar about 12 feet (3.5 metres) long. Perhaps you should post a separate thread about rowing an IF; people may have some suggestions.

6) Regarding fog, a masthead strobe light is illegal inshore and might be taken as a distress signal offshore, but will enhance the chances that you will be seen. Some folks have radar, but there are drawbacks on a boat as small as the IF, not the least of which are how much space it takes and electricity it uses. I don't know if they require ships in UK and European waters to carry AIS transponders; lots of small boat sailors here are talking about getting AIS receivers, which use little electricity and make it easy to avoid ships (but are useless in avoiding fishing boats, etc.) You should have a depth sounder; if you are in 5 fathoms, you can be sure you will not be hit by a supertanker. I also strongly suggest a GPS chartplotter so you can see at a glance whether you are in the shipping lanes. As I said before, I've found monitoring vessel traffic stations on the radio easy and very effective.

7) I have an anchor bracket on my bow pulpit, but I have found that putting the anchor there blocks the running lights and means the chain is far forward on deck, which is not the best place for it. Also, twice the anchor popped out of its bracket while underway! I don't know about a roller bracket.

8) If I were going out for more than a daysail inshore, I'd carry a porta-potty (chemical toilet). In the US, a standard marine head is illegal inshore unless the boat has a holding tank - I bet the requirements are the same or more stringent in the UK and Europe. There's not much room for a holding tank on an IF; I don't think it's worth the effort to put one in; it would be interesting to hear from someone who has put one in.

9) I have never had green water over the cockpit coamings of my IF, and I suspect few IFers have. I think there was a post on this board a few years ago saying that the cockpit scuppers are not as large as they might be, and that it's not practicable to enlarge them.

10) I have a single board with a vent to close the companionway, and I also have a plexiglass board without a vent that I've never used. I think a single board is superior to slats.

That's long enough for now, Pete! Good sailing, and let us know how you make out. Regards, Tom Kirschbaum IF 637 Feral
Reich965
Inlägg: 1
Blev medlem: 18 apr 2008 03:23
Ort: Jacksonville, Florida USA

Re: Open sea capability

Inlägg av Reich965 »

I've sailed in the open ocean in my IF boat.

In five foot seas or greater it is the most exhausting and terrifying experience one could experience. Saltwater gets everywhere and penetrates everything; your clothes, your underwear, bedding, food, anything paper is ruined. Assume you'll lose your electricty at some point either because it fried or because you ran out. Solar does not generate enough to keep enough amps for 24 hours of autopilot use. There is no way to run an outboard with a generator in those seas.

When the electricity is lost, there is no more tiller-pilot which means you will spend hours and hours day and night sitting in the corner of the cockpit with your arm around the tiller steering up and down every wave. While my boat has never been knocked down, it does get lifted and pitched by the sea such that accidental jibe or stall is a high risk (make sure to use a preventer). This is so even with two reefs and and a storm jib. (I had a second reef sewed into my original IF main sail).

The noise of things slamming around inside never ends. Eventually, everything ends up on the sole in a big wet pile.

It doesn't matter what kind of toilet is on board becase you go in the cockpit. As for food, it's liquids and cans of things opened with a Swiss Army knife and eaten with fingers.

Going inside or forward is dangerous because your body in thrown in every direction. The dodger is nice, but gets in the way of going forward and makes the process more danagerous. I was thrown on mine once and crushed it. I threw it overboard and after that did not replace it. Going forward is done on hands and knees only.

At night, it is worse. I wear a headlamp which helps a little, but you never know when or from where the next splash of water will come from. All you do is squint, steer, steal a look at the GPS, listen, think, and guess when the weather will break--sometimes it takes ten days.

The eyes become red and sore from the salwater. There is no way to keep them rinsed with freshwater.

After two days, I am stiff and sore from head to toe and focus strictly on survival and getting the trip done.

If one is subject to seasickness and cannot stay mentally focused when wet, cold, miserable and sleep deprived, going out in the ocean on an IF boat for more than a 24 hour period could be suicide.

One can't forget that the outboard has to be wrapped and stored on the sole inside. Anywhere else it will get ruined.

My last bad weather ocean experience ended at Port Everglades in FT Lauderdale, Florida. I sailed through the inlet exhaused at 2:00 a.m. with no motor, radio or electricity. I kedged the boat into the mud just south of the Coast Guard station and slept.

I have sailed for 35 years and probably read 60 books about sailing, took lots of lessons, chartered, and earned numerous certifications. In my opinion, none of that prepares one for sailing an IF boat in bad weather in the open ocean for more than a day. If one wanted to see if it is for them, I recommend spending 36 hours on their IF boat in the slip, sitting in one place with no sleep. Eat only cold cans of soup and ravioli while dumping a buckets of cold saltwater on your head every 15 minutes. If it is a good experience, then the open ocean might be worth tackling.

If you do tackle the open ocean, pack very, very lightly. Bring clothes that are comfortable, that you can wear for a long time, and that keep you warm when wet. Wear knee pads. Keep the comanionway door closed and locked. Keep the front hatch closed tightly making sure it doesn't ever leak. It's good to wear a harness I guess, but I can't imagine having the strength to get back on the boat in heavy seas even if there is enough slack to get back to the stern.

Some kind of durable self-steering gear is necessary (I don't have one). I have books about self steering using sheet to helm mothods. I've tried all the designs. They clutter the cockpit with extra line and bungy cords. They work in lighter air and small seas, but not in seas bigger than 3 feet. Even in these seas, they must be managed at all times.

Jerry
redneck
Inlägg: 14
Blev medlem: 21 feb 2009 00:14

Re: Open sea capability

Inlägg av redneck »

I belive the IF is a seaworthy boat for the open sea, you can never compencite the ocean anyway, just go with it. I 've read a nomerous of books/ dvd's... with circumnav. in small boats. and most of them was succsecfull! common sens, skills and a well equipped boat, and get rid of the inner demons. and you'll be fine, if not? at least you've tried... My longdistance sailing is a dream to come true, a dream for many long years now. and I will probably do it in a IF, becuse its a safe longkeeler eg. look at the jester challenge... nomerous of folkboats over the years,has crossed the atlantic. yeaa I know even Titanic sank... If your mind and the -god damn it- attiud isn't there, well don't do it then! I can guaranti it will not be that "so much better" in a bigger boat. And the sunset will be the same in an IF, as in a 40 fot Hallberg rassy... in a near future I'll be on a westindies island and thinking of you who never dare, if I'm not there... well then I died trying, coz' I followed my dreams...
Fair winds...
YotMax
Inlägg: 10
Blev medlem: 03 nov 2008 02:44

Re: Open sea capability

Inlägg av YotMax »

This is obviously a well read topic with much interest in it! I have done negigible blue water sailing and never in an IF or in storms so won't add any comments. What I can add (for any who, like me hadn't seen it) is a blog I came across a few days ago about a crossing from England to Australia in a Stella.

http://14000milesacrosstheocean.blogspot.com/

The writer was a young woman at the time who did the trip with her father. Have only read some of it but it is interesting. I gather they faced a number of bad storms during the voyage. The one I've read discusses how they streamed their drogue and lay bare poled for 6 days being tossed around inside the cabin so much they found it difficult to move. Doesn't sound much like the idyllic palm trees and sundowners that come to my mind when thinking of the cruising life!
Regards,
Max
M26 Sundancer
Sydney, Australia

The best cure for seasickness is to sit under a tree
(Spike Milligan)
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