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Hardesty Leads E22 Worlds, Cunningham Rebounds

Sat, 2014-06-28 12:37

June 27, 2014, for immediate release

After a Day to Forget, Cunningham Has Two Races to Remember

NEWPORT, R.I. — The best sailors remember every detail of every race. But there are some days on the water that simply have to be forgotten. Day 3 of the 2014 Etchells World Championships, hosted by the New York Yacht Club in association with Sail Newport, was such a day for Jim Cunningham.

After waiting much of the day for a sailable breeze, Cunningham and his team of Jeff Madrigali, Mark Ivey and Bryn Bachman had a strong start and approached the first mark among the top 10 boats in the 95-boat fleet. With the rain pouring down and the breeze lightening, Cunningham’s boat stalled as he tried to sneak it around the first mark and he and his crew could only watch as half the fleet—some 40-odd boats—sailed past. They finished 50th in the race.

A front passed through overnight and replaced yesterday’s soggy, overcast weather with a fresh, dry northerly breeze and abundant sunshine. Cunningham and his team did likewise with their memories of yesterday’s race; and the results were spectacular: a third and a fourth and the satisfaction that comes with being the top team on the water for a single day at one of the sport’s most competitive regattas.

“I am really proud of our team because we had such a difficult day yesterday,” said Cunningham, of San Francisco. “We kept it together and focused on our job today, which was to figure out the day and look forward. That’s really how we approached all this, just keep looking forward.”

With today’s breeze blowing off the land, Cunningham said the team focused intently on playing the variations in the breeze, both in direction and velocity.

“The tactical calls today were really good,” said Cunningham, “we stayed in pressure and we played a fair amount of shifts on the first beat of the first race, we weren’t just glued to one side.”

The breeze lightened as the day went on, and Cunningham said another key was switching to lighter-wind sails in between the two races.

The two top-five finishes moved Cunningham and his team into 14th overall. Two-time world champion Bill Hardesty is still in the lead after finishing fifth and 13th in today’s races. The latter result was particularly impressive as Hardesty rounded the first mark in the bottom third of the fleet and ground his way back to earn a positive result. That result proved very significant in the overall standings as Hank Lammens, the skipper of the second-place boat in the regatta, struggled to a 47th. Hardesty now has an 18-point lead going into the final day of the competition.

2014 Etchells World Championship
Newport, R.I.
Hosted by the New York Yacht Club in association with Sail Newport
Wednesday, June 25, Day 4 Preliminary Top-10 Results
Click here to see the complete results.

Place, Sail Number, Boat Name, Skipper, Hometown, Race 1, Race 2, Race 3, Race 4, Race 5, Race 6, Race 7, Total (not including worst score)
1. USA 979, Line Honors, Bill Hardesty, San Diego, 2-2-20-1-4-5-13 27.0
2. CAN 1396, Hank Lammens, Norwalk, Conn., 1-8-1-12-16-7-47 45.0
3. HKG 1333, Swedish Blue, Ante Razmilovic, London, U.K., 3-6-8-44-14-19-3 53.0
4. USA 1372, Aretas, Skip Dieball, Beaver Dam, Wis., 38-13-4-19-7-17-1 61.0
5. USA 1378, The Martian, Marvin Beckmann, Houston, 8-3-11-5-15-46-32 74.0
6. USA 1308, KGB, Senet Bischoff & Ben Kinney, Larchmont, N.Y. 10-20-25-52-1-31-2 89.0
7. USA 1296, Appreciation, Jeffrey Siegal, Portsmouth, R.I., 17-17-16-17-47-8-20 95.0
8. AUS 1383, Triad, John Bertrand, South Yarra, Australia, 4-10-5-28-27-23-53 97.0
9. USA 1137, La Tormenta, Shannon Bush, Refugio, Texas, 26-16-31-37-6-21-6 106.0
10. USA 1376, Arethusa, Phil Lotz, Newport, R.I., 9-18-6-96/BFD-52-9-12 106.0

Big Turnout for Long Beach Race Week

Sat, 2014-06-28 12:34

June 27, 2014

From Rich Roberts for Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week

Friday’s weather: Wind 10-5k south; sunny, high temp. 75F.
Saturday’s forecast: Wind 10k SSW; sunny, high temp. 71F.

Light wind but heavy competition open Ullman LBRW


This ain’t a commercial, but one of the four boats that won both of its races on opening day of Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week Friday was skippered by … Dave Ullman.

The sailmaker and multi-class world champion ran away from the other 15 boats in the fast-evolving J/70 class, but his rivals have two more days in the West Coast’s largest keelboat regatta presented by the Long Beach and Alamitos Bay Yacht Clubs to follow his lead about racing in light to vanishing breeze.

Actually, the fastest boat of all on the day also finished first but didn’t win. Tom Holthus’ Bad Pak left seven other proven ocean racers behind over the 21-nautical mile Random Leg/PHRF 1 course offshore to the west. The STP 65 from San Diego sailed faster than what little wind there was with an average speed of about 10 knots in a mostly single digit southerly fading to 5.

The downside was its minus-126-second handicap, which left it in fourth place behind Ed McDowell’s Grand Illusion, Jay Steinbeck’s Margaritavillle and Bob Lane’s Medicine Man—all longtime rivals in West Coast ocean racing.

“Not a lot of maneuvers,” Holthus said, “but the crew got it together for a good performance.”

Holthus suggested that Bad Pak made its best gain early when it elected to use a Code Zero headsail in a stretch of broad reaching while others were resorting to full spinnakers.

So is Holthus hoping for stronger wind—say, 25 knots?—over the weekend?

“Twenty-five knots would be a hoot,” he said, chuckling. “Twelve or 15 would be good, but we’re comfortable with 7 or 8, too.”

The 35th year of the regatta has 142 boats from six states and Canada, living up to its slogan, “Race With the Champions.” There will be as many as five more races over the last two days, starting at noon each day, conditions permitting.

The largest class is Viper 640s with 23 entries. Kevin Taugher’s Hot Mess from ABYC with a first and a third has a three-point lead over Alex Steele of Balboa YC (3-4), but former winners Jay Golison and James Sears are lurking in sixth and seventh place.

The Catalina 37 class, with all 11 boats chartered from the Long Beach Sailing Foundation, opened with a three-way tussle among Dave Hood, LBYC (2-1), and Chuck Clay, ABYC (1-4), who have won the last six LBRWs between them, and veteran Bruce Ayres of Newport Harbor YC (3-2).

The regatta is open to one-design classes and PHRF boats with handicaps of 222 or less. Racing is on three closed courses—two outside and one inside the breakwater—plus the Random Leg course across the adjoining Long Beach and Los Angeles harbors with one race daily.

The Yacht Club Challenge Trophy features several of the Catalina 37s filling the requirement to be part of a three-boat team with boats from two other classes.

The Golison Kent Family Trophy will be awarded to the crew with the most family members on board.

The next post-race party will be Saturday night at LBYC. The Sunday trophy presentation and party will be at LBYC. A water taxi will offer transportation between the clubs across the bay each evening.

Class leaders

(3 races)

PHRF-1 (8 boats)—Grand Illusion (SC 70), Edward McDowell, King Harbor YC.
PHRF 2 (12)—Elixir (SC 52), Chad and Karie Downey, Los Angeles YC.
PHRF-3 (11)—lulu (Schock), David Booker, Santa Barbara YC.
PHRF MULTIHULL (4)—Mama Tried (8.5cm Tri), Pete Melvin, ABYC.

(7 races; no discards)

CATALINA 37 (11 boats)—Team LBYC, Dave Hood, LBYC, 2-1, 3.

VIPER 640 (23)—Hot Mess, Kevin Taugher, ABYC, 1-3, 4 points.

J/70 (16)—David Ullman, Balboa YC, 1-1, 2.

J/109 (6)—Electra, Thomas Brott, Santa Barbara YC, 1-2, 3.

J/120 (7)—Shenanigans, Gary Winton, Cabrillo Beach YC, 2-1, 3.

FLYING TIGER (6)—John Harrop, San Diego YC, 1-2, 3.

MELGES 20 (5)—Makaira, Skip Shapiro, Richmond YC, 1-1, 2.

PHRF-SB2 (7)—Avet (J/80), Curt Johnson, California YC, 1-1, 2.

PHRF-A (11)—Flyer (RP 47), Rob Sjosted, Corsair YC, 2-1, 3.

PHRF-B (8)—Rival (J/35), David Boatner, Ventura YC, 1-1, 2.

Andreas Hanakamp, Volvo Skipper, on the 59ºN Podcast

Sat, 2014-06-28 10:49

Andreas Hanakamp! For the sailors out there, Andreas is a former Olympic sailor and the skipper of Team Russia in the 09/08 Volvo Ocean Race. And he’s awesome! Andy first met him in the 2011 ARC rally, and got a chance to sit down with him this year over a coffee in St. Lucia. Beyond sailing, Andreas is just overall a super inspiring dude – he climbs mountains, runs marathons, skis in the backcountry and just generally takes full advantage of life. It was a privilege for Andy to have had the chance to hang out with him for a couple days in St. Lucia. Thanks Andreas!


Thu, 2014-06-26 23:53

After sitting in an airplane for twenty-seven hours with two increasingly rangy kids, there was only one thing I wanted when I got back to Noumea.  It wasn’t a hot shower (although I needed it.)  It wasn’t a good night’s sleep on a horizontal surface (although I needed that even more.)  All I wanted as we pulled up to the marina was to see Papillon afloat.  Steal my luggage and cancel my credit cards, but please don’t let my boat be resting in the mud.

Not that I left my home unattended: I asked a friend to keep an eye on Papillon.  But the problem with asking other cruisers to watch your boat is that, well, they’re cruisers.  They cruise.  And so, a week into my vacation, I got an email that looked something like this:

Hi, Amy.  Papillon is fine. I just wanted to let you know that we are sailing to Baie de Prony for the rest of the school holidays.  Ellie and Michael on Mountain Goat are leaving for Vanuatu, so I asked Sandy on Inky Waters to keep an eye on your boat.  She has my number, and will call if there is an issue.  Just to let you know.  Enjoy the rest of your trip!  Byeee!!!

I did a lot of housesitting back in my teens and twenties.  It was easy.  Housesitting really means: “could you please feed my cat and bring the mail in?”  No problem.  I fed many a cat.  I stacked many an envelope.  But beyond making sure no one had broken in and trashed the place, my duties were limited.

Not so with boatsitting.  It is a for-real favor.  Yes, fine, usually nothing goes wrong, but sometimes everything starts leaking.  Or you need to run the engine and discover air in the fuel lines.  You have to be responsible to watch a boat.  Even tied up to the dock, my friends had to come by every few days to pull up the floorboards and check the bilge.  Before I left, I had to acquaint them with our various bilge pumps.  We talked about fire extinguishers, I double-checked that I had shut down all of the power mains and closed the water lines, and still, as I flew from here to there and back, still I wondered whether it would all be as I left it on my return.

When we drove around the harbor, there was Papillon: masts at the appropriate heights, awning flapping gently in the breeze.  Phew.  It was all okay.

The kids and I hauled our luggage down the dock, and I unlocked the companionway.  A cloud of fruit flies swarmed the cockpit.  As the girls flapped their arms and made “blerrg!” noises, I discovered a very sad-looking kiwifruit that I had somehow left behind on the stove.

I batted the flies from my face and smiled to myself.  We were afloat.  Flies didn’t even rate a frown.


Thu, 2014-06-26 18:43

I wrote about this once in a print magazine, and some people were skeptical. But I’m telling you–it really does work. I’ve done it twice at sea successfully; no fuss, no muss. If you lose a halyard up your mast, this is how to get it back from deck level without having to climb the mast.

There is one prerequisite. You need a spare halyard with a shackle on it that is in reasonably close proximity to the one you were stupid enough to let fly up the mast. Given this, retrieving the lost halyard should be easy.

Step 1: Take a loose length of line that is long enough to reach the lost halyard from the deck and tie a noose in it with a slip knot, so that you can pull the noose shut.

Step 2: Clip the noose line with noose open into the shackle at the end of your spare halyard, as shown in the detail drawing above. It need not be a snapshackle. (Note the relative size of the shackle and noose line in that drawing is all askew. The shackle will, or should, be small enough that the slip knot can’t pull through it.)

Step 3: Use the spare halyard to hoist the noose line aloft up close to where the lost halyard is.

Step 4: Now twiddle about with the noose line and spare halyard from down on deck until you succeed in lassoing the lost halyard. This is not as hard, or as unlikely, as it sounds. It helps a lot if your noose line is a bit stiff with salt and/or UV damage, as this helps the noose stay open. It may take some patience and persistence, but you should succeed eventually.

Step 5: Having lassoed the lost halyard, pull gently on the noose line until the noose closes around the lost halyard.

Step 6: Now pull the noose line down to the deck, and it will bring both the spare halyard and the lost halyard along with it.

If you don’t believe me, just try it while tied up to a dock or mooring.

Grael Honored with Inaugural Magnus Olsson Prize

Thu, 2014-06-26 13:28

ALICANTE, Spain June 26, 2014

Torben Grael, Brazil’s joint most decorated Olympic medalist with five medals and former winner of the Volvo Ocean Race, has been awarded the inaugural Magnus Olsson Prize for his contribution to sailing.

Grael received his award in Stockholm today along with two recipients of a scholarship through the Magnus Olsson Memorial Foundation aimed at helping young Swedish sailors make a successful career in the sport.

The two recipients are Simon Lundmark, an 18-year-old dinghy sailor in the Laser class, and Albin Johnsson, 17, who sails the Europe Class. Both are competing on a national, European and international youth championship level. Along with a sum of 15,000 Swedish Krona, they will also have support from Torben Grael as a mentor.

Olsson was one of the most recognized and charismatic figures in global offshore sailing but died last year in Lanzarote. He was working at the time as a trainer for the all-female crew of Team SCA who will be competing in the 12th edition of the Volvo Ocean Race starting in October this year.

Grael, who won the Volvo Ocean Race in 2008-09 on board Ericsson 4, paid tribute to Olsson, known universally as ‘Mange’, who had been a rival skipper during that event on Ericsson 3.

“Magnus Olson was one of the most competent and complete sailors ever,” he said.

“Receiving this award with his name fills me with pride and satisfaction. Magnus, with his knowledge and generosity, was a pillar of the Volvo Ocean Race.”

Richard Brisius, CEO of the Team SCA campaign, and Carl-Henric Svanberg started the Magnus Olsson Memorial Foundation in May 2013 together with his family after the death of Olsson the previous month.

Olsson’s partner, Vica Eckeström, is a member of the Foundation’s board. She said: “Our aim with the scholarships is to inspire more young Swedish sailors to become professional sailors in the future.

“They are still young and Mange subscribed to the idea that dinghies are perfect for young sailors to learn the basics of the sport – but with the scholarship and the mentoring help from the winners of the Award, we hope that the Foundation’s work can inspire them to choose a future in professional sailing.”

She continued: “I think Mange would have thought it was fantastic to see young sailors getting support from the foundation and he would have been thrilled if those young girls or boys would be inspired to aim for a career in ocean racing. That was his dream and I’m sure he would have liked to see his work live on and continue to inspire people.”

The Magnus Olsson Memorial Foundation also awards the Magnus Olsson Prize to an internationally established person, organization or project, which has achieved (or works to achieve) success at the highest international levels in the sport of sailing. The recipients will also get the opportunity to award two scholarships to young sailors in their home country.

This award is decided in a process separate from the scholarships and Grael, who has won five Olympic medals including two golds in Atlanta 1996 and Athens 2004, was the unanimous choice to win the first.

Raymarine 2014: science, cadence & “IReverywhere!”

Wed, 2014-06-25 20:30

Written by Ben Ellison on Jun 25, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

This frozen aSeries MFD has almost finished a two-day low temperature test, but that’s only the beginning of its suffering. Next it will run another two days in a high temperature cabinet with 85% relative humidity, and there’s still 19 more days of torture to Raymarine’s ERT (Early Reliability Test) Qualification Process. The quality of the testing tools and seriousness with which they’re used was as impressive as the Raymariner on-the-water lab, and I’m publishing more photos below because it’s reassuring to see what proper modern marine electronics have to go through before reaching our boats. But I’ll also attempt to describe the product innovation processes in play at Raymarine’s R&D center, which seemed equally impressive though much harder to photograph or quantify…

Some of Raymarine’s environmental testing was difficult to see in action, like the Red Sea level sun, humidity, and spray aging possible within the Q-Sun Xe-3 Xenon Chamber, but I did think of how little the RD418HD radome on Gizmo’s mast has faded or yellowed since I began testing it in 2009. Similarly, they couldn’t safely show us what happens in the Near Lightning Strike (NLS) closet, but while I doubt they can prevent all forms of lightning damage, I’m glad that they seek out fixable weaknesses. Meanwhile, the 250 kilograms of salt tablets stacked along a hallway suggested how the salty fog chamber reaches Icelandic levels.

The shock and vibration testing was more dramatic. In this scene the new a12 MFD on the shaker table is undergoing a protracted sine sweep with the PC graphing the vibration of both the table and the display. Thus, frequencies that cause harmonic reactions stand out so either the MFD mount can be modified or the device tested further with the more difficult vibes. Trade Only’s Chris Landry nicely videoed this test along with the nasty machine that delivers measured impact whacks to screens and other parts.

Chris’s video also features the water jet and spray booth, which is purposely the last stop for devices that have been frozen, baked, vibrated, etc. Apparently, testing to IP (Ingress Prevention) Standards should be done with “aged” equipment and besides, according to Raymarine’s Director of Engineering Gordon Pope, they test beyond IPX6 and 7 because the ultimate goal is to avoid major warranty issues. He noted, for instance, how an aged MFD with failed gasketing might survive the IPX6 100-litres-per-minute jet at 100 kPa from 3 meters because the pressure actually resealed the unit, but the same unit might fail the lesser IPX3 spray test.

That’s Pope explaining one of Raymarine’s several EMI (Electromagnetic Interference) test chambers to some of the visiting journalists. The sounder module on the table, which is powered up and receiving transducer data, is being targeted with EMI that might emanate from other gear on a boat, while the test engineers use that white camera to watch what happens on the screen of a networked MFD that’s on the floor. The module will also spend time in a chamber that looks very similar, except that a receive-only antenna will measure any EMI the sonar throws off, so hopefully it passes whatever FCC, CE, etc. standards it’s meant to meet (which Raymarine is qualified to ascertain).

Pope is passionate about the testing process and often emphasized the word “science” during our tour. Both he and Director of Product Management Chris Jones previously worked for Motorola and other mass consumer electronics companies, and they can vividly describe the engineering precision and discipline it takes to, say, quickly design a new and different smartphone and then manufacture millions of them glitch free.

So while Gordon Pope likes to talk about the science of product assurance — incidentally, Raymarine maintains subsets of test engineers and equipment at its contract manufacturing facilities in Hungary and China — some of Chris Jones’s favorite terms involve the “pace” and “cadence” of product development. For instance, how did Jones’s small team of sonar engineers march from unusual concept to finished DragonFly hardware/software? A good conference room helps, as do nearby prototyping and testing facilities, but a whole lot of the challenge is prioritizing goals and dividing the tasks into doable chunks. At Raymarine, they call the three-week development sprints “scrums” (as in rugby), and they’re followed by three weeks of evaluation and then another scrum, etc. etc. (While the marketing dept. dreams up alluring terms like “visionality” and someone tricks out a Hobie fishing machine because Ray has ambitions in that exploding market.)

While each team at the R&D center gave an interesting presentation, perhaps the deepest involved the Evolution Autopilot system. That’s Ian Matt, who worked on helicopter and formula one race car electronics before Raymarine, and Mark Johnstone, who first cofounded Tacktick and engineered the wireless instruments that Ray sells today. They’re explaining some of the algorithms that made the EVO 9-axis AHRS — that’s an attitude and heading reference system with 3-axis magnetometer, 3x gyroscope, and 3x accelerometer — into a marine “compass” that can be mounted most anywhere without calibration. Apparently, it can pull off that trick most anywhere on the planet, too, even areas of extreme magnetic dip like northern Norway. The diagram shows in red the raggedy raw magnetic heading data collected, while blue illustrates how the EVO extra sensors and smarts resolve the data into something much more accurate. The photo inset at left shows a gadget the team used to move the AHRS in multiple ways at once.

Once they were confident that the EVO sensor really can feel a boat’s motion well, the developers were able to use it as a data collection tool to see how well their autopilot logic was working on some 50 beta test vessels. They can even turn the data into graphic simulations that showed test boats steering better and better through waves as the code writing scrums proceeded. And development did not end when Evolution went to market. Evo is thought of more as a platform than a product, much the way all the MFD series (and even DragonFly) run LightHouse software that is updated about every three months. The first major Evolution update came in February; Hydro-Balance can purportedly sense and correct variable hydraulic issues like air bubbles and hose flexing that can cause poor pilot performance, and it’s just software.

Incidentally, I used the Evo AHRS as a heading sensor on Gizmo much of last season and I’ve only seen better performance from a Furuno SC30 satellite compass that’s bigger, more expensive, and fussier about where you put it. Installing the rest of the Evolution autopilot system would be easy except that my solenoid-driven steering means I have to exchange the working Simrad rudder sensor with a Ray one – a tight-quarters job I don’t relish. But I was motivated by the presentation in England and also some positive reader reports. Can Evolution handle following seas better than Gizmo’s current AC60 course computer and RA42 rate compass? Maybe it’s time to find out.

I haven’t heard much about Raymarine’s support of Empirbus NXT digital switching since the Miami 2013 announcement, but it’s purportedly attracting the interest of European boatbuilders. I also learned from the Empirbus product manager that the main DC module (left above) can handle almost any switching or monitoring task on its 16 channels and also supports a wireless, battery-free switch technology that I’ve been hearing good things about from another marine developer. There’s much to study here.

How much did FLIR have to do with the Raymarine turnaround that’s seemed obvious as the product lines rapidly evolved over the last few years? One conclusion I reached in the UK was that FLIR (and Garmin, which also made a bid) saw value well beyond the brand name and distribution network. The R&D facility in Fareham may be relatively new, but the engineering and boating culture within often stretches back to the Autohelm days. I did laugh, though, when told that the guest WiFi password is “IReverywhere!” FLIR is a very determined company, and apparently they did make some changes at Raymarine, mainly in terms of key managers and guiding the “pace” of development.

While the Ray crew is also disciplined about discussing not-yet-announced products, they did say that there may be interesting MFD integration possibilities with FLIR’s new FX line of wireless daylight cameras. And who knows where the company’s tiny Lepton IR sensor may end up (besides the FLIRone iPhone cam)?

I’ll close with a bigger thought. Obviously the Raymarine visit impressed me a lot, but I also saw some excellent R&D science and cadence when I visited Garmin a few years ago. And while I once characterized Navico as “firing on all cylinders” (which still seems true), I’d now say the same of Raymarine and have long admired Furuno with its powerhouse hardware developers in Japan and software team in France. We live in a good time for marine electronics, people! Thus the collage of handsome Discovery 57 with FLIR M-Series cam serving lookout on mast, e12 MFDs at helms, and yours truly thumbs up about everything.

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Engine trouble and kidnappings

Wed, 2014-06-25 01:20

There’s a Yiddish proverb: “Man plans, God laughs.” The cruiser’s equivalent is to say that our plans are written in the sand, at low tide.

Yes, we still make plans. Usually, they’re weather driven: designed to avoid hurricane/cyclone/typhoon seasons on the grand scale, and pick days for optimal sailing on immediate front. The current “big plan” is next year’s Indian Ocean passages, starting early in 2015 and winding a slow path through a number of countries before South Africa. It’s trying to nail down any nearer term plans that has proved impossible. I hesitate share any, because every time we make them- even in a general sense (like, hey, let’s go to the Philippines this year!)- they change. Anything we commit to now will probably change a few more times!

Palawan. Source: alantankenghoe, Flickr

We had revised routing earlier based on the kidnappings in NE Sabah, Malaysian Borneo, decided to go north to Palawan island in the Philippines instead. News then came out that a couple disappeared from their cruising boat off Palawan. The same rebel group, Abu Sayaff (ASG), was fingered.

It’s disturbing, because:

1.       ASG kidnaps for profit. This would be their first cruising boat 2.       It’s Most of their activity lately has been in the Sulu archipelago, not Palawan

3.       They have a history of keeping hostage for years (or, killing them)
4.       A spokesman for the Abu Sayaff has stated that, “We have been trying hard to get an American because they may think we are afraid of them.” He added, “We want to fight the American people.” Great!

However, it seems just as possible that the couple simply had an accident or became crocodile lunch…as has happened recently in that area. Some reports say when their boat was found, nothing was missing- cash, laptops, etc., and towels were in the cockpit with the swim ladder down. Reports vary enough it’s hard to know where speculation and truth nest together, so we wait to see if more definitive information comes to light.

Palawan. Source: nenborromeo, Flickr

Waiting is easy, because we’re delayed getting our engine serviced. Parked in lovely Telaga Harbour near the Thai/Malay border for the duration, we spent nearly a month longer than we expected there as it dragged out. Then, there were the problems heading south down the peninsula. Dealing with the outcome of power problems in one marina added a few days, but the big culprit was when our newly tuned engine developed an irritating habit of overheating that defied diagnosis.

“This is frustrating” might be one of the more common phrases lately.

But getting stressed out or frustrated by delays is pointless. It’s just the way it is (although there was no avoiding the stress of losing our engine, in little wind and more current, in the shipping lanes for one of Asia’s busiest ports. Yeah- that was stressful!). We could get worked up over the delays, but what good will that do? Smile, work on the problem, and try to make the most of the situation.

And yes, although it really is frustrating, the guys from Supreme Power Services have been great. To try and get the overheating problem solved they’ve spent more than 8 additional days on Totem so far, commuting from Kuala Lumpur to various location where Totem is. Yes, something happened while servicing that started it all, but they’ve generally done solid work at a fair price and they’re not charging for any of the extra time. Jamie’s been impressed with what they know, and happy with how much he’s learned a lot from them. Plus, they slid him a shop manual for our engine, which is you would think was gold plated!

This morning, we finally had a clean bill of health on the state of the engine: a presumed combination of air getting in (bits not put back together exactly right) and a bad radiator cap combining to cause the problems with different symptoms and under different conditions. So there was some irony when as they stood on the dock preparing to depart, Jamie realized the alternator was not properly charging, and discovered a broken diode. Because we are waiting for a replacement charger to use shore power or our generator, and the rainy season isn’t helping our green power generation… well, this getting juice into the battery bank just became a problem, and once again, our engine is not working.

Here we go again! I think I’ll grab the pilot charts for the Indian Ocean and make some popcorn.

Mellow go-with-the-flow types know we love it when you read this on Sailfeed website.

MAINE COAST CRUISE: To Thomaston and Back

Tue, 2014-06-24 20:26

This wasn’t so much a cruise as a delivery to nowhere, as the goal was to get Lunacy from Portland to Rockland, get her measured for new sails by Doug Pope, and then get her back to Portland again as quickly as possible. The scheduled window for accomplishing this was Tuesday through Friday of last week. Coming along for the ride was my old partner-in-crime, Phil “Snakewake” Cavanaugh (see photo up top), who in his dotage has taken to wearing country-western garb while sailing.

We got off from Portland on Tuesday at about 1100 hours in a variable breeze that had us variously close-reaching at speed, drifting under the cruising spinnaker, and motoring under a floppy mainsail. We got as far as Damariscove Island, where we pulled into the tiny harbor to find two other mid-size cruising boats tied up to moorings, plus a third small one moored way up at the head of the cove.

The miniature harbor at Damariscove. The tower on the left represents the Coast Guard station. Back in pre-colonial days, when this was a seasonal fishing station, up to 30 boats at a time supposedly moored in here

Stern anchor deployed from Lunacy‘s stern on nylon rode. That’s a Kaiser Gale Force 34 behind us on the right and a sweet L. Francis Herreshoff ketch on the left

We dropped anchor just south of the two larger moored boats, alongside the old Coast Guard station, and for a short while the faint south breeze kept us lined up properly in the cove. It soon shifted a bit southeast, however, setting us on the west-side rocks a bit, so we roused ourselves into activity and set a stern anchor–the first time I’ve ever done this on Lunacy. I was very gratified that I actually had all the necessary bits onboard, and that the deployment went smoothly.

We had a wretched night onboard. First came a big northbound ground swell and some treacherous fog, then came a brisk southerly breeze, and finally some thunder squalls. This was actually more-or-less consistent with the forecast, and all I could do was give myself a big dope-slap for not believing it. The boat was pitching madly, and neither of us slept much, and I was praying fervently that the anchor would hold.

Looking back at my last post on Damariscove, I see I had a similar experience last time I was there. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions about that. In my defense, all I can say is that I like this place so much, I’ll apparently go through hell to stay there.

We were, in any event, quite happy to leave in the morning. The wind was south shifting northwest through the day, and as I studied the chart, pondering the distance to Rockland as we sailed by Monhegan Island, it suddenly occurred to me it would be much easier to just go up the St. George River to Thomaston instead. Shorter distance, flatter water, just as close (almost) to Doug Pope’s shop, and I hadn’t actually been up the river since the late 1990s, when I first started sailing my old Golden Hind 31 Sophie.

The Thomaston waterfront, about 10 miles up the St. George River. It doesn’t look it, but this was once a major center for shipbuilding

By the time we got up there the northwest wind, slanted almost straight west by the terrain, was blowing hard, and the tide was at maximum flood running in the opposite direction. There was zero chop, but picking up the town mooring buoy was still something of an adventure.

Phil shows off his battle mud after wrestling with the mooring pennant

I actually lived in Thomaston a long while back, and it was very interesting walking around town again. Relatively little has changed. Down on the waterfront I was hailed by an old friend, Peter McCrea, who has been cruising and racing a Freedom 32 named Panacea since before time began. Later we hooked up with an even older friend, Loric Weymouth of Weymouth Yacht Rigging, who gave us a ride in his funky antique Land Rover and took us over to Rockland for dinner.

Lunacy lying in the river, with wind and tide aligned

The yard at Lyman-Morse, as viewed through Lunacy‘s foretriangle. This is a great town for checking out other people’s boats

Clammers in a creatively modified runabout, heading downriver for a tide’s worth of digging in the morning

We enjoyed a blissfully quiet night. The next morning we had Doug Pope onboard for an hour, doing his tape-measure thing, and were off again by 1030 hours. The wind was still in the northwest, blowing briskly with gusts to 24 knots, and we had a scream of a sail heading downriver and then west again. Once out the river we were either closehauled or on a close reach all day and made major miles.

By 1800 hours, to our surprise, we were rounding Cape Small and were back in Casco Bay. After studying the chart for a bit, I decided we’d try spending the night in Small Point Harbor.

We anchored east of Newbury Point, a bit north of red nun 4

If you study the Taft and Rindlaub cruising guide, you’d think this was a very bad idea. They state the main harbor is too open to be tenable and suggest instead it’s best to squeeze through the very tight entrance into Cape Small Harbor, just east, for a good night’s sleep. But their text is worded in such a way that it seems likely they’d never actually tried spending a night here.

I figured after a day and a half of strong northwesterlies, any swell from the southwest would be greatly minimized and that it was worth a shot. Approaching from the south, we were able to sail right in, and the fact that there was not one single mooring out, or a single boat anchored here, suggested either a) T&R are right and this is a miserable place to be; or b) everyone believes what they read in T&R.

Our prospects seemed good, for as soon as we anchored two couples in a center-console skiff came by and plied us with free cocktails. We slept like babies again that night, and though there was a bit of motion in the anchorage, it was very subdued.

At anchor at Small Point Harbor. Were we the first ever to attempt this?

Next morning we toured Cape Small Harbor in the dinghy. It seemed a very magical, perfectly protected place, but the entrance is a worry. On the chart there you can see a 5-foot and 3-foot spot in the main channel, and my chartplotter offered no better detail when zoomed in. I saw no deep-draft sailboats inside and would probably want to survey the entrance with a portable depthsounder or a leadline in the dinghy before taking Lunacy in.

After our dinghy tour we were off again, screaming along in another firm northwesterly, and were back in Portland before noon–on schedule, mission accomplished.

Podcast: Solving Problems Offshore

Tue, 2014-06-24 07:00

No “new” episode this week, because Andy’s in Bermuda and has been sailing for several days to get here! Hope they did well! This is another lecture from Cruiser’s University that Andy gave in April in Annapolis. Sorry for the not-perfect quality (he recorded it on his phone), but hopefully the content makes up for it! Andy discusses six common problems you might encounter offshore, and how to deal with them. Indeed, whether some of them are even worth losing sleep over! Of the six, only two are what Andy calls ‘deal-breakers’ – meaning they can ruin, sometimes dangerously, an otherwise pleasant experience ocean sailing. If you missed it, check out Episode 29 about ‘Mentally Preparing to go Offshore,’ the other lecture from Cruiser’s U. Enjoy!

Shockwave Leads into Bermuda

Mon, 2014-06-23 13:04

Hamilton, Bermuda, June 23. After sailing nearly side by side over 635 miles and two and a half days,George Sakellaris’ Shockwave nipped Hap Fauth’s Bella Mente at the finish line at St. David’s Lighthouse, Bermuda, by 7 minutes to win line honors in the 2014 Newport Bermuda Race.

Shockwave finished Monday at 5:33 a.m. EDT (6:33 Bermuda Time) , followed by Bella Mente at 5:40. The third boat on elapsed time, Alex Schaerer’s Caol Ila R, finished more than three hours later. The next boat, the US Naval Academy ‘s Constellation, is more than 100 miles back of her, followed by the rest of the fleet in a big pack.

Hamilton, Bermuda, June 22, 9:30 p.m. In a repeat of their dramatic duel in the 2012 Newport Bermuda Race, two 72-foot Mini-Maxis, Shockwave and Bella Mente, are within 2 miles of each other on the final sprint to the finish of the 635-mile race.

So close that they sometimes appeared as one boat on the Pantaenius Tracker, Shockwave was 88.7 miles from the finish at 9:00 and Bella Mente had 90.2 miles to go. A third Mini-Maxi, Caol Ila R, was more than 20 miles behind the two leaders for the race’s first to finish honors.

If they keep up the pace of the 9- to 13-knot speeds reported on the tracker, the two Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division boats may cross the finish line off St. David’s Lighthouse by dawn Monday. In 2012 Bella Mente beat Shockwave on elapsed time by 2 minutes, 3 seconds, and both boats broke the previous elapsed time record for the race. Shockwave won the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Trophy on corrected time in 2012.

The tracker calculated at 9:30 that, this year, Shockwave would be the top boat in the fleet under the IRC Rule, with Christopher Dragon, in the St. David’s Lighthouse Division, second ahead of Bella Mente.

See more at:

Club Communications—There’s an App for That(Your Next Move?)

Mon, 2014-06-23 12:49

By Kimball Livingston Posted June 23, 2014

The job of organizing the 2014 Pacific Cup—San Francisco Bay to Kaneohe Bay—presented the standard bucket of joys, opportunities and problems. Compared to the printed booklets that were state of the art when this 2070-mile crossing to Hawaii kicked off in 1979, the web site at already was doing a better job by far of providing and updating information. But hey, web sites are like, so, totally 2005-clunky. If people are coming from way off yonder to do this race, why not give them an app they can download to a phone, a world in the pocket, an app that lists . . .
Boatyards and Chandleries
Marine Parts and Engine Work
Sail Lofts and Canvas Work
Divers and Riggers
Fuel, CNG, Propane
Life Rafts, Steering, Watermakers
. . . plus a restaurant guide plus race information plus local dope on provisioning, health services, things to do, transportation, and a laundry list of local services from financial and business to churches and, well, laundry.

In my role as flatfoot reporter, I downloaded the 2014 Pacific Cup app to my own phone. And having lived with it just a bit, I figure that, even though categories such as “2014 PacCup Sponsors” and “Village Events” will soon be seriously out of date, I’ll keep the app. Its developer, Greg Gorsiski, notes, “Web sites are becoming more and more like phone books. This is a ‘push’ world, and that’s the bottom line.”

Or, from the point of view of Pacific Cup Yacht Club Commodore Steve Chamberlin—PCYC being a paper club of enthusiasts existing solely for the sake of staging the race—there is this: “Fifty percent of our crew members come from Southern California or the Pacific Northwest. We have one from Australia. The goal as we saw it was to provide concierge service, and the guy from Australia told us, ‘I feel like I already know where everything is.’ ”

In 2014, the Pacific Cup has organized its first race village, located at Richmond Yacht Club on the eastern reach of San Francisco Bay in what locals call the “Richmond Riviera” because it is that. Sheltered from the relentless seabreeze that blows through the Golden Gate wind slot and straight into Berkeley, a couple miles to the south, Point Richmond is a world unto itself. A few major streets. A tiny downtown. The yacht club is a member-driven gem—it was John Kostecki’s first junior-sailing club and a textbook example of how you don’t have to go big time to be an f’ing great yacht club—but Richmond YC is not within walking distance to anywhere. It’s all by its happy lonesome. So you gotta drive. And Point Richmond is separated by a freeway from the larger town of Richmond, a place of broken and continually heartbreaking dreams where, whatever your spirit of good will, you don’t want to get out of the car. All the more need to know. All the better, bringing in Sonnen BMW as a sponsor to provide, literally, a daily concierge/shuttle service from the race village along a servicing and provisioning route. Other companies including Svendsen’s Boatworks & Chandlery will be providing dropoff services—just click on what you need. From a long downward slide, Pacific Cup entrants are back up to 70+ boats (maximum numbers are limited by available space in Kaneohe) and it’s clear that the 2014 organizers are doing something right.

As a member of RYC Gorsiski “ran our junior program for a number of years.” He has been a game developer for more than 25 years, so when The Mrs. got involved as a race officer for 2014, he was automatically in the line of fire, with something to contribute.

“The idea for the app came late in the game,” Gorsiski says. “The product is not as polished as I’d like, but we had to think about the needs of people who would be at the yacht club for a week or more, and I didn’t want to mess with the dynamics of the club’s web site. It came down to an info-pack-in-the-pocket.

“I had already floated the idea of creating an annual app for Richmond Yacht Club because, face it, people are moving away from web sites. For example, when we post something on our club’s Facebook page, it might have 400 views in an hour. That doesn’t happen at So now we have an app for the Pacific Cup, and all the clubs involved [Richmond, Kaneohe, PacCup] are tweaking their web sites to be more mobile friendly.”

So the logical next question is, what does it cost? If my club or my event needs its own app, and I’m not RYC and I can’t get Greg Gorsiski to work for free, and I have to hire him as Artysta Studios, how does that look?

“It depends.”

Well, is it closer to $2,000 or closer to $20,000?

I had to ask several times, in different ways, but we got down to . . .

“Closer to $2,000, depending on how much data has to be put in.”

Add fun facts you probably don’t need to know: “For Android devices I can put out an app update in two or three hours,” Gorsiski says. “To update an Apple app, you’re talking one or two weeks.”

The 2014 Pacific Cup has five starts for different types of boats, July 6 through July 11, with signals made ashore from the St. Francis Yacht Club racedeck. Start times vary from 1030 to 1430 to take advantage of ebb tides, which run 50 minutes later each day.

Beautiful Places: Camping in the Tuamotus

Sun, 2014-06-22 17:17

Part of the fun of setting up this series of “remember when” posts has been reviewing our trip for myself. As I skimmed through French Polynesia, I was shocked to discover that I haven’t posted any photos of the Tuamotus – one of the most beautiful places we have visited.  And so, for my last holiday post, I will remedy the oversight.  I’ll be back to regular posts later in the week.

Originally posted as Sleeping in the Great Outdoors, September 4, 2012
My family did a lot of camping when I was young. Every summer we hitched our pop-up trailer to the big red van, and toodled around the great campgrounds of Southern Ontario. When I was a little older, I was introduced to the joys of a damp sleeping bag when I was sent to a summer camp in Algonquin Park. This was a canoe trip kind of camp, and we girls were sent out for a few days at a time to paddle the lakes as the blackflies buzzed and the mosquitoes whined. After a long day of paddling a canoe and acquiring a mild sunburn, occasionally punctuated by a tiring portage, our counsellors would guide us to a campsite. As the sun went down, we would coax the wet sticks we found into a fire and try to cook something before falling dead into our drippy canvas tents. (Note to the interested: Kraft pizza mix is a superior camping meal. Wrap the dough around a stick, cook it in the fire, then dip the dough stick into the tomato sauce and sprinkle with cheese. Cést magnifique. I only had this once during my camping career, and still remember it clearly almost thirty years later.) As a parent, I see how wise it was to tire out a quartet of nine-year-old girls in this way. Although I didn´t care for camp as a whole (too much rigidly-scheduled cheerfulness), I have fond memories of gliding across still lakes, listening to the birds overhead, and eating charred, sticky marshmallows at the end of the day.

The years went by and I encountered My Dear Spouse. It should surprise no one reading this blog that Erik is keen on camping. But Erik was a proponent of La Vie Sauvage in a way I could never be. For example, winter camping. True, there are no bugs to worry about, but actually choosing to sleep outdoors during a Canadian winter only begs the question: why? Nothing he said abut the crisp beauty of the thing fizzed on me at all. There I draw the line.

Happily, there is a middle ground between trailers and snow forts. When we travelled around Europe during university, we slept in a two-man tent Erik bought in Compiegne. In the years that followed, out little Jamet took us through the mountains of Switzerland, climbing in New Hampshire, hiking in Maine, and into our own backyard when Stylish was young. And while I never developed an antipathy to camping, I thought my days of sleeping on the cold, hard ground were over.

We recently celebrated Erik´s birthday in the atoll of Makemo. After a day spent snorkelling around reefs with a fish population to put the world´s finest aquarium to shame, we decided to camp out on an uninhabited motu for the night. After a dinner of fish grilled over the fire, we laid out a bed of palm fronds on the coral rubble, pitched our old friend the Jamet, and crawled inside when the sun went down.

It is rather entertaining to camp in the Tuamotus. Huge parrotfish abound along the shoreline, and their dorsal fins and tails flap out of the water as they munch on the coral just below. And, rather than worry about snapping turtles, one has to be on the lookout for sharks. Although the shallows beside the motu are only a foot or so deep, still blacktip sharks as big as Indy patrol right to the shoreline. This morning, as I washed out the breakfast dishes, I was surprised when two large-ish sharks suddenly turned and swam away from me. They were only three feet away when they turned, and whether they objected to the hot peppers I´d rinsed away or didn´t like the look of their reflections in the big metal bowl resting on the bottom, I don´t know.

Just a baby swimming by.

I am still getting used to reef sharks. I prefer a certain cultured aloofness in my sharks. But the sharks here, especially those of human size, are interested in us and want to know what we are about. So they circle, ever so slowly. Our local friend and guide told us the sharks would likely not bother us, provided we didn´t move much or follow them. I am hardly about to go chasing sharks. But it isn´t always easy to freeze like a popsicle when a higher predator glides past only four feet away. The rule is, no splashing, no noise – just stay resolutely large and wooden. The largest sharks we´ve seen were 12-14 feet long, and the largest pack held at least twenty bodies. I am delighted to report that these refined animals feigned the lofty ignorance of our presence of which I so approve. Their smaller comrades should take a lesson.

It is crucial when camping up north to hoist your food. Otherwise, critters from racoons to bears will get into it, no question. We also had to hang our food at night on the motu… because of the hermit crabs. The hermit crabs here are the size of my fist, and they are wonderful cleaners. Anything left out at night will be gone by morning, and one can hear the clack-clack of shells sliding over the coral rubble all night long. The hermit crabs were especially fond of the plastic Ikea forks we´d brought, and we had to retrieve these well-chewed items from all sorts of far-flung and unlikely places.

The sun came up, and little eyes opened. Maybe it was the mild tropical night. Maybe it was the lack of biting insects. Or maybe curling up with our girls on a Thermarest as the stars circled overhead is just one of life´s small pleasures. Because all of us agreed when we woke up – we would stay the next night as well.

Reaction: June 2014
The Tuamotus sit high on our list of places we would love to go back to.  It is quiet; most atolls don’t have an airport, and only see a handful of boats each year.  Some of the atolls are essentially uninhabited, or have a village so far away that certain passes never see people – or, more importantly, fishing.  There were times I feared we were visiting the world’s last healthy reefs.  Sadly, I didn’t have a good underwater camera at the time, but here are a few photos to give you an idea of why we liked it so much. This is the upside of cruising in a nutshell.


Sat, 2014-06-21 14:34

Posted June 21, 2014

The Round the Island Race, aka the JP Morgan Chase Asset Management Round the Island Race—around the Isle of Wight—was every bit as slow as it looks in the Thierry Martinez pic above. This is the park-up at the Needles.

For your grab bag of trivia, you might want to know that the name of the Needles came from a fourth, truly needle-like upthrust of chalk that collapsed and went away in a storm in 1764. Now, 340 years later, the name sticks.

Call the race a 50 miler, scheduled to take advantage of the solstice, and this was the 83rd edition. First to finish was Team Richard Mille in a GC32 catamaran with Paul Campbell-James at the helm in a time of 8 hours, 51 minutes. Don’t bother doing the math. The thing to know is that Thomas Ratsey still holds the record for the slowest race, by about an hour, in 1931, and I guarantee you the good Captain Ratsey had no speed bursts like this one . . .

A year ago, Sir Ben Ainslie set a new race record, for speed, at 2:52:15 using his AC45 cat. His body language here tells you a lot about the spinie-tingling excitement of 2014 . . .

There were hundreds of dropouts, though a breeze did pick up late for those who stuck it out. Friends of Cheryl Lincoln Nelson were treated to Facebook updates like this one, but this was as bad as it got . . .

A few more from onEdition . . .

And Yes, I’m Following the Bermuda Race

You can too right here.

The morning line from John Rousmaniere—
EDT 1030 – The predicted battle for the elapsed time victory between the three Mini-Maxis in the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division is coming to fruition. Based on tracker report as of 5 a.m., with 485 miles to the finish, Bella Mente, and Caol Ila R are racing head to head, though at slower speeds (3 knots) than they were making before midnight. Some 20 miles astern are the 70 footers Kodiak, Rima 2, Irie 2, and Terrapin. The rest of the 163-boat fleet is in a large clump extending about 50 miles, where the wind may be a bit stronger. Wind under 10 knots are predicted for most of Saturday. Everybody is a few miles to the west of the rhumb line, indicating that they’re all headed toward the favorable predicted current in the Gulf Stream, some 140 miles ahead. The sea is reported to be flat.

A Final Note

On Friday I had a chat with SAIL Magazine editor Meredith Laitos and mentioned casually that my yacht club this weekend is hosting our annual Heavy Weather Opti Regatta. Meredith said something about how odd it is to use a name like that, and I responded, “Yes, but this is San Francisco Bay.” By the end of that day, it was blowing so hard on the cityfront that you had to be careful how you opened a car door. As I prepare to click Publish today, the breeze in the wind slot is 15-20 and building, and it’s not yet noon. Yep, this is San Francisco Bay, and as club photographer Chris Ray knows, the quest for bragging rights keeps bringing the little nippers back — Kimball


Fri, 2014-06-20 01:15

This is the second time Lucy and I have done this, but the first time we’ve done it on Father’s Day. We both thought it a good a idea, though Lucy, inevitably, wanted to know why there isn’t a Daughter’s Day, so we could go out then, too. Of course, we all know the answer to that. Last time, you may recall, Lucy was very focussed on climbing rocks and trees. This time it was the mast. We arrived at the Goslings quite late Sunday afternoon, having slashed through a sporty 20-knot breeze on a close reach to get there, and she had me haul her up the mast in the bosun’s chair five times after we got settled in. And yes, she did almost make it to the masthead a couple of times.

A New Volvo Entry from Spain

Thu, 2014-06-19 10:49

19 June 2014 News from the Volvo Ocean Race team

Spain is back for the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 with a boat spearheaded by two of the country’s leading sailors, Iker Martínez and Xabi Fernández who will be aiming to help claim their nation’s first victory.

It’s the eighth time out of the 12 editions of the race that Spain has been represented in the 41-year-old event.

The campaign, which is being mounted by Galician sailor/businessman Pedro Campos, is the sixth crew announced so far for the Race which begins in Alicante on October 4 with the in-port race there followed by the departure on leg one to Cape Town a week later.

The Campos team, which will be announcing their title sponsor and skipper shortly, has already taken possession of their one-design Volvo Ocean 65 boat in Southampton, England and is currently preparing the boat to be launched.

“We’re happy to see Spain’s presence again in sailing’s leading offshore race, the Volvo Ocean Race. For our team it is an honour to have a fifth boat participating in succession, a record in the history of the race,” said Campos.

“We know that it will be a very difficult edition, with all the boats identical but as always we’ll try to raise the Spanish flag at its highest as much as possible.”

Campos said that Martínez and Fernández would be “pillars” of the Spanish sailing crew in 2014-15.

There’s unfinished business in the Volvo Ocean Race for the pair. The Olympic gold medalists from Athens dominated the early stages of the last edition in 2011-12 on board Telefónica but a broken rudder in the penultimate stage ruined their hopes of overall victory that was taken by French team Groupama.

No Spanish team has won offshore sailing’s toughest and most prestigious race – formerly the Whitbread Round the World Race.

Knut Frostad, CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race which is based in Alicante, Spain, said he was delighted to welcome the Campos team alongside probably the most evenly-matched fleet in the event’s history.

“The Spanish team has some of the most versatile and experienced sailors in the world involved and I am sure they are in the race to do well. It’s great to see this team back for the fourth edition in a row,” he said.

The Spanish team will line up in Alicante alongside the all-women’s crew of Team SCA, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Dongfeng Race Team, Team Brunel and Team Alvimedica who have already been announced.

Previous Campos teams to compete in the Volvo Ocean Race are movistar (2005-06), Telefónica (two boats in 2008-09) and Team Telefónica (2011-12), the latter skippered by Martínez.

The team’s sponsors are expected to be announced in the next months and the campaign will also be supported by Spain’s National Sports Council and the Royal Spanish Sailing Federation.

Podcast with Chris Museler, NY Times Journalist & Hugo Boss Media Crew

Wed, 2014-06-18 16:08

Andy and Chris met at the 2011 Caribbean 1500 when Chris was covering the rally. They caught up this morning on Skype and had a PHENOMENAL chat about Chris’ experience onboard Hugo Boss in the recent New York – Barcelona IMOCA 60 race. It’s the first time in history an outside journalist has been allowed onboard a shorthanded (double- or single-handed) to report objectively on what the crews go through in such a lengthy endurance test. Hugo Boss’ normal skipper Alex Thomson is of course famous for his mast walk and keel walk escapades in his Hugo Boss clothing. Thomson couldn’t make the race, so American Ryan Breymaier stood in…the won the race! Chris discusses life onboard, if it’s possible to accurately document a double-handed race with a third person onboard (and Chris offers an awesome Heisenberg uncertainly analogy), what it feels like to sail a cutting edge rocketship like an IMOCA 60, and more! Towards the end Andy and Chris delve into fears offshore and some more philosophical ideas about sailing. Check the 59 North Facebook page for links to some of the stuff we talk about in the podcast. If you like it, please review it!

We’ve got a new intro song from the Blaggards, and a new, simplified podcast logo! Like it? Hate it? Let me know! Any comments or questions, interview ideas, etc, please email andy [at] 59-north [dot] com. Thanks for listening!

Hand’s on Scanstrut Rokk adjustable mount & 2nd generation Lifedge iPad case

Wed, 2014-06-18 10:00

Written by Ben Ellison on Jun 18, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

“Rokk” is a apt name for Scanstrut’s adjustable mount system. Due to the large surface area and fine machining of those metal-on-metal ball and socket joints, it’s easy to precisely position an attached MFD or iPad and then just a modest twist on the white handle will render the whole rig rock solid. I tested the Rokk Adjustable Rail Mount — note how well it handles curved 1-inch rail or helm pedestal pipe — with the Lifedge iPad case holder shown, but there’s also a Rokk Adjustable Deck Mount and either can accommodate top plates custom designed for various popular displays in the 5- to 7-inch screen range. Is Rokk better than RAM?

I personally like RAM Mounts largely because they have a bracket or plate for almost anything I might test. But the RAM designs are utilitarian to be sure and the materials don’t always hold up well to the boating life. I’ve seen RAM anodized aluminum go pocky and a RAM rail mount u-bolt rust. By contrast, the Rokk hardware seems as elegant as a lot of modern sailboat fittings and just as able to withstand the elements. And while the rubber vibration dampening built into RAM mounts may have value in cars and bikes, Rokk solid seems better on a boat. Not surprisingly, the Rokk gear is more expensive as in this adjustable mount for a Garmin 7xx at $89 street price. One thing to note, though, is that unlike RAM mounts, the Rokk can not be easily removed (leaving just a RAM ball plate or a relatively yachty Tallon receptacle). On the other hand, it’s harder to steal Rokk mounted gear; all those parts above have to go together in a certain order and a thief will need a particular screwdriver just to get started.

I tend to like adjustable mounts because it often seems valuable to reposition screens for particular light or boating conditions, but fixed mounts are simpler and generally less expensive. There is a plain Rokk Rail Mount, for instance, that’s just the cubish pipe clamp and a top plate. Edson also offers a variety of handsome and solid-looking fixed rail mounts, not to mention a wide selection of pipe-mounted display housings.

Scanstrut also sent me their second generation Lifedge iPad case to try, possibly because the first generation design did not do well in my 2013 marine iPad case review. The new three-piece design — which fits iPads 2/3/4, but not the 1 or Air — is definitely much easier to put on an iPad. An owner will now use those black accessories as kickstands, rather than shoehorns needed to wrestle on the silicone bumper. I can get this case on or off in little more than a minute, and my fingers don’t hurt afterward. The new design also has a charging port but seems to retain the waterproof ruggedness of the orginal as well as the racing friendly hand strap on the back.

With my daughter’s iPad 2 inside I did not actually test the Lifedge in sink and shower like I did the Lifeproof frē that’s housed my iPad mini since I reviewed it. I like the Lifeproof’s slim design a lot but have learned that while it may be shock, dirt, snow, and water proof, it is not fool proof. Do not try to open the Lifeproof case with the charging port door closed or you might break the thin top piece! The same caution probably applies to the Lifedge though it does seem a little beefier, and bulkier. Designing the perfect waterproof iPad case is not easy.

In that regard, my daughter and I both noticed a slight issue with the sample Lifedge case that might be transitory or a production anomoly. Note in the photo how the chunky gray case area over the Home button is twisted slightly outward. That pulls the stiff screen protector outward and thus touch commands, particularly on the right side, have to be aggressive. Another example of design difficulty is the prototype Gumdrop Marine iPad Case seen on my photo stand below. It may be the most ambitious iPad-at-helm case yet — it even comes with mounting bail and sun cover — and I found the prototype fairly easy to use with an iPad Air. But Gumdrop CEO Tim Hickman, arguably an iPad case cowboy, is not entirely pleased with the design details, plus the poor man recently purchased a large boat. As soon as I know more about the Gumdrop, I’ll put it in the comments section below.

Click here to read comments about this Panbo entry, or add your own.

Through the Panama Canal

Tue, 2014-06-17 17:46

I’m not going to lie to you: crossing the Panama Canal is exciting.  Massive cargo ships, other sailboats, the prospect of getting dashed against the walls and sinking in the lock – the Canal has it all.  Lucky for me, my computer-savvy family was able to capture part of the journey via the webcams set up at each lock – be sure to watch the flipbook at the end of the post!

Originally appeared in Canal Win! on May 5, 2012
Waiting for your canal date is a lot like waiting for Christmas when you are six years old.  Time moves unendurably slowly, and at some point you are convinced the big day is never going to arrive.  And then it does.  And then you are so excited and jumpy and full of sugar that you can hardly focus long enough to enjoy the experience.  But, since I’m a grown-up and all mature and stuff, I was able to calmly record my observations.  When I wasn’t busy being excited and jumpy and full of sugar.

The day before, I cooked from lunch until midnight.  That is because we would have an extra five people aboard – an advisor, two linehandlers (friends of ours), and their two kids, ages 11 and 13.  I also knew there would be no time to cook anything complicated during the two-day transit, as I would be busy helping ensure our boat didn’t crash into the walls of the locks.  Because crashing is bad seamanship, my friends.  Also, a quick path to divorce.

Anyway.  I made pancakes, chicken-lemon-feta pasta, Caesar salad, garlic bread, two chocolate cakes, and four pizzas ahead.  We did scrambled eggs in the morning, because they are quick, and I made a loaf of cinnamon raisin bread in the breadmaker, ready just as everyone awoke.  Mmm.  I’m not a great chef, but when I stick to my classics, everyone seems satisfied.

But what about the canal itself?  What happens is, during that interminable waiting time, your boat gets measured and you give many, many dollars to the canal authorities.  They decide how best to fit you in with other boats.  Then, on the day, you go to a staging area called The Flats at the time they tell you, and you wait.  Your advisor shows up.  And, surprise!  He has an apprentice with him.  You are glad you made so much food.  Then, the fun begins.

There was a freighter named Baltic Star in the lock with us.

Passing by to reach the first lock. Please, let there be room for both of us.

We were rafted together with two other boats, a catamaran and another monohull.  The cat was in charge of driving, and we on either side were in charge of staying appropriately tied to the lock walls.

How it works is this.  Once you enter the first lock, a canal linehandler throws you a monkey’s fist.  (No, not literally.  Gross.  It means a line with a big knot tied on the end.)  You tie this through the large bowline on the end of the line you have prepared on board, and he hauls your line up.  When you get to your designated spot, he throws your bowline over a bollard, and voila.  You are lied to the lock wall.  You tighten your line, cleat it off, the doors close and things get started.

Goodbye, Colon. Too late to change your mind now.

As the water rushes into the lock, you need to keep taking up the slack on your line.  Only not too much, or your boat will get pulled into the wall.  Your counterpart, the linehandler on the wall, will give you helpful signals to guide you.  Unfortunately, all signals look like “talk to the hand” to my eyes.  Take up slack, don’t take up any more, cleat that off, keep going – everything earned a raised hand.  The advisor beside me translated these gestures for me, and seemed genuinely puzzled that I didn’t naturally understand what the man wanted.

They understood as much as I did.

On it went through three locks.  When we reached Gatun lake, we cut loose from the other two boats, and found a mooring for the night.

Early the next day, we were up for round two.  We had a long motor through Gatun lake to reach the Miraflores locks on the Pacific side.  It was very pretty country; it looked very much like Cootes Paradise (the tip of Lake Ontario), but with more palm trees.

This all seems so familiar…

The Miraflores locks were the same, but in reverse.  Gently letting the line out to keep a little, but not too much, tension, and again, to keep from banging into the walls.  We were rafted to just the catamaran on this leg.  My dad took these screen captures:


And my Uncle Tom sent me this awesome flipbook:

And people claim technology never did anything good.

Before we knew it, we were there.  The Pacific!

Holy bananas, it’s a whole new ocean.

We granted ourselves a day of rest, and now we are back in job mode.  After a last flurry of buying food and boat parts and whatever else we won’t see again until New Zealand, we’ll head for the Perlas.

But first, we get to do the canal again, this time as linehandlers for our friends.

Reaction: June 2014
I had forgotten just how fun it was to cross the Panama Canal.  I’m getting excited just remembering the whole thing.  Aside from being great in itself – going up and down those locks really is pretty cool – crossing the Canal carries psychological weight. It marked a new chapter in our trip: we left the Caribbean behind, and it was time to dare mighty things by tackling the Pacific.  So much awaited us: breaking the mizzen mid-ocean, snorkelling French Polynesia, finally finding a decent control for my seasickness, and meeting so many new friends.  It makes me want to do it all over again.  Anyone need a linehandler?

Bart’s Bash Already a Hit

Mon, 2014-06-16 18:02

The Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation is delighted to announce the launch of the new Bart’s Bash website and the opening of the individual sailor sign-up process

Organised by the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation, Bart’s Bash is a global sailing race and fundraising event which will take place on Sunday 21 September 2014. Bart’s Bash will inspire and unite thousands of worldwide sailors in a race at their local sailing club to set a new Guinness World Record and to raise money for charity.

The first three competitors to sign up were four time Olympic Champion, America’s Cup winner and team principal of Ben Ainslie Racing, Sir Ben Ainslie; double Olympic champion and Artemis Racing team manager, Iain Percy; and two time America’s Cup winner and skipper of Oracle Team USA, Jimmy Spithill.

Watch the video here.

Sir Ben Ainslie, a Trustee of the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation, will race at the Queen Mary Sailing Club in London, and will then join the events at the Andrew Simpson Sailing Centre.

“We are grateful to all of those who have shown support for this global event so far. We invite all sailors to sign up for a unique opportunity to race the best sailors in the world. It will be a fantastic day,” said Sir Ben Ainslie.

Foundation Trustee Iain Percy has also signed up to race at the Andrew Simpson Sailing Centre on the Olympic waters in Weymouth and Portland.

“Bart’s Bash has received worldwide support and attention from the best sailors across the globe. For the first time sailors of all levels will race against each other in a global event which we hope will inspire new young sailors and encourage participation in the sport. I look forward to going out on the water to race against thousands of sailors,” said Iain Percy.

America’s Cup winner Jimmy Spithill will join the E. Scow regatta at the Pewaukee Yacht Club, in Wisconsin.

Nearly 600 sailing clubs have already registered for the event and from today individual sailors are invited to sign up by following the simple steps below:

Visit the new Bart’s Bash website

Click on the yellow ‘Sign me up’ button

Log-in via facebook or create an account by entering your email address

Search clubs to find and select your local Bart’s Bash registered club

Fill in your contact details

Select whether you are a skipper or crew and fill in the details of your boat

Tick the box to setup a Just Giving fundraising page or click finish to complete your registration

Share your Bart’s Bash profile page and start fundraising!

Every sailing club that registers will have its own microsite created where the fundraising totals, number of participants and much more will be displayed. A number of participating clubs including the newly opened Andrew Simpson Sailing Centre in Weymouth, and Queen Mary in London, will have resources available for less experienced sailors to take part in the race. If participants don’t have a boat then they can still take part by clicking on this link for more information.

As part of the sign up process sailors are invited to set up a Just Giving fundraising page to raise funds for the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation charity. There is no entry fee to take part, although sailors are also welcome to make a donation to the Foundation as part of the entry process. The new website features a rewards and incentive scheme to help motivate individual fundraising. As different fundraising targets are reached, rewards are unlocked including personal videos from Olympic stars and commemorative medals. Top fundraisers will also find themselves receiving personal invites to a gala dinner hosted by some of the biggest names in world sailing. More prizes will be announced throughout the signing up process.

The Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation was founded in honour of Olympic champion Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson and works to transform the lives of young people by providing opportunities to grow, achieve and inspire excellence. Bart’s Bash is our largest fundraising event so far to support our wide range of UK and international activity. For more details on the Foundation’s charitable aims and work, please visit

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