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Saturday, 27 April 2013

Lee cloths really work!

We were experiencing some awful weather during our 33-day trip from Wellington N.Z. to Valdivia, Chile. We had "battened down" all the hatches. Larry was off-watch so he was the one cacooned in the lee-cloths (occupied by me in the photo shown).

You can make these out of any durable fabric (I used canvas).  Of course you need sea berths (we have two) which are more than 6' long and are not curved along their length. The straps you see are made out of really strong webbing with velcro sewn onto them so the hook and loop (soft) part of the velcro overlap for at least a foot along the length of the straps. We attach the straps to the steel tension posts that connect the steel hull frames to the boat's rigging.  We screwed heavy snap fasteners into the hatch covers and you snap the lee cloth onto these - they're  arranged on both the port and starboard side so you can (try) to sleep comfortably on either tack in rough weather.

Our "battening down" procedures have really worked for most of our trips. Unfortunately, a freak wave hit us on that trip. Traversay must have been knocked right over as one solar panel was completely wrecked, and we later found that the wind gauge at the very top of the mast had been damaged.
The discovery I'd also been injured came a few weeks later when I suffered such back pain that I couldn't straighten up from the piano. A trip to the orthopaedic surgeon in Valdivia and accompanying X-ray found me deciphering a whole lot of Spanish words containing the prefixes 'arthro' and 'osteo'. I was told that both offshore sailing and scuba diving should be given up for health reasons (I haven't).
Martin, M.A. and Anke
Kirsten with Nicholas and son Vincent
"Just Do It" in Valdivia

Rehabilitation at Centro Praxis

3 great discoveries came out of this unwelcome news. #1 (by way of sailors Martin and Anke on "Just Do It") I discovered Centro Praxis Rehabilitation clinic and physiotherapist Kirsten in Valdivia. #2 When you age, if you have back problems, you should try to get properly-fitted orthotics.
#3 A MUST for back pain sufferers ... the book
called "Spinal Stabilization ... the New Science of Back Pain" by Rick Jemmett - a Canadian physiotherapist (Novont Health Publishing 2005). The information is derived from Australian researchers and must be available elsewhere. At any rate, the TINY exercises he advises have made a world of difference.


  1. Hello! I enjoyed reading your blog.
    The Isle of Man is within sight so should I get my binoculars out?
    Happy sailing.

  2. We cannot guarantee the weather but it will be within a week - just watch our map.

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