Sail Feed

Syndicate content
Brought to you by Sail Magazine
Updated: 58 min 36 sec ago

EYES ON BOATS: And Other Important Upgrades

Mon, 2014-09-29 17:23

Lunacy was on the hard last week to get her bottom cleaned and some new paint put on before she goes south for the winter, and while she was out I finally made two changes I’ve long been pondering. First I cut a hole in the aluminum plate (the “bob-plate” I call it) that supports her bowsprit; second I stuck a pair of eyes on her bow.

The reason for the hole is that I really dislike the way the bob-plate sometimes makes the bow look like a clipper bow in profile. Not that I am inherently prejudiced against clipper bows, but I do think they look a bit silly and pretentious on common sailing yachts that are less than 60 feet long. They always remind me of those junky-looking Taiwan-built cruising ketches from the 1970s. I figured cutting a hole in the plate would break up that affect, and I think I was right about that. I’m rather pleased with the way it came out.

What I hadn’t counted on is how hard it would be to actually cut the hole. Unleashing a large hole saw on heavy aluminum plate is an extremely noisy and vibratory experience. You have to cut very slowly and carefully, or the saw jumps around all over the place (I broke one pilot drill bit very early on), and it takes so long your wrists feel like pulverized Jello by the time you’re done.

Sticking on the eyes was much easier. I used a pair of those fish stickers that fishermen stick on the bottom of their skiffs to attract their prey and added some letter O stickers laid on sideways to make the pupils. I’m not sure where the tradition of putting eyes on the bows of boats comes from originally, but you see them often in both Asia and the Mediterranean. People say you put eyes on so a boat can see where it is going and/or to ward off evil spirits, but I suspect it’s really just because it looks cool. It also really helps give boats a face, so we can anthropomorphize them all the more.

Eyes and hole were applied on Thursday, the boat was afloat again by Friday, and Clare, Lucy, and I went out for an overnight on Saturday to see how they worked. Here you see Lunacy‘s new profile in action off Great Chebeague Island:

The eyes I think came out perfectly. They’re discrete, but noticeable. The hole maybe could have been a bit bigger, but I’m happy enough with it the way it is. So far the boat hasn’t gotten lost, hasn’t been mistaken for a clipper ship, and nothing evil has happened to it. (Knock on wood!)

While Lunacy was out of the water I also had her surveyed so I could shop around for a new insurance policy. My old insurance company was always a pain in the ass about me sailing offshore, and when they announced a major premium hike for this year I figured it’s time for a change. Pantaenius, a German insurer, has a great reputation for offshore coverage and is now covering U.S. boats, so I’m hoping I can work something out with them.

My old friend Mark Corke came to do the survey on Thursday and gave the old girl a clean bill of health. In the photo above you can see him at work in the systems space aft, looking for flaws and hiding from the hideous sound of the hole saw.

On Friday I also picked up some new sails from Doug Pope in Rockland, Maine. Here you see the new jib and and staysail flying in tandem as we sailed back to Portland yesterday. I had been stressing about this a lot, as the headsail sheet leads on Lunacy are a bit weird. Both the jib and staysail sheet to the same track, which up forward is slightly inboard of the shrouds. Getting them to work together properly while staying clear of the shrouds is a bit tricky.

To make it work with the old sails, the staysail had to be very high cut and was too small to be very useful on its own. With these new headsails, the jib is a bit higher cut, which helps it tack across the staysail stay more easily, and the staysail is much lower cut and quite a bit larger. So far they seem to be playing together nicely.

I had also been hoping to try out the new mainsail this past weekend, but it still needs some work. Daughter Lucy is very devoted to the old mainsail (she likes lying in its foot) and is worried about losing it. Here you see her communing with it under its sail cover. She only agreed to come out after I promised her the new sail would also have a foot with a shelf in it so she could lie in it too.

EYES ON BOATS: And Other Important Upgrades

Mon, 2014-09-29 17:23

Lunacy was on the hard last week to get her bottom cleaned and some new paint put on before she goes south for the winter, and while she was out I finally made two changes I’ve long been pondering. First I cut a hole in the aluminum plate (the “bob-plate” I call it) that supports her bowsprit; second I stuck a pair of eyes on her bow.

The reason for the hole is that I really dislike the way the bob-plate sometimes makes the bow look like a clipper bow in profile. Not that I am inherently prejudiced against clipper bows, but I do think they look a bit silly and pretentious on common sailing yachts that are less than 60 feet long. They always remind me of those junky-looking Taiwan-built cruising ketches from the 1970s. I figured cutting a hole in the plate would break up that affect, and I think I was right about that. I’m rather pleased with the way it came out.

What I hadn’t counted on is how hard it would be to actually cut the hole. Unleashing a large hole saw on heavy aluminum plate is an extremely noisy and vibratory experience. You have to cut very slowly and carefully, or the saw jumps around all over the place (I broke one pilot drill bit very early on), and it takes so long your wrists feel like pulverized Jello by the time you’re done.

Sticking on the eyes was much easier. I used a pair of those fish stickers that fishermen stick on the bottom of their skiffs to attract their prey and added some letter O stickers laid on sideways to make the pupils. I’m not sure where the tradition of putting eyes on the bows of boats comes from originally, but you see them often in both Asia and the Mediterranean. People say you put eyes on so a boat can see where it is going and/or to ward off evil spirits, but I suspect it’s really just because it looks cool. It also really helps give boats a face, so we can anthropomorphize them all the more.

Eyes and hole were applied on Thursday, the boat was afloat again by Friday, and Clare, Lucy, and I went out for an overnight on Saturday to see how they worked. Here you see Lunacy‘s new profile in action off Great Chebeague Island:

The eyes I think came out perfectly. They’re discrete, but noticeable. The hole maybe could have been a bit bigger, but I’m happy enough with it the way it is. So far the boat hasn’t gotten lost, hasn’t been mistaken for a clipper ship, and nothing evil has happened to it. (Knock on wood!)

While Lunacy was out of the water I also had her surveyed so I could shop around for a new insurance policy. My old insurance company was always a pain in the ass about me sailing offshore, and when they announced a major premium hike for this year I figured it’s time for a change. Pantaenius, a German insurer, has a great reputation for offshore coverage and is now covering U.S. boats, so I’m hoping I can work something out with them.

My old friend Mark Corke came to do the survey on Thursday and gave the old girl a clean bill of health. In the photo above you can see him at work in the systems space aft, looking for flaws and hiding from the hideous sound of the hole saw.

On Friday I also picked up some new sails from Doug Pope in Rockland, Maine. Here you see the new jib and and staysail flying in tandem as we sailed back to Portland yesterday. I had been stressing about this a lot, as the headsail sheet leads on Lunacy are a bit weird. Both the jib and staysail sheet to the same track, which up forward is slightly inboard of the shrouds. Getting them to work together properly while staying clear of the shrouds is a bit tricky.

To make it work with the old sails, the staysail had to be very high cut and was too small to be very useful on its own. With these new headsails, the jib is a bit higher cut, which helps it tack across the staysail stay more easily, and the staysail is much lower cut and quite a bit larger. So far they seem to be playing together nicely.

I had also been hoping to try out the new mainsail this past weekend, but it still needs some work. Daughter Lucy is very devoted to the old mainsail (she likes lying in its foot) and is worried about losing it. Here you see her communing with it under its sail cover. She only agreed to come out after I promised her the new sail would also have a foot with a shelf in it so she could lie in it too.

The Worst Critter Ever On My Boat

Mon, 2014-09-29 13:36

Reading Behan Gifford’s rats post made me glad I’ve never had a rat aboard, but I’ve had worse in my book.

I was cruising and surfing my way around the Society Islands and met a young Aussie, Luke, and his American girlfriend, Jenny. They’d been camping on the islands, sleeping in a tent. One thing led to another and I invited them aboard for a few days of surf exploration:

Luke on the far right; Jenny in the middle

On their first night aboard we’d just turned in, with me up in the forepeak and them in the main salon, where the table drops down to make a double berth. We’d been in bed for about twenty minutes when I heard Luke scream. By the time I got on my feet Luke and Jenny were in the cockpit, with Jenny shining a flashlight up Luke’s ass.

“What the hell happened?” I asked.

“Something stung me, like a wasp! It must be in our sheets. Look for it.” Luke replied.

I searched through their bedding, and found nothing.

“I can’t find anything. It must have flown away.”

“It’s gotta be there! Look for it.”

I poked through their bedding again, carefully, then shined a flashlight under the bunk. Still nothing. Luke was now retching overboard, as the poison from whatever stung him was making him sick.

I was fairly sure I’d never find anything, but I flipped through their sheets one last time, then shined my flashlight under the bunk again, where a deep cave ended with the slope of the port side of the boat. I caught a glimpse of movement out of the corner of my eye and redirected the beam of my flashlight. A giant black centipede, which did not like the light, scuttled through a gap under the settee and disappeared.

“Oh. My. God.”

I know exaggeration is common in such situations, but I can compare the size of the centipede to a piece of trim under my table, and tell you that this centipede was at least eight inches long, and about an inch and a half wide with all its squiggly legs and antennae. Let me also point out that I’ve got a serious phobia about big creepy-crawlies. I’ve been known to whinny like a schoolgirl at the sight of a cockroach, and a cockroach is theoretically harmless. This creature had just reduced a big, strong Aussie surfer dude to puking overboard with a flashlight up his ass. What chance did I have?

If you don’t believe how scary a Tahitian centipede is, look at this, and ours was WAY bigger. Ewwww! Ewwwww! EWWWWWWWW! (and why isn’t it biting this guy?):

This centipede was now lost in the bowels of my boat. A wave of dread came over me, knowing this thing was now in the walls, or under the floorboards, and knowing I wouldn’t be able to sleep, or enjoy life aboard, as long as it was around. If I fumigated the whole boat there still wouldn’t be any satisfaction, because it would die quietly somewhere, and I’d find it dead, say while I was lying on my back servicing the fresh water pump.

“Catch it, mate! Catch the bastard!”

I halfheartedly grabbed the colander off the galley bench top, and a bread knife, but I knew all was lost. I’d just have to sink the boat.

“I dunno, Luke, I think it’s run off.”

Luke jumped down the companionway with fire in his eyes and said, “Gimme that,” as he took the knife and the colander.

“Where is it?”

“Well, it was under there, but now it’s gone.”

I shined the flashlight under the bunk again, and there it was again!

Luke somehow lifted the bunk with his knee, lunged in, and chopped the centipede in half with the bread knife. Now the two halves of the centipede were going crazy in opposite directions, but Luke soon had both scooped into the colander. He climbed back up into the cockpit, and threw the two halves of the centipede overboard. My hero!

I just could not have done what he did. I would have got spooked and blown it, losing the centipede into the bowels of the boat again.

I looked in the Merck Manual and read about centipede stings. I reassured Luke that it said they were very painful, but not dangerous. It dawned on me the next day that the Merck Manual only covers North American medical issues, and doesn’t delve into the 8000 different species of centipede found worldwide, many of which are much more venomous than their North American cousins.

The offending centipede must have come aboard with Luke and Jenny’s camping gear.

Luke was up all night in pain and hurling, and still felt wonky the next morning:

…but felt well enough to surf that afternoon.

Refloating Boats in La Paz – Yay!

Fri, 2014-09-26 11:38

NOAH CULLEN: Young Sailor’s Body Found Aboard Sunken Sailboat

Fri, 2014-09-26 10:30

A mystery that has tortured the sailing and diving community in the Upper Florida Keys for most of the past two months was resolved early this week when two technical divers descended about 300 feet and found human remains inside the sunken sailboat Jubilee, which had been missing since August 4. The remains are believed to be those of Noah Cullen, Jubilee‘s 24-year-old skipper, who was last seen alive sailing his boat singlehanded in the Key Largo National Marine Sanctuary shortly before a strong thunderstorm swept through the area.

Cullen, an accomplished sailor, diver, camper, and pilot, set out on his own on August 4 to free-dive on the reefs south of Key Largo. He had completed his dive and was seen sailing back to shore shortly before the thunderstorm hit. Soon after the storm, however, Jubilee, with no one on deck, was again spotted by a passerby sinking in much deeper water offshore. This witness took a photo of the sinking boat, called the authorities, and then left the scene.

Jubilee‘s last moments on the surface. A question must be asked: should the person who took this photo have done more than just take a photo???

The Coast Guard et al launched a massive search for the vessel but found nothing. There was much speculation as to scenarios in which Noah Cullen, given all his competence, might somehow have survived, and local water rats kept looking for the boat long after officialdom gave up the game.

Late last month a sonar scan turned up a likely target near where Jubilee was last seen, and a survey with a borrowed submarine ROV yielded images that seemed to confirm the wreck’s identity.

The wreck of Jubilee, as viewed remotely

A call went out for volunteer tech divers to investigate up close and personal. Diving on a wreck 300 feet down is no simple job. Two veterans, Joe Citelli (who took the photo up top) and Steve Muslin, stepped forward and did the deed. An 80-minute dive, with only 18 minutes spent on site. All the rest was staging up and down, with exotic bottles of air to breathe en route.

They took a sample of the mortal remains they found back to the surface with them, and these have been sent off for DNA testing, but no one seriously doubts who they belong to.

Speculation as to what actually happened has been limited to a single scenario: Jubilee was forced to run off during the thunderstorm, was struck by lightning (eyewitnesses have described it as having been an extremely volatile squall electric-wise), Cullen was electrocuted, and the boat was holed and consequently sunk.

Would it have made any difference if the float-by photographer had investigated more closely? Probably not, but we’ll never know for sure.

Was the boat properly grounded? Again, no word on that, but given its size, I doubt it.

Noah Cullen’s last communication with the outside world took place the day of his death, when he posted this photo and a cryptic message on his Twitter account: Noah Cullen is dropping out for a bit.

I’m guessing he put this up just before going overboard for his dive. The previous post, sent up the same day reads: Another foul morning in the Florida Straits.

But most ironic of all is the post he put up one day earlier, presumably during another thunderstorm: Fuck, I hate lightning being as I can’t be more than a few feet from the tallest metal rod for miles.

Amen to that.

I’m going to miss this young man, though I never had a chance to meet him. The world of sailing needs more like him.

NOAH CULLEN: Young Sailor’s Body Found Aboard Sunken Sailboat

Fri, 2014-09-26 10:30

A mystery that has tortured the sailing and diving community in the Upper Florida Keys for most of the past two months was resolved early this week when two technical divers descended about 300 feet and found human remains inside the sunken sailboat Jubilee, which had been missing since August 4. The remains are believed to be those of Noah Cullen, Jubilee‘s 24-year-old skipper, who was last seen alive sailing his boat singlehanded in the Key Largo National Marine Sanctuary shortly before a strong thunderstorm swept through the area.

Cullen, an accomplished sailor, diver, camper, and pilot, set out on his own on August 4 to free-dive on the reefs south of Key Largo. He had completed his dive and was seen sailing back to shore shortly before the thunderstorm hit. Soon after the storm, however, Jubilee, with no one on deck, was again spotted by a passerby sinking in much deeper water offshore. This witness took a photo of the sinking boat, called the authorities, and then left the scene.

Jubilee‘s last moments on the surface. A question must be asked: should the person who took this photo have done more than just take a photo???

The Coast Guard et al launched a massive search for the vessel but found nothing. There was much speculation as to scenarios in which Noah Cullen, given all his competence, might somehow have survived, and local water rats kept looking for the boat long after officialdom gave up the game.

Late last month a sonar scan turned up a likely target near where Jubilee was last seen, and a survey with a borrowed submarine ROV yielded images that seemed to confirm the wreck’s identity.

The wreck of Jubilee, as viewed remotely

A call went out for volunteer tech divers to investigate up close and personal. Diving on a wreck 300 feet down is no simple job. Two veterans, Joe Citelli (who took the photo up top) and Steve Muslin, stepped forward and did the deed. An 80-minute dive, with only 18 minutes spent on site. All the rest was staging up and down, with exotic bottles of air to breathe en route.

They took a sample of the mortal remains they found back to the surface with them, and these have been sent off for DNA testing, but no one seriously doubts who they belong to.

Speculation as to what actually happened has been limited to a single scenario: Jubilee was forced to run off during the thunderstorm, was struck by lightning (eyewitnesses have described it as having been an extremely volatile squall electric-wise), Cullen was electrocuted, and the boat was holed and consequently sunk.

Would it have made any difference if the float-by photographer had investigated more closely? Probably not, but we’ll never know for sure.

Was the boat properly grounded? Again, no word on that, but given its size, I doubt it.

Noah Cullen’s last communication with the outside world took place the day of his death, when he posted this photo and a cryptic message on his Twitter account: Noah Cullen is dropping out for a bit.

I’m guessing he put this up just before going overboard for his dive. The previous post, sent up the same day reads: Another foul morning in the Florida Straits.

But most ironic of all is the post he put up one day earlier, presumably during another thunderstorm: Fuck, I hate lightning being as I can’t be more than a few feet from the tallest metal rod for miles.

Amen to that.

I’m going to miss this young man, though I never had a chance to meet him. The world of sailing needs more like him.

The saga of the cutter NIGHT RUNNER

Thu, 2014-09-25 17:10

NIGHT RUNNER

 

Keep in mind that this is history as I remember it. That’s the best I can do. If you see something that you feel should be corrected, contact me through my website www.perryboat.com  and let me know what it is. I’ll contemplate the change. I’d like to be accurate.

 Seeds are sown

The NIGHT RUNNER story begins when I was 16 years old. I would drive down to Shilshole Bay Marina on Sundays for the winter racing series on Sundays. I’d get there early and treat myself to a breakfast at THE LITTLE PEBBLE restaurant. My favorite breakfast was called the Fisherman’s Breakfast and took two plates to hold all the food and it was expensive, $3.50. But I would have been paid Saturday night for working at the meat market so I was flush and $3.50 was not going to break me. I was working on my breakfast one Sunday morning when I saw a low freeboard, white, very traditional cutter sail down the waterway. I watched the skipper dock the boat under sail with apparent ease. I was impressed.

 

I finished eating and walked down to the dock hoping to have a chat with the owner of the cutter. The boat was the AFRICAN STAR, a Bill Atkin design. I think the design is designated TALLY HO in the Atkin archives. This was a very salty boat with a very salty owner. His name was Frank Paine. He was gruff and taciturn. We sort of chatted. He said he was going to do a circumnavigation in the boat. I asked if I could come along. He said he didn’t want any crew “That way the cook and crew will get along”. I remember him saying exactly that. Then he said, “I’ll take you as far as Hawaii.” Wow! He suggested we do a “test cruise” together to see if we could get along. I was totally up for that. We arranged to meet on the following Friday night at the boat.

 

My Dad drove me to Shilshole that rainy Friday night. I had some clothes and a sleeping bag in a black plastic garbage bag. This was back in the day before the docks were locked so I walked down to AFRCAN STAR. No one was aboard and the boat was locked. I sat in the cockpit in the rain.  A dodger would have been nice but I had my foul weather gear and boots on so I was a bit cold but ok. After two hours sitting in the rain the novelty of the whole idea was beginning to wear off and I was getting wet.  Reluctantly, kind of, I went up to the phone booth and called my dad and asked him to please come and get me. It was a humiliating phone call. My parents were skeptical of everything I did and I was tiring of having my nose rubbed in my failures. But Dad loved me and he drove the hour round trip to get me home and out of the rain. Can’t recall the conversation on the ride home.

 

I never saw Frank Paine again. I made an attempt to get a hold of him but I could not. AFRICAN STAR faded from my imagination. Years later, not sure exactly when, AFRICAN STAR showed up on the PNW racing scene. “I know that boat!” The owner was then Doug Fryer, a Seattle Maritime attorney of some renown. Doug raced AS in just about every race there was. The boat being so traditional, with big, full keel and outboard barn door rudder was slow but it had a generous rating and the word was that if you could see AS the finish, they had beaten you. Doug raced the boat hard and attracted a very loyal crew. Doug’s ability to keep a crew together is a function of how much fun he is to sail with. He can be last or he can be first but he is always enjoying the race. Races are finished at the dock with “ritual rums” with 150 proof rum. Doug would explain,  “150 proof rum is lighter.”  I wave wobbled my way down the dock several times after racing with Doug. AFRICAN STAR was a fixture in the PNW racing scene. Doug would later explain to me that Frank Paine had lost AFRICAN STAR in a divorce settlement. I felt bad for the guy. But Doug was happy.

Getting started

I didn’t really know Doug. Of course you tend to meet sailors in the club after the race so I wasn’t a stranger to Doug. When the phone rang in the office Sally answered it and said, “It’s Doug Fryer Bob”. Great. Doug let me know he was considering a new boat, a custom build. More great. Then he went on to tell me just how much he loved Brice King’s UNICORN ketch, Not so great. Actually it was a “shitski” moment. But Doug was concerned about the hull shape of UNICORN. UNICORN had a very pronounce bustle aft much like the Ericson 39. Doug has heard the Ericson 39 handled very poorly off the wind and he wondered if I would be interested in redesigning the stern of UNICORN to cure this handling issue. By this point in the conversation I am really depressed. ” You want me to “fix” a Bruce King design? No, not interested.” “Besides why would you custom build another guy’s custom design? That’s like using his toothbrush!” Doug’s a bit laconic so I suppose there was some dead air on the phone at that point. Then Doug said, “What would you ;propose?” I suggested he give me a few days and I would do a preliminary design for him. Doug agreed and said he’d be by on Tuesday afternoon, as I recall. I had about 4 days to come up with an idea for a custom 40′ boat for Doug Fryer. No problem.

 

 

I remember staring at the big sheet of vellum, most probably striking a confident pose to impress the rest of the office. Damn! What to draw? BINGO! Doug loves AFICAN STAR. He should, it’s a great looking boat. I’ll just draw a 41′ version of AFRICAN STAR and put a modern underbody and keel on it. Piece of cake. I think I still have that very first drawing. It was just a sailplan, a “picture” of the boat. Doug showed up mid afternoon on Tuesday. Doug is kind of imposing. He’s not tall but he’s built like a running back. He has a shiny bald head and a deep baritone voice. He says serious things. He smiles when he talks about boats. He stood there, silently, looking at my sailplan. Finally he looked up, smiled and said, “I like it.” I had given him a look that he was very familiar with. It was a smart design move on my part.

 

The design

 Of course, as mentioned, the overall look for NIGHT RUNNER came directly from AFRICAN STAR. But that’s just the part you see above the water. I wanted the new NR to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. At the time, 1980, I was pretty full of myself, imagine that. My two tonner  HEATHER had been dominant to the point that YACHING magazine credited or blamed HEATHER with ‘destroying Class A racing in the PNW”. UNION JACK my quarter tonner “mini HEATHER” was unbeatable above and below the border. I was pretty sure then as now that I know how to draw a fast hull. But NR would not be an IOR boat. The gloves were off for this one. For inspiration I looked to the old Uffa Fox International 14 One Design Class. I knew these boats well from my own early dinghy racing days on Lake Washington. I’m not sure why that particular hull came to mind but it did. I think if you squint a bit you may see some similarities.

 

The bow is on the full side. I needed a full line to the deck in plan view to get the character I wanted of an old cutter type. The half angle of entry is 22 degrees. That’s two degree finer than a Valiant 40. A modern high performance boat might have a half angle of entry of almost half that. The forward sections ate U shaped but there is some deadrise forward. From this deadrise forward I faired into a midsection with no deadrise. I wanted a midsection that was tangent across the centerline, like an old I-14. My reason for this was I wanted to run the wood veneers unbroken across the centerline. Like the old I-14’s. We will talk about this feature more later. Bottom line is that NR has a very dinghy like mid section. Once I got to around station 6 I re introduced the deadrise. I have ten degrees of deadrise at the “buttwater” ( opposite of cutwater?) I wanted deadrise aft even if it wasn’t the fastest shape. I hate those “suppository” shape transoms and with some deadrise aft I could add a hint of reverse in the transom to give it a pleasant shape. NR’s transom is very pretty. This hull was quite a change to the IOR shapes I had been drawing. Funny thing is that I noticed yesterday, looking at the old, original line plan, that I had laid out fwd and aft girth curves. So at some point I must have worked out an IOR rating for NR. Not sure what it was. NR never raced IOR so it doesn’t matter. In 2006 NR had a PHRF rating of 76.

I received a note from my buddy Matt who has sailed many ocean and PNW miles on NIGHT RUNNER:

Bob, I found an IOR certificate for Night Runner.  Back in the day the Vic-Maui required everyone to race under IOR.  Doug raced locally under PHRF, she just wouldn’t be competitive in IOR.  When she raced to Maui she was giving time to boats much larger.

 

IOR L is 39.5 feet. 

 

She’s a great all around boat, pretty much the same performance as a J-35 upwind (speed and point).  She’s really good in light air, and trucks downwind, so light on the helm and stable.  When we crossed line on the Vic-Maui in 2000, we were in flat water (no help from the waves), wind in the mid 20’s and speed around 12.  There was quite a trough .  But we were pretty happy drinking our rituals from the dog bowls.

 

 

Yes, I did give NR a skeg hung rudder. I was still big on skegs back then. I also think that considering Doug was coming off the mother of all full keelers, AFRICAN STAR, a spade rudder would have been a hard sell. I honestly don’t remember discussing it. When, many years later cruising up the coast of Mexico the skeg feel off Doug called me and asked for some drawings so they could get it rebuilt. I asked him how the boat handled without the skeg. He said, “Better.”

 

NIGHT RUNNER has gone through three keel mods. Originally the boat drew  7′. A couple years later we added a 12″ deep timber shoe to increase the draft. A couple years after that the wooden keel shoe was replaced with the same volume of lead and that amount of lead was removed from the top of the keel and a timber spacer was put in place. The  fin is a NACA A010-12 foil in the middle of the span tapering down with the same half breadths towards the root and tapering up with the same half breadths towards the tip. In other words at any waterline, at any chord location, say 40%, the thickness of the foil would be the same. This had worked well on HEATHER and UNION JACK. My thinking was that a fin stalls first at the tip so why not have a fatter foil there. And, with the hull providing an end plate of sorts at the root why not have a thinner foil there? I was very scientific.

 

The rig was designed to have that old cutter look with a big foretriangle for carrying genoa and staysail. The J of 22′ is a bit excessive and I probably should have moved the mast forward or shortened the bowsprit but the resultant look might have been a bit odd. Short tacking NR with that huge 150%+ genoa was a bit of a chore. But the boat went to weather fine and loved a good power reach.

 

The interior layout was based on Doug’s requirements and has port and starboard pilot berths and a nice galley. I used an indented, offset companionway to open up some room in the aft cabin where I tucked in a double berth for Doug. This worked very well but with that companionway moved forward of the aft end of the cabin trunk a dodger is impossible. At the 30 year anniversary party for NR I talked to Doug’s wife and she complained about not having a dodger. I told her that I could fix that easily with a nice new 50′ version of NR. She said she had suggested that to Doug but his response had been, ” They will have to carry my dead and lifeless body off NR before I get rid of it,” Damn! I always dreamed of a 50′ ULDB version of NR.

 

 


 

The build

 

 

J.J. Cale sang:

 “After midnight we’re going to let it all hang out.”

Well, it’ 12.02am so I’m going to “let it all hang out”.

He also sang.:

“After midnight, all’s going to be peaches and cream.”

I have to tell you that it wasn’t peaches and cream when I had to deal with Cecil Lange, the builder of NR. Not sure what the problem was. Probably it was a case of the old smart ass versus the young smart ass. I didn’t even like the way Cecil shook hands. I’m a guitar player and I have an intimate relationship with my fingers but Cecil’s hand shake could leave indentations on a yellow cedar 2 by 6. I like a firm hand shake but really? The good news was that while the old Kiwi Cecil ran the yard it was his son Bob Lange who did the actual building and Bob for sure is a peach.

 

My first trip to the yard during the actual build process was to check the lofting. This was 1980 and computer produced and faired lines were still a ways off. NR’s lines were drawn by hand at ¾” tom the foot scale. To get this to full size for pattern making required the age old skill of lofting, i.e. drawing the full lines plan on the floor full size. This is necessary because at ¾” to the foot even a highly skilled draftsman is going to have some error. I learned lines drawing from a true master of the arty, Yves-Marie Tanton, when I was at the Carter office. I knew my lines were as fair as any but full sized lofting was still required.

 

I pulled my big Mercedes into Cecil’s parking  lot and even before I could get out Cecil walked over to me and said, through the window, in his Kiwi accent, “Now don’t get excited Bob but your wife just called and she thinks she’s going  into labor.”  Great. There I was in Port Townsend and my wife is going into labor in Seattle with our first child. I went in to check the lofting. Years later when Chuck Schiff was lofting MERIDIAN he called me and asked, “What’s the tolerance for lofting?” Tolerance? Tolerance? There’s not tolerance in lofting! You are either spot on or you are off and you must correct so that all intersections agree, in all views, plan, profile and sections. Cecil’s lofting of NR was a mess. It was clear that while he had drawn all three views full size he had not bothered to resolve the small intersection differences required to produce a fair hull. I carefully explained to Cecil exactly what I wanted to see and how to go about it. Cecil nodded. When I got in the car to drive home Cecil walked over to the car and said, through the window, “I’m not going to draw more lines on the floor just to be drawing lines on the floor. I’ll fair the hull with battens after I have the mold frames up.” I knew this was one way to do it but I also knew it gave Cecil some license that I did not want him to have. I wanted all the control over the shape of the hull. But I lost that argument. To his credit Cecil produced a very fair hull faithful to my lines as far as I could tell.

 

A kind of funny moment, kind of occurred when Cecil was interviewed for a magazine article. The article was highlighting his New Zealand origins and his “old world” approach to boat building. NR was under construction at the yard at that time so Cecil took the reporter out to the yard and commenced to show her the “old school” way of establishing the centerline of the cabin trunk  top. Cecil would have to do it the old way because he “did not have enough details from the designer”. I read this and went bat shit. I called Cecil up and said, “What the hell are you talking about. I sent you a drawing, deck lines, with dimensions all over it for the cabin trunk.” Cecil responded,’ “I know Bob but I had to do something to show her my boatbuilding skills.” Something like that. And that is why to this day the cabin trunk on NR has never looked right to my eye.

 

The next head butting episode was over the number and thickness of veneers in the hull. I wanted eight thin veneers. Cecil wanted four thicker veneers. His was saved labor. He won that argument. The Cecil announced that he would not wrap the veneers across the hull as I had spec’d. Too much labor spiling both sides of the boat separately. His way you only needed to spile ( shape) the veneers on one side and duplicate that spiling on the other. I lost that argument too. Many years later Doug would tell me that my way was probably the better way.

 

But these minor hiccups faded away as the beautiful NR took shape. The boat was launched and it floated right on it’s designed lines. Everyone was happy, especially Doug. If memory serves I think the build cost of NR was a bit over $150,000. Times have changed.

 I just got this email from Doug:

Yes I got it. I’ve actually been
out on NR since last Thursday. The earlier race history has pretty well faded
into the past. I know we won our class in Tri island several times and in
Center Sound did well. One first in class Grand Prix. Probably the best is
Swiftsure 1st overall 1998, 2011 and 2013. 1st in class 5
times, a 2d overall in 2000, 3d overall 2004. 1st div II Van Isle
360 in 2009. 1st to finish in division Victoria Maui 1984, 1986, 2000 and
2006. 

 

Her sailing qualities are best
illustrated by a delivery trip, not a race. In 1986 four of us sailed her back
from Hanalei Bay, Kauai, in the Hawaiian Islands to Port Townsend Washington a
distance of about 2500 nautical miles in 12 days, 17 hours at an average speed
of 8 knots. We had five day runs of 200 miles or better. The best day was
reaching with a double head rig and two reefs in the main and we averaged
better than 9 knots for 24 hours. . The bow hawse pipes were whistling. She is
easily driven and has the most responsive yet gentle feel at the helm of any
vessel I have sailed. If I were to build another boat I cannot think of
anything I would change.

 

In my next blog entry I’ll talk about sailing  and racing NIGHT RUNNER.

                            Please visit my web site http://www.perryboat.com/

Watching out for UV damage to sails

Thu, 2014-09-25 09:49

We’ve been in Penang for a couple of days now, catching up on projects. This afternoon, after the sun disappeared behind the condos backing the marina and the air cooled, Jamie and I took a walk around and looked at the other boats. Primary takeaway: the sun, she is strong!

Many boats had some degree of the damage shown here: a protective cover worn thin from UV (see the tear?), with stitching so rotted it’s literally breaking apart in place. Is the UV strip material a low quality knockoff? Not sure. Was UV resistant PTFE thread used? Highly unlikely. Sailmakers don’t like this thread because it’s expensive and difficult to work with. Sailors resist it because it’s so costly that it adds meaningfully to the overall cost of a new sail. Still, it’s a lot cheaper than replacing the stitching after several years in the tropics- or procrastinating on the re-stitching, and finding yourself in need of a new sail some years sooner than expected.

This sail has a UV cover, although it’s harder to tell because it’s white. But see how the webbing is exposed in the clew? It’s now the weak link: webbing should be sewn beneath cover, too. It would also be better to get that sail furled in all the way instead of leaving the triangle of windage.

Here’s another boat that couldn’t be bothered to furl properly, and has webbing outside the UV cover. Classic shortcut in a lower end loft, according to Mr Salty.

Better than keeping sails covered with UV cloth is not to have them on deck at all. That’s not practical for actively cruising boats, but we see boats that are clearly not moving for long periods and still have all the sails bent on. Down the dock is a catamaran we remember from Mexico. For about three years, the owner(s) have been working locally. They’re probably not sailing at all, since the running rigging is down, so why are the sails still on? A 38′ cat with just two people on board should have room to stow them. Sunbrella has a finite useful life when subjected to UV.

We’re not above reproach. Totem’s genoa is in a pathetic state. The UV strip began failing more than a year ago, and now waves in tattered flaps even when furled. We have spare Sunbrella, but not a sewing machine on board, so it’s gone wanting. I jokingly refer to the fluttering as our string of prayer flags, but it’s nothing to be proud of. On the other hand, it is a kind of twisted advertising as it has literally brought customers to Jamie. People have stopped to introduce themselves and talk about local sailmaking options- because clearly, we need help! They subsequently learn Jamie represents a loft, and he’s now sold sails to cruisers we met in this unusual fashion.

Still, it’s nothing to be proud of and the truth is that we can’t wait to replace this sail. Jamie’s worked out the specs and it will soon be on order. It will be a little bigger at 110%, and made from much better sailcloth: a compromise between being small enough to deal with higher windspeeeds, while big enough to offer better performance.

Earlier in the day, Niall helped Jamie measure up our storm stays’l- photo at top. The prior owner used to keep it on the inner headstay, and you can see the color difference in the UV strip where the sun faded it. It’s in okay shape, but there’s a point at which fading becomes irreparable damage. Happily the sail passed muster. It’s not ideal as a storm sail but managed fined the one time we used it. Still, the sailmaker is tinkering in preparation for our Indian Ocean crossing.

Enlightened sailors know you love it when you read this on the Sailfeed website.

GALERIDER DROGUE: For Steering and Heaving To

Wed, 2014-09-24 19:25

You probably won’t be too surprised to learn that I’ve been thinking about jury-steering systems ever since my little adventure back in January aboard the catamaran Be Good Too. One thing I’ve wondered is whether we might have managed to save the boat if we’d had a proper drogue onboard to try steering with. If we’d been able to neutralize the effect of the bent port rudder, which was constantly steering the boat to starboard, by either losing the rudder entirely (not really feasible) or by letting it swing freely (which would have been easy if we’d known the rudder was bent before we “fixed” it), I’m quite certain the boat could have been steered with a properly sized drogue. The more pertinent question is whether or not a drogue could have overcome the steering bias created by the damaged port rudder to allow us to control the boat in spite of it.

In retrospect there’s no way of knowing that for sure, and to have definitively answered the question at the time we needed access to a good drogue. Believe it or not, I’ve never actually carried any sort of a drogue or sea anchor on any bluewater boat I’ve owned, but ever since we abandoned Be Good Too I’ve been thinking I should at least carry a drogue.

Coincidentally, in the January 2014 issue of Cruising World, which came out not long before we set sail on Be Good Too, editor Mark Pillsbury described in his Editor’s Log column how he’d gone out sailing with Michael and Ken Keyworth on Chasseur, a Swan 44 (see photo up top), and cruised all around Narragansett Bay steering only with a Galerider drogue. Since then the experiments conducted by the Keyworth brothers have been more widely publicized, and a full write-up, by brother Michael, can be studied here.

There’s also a nifty viddy that has been posted on YouTube:

The most pertinent points raised in Michael’s report and video are: a) to steer his 44-foot 28,000-pound Swan he found a 30-inch Galerider worked best, yielding the most control with the smallest reduction in speed (about 1 knot); and b) the drogue is only effective for steering if the two lines making up its steering bridle are led well forward of the transom, more toward the middle of the boat, so the boat can pivot on its keel and the transom can swing freely.

Since January I also came across an article by John Harries, published at his Attainable Adventure Cruising website, in which he describes streaming a Galerider drogue from the windward side of the bow of his boat while hove to so as to keep the bow from falling off the wind. This struck me as an absolutely brilliant idea, as most modern boats (mine included) do have a pronounced tendency to fall off on to a near beam reach when heaving to, and this promises to be an effective antidote to that problem.

Diagram by John Harries, showing his streaming of a drogue from the bow while hove to versus Larry Pardey’s technique of streaming a sea anchor on a bridle at an angle from the bow. The attitude of the boat relative to the wind and waves in both instances is similar, but to lie to the drogue you need to carry some sail so as to drive the boat a bit forward and sideways

I’ve been revisiting the topic, as I am now getting Lunacy ready to sail south for the winter, and just today ordered a Galerider drogue of my own. The one big question in my mind, of course, was what size to get.

Steve Dashew with a really big Galerider drogue aboard his 83-foot powerboat Wind Horse

Check out the website of Hathaway, Reiser and Raymond, creators of the Galerider, and you’ll see that for a boat my size and weight (39 feet, 21,000 pounds) they recommend a drogue with an open diameter of 36 inches. Study Michael’s information up there, and you’ll see that in his steering test with a 36-inch drogue his boat was about half a knot slower than it was dragging the 30-inch drogue. Both drogues were effective for steering, but he considered the 30-inch model to be optimal.

I discussed the size question with Wes Oliver at Hathaway and explained to him I thought I was much more likely to use the drogue for steering or heaving to than I was as a straight drag device in extreme conditions. I asked if he was familiar with John Harries’ heaving-to technique, and he said he was and that a few customers had purchased drogues for just that purpose. He had no hard information, however, on what size drogue works best in this application.

So I ordered the 36-inch model. Overkill, I figure, is usually better than underkill, especially when it comes to emergencies on boats. If I do somehow lose my rudder and end up having to steer with this thing, being half a knot slower than I might have been will likely be the least of my worries.

PS: John’s excellent article on heaving to with a drogue is no longer available for free, and to read it you must now pay to subscribe to his site.

PPS: Another thing you can do with a drogue is stream it behind you when running inlets plagued by breaking waves. The drogue will keep you from broaching and wiping out when a wave hits you the wrong way. John C. Voss, in his famous book 40,000 Miles In A Canoe, was a proponent of this technique and describes it briefly in the book’s appendix.

GALERIDER DROGUE: For Steering and Heaving To

Wed, 2014-09-24 19:25

You probably won’t be too surprised to learn that I’ve been thinking about jury-steering systems ever since my little adventure back in January aboard the catamaran Be Good Too. One thing I’ve wondered is whether we might have managed to save the boat if we’d had a proper drogue onboard to try steering with. If we’d been able to neutralize the effect of the bent port rudder, which was constantly steering the boat to starboard, by either losing the rudder entirely (not really feasible) or by letting it swing freely (which would have been easy if we’d known the rudder was bent before we “fixed” it), I’m quite certain the boat could have been steered with a properly sized drogue. The more pertinent question is whether or not a drogue could have overcome the steering bias created by the damaged port rudder to allow us to control the boat in spite of it.

In retrospect there’s no way of knowing that for sure, and to have definitively answered the question at the time we needed access to a good drogue. Believe it or not, I’ve never actually carried any sort of a drogue or sea anchor on any bluewater boat I’ve owned, but ever since we abandoned Be Good Too I’ve been thinking I should at least carry a drogue.

Coincidentally, in the January 2014 issue of Cruising World, which came out not long before we set sail on Be Good Too, editor Mark Pillsbury described in his Editor’s Log column how he’d gone out sailing with Michael and Ken Keyworth on Chasseur, a Swan 44 (see photo up top), and cruised all around Narragansett Bay steering only with a Galerider drogue. Since then the experiments conducted by the Keyworth brothers have been more widely publicized, and a full write-up, by brother Michael, can be studied here.

There’s also a nifty viddy that has been posted on YouTube:

The most pertinent points raised in Michael’s report and video are: a) to steer his 44-foot 28,000-pound Swan he found a 30-inch Galerider worked best, yielding the most control with the smallest reduction in speed (about 1 knot); and b) the drogue is only effective for steering if the two lines making up its steering bridle are led well forward of the transom, more toward the middle of the boat, so the boat can pivot on its keel and the transom can swing freely.

Since January I also came across an article by John Harries, published at his Attainable Adventure Cruising website, in which he describes streaming a Galerider drogue from the windward side of the bow of his boat while hove to so as to keep the bow from falling off the wind. This struck me as an absolutely brilliant idea, as most modern boats (mine included) do have a pronounced tendency to fall off on to a near beam reach when heaving to, and this promises to be an effective antidote to that problem.

Diagram by John Harries, showing his streaming of a drogue from the bow while hove to versus Larry Pardey’s technique of streaming a sea anchor on a bridle at an angle from the bow. The attitude of the boat relative to the wind and waves in both instances is similar, but to lie to the drogue you need to carry some sail so as to drive the boat a bit forward and sideways

I’ve been revisiting the topic, as I am now getting Lunacy ready to sail south for the winter, and just today ordered a Galerider drogue of my own. The one big question in my mind, of course, was what size to get.

Steve Dashew with a really big Galerider drogue aboard his 83-foot powerboat Wind Horse

Check out the website of Hathaway, Reiser and Raymond, creators of the Galerider, and you’ll see that for a boat my size and weight (39 feet, 21,000 pounds) they recommend a drogue with an open diameter of 36 inches. Study Michael’s information up there, and you’ll see that in his steering test with a 36-inch drogue his boat was about half a knot slower than it was dragging the 30-inch drogue. Both drogues were effective for steering, but he considered the 30-inch model to be optimal.

I discussed the size question with Wes Oliver at Hathaway and explained to him I thought I was much more likely to use the drogue for steering or heaving to than I was as a straight drag device in extreme conditions. I asked if he was familiar with John Harries’ heaving-to technique, and he said he was and that a few customers had purchased drogues for just that purpose. He had no hard information, however, on what size drogue works best in this application.

So I ordered the 36-inch model. Overkill, I figure, is usually better than underkill, especially when it comes to emergencies on boats. If I do somehow lose my rudder and end up having to steer with this thing, being half a knot slower than I might have been will likely be the least of my worries.

PS: John’s excellent article on heaving to with a drogue is no longer available for free, and to read it you must now pay to subscribe to his site.

PPS: Another thing you can do with a drogue is stream it behind you when running inlets plagued by breaking waves. The drogue will keep you from broaching and wiping out when a wave hits you the wrong way. John C. Voss, in his famous book 40,000 Miles In A Canoe, was a proponent of this technique and describes it briefly in the book’s appendix.

Podcast: Baxter & Molly Gillispie

Tue, 2014-09-23 15:24

Andy & Ryan Briggs talk with Baxter and Molly Gillispie, serious adventurers. John and Amanda Neal, previous guests on the show, got us in touch with the couple, and we’re glad they did! Baxter is a professional BASE jumping and ‘squirrel suit’ instructor, and he and Molly met skydiving. Their both skiers and mountaineers, having live for a while in Utah. Baxter summited Everest a while back, with Molly trekking into Nepal with some friends to meet him at Everest Base Camp. Now they’ve sold their house, sold their old Tartan 37 and bought a new-to-them 1982 Valiant 47 they hope to live and cruise on long-term with their dog Kala. This was was of the coolest episodes yet, and we hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed doing it! Thanks to Baxter and Molly!

Too Windy: No Classics Racing in Cannes

Tue, 2014-09-23 10:14

The official word:

The weather forecast unfortunately arrived and following long consideration, the Race Committee opted for abandoning today’s racing, as the wind was too strong to allow for safe sailing. It was confirmation of what had been hoped for by many spectators and fans who had the chance to admire from just inches away the stunning beauty of the old yachts, their hulls, booms, teak decks and the posters outlining each boat’s history and features.

The weather forecast unfortunately arrived and following long consideration, the Race Committee opted for abandoning today’s racing, as the wind was too strong to allow for safe sailing. It was confirmation of what had been hoped for by many spectators and fans who had the chance to admire from just inches away the stunning beauty of the old yachts, their hulls, booms, teak decks and the posters outlining each boat’s history and features.

The weather forecast unfortunately arrived and following long consideration, the Race Committee opted for abandoning today’s racing, as the wind was too strong to allow for safe sailing. It was confirmation of what had been hoped for by many spectators and fans who had the chance to admire from just inches away the stunning beauty of the old yachts, their hulls, booms, teak decks and the posters outlining each boat’s history and features.

On the subject of sailboats, there are so many details and numbers to consider. The classic yachts taking part in the Régates Royales de Cannes – Trophée Panerai may be considered the quintessence of complexity. Waterline length, hull length, overall length, maximum beam, mast height, draft, downwind and upwind sail area, sail plan, rig, displacement, build year, etc. Each boat has a number of features that make them a unique piece of craftsmanship. In this whirl of wood and canvas some data can help figure out the diversity of the fleet.

Facts and figures

The smallest boat: Cabrufa, a Bermudan sloop from 1970 only 7.67 metres long

The biggest boat: Elena of London, with an overall length of 50.71 metres

The oldest boat: Marigold, a gaff cutter from 1892

The youngest boat: in the Esprit de Tradition category, which includes replicas built in recent years but respecting in full the original characteristics, the most recent yacht is Alcyon 1871, that came out of the shed in 2013.

The tallest mast: With her 48 metre-tall mast, Shamrock V, has the highest rig of the fleet.

Bart’s Bash: A New Record

Tue, 2014-09-23 08:52

From the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation

Bart’s Bash, the global sailing race organised by the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation which took place on 21st September, has set the new Guinness World Record for the Largest Sailing Race (24 hours).

While the Bart’s Bash technical team are still processing the data submitted by some of the 768 venues who took part, the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation is delighted to announce that the threshold of 2,500 boats sailing in regattas including at least 25 boats, the key criteria to meet the record, has been reached.

This announcement comes after processing the results of 3,600 boats, who have sailed over 10,000,000 metres in total, which equals 18% of the data the organisation expects to receive in the coming days.

“The event has proved a huge success and we are delighted to announce that, subject to ratification, we have set the new Guinness World Record. And we have done it in style with 82% of the results still to be processed,” said Richard Percy, CEO of the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation. “The turnout on 21st September exceeded our expectations and we are very happy that we provided a truly global opportunity for people to come together and enjoy sailing. We hope this event will become a regular feature in the global sailing calendar.”

The event was a world-wide celebration of sailing attracting over 18,000 participants of all ages and abilities, taking part in 68 different countries. For many people it was their first time sailing. Races were held between 0.00 and 23.59 GMT on 21st September 2014 globally.

Bart’s Bash was set up to remember Olympic gold medalist Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson, to inspire the next generation of sailors, to encourage clubs to open their doors and to fundraise in support of the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation’s charitable programmes.

The Bart’s Bash technical team have created a system capable of handicapping several thousands of boats across hundreds of classes. The provisional results are expected to be announced in the coming weeks. The processed data will be validated by Guinness World Records before the end of the year.

Get Packed and Get Going

Mon, 2014-09-22 17:43

I am the proud possessor of a big yellow sticker in my passport that declares I am allowed to live in Papua New Guinea. Our flights are booked. Tomorrow is Moving Day. So why am I writing instead of prepping? Because, dear reader, I am avoiding packing. I know, I know – it should be an easy process. There are no choices to be made; if it is in this apartment and belongs to us, I have to pack it. And we only have four bags, after all. No, I mainly don’t want to pack because a) it means a morning of rejigging heavy bags such that all of them kiss but do not exceed the airline’s weight limit, and b) I have to do it on my own. Because, once again, Erik has performed his famous I-Suddenly-Need-To-Take-A-Different-Flight-Than-You-Guys-Sorry-Byeee magic trick.

Back when Stylish was a year old, we took her Germany and Switzerland for a few weeks to visit relatives. I shake my head when I look at the photo above. It looks like we toted our entire household with us. (Even though that top bag is just a car seat, I think we could have cut out the duffel entirely and still have been fine.)

About six hours before we flew out of Zurich, Erik got a call.
“Uh huh. Uh huh. Yep. Okay.” He turned to me and took a deep breath.
I almost never want to hear what comes after a deep breath. I prepared my eyebrows for battle.
“Sorry, hon. I’ve got to make a small detour. But I’ll be home in a couple of days.” Erik tried giving me a winning smile.
I drew my eyebrows together. Erik flinched a little. “So. You’re telling me that I am flying home alone.”
“Yes.”
“With a baby.”
“Yes.”
“And all of our luggage.”
“Well, yes. I’ll just take carry-on.”
Of course you will.

We made it home, of course. And I fully admit this was a minor irritation rather than a full-blown problem. But it was the first of more Dadless flights than I care to count.

As time went by, things got easier. The kids got bigger, and I packed less. Much less.  Much, much less. I haven’t reached the high water mark set by my father, who once spent a weekend in Washington DC armed only with the clothing he could stuff into his video camera bag (around said video camera), but still. When the time came to prep for PNG, we only had six bags between the four of us. Those bags hold our clothes, school books, actual books, toys, games, stuffed animals and snorkelling gear. We even have a small telescope in there. The kids gave me some grief about not bringing all of their stuffies, but that would have meant six more bags

When our visas for PNG finally arrived, we scrambled to book travel. In what could qualify for a post on its own, the best we could do was secure seats six days out. Erik was, by this time, almost out of his mind from being away from site for so long. He put himself on every waitlist he could find, and the two of us tried to remember that waiting a few extra days wouldn’t kill us.

On Friday, his phone lit up.
“Uh huh. Uh huh. Yep. Okay.” He turned to me and took a deep breath. “The waitlist cleared. I’m flying out on Sunday,”
I couldn’t even bring myself to give him the Evil Eye. “So. You’re telling me that I am flying to Papua New Guinea alone.”
“Yes.”
“With two kids.”
“Yes.”
“And all of our luggage.”
“No, I’ll take a couple of bags. You can manage the rest, right?”
“Sure.”

And I can. When I look at it, it isn’t so much.

The kids are ambulatory. No one has rotavirus this time. It’ll be a walk in the park.

And, just because writing this post has made me see just how silly my complaint is, I leave you with Weird Al’s take on the issue.

Classics Can-do in Cannes

Mon, 2014-09-22 15:36

The tenth edition of Régates Royales kicks off Tuesday in Cannes, better known for its annual film festival, though Trophée Panerai is catching up. Would you believe, 150 boats, including hard-traveling American yawl Dorade, now home-ported in San Francisco, CA.

This moves a bit slow, but 2013 was lovely, just lovely—

Leukemia Cups, Ocean Health and Collective Outrage

Mon, 2014-09-22 15:12

By Kimball Livingston Posted September 22, 2014

I’m a fan of Wendy Schmidt. She and her husband, Eric, have made a significant investment in oceans conservation.

I’m a fan of the Leukemia Cup. All across the country, these regattas raise research funds that change the game.

And I’m a fan of The San Francisco Yacht Club’s Leukemia Cup, because, it’s my local.

What I got out of the 2014 edition was a real nice boat ride and, at dinner the night before, a bit of time to listen to someone—Wendy Schmidt—singing my song about oceans conservation through what the Schmidt Family Foundation calls “restorative operating systems.”

Bring it on. How could I resist anyone who would declare, “When I discovered sailing, I found my tribe.”

Photo by Ellen Hoke

Here is Wendy Schmidt with Honorary Skipper Rhett Krawitt, who probably will be with us for a long, long time, but still faces treatments (“treaments,” honestly, you don’t want the details) to “get the bad guys out.”

Blood cancer research has moved the ball. Three decades ago, an acute lymphoblastic leukemia diagnosis like Rhett’s meant that a kid would probably be dead in six weeks or so, kids who would now be adults in the prime of life. Today there is a good prospect for a normal life, after they get the bad guys out. Without research, and the donations that fund the research, we wouldn’t have Rhett in this picture.

BTW, your local blood center gratefully gratefully gratefully accepts platelet donations from qualified donors. Platelets are the cells within blood that bind together when they recognize damaged blood vessels. Basically, they support clotting. But blood cancers cut the platelet count, and cancer therapies deplete the count further.

Platelet donations are not fun.

Platelet donations take time.

Platelets are extracted and the rest of your blood returned to you.

Platelet donations keep people alive.

The equation is simple, much simpler than what the Schmidts achieved by offering a prize, after the Gulf oil spill, for a faster clean-up method, and achieved 4X. Now, among projects ongoing, there is a challenge to create better methods, and faster methods, to measure the sleeping terror, ocean acidification. “As sailors,” Schmidt said, “we know the sea in ways that others cannot. We can and we must become active voices. The forces that are now killing the ocean began innocently, but we know too much now to continue as we are. It’s time to share some collective outrage.”

So, tell us how you really feel.

For anyone who missed it, Eric Schmidt is the Chairman of Google. You may have heard of Google. It’s an internet services company with headquarters in Mountain View, California. Google stock is performing well.

NEAR THE FINISH

I grabbed a camera to snap a few quick shots. We crossed tracks with Zhenya Kirueshken-Stepanoff’s Insolent Minx . . .

We traveled in company with Stan Hales’ Chance . . .

We could see the sunshine yonder in Marin . . .

We waved a thank you to the Race Committee aboard Victory . . .

We sailed through a passle of Optis on our way to the dock at The San Francisco Yacht Club . . .

And met the Optis again as they ended their day. Kate II, at the end of the dock, built quite a reputation in the Pacific Northwest before finding her way to San Francisco Bay . . .

Future senator?

The tent that had been bright and lush for dinner the night before would do for Sunday’s awards, but first the action was outside, in the sunshine . . .

Some things are just pretty . . .

The results of the fundraising matter much more than the results of the racing, which you can find here. And this continues to be the top fundraiser among Leukemia Cup Regattas nationwide.

My problem is, how can I get my ducks in a row when there aren’t any ducks?

Maritime Robotx Challenge & the WAM-V USV, head’s up!

Mon, 2014-09-22 09:00

Written by Ben Ellison on Sep 22, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Right now it’s possible to come upon an unmanned surface vessel (USV) like this trying to navigate waterways all over the world, though rest assured that there will be a boat load of attentive geeks nearby. That’s because fifteen student/professor engineering teams from five countries have been given a basic 16-foot WAM-V articulating catamaran to which they are adding propulsion and control systems for the upcoming Maritime RobotX Challenge in Singapore. The contest strikes me as a great way to accelerate robotics development, but of course one eventuality is unmanned vessels roaming the coasts. In fact, that may already be happening…

The Team QUT USV in the top photo is being prepared in Queensland, Australia, while the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University team above is in Daytona Beach, Florida. I have no idea what those wooden “outdrives” are about, but I have learned that the big red kill switches on the cross beams are required so that a manned support vessel can come alongside and disable an unruly USV. A redundant, and more elegant, wireless kill switch is also required, suggesting that unruliness is to be expected.

One reason the team websites are fun to browse is that they are one element in the Challenge judging, though the big points get earned for robotically reporting location, accurate depth, buoy colors and more while negotiating a course. 600 points also go to a USV that can manuever to the “CORRECT dock” though teams get 50 points for making “any dock” (kind of like cruising ;-).

Incidentally, the AUVSI Foundation organizing this first ever event already runs annual RoboBoat and RoboSub contests. What’s noteworthy about Maritime RobotX — besides the focus on electric propulsion and robotic control — is that the U.S. Office of Naval Research stepped up with the “boats” and grant money. Go Navy!

Marine Advanced Research — developers of Wave Adaptive Modular Vessels (WAM-V) — is based near San Francisco. In fact, the company and chief designer Ugo Conti got some Panbo attention in 2007 with a large, wild-looking manned WAM-V called Proteus. The 16-foot unmanned WAM-V looks tame by comparison but also seems practical for many tasks. And, yes, that is a Google “street view” camera mounted on one above…

The Google Maps WAM-V footage is pretty limited so far but still a neat way to see some of the SF waterfront. (It also pairs well with the “street view” of a research vessel once docked here). But I’m pretty sure that the odd RIB I screen-captured above is making sure that the USV doesn’t get itself into unmanned trouble. How, for instance, does a USV handle right-of-way situations? Maybe that will be part of another Maritime RobotX Challenge in 2015? Meanwhile it will be interesting to see how things go in Singapore starting on October 20. They even have a cool logo.

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

Giles Scott Wins Finn Gold Cup

Sun, 2014-09-21 22:12

As released September 21 by the Finn Class

By Robert Deaves

Giles Scott (GBR) has won the 2014 Finn Gold Cup at the ISAF Sailing World Championships in Santander. Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) started the day in second overall and a win in the medal race comfortably gave him the silver medal. Ed Wright (GBR) eventually took bronze after a close battle with Jonathan Lobert (FRA).

The day started windless and racing was postponed, though a light sea breeze was expected later in the day. A light, fickle breeze duly arrived and the Finn medal race was characterised by big shifts and pressure changes across the course that ultimately decided the bronze medal.

Josh Junior (NZL) led out of the right side of the start from Giles Scott (GBR) and rounded the top mark first. Scott took the lead on the first downwind, but on the second upwind the left side proved heavily favoured. Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) found the best route to take the lead and he never looked like relinquishing it.

Jonathan Lobert (FRA) just had to beat Ed Wright (GBR) to take the bronze, and had led him through the gate. However Wright chose the opposite gate and sailed straight into a pressure zone and moved quickly from ninth to third, leaving Lobert stuck in much less wind. From there Wright held on up the third beat while Lobert was helpless to recover. Lobert finished fourth overall again and it still looking for his first major championship medal.

Junior sailed a great race to finish second and moved up to fifth overall, passing his team mate Andrew Murdoch (NZL), who had been ahead going into the medal race.

Giles Scott’s only job today was to finish the race cleanly to wrap up his second world title in the Finn. Fourth place gave him a winning margin of 14 points.

He said, “It’s a been a great season for me and I can’t really think of a better way to round it off than with the world title. It’s been a great event and I am really pleased with the way I have sailed, and there’s always a lot to learn from it, but I’m over the moon about it.”

Did he expect to be so dominant throughout the event? “I never really let myself think like that. But the event has gone really well. I have sailed well from day one and managed to keep it going through the regatta.”

“It’s a big milestone. I try to stay realistic, but my big goal is in two years time. But this is a very big step towards that so I am really looking forward to the next two years.”

Of course he last won the Finn Gold Cup in Perth at the last ISAF Sailing World Championships. “The Perth win was an odd one with the other issues going on, so it’s great to come out here and feel I have fully won this event outright. It’s nice to be able to say I am now a double World and European champion.”

On the race, “I just went out and sailed my own race and kind of forgot what was going on with the other guys. You can try and get out of their way but I was racing as much as they were. I wanted to go out on a high and I managed to almost do that.”

Next for Scott? “A bit of time off I think. I will be back in the Finn in January, and will do a full season next year but will take it easy for a while.”

The silver medal for Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) is his best ever world championship result and proves he is on course for Rio. It concludes a great season for the double Olympian, who is arguably one of the best, and most successful, sailors in the fleet never to win an Olympic medal. This is clearly something he is planning to put right in Rio and this medal is a great boost at the half way stage in his campaign.

He said, “The week has been great for me, a really excellent performance. Today I knew I had to be relaxed and keep calm and I did exactly that and it put me right into the lead. Then I had really clear lanes through the race and really good moments. I sailed pretty consistently today, as I did all week, and it it turned out to be a winning combination for me.”

“It’s an important event for me because after a couple of years of some general setbacks, I really made a great performance here, with all my team behind me. This really makes me happy and all of this proves that we are working in the right way and the progress is just going forwards and I hope in Rio it is going to be even better.”

On his consistent performance he said,”All my life I was always struggling in the breeze but this week was three days of pretty strong, shifty and breezy conditions which proved I can perform in any kind of wind. That’s what I have been focussing on the last couple of years, trying to get myself in shape to sail in all conditions. So I am pretty happy I have succeeded in this and it makes me quite me quite confident and sure about the future.”

Wright’s bronze is his fifth successive world championship medal and perhaps an indication that Scott needs to keep pushing to maintain his advantage.

He said, “On the second beat I got a gust on the left hand side and moved up to third and held that all the way. It was a nail biting race and I really enjoyed sailing in it. It means a lot to me to get a medal at the worlds and I needed this medal, so I’m really happy with that.”

On his tactics, “There were people nipping on our heels, and there was a chance of getting the silver, so to be honest I just wanted to go out and win the race. That was my tactic, and if I had the chance to push Jonathan back I would have done.”

“It’s been a hard week after I had a OCS early on and I’ve been struggling a bit with that. But it was all to play for today and it was a real fun race to be part of. I now just need to wind it up a bit more and try to catch Giles. I am putting together some big winter plans, with training in Rio and then Miami, so it should be fun.”

The ISAF Sailing World Championship closed tonight in Santander. It has been an interesting week in many ways with a number of favourites failing to secure their Olympic spot this time around. They now have to wait until the 2015 Finn Gold Cup in Takapuna, New Zealand next November which is the next qualification regatta.

Results after medal race (medal race results in brackets)
1 GBR 41 Giles Scott 18 (4)
2 CRO 524 Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic 32 (1)
3 GBR 11 Edward Wright 50 (3)
4 FRA 112 Jonathan Lobert 61 (9)
5 NZL 24 Josh Junior 68 (2)
6 NZL 16 Andrew Murdoch 72 (6)
7 USA 6 Caleb Paine 75 (5)
8 NOR 1 Anders Pedersen 75 (7)
9 FRA 29 Thomas Le Breton 76 (8)
10 SWE 33 Max Salminen 91 (10)

The Wreckage from Odile

Sat, 2014-09-20 18:33

Posted September 20 by KL

Mark Drewelow of YachtAid Global sends this word:

Many of you may be following the news about the damage that hurricane Odile left behind as she passed across the Baja Peninsula. As refugees continue streaming out of the area aboard flights out of La Paz and San Jose Del Cabo, the stories are getting out.

Make no mistake, the area is devastated. The two main city areas are Cabo San Lucas and San Jose Del Cabo. These cities are about 18 miles apart. Between them is the area called The Corridor. The two cities and The Corridor are ground zero of this tragic unfolding natural disaster and humanitarian crisis.

For three decades now this part of Mexico has played host to yachts of all sizes and shapes, one of the key areas for yachting in the country.

YachtAid Global is doing everything possible to move aid into the area and provide whatever assistance we can to our friends, business partners and neighbors to the south.

Here is what we need from you:

1. Funds. With natural disasters, funding during the first days is critical. Click here to go to our donation page. It is easy to make a donation by credit card and we are a registered non profit organization.

2. Like Kind Donations. Donate the critical immediate needs items outlined on our home page YachtAid Global.

3. Volunteers. We need to get in contact with every private boat large or small that is leaving any port from Juneau Alaska on down to Ensenada that has plans to move south into or past Mexico in the coming weeks and months. Same with any private boats intending to transit the Panama Canal into the Pacific and head north or boats currently in Central America and Mexico that are planning to go north. Every boat can be part of the recovery support and have a meaningful impact. Contact YachtAid Global for more info on how to get involved.

4. Forward This Info. The reach of our collective network is vast. The yachting industry can and will play a major role in helping our friends and neighbors to the south stabilize and slowly recover. Please take a few seconds and forward this info to people you know.

Looking back a little further:

Sailing Yacht M5

“On September 14 YAG founder Mark Drewelow pitched relief assistance to the Captain of M5 sitting in safe harbor of Puerto Vallarta. September 15 Captain agrees and he and his crew head out and purchase urgent needs items like canned food, first aid supplies, tarps rope, portable generator, water containers and more. At 2100 same evening they cast off as hurricane Odile is working over La Paz.

At 0900 September 17 M5 drops anchor off La Paz, seems they were the first on scene with disaster relief. It took some hours to get safety assessments completed and to determine where to tie up to move aid ashore. September 18 at 0900 they tie up, move aid ashore and start pumping fresh drinking water into tanker trucks.

Trucks depart and take water out to two key facilities, the hospitals in both San Jose Del Cabo and in Cabo San Lucas. M5 has now been making water continuously into the 3rd day and three more to go. They are providing the most critically needed commodity after any devastating natural disaster, DRINKING WATER. There is a lot of planning and hour by hour logistical coordination involved to pull this off and it is not an entirely safe operation due to the nature of being in a natural disaster zone.”

Checking in at Puteri Harbour Marina

Fri, 2014-09-19 19:56

When engine issues took priority over adventuring, we needed a place at the southern end of the Malay peninsula to park Totem for a while. Puteri Harbour Marina, in Johor (just west of Singapore), made sense for a variety of reasons. It was a rigging job for Jamie that initially brought us there in June, and the friends that made coming back instead of looking elsewhere an easy decision.

weaving ketupat- little boxes to cook rice- from palm fronds for a hari raya celebration

Isn’t it always the people that make the place? During the weeks we spent there, we met a host of cruisers who are now cemented into great memories. Half a dozen other boats with kids came through, including Momo. Kid boats in the region tend to be on the lookout for each other, so we had been in touch by email for some time, but thought their plans to head to South Africa this year (and ours to be tooling around Borneo and the Philippines) might scuttle a meetup. Happily, they warmed to the idea of exploring Southeast Asia for a few months and we hope to share many anchorages in the Indian Ocean next year. And we met Bill, single handing on Solstice, who had a series of delays shifting his plans in a similar fashion and has since been providing excellent company as we work up the peninsula together.

It wasn’t just the other cruisers: staff in the office and the marina had ready smiles, and were helpful when we needed them. In the front office, they provided raw (recycled) materials and an enthusiastic audience for a wearable-art project jointly undertaken by our girls and Jana from Momo.

The downside to Puteri Harbour Marina is that you’re stuck in the outer reaches of Nusajaya, a planned city that’s under construction and mostly uninhabited. Other than the (swank, Shangri-La owned) Trader’s Hotel complex that backs the marina, there’s nothing around but mad construction. Well, unless Hello Kitty World or Legoland are a draw for you! Looking down from higher floors at the landscape being carved up into future neighborhoods it looks like a crazy life size sim. We’ve seen similar developments all over Malaysia, but none on quite as grand a scale. It means you can’t find a neighborhood and shops and interesting peeks into local culture when you go for a walk just empty roads and construction sites. Well- that’s not entirely true. There is a series of three government buildings that are mostly completed, called Kota Iskandar.

Diorama in the marina office: almost none of this is actually completed; maybe 25% is under construction

Stunning moorish architecture in Kota Iskandar’s government offices. They’re almost completely devoid of people, except the gardeners who give me grumpy sideways glances.

On the other hand, marina guests now have access to fitness center, steam room, and pool facilities at Trader’s. It’s somewhat limited (sign up in advance for your time slot), but they’re first rate.

One of the idiosyncrasies of Puteri Harbour that takes some adjustment stem from being situated across the river from a Singaporean military zone. We got used to the F16s, Chinooks, Apaches, and more overhead. It’s the machine gun fire that’s a little unsettling, along with the occasional large artillery fire that echoes in your eardrums or tracers streaking through the night.

Tracers give a visual to the crack of weapons some nights. Not recommended for anyone with PTSD

Since you need a ride to get to, well, anything, the marina graciously organizes a few different shuttles. Once a week, they run a service to the nearest fancypants mall, Aeon. With three levels crammed full of unnecessary consumer goods (and a few handy ones), it’s anchored by a large grocery store that caters to the expat population. We generally like keeping things local, but it was great to buy decidedly non-local treats like fresh rosemary or tarragon, not to mention baguettes. Mall shops include upscale retailers for the burgeoning Malaysian middle class, and come complete with an alley of franchise fast food outlets. It’s a little strange, the cachet that KFC and Pizza Hut (and Kenny Rogers Roasters- huh?) have locally. I’d rather have a nice bowl of char kwey tiao or laksa.

…or kacang ful, a.k.a. foul beans- served with chilies, onion, and egg and pita bread. YUM. Lousy phone pic…

On request (with a bit of notice), the marina can also organize a shuttle out to a strip mall about fifteen minutes away where more local-style grocery shopping was available. Mydin was the place we did most of our weekly shopping, although the aroma of dried fish and durian put off some. But I love the fact they have a huge fresh (whole and ground) spice selection, that their prices are reasonable, and you can get a better feel for what’s happening locally with their displays and special offers (like the piles of dates and gift envelopes during ramadan). I developed a tandoori chicken and cheese naan habit at the 24 hour Indian restaurant at one end; at the other, there’s a typical Malaysian food court, where stalls from a variety of cuisines (typically a mix of Malaysian, Indian, Indonesian, and Chinese but also often with Thai, Middle Eastern, “Western,” and sometimes Korean or Japanese) range around open seating. The family was hooked on shawarma from a middle eastern stall and I risked getting in trouble if a couple of them didn’t come back to Totem after a grocery run, although my favorite is the Kacang Ful above.

At top: just like a strip mall just about anywhere, right? Bottom: local fashion on sale, and a surprising number of durian varieties

On Tuesday nights, there’s a shuttle to the nearest weekly night market. We made this a family event many weeks, but Jamie and I liked it for a date night away too. After picking up fresh vegetables (the freshest around, and delicious seasonal fruit from the area), we’d sequester ourselves among the Chinese stalls at one end and eat barbecued pork belly washed down with beer alongside our fellow infidels.

Very fresh chicken, refrigeration optional

We were regulars here…

…but had to try many others. My favorite laksa stand at left.

For more upscale or deep provisioning, it’s cheap and easy to bus into Johor Bahru to find Cold Storage; it just takes time. Or grab a cab from central JB to buy in bulk at Pok Brothers. It’s cheap, and pretty easy (buses leave from the Trader’s hotel complex), but time consuming. The bus loop from JB Sentral (the main transportation hub, near the causeway to Singapore) is basically a mall-to-mall tour. It’s a kind of country cousin to the flashier insanity across the river.

The harbour is trashed, with styrofoam and plastic floating in and out every day…but at least no medical waste or dead animals, a feature of the marina in Danga

There isn’t much in the way of facilities for boats onsite, but the dock staff help as they can. Handling the formalities for clearance often involves dusty walks to destinations unknown looking for officials, making Puteri’s golf cart shuttle to a shiny new ferry terminal feel like white glove service. It was the staff who connected us with a service center to get our life raft serviced. The marina’s fuel dock always seems to be out of order, but again, dock staff can hook you up … or you can rent a car and fill your jerry cans at subsidized prices in a gas station. It’s kind of a wash between the cost of the rental to DIY, or the markup to the guys on the dock.

Oh, and easy access to cheap DIY laundry… HUGE.

Thanks to another round of shingles, I went to a health clinic in the strip mall. That doesn’t sound impressive, but it turns out the physician there was terrific. We ended up going back to her for basic physicals and blood work and I could get a should-be-annual-but-never-is exam, and Jamie could check his cholesterol levels. Convenient, friendly, excellent value.

The alternatives for moorage in Johor are a changing mix. Danga bay was popular for a few years, mainly because it was outrageously cheap: Puteri is around $20/night, depending on boat size and duration. But Danga has closed down, their space usurped by a development (at least, if it doesn’t lose funding- the last rumor, after most boats were evicted). Senibong Cove, new marina on the other side of the causeway seems to be stepping in where Danga left off by offering cheap rates to fill berths, but having a somewhat inconvenient location. We didn’t even consider Singapore, with the sky-high costs and guaranteed dock lockdown without AIS and other (surprise!) super rulesy oversight, and there’s really not an option for anything more than short term anchoring.

This area has a LOT of lightning. Won’t miss that!

What turned Puteri Harbour Marina from a fine place to park to the host spot for some great memories was the celebration at the end of Hari Raya, the month following Ramadan. Marina residents were invited to an unforgettable evening of delicious food, music and dancing, silly contests (Bill, from Zephyr, Jamie, and  Izam model “Carmen Miranda does batik” headgear along), and just really great camaraderie with all the dock and back office staff. It was an unforgettable evening that went beyond our expectations, just like our surprise stay in Puteri.

Checked in folks know we love it when you read this on the Sailfeed website.

  • facebook
  • twitter