Kwai has always been a blend of the old and the new and a scene unfolded this trip north on the aft deck to remind us of this again. Tim Knoop is aboard since Christmas as a Engineer after Ben’s departure, and as an intern working on his thesis about reduction in carbon emissions in shipping fleet and in sail cargo. As part of his research he needed to measure the speed through the water. Not the speed over ground which is accurately produced by the GPS but the actual water speed without allowance for current and leeway. Now Kwai does not have any modern gear for this which requires an impeller underwater nor do we have a Walker log (clock with a log line an impeller to spin away the miles). So Tim and Chrissy, with much design and theory input from the crew built their own chip log. This is made up of a cut down bucket top and a harness with 3 legs attached to a measure line of over 100m. The lid is thrown over the stern with a crew member holding the spool of line so it runs freely (just like the old pictures). The stop watch is started when the first knot flows through the hand and stopped when the second one, 100 meters down the line passes. The time is divided into some magic number and Voila! – the speed through the water. This can then be put into the tables from which Tim will extract some real information on fuel efficiency of our fine vessel. The number and compass course steered can then be compared as vectors with the data from the GPS to accurately calculate the current and leeway,
The real art to this chip log was to find a good way to capsize the lid so it could be pulled in after use. The old chip logs used a wooden wedge that would pop out when the end of the line was reached. Chrissy ended up with paper clips bent through holes in the lid. When th jerk at the end comes the two clips pull through the holes so only one leg is attached. The lid then skims on the surface as it is hauled in.
Kwai is returning to Hawaii, bound for Hilo this time due to strong Northerly winds prevailing west of the Big ISland. These are caused by an unusual storm low just north of Hawaii. For the first time we are arriving on the port tack in NNW winds. Almost always we come in on the starboard tack. And instead of annoyance at the wind shadow of the Big Island, we are using it, working in close to avoid the strong North winds associated with the low. After a few days in Hilo the ship will move on to Oahu, probably to a mooring in Kanehoe Bay until ready to load for another trip to Kiribati and the Cook Islands. Despite losing most of the Christmas Island freight to the new Matson container service we will strive to continue in the business to the small islands of Kiribati and the Northern Cooks.
There has been some interest from the Marshall Islands in use of Kwai there. The Government of the Republic of teh Marshall Islands (RMI) has made a strong commitment to reduce the carbon emissions of their shipping fleet.. More on this soon.
Aloha, Capt Brad