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Thread: Cruise of the Ketch Julia

  1. #351
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  2. #352
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    Default Re: Cruise of the Ketch Julia

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Jones View Post
    Can you share the link to this boat tracker thingie?
    I see that your question has been answered Rich.
    I also use this link https://www.windy.com/?-39.117,177.687,6 to cross reference the weather and sea state. Every site seems to have a slight variation of the current conditions.
    It does not indicate the exact position of Julia but you can kind of guess where they are.
    The windy link has a great selection of sea and weather condition options in the tool bar.

    Currently, Julia seems to be making relatively good speed for the amount of wind indicated.

    Cheers,
    Mike.
    Focus on the effort not the outcome.

    "Don't take life seriously. Either way, you won't make it out alive."

  3. #353
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    Default Re: Cruise of the Ketch Julia

    Maybe they were surfing down a wave at 12 knots but my experience with the same system is that it pings every hour and the moment it pings may well be subject to an anomaly/ snapshot of speed which is simply not correct. This is also why tracks will show across land etc as you navigate around an island, for example.
    screenshot just now.
    Screenshot_20220724-114044_Chrome.jpg

  4. #354
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    Default Re: Cruise of the Ketch Julia

    Quote Originally Posted by John B View Post
    Maybe they were surfing down a wave at 12 knots but my experience with the same system is that it pings every hour and the moment it pings may well be subject to an anomaly/ snapshot of speed which is simply not correct. This is also why tracks will show across land etc as you navigate around an island, for example.
    I did wonder.
    Focus on the effort not the outcome.

    "Don't take life seriously. Either way, you won't make it out alive."

  5. #355
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    Default Re: Cruise of the Ketch Julia

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike1902 View Post
    I did wonder.
    if you looked now you'd see they're doing 0 knots in 18 knots of wind. Clearly not true.
    I read the first article I'd seen seen saying Tonga is opening its borders for a trial 6 weeks, all focused on air travel of course but I'd imagine the maritime border would open as well. A bit late for our traveller's probably, the pre arrival paper trail might be a bit much on iridium.

  6. #356
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    Default Re: Cruise of the Ketch Julia

    Reaching down to the Ringolds now, headed for Savusavu I assume.

  7. #357
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    Default Re: Cruise of the Ketch Julia

    Quote Originally Posted by John B View Post
    Reaching down to the Ringolds now, headed for Savusavu I assume.
    My thought too. His jib halyard block failed, so he's looking fr a calm anchorage to sort that out.

  8. #358
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    Default Re: Cruise of the Ketch Julia

    I'm excited for them, they're going to love Fiji. As I typed about the Ringolds 2 posts up I was actually wondering . I've sailed through there in daytime and would do it again now I've seen it. Pretty intimidating reef systems there, the sort that dissapear off into the horizon in scope, and overlap with some big strategic doglegs , but difficult to see
    Anyway , they did the smart thing and took the long way round , went under Taveuni and into the Koro sea, on a heading to Soggysoggy now.
    ( get the nets and the fans out)

  9. #359
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    Default Re: Cruise of the Ketch Julia

    Quote Originally Posted by John B View Post
    This is also why tracks will show across land etc as you navigate around an island, for example.
    In Savusavu, enjoying a cold beer and a decent sleep I bet.
    IMG-7893.jpg
    Looks like they took a shortcut.
    Focus on the effort not the outcome.

    "Don't take life seriously. Either way, you won't make it out alive."

  10. #360
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    Default Re: Cruise of the Ketch Julia

    The big dilemma... Waitui or Coprashed mooring............

  11. #361
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    Default Re: Cruise of the Ketch Julia

    I wonder where his dad will be disembarking. That makes a difference to where they cruise.

  12. #362
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    Default Re: Cruise of the Ketch Julia

    We made it! Currently sitting in the absolute flat calm harbor at Savusavu, Fiji. We had a good passage, just shy of 16 days. That is a bit slow, we were becalmed for 2 days, and didn't have any really stunning daily runs. Its a big ocean out there. We didn't see another boat until the last night in Fijian waters. Conditions were on the rougher side most of the way, and we have some wounds to lick on three different sails. The boat did well,

    The windvane was an absolute champ, steering virtually the entire way. The thing has more than 5000 nm on it now, pretty good for a janky bit of plywood. There was one 24 hour period with heavy seas right on the beam, lots of solid water crashing across the cockpit and trying to wrench the dinghy off the cabin top. We stood watch on the companionway ladder with the dropboard in, the windvane held the course the whole time.

    We arrived early in the morning this morning, losing a day somewhere at the very end as we crossed the dateline. Aug 1, the day that never was. We spent most of the day sweating our way through visits of the various officials on board, then we were cleared and brought the yellow flag down. After only half a day on shore, I think we're going to really like it here. Prices are so much lower than French Polynesia, the people have been super friendly, and the feeling of scarcity is gone. The grocery store had an entire shelving unit dedicated to eggs! Weird the things that stand out to you. Eggs were super hard to find in FP, and never could you get more than 1 doz at a time.

    Anyway we are fully wiped out after the passage and exciting day of getting cleared in. More passage details later.




  13. #363
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    Default Re: Cruise of the Ketch Julia

    Quote Originally Posted by John B View Post
    The big dilemma... Waitui or Coprashed mooring............
    Waitui, but it looks like you can't go wrong!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike1902 View Post

    Looks like they took a shortcut.
    Yes, as some have noticed there is lots of quaintness with the Iridium. It only pings every 30 minutes if it has good signal, but we keep it below decks most of the time so the reported speeds are generally nonsense due to poor reception. The positions are accurate though. This particular shortcut was our fault, lots of thunderheads full of lightning during the last night, so the Iridium and a tablet with navigation went in the oven in case of lightning strike. Not much signal in the oven.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Jones View Post
    It's been a year now since you left on this great journey.
    Is there an end point or will you continue cruising until you feel you've had enough?
    What a year it has been. Something like 9000 nautical miles since leaving Washington, quite a few miles for a single year. Our plan is still in development.... We never thought we'd make it this far, so we're off the map already. We'll be in Fiji for a few months, then probably on to NZ when the season changes. Vanuatu feels kind of close now, I've heard good things about it. Would it be worth cutting time in Fiji short? Maybe end up in Australia instead, if we see Vanuatu? Hard to say.

    We sailed past so many Islands on this last passage, it hurts to be so close and then bypass them. Saving something for next time I guess, you can never see it all.

  14. #364
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    Default Re: Cruise of the Ketch Julia

    Congratulations on another safe passage. And thanks again for sharing your journey here--always a highlight of the WBF when I find a new post on this thread.

    Tom
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  15. #365
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    Default Re: Cruise of the Ketch Julia

    It seems a lifetime ago and a world away (well, it pretty much is) that you graciously showed me around Julia at the PT Wooden Boat Festival in 2018, I think it was. So great to see you out there seeing the world with the boat while the opportunity is there.
    Last edited by AJZimm; 08-02-2022 at 08:52 AM. Reason: punctuation
    Alex

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  16. #366
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    Default Re: Cruise of the Ketch Julia

    Two thumbs up - have watched from your time in Mukilteo and the shop you built - lived in Seattle and have a very good friend in Everrett. Follow your track and blog - envious of you and your Dad. Carry on! Had an Alden 33' Malabar Junior "Interlude" I lived aboard in Shilshole and a Garden Vashon Island Cutter "Puffin" in Sausalito that I bought out of Port Townsend.

  17. #367
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    Default Re: Cruise of the Ketch Julia

    'Still lurking here Jon and really enjoying your travels. Stay safe and enjoy F1J1
    Larks

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    “It’s risky”, said experience.
    “It’s pointless”, said reason.
    “Give it a try”, whispered the heart.

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  18. #368
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    Default Re: Cruise of the Ketch Julia

    We checked out with the Gendarme on Raiatea, and duly put the last day of our visa as our exit date. There was a big swell rolling in from a passing storm in the southern ocean, winds only 20-25 kt, but seas over 4 meters.

    We had trouble picking our weather window, it seemed that a few days of good conditions would always be bookended by something nasty being kicked up far to the south. After watching it for 10 days or so we were up against the exit date on our visas. But with conditions as they were, we planned to sneak off to some discreet corner to wait a few days for things to improve after checking out. I'm not inclined to head out into 4m seas, especially with a 2.5m wind wave on top of it at 90 degrees difference. In the end, it wasn't an issue as the "High Commission" (!) closed the ports and we were forbidden to leave anyway.




    We went back up to Tahaa, which shares the lagoon with Raiatea, but is much more friendly to cruisers. We filled up on the free water and topped off the diesel, all by jerry can. We eventually found a store with some eggs, but they would only sell us one dozen. We were looking for a store with a printer to print our entry documents for Fiji, but no such thing existed so we had to go without.



    The night before we left was a bit stressful. We did not feel we could justifiably wait any longer as the seas were reducing and we were illegal aliens. Another system was predicted to arrive in a few days though. Our kiwi weather router told us to head south, into what he ackwowledged was a "squash zone" as a massive high (1035mb) rolled through compressing against a low. He told us to brace for gusts to 40kt and seas averaging 4.3m, with a wave 1.5 times that once per hour. Jeez, you kiwis are tough, that sounds like a miserable time to me. We decided to follow our own advice and head north to get away from the squash zone and into a region of 3.5m waves instead. A stiff breeze was blowing through the anchorage, so we set the main double reefed right from the start.



    We had quite a ways to head inside the lagoon before reaching the exit.





    The swell outside had reduced to a relatively long 3.5m, which was doing spectacular things on the reefs each side of the pass.


  19. #369
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    Default Re: Cruise of the Ketch Julia

    We set a course to pass south of Bora Bora, and we were off!







    The waves were large but not too bad, they were spaced enough that most of the water passed under the boat with only a bit of slop coming on deck. We kept the main reefed as the winds were fairly strong. As we cleared the influence of the islands, it settled in on a deep broad reach. This is not the best point of sail on a ketch, as the sails blanket each other so you end up running just the main or jib most of the time. We poled out the jib, as it certainly woulnd't set without it in the backwash of the main and with the wild gyrations we were making in the swell. In the night a squall blew up and we rolled in the jib entirely.



    The result was quite a slow first 24 hours, as we were sailing as deep as we dared to clear the north side of Maupiti in the dark, and passing squalls kept us reefed down and the jib stowed much of the time. In the day we set more sail, even getting the mizzen up for a while.




  20. #370
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    Default Re: Cruise of the Ketch Julia

    The days started to tick by, as we climbed up from 16d 40' S, aiming to run along 14S for a few days until the squash zone blew itself out.



    Our speed still wasn't great so we flew the jib quite a bit, although it mostly just flapped around. Eventually I started seeing chafe on the jibsheet where it passed through the end of the whisker pole, something we have never noticed before.



    These things kept us reefed, especially at night when most of them hit. It seemed like there was quite a bit going on around us meteorogically, nothing was settled or steady.



    I didn't notice it at the time, but you can see here the beginnings of another problem. The mast bands at the gooseneck started to migrate around the spar. We had a preventer on, and it was boused down pretty tight as the main would frequently slat back as we rolled, and this puts a lot of compression on the boom.



    We caught a lovely big Mahi Mahi, the first one we've ever caught. We'd just slit the gills, pardon the gore.



    Whit made a delicious fresh ceviche out of the first fillet.


  21. #371
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    Default Re: Cruise of the Ketch Julia

    These were conditions that theoretically I would always prefer to change course and keep all the sails full and make better speed. But in practice, we were trying to make it north, so bearing off at all would eliminate our northing. Gybing over to make north first would work, but it would be an entire day of our lives and getting west was equally important to leave behind the roughest area. So we trucked on, running deeper than I would like, slatting and rolling.

    The sun is behind us, so this must be a sunrise.



    After lots of grey, the skies cleared for a while. The seas had steadily decreased since leaving French Polynesia, but now they started to build again. They got up to 3.5m, but didn't have much wind with them. Our strategy had worked, from a comfort perspective at least. The swells were impressive to watch, but were not uncomfortable.



    The swells only lasted for a day or two before things fell completely calm. We could just maintain steerageway, but the windvane had no chance in the zephyrs. The seas settled as well and we motored for about 12 hours. Our engine is so noisy and the progress across the map in 12 hours just doens't seem worth the racket or the heat generated, so we shut down the engine and just drifted for a while.

    After 2 days the wind started to fill back in, forcing us to gybe for the first time.



    A swell started to build, and before you know it we were reefed down once again.





    Things started getting a bit boisterous, lots of water on deck. While the wind was behind us, the worst swell was right on the beam and we rolled deep.


  22. #372
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    Default Re: Cruise of the Ketch Julia



    The old man liked to put on his full nerd scout costume. Whitney and I just stood watch from the companionway to stay dry.



    The windvane coped well with the conditions.





    Things seemed to increase at night, and we had two very uncomfortable nights filled with deep rolls, big explosions, and lots of cascading water. Unseen waves would slam hard into the dinghy, or break across the cockpit. Rushing out to adjust the windvane was pretty much just russian roullette trying to time the waves. I ended up with salty underpants a few times in rapid succession.




  23. #373
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    Default Re: Cruise of the Ketch Julia

    Things eventually improved, and the solar panels were very happy to see some more sun. We had a lot of trouble keeping the batteries up on the crossing. The sun was often obscured, and passed behind the sails by about 3pm. Meanwhile we were running all the instruments 24 hours a day, lights all night, and the fridge was attempting to freeze the fresh fish fillets. We ended up having to run the motor some to keep the voltages from dipping too low. I was wishing we had a towing generator as the sea rushed by at 6 knots day and night.



    Sorry, does this look like more of the same? Because this was really a pretty monotonous passage. It was essentially one big broad reach the whole way, always a bit deeper and a bit slower than perfect, but we were starting to put a hefty dent in the mileage regardless.





    At this point we were all starting to be a bit sore from constantly slamming around into things. Luckily we have a very narrow cabin and nowhere really to fall, but still it seemed that hips and forearms were always crashing against objects as we rolled. This sequence shows Dad doing some liesurly reading on watch. At this point we were beyond risk of sea sickness, unless conditions got much worse. Early on we all took Mexican Stugeron, which is not available in the US but worked really well for us with no side effects. The stuff is amazing really. I can't take scopolomine or dramamine without becoming utterly useless.





    The lee cloths did heavy duty. I tried to dry some of the wet clothes, but salt water never really dries out.


  24. #374
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    Default Re: Cruise of the Ketch Julia

    We reefed and then unreefed the mainsail many times. I had lubed the main halyard with vaseline where it bends around the masthead sheave, mostly as an experiment. I think it helped, but it was not that long lasting.



    All the slatting and rolling is about the hardest thing on the rig. In addition to the jib sheet chafe, which we fixed by turning the sheet end for end, we also chafed through the mainsail batten pockets against the rigging. I thought baggywrinkle was a bit quaint for a marconi rigged boat, but now I wish I had some on the aft shrouds.

    We had some good days as we got into the final third of the crossing.





    We gybed onto a starboard tack for a short while. We were now heading back south, ducking under the Samoan Islands. I've heard the area between the Cook Islands and Tonga called the "Dangerous Middle." But things were fairly stable for us.






  25. #375
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    Default Re: Cruise of the Ketch Julia



    The days went by, all merging into each other. We used a rotation of 3 hr watches all around the clock. This gave a decent window for sleeping and kept the night watches fairly short as well. It worked well, and having 3 people on board was much easier than just the two of us like the last big passage.



    Sunsets.....



    And then sunrises....



    We went back onto a port tack, but the wind was easing somewhat so we gybed the pole over and rode wing and wing for about 20 minutes.



    Then a squall blew onto us, and Whitney called down "torn jib!" Dad and I rushed up on deck to see the jib only about 1/3 up, billowing out ahead of us. Rain started to pelt us as Whit rounded up into the gusts. I clawed the jib down into the bowsprit net, and then we eventually got it back on deck. Thankfully, it wasn't really torn. The halyard block had exploded, and dropped the whole sail down. It was attached by the three corners, two down at the bowsprit end and the third up at the whisker pole which kept it full of wind.

    After the squall passed by we went back out to clean it up and get the sail lashed down back on deck.


  26. #376
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    Default Re: Cruise of the Ketch Julia

    Great pictures and commentary, Jon!

    Stugeron is awesome stuff, I agree. I used to be seasick for the first 3 days of an offshore passage but the last one the skipper had some Stugeron from England. We were 5 hours motoring out from Neah Bay in calm winds but a big swell before it dawned on me that I wasn't seasick, not even a little queasy. I now keep a stock of stuff on hand.
    Alex

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  27. #377
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    Default Re: Cruise of the Ketch Julia

    Thirty minutes later, we had the staysail set in place of the jib. We were now within two days of Fiji and needed to maintain speed to arrive at the beginning of the work day to avoid overtime fees from the government officials.








    Finally, we were within sight of Fiji! Our charts for the Tongan group were extremely lousy, so we opted for the longer route up over the north end of all the outlying reefs and islands. This also set us up for a north entrance into Fijian waters, rather than navigating through the extensive reefs of the Lau group.




  28. #378
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    Default Re: Cruise of the Ketch Julia

    Thunderstorms had been threatening us for days, no lightning really close but we could see it at night in the surrounding clouds. We headed into the last night with the full mainsail up, but had some really impressive thunderheads surround us in the dark.



    A large thunderhead was parked over the landmass, and the surrounding area was chaotic with squalls and variable winds. The self-steering finally gave up as things went from 25 kts to flat calm and then switched directions every few minutes. As a particularly large squall bore down on us we decided to just drop the mainsail and power the last few hours in to port as we were dodging lots of traffic and were struggling to hold a consistant speed. I turned on the deck light and popped the main halyard free as the squall hit, forgetting to ease off the preventer first. The compression loads blew out two sail slides at the lower end of the mainsail. Damn. I got the sail down and crashed into bed for a short sleep before we entered the reef.

    After the sun came up, we rounded the point and up into Savusavu Bay. Things were flat calm, and we got our first sight of the island of Vanua Levu, one of the two largest islands in Fiji.





    We grabbed a mooring and spent the day hosting various officials as we cleared in. It was very easy despite the mountain of forms, though they put a red sticker on my honey bottle. Contraband!



    The beach here steams where hydrothermal vents seep into the sea. The advertise hot spring baths a stone's throw from the boat, but it is way too hot for that to appeal to me.



    Savusavu is a lovely town, and it feels amazing to be here. The passage was 1800 NM without all of our various wanderings, and it took us just shy of 16 days. We have crossed the dateline at 180 degrees. For reference, our farthest point east- Mazatlan, Mexico is at longitude 106W, which feels like a very long ways away.


  29. #379
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    Default Re: Cruise of the Ketch Julia

    We arrived with both the jib and mainsail out of commission, and I felt like a bird with broken wings. To fix the jib I just needed to hang a new halyard block, so I rigged the climbing gear and started up the main halyard. About 12 ft off the deck I looked up and noticed that the halyard I was climbing was chafed almost completely through. I had checked the normal wear points, but this was a strange location. I rushed down and ran a new halyard. (Our spares inventory has taken a beating the last few weeks.)



    Looking at it, it was obvious what had happened. The exploded jib block had a sharp edge, and the main halyard chafed against it for the last two days into port. I'm glad it didn't go all the way through, despite almost killing me it would be a difficult job to reeve a new halyard without the old one in place.




    I ran a new main halyard, and then got the jib halyard back in place.





    We rehoisted and rolled the jib, and put new lashings on the blown sail slides as well as a few more that looked pretty weak. We're a sailboat again, pretty much good as new though I do still have to sew some wear patches on the main.

    That pretty much brings us up to date. Savusavu is a small town, but its all noise and color and interesting new cultures. I've purchased a skirt, and drank mouth numbing kava water out of a basin in the park. But we'll have to get to that, next time.


  30. #380
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    Default Re: Cruise of the Ketch Julia

    Cool, we were on a mooring down that end once. It can get a bit noisy with the nightclub some nights.Doof doof.
    Discovering that the wind tends to increase at night as opposed to dropping like it does here was a surprise to me as well.

  31. #381
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    Default Re: Cruise of the Ketch Julia

    This thread is the best thing on the Internet right now. I'm curious about the number of other wooden boats that are out there cruising the South Pacific? Are you seeing any others (Latifa aside)?
    - Chris

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  32. #382
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    Default Re: Cruise of the Ketch Julia

    Thanks again! More fun.

  33. #383
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    Default Re: Cruise of the Ketch Julia

    Sunday Morning
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    Thank you!

  34. #384
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    Default Re: Cruise of the Ketch Julia

    Thanks for your compelling account.

  35. #385
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    Default Re: Cruise of the Ketch Julia

    Wonderful account. Keep it coming!
    -Dave

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