Voyage of Egret Forums

Mary Ellen Shelzi, Orange, NH USA asks:
I just got done reading the December 26th report completely amazed. You sound so matter-of-fact retelling the accounts of your passage, but honestly, were you ever scared at all? I mean, rationally, I guess you know that the boat's not going to capsize and basically as long as your stomach holds out, you'll be fine. But I imagine your heart was racing a bit. What about Mary and Steve? It seems you are the calm, cool, heady one - but what about them? Do you ever have to chill your crew out?

Each day I continue to be amazed with your story. Keep having fun! Mary Ellen

Scott Flanders from Egret responds:
Mary Ellen, Good question!! Egret had four relatively heavy weather issues on this trip. They were all between Brazil and Ushuaia, Argentina. The Atlantic crossing was a piece of cake with zero weather issues. These four weather incidents were not matter of fact. They were simply an issue that has to and must be dealt with at the time. Nothing lasts forever including weather. Egret is a very, very good sea boat. She has two weaknesses. The first is very large following quartering seas. Literally every boat made has these problems. The solution is to run before those large seas until things slow down. If that is not comfortable or dangerous you must 'round up - sailboat hove to' until the storm allows you to resume course. This is simply putting the bow into the seas that is most comfortable and safe at very low rpm's until you can resume course. Your actual headway is very slow because of the high wind, low rpm's and the much greater distance traveled up and down, not forward. Egret's second issue is our big fixed top supporting four large solar panels. If very heavy wind (35 knots plus, sustained, not a gust) hits the beam it rolls the boat to 30 plus degrees. Again we have to 'round up' and face the seas or run a course that is safe and reasonably comfortable.

To answer your specific 'people question' there were/are no issues. We have written before what we do is a matter of acclimation. Those seas would have had our knees shaking five years before. It is seldom weather hits in a big blast. The seas normally build so acclimation has already started. When the major force of the front hits, your attention ratchets up a bit. Mary and Steve have enough sea miles that this is no big deal. Yes, we all have our hearts beating a bit faster when the worst is carrying on but you soon get into the routine of facing the waves and taking care of business. Egret doesn't wear you out like other boats we have owned. When she falls off the back of sharp waves she settles into the water softly with no hammering, shuttering or any real noise above the sound of the wind. Each time we get into this situation, after the optimum course is set, it is actually kind of cool. It is simply AMAZING to watch this little ship deal with the seas.

As far as ultimate safety for any boat as long as you keep water out of your bubble of air you will make it no matter how uncomfortable it may be unless you go aground. That would be REAL bad. THAT is why we have a wing engine, a big anchor, three spare anchors and a parachute anchor. Let's also not forget about the little Lugger.

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