I’m back

by on Apr.15, 2013, under Uncategorized

After a couple of years away from my blog, it’s time for me to start posting again. These will be my own comments and opinions. I just returned from the Congressional Cup in Long Beach sailing with Ed Baird and his Quantum Racing Team. It was really nice to be back to match racing. I used to do so much of it and now that the AC is such a joke, there is quite a bit less.
The team for the event was Ed Baird, Terry Hutchinson, Tom Burnham, Brett Jones, Jim Turner, and myself. We were one of the senior teams! Hard to believe I’m at that stage of life. The goal of the team was to work on the communication between Ed and Terry for the TP 52. Match racing does a great job at working on communication because you are encountered with so many situations. We started decently in the round robins but stumbled on our third day. We came off the water a bit discouraged but happy we had a tough day in the rounds so that it would toughen us for the semis. We ended the second round robin strongly guaranteeing us a spot in the semis.
Conditions were super light for the last day of racing. We were postponed several hours until the breeze built enough to go racing. We finally had enough breeze to barely race and were able to complete our semis. We raced against Mathieu Richard in the semis. We beat him in the first race and he narrowly beat us in the second. After more waiting for the breeze, we finally got in our third race which we won, sending us into the final.
There we had a sudden death sail off, one race final, against Simone Ferrerse. He was able to get the preferred side of the course and on a 1/4 mile beat, were not able to get back into him. Regatta over. It’s always bitterly disappointing to lose a match race event in the final. It’s always such a tough job to get there and to lose being so close is hard to swallow. But we sailed well and had a respectable finish. Next on my calendar is the Palma Vela in Palma, Spain on the Bella Mente.

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back in

by on Mar.21, 2011, under Uncategorized

Just a quick overview. We were sailing well and the race was going according to plan. Ian Moore was happy with our positioning and the team was working well. Most of the systems were working well and we have some good ideas as to how to refine them.

Sometime yesterday afternoon, we were sailing upwind, on port tack in about 18-20 knots of wind. Conditions were lumpy but we had seen some rougher seas earlier. We came off one wave too many and the mast came crashing down. I looked up just as it collapsed. All our hearts sank when that happened. We did a quick check to make sure everyone was ok and then set forward to start assessing and cleaning the mess. The rig fell to leeward and broke in several pieces on the way down. It all quickly went between the keel and rudder and was banging on the hull. We made the decision to cut the mast away and limit damage to the boat. John Von grabbed the grinder and made quick work of all the rigging. Last to go was the headstay, and it then all sank pretty quickly. We set about setting up a jury rig to help us get to Ensenada where we picked up more fuel and continued onto Mission Bay.

So now we will sit down and make a decision as to the next step to be able to sail Transpac. The next couple of days will be key for us into getting onto the right path.

Many people are asking us what broke. It is very difficult to tell, but at this point, it is either a spreader failure or spreader root failure. That seems to be where most people saw the rig go.

Stay tuned for more!


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Starting tomorrow

by on Mar.18, 2011, under Uncategorized

It’s 10:40 at night, and I just finished packing my gear and getting sorted. We had another long and busy day. We met up at 9 am to work on the boat until about 1.  At 1 we went sailing for a few hours to look at some more sails and a few small details. It all went well but as soon as we hit the dock, it was time to load the boat with food, sails, spares… There was quite a large list of “todo’s” in order to get the boat ready for some offshore sailing. There is quite a lot left to do before Transpac, but we felt that we have done the best we can to get the boat ready for this event.

For a quick overview, 7 weeks ago, the boat arrived into Palm Beach from Key West Race Week. From that point on, the boat was lengthened 5 feet,  2 bigger kites and 1 new Fractional 0 were built, mast rake was changed enough so that we had to redesign some parts and get them built, installed, and tested, mast tuned to the new rake, new kite sheets built, countless strops, slices, reinforced boom and all locking reefs, changes on the underwater appendages, kelp cutters installed, water maker intake rebuilt, endoscope system installed, stacking system sorted… The list goes on and needless to say the team has been busy.

We are all anxious to get started on the race so that we can focus on racing and learning the boat for Transpac. The start is tomorrow at noon. There will be tracker so you should be able to follow at

The are some different forecast with one being a quick race and the other being a slow one. So we will see but either way, we will be working hard to pass the boats that started today. Time for me to get some rest.



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Practice before Cabo

by on Mar.17, 2011, under Uncategorized

Today was a good day of looking at sails and sorting out some details in boat systems.  We were off the dock around 11 am. I struggled a little to get our new big head main on, but after a few different techniques, we finally found a solution to getting it plugged in. Basically, the main is so big at the head, that the weight and angle of the battens make it very awkward to plug into the headboard car and top batten car. Once the main went up, we looked at our new Fractional 0. This sail is to replace our very successful Fro. This new sail is designed to take advantage of the rating rule for Transpac and make sure we have a good sail for the first part of the race. We also looked at our very large new kites that are bigger and try to take advantage of our longer stern. We came in around 3:30 and then went right into boat work mode. We had a small repair to perform on the headfoil, tighten our bobstay lashing, work on water maker and water storage systems…

Ryan (Super Nipper) has been a huge help to our team. He is constantly working on the boat and taking on an ever growing list of jobs. Guys like him are key to a team to keep getting projects done when the sailors leave the boat.

I also noticed some impressive sail making skills today. Yesterday, part of the main was hitting the lock and forcing the lock to open. So part of the main had to be cut away to solve this issue. Blue (Tomac – those of you who have seen Old School should understand the reference) took a battery operate jig saw, and without tracing or measuring, and ignoring all OSHA rules, held the head of the main in hand, and cut the offending piece of cloth. Pure Skill!

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Long Day

by on Mar.16, 2011, under Uncategorized

We’ve had a long 2 days. We launched the boat yesterday at 6 am, measured the boat, then worked on it all day. At 6 pm, we headed back to the crew house for a quick bite to eat, a shower, and then back to the boat for a night delivery up to Long Beach. The delivery was uneventful but it was still a long night. We arrived in Long Beach at 7:30, docked the boat, and headed off for breakfast. After that, we headed back to the boat and kept working on it before sailing for a couple of hours in the afternoon. We returned back to the harbor and left the boat at 6 pm. So we were a little knackered.

Good news is we got our new BIG head main up. The top of the head is about 10 ft across. It has definitely powered the boat up. The sail was mainly to check on some mods we had done and make sure everything was safe. Tomorrow is a full crew practice with everyone showing up tonight.

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final day

by on Jan.21, 2011, under Uncategorized

We sailed 3 races today in winds of 10 knots and under. To be honest, I can’t remember every race in every detail. Our scores for the day were 2,2,2. So better but not enough to win. We tied for second but lost the tiebreaker so we finished 3rd overall, with Numbers winning and Shockwave in second. We seem to have been able to make the boat go a little better in the light but this is still our weak point. Our mark rounding’s were clean. One leeward mark rounding was a small struggle when we had an issue with the string system. The string system has been quite reliable this week allowing us to take the kite down 1-2 boat lengths from the bottom mark. Our sets also improved this week, which had been a weak point for us. How did we make them better? Lots of little things: better turn downwind, less friction in the kite going up out of the hatch, better sneaks on the bow.
Overall, we sailed better as the week went on but we know we could have done better. A few mistakes here and there cost us a few seconds which in some races was all that kept us from winning.
However, now we are off to distance racing. Pirate and the boys are taking the boat back to Palm Beach right now where it will get modified for the West coast. It will have a scoop added to it and then shipped to Driscoll’s in San Diego. We will reassemble the boat over February and March. The rig will get shipped separately where it will be maintained, checked and reassembled in February. Our first event on the west coast will be the Cabo race in March. We have plenty of work and mods to do before then.
Stay Tuned,

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day 4

by on Jan.20, 2011, under Uncategorized

We sailed 2 races today in very light air.
For both races we again sailed with a reduced crew, taking 4 people off the boat.
The first race we started at the right end and were a little late but got to the line at full speed. We sailed well on the beat and rounded the mark with a clean set. We sailed clean and were able to keep the boat moving through the light air. We worked on some better staysail furl timing to improve our inside gybes. We were able to hold our time and finished second in the race behind Numbers.
Second race we had a good start but struggled to find our way. For most of the race we seemed to hold the same position. Shockwave hit the top mark at the first set and they fell behind us as they did their penalty turn. The race course was a 5 legger and on the last beat we went left while the rest of the fleet went right. We found some better pressure and came from behind to win the race!
So overall today was better but we still have some work to do. Tomorrow will be a good battle and hopefully we sail 2 races. The forecast is still for some light air so we will have to work hard.

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by on Jan.19, 2011, under Uncategorized

We only had one light air race today.
We made some small changes to the boat and sailed with 4 less crew in order to lighten the boat. We started at the pin and were lucky we were not over. We sailed all the way out to the port layline and followed Titan into the top. We had to duck Numbers on as they rounded the weather mark. We went ok on the run but were still not able to pass Numbers. We had a clean leeward mark rounding and worked our way up the beat again. Shockwave seemed to struggle in this really light stuff, a little like we were yesterday.
Our gybes were costly and we probably gybed too much on the first run. This is probably where we lost our time on Titan. We finished third in the race. Better but still not good enough.

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rough day

by on Jan.18, 2011, under Uncategorized

Well, today was a rough day to say the least.
First race of the day we started towards the leeward end of the line. We had a good start being nice and close to the line. On the long sail out to the port layline, we seemed to hold our own against Shockwave but Numbers was also keeping up. All 3 boats tacked almost simultaneously heading for the weather mark. We rounded right on Numbers tail but were unable to capitalize and they stayed ahead of us for the rest of the race. We had a poor result and finished 4th.
Second race saw us with another decent start on the right side of the line with Numbers just to weather of us and Titan to leeward. We had decent speed and quickly tacked, ducked Numbers and headed for the right. We again rounded the weather mark right on the heels of the Numbers but they seemed to slip away from us downwind. We definitely seem to struggle in this wind condition. We feel underpowered and we struggle to get to our numbers. The results show another poor result with a 4th. The boat handling went well but we had a small hiccup on a set when a kite sheet wrapped itself around a lifeline and piece of spectra on the bow. Nothing a quick swipe of the knife could not solve!
The forecast for tomorrow looks grim with not more than 5 knots forecast. Hopefully it’s wrong and the breeze will cooperate.

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Race day 1

by on Jan.17, 2011, under Uncategorized

Today was a day of highs and lows, very low.
The weather for the day was variable with some rain in the morning and the wind being affected by overhead clouds.
First Race: The call was to start at the boat and work the right side of the course. The line is quite short for the 4 boats. On our final approach, we had to hold back a little so that we would not be shut out by Titan. As soon as Titan committed to putting the bow down, we boreaway and started. We were at the line but a little slow, but we got the right. We worked a few shifts on the way up and rounded the mark right on Titan’s tail. The set went well and we were able to get a small tow off Titan wake.
Titan extended a bit on the run. We have a single mark at the bottom, port rounding and no offset at the top, so the course is a bit the way they used to be. Good Fun.
The bottom mark rounding was smooth and we had a smooth beat back to the top. On the next set, we had a small hiccup with the kite sheet coming the winch on the set. The guys in the cockpit sorted it out quickly and we were on the way. We held our time on the boats and won the race.
Race 2
Between races, the breeze started backing off so we put up the J 1.5 and sailed upwind to get a feel for the boat. Unfortunately, as we sailed upwind, we did not hear the RC make the call for the start time. By the time we heard it, we were quickly running out of time. We put the engine on, then had to hoist the kite at the 4 minute to get back down in time. We started probably 20-30 seconds late. The team worked the boat hard to try and get back into the race but there were not very many passing lanes and we had to settle with a last place finish. We also had a few mechanical issues with a winch but that did not affect the result. We are angry with ourselves for making this kind of mistake but everyone on the team kept working hard to try and get the boat back in the race, but it was not to be. So, for today we ended with a poor result but there are 8 races to go and tomorrow we will come out fighting.

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