Captain’s Log 12 Jan 2016 – Sailing lessons from the Ancestors

stewart Boat design, Captain's Log, Lashings 6 Comments

Bullets continue. Rainy/showery morning. Girls replaced the lee-helm self-steering lines with thicker lines which should grip in the cleats better. They helped me fit the battery box we bought back in Walvis Bay, to protect the engine start/windlass battery.

Things we learned on Hokule’a. The captain, Bruce Blankenfeld cook and navigator don’t do watches. Watch consists of 3 crew on a 4 hour watch system with 12 crew on boat. Changing crew in Natal, Brazil. Hokule’a’s research revealed Brazil not a preferred destination due to security risks, particularly for female members of the crew and they planned to stay only one night to effect the change of crew.

Hokule’a use ¼” dacron/polyester 3-ply lashings instead of the 8mm polyester braid used on the Wharrams. According to Bruce, a New Zealand built canoe sailed to Hawaii and had used 8mm braid as well. The crew had reported constant hassles with lashings becoming loose on the trip. Bruce said they replaced them with 6mm 3-ply and solved the problem. The advantage, according to Bruce, is that the thinner line can have all the stretch pulled out of it when applying the lashing. The lashings on Hokule’a are set like concrete. Bruce says they get 20,000 miles or something like that, before re-lashing. They have had the old lashing ropes tested at the end of their lifetime and found very little loss of strength. He suggested we use a diamond style lashing on the fore and aft netting beam hull attachments. But we didn’t have time to learn it! Trip to Hawaii anyone?

I described the lateral forces on our lashings and the hull slippage we were experience. Bruce immediately pointed out their lateral thru’ hull lashings, which, he said, are used on all Hawaiian canoes.

About 75’ long, 16,000 lbs unladen, 25,000 lbs laden?. About 11 beams, each one atop a watertight bulkhead. i.e. about 6’6” between beams? = bunk length for the crew members sleeping between the beams on deck.

The decks used to be bamboo but that was too hard on the feet. Now ~30mm planks with non-skid paint. Bruce noted the tightly lashed deck planks also added rigidity to the framework. Only one Micronesian man,  “Mau” Piailug from the Carolinian island of Satawal, was willing to tell the story of the lashings, because no-one else in the village left and at least the Hawaiian bro’s would be able to keep it alive for later.

Hokule’a hulls are now all foam and glass. The old wooden hulls began to rot so they used the best one as a mould. The hulls are completely given over to storage (aka what we have been thinking).

Skipper of the Gershwin (Hokule’a escort vessel), and Bruce met James Wharram and 3 wives in 1994 in Hawaii. They described James’ 63’ Spirit of Gaia as beautiful.

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Comments 6

  1. Stumbled on your site today and love it! I have bought a Tiki 38 in Richardsbay Sout Africa called Tanoa. Sad boat , neglected and de masted on last trip from Mozambique. Have buildt a new mast step and took apart all decking and fittings in preparation of transporting her inland to my home for renovation. Most of boat seems sound, might have to re pair roof and some damage to one hull. I have noticed the black ? Fibreglass ? Carbon pipe connecting your bow and stern. Could you give more info? Are you happy with the yamaha outboards? Have just bought 2 secondhand, but wil need some work… plan is to use her for coastal cruising aroand Bazaruto island in Mozambique as we have a house there.
    Emil Gaigher

    1. Post

      Emil Gaigher, Hi and great to hear you also own a Tiki 38. There is a lot of interest in that design. Shame to hear she has been neglected but good news she is now in your caring hands! The black pipe at the bow is not in the original T38 design but does feature in other Wharram designs Lf builder added it as he had the alloy pipe left over from the masts. You see, he and three other T38 builders bought a bulk lot of the tube, which is a special section. So he put it on the bow. Wharram would call it a netting beam (like the stern one). It is not structural. Yes, the 2 x 9.9hp electric start, electric tilt, long shaft high torque propped Yamahas have been good so far. Only sticky starter motor on stb one – easy to overcome and intermmittent issue. Your plans for coastal cruising Mozambique sound fantastic. Dont hesitate to ask any questions or sign up to our website email list… cheers, Stewart

    1. Post

      Hi there Capt Boot and co! Thanks for the feedback and great to hear from a kindred spirit. Mate, Tortola will be a little off our beam… we are taking the direct route Grenada to Cuba around that time and then the Bahamas for a month. Lets stay in touch and let us know when your websites up and running… Cheers from Stew, Zaya and Tuya

  2. Hi Stewart.the lashing system that the crew of the Hokule’a used and instructed you about makes great sense. Have you shared this information with JWD and the two authorized builders? I would think that there must be a lot of re-lashing going on in the world. Cheers mate, Jay.

    1. Post

      Hi Jay, Yes, I showed the video to James and Hanneke last year and they were really interested. Hanneke started practising right away. I have since re-lashed all of Lf using the “in the seam and crossover” method and will give it a thorough test in coming weeks. I have also changed down to 8 x 6mm ply polyester as used on Hokulea, instead of the 6 x 8mm braid – although I wasn’t game enough to do the inside lashings. Just trial the outside ones first and see how that goes!. There are two videos on our youtube channel that show the method (episodes 4 and 5 I think) Cheers, Stew

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