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Long Beach Race Week: Doctor’s Orders

Sail Feed - Mon, 2014-06-30 02:48

Long Beach, California. Posted June 29, 2014. Reported and photographed by Rich Roberts

The sailors with the best prescriptions survived the relatively windless distress of a difficult Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week—notably Bob Lane, the pharmacist who drove his familiar Andrews 63 named Medicine Man to first place in Random Leg PHRF 1 for the biggest of the 142 boats in 15 classes.

The 35th version of the West’s largest keelboat regatta was staged by the neighboring Long Beach and Alamitos Bay Yacht Clubs, and despite the absence of the familiar whitecapped race courses and breeze below the usual level the competition was lively.

Lane progressed each day with finishes of third Friday, second Saturday and first Sunday against the West Coast’s best ocean racers on courses as long as 22 nautical miles between Long Beach and Point Fermin at San Pedro to the west. He edged Jay Steinbeck’s Margaritaville (2-1-4) by one point and Ed McDowell’s Grand Illusion (1-6-2) by three.

Lane’s worst moments may have been a post-regatta protest hearing over a pre-start mess of five boats sailing on opposite collision tacks behind the line. There were no collisions and a handful of protests were dismissed.

Other winners in seriously contested classes included ABYC’s Chuck Clay and Kevin Taugher—the former in a fully chartered fleet of 11 Catalina 37s and the latter in the largest class of 23 Viper 640s.

Less contested was the recently introduced J/70 class where a veteran with more experience in the boat from ventures to the East Coast tallied four firsts, a second and a third. His name: Dave Ullman.

“The wind wasn’t big but it was good enough to sail,” the title sponsor said. “It was quite shifty, but we were always sailing.”

Clay held off defending champion and two-time winner Dave Hood of LBYC by five points to collect his fourth C/37 title in six years, and he never stopped looking over his shoulder.

“I never took my eyes off Hood,” Clay said. “In these boats you never have a big enough lead”—an opinion often stated by the world-class skippers who race them in the Congressional Cup every spring.

Clay, whose personal boat is a Cal 20, sails them once a year, too, in this event. After winning three of the first five races, he finished one spot behind Hood’s second and first on Sunday, as another LBYC team led by Ray Godwin scored its only win, as Clay shadowed Hood.

Clay’s crew was tactician Pat McCormick, mainsail trimmer Scott Atwood, trimmers Kevin Brown and Jim Bateman, mastman Rob Clay and bowman Mike Lamb. All are ABYC members except Rob Clay, his son.

Taugher, sailing with Chuck Tripp and Mike Pentecost as crew, was chasing an elusive goal in the Vipers, where he had been competitive and as good as second place behind Jay Golison only last year. He led the class all weekend, although stumbling to his worst finish of seventh place in the next-to-last race.

“We never got in phase with the [wind] shifts,” he said, “so we had a good team talk, had a good start at the pin end in the last race and won by about two minutes.”

Just what the doctor ordered.

Complete Results

Engine woes in the Singapore Strait

Sail Feed - Sun, 2014-06-29 20:16

The engine failed our test run, but it at least had the grace to wait until we were beyond the worst of the shipping traffic. With a few miles left to our intended anchorage the needle began to steadily tick up again. This has been the pattern: it’s fine, right up  until it’s not, and then the overheating happens very, very quickly. We shut it down and drifted with the current, happy to be outside the shipping lanes. Jamie replaced 1 1/2 liters of coolant, much of which had spilled into the well.

It’s dashed our plans, if not our mood. After call to the mechanic, we settled in the cockpit to talk about plans. He thinks it’s the head gasket now, and that’s not a quick fix. What we do know: we can’t go to Borneo with an engine that overheats. Instead of heading into the South China Sea at sunrise, we’ll be backtracking across Singapore and returning to Puteri Harbour.

It’s a little more than a dent in plans, though, since there are fast friends who we won’t catch up with now- boats we don’t know when we’ll see again, as they continue from Borneo to the Pacific while we look to the west. As disappointing as it is, it has to be fixed first.

We had been so hopeful, if slightly nervous, heading out under the bridge in the morning. They never look tall enough, do they?


The land reclamation is tremendous.

Whole chunks of land exist where our relatively new charts show water.

Amid the traffic, there are still small fishing boats like this one.

This area has more piracy than any other spot in the world, and there are also a number of other boats that really don’t look like they’re fishing.


We watch hooded figures in an unmarked boat without fishing gear maneuvering around the stern for a while, before roaring off to another ship. Is this boat complicit?

Some boats have dummies stationed as some kind of pirate scarecrow. I’m not sure they’re fooling anyone. We liked teasing the megayacht guys back in Puteri about their stoic, camo-clad crew. Commercial ships in Singapore take it up a notch: zooming in, this mannequin has a (fake?) gun tucked in his belt in as well.

Perhaps to combat the piracy, and certainly to put on a big show, Singapore is by far the most militarized place we’ve been. We have to alter course to handle the wakes thrown by police boats that roar alongside monitoring shipping lanes. The last time we entered Singapore waters, loops were flown over the city by F-16s in formation. Totem was buzzed by a Chinook helicopter. It came back later with a flag, that that was more likely to be a practice run for Singapore’s upcoming national holiday.


Solo Transpac On the Ocean

Sail Feed - Sun, 2014-06-29 13:08

A crisp seabreeze on San Francisco Bay proved more than enough to get 20 entries in the Singlehanded Transpacific Race upwind and out the Golden Gate on Saturday, bound for Hanalei Bay, Kauai in the 19th edition of the event.

There appears to be a solid northwesterly flow over the near-Pacific west of San Francisco, and even with a three-hour delay built into the Yellowbrick tracking the early north-south spread of the fleet is evident.

Peter Heiberg is shown farthest south in his PJ-50, Scaramouche V, and Al Germain looks farthest north in his Wylie 30, Bandicoot. Right in the middle of the pack is the veteran of veterans in this race, The General, Ken Roper, at 85 sailing his 13th race in his Finn Flyer 31, Harrier.

As in every Pacific crossing, the first few days at sea are about crossing the coastal zone of northwesterlies and “picking a lane” farther south or farther north as the wind fairs to become the trade wind that blows toward Blue Hawaii. The rhumb line, aka the straight line, is the northern route. Southern routes often have more wind, enough of it to compensate for extra mileage, and in judging that balance the art of navigation meets the science of navigation.

The Pacific Cup’s Race Village at Richmond Yacht Club opens with festivities tomorrow. Learn more here.

Youth…American…Sponsored: It Can Be Done

Sail Feed - Sun, 2014-06-29 12:22

By Kimball Livingston Posted June 29, 2014 – Photo of Alvimedica under sail © Daniel Forster/Team Alvimedica

Fair warning to my journo colleagues. If the America’s Cup goes to Bermuda, I have dibs on covering it for The Onion.
And if you don’t get that, take a slow walk around the block, or doublecheck your Bermuda sailing history.



Our news of the moment comes from the former home of America’s Cup, Newport, Rhode Island, where the USA youth team’s Volvo Ocean Race entry was christened over the weekend by former US Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin as Alvimedica, the name of the company bold enough to sponsor first time circumnavigators in one of the toughest-going round-the-world races. Not that they’re making a bad bet . . .

Roy would be proud. And I’ll explain.

The existence of Team Alvimedica represents further success and the next challenge for two young men who set out to build themselves a Volvo boat and team. To build it against the odds—and there ought to be a big, loud wow here—because there are a mere handful of sailors worldwide who can be sure of getting sponsorship when they need it. Like most of the American sailing population, Charlie Enright, 29, and Mark Towill, 25, are not that. The two “found” each other through the late Roy Disney’s Morning Light project, the boat and the movie, where already-advanced young sailors were given rigorous training in seamanship, navigation, boat systems and medical procedures by top players including Robbie Haines and Stan Honey. The Morning Light crew had a good go with an updated TP52 in the 2007 Transpac and at times threatened to beat their head-to-head competition, the pros aboard John Kilroy’s TP52, Samba Pa Ti, that being one of the most successful Transpac boats of all time.

With the Morning Light project behind them, Enright and Towill set some goals . . .

And that went well. In 2011, just for for example, Enright skippered the Oakcliff All-American Offshore Team to victories in the Transatlantic and Rolex Fastnet Races (Oakcliff Sailing being a story in itself), and in the same year Towill—who holds two degrees from Brown in economics and environmental studies—was a winner at the Melges 32 Worlds.

They launched themselves as All American Racing and, eventually, their young, up-and-coming vibe hit synch with Alvimedica, which describes itself as, “a young, agile company devoted to developing minimally-invasive medical technologies for medical professionals looking for the next level of innovation in the operating room.” It all came together when Alvimedica decided that Enright, Towill and the Volvo Ocean Race represent, “The perfect platform to express our worldwide ambitions.” And what better company to be talking to? When the partnership was first announced, Turkey-based Alvimedica CEO Cem Bozkurt noted, “Sailing has been our focus in sports. We’ve been joining races with a sailing team formed up of our employees the last two years.”

The race team, still in development, recently sailed to Newport from Portugal in semi-race mode, to further their blue water skills, and there is heavy lifting yet to be done. By phone from Rhode Island, Towill said, “Our main objectives now are to fully learn the boat and its characteristics, the sails, the combinations, the complications. Crossover points. Interaction with water ballast. We have to analyze everything to a new level of detail. Meanwhile, we also have to narrow the crew to eight, plus alternates.”

The team sailed with ten, crossing east-west, but the limit for the race—which starts October 4 from Alicante, Spain—is eight. “We tried to simulate what it’s like with eight,” Towill said. “We proved that it takes all eight to make any maneuver, any sail change. It’s hard, but that’s part of the allure.”

With Volvo class boats now sized down from custom 70-footers to one-design 65-footers, it’s tempting to imagine they’ve been tamed, but that was never the idea. The fundamental design premise for Volvo 70s was to make them fast, and make them wet, because wet communicates. Green water on deck. Flying spray. The cameras love it.

So, Mark. The Volvo 65? “It’s definitely wet. Fairly comfy off the breeze, but always very physical.”

And how do you look at crew selection? “You’re looking for skills, obviously, but you’re also looking for the ability to work in a team environment.”

I think I can safely add, in a team environment, under stress. Alvimedica will be out sailing every day, or almost every day, until a selected team of eight takes off for Europe on July 9. They won’t be back until late April, 2015, when the Volvo Ocean Race fleet makes its USA stopover, the sixth of its ten ports, at Newport. Think nine months and 38,000 miles from Alicante to a finish line at Goteborg, Sweden.

As a select few have shown us before, it can be done.

Testing day: mechanical and technical

Sail Feed - Sat, 2014-06-28 23:10

Today’s a day of tests, in two very different ways- Totem’s Yanmar engine, and Totem’s blog!

Mechanical: the engine

With a clean bill of health for our overheating woes, we are heading out today for a trial run. We want to make sure it behaves as desired before we departing on the ~3 day passage across to Borneo. Today’s distance of about 50 nautical miles, across the bottom of Singapore, should give us an excellent indication of whether the overheating problems are truly resolved.

Cross your fingers for us, because we sure don’t want to be dealing with overheating problems in the nutty Singapore port traffic. When we were there just recently, our AIS topped out nearly a THOUSAND targets picked up in a 5 mile range. Holy freakamole!

Technical: the blog

With some big milestones coming up (nearly 500 posts! Peeking up at 1,000,000 visitors!), I’m giving the blog a facelift. It’s evolved quite a bit since I started this, wow, seven years ago! Hopefully the new look will make information easier to find, and meanwhile, it’s should make things easier for me to manage. I would love to know what you think: please reply in the comments, or Totem’s Facebook page, or send me an email!

That “easier to manage” part will probably take some time: at the moment of course it’s fraught with transition pains. Please bear with me with a few hiccups for now, while I work out all the bits that need to transition. It’s been in tough competition with other priorities: meeting old friends for the first time (a cruising boat, Madrona we’ve been in touch with for several years but hadn’t met in person), saying goodbye to friends here on the Peninsula who will soon be Indian Ocean bound, provisioning up for Borneo, and the myriad of little things that all take more time on a boat. And meanwhile, we have some miles to put under the keel… and they won’t come with internet access.

Thank you for sharing this journey with me!

Bermuda Race Wrapup

Sail Feed - Sat, 2014-06-28 15:21

Actaea. Photo by Daniel Forster/PPL

By John Rousmaniere

Hamilton, Bermuda, June 28, 2014: Actaea, skippered by Michael and Connie Cone from Philadelphia, PA and Shockwave, a 72-foot Mini-Maxi sloop owned by George Sakellaris from Framingham, MA, are the big winners in this year’s 49th Newport Bermuda Race.

The 635-mile race across the Gulf Stream had 164 starters on June 20 at Newport, RI, in five divisions, each for a type of boat. The race has no single winner (only division winners), although the winning St. David’s Lighthouse Division boat is generally regarded as the race’s top boat. The fleet was started in 15 classes, each with its own prizes. Ten boats retired from the race due to damage or to tight schedules brought about by slow going in erratic winds.

The conditions made for challenging racing that favored both smaller boats and crews who accurately analyzed the complicated conditions and kept their boats sailing as fast as possible toward Bermuda. Boats were often tightly clumped, with reports of 30 or more boats nearby or within sight.

The St. David’s Lighthouse Division, for normal cruising-racing boats with amateur crews, was the largest division with 99 boats. The winner is Actaea, a modified Hinckley Bermuda 40 yawl sailing her tenth Newport Bermuda Race under the command of Michael Cone (Philadelphia, PA). After finishing dead last in his first Bermuda Race, in 1996, Cone began a multi-year upgrade of the boat. He summed up the metamorphosis with two concise points. “We had a great working crew and a fine tool.”

Actaea sailed in Class 1, for the smallest boats in the division, as did the second and third-place boat – Flyer (Douglas R. Abbott, St. Michael’s, MD) and Sinn Fein (Peter Rebovich, Sr., Metuchen, NJ). After five days of racing 635 miles, the margin between the three boats on corrected time was just 45 minutes. This is Sinn Fein’s seventh trophy-winning performance in as many Newport Bermuda Races since 2002, including victories in the St. David’s Lighthouse Division in 2006 and 2008. The fact that she was even sailing was a triumph. After being nearly destroyed in Hurricane Sandy in 2012, she was rebuilt by her crew.

Two St. David’s entries were given redress for their efforts to assist a competitor in trouble, Wandrian, that suffered damage threatening the integrity of her hull. Dorade (Matt Brooks, Fremont, CA) was allowed 150 minutes for the time she spent standing by the boat. Black Watch (John Melvin, Greenwich, CT) escorted Wandrian to Bermuda under sail and power over a distance of 300 miles, and was subsequently assigned by the International Jury to a tie for fifth place in Class 7.

Dorade and Black Watch are classic wooden yawls designed by Sparkman & Stephens in the 1930s and recently restored to their original condition.

The Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division, for all-out, lightweight racing boats, with professional steering permitted, had eight entries and was won for the second consecutive race by Shockwave, a 72-foot Mini-Maxi sloop designed by Reichel-Pugh and owned by George Sakellaris (Framingham, MA). Shockwave also had the best elapsed time in the race and won the North Rock Beacon Trophy as the boat with the best time under the IRC Rating Rule. All other results given here are calculated under the Offshore Racing Rule (ORR). In second place is Bella Mente (Hap Fauth, Minneapolis, MN), which crossed the finish line only seven minutes behind Shockwave. Third was Caol Ila (Alex Schaerer, Muensingen, Switzerland). After the race the three Mini-Maxis were loaded on board a ship to be taken to the Mediterranean, where they will race this summer.

The U.S. Naval Academy midshipmen headed by Joshua Forgacs in Constellation beat several larger boats to the finish and were fourth in Gibbs Hill on corrected time. Another USNA boat, Swift, finished fourth in the St. David’s Division.

The Cruiser Division is for boats that normally cruise, not race, and are sailed by amateur crews. It had 34 entries and was dominated by smaller boats. The winner is Attitude, a Beneteau 423 owned by Shawn Dahlen (Duxbury, MA). Like many boats in the race, Attitude got off to a fast start, averaging 7.8 knots over the first two days. Also, like most boats, the rest of her race was a story of calms. It took her many hours to sail the last 35 miles to the finish off St. David’s Head. Runner-up was Simpatico (William F. Riley, Chatham, MA) followed by Liberty Call (Matthew G. Pilon, Houston, TX). The winner of the new prize for the best-finishing Cruiser entry with a crew of four will be announced at the Prize-Giving tonight at Pier 6 on Front Street in Hamilton.

The Double-Handed Division for boats sailed by two sailors had 21 entries, and again the top boats were small. The winner of the Philip S. Weld Prize as corrected time leader is Jeroboam, Jonathan Green’s Beneteau 351. Her greater than six-hour victory margin was by far the largest in the fleet this year. In the 2012 race, Green sailed the Double-Hander Seabiscut alone 200 miles to Bermuda after his teammate was evacuated by a cruise ship.

One boat sailed in the Spirit of Tradition Division, Spirit of Bermuda, an 118-foot three-masted sail-training vessel based on traditional Bermuda trading ships and crewed by sailors representative of the island’s population. Like the other entries, she was often within sight of many boats and struggled with the light winds.

Spirit captain Karen McDonald spoke for everyone when she reported, “We’ve been tacking our way towards Bermuda with little wind coming right from where we want to go. . . . We need to start doing some sort of wind dance!”

Hardesty Leads E22 Worlds, Cunningham Rebounds

Sail Feed - Sat, 2014-06-28 12:37

June 27, 2014, for immediate release

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Big Turnout for Long Beach Race Week

Sail Feed - Sat, 2014-06-28 12:34

June 27, 2014

From Rich Roberts for Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week

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

Light wind but heavy competition open Ullman LBRW


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Class leaders

(3 races)

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

(7 races; no discards)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Andreas Hanakamp, Volvo Skipper, on the 59ºN Podcast

Sail Feed - Sat, 2014-06-28 10:49

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


Sail Feed - Thu, 2014-06-26 23:53

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Sail Feed - Thu, 2014-06-26 18:43

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grael Honored with Inaugural Magnus Olsson Prize

Sail Feed - Thu, 2014-06-26 13:28

ALICANTE, Spain June 26, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Raymarine 2014: science, cadence & “IReverywhere!”

Sail Feed - Wed, 2014-06-25 20:30

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Engine trouble and kidnappings

Sail Feed - Wed, 2014-06-25 01:20

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

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

Palawan. Source: alantankenghoe, Flickr

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

It’s disturbing, because:

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

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

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

Palawan. Source: nenborromeo, Flickr

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MAINE COAST CRUISE: To Thomaston and Back

Sail Feed - Tue, 2014-06-24 20:26

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lunacy lying in the river, with wind and tide aligned

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Podcast: Solving Problems Offshore

Sail Feed - Tue, 2014-06-24 07:00

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

Shockwave Leads into Bermuda

Sail Feed - Mon, 2014-06-23 13:04

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

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

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

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

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

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

See more at: BermudaRace.com.

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

Sail Feed - Mon, 2014-06-23 12:49

By Kimball Livingston Posted June 23, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“It depends.”

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

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

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

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

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

Beautiful Places: Camping in the Tuamotus

Sail Feed - Sun, 2014-06-22 17:17

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just a baby swimming by.

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

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

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

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


Sail Feed - Sat, 2014-06-21 14:34

Posted June 21, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

A few more from onEdition . . .

And Yes, I’m Following the Bermuda Race

You can too right here.

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

A Final Note

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

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