Archive for July, 2007


Monday, July 30th, 2007

Now that we’re in, I can mention how terrifying the idea of a man overboard on a short-handed ocean race is.

During our initial MOB training in May, Colin the then-neophyte sailor suggested a dedicated GPS near the MOM8 for MOB use. At the time, I poo-pooed the idea a little, but since the TP, I really have been considering it strongly. It’s a great idea.

It also turns out that the big guys (i.e. the V70s and the like) have a single “big red button” dedicated MOB system that logs a GPS position. I’m going to look into getting a low-draw handheld with a dedicated MOB button, hardwiring it to the 12v system and hanging it on the port stern pulpit. The power cable can come up through the obsolete DGPS beacon antenna fitting.

Stay Tuned

Monday, July 30th, 2007

I’m really grateful for all the positive feedback I got on this blog. It turned out to be really rewarding to write, and I’m glad people enjoyed it (more people than I thought, apparently).

In the next few weeks, I will try to post some pictures, and maybe a video, of our race. Also, I’ve got a few wrap-up posts (more of those damn lists) and then on to writing about the next phase in the ocean racing journey, whatever that is…

Open offer and thanks

Monday, July 30th, 2007

Posting from Northern CA again.

I got so much help on this race from so many people, but as far as I can tell, there’s no such thing as too much information about a race like this (at least from folks who’ve done it). Sometimes I was a little too intimidated to write the more experienced sailors out of the blue to ask them a question.

This is my open offer. If you are thinking about doing the TP (or the Pacific Cup), especially in a small boat, feel free to send me an email at Jon@[thenameofthisblog].com, and I’m happy to give you any advice I can.

Also, I want to mention how great the other racers were. We especially got a lot of great advice and good laughs from Al Jr and Al Sr on Narrow Escape. I hope to sail again with or against these great guys.

Also, we got some really nice feedback about our “first time” performance from the crew of California Girl and Brown Sugar. Thanks for the kind words guys, and see you on the race course.

DAY 19 (and in…)

Friday, July 27th, 2007

Done. We crossed the finish line at 1250 HST this afternoon, about 10 minutes before “official” close of race. 2300 miles in a 30 foot boat with three great guys.

We would have been earlier, except that we broke/ blew-out/ disintegrated the spinn pole mast fitting hauling ass about 4 hours before the finish, in the middle of Molokai channel in about 35kts of wind.

Thanks everybody.
Crew with Mai Tais

Day 18 (Running and closing)

Thursday, July 26th, 2007

Yesterday turned into a real classic tradewinds day, windy, with swells and squalls, which was just what we needed. We ran 170NM off the clock, got scared and drenched, and today looks the same. We are just about 180 miles to the finish, which puts us in Friday afternoon or evening.

That puts us in a few hours after 1300 HST, so no hoopla at the finish for us, just four tired guys in a little boat passing a big red buoy.

The fatigue is really setting in as we get closer, whether it’s cumulative or just because we are start to visualize the finish line.
Everyone sleeps most of their off watches, and the night watches, with the squalls and the lack of caffeine, can be real horror shows.

Big disappointment today when the RC announced that boats finishing after 1300 tomorrow would not have “follow-me” boats to escort them to harbor as promised. In this race, this is probably 10% of the fleet. However, they came back and clarified that we will have follow-me boats. That’s a relief.

Here’s to a solid day and night of sailing.

Day 17 (Running)

Thursday, July 26th, 2007

Another day of light-to-moderate running 300 miles from Hawaii. Squalls in the early morning can be pretty hairy, reading about 28-30kts on the anenometer. By 10AM or so, back to 10-15 TWS.

The best joke in the house right now is to ask someone off watch for something preposterous from the galley. Like, “Hey Colin, while you are down there, I’ll take a Manhattan straight up, stirred, with a half dozen of the cherrystones on the shell, if it’s no trouble.” Food porn, a laugh riot.

Not so funny, we heard on the radio that some other boats may be getting into tight situations with drinking water.


Day 16 (NCD)

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

From a sailing perspective, today is almost identical to the two before.

Today is no caffeine day. There are about 10 chocolate espresso beans left, but they got doused with salt water at one point. We drank 2 pounds of coffee, a box of tea, and a case of Red Bull. The next few night watches are going to be tough.

Boats are beginning to finish. I suspect the first from our division will be tomorrow.

The wind is almost directly down our course (about 248 Mag). We are making about 20 gybes a day or so, to either take advantage of a wind shift or get in line with a squall.


Transpac Day 15 (Squall hunting)

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

Since the only way to get to the wives and Mai Tais is to find some wind, we’ve become nocturnal squall hunters.

The drill is that we start looking for a squall line (which looks like a series of mushroom clouds marching along one horizon) around sunset and make for any one that’s close enough for us to intercept without heading away from Hawaii. Inside and in front of the squall is a converging 20kt wind that we plant ourselves in and start gybing across until we lose the wind, or our nerve. Behind the squall is a calm area that we try to time our final gybe to put us outside of.

We are doing mostly double-handed gybes now, so the off watch can sleep, but over 20, we pull someone else up on deck.

The main problem with this theory is that there are not enough squalls (or nerves) that you can ride at night to make up for a full day of slogging along at hull speed.


Day 14 (Pray for hull speed)

Sunday, July 22nd, 2007

Back to light air. The highest paid navigators in the fleet just sailed by 75 miles to the north of us, the wiliest old salts in the fleet are steaming to Hawaii 100 miles to the south of us, and we are surrounded by a disc of beautiful picnic weather.

Yesterday was LBD: Last Beer Day. We are now a dry boat.

We have storm sails, 3 bilge pumps, a liferaft, 3 radios, locater beacons, harnesses, tethers, strobe lights, an extra spinnaker pole,
materials to start IVs, splint broken bones, repair booms, rudders, and ripped sails. Except, besides one 25kt squall per night, you’d think it never blew above 11 knots anywhere in the pacific. We are not in the dreaded pacific high, just in a random corner of the ocean where a 30′ boat can only go about the speed that Bill Clinton jogs.

Luckily we have enough spare food and water (especially water) that we are not in any trouble. Garth made the last of the “planned” meals last night: Spaghetti with canned clams. Now it’s leftovers and extras until we break out the freeze-dried emergency rations later in the week.


Day 12 (The Transpac)

Saturday, July 21st, 2007

This is the Transpac, finally. 20kt breeze and big swells. We paid our
toll getting in, but this is good hard sailing now.

We finally got our breeze as I went off watch to bed last night. Next
thing I know, I’m on the foredeck in my shorts and sea boots, dropping
the 3/4 oz spinnaker in a 30kt squall. It was really dark, really windy,
and really rolly. Woke up early to spell Garth, who was seasick and
drove about 4 hours in full wooly conditions, but at least we are
moving finally. We spent all day today with wind, beautiful wind.

Lovely sunset tonight, our watches are back in order, everybody feels