Monday, April 26, 2010

Cangarda makes it to Ellay

Cangarda got its COI on Friday and left SF Bay early in the am on the 24th. I'm happy to report that the vessel and all souls made it safely to LA. Here's a report, in its entirety, I just got from the owner:

" The first voyage of the restored Cangarda.
The restoration of Cangarda, the last American Edwardian steam yacht, 1901, has been ongoing for five years. At 126 feet on deck but only a seventeen foot she is a long and skinny boat. Built as a cruising yacht she was expected to be fast for her day and with a flashy look. It has been great to undertake this restoration. The team led by Jeff Rutherford have done a great jog on the construction. Tony Guild was the master of getting a Certificate of Inspection from the Coast Guard. Now it was time for the first open ocean voyage of Cangarda. The plan was to sail from San Francisco to Los Angeles, only four hundred mile voyage but enough to test Cangarda.

Friday at 8:00 am I arrived at the Coast Guard Headquarters in Alameda California. Presence was requested to be present at the signing of the Certificate Of Inspection by the Commander of the operation for the Sector. Quite an event. A full presentation before probably a hundred CG personal, pictures et al.! For three days previous to this the Coast Guard had been completing the inspection of Cangarda. This included the inspection of the CO2 fire suppression system for the engine room, indeed a great thing to have for this vessel, as well as all the other safety equipment. The detail to safety elements was immense. The next day was a test and verification of the system that controls the boiler and burner management. In essence this was like taking your laptop and testing each module on the backplane of the PC to ensure that it communicated accurately to the next. This was a full days effort and highly intense. The third day was sea trials which included the normal testing of the different steering systems (including the tiller) but also demonstrating the use of each of the dinghies and launch. The end included a testing of the pressure relief valves and other items. All along the way you never know if the inspectors will come up with something else they want or if they will ever be satisfied. Finally it was done. After two years of effort to clear our system with the Coast Guard (which was built so well that we did not have to change any systems except one component of the Ethernet equipment) we were to be granted the COI just as they would issue to a thousand foot ship.

Friday evening the crew assembled for a dinner. We were to depart for Los Angeles. One never sails on Friday and we intended to sail with a favorable flood tide at 2:00 am. I went into my cabin to sleep asking to be awakened when we crossed under the Golden Gate. At 4:00 the electrician came in to pick up his tools and leave. Last minute work. The first delay. Steam came up and we left the dock at 6:00 and on our way.

Outside the seas were running a nine foot swell with two to three foot wind waves. A north westerly was to blow of some ten to twenty knots by prediction. Not too bad. We planned to go right out into the sea and sail in the middle of all this to test Cangarda in the sea with consideration of roll on the boiler. The tide was flooding hard with the beginning of the ebb on the south shore so we stayed to the right. Out on the horizon one could see the seas rolling. When we were out into the seas the boat performed very well. She slides down the waves. The stabilizers make it all tolerable and while we had alarms on the drum level we had no trips (the water in the steam drum of a boiler is critical to be at a minimum level or the fire is terminated).

We sailed along through the morning until about one in the afternoon when suddenly the burners both tripped. For obscure reasons we had air in the oil lines making a foam. The burners would not stay lit. Cangarda was dead in the water, no steam. wallering beam to the nine foot seas. Finally, after rolling in the beam seas, we decided to quit the automated system and light the burners in manual and force the air out of the system so we could relight in the automated state later. We performed the task needed to achieve this and indeed we were able to light the system off and run for several hours. However finally the air/fuel mixtures made operation of the burners impossible and we decided to go back to automated firing where the mixture of air and oil are worked carefully by the computers.

But the light off did not go smoothly. We were off Santa Cruse about twenty miles, again wallering in the seas that were building as the afternoon wind was building. A series of misseps kept us from getting a good light off until we realized that a specific trip switch that we had opened when we did the manual firing had not been released. With that misstep rectified we were able to relight and again the burners operated smoothly and we stared again about six in the evening. The only item is that we had been blown all the way past Monterey.

The boat did well in the beam seas. There were a few seas that did come aboard but in a minor way. There were a couple of seas (probably doubles of some eighteen feet) that some of the crew said could have put green water on the deck but did not. In the engine room the roll was not too severe but we are near the pivot line there. The wind had built to thirty five to forty knots. Finally we were glad to be back steaming and again riding down these swells, dipping the bowsprit into the waves and then surfing down. Nothing broken, all safe but a few seasick. The team did a great job sticking to the task until we had worked the last kink out of out problem. It is good to know that the element was not the fundamental control system. Just saltheads not having full command of the highly complex automation system of Cangarda.

We have had no events since this one problem. We are not off Santa Cruse Island (Ventura) and will be in Los Angeles tonight. All is well. It is nice and quiet sailing on a steam vessel. None of the roar of a internal combustion engine. Just like sailing. Cangarda performed well in difficult conditions. Nothing broke. We understand the complications that made for our five hour delay. This vessel deserves the respect of a good sea going boat.

Next challenge is getting to Maine.


Dudley said...


Dudley said...