T-minus 1

by on Jan.16, 2011, under Uncategorized

We had our last day of practice today. Off the dock at 9:30 AM and straight into 2 practice starts and a race. We had everyone out there today, Titan, Shockwave, Numbers, and us. So we got some realistic practice starts with all the boats. We did this a couple of times and called it a day coming back to the dock around 1 PM. This will be a tight event. Not many boats in our class to get much of a point spread and Numbers is a quick boat for only 66 feet. Plus, they have IT (the Vanilla Gorrilla). So the pressure is on or else we have to listen to him for the next year.
Stay tuned for tomorrow.

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practice day 2

by on Jan.15, 2011, under Uncategorized

Today was another day of practice. We warmed up with a set, run and leeward mark rounding.
Then we teamed up with Shockwave and did some practice starts followed by practice races. The afterguard (Tom Burnham and Eric Doyle) worked on getting us in some tight situations at the bottom mark to push the crew harder. Overall, maneuvers went smoothly. One more day of practice tomorrow.

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practice day

by on Jan.14, 2011, under Uncategorized

Today’s theme was buoy race practice. We ended up doing lots of whether mark rounding and leeward drops. We pushed ourselves into some tight situations and the crew performed well. The day was very smooth with everyone fitting well into their positions. This has been basically the same group of people sailing together for quite a while now.
We had about 15-20 knots throughout the day, so that allowed us to work on our breezy jibes and going downwind with the jib up.
Tomorrow we will do more of the same but involve some other boats. Hopefully we can do some practice starts and races with the other boats.


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feeder race – overview

by on Jan.13, 2011, under Uncategorized

We finished last night around 1 am the Key West Feeder Race.
It was not as windy and cold as promised but it was still a good work session. We started in Ft. Lauderdale with the A2 in about 12 knots of breeze. In the first hour, the breeze built to 18 knots and with a few gusts to over 20 so we changed to the A4. We held that sail for quite some time into the night. As we started to round the keys and harden up, we went to the A3, which is a heavier kite made to sail the higher angles. We deploy it in a zipper sock, which adds a little bit of safety as to when the sail will fill. The set up went well besides us getting wet on the bow and head lamps shorting out. We struggled a little to get the sock to open up properly but a good strong pull with 3 of us (Snowflake, Mickey, and myself) was enough to release whatever was keeping it from opening. After some time, we went from the A3 to the Fro, a sail which served us very well in Sardinia, and it didn’t fail us again. It allowed us to get up to 130- 125 true wind angle and hauling ass. For the boys on the handles, it was a grind fest. By the time the race was over, most of them had been grinding for 9 or more hours.
With the FRO on, and a genoa staysail, we put reefs in and out a few times depending on the wind strength. Most of them went well except when the backstay bunjees broke and caused some problems getting the main back on the lock. It meant a trip of the rig for me, which I don’t particularly enjoy. Once sorted, we were able to reef back and forth again.
We had to put up the A3 again after getting lifted a little and then back to the FRO before changing down to the J4 for the last little beat up to Key West.
One of the challenges for us on the front last night was that there was so much water and spray; the visibility to see what we were doing was a challenge.
We were first to finish and won corrected so all the hard work was rewarded. We learned a lot last year doing this race and were able to improve quite a bit.
Today was for some rest and re-moding the boat to inshore mode. Tomorrow we start our inshore practice and there will be a few more crew onboard for this racing.

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Florida, Bella Mente

by on Jan.11, 2011, under Uncategorized

Ok, here we go. Long time since the last update, but it’s time to get it going again.
I have been in Florida for a week now working on the Bella Mente and helping to get it ready for racing. Our first race is tomorrow, where we will race from Ft. Lauderdale to Key West. The course is about 160 miles and it looks to be mostly downwind again this year.
We will start at 1 pm tomorrow and get in that night. The forecast is for 10-15 knots at the start and building to the mid 20’s by the end of the race. So we should have some good fun. The focus right now is on downwind. We have lightened up the boat taking minimum upwind sails and making sure we are ready for some downwind sailing and sail changes. Yesterday’s practice was a fire drill of 3 hours of sail changing.
We started by sailing upwind a bit on starboard tack. We have been working hard on improving the rig set up and we wanted to get a feel for it in those wind conditions (about 18 knots). We tacked over on port, bore away, and hoisted the A7 (a fractional kite). Then to be honest, it was a blur of trying different staysail and jib set ups while going down wind. We then sailed with the A2 for awhile, still working on staysail combos. Then peeled to the A3. After all that, we finally turned around and had a long sail back to Lauderdale.
As we are doing all this prep we are keeping our thoughts on the downwind sailing we will be doing on the west coast.
But, the focus right now is to do well in this race tomorrow and win.

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by on Jul.29, 2010, under Uncategorized

The family and I drove to Paris on the 26 and spent the night there. The next morning I took a quick flight to Palma where I will be sailing the copa del rey on the Bella mente. This will be my last event after a 3 month tour. After 1 month of being scrunched in a far 30, it is nice to be able to stretch out a little.

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Rig down

by on Jul.24, 2010, under Uncategorized

The team raced from marseille to la seyne sur mer in a building mistral. Our luck ran out and the rig came down when the backstay broke. However, our team rallied and within a few hours after getting back to the dock, we had our back up rig in the boat. We had to use the crane from a French navy ship since there were no other cranes available. The leg ended up getting canceled because of too much breeze.
The next day we raced 2 windward leeward races. We sailed well and finished 3,3. The first race was moderate with some gusts to 20. Second race started in 17-20 but quickly built to 28. We had a fun run down keeping the boat under control. It was nice to get some breeze finally. I really wish we had more breeze early on.

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by on Jul.24, 2010, under Uncategorized

We had a good day in marseille with 3,3,4. We had some consistent results and sailed well in very shifty and variable conditions.

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with sound

by on Jul.18, 2010, under Uncategorized

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a little video from the tour.

by on Jul.18, 2010, under Uncategorized

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