If he did this all again, what would Jan-Eric Osterlund change aboard Adele? I talked to him over breakfast this morning on a fantastic sailing day as we thundered along about 36 hours out of Rio de Janeiro


If he did this all again, what would Jan-Eric Osterlund change aboard Adele? I talked to him over breakfast this morning on a fantastic sailing day as we thundered along about 36 hours out of Rio de Janeiro

We’re fairly close hauled, the apparent wind angle is hovering between 30 degrees and 35 degrees and we are barrelling along at around 11 knots. True wind about 16 knots. Reef in the main, full mizzen and a reef in both the staysail and yankee. The wind is just beginning to lift us (as predicted by Commander’s Weather) and we are not far off the heading needed to make Rio de Janeiro 317nm away.

The sailing is quite fantastic – Nigel Ingram’s watch has been disconnecting the autopilot and enjoying being at one with Adele. She’s a joy to sail in these conditions. We’re sitting chatting in the cockpit over breakfast with the air temperature around 28 degrees. Not bad for a Monday morning?

What this leg from South Georgia has proved more than anything is that a big, complex superyacht – at least this one – is more than capable of reeling of the miles to weather in comfort at very healthy speeds in very different conditions. OK, there’s an angle of heel but you can still have hot showers, an extraordinarily comfortable night’s sleep, three substantial meals a day, watch a movie, write a blog, edit a slide show, fish for tuna or simply sit and read in the sun, with little discomfort. The air con has steadily moved from heating the accommodation to cooling it. It’s a travelling pleasure dome. And, fingers crossed, we haven’t had a single snag – well nothing serious that I know about.

It has also been remarkably easy to ‘change gear’ aboard this yacht something which, of course, can only be achieved by having a well-drilled, highly organised crew. We certainly have that.

Despite this seeming utopia, there are still ways of making things better. I asked Jan-Eric Osterlund what he would change if he did it all over again. Here’s his wish-list in no particular order of preference.

1. If Adele could have been 2m longer, a larger freezer capacity and a larger crew mess would have been right up there. He would also give more room to the laundry. All are a bit tight and additional freezer units have had to be installed in the bilge store area.

2. The shower faucets, at least in the owner’s cabin, need to be fitted on the fore or aft bulkheads, not to port or starboard. This means when Adele is heeling one can lean on the shower stall ‘wall’ rather than be impaled on the taps.

3. Adele needs a bigger stern anchor. It has been used to anchor the yacht bows on to a swell that might have crept into an anchorage. It has also been used when going bows to a rock mooring in Scandinavia. Adele’s counter leaves little room for a big anchor in its dedicated lazarette. Deck stowage might be the answer.

4. Single bunks have excellent lee clothes but the doubles need to be
split down the middle to fit a dividing lee cloth. Couples have had interesting times on this trip!

5. Adele needs a heated diesel fuel tank to cope with low temperatures. They thought the fuel in Argentina was of the correct type to go south, as the cruise liners were taking it, but these ships have diesel tank heaters to stop the fuel ‘waxing up’ as the temperature drops to 1 degree. Fuel in Adele’s day tank was beginning to cloud and engineer Paul Irvine was worried we were heading for a major problem, especially as the main tanks are adjacent to Adele’s aluminium hull. It didn’t materialise but if Adele went to the ice again a heater would be essential.

6. Skipper Andre would like more fuel capacity. 24 tons is what she has. J-E says it’s OK. I’ll leave it at that!

And some of the good things?

1.The great thing is her motion – she is a beautiful ‘ride’ upwind – the test is, will we be exhausted after of a week sailing upwind? I think not. She has passed that test with flying colours.

2. Three tenders seems a lot of tenders. For this programme it’s proved to be an excellent choice, with all three employed for different conditions and locations – J-E would do that again.

3. The ketch rig is an excellent choice, infinitely adjustable, loads of sail for light airs, easy to reduce for heavy airs and perfect for those motor sailing moments when you need to squeeze to weather for a while. Great sails, reefed or full, from North Denmark.

4. Furling systems excellent once the Rondal problems were solved and the Harken cars modified.

5. There was talk at one stage of twin engines. The Caterpillar 1000hp
main hasn’t missed a beat. So no change.

6. Never any shortage of hot water (see previous blog). A brilliant system which has worked very well in cold climes.

These were points raised in just 20 minutes and I hope to be able to enlarge in an upcoming issue of Yachting World.

Current position 27deg 31min S 40deg 45min W. Should be in tomorrow evening.