Friday, April 30, 2010

SHTP Emergency Steering

The slides show the new sculling oar on the boat. This arrangement will allow full turns to one direction and small course adjustments. Up wind, with the sails balanced, the boat will keep her course. Downwind she will require more tending.

2010 Single Handed Transpac Race Divisions

There are 50 days to go and the Race committee has released the race divisions:





Dream Chaser















Second Verse




















Solar Wind















Koh Samia




















Blue Moon










Warrior's Wish

























Wednesday, April 28, 2010

National Pride?

It looks like the gloves are off.... who is the slowest Folkboat to Hawaii?

 Follow the drama at

Another Update on the Chandlers

                                              Associated Press

Paul and Rachel Chandler, the British couple taken by Somali pirates, have been in captivity for seven months. News updates have become quite thin.  The Guardian has a story about them and some other British hostages. Best wishes to the hostages and hopefully the British government will secure their release soon.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Liz Clark - NOT

Latitude 38 finally got around to posting a photo for the ladies, albeit under a thinly disguised "where am I game".  The photo is too risque for me to re-post here, not to mention potential copyright issues with Sally Sailor. Scary thing is, I may know who that is....

Provisioning Tip: Cat food Sandwiches

I know what you are thinking...  Cat food sandwiches are that end-of-month-treat that tides you over until your next government check.  I'm here to tell you they are the perfect sailing food. They come in easy to use meal size cans and last forever.  There are many luscious varieties available each with enough flavor to compliment the greenest of your bread leftovers.  Talk about versatility... Feel like pasta tonight? Just one Cup-of-Noodles, a cup of ketchup and your favorite can of Friskies and you will have a delicious marinara sauce.  Check out all of the exciting flavors such as fish and liver.  I personally recommend a few cans of "generic" flavor, which provide that delicate horse meat essence that is hard to find outside of Belgium. Mmmm, mmmm, I feel  frisky.

WARNING: May not be suitable for crewed boats where flatulence could be considered mutinous behavior.

Vote for the Boat

The National Trust for Historic Preservation is running another one of it's competitions to fund a historic location.  This one is focused around Seattle and is worth $100,000 to the winning site.  Port Townsend's own schooner Adventuress is currently leading the poll.  It would be great to have a wooden boat win the prize.  You can actually vote everyday between now and May 22.  Each vote counts.  By voting, you can also enter to win a free cruise on the Adventuress.  Full voting instructions can be found here.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Medical Books On Board

In times of trouble on board, it is helpful to have a doctor.  She may not always be there though.  While going through our medical supplies, I found three books that could prove useful. These are all not really medical books, but helpful aids written for the layman:

 Being Your Own Wilderness Doctor

The Healthy Cruiser's Handbook

Wilderness Medicine, Beyond First Aid, 5th Edition

Each of these books covers their own subset of first aid, symptoms and drug use.  You could probably get away with just one of these volumes, but it is sometimes reassuring to have a second opinion.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

SSB Radio Check Today

The Pacific Cup boats Valis and California Girl setup a radio check network today.  While I was able to talk to Valis, a couple miles away off Angel Island, I could not make out California Girl in Oregon.  I did hear other boats outside the Gate and in Richmond.  Blue Moon called, presumably from Sausalito, but I could only hear half of the conversation.

This always make me wonder if it is one of our radios or just the propagation.  I have never talked to a boat on the SSB that is so close.

Thanks to Valis (WDB2898) for setting this up.

Single Hander Interviews

Adam Correa has entered an International Folkboat, Blue Moon, in the race this year.  He has not posted his PHRF rating yet, but Blue Moon may be the only boat with a handicap larger than Maitreya.  We may be spending time together at the back of the pack during the race.

Adam also has a really nice website at  He is compiling a list of interviews with various single handers which is quite  interesting, at least to prospective single handers.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Thats Not An Oar, Mate

This is an oar....

Fifteen feet, twenty six pounds.  Steve Hutchinson built me this sculling oar for emergency steering.  It is made from two fourteen foot, vertical grain, Douglas Fir 2x4s that were epoxied together.  The blade is about two and a half feet of Yellow Cedar and Mahogany veneers laminated into a sandwich.

I am currently varnishing the oar before it goes in the water.  Once that is done ,I will post some pictures of it mounted.  I expect it to extend past the stern about eight feet and be submerged about two feet.

If the fleet is becalmed this year, I may mount it and start sculling.  Some people claim they can get a knot and a half even on a heavy boat like an Ingrid.

Life Raft

One of the new items for the race.  This is a Revere Elite Offshore 4 man raft.  It is considered one of the lightweight rafts that can be stowed below.  It is still about 54 pounds and seems even heavier than that. One needs to lug it on deck, tie it off, heave it overboard and pull the string.  Then you hope it inflates and does not blow away.

If all goes well, it is supposed to look like the picture above.  Some people think that the little platform outside is for the family dog.  It is actually to help you get in, since the two yellow tubes are a couple of feet high and it can be a struggle.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

SHTP - Entry Dead Line has Passed

The entry dead line has come and gone.  The field currently has 21 provisional entries.  The list can be found at  This means that various boats still have to pass inspections and fulfil various other obligations such as a qualifying cruise.

With 59 days to go, my list is pretty short:
- Install autopilot.
- Varnish my new sculling oar.
- Pass inspection. I think I am ready :-).
- Do the qualifier (400 miles round trip at least 200 miles offshore)
- Provisioning odds and ends.

I am hoping to do complete these items in the next 15 or 20 days.  I hope to also race this year's Single Handed Farallones Race.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Updated Participant Blogs

60 days to go....

Updated Blog Roll:

Adam on Blue Moon -
Adrian on Idefix -  (may not update during the race)
Santi on Koh Samia - (may not update during race)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

New Whisker Pole

Several friends have been after me to get a whisker pole for my stay sail.  After talking to Synthia Petroka, a SHTP veteran, and Dave West, a Pacific Cup veteran and crack Mercury sailor, I was convinced.   The rumbline course from San Francisco is both much deeper and may have more variable winds than a westerly reach from San Diego or Mexico.  It also does not typically have the dogleg that is carved by the fully crewed Transpac that leaves Long Beach.

I got a Forespar pole at the boat show.  The yankee on the other side has too high of a clew for a pole.  If it proves unstable, I can run the sheet through a snatch block hung off a bail on the boom.

Synthia, who makes spinnaker nets, was describing very large wind shifts during the 2006 race.  This makes me leery of the asymmetrical spinnaker running in fluky conditions.  I will probably only use it in case of light winds while reaching away from the Bay.

SHTP Training - The Gym

Not fat, just big boned.....

OK, I joined the gym for a couple of months.  Hopefully I can get a little more endurance and take care of this "bone" problem.  Our new motto is "No Man Boobs in 2010".

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

SHTP Offshore Medicine Seminar

Dr. Lou Freeman was kind of enough to travel from Fresno to the Oakland Yacht Club last Monday night to give a great talk on medical issues.  Dr. Freeman has completed the Single Handed Transpac a couple of times and is also an anaesthesiologist. 

He sent me the talk outline and a bibliography of suggested reading.  I believe that is be a great help all participants this year and in the future. 

Thanks again to Dr. Freeman and the Race Committee for making this happen.

New Auto Pilot Technology

This does not require electricity or wind and is quieter than your average wife. Too bad bananas are bad luck on a boat.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

SHTP Participant Blogs

I am gathering links for blogs of the skippers for the Single Handed Transpac.  I know that some of the significant others will be looking for all the race information they can get on the "local conditions" out there.

The current roll is:

Adam on Blue Moon -
Adrian on Idefix -  (may not update during the race)

I will keep updating the list as they come in.

Monday, April 12, 2010

NOAA Historical Weather Database

The folks at NOAA directed me to a web interface for their historical weather database.  The tool is quite complex, but after a few tries I was able to generate this chart of surface pressure for June 19 2009.  It will take quite a bit of work to understand if there are any useful trends for the position of the North Pacific High.  The high tends to dominate the weather and tactics for a Transpac run.

The tool can be found at

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Film About Moby Nick

Between Home (documentary trailer 2010) from nickj on Vimeo.

Moby Nick has a new post about a documentary of his single handing from Holland to Australia.  This was done in his Contessa 26, Constellation. Check it out.

SHTP Training - The Race Deck

I spent yesterday working on the race committee for the SSS Corinthian Single and Double handed race.  This was fun and I learned about all the work that the RC does. 

I spent most of my time raising and lowering division flags at the start.  These are synchronized with the starting gun and warning horns and allow each group of boats to double check their position in the starting grid.

The end of the race found me spotting sail numbers and blasting the horn for each legal finisher.  When many boats finish together it can become quite chaotic trying to record all of their sail numbers and times.

A little over sixty boats finished out of about 87 entries.  At the start there were gusts to 38 knots and many boats had to retire early.  A very large storm is bearing down on central California and the race got advanced notice of this.

Thanks to all the RC members who taught me how things work.  I will know a lot more when I start the Transpac in 70 days.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Single Handed Transpac Entries

There are 71 days to go and the 2010 Single Handed Transpac entry page is starting to fill up.  Not all the information is up there yet, but it seems to be updated regularly.  A more complete list can be found here.  So far, it looks like a smallish field with eighteen skippers.  There are only a couple of cruising boats.

Maitreya is back in the water with a new bottom job.  Two coats of Vivid went on smoothly after four-plus days of sanding.  The larger prop seemed to increase power noticeably in my short cruise across the Berkeley Marina. The rigger should finish the rig inspection tomorrow.  This means that I will be pretty much ready for a safety inspection by the race committee.

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