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Matt Rutherford Sails for Japan: Trade Winds, Day 15.

Sail Feed - Sun, 2014-05-11 13:24

While I’m in Bermuda for the ARC Europe rally, my friends Matt and Nicole are 15 days into the Pacific, tackling the longest-ever continuous plastics research project onboard the 29-foot Sakura, bound for Japan. Matt’s been keeping a blog and sending in fairly regular posts over at oceanresearchproject.org. They’re very interesting and inspiring, so I’m reposting them here. They need all the help they can get (currently they’ve got only enough funds to get to Japan – help them get home!). Here’s Matt:

The trade winds can either be a blessing or a curse.  I sailed roughly 10,000 miles of the Pacific Ocean north to south while sailing around the Americas.  On my way to Cape Horn I had to sail directly into these same trade winds for 41 days straight.  Which is the longest I’ve ever been on one tack.  I don’t like beating into the wind and seas for 41 minutes, let alone 41 days.  I remember thinking how nice it would be to turn west, put the trades on my quarter and sail across the Pacific (the proper way).  A couple years later, that’s exactly what I’m doing.

The easterly trade winds do present a problem for our research.  It’s hard to slow down the boat enough to drag our Avani net when you have 6 foot seas pushing you along.  Forentino gave us one of their “shark” drogues before we left, which is supposed to be used in heavy weather.  We deploy it every day while collecting our samples.  Even with a drogue we don’t slow down enough; a few days ago I had to start tying an anchor to the back of the drogue, burying the drogue deeper in the water.  It’s rather silly to be down to a third reef and dragging a drogue in 15 knots of wind but that’s the only way we can slow Sakura down to 3.5kts.

We have accomplished Phase 1 of our marine plastics research.  Before we left Nicole spoke with several scientists to determine where scientists have and haven’t done marine plastics research in the Pacific.  During Phase 1 we were trying to find the southeastern edge of the North Pacific Gyre (Pacific Garbage Patch). We thought we found it few days ago; we had to sample in a southerly direction for a few more days to verify the finding, and now it’s verified.

Phase 2 is a comparative study.  We will sail south of the Hawaiian Islands sampling for micro plastics in the trades winds.  Most of the research has been done in the known Gyre region, very little has been done in the easterly trades. Buy collecting samples in the trades, when back on land, we can compare our findings with the known finding in the Pacific Gyre to determine how much of the micro plastics are staying in the Gyre and how much is getting displaced by the trade winds.

In some ways this expedition reminds me of my circumnavigation of the Americas.  We are on a small boat with a monitor windvane, sloop rig, single line reefing, freeze dried food and a manual water maker.  I used these same systems for 309 days while going around the Americas. In many ways I copied St. Brendan to keep things nice and familiar. On the other hand, I’m sailing with a strong, smart, beautiful woman. On a brand new boat, with no black mold, ice bergs, fog and general chaos.  Not to mention this is a research expedition.

Daily life is pretty simple, although it’s hard for me to say when the day begins as most nights I hardly sleep a wink. I’m too busy keeping a course and listening for problems.  Once we do “get up” we make a cup of coffee, which is breakfast, write a report in the ships log book and prepare to drag our net and collect samples.  It takes a half hour to set up the spinnaker pole and deploy the drogue.  While we are collecting our sample we pump the water maker. Nikki and I take shifts pumping the water maker for an hour and a half to make the 5 litters of water we need for the next 24 hours.  After collecting our samples we pull the drogue, stow away the spinnaker pole and make dinner.  I’m not really sure if dinner is the right word for it, as we only eat once a day. The rest of the day we manage the vessel, read, write and try to rest.  Then we do it all over again the next day, and the next day, and the next day. The simplicity of life at sea.

The film about my circumnavigation of the Americas will be done soon, you can see the trailer at .

-Matt Rutherford

A Sailor’s Marathon Guide, Day 6: Running for Mom

Sail Feed - Sun, 2014-05-11 08:30

Andy and his mom Gail delivering a Corbin 39 to Newport in 2010 (?).

It’s Sunday on Bermuda. Mother’s Day in the USA. I ran Ft. George Hill today, many times, up to Bermuda Radio. There’s no better motivation than picturing your dying mother in a hospital bed in the living room of your childhood house, the only place you ever knew as home, gasping for air during the final moments of her life, and knowing that that moment could have come two years before it actually did, but that she never quit living despite the horrible death sentence that her brain cancer diagnosis should have been. Nope. Running hills is easy with that image in your head.

My mom is directly responsible for a lot of things in my life, most obviously life itself. I’m writing this from Bermuda because she constantly espoused “do what you love, and the money will follow.” But it’s that one day in the driveway when we were throwing the football and I asked her to help me get healthy and in shape that I’m reminded of most today. I wrote about it last week. And if I die at age 62 like she did with an alien growing inside my head, well, I will have lived well. As she did, thanks to her.

So, emotional morning for me. Everybody needs some kind of motivation, right? Anyway, back to the technical part of this little series, which it was meant to be. Today’s the 6th day I’ve run here in Bermuda (the only off day was yesterday, when I spent the day in the sun down on the fuel dock organizing the duty-free refueling here for the ARC Europe yachts). My breakdown of routines, with some notes, follows (recall that this is by no means a scientific plan – it’s my way of training for a marathon, nothing more):

Day 1: 63 minutes, double Bermuda loop. Tired & sluggish. Wrote about it last week.

Day 2: 29 minutes, east Bermuda loop. Unremarkable, easy jog. Not sure of the milage, but I’d get about 3 ½.

Day 3: 29 minutes, east Bermuda loop, this time with Mia. We went for a swim afterwards, which Mia wrote about the other day.

Day 4: 49 minutes, modified Bermuda rail-trail loop, with Mia. Slow pace, about 9 min/mile. I’d guess we covered about 9km between the asphalt roads, golf cart path at the old St. Georges club and along part of the rail-trail.

Day 5: 54 minutes, run by myself. Double loop again, like the one below, but without some of the little side excursions. Ran a bit faster today, probably 8:40 min/mile or so, for maybe 10km. Felt pretty good. Little niggle behind my right knee, which I attribute to a tight hamstring, which is a constant battle.

Day 6 (yesterday): Didn’t run, but did some pushups and ab work: 71 total pushups in 3 sets, 3 sets of sit-ups x 30, 3 sets of leg lifts x 60 and 3 sets of 45-second side-planks.

Day 7 (today): The aforementioned Mother’s Day Hill Run up Ft. George Hill to Bermuda Radio. The hill is about ¼-mile long in total, and rises to about 200 feet from sea level. The road’s probably at about 30′, so the climb itself is only maybe 150-175′. I jogged from the little apartment just down the street in town, then continued the length of the hill to the top. Afterwards, I walked only about ¼ of the way down – the steepest part is the last bit at the top – and did ten all-out repeats from here, each taking maybe 15-20 seconds. The hill is steep enough that by the top my legs are barely turning over as the lactic acid builds up in the muscles, and I’m gasping for air by the end (I make a point never to bend over and put my hands on my knees, no matter how knackered I feel. I simply walk back down and do it all over again). For the last one, I walked back down to the road and did one last full hill, then jogged back to the house and ate 4 eggs, ½ an avocado and some sour cream for breakfast.

Thoughts on Week 1 of training? I’m absolutely in the best shape of my life, physically anyway, though I probably don’t look it. I read a great article in Outside Magazine about CrossFit training for marathons, and realize that while I don’t follow the plan to the letter, I’ve been combining some of those CrossFit exercises into my routine for over ten years (I got my first kettle bell as a freshman in college in 2002, way ahead of the curve on that fad!). Over at Dane’s Garage Strength gym, I’ve been doing olympic lifts and rope climbs and box jumps now for a couple years. My backs in pretty good shape (knock on wood), my knees feel great and I’m faster than I’ve ever been.

I say I don’t look as fit, because I think I looked my best when I lived in Australia in 2005 for my semester abroad. Back then I was exclusively lifting weights and not running at all. I bought my first road bike there and got into cycling, so that kind of marked my transition from the weight room to the great outdoors and the endurance sports I’ve been into since. But I went too far that way around 2010 – all endurance and no weight training actually can make you fat, and as I used to weigh 255, I’m particularly prone to easily putting nasty-looking weight back on if I’m not paying attention. As you can guess, going from 255 to 168, where I’m at now, I have an excess of skin around my waist (thankfully though I think I’m the only one who notices – it could have been much worse). Mia loves to grab this when we’re riding the mopeds around Bermuda! But, alas, that’s the price I paid for growing up a fat kid.

So the point I began with is that the combination now of weight lifting and running and cycling has put me in the best physical shape of my life, though I don’t exactly look it because I’m not exclusively in the weight room (and I eat a lot, just all good stuff). In Telluride in February, I hiked the 13,000+ foot peak – over a mile from start to finish, and a 1500-foot elevation gain over that span – in ski boots, shouldering my skis, with no problems at all, and proceeded to bomb down the mountain from the top. That’s why I exercise.

So thanks to mom for the memories, and for the motivation this morning. It may have sounded morbid, but I’m finally, after two years since her death, remembering (mostly), the good memories, and her sickness is slowly receding to the back of my brain. The sun’s out, the birds are chirping and the world around beautiful St. Georges is full of life, if you just open your eyes and take it in – that lesson is her greatest legacy, the one I cherish the most.

THOMAS TANGVALD: Declared Lost At Sea

Sail Feed - Fri, 2014-05-09 18:35

I really really hope this turns out not to be true. You’ll recall I published a rather long post last spring about Thomas Tangvald, son of the famous traditional-boat cruiser Peter Tangvald. Thomas, who lost his dad and half-sister Carmen on reef off Bonaire when he was just 15, had started publishing a series of articles in All At Sea about a voyage with his own son and pregnant wife from the Caribbean to Brazil aboard a traditional Puerto Rican nativo sloop, Oasis, that he had refit and reconfigured for ocean sailing.

Unfortunately, I recently received word from Jacques Mertens, Thomas’s step-grandfather (it’s a complicated family, read the earlier post to figure it out) that Thomas was reported missing at sea two months ago and now has been officially reported lost at sea by the Brazilian coast guard. Thomas had been sailing singlehanded from French Guyana to Brazil aboard Oasis, having set out in late January. He had been working in Cayenne, French Guyana, designing fishing boats for a local company there.

According to Jacques, the French Garde Cotes have not given up and are still searching for Thomas. “Normally I would consider him lost, but Thomas is a very special person,” Jacques wrote me in an e-mail. “I still have some hope that Thomas is on anchor somewhere drinking cocktails and will reappear to surprise everybody.”

I sure hope so, too, but at this point in the game it seems increasingly unlikely.

I was just thinking of him, too, as I only recently discovered he had started publishing a blog of his own, called Tangvald: Sailing Adventures and Boat Design. It’s a very interesting mix of personal history, background on Oasis and nativo sloops, traditional sailing craft generally, and some quite technical discussions of boat design.

He also posted this video of him and his family sailing aboard Oasis before he refit her. He in fact was (is?) a highly intelligent and very independent young man. Truly one of a kind.

Scott Takes Finn Europeans

Sail Feed - Fri, 2014-05-09 15:20



News from Robert Deaves and the Finn Class, May 9, 2014

Though he didn’t have the best of days, Giles Scott (GBR) did enough to wrap up his second European Finn title, and with a day to spare. Friday’s lighter and patchy conditions were probably the most challenging of the week, with race wins going to Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) and Andrew Mills (GBR). Defending champion Vasilij Zbogar (SLO) is in second and guaranteed a medal, while Ed Wright (GBR) is back up to third.

It was a mixed day on the water with a lot of place changes inside the top 10. Only Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) can move into the top three, but even that is a long shot, as he is now 15 points adrift. Jonathan Lobert (FRA) has lost any chance of a podium place after an unlucky day while another high score from Pieter-Jan Postma (NED) also puts him too far down. Meanwhile Thomas Le Breton (FRA) and Andrew Murdoch (NZL) had a great day to put them into the top 10, and into the medal race.

But before the racing began, the day started on a sad note of remembrance. Sailors and organisers gathered on the deck of the Société des Régates Rochelaises (SRR) for a minute silence in memory of Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson, who was lost a year ago today. It was an emotional start to the day, matched by the inclement weather, The starting gun marked the beginning and end of a minute of silence, with the Finn class flag remaining at half mast in memory of a lost friend.

After three long days on the water, racing was scheduled for the slightly later time of 12.00 with just two races needed to complete the opening series. The forecast was similar to past days, with 10-14 knots expected. However in race 9 the wind barely exceeded 8-10 knots. All eyes were on Giles Scott (GBR) and while he was on the front row on the middle right, the left side came in so strong that he rounded in the 30s. First round was Jakub Marciniak (POL) from Le Breton and Kljakovic Gaspic.

Marciniak held his lead through the gate but on the second beat, with the left again favoured, Kljakovic Gaspic moved ahead and built a sizeable lead to win the race. Marciniak rounded the top in second with Ioannis Mitakis (GRE) in third, but it all changed again downwind, with Vasilij Zbogar (SLO) slipping through to second. Scott recovered to 15th but it wasn’t enough to secure victory yet.

After a number of recalls, race 10 got under way with Scott starting conservatively and getting buried. He had to bail out and duck several transoms before finding clear air. The left again paid with Mills rounding with a nice lead from Fernando Ros Martinez (ESP), Postma and Jake Lilley (AUS). Scott rounded in 10th and looked pretty safe, with Zbogar not too far away. The wind peaked at 12-13 knots on the first downwind, but soon started to drop as the fleet rounded the gate.

Mills immediately sailed into a useful lead downwind and left the others to fight for second. Postma was up to second by the gate from Alejandro Foglia (URU), while Murdoch sailed the second upwind well to move up to fourth. Scott was tight on Zbogar to make sure of the title and they both lost ground out to the right.

On the final run the wind went really light and Mills was starting to look nervous as it was still free pumping. Nothing much changed though except Jorge Zarif (BRA) came through into third. Mills won by nearly 90 seconds from Postma, Zarif and Murdoch. A fourth for Murdoch got him the final space in the medal race on countback.

Lobert said he was happy to have the Finn fleet on his local waters but was disappointed with the way things tuned out for him. “I was very happy to have all the guys around here this week. Usually I never race here, I just train, so it’s very different when we are racing.”

“The wind was very uneven today, and it was not a lucky day for me. It was so crazy how I lost it on the first race. I was on the left, looking good and crossing in front of the fleet, and then I got no wind and in about 30 seconds to a minute I lost everything. So then I was far back, and there was no chance to come back.”

“Then I tried to refocus for the second race but I had a difficult start so that was not an easy race again. So a pretty tough day. I lost the chance for the podium. I will try for fourth but I’m disappointed not to be able to fight for the podium in my home town and with losing it in such a way, I feel bad, because I was doing everything well.”

Mills explained his race. “I started about a quarter of the way up from the pin, sailed fast on the shifts and tried quite hard. I had it all set up properly so it felt good. On the second beat, PJ tacked to go through the pack, and I didn’t think that was the best idea and it wasn’t a great number so I split from him and then when we came back he’d lost loads. It dropped out pretty light on the last run, down to about 5 knots and it’s always bound to come from behind when it fills back in, and with unlimited pumping you can make up some ground pretty quickly. I was a bit nervous but there wasn’t a lot you could do about it. But it feels good to get a bullet for Bart today.”

Kljakovic Gaspic said, “It was quite an interesting day. It was tricky with the tide over on the right, but I was convinced that the left was going to pay, so I almost went to the layline. Finally I had a nice start and everything went well.”

“Since the first day I have been really conservative in all the starts and this was killing me and every first beat I was struggling to stay in contact with the fleet. Finally I was a bit more relaxed.”

“The second race was basically the same, I tacked early across the group. In one moment it really looked nice then there was a small shift and I tacked a little early but then I had to come back on the downwind. The last downwind was pretty strange and difficult for everyone after long days on the water all week. Free pumping in five knots is very difficult. It looks a bit ridiculous but is still part of the game.”

“Tomorrow will be difficult to get on the podium so it’s going to be tough. I am a little bit too late this week. I was not at my best, perhaps a bit too tired after a lot of time away from home racing.”

Ed Wright (GBR) has sailed well all week, especially on the upwinds. “It’s all pretty close for the medals, so should be fun out there tomorrow. Giles has had a great week and just scooted away. I think upwind I was probably good to the top mark all week, but I have not really focussed on my downwind this winter in training. So now I need to go away and put some hours together working on that and put the package together ready for Santander.”

Scott just has to sail the medal race to take the title. Was it a nervous day for him? “The day was made more nervous by not having a great race in the first one. A 15th put me through to the medal race in a good position, but in the last race I just stuck with Vasilij. Then I had a shocker of a start, I was back from the line, with bad acceleration, and people just went round me. I managed to get a righty across to the guys on the left and Vasilij was in that group and then from there I had control over him. It was tight down the first run but on the second beat I put a close cover on him and managed to extend away.”

“It’s quite nice to be able to go into a medal race like that. I will of course try and win it, and give it my all. I’m pretty relaxed, and very happy.”

In the Junior Championship, Lilley still leads Zarif, but by a reduced points margin of just 25. With both sailors already having a BFD from Race 1, tomorrow’s race will count and decide who takes the title. Defending champion Peter McCoy (GBR) is now back up to third overall, though has three more juniors within 17 points, so for the Juniors there is still very much all to play for.

The medal race is scheduled for 14.00 on Saturday, but before that the final race for the rest of the fleet is scheduled for 11.00.

Results after 10 races
1 GBR41 Giles SCOTT 24
2 SLO 573 Vasilij ZBOGAR 58
3 GBR 11 Edward WRIGHT 66
4 CRO 524 Ivan KLJAKOVIC GASPIC 81
5 FRA 112 Jonathan LOBERT 85
6 GBR 85 Andrew MILLS 90
7 NED 842 Pieter-Jan POSTMA 107
8 HUN 40 Zsombor BERECZ 108
9 FRA 29 Thomas LE BRETON 111
10 NZL 16 Andrew MURDOCH 128

Full results: Finn European Championship

Podcast Preview: Trimaran Geronimo Takes on the Pacific

Sail Feed - Thu, 2014-05-08 20:50

This is cool. I spoke with Jean-Charles & Antoine, the skipper & mate of the VPLP cat Tosca today in Bermuda. The conversation will be on the 59º North Podcast sometime next week, but I wanted to share this first for a little preview. Turns out Jean-Charles & Antoine were both crew onboard the VPLP tri Geronimo when they set just about every sailing speed record on the books (including the Jules Verne trophy, round-the-world nonstop in 63 days!). Jean-Charles sent me this YouTube video of Geronimo in the pacific. Some fun stats – their top speed was 46 knots (!), and best days run over 650 miles. (Tosca, by the way, is no slouch either – the 61-foot carbon fiber cat, also a VPLP design, sailed from Portsmouth, VA to Bermuda in 3 days! Top speed: 18 knots). Here’s the video:

SPLASHED: In Early May! First Time Ever

Sail Feed - Wed, 2014-05-07 18:12

Lunacy got launched and rigged at Maine Yacht Center on Monday. I was up there yesterday and managed to get all the sails on before the rain squalls started up. As you can see from the photo up top, I’ve scored some new canvas, courtesy of Richard Hallett: a replacement purple dodger, a new bright red sail cover, and a new bright blue sunshield on the headsail. At last this is close to the canvas-color configuration I envisioned when I first got the boat, lo these many years ago. (Please note: the canvas multi colors match those of the name graphic, the logic of which I’ve explained before.)

Every spring I’ve launched a cruising sailboat in New England, I always swear I’ll be afloat as early as possible in May. But something always happens–endless varnishing projects (back when I had boats with brightwork), or some awful unforeseen time-consuming repair (most commonly), or simple mission creep (stuff taking much longer than expected)–and usually I’m lucky if the damn boat is in by mid-June. So I’m feeling pretty pleased about this. Apprehensive, too. As predicted in my last post on this subject, the blizzard should be hitting any day now!

We did have one unexpected hiccup just prior to launching, which cost a few days. As part of the rudder-skeg welding project, I asked MYC to install a new bearing where the rudder stock pierces the transom scoop. The old poured-epoxy bearing, of questionable provenance, had to be chipped out prior to the welding anyway, as it was very close to where all the action (i.e., heat) was. MYC proposed inserting a plastic Delrin bearing, which sounded perfect to me.

Here you see the new skeg root with finished fillets, post primer, prior to bottom paint being applied. The new Delrin bearing can be seen inside the tube that penetrates the transom scoop

This is the alternative solution adopted by Jean-Claude Fontaine, who owns one of Lunacy‘s five sister-ships and had a similar problem with the external skeg weld failing. He fabricated a whole new skeg and carried it into the interior of the boat, where it was tied into the internal framing (Thanks to Jean-Claude for sharing the photo!)

After Lunacy‘s rudder was reinstalled, we found it was binding terribly on the bearing and it was very hard to turn the rudder. On closer inspection we realized the bearing tube is a little out of whack and isn’t perfectly parallel to the rudder stock. This, I reckon, was why a poured-epoxy bearing was installed in the first place. Fortunately, it only took a couple of days to remove the plastic bearing and pour a new epoxy one around the stock.

As noted earlier, MYC is a very good place to ogle OPBs (Other People’s Boats). This is American Promise, Dodge Morgan’s old boat, which was launched while I was there yesterday.

That’s a brand new cabinhouse on her. The plywood core of the old one was thoroughly rotten, so MYC removed it over the winter and built a new one.

American Promise with her house off

Promise also needed work done on her rudder. They had to cut a hole in the storage shed floor to drop it

Back to my new dodger. I had Richard modify the design a bit.

I asked that the window be made smaller so that I could fold the dodger down without mashing it all up at the corners. It’s not quite as spiffy looking, but it’s much more practical. I still have a good view of the mainsheet traveler, which is what I mostly look through the window at anyway.

Here you see the dodger with its side-wings on; in the photo up top those are off. I normally only put those on when thrashing to weather in gnarly conditions.

I’ve still got a bunch of work to do on the boat, so I’m hoping to get up there tomorrow. I’ll be wearing my snowshoes just in case.

An Emmy for America’s Cup Mobile App

Sail Feed - Wed, 2014-05-07 11:22

No surprise here. The word from our friends at AC—

The America’s Cup Mobile App has won an Emmy Award in the Outstanding New Approaches – Sports Event Coverage category.

The win, coming in a new category at the Emmy Awards, recognizes a seismic shift in how the sport of sailing is covered and consumed.

Through the America’s Cup mobile app, fans could get race results, video, race animation graphics, wind and tide information, and photos, as well as engage in chat, all in real time – on their tablet or phone, from anywhere in the world.

The America’s Cup Mobile App was developed with Animation Research Limited.

See more on the America’s Cup Mobile App here.

“We had two main goals when we approached this last America’s Cup,” said ORACLE TEAM USA skipper Jimmy Spithill, who was on hand in New York for the Sports Emmy Awards ceremony.

“We wanted to win the race, which we did, thankfully. But we also wanted to make our sport more exciting and accessible to casual viewers and general sports fans through better television and multimedia production. These five nominations, and especially this award for the Mobile App, is recognition for all the people who worked so hard to achieve that vision.”

With five nominations, the America’s Cup was among the most recognized events or leagues at the Sports Emmy Awards. This follows on the heels of a previous Sports Emmy Award for Technical Innovation, for AC LiveLine, a revolutionary graphics package that allowed information and graphics to be overlaid on live television pictures, adding layers of information to the live broadcast.

“It’s not often that you have an opportunity to transform the way a sport or an event reaches its fans,” said America’s Cup Director of Technology Stan Honey.

“With the America’s Cup Mobile App, AC LiveLine, and the other broadcast innovations, we have made a sport that in the past could be difficult to follow, into one that is now impossible to ignore.”

The next America’s Cup is scheduled for 2017.

A note from Bob Berg aka Baba

Sail Feed - Wed, 2014-05-07 10:44

I contacted Bob Berg when I began writing this blog series on the Baba’s. He was a bit slow getting back to me but he did yesterday. I think I’ll just post Bob’s email to me as it clears up a few details that I was wrong or fuzzy on at the time.

 

Thanks Bob.

 

 

Sorry to be getting back to you so late. Both Arline and I have had acute bronchitis  & other problems for last three weeks and it has taken all of our “get-up-and-go” energy. I’m now on the way back and Arline is just starting to feel better.

 

Re retail price of the first Baba-30′s. In looking back, it appears that the first few boats sold in 1977 for somewhere around $33,000 f.o.b. Taiwan, or about $38,500 commissioned on the West Coast. The price was set for the first few boats and then went up once the yard found out their true costs of building the boat.

 

I am not sure of the number of 30′d built. My best guess is somewhere around 150 to 200. I had sold out my interest in Flying Dutchman who owned the tooling for the 30 and 35 when I started working with the yard on the Panda-40/Tashiba-40. So I don’t know when the yard stopped the Baba-30 production and started the Tashiba-31 production in its place.

 

The Baba-30 tooling and first group of Baba-30′s were built by Shing Sheng Dockyard (the Ta-Shing yard was not built at that time). It was only after the 30 production started that C.M. Juan and the yard saw the future of the boats and built the new Ta Shing facilities to build the sailboats. When I took the 30 hull lines to Shing Sheng, they were building crude Taiwan fishing boats. But I found that they were also building a beautiful small Japanese ¼ tonner sailboat. This project was being supervised by Mr. Shiga Ota. I think that the quality that Ta-Shing was able to achieve had a lot to do with the close friendship that C.M. Juan had with the owners of the Fuji yacht yard in Japan who were advising C.M. Juan on the ¼ tonner. I remember a few nice lunch and dinners with C.M and the Japanese Fuji builders.

 

I think that fast trip between Tainan and Taipei came about the time we introduced the Baba-35 hull lines to Ta-Shing.   We had our final lunch with Ta-Shing, but had to get back to Taipei for a dinner appointment that same evening with the folks from Gold Island to talk about the Tatoosh-42 that was just starting the tooling at their yard in Keelung (that project was later passed on to Angel Marine in Kasoshiung). While I don’t remember too much about that day, I do remember having to make sure you got back to your hotel and were tucked in bed that night! I think we all did remarkably well considering the Black Label/Taiwan Beer & Chinese plum wine. The Gold Island manager also passed out that evening!

Those were good times…

 

I’m not sure just what pictures I still have in storage of the early Taiwan days. Sorry to say, we had two large picture albums of early Taiwan boat building stolen from our Panda-40 exhibit during one of the early boat shows in the Kingdome.

 

Bob

Working the Priority List

Sail Feed - Tue, 2014-05-06 19:02
 

Every sailor knows the true story behind the Odyssey.  It didn’t take Odysseus ten years to get home after the Trojan War because the gods were annoyed with him and he got blown off-course: he was late because his boat kept breaking and he had to fix it.  Heck, if I had ten years of repair delays to explain, I’d tell my spouse the same thing.  ”Sorry, honey, I was fighting a cyclops.”  It sounds so much cooler than, “Sorry, honey, that hole in the bilge just kept opening up.”

There is no such thing as a boat in perfect condition.  There is always work to be done.  Always.  The goal is to make it just a little further down the priority list.  Our holy grail, like that of many sailors, is to redo the teak.  When we have fixed and maintained the boat to the point that teak makes it to the top of the list,I’ll know that our boat is pretty mint.  (Either that, or we’ll be trying to sell it.)

I’ve been doing my best to keep Papillon in good repair while the captain is away.  I run the engine, watch the battery bank like a hawk, and generally try to keep us above water while still making sure the young ladies are educated, fed, clothed and otherwise presentable.

Some weeks it is easier than others.

Number one on my list last week was to modify the beautiful splash guards Erik made for the dinghy.  Not a big project: some Sunbrella, some velcro, and we’d be in business.

And then the engine started to sputter.

I’ve been around long enough to know what air in the fuel lines sounds like.  Time to bleed the engine.  No problem: I have a handy 20-point list to remind me when to bleed which filter with what wrench, how not to destroy the fuel injectors, and so on.  And, to make a long story short, Stylish and I bled the engine.

A lovely meal and a sunset later, I decided to start my sewing project bright and early the next morning.  But as the girls were preparing for bed, all was quiet for just a moment.  And I heard A Noise.

No one ever wants to hear A Noise on a boat.  But even less do you want to ignore A Noise.  A Noise always means that you are about to be exhausted, dirty, and possibly a little freaked out, but you’d better track it down or Bad Things Will Happen.

This was a drip-drip-splash noise, which may be my least favorite of all the noises.  I opened the floorboards, and sure enough – the bilge was full almost to the brim.  On went the serious bilge pump.  And I started tracking.

When I found the source of the drippity-drip,I was not happy.  It was coming from the bottom of the sail locker.  Of course it was.  What, you thought I was going to have a leak in a convenient, accessible place?  Pfft.  No.  So, out came the sails.  All of the sails.  And because the sail locker is about five feet deep…

… now my cockpit looked like this:

And where, you ask, was that leak?  Down, down, way down in the starboard aft corner of the locker is a hose leading to a sea cock.  And just at the point the hose meets the floorboards, the hose failed.

Getting the seacock closed was another mighty task, because, despite regular care, it was stiff and salty and generally recalcitrant.  It required the attention of arms more burly than mine.  But there is nothing I like better early on a Sunday morning than to beg a favor from a neighbour, and so one duly arrived to help me out.  I modified the floorboard, washed everything and set it out to dry, and generally felt glad that we weren’t sinking any longer.
And there was much rejoicing.

All the girls wanted to know was, when were the pancakes showing up? Because I had foolishly promised to make pancakes for breakfast the evening before.  They weren’t interested in excuses such as, “the boat is sinking.”  (I should have tried that cyclops thing; I’ll have to remember that for next time.)  I could always sew the dinghy in the afternoon.

So I made pancakes.  We ate pancakes.  And then I turned on the tap to wash the dishes.

Silence.

This is a time when you actually want A Noise.  Namely, the water pump.  But, no dice.

Up came the floorboards, out came the multimeter, and a lot of mucking around and more (different) neighbourly help later, it was determined that the pressure switch was shot.

A day and a half and three chandleries later, I found a new pressure switch. Amazingly enough, it was in stock, a situation I am not accustomed to any longer.  And now the water pump works again.

So today I am going to do my sewing project.  As soon as I am done this blog post.  And I make the kids lunch.  And I finish cleaning the cyclone lines and getting rid of the tire fenders we don’t need anymore.  Yep, by the end of the day, that sucker will be sewn.

If not, I think I’ll blame it on a witch named Circe…

Working the Priority List

Sail Feed - Tue, 2014-05-06 19:02
 

Every sailor knows the true story behind the Odyssey.  It didn’t take Odysseus ten years to get home after the Trojan War because the gods were annoyed with him and he got blown off-course: he was late because his boat kept breaking and he had to fix it.  Heck, if I had ten years of repair delays to explain, I’d tell my spouse the same thing.  ”Sorry, honey, I was fighting a cyclops.”  It sounds so much cooler than, “Sorry, honey, that hole in the bilge just kept opening up.”

There is no such thing as a boat in perfect condition.  There is always work to be done.  Always.  The goal is to make it just a little further down the priority list.  Our holy grail, like that of many sailors, is to redo the teak.  When we have fixed and maintained the boat to the point that teak makes it to the top of the list,I’ll know that our boat is pretty mint.  (Either that, or we’ll be trying to sell it.)

I’ve been doing my best to keep Papillon in good repair while the captain is away.  I run the engine, watch the battery bank like a hawk, and generally try to keep us above water while still making sure the young ladies are educated, fed, clothed and otherwise presentable.

Some weeks it is easier than others.

Number one on my list last week was to modify the beautiful splash guards Erik made for the dinghy.  Not a big project: some Sunbrella, some velcro, and we’d be in business.

And then the engine started to sputter.

I’ve been around long enough to know what air in the fuel lines sounds like.  Time to bleed the engine.  No problem: I have a handy 20-point list to remind me when to bleed which filter with what wrench, how not to destroy the fuel injectors, and so on.  And, to make a long story short, Stylish and I bled the engine.

A lovely meal and a sunset later, I decided to start my sewing project bright and early the next morning.  But as the girls were preparing for bed, all was quiet for just a moment.  And I heard A Noise.

No one ever wants to hear A Noise on a boat.  But even less do you want to ignore A Noise.  A Noise always means that you are about to be exhausted, dirty, and possibly a little freaked out, but you’d better track it down or Bad Things Will Happen.

This was a drip-drip-splash noise, which may be my least favorite of all the noises.  I opened the floorboards, and sure enough – the bilge was full almost to the brim.  On went the serious bilge pump.  And I started tracking.

When I found the source of the drippity-drip,I was not happy.  It was coming from the bottom of the sail locker.  Of course it was.  What, you thought I was going to have a leak in a convenient, accessible place?  Pfft.  No.  So, out came the sails.  All of the sails.  And because the sail locker is about five feet deep…

… now my cockpit looked like this:

And where, you ask, was that leak?  Down, down, way down in the starboard aft corner of the locker is a hose leading to a sea cock.  And just at the point the hose meets the floorboards, the hose failed.

Getting the seacock closed was another mighty task, because, despite regular care, it was stiff and salty and generally recalcitrant.  It required the attention of arms more burly than mine.  But there is nothing I like better early on a Sunday morning than to beg a favor from a neighbour, and so one duly arrived to help me out.  I modified the floorboard, washed everything and set it out to dry, and generally felt glad that we weren’t sinking any longer.
And there was much rejoicing.

All the girls wanted to know was, when were the pancakes showing up? Because I had foolishly promised to make pancakes for breakfast the evening before.  They weren’t interested in excuses such as, “the boat is sinking.”  (I should have tried that cyclops thing; I’ll have to remember that for next time.)  I could always sew the dinghy in the afternoon.

So I made pancakes.  We ate pancakes.  And then I turned on the tap to wash the dishes.

Silence.

This is a time when you actually want A Noise.  Namely, the water pump.  But, no dice.

Up came the floorboards, out came the multimeter, and a lot of mucking around and more (different) neighbourly help later, it was determined that the pressure switch was shot.

A day and a half and three chandleries later, I found a new pressure switch. Amazingly enough, it was in stock, a situation I am not accustomed to any longer.  And now the water pump works again.

So today I am going to do my sewing project.  As soon as I am done this blog post.  And I make the kids lunch.  And I finish cleaning the cyclone lines and getting rid of the tire fenders we don’t need anymore.  Yep, by the end of the day, that sucker will be sewn.

If not, I think I’ll blame it on Circe…

J Class ‘Rainbow’ Sighting in Bermuda as ARC Europe set to arrive.

Sail Feed - Tue, 2014-05-06 16:20

Andy snapped this one on his iPhone as Rainbow headed out Town Cut and into the Atlantic, Azores bound.

Another year and another trip to back to Bermuda. Lyall, Mia & I – the ARC Europe ‘Yellowshirt’ team – arrived on island yesterday. Lyall and Mia will be familiar faces to the BVI fleet, while I was on hand in Portsmouth for the folks leaving the continental USA. 

It never ceases to amaze us, this tiny island in the middle of the ocean. We were reminded yesterday of why we like it here so much. The colors on Bermuda don’t make sense. On a sunny day, with the pastel paint on the houses around St. Georges and the electric blue water around the shallow reefs and pink beaches, it really looks imaginary. Alice in Wonderland type stuff. Inspiring.

The first boat is due to arrive later this afternoon, the 61’ carbon-fiber Moxie catamaran Tosca. They’re making remarkable progress, having left Portsmouth only just after noon on Saturday. As of 5pm Bermuda time Tuesday, they were within striking distance of the island, only ten miles out, and a full 250 miles ahead of the next closest, another cat actually, the Dean 440 Mariposa

Us Yellowshirts have been busy nonetheless since arriving last night, getting organized at the St. George’s Dinghy & Sports Club and re-familiarizing ourselves with the town we call home each year for ten days. Exploring the cobbled streets last night, we walked, following the main street just in town, passing Somer’s Grocery on mthe left and arching up the hill towards the Dinghy & Sports Club. There are some impressive yachts in the harbor: the giant red Swan Red Sky is in port, as are a few massive super yachts, including the big ketch Adele and a host of others at Bermuda Yacht Services on Ordnance Island. The J Class Rainbow just raised anchor at Bermuda Yacht Services and motored by the Dinghy Club as she headed through the cut and out to sea, bound for the Azores. 

And then there’s the smaller cruising boats in the anchorage. This place is a haven for the ‘real’ sailor – it’s at least 600 miles from anywhere, and at any given time in the spring and fall ‘moving’ season, you’ve got an impressive list of boats and sailors hanging around.
 
Meanwhile at sea, the BVI fleet has experienced some variable winds since the start in Nanny Cay on Saturday. It’s evident by the amount of logs up on the website that the sailors have some spare time to kill and the weather is good.
 
Webster wrote in their log on Monday, “We motored much of last night with little if any wind. Just before day break there was a puff of wind on my neck so up with the sails and by the time Dave and Neal came on deck at 7am we were sailing in 10 knots from the SW.” 

They also had their first rain squall, which brought 30 knots of wind and heavy rain for a bit. The Boat Andromeda had some engine trouble after the start. They turned the engine on in the light winds and after some trouble-shooting realized that the gear box needs repair and has unfortunately decided to turn back to Nanny Cay to have it fixed. Athenea, the third catamaran in the Portsmouth fleet, also had some trouble and are back at Ocean Marine Yacht Center in Portsmouth for repairs to their transmission. They hope to be back at sea by tomorrow or Thursday.
 
The fleet has also reported some wildlife sightings. Anettine reported in their log  “We had dolphins visiting us in the afternoon, one of them showed off just beside the boat and made 3 high jumps while spinning at very high speed. Beautiful!” On Webster “We saw a Stormy Petrel today, have not seen one before. A beautiful bird, which looked like a large hawk to my eye. It must have had an eye on the chicken and avocado wraps we had for lunch – no chance.”

And so it goes. It’s now been three full days of ocean sailing for the yachts on their way across the Atlantic, but a preview of what’s to come. Arguably, the most difficult part of the passage is now behind them – oftentimes leaving the dock is the hardest part about a big passage. Now at sea, the work behind them (and hopefully the stress), the crews can start living out the dreams they’ve been planning for so long. Here’s to them.

J Class ‘Rainbow’ Sighting in Bermuda as ARC Europe set to arrive.

Sail Feed - Tue, 2014-05-06 16:20

Andy snapped this one on his iPhone as Rainbow headed out Town Cut and into the Atlantic, Azores bound.

Another year and another trip to back to Bermuda. Lyall, Mia & I – the ARC Europe ‘Yellowshirt’ team – arrived on island yesterday. Lyall and Mia will be familiar faces to the BVI fleet, while I was on hand in Portsmouth for the folks leaving the continental USA. 

It never ceases to amaze us, this tiny island in the middle of the ocean. We were reminded yesterday of why we like it here so much. The colors on Bermuda don’t make sense. On a sunny day, with the pastel paint on the houses around St. Georges and the electric blue water around the shallow reefs and pink beaches, it really looks imaginary. Alice in Wonderland type stuff. Inspiring.

The first boat is due to arrive later this afternoon, the 61’ carbon-fiber Moxie catamaran Tosca. They’re making remarkable progress, having left Portsmouth only just after noon on Saturday. As of 5pm Bermuda time Tuesday, they were within striking distance of the island, only ten miles out, and a full 250 miles ahead of the next closest, another cat actually, the Dean 440 Mariposa

Us Yellowshirts have been busy nonetheless since arriving last night, getting organized at the St. George’s Dinghy & Sports Club and re-familiarizing ourselves with the town we call home each year for ten days. Exploring the cobbled streets last night, we walked, following the main street just in town, passing Somer’s Grocery on mthe left and arching up the hill towards the Dinghy & Sports Club. There are some impressive yachts in the harbor: the giant red Swan Red Sky is in port, as are a few massive super yachts, including the big ketch Adele and a host of others at Bermuda Yacht Services on Ordnance Island. The J Class Rainbow just raised anchor at Bermuda Yacht Services and motored by the Dinghy Club as she headed through the cut and out to sea, bound for the Azores. 

And then there’s the smaller cruising boats in the anchorage. This place is a haven for the ‘real’ sailor – it’s at least 600 miles from anywhere, and at any given time in the spring and fall ‘moving’ season, you’ve got an impressive list of boats and sailors hanging around.
 
Meanwhile at sea, the BVI fleet has experienced some variable winds since the start in Nanny Cay on Saturday. It’s evident by the amount of logs up on the website that the sailors have some spare time to kill and the weather is good.
 
Webster wrote in their log on Monday, “We motored much of last night with little if any wind. Just before day break there was a puff of wind on my neck so up with the sails and by the time Dave and Neal came on deck at 7am we were sailing in 10 knots from the SW.” 

They also had their first rain squall, which brought 30 knots of wind and heavy rain for a bit. The Boat Andromeda had some engine trouble after the start. They turned the engine on in the light winds and after some trouble-shooting realized that the gear box needs repair and has unfortunately decided to turn back to Nanny Cay to have it fixed. Athenea, the third catamaran in the Portsmouth fleet, also had some trouble and are back at Ocean Marine Yacht Center in Portsmouth for repairs to their transmission. They hope to be back at sea by tomorrow or Thursday.
 
The fleet has also reported some wildlife sightings. Anettine reported in their log  “We had dolphins visiting us in the afternoon, one of them showed off just beside the boat and made 3 high jumps while spinning at very high speed. Beautiful!” On Webster “We saw a Stormy Petrel today, have not seen one before. A beautiful bird, which looked like a large hawk to my eye. It must have had an eye on the chicken and avocado wraps we had for lunch – no chance.”

And so it goes. It’s now been three full days of ocean sailing for the yachts on their way across the Atlantic, but a preview of what’s to come. Arguably, the most difficult part of the passage is now behind them – oftentimes leaving the dock is the hardest part about a big passage. Now at sea, the work behind them (and hopefully the stress), the crews can start living out the dreams they’ve been planning for so long. Here’s to them.

Sailing in My Head + eb1 Labs + Oculus Rift

Sail Feed - Tue, 2014-05-06 14:50

By Kimball Livingston Posted May 6, 2014

Wanna have some fun? Jump under an Oculus Rift immersion headset and skipper an AC45 in virtual reality, with audio, with gyro, with accelerometer. Understanding, meanwhile, this is just a rudimentary exercise in proof of concept. A “soft interface” in the parlance.

You’re presented with a gaming console? As helmsman, you should have a real wheel.

You’re alone? Your trimmer should be “alongside,” though not necessarily physically in the same room—or on the same continent.

You’re sailing an AC45 instead of an AC62 in-development for America’s Cup 35?

Well, all these compromises are in place only because the two former Oracle Racing software engineers who are developing driRun needed a KISS starting point, and they needed to go generic and open-source to open a conversation about bringing, to sailing, computer simulation equivalent to what aviation and motorsport take for granted. Their vision of where to go reaches beyond compromise, believe me.

We met Joseph Ozanne and Kevin Borrows, aka eb1 Labs, in part one. Borrows tells me, “We’re at a point where the technology can move quickly. We went to the Virtual Human Interaction Lab at Stanford, and it’s impressive. There’s a real opportunity to put sailors into a virtual environment, even in just a soft interface with immersion goggles, put them under stress, work on game mechanics and strategy and at the same time, from their reactions, decisions, outcomes create a database that becomes its own new building block.”

From an engineer’s point of view, Ozanne says, “Wings are very predictable. But when sailor meets wing, he has to rid himself of twenty years of what’s been working for him with soft sails.”

Ozanne started with Oracle in 2004, under Chris Dickson, with monohulls. For the 2010 match and again for 2013, he was primarily engaged in developing VPPs and VPP targets and attempting to be a link between the technical team and the sailing team. That is to say, between two different languages.

Borrows says, “This project started from having a new paradigm. The guys weren’t able to use their experience to optimize the boats.”

And, Ozanne says, whenever Oracle’s first AC72 was broken and off the water, “We were paralyzed.”

So the demo uses available gaming technology, but what’s in play here is a very big game called the America’s Cup, and the opportunity to develop a highly detailed simulation to integrate design development, crew training, and engineer-sailor interaction. “Nathan Outteridge gave it a try,” Borrows relates, “and one of his reactions was to say that he always wondered what would happen with an AC45 if he slammed the tiller hard-over in the pre-start. His people told him he’d break something, so he never tried it. Well, that can be modeled. A simulator is the way to answer questions like that, by working with globally-simulated loads rather than generic load cases. In France, at Toulouse, Airbus has a full one-to-one mockup, with hydraulic rams loading the system in response to input from the pilots. They run tests and do training in a way that you would never do in actual flight.”

Ozanne and Borrows are out to convince not less than one team that what their eb1 Labs can produce is a game changer, an inflexion point, the ultimate counterpoint to the Cup’s historic low of computational fluid dynamics, 1974, when Britton Chance put garbage into the computer design of 12-Meter US25,Mariner, and got garbage out. The data told him he should square off the stern like a barn door. The boat was built. But, instead of tricking the water into thinking the boat was longer than it was, with less wetted surface, the lopped-off stern sucked in the wake in a rumble to rival Niagara Falls. US25 was stuck, stuck, stuck in the water, and skipper Ted Turner in the light of reality turned to the designer and declared, “Goddamn it, Britt, even a turd is streamlaaaaned at both ends!”

It is widely understood that the design of a foil-born catamaran is a tradeoff between speed and stability, and that Oracle, for AC34, started at the speed end of the continuum while New Zealand started at the stability end. And both teams worked toward each other from those extremes. “By the end of the match,” Ozanne says, “New Zealand was probably less stable than we were. For both teams, the process was highly empirical, which is just not well suited to the technology of a foiling catamaran. You saw the results of that on September 7, race one. We were dreadfully under-prepared.”

Compared to aviation, sailing has added complications. There are two fluids, not one, and the crew is responsible for managing dynamic stability. All the more reason, Ozanne and Borrows would argue, for integrating the engineering team and the sailing team.

So there we were, with Joseph and Kevin rigging me up in positional-tracking Oculus Rift immersion goggles and explaining that I could look left, go left, look right, go right, look up at my wing trim, head up, head down, adjust for speed, yes it’s possible to capsize and, by the way, watch out for the boundaries because they come up fast—

And then I was off in my new world, with the roar of the wind and a lot of things to adapt to in a hurry. It looked like the screen shots here, except that I was in that world, and it was all around me, and when I figured out that I was stalling the poor beast, and I headed off, here came the speed and, YeeHaw, this could be addictive, as well as instructive.

I never asked how I did, compared to Jimmy Spithill, because I think I don’t want to know.
And I didn’t stay “aboard” long enough to begin to master the thing. This was a sampler, but just to get under that headset, with positional head tracking, while Oculus technology is still a developer’s adventure, was almost as cool as getting my first ride on an AC45. Almost.

And unlike that ride with Jimmy, where I got to drive upwind, this time around the track, I got to drive downwind too.

Oops, I think Im supposed to be steering from the other hull . . .

The trimmer, meanwhile, would be focused here:

Find video here. Anybody else remember 14-baud modems?

Dishing with Iain Murray

Sail Feed - Tue, 2014-05-06 13:38

Hamilton Island in the Whitsunday chain, Queensland, Australia, home to the Challenger of Record for AC 35

Sail-World’s Richard Gladwell recently interviewed Iain Murray, and he came away with not a lot that is groundbreaking, but a lot that echoes or confirms what has been rumored, bandied, leaked or guessed at in the long wait for a Protocol for America’s Cup 35.

Murray, most recently CEO of America’s Cup Race Management, has been many things in the sailing world, from skiff champion to Cup designer and skipper. He has deep background with the Oatley family, which owns Hamilton Island Resort and the Hamilton Island Yacht Club, and he was the choice to head their effort as Challenger of Record. These past months, it’s been Murray (“Jethro” to those who go back to his skiff days) in negotiation with Russell Coutts of Oracle Racing, hammering out an agreement for 62-foot catamarans and working toward a protocol.

I agree with Gladwell that Oracle’s plan to sail with the challenging teams, even part of the time, has unfortunate echoes that will require careful explanation (my phrasing) of why this is a good or necessary thing. As ever, grafting a circuit onto an America’s Cup match (sorry, Russell, a match is what it comes down to) just doesn’t come natural-like, desirable though it may be.

Read Richard Gladwell’s story here.

Cheap LED Strip Lights for Boats

Sail Feed - Tue, 2014-05-06 13:14


Looks like Ben Ellison also just blogged about inexpensive LED lighting – when it rains it pours – but note that one of these entire color-changing, dimmable, waterproof strip kits costs about half what a single marine LED fixture costs.

These LED strip lights must be in every college dorm room on the planet by now. They’re cheap (about $30 for a complete kit), they can make all the colors of the rainbow, and using the included automatic controls they’ll do all kinds of fades, flashes, and disco colors, which are kinda fun.

For a boat they’ve got other advantages: They use little power, about 3 amps at 12 volts to light up a 15-foot strip at full power – this is enough to light a large main cabin; they’re flexible and waterproof; and they can be set to just dim red, which is great for night sailing without blinding the crew. Finally, the strips themselves run on 12-volt DC, meaning they can be run directly off ship’s power on most boats. The kits usually come with an AC power supply, which can be chucked. The connector from the power supply input will need to be cut off, then 12-volt ship’s power can be connected directly. Here’s what I bought on Amazon:

I’ve read that these LED strips can overheat and burn out with voltages over 12 volts. I’ve run my system at full tilt with my engine’s alternator charging, so voltage over 14 volts, with no detectible heat. Obviously you should conduct similar tests with your system to make sure you don’t burn out your LEDs or start a fire.

These strips make all the color combinations just like a TV screen: Red, green, and blue LEDs can be mixed to make any color, sort of. Much like fluorescent lights, the color of LED lights can be less than pleasing. For home LED strips they make various natural white or sunlight white variations, but these are just white LED strips, without the other colors. On the color-changing strips their version of white, which is the red, the green, and the blue at full blast, is a sickly, bluish, hospital ER kind of light:

What I find more pleasing for evening relaxation is their version of orange, which is red with a touch of green, and no blue whatsoever:

Full disclosure: I’d been mulling this idea around for about a year when Green Brett wrote a very good article in Cruising World. You can see his wiring diagram here.

Mr. Brett saved me a lot of time, I assume by making a lot of the same mistakes I was about to make, and finding solutions. I was so impressed I just went out and bought exactly what he told me to buy, but then I had to screw it all up by getting fancy: I wanted strips on both sides of the boat, so I’d have to split my system in half. Then of course I’d want separate on/off switches for each side of the boat, in case I wanted just the galley lit up, but not the bookshelf on the port side. And while Mr. Brett installed footlights, and had a nice overhang under a settee to install and hide the LED strip, I’d be installing mine as under counter lights to illuminate my galley bench top and the bookshelf on the opposite side of the cabin. I’d have to find a stylish way to hide them.

You’ll want to hide the LED strips because they’re ugly, or at least not very nautical looking, and if you look right at them they’re blinding. I figured I needed a half inch thick teak batten to shield the LED strip, making them invisible unless you were lying on the cabin floor, and making the light diffused rather than direct. Of course this teak had to be ordered, cut, shaped, drilled, countersunk, and varnished, adding another few hours to the project.

Look at the size of the box, and the amount of packaging, to mail a teak stick:

Since these LED kits come with a remote control and controller, Mr. Brett and I both agreed that we might as well install the controller for a laugh, so we could have all kinds of strobe, disco, flashing, fading fun. We also both agreed that we’d probably lose or destroy the remote control in no time, so we’d better install a manual override. Mr. Brett installed a manual fader just for red; I went for manual controls on all three colors.

Again, this stuff is pretty cheap, so it’s not the end of the world to change your mind a bit. I junked my whole first purchase and bought a double density LED strip (300 LEDs per strip instead of 150) for another $30, just because.

Mr. Brett figured out, I assume the hard way, that there are all kinds of possibilities for certain LEDs to light up unintentionally: Each strip has four circuits, the three colors of LED, plus a common or ground. By customizing the system to have both the automatic and manual controls, it’s easy to end up with unintended lighting, like the other colors of LEDs glowing dimly when you intended to just have red. Mr. Brett used a DPDT (double pole double throw) switch and a diode for this purpose. I ditched the diode and went with a TPDT switch (triple pole double throw) switch:

These switches are like two or three on-off-on switches in one, with each individual switch called a pole, and each position called a throw (on-off-on is double throw, just on-off is single throw). In my installation one pole is used for the 12-volt power feed positive, another for negative, and the third for the LED strip ground. This way all three of these are switched from one controller to another (or completely off) with no chance for a sneaky back feed.

My TPDT switch, just missing the 12-volt ship’s power connections:

To show things a little more clearly, here is a diagram of a TPDT switch:

In my installation, the terminals are as follows: 1. Ground to automatic controller 2. Ground to LED strips 3. Ground to manual controller 4. Positive to automatic controller 5. Positive 12-volt ship’s power 6. Positive to manual controller 7. Negative to automatic controller 8. Negative to ship’s power 9. Negative to manual controller

In other words, the switch is switching three different things – the LED ground, ship’s 12-volt positive, and ship’s 12-vold negative – back and forth between the two different controllers, with an off position in between.

There should be a 5-amp fuse on both the positive and negative 12-volt feeds.

At this point I’ll admit I probably made this way more complicated than it had to be. If you just whack off the AC power supply and connect 12-volt power, and use these kits as they come, with the remote control, everything will be just peachy.

Here’s the whole magilla:

The white box at the top is the automatic controller, with it’s little infrared remote receiver and the output wires sticking out to the left, and the 12-volt power input on its right. Just below the white box is my TPDT switch, which you’ve seen before. On both sides of the TPDT switch are my on-off switches for each side of the cabin. At the bottom is the 3-color manual controller, with its 12-volt power coming in from the right, and the LED outputs on its left.

The LED strips can be cut every few inches, at specific points, to make them any length. Once cut at these points, you’d need to solder on a new pigtail to connect it to power. Here, where I’ve cut the strip, you can see the three circuits for the three colors, plus the common. Note that these strips use a positive common:

My LED strip came with pigtails at both ends (I think most do), so I was able to cut the strip in the middle and still have a pigtail on each section without any soldering.

I’d wired my whole system and screwed my teak battens into place. It was time to stick the LED strips in place, peeling the tape off the 3M adhesive backing. In this case 3M stands for Maybe, Might, and Might not stick. In my case it stuck…for about three minutes. I even foresaw this and went over the surfaces with acetone and a heat gun beforehand, just to make sure they were very clean and dry. Back to the drawing board.

The LED strip suppliers sell these little silicone saddles, for holding the strips in place with screws. But the saddles would change the location of the strips in relation to my teak battens, so I’d have to seriously customize my teak battens, just so the strips would still be tucked up into the corner, snug against the battens:

With the saddles installed:

Once I’d installed my saddles, the strips went into place just as I wanted, tucked in right against the teak battens:

Typical. Typical boat project. I don’t know how many hours. 20? 30? for a fun and funky project to install some cheap disco lights on my boat. Was it worth it? Yes, it was worth it, and total materials were something less than $200, with $80 of this going to the teak stick. If we graph our boat projects and call one axis of the graph “functionality,” and the other axis “bling,” this project would land in the upper right quadrant, having both functionality and bling, whereas replacing a bearing on the steering linkage would have functionality but no bling, and new varnish would be pure bling.

Here is my final control layout, integrated into the stereo shelf. Yes, it’s a lot of switches and controls, but keep in mind it’s not just a light switch but a Main Cabin Lighting Color and Intensity Control System:

Again, the switch in the middle switches between the three-color fader and the remote control, with off in the middle. On either side (with the red tips) are the on-off switches for each side of the cabin:

Here’s the dim red. It can go much dimmer than this, as in barely visible, but of course you can’t take a picture in no light:

Here’s green:

Here’s blue:

And here’s purple:

A color for every mood. You can imagine the obnoxious strobe function. The slow fade function is kind of nice, if you’re in the right mood.

With the three or four feet of strip I cut out of this middle this whole system runs at just over 2 Amps at 12 volts, for what I consider good lighting for cooking, eating, and general main cabin activities. They claim these strips will last for over 30,000 hours:

Inexpensive LED navigation lights, Aqua Signal & especially Marinebeam

Sail Feed - Tue, 2014-05-06 11:00

Written by Ben Ellison on May 6, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

As much as I value LED lighting, I was hesitant to change Gizmo’s navigation light fixtures. Why spend the (significant) money and refit time to save power when a big alternator is always running at the same time as the running lights? But I had already removed the boat’s side light boards for refinishing last fall, and then I noticed that the cost of at least some LED nav lights has become quite reasonable. It was nearly an impulse buy when I put a pair of Aqua Signal Series 33 side lights in my Defender cart at $45 each. I’m not totally satisfied with the purchase, but I do expect the Aqua Signals to be a vast improvement over those old incandescent fixtures…

My power testing shows that the old incandescent Perko fixture using 12 watts, or over an amp of 12v current, while the LED Aqua Signal comes in at about 2 watts or 0.17 amps, even though it’s approved to meet the 2 nautical mile visibility and other requirements by about every authority possible (BSH, USCG, IMO COLREG, GL, RINA, ABYC A-16, and CE). Of course, that’s why LED running lights are a no-brainer for sailboats. Possibly more important for powerboaters is the fact that these and other LED fixtures are completely sealed and claim a lifetime starting at 20,000 hours.

A look inside the old running light reveals a typical but unreliable incandescent design. First there’s the intrinsically delicate bulb whose filament must heat way up to work, and then there’s the spring clips that have to deal with the heat and current in often damp atmospheric conditions. No wonder they often fail. This is also why LED bulb replacements are often a bad idea. You can get a Dr. LED festoon bulb that fits this fixture, but you’ll still have the clip connection to worry about, and you also won’t get maximum power efficiency (and maybe not 2nm visibility) because you’re putting an entirely different lighting technology into a fixture it wasn’t designed for. Besides, the replacement bulb costs almost as much as the entire sealed and purpose-built Aqua Signal 33 fixture! (I’ve also learned that LED interior fixtures are often a much better choice than bulb replacements.)

But then I discovered Marinebeam’s Navlight series of LED running lights. The stern light above did cost $89, as did the steaming light I also bought, but they’re better than the Aqua Signal 33 design in at least two ways. An obvious difference is that good quality 8-foot 18AWG power lead, as compared to the pathetic 7-inch lead on the Aqua Signal fixture (and hat’s off to West Marine for noting that specification when most other seller’s don’t). I’ll be cursing Aqua Signal when I have to fit the splice to that little lead into a routed pocket on the back of Gizmo’s light boards, and I also had a devil of a time getting the white trim piece off without damaging it.

Meanwhile, the Marinebeam casing snaps on and off, no problem, and the 3nm rated stern light looked very bright in my lab while drawing just 0.11 amps of power. So far, I’m really impressed with the Marinebeam design and look forward to using them. In fact, I intend to run Gizmo’s new set of LED nav lights even in daylight; I’ve always thought that had some safety value, particularly in fog, but was somewhat hesitant due to the short lifetime of those now silly-seeming filament bulbs.

Yes, it was a bit of a shopping spree, as a Navisafe 2nm Tricolor Navi Light seemed hard to pass up at Marinebeam discount. In the flesh the Navi Light seems as well designed and made as the company marketing suggests. Tapping the button let’s you fire up all three sectors, or just any single one, or just the red and green sidelights. I’ll probably use the latter mode on the bow of my rowing tender, leaving the magnetic plate fastened in place where it will automatically align the otherwise portable light, or maybe I’ll fashion a pole so I can use all three lights at once without blinding myself. In either case, it will be a vast improvement over waving a flashlight around (even if that’s legal). Marinebeam also offers a kit for legally lighting a small power boat, and I might add the adjustable strap that comes with a Navi Light means you could also wear it on your head…maybe at a beach party?

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

Holy Church of the Pacific Cup

Sail Feed - Tue, 2014-05-06 02:03

By Sutter Schumacher

From the web site of the Pacific Cup, starting 67 boats, San Francisco Bay-Kaneohe Bay in July, 2014

John F Kennedy didn’t get it quite right when he proclaimed that humans are tied to the sea in part because their blood and the oceans share the same salinity, but the effect of human communion with the sea is undeniable.

Racers know this intuitively. They get soaked, bruised, sunburnt, wind-burned, physically exhausted, and sometimes worse; they often end up paying a fortune (directly or indirectly) for the privilege of doing so; and then they do it all again the next day.

The exact nature of salt-water immersion varies for everyone: on the water or in it, inshore or around islands, offshore or coastal. Mexico or the South Pacific, The Caribbean or the Med. Some hardy souls even prefer high-latitude sailing (though I doubt much full immersion takes place there). My salt-water communion is most holy when in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

I always suspected this to be so, but any lingering doubts were erased when I raced in the Pacific Cup in 2004 and I was transformed by life lessons, forged connections with previous generations since gone, and developed an increased self-awareness that’s opened new doors of opportunity.

Mind you, I’m no stranger to ocean racing. Races are mile markers in our family history. Working backward from whether it was around the time of a Mexico or a Hawaii race (to gauge the season), or whether it was a TransPac or Pacific Cup year (odd-numbered or even), I recall when things happened. For example, my parents’ engagement coincided with the 1973 TransPac (or so I’m told; I wasn’t yet a gleam in my father’s eye). My parents bought a new house in the summer of 1988 (my mom signed the papers while dad was at Block Island Race Week), and I learned to drive a car in 1992 (just after we finished the Coastal Cup – Santa Barbara edition).

My family’s ocean passages span several centuries, but our tradition of racing between California and Hawaii started in the mid-20th century with a grandfather I never knew. A couple of years later, my dad launched his Hawaii race career. My mom even joined him once (admittedly the last time she chose to sail offshore) – although between untimely deaths and lifestyle changes, we’ve never done a trans-generational trans-pacific race.

So you could argue fate determined that it was a matter of when, not if, I’d arrive in Hawaii by sailboat. It wasn’t an automatic entitlement, however. It took a lot of patience and hard work before I got my chance, when I was invited to be on the crew of a 46-ft racer/cruiser of the ’04 Pacific Cup.

Despite the folklore, photos and home movies – or perhaps because of it – I didn’t really appreciate what I was in for. More than just a matter of ticking an item off my bucket list and more than a first-hand story to tell about the soft trade winds and that sweet aloha welcome, 10 years later my Pacific Cup experience remains a lifetime highlight to date.

If you’re a Pac Cup veteran, you know what I’m talking about. After all, you’re a repeat offender, in the best possible way. But for the rookies, who are about to embark on the journey of a lifetime, be forewarned that you will never be the same again.

If you’re a Pac Cup veteran, you know what I’m talking about. After all, you’re a repeat offender, in the best possible way. But for the rookies, who are about to embark on the journey of a lifetime, be forewarned that you will never be the same again.

What follows are a few of the lessons I learned and continue to think about. Some are vain or trivial, while others are life preserving. But all struck me 10 years ago, and remain true to my experience today.

Continue reading

The Sailor’s Guide to Marathon Training: Day 1 in Bermuda

Sail Feed - Mon, 2014-05-05 19:22

ARC Europe 2011 at the Dinghy Club in St. Georges.

Back in Bermuda. To be honest, I didn’t want to leave home, and had a remarkably relaxing 33 hours in Lancaster from Saturday night until early this morning. But when we landed, I was reminded of why I like it here so much. The colors on Bermuda don’t make sense. On a sunny day, with the pastel paint on the houses around St. Georges and the electric blue water around the shallow reefs and pink beaches, it really looks imaginary. Alice in Wonderland type stuff. Inspiring.

But today’s about running, and marks the first post of many that will chronicle my training efforts as I prepare for my 5th marathon in Helsingborg, Sweden on September 13. The goal is 3:30:00, a full 12 minutes better than last year’s PR at the Wineglass Marathon in the Finger Lakes region of NY (which itself was 12 minutes faster than Baltimore, the year before that). I have this theory based on Einstein’s relativity, that the older you get, the easier it is to run long distances, because the time you’re out there is a smaller percentage of the total amount of time you’ve spent on Earth. So year after year these marathons just keep getting easier!

That’s only half of it though, and while that mental game is a good one to play, the reality is that you simply can’t ‘fake’ a marathon. 5k? Easy. Even a half, if you’re more or less active. You’ll finish (eventually). But not a marathon. You’ve got to put the miles in. So what follows henceforth and into the future will be my own personal guide on how I train for running marathon’s, while keeping the lifestyle of a semi-professional sailor and event manager that keeps me on the road and out of any sort of routine. My only disclaimer is that this is based entirely on whimsy – no science, no research, just what works for me. Follow along if you like and train with me.

So what gives me the authority to write about marathon training? Nothing. Other than the fact that I know how to live a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. I’ve done it. When I was 18 and a senior in high school, I weighed 255 pounds, my peak (or low, depending on your perspective). I wasn’t ‘sloppy fat’, as I like to say – I played football in middle school (center) and golf in high school, captaining my team in 11th and 12th grade with a 4 USGA handicap. I held the HS squat record in the weight room at 455 pounds. I’ve waterskied since I was five, and have snow skied since I was 11. So I was active. But I was huge, and had high blood pressure in 8th grade. No good.

Running Marstrand, Sweden, after a five-day North Sea crossing on Arcturus in 2012.

Long story short. I asked my mom one day while we were tossing the football around in the driveway (she was that kind of mom) if she’d help me get healthy (ironically she died of brain cancer in 2012, almost exactly two years ago, and was by far the healthiest person in our extended family, mentally and physically). She put me on the Atkins diet initially, whereby I shed a quick 30 pounds and realized what was possible, and since then it’s been a long evolution to my own present method of maintaining a healthy lifestyle both mentally and physically. In short, I eat anything so long as it comes from the earth and is sustainably produced. Lots of grass-fed meat; an average 4 eggs per day, from my friend Dane who has his own chickens; lots of raw milk; cheese; yogurt (plain); and veggies, salad, potatoes, fish, rice, oats, etc. Not an ounce of refined sugar (I haven’t had ice cream or even a single cookie in probably 7 years), and very few wheat products or anything that comes out of a box. I love strong coffee and red wine, and I drink almost exclusively German beer (it’s mostly brewed according to the Purity Law of 15-something that prohibits anything beyond water, malt, hops and yeast to go into the beer. My favorite is Kostrizter). I rarely have more than 2 drinks a night but have them probably 3-4 times per week. Today I weigh 168, can run a mile in 5:15 and have blood test numbers that are off the charts in all the right categories. Importantly, I know these things about myself.

So you can write me off as an amateur, or you can listen. My method works, but it’s hard (all good things are). This is the first time I’ve actually documented my marathon training, or written anything really about the lifestyle I lead regarding health and fitness.

Day 1: St. Georges, Bermuda

It wasn’t on purpose, but today marked my first official marathon training day. While I’ve been active all winter (7 days hiking and skiing in Telluride, about 4 days per week at the gym, and over 2,000 blue water miles sailed since January), I’m only now transitioning back into the running thing full-time since tapering off after last October’s marathon PR. I’ll still spend one day a week in the weight room, working on Olympic-style lifts like snatch and clean (and of course spend a bunch of time with my kettle bell), but henceforth until September the focus is on running.

I set out today to run all three parts of the loops we’d gotten used to in Bermuda over the past few years having come here yearly this time for the ARC Europe rally (I saw ‘we’ meaning Mia and I. Helsingborg will be her 6th marathon). I started out following the main street just in town, passing Somer’s Grocery on my left and arching up the hill towards the Dinghy & Sports Club. There are some impressive yachts in the harbor: the giant red Swan Red Sky is in port, as are a few massive super yachts, including the big ketch Adele and a host of others at Bermuda Yacht Services on Ordnance Island. And then there’s the smaller cruising boats in the anchorage. This place is a haven for the ‘real’ sailor – it’s at least 600 miles from anywhere, and at any given time in the spring and fall ‘moving’ season, you’ve got an impressive list of boats and sailors hanging around.

Adele at the dock. Image courtesy kiwitravelwriter.wordpress.com.

I ran past Town Cut and continued north along the coast, shadowing a MacGregor 65 that was looking for an anchorage in the lee of the island as the wind was honking from the WNW. I looped back to the west and around the old golf cart path on what used to be the St. Georges Club (where my grandfather got a round in back in the day) but what is now a field of overgrown weeds. At this point I got lost for a little while and ended up looping back on myself, but eventually found my way out the other side and onto the Bermuda Rail Trail that follows the northern coastline on very nice spongy, green ground. Disappointingly this trail ends rather abruptly at the oil depot, so I retraced my steps and descended back onto the main road back in towards St. Georges.

I couldn’t run past Ft. George Hill without having one little scamper up to Bermuda Radio. Normally I’ll spend an entire morning there running hills, but today was just a taste of what’s to come, and an opportunity to stretch my tired legs (I spent an hour at the Y in Lancaster yesterday practicing my snatch technique). I dropped back into town and up Turkey Hill to the small apartment where Mia and I will stay for the next ten days (she’s flying up from St. Thomas as I write this). 

St. Georges in three parts: East End, the Rail Trail, and Ft. George Hill in 63 minutes.

Stats: 63 minutes run. 6.9 miles covered. 9.1 min/mile pace.

Not a bad start for an easy run. Note that I do not run with headphones (okay sometimes), but I NEVER run with a watch or timing device. I note the time when I walk out the door, and note the time when I come back. The only exception is when I’m doing intervals, which is rare. I run based on how I feel – slow and sluggish today, for a slow and sluggish pace. When the mood strikes me, I run fast.

See? I told you. Not much science. But come September, the miles will be there, the speed will be there (I hope), and mentally I’ll be another few months older, so it’ll all feel that much shorter :)

The ongoing theme here, and why I’m posting this to my sailing blog, is that you’ll find that running is our – mine and Mia’s – way of exploring the places we travel to. And nowadays, our travel is about sailing, whether or our own boat, on other people’s boats, or for the events we run with the World Cruising Club. There’s no other practical way of exercising when we’re away so much, and it doesn’t get much simpler than throwing on a pair of shoes and shorts and hitting the pavement or the trails. (And by the way, I’ve been a ‘natural’ style runner for over two years now. I wear New Balance Minimus sneakers with just a 10mm drop – and have a pair of leather Five Finger’s for trail running – and have attributed my cured back and knees to the transition into that style).

Oh and one more thing: I started meditating six days ago, thanks to my friend Clint Wells’ inspiration. I’m six days in, and up to 11 minutes per session now. That experience will be an ongoing theme in this running blog, and it’s already paying dividends in my mental fitness.

The Sailor’s Guide to Marathon Training: Day 1 in Bermuda

Sail Feed - Mon, 2014-05-05 19:22

ARC Europe 2011 at the Dinghy Club in St. Georges.

Back in Bermuda. To be honest, I didn’t want to leave home, and had a remarkably relaxing 33 hours in Lancaster from Saturday night until early this morning. But when we landed, I was reminded of why I like it here so much. The colors on Bermuda don’t make sense. On a sunny day, with the pastel paint on the houses around St. Georges and the electric blue water around the shallow reefs and pink beaches, it really looks imaginary. Alice in Wonderland type stuff. Inspiring.

But today’s about running, and marks the first post of many that will chronicle my training efforts as I prepare for my 5th marathon in Helsingborg, Sweden on September 13. The goal is 3:30:00, a full 12 minutes better than last year’s PR at the Wineglass Marathon in the Finger Lakes region of NY (which itself was 12 minutes faster than Baltimore, the year before that). I have this theory based on Einstein’s relativity, that the older you get, the easier it is to run long distances, because the time you’re out there is a smaller percentage of the total amount of time you’ve spent on Earth. So year after year these marathons just keep getting easier!

That’s only half of it though, and while that mental game is a good one to play, the reality is that you simply can’t ‘fake’ a marathon. 5k? Easy. Even a half, if you’re more or less active. You’ll finish (eventually). But not a marathon. You’ve got to put the miles in. So what follows henceforth and into the future will be my own personal guide on how I train for running marathon’s, while keeping the lifestyle of a semi-professional sailor and event manager that keeps me on the road and out of any sort of routine. My only disclaimer is that this is based entirely on whimsy – no science, no research, just what works for me. Follow along if you like and train with me.

So what gives me the authority to write about marathon training? Nothing. Other than the fact that I know how to live a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. I’ve done it. When I was 18 and a senior in high school, I weighed 255 pounds, my peak (or low, depending on your perspective). I wasn’t ‘sloppy fat’, as I like to say – I played football in middle school (center) and golf in high school, captaining my team in 11th and 12th grade with a 4 USGA handicap. I held the HS squat record in the weight room at 455 pounds. I’ve waterskied since I was five, and have snow skied since I was 11. So I was active. But I was huge, and had high blood pressure in 8th grade. No good.

Running Marstrand, Sweden, after a five-day North Sea crossing on Arcturus in 2012.

Long story short. I asked my mom one day while we were tossing the football around in the driveway (she was that kind of mom) if she’d help me get healthy (ironically she died of brain cancer in 2012, almost exactly two years ago, and was by far the healthiest person in our extended family, mentally and physically). She put me on the Atkins diet initially, whereby I shed a quick 30 pounds and realized what was possible, and since then it’s been a long evolution to my own present method of maintaining a healthy lifestyle both mentally and physically. In short, I eat anything so long as it comes from the earth and is sustainably produced. Lots of grass-fed meat; an average 4 eggs per day, from my friend Dane who has his own chickens; lots of raw milk; cheese; yogurt (plain); and veggies, salad, potatoes, fish, rice, oats, etc. Not an ounce of refined sugar (I haven’t had ice cream or even a single cookie in probably 7 years), and very few wheat products or anything that comes out of a box. I love strong coffee and red wine, and I drink almost exclusively German beer (it’s mostly brewed according to the Purity Law of 15-something that prohibits anything beyond water, malt, hops and yeast to go into the beer. My favorite is Kostrizter). I rarely have more than 2 drinks a night but have them probably 3-4 times per week. Today I weigh 168, can run a mile in 5:15 and have blood test numbers that are off the charts in all the right categories. Importantly, I know these things about myself.

So you can write me off as an amateur, or you can listen. My method works, but it’s hard (all good things are). This is the first time I’ve actually documented my marathon training, or written anything really about the lifestyle I lead regarding health and fitness.

Day 1: St. Georges, Bermuda

It wasn’t on purpose, but today marked my first official marathon training day. While I’ve been active all winter (7 days hiking and skiing in Telluride, about 4 days per week at the gym, and over 2,000 blue water miles sailed since January), I’m only now transitioning back into the running thing full-time since tapering off after last October’s marathon PR. I’ll still spend one day a week in the weight room, working on Olympic-style lifts like snatch and clean (and of course spend a bunch of time with my kettle bell), but henceforth until September the focus is on running.

I set out today to run all three parts of the loops we’d gotten used to in Bermuda over the past few years having come here yearly this time for the ARC Europe rally (I saw ‘we’ meaning Mia and I. Helsingborg will be her 6th marathon). I started out following the main street just in town, passing Somer’s Grocery on my left and arching up the hill towards the Dinghy & Sports Club. There are some impressive yachts in the harbor: the giant red Swan Red Sky is in port, as are a few massive super yachts, including the big ketch Adele and a host of others at Bermuda Yacht Services on Ordnance Island. And then there’s the smaller cruising boats in the anchorage. This place is a haven for the ‘real’ sailor – it’s at least 600 miles from anywhere, and at any given time in the spring and fall ‘moving’ season, you’ve got an impressive list of boats and sailors hanging around.

Adele at the dock. Image courtesy kiwitravelwriter.wordpress.com.

I ran past Town Cut and continued north along the coast, shadowing a MacGregor 65 that was looking for an anchorage in the lee of the island as the wind was honking from the WNW. I looped back to the west and around the old golf cart path on what used to be the St. Georges Club (where my grandfather got a round in back in the day) but what is now a field of overgrown weeds. At this point I got lost for a little while and ended up looping back on myself, but eventually found my way out the other side and onto the Bermuda Rail Trail that follows the northern coastline on very nice spongy, green ground. Disappointingly this trail ends rather abruptly at the oil depot, so I retraced my steps and descended back onto the main road back in towards St. Georges.

I couldn’t run past Ft. George Hill without having one little scamper up to Bermuda Radio. Normally I’ll spend an entire morning there running hills, but today was just a taste of what’s to come, and an opportunity to stretch my tired legs (I spent an hour at the Y in Lancaster yesterday practicing my snatch technique). I dropped back into town and up Turkey Hill to the small apartment where Mia and I will stay for the next ten days (she’s flying up from St. Thomas as I write this). 

St. Georges in three parts: East End, the Rail Trail, and Ft. George Hill in 63 minutes.

Stats: 63 minutes run. 6.9 miles covered. 9.1 min/mile pace.

Not a bad start for an easy run. Note that I do not run with headphones (okay sometimes), but I NEVER run with a watch or timing device. I note the time when I walk out the door, and note the time when I come back. The only exception is when I’m doing intervals, which is rare. I run based on how I feel – slow and sluggish today, for a slow and sluggish pace. When the mood strikes me, I run fast.

See? I told you. Not much science. But come September, the miles will be there, the speed will be there (I hope), and mentally I’ll be another few months older, so it’ll all feel that much shorter :)

The ongoing theme here, and why I’m posting this to my sailing blog, is that you’ll find that running is our – mine and Mia’s – way of exploring the places we travel to. And nowadays, our travel is about sailing, whether or our own boat, on other people’s boats, or for the events we run with the World Cruising Club. There’s no other practical way of exercising when we’re away so much, and it doesn’t get much simpler than throwing on a pair of shoes and shorts and hitting the pavement or the trails. (And by the way, I’ve been a ‘natural’ style runner for over two years now. I wear New Balance Minimus sneakers with just a 10mm drop – and have a pair of leather Five Finger’s for trail running – and have attributed my cured back and knees to the transition into that style).

Oh and one more thing: I started meditating six days ago, thanks to my friend Clint Wells’ inspiration. I’m six days in, and up to 11 minutes per session now. That experience will be an ongoing theme in this running blog, and it’s already paying dividends in my mental fitness.

Top 10 signs it’s time to leave the island

Sail Feed - Mon, 2014-05-05 08:40

We may not be with the fleet heading to Africa (this year), but it’s time to go. Here’s how to know when you really should move on to a new place:

10. Gooseneck barnacles reach the toe rail.

9. The latest charts show your vessel as a hazard.

8. Baby birds emerge from nests under the solar panels…for the 3rd time.

7. A waitress at the nearby restaurant invites you to her wedding. Again.

6. A proposal is floated to use your boat as the gift shop for the planned “Pirates of Asia” theme park.

5. Fish under the boat form a home owner’s association, requesting 60 days notice before departure.

4. Tour guides come to you for advice on cool spots.

3. A new government study on plate tectonics includes your boat as a key marker.

2. Fishermen begin to wave back.

1. Everybody knows your name!

Friends who read this on the Sailfeed website always know not to overstay at the island.

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