Thursday, November 23, 2017

Update from Hatteras

Happy Thanksgiving! John and I are sorry not to be spending it with our families but we have one turkey sandwich left that we're going to split so we're trying to stay festive.

With the wind behind us for the next couple days, we decided to slog through the gulf stream or just to the west of it. We're pay for playing it safe in slightly deeper water as the current is 4-5 knots against us. I'm hopeful that by the time we get to Frying Pan Shoals, we'll be in much diminished current, but until then, it's a frustrating slog.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Slow Slog Last Night

We had some brutal upwind work last night, following by some light air sailing this morning but are finally back on track with 15-20 knots behind us. We are pretty tired from the sail but holding up well. I need some Advil.

While furling the solent last night, I tore a panel near the clew, no doubt from the violent flogging in 30 knots of breeze. Thankfully it was just the delivery sail but I'd like to get t repaired nonetheless.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Up Next, Gulf Stream and a Nasty Storm

We've made good progress southward, albeit wet and often cold. The next challenge is dealing with the Gulf Stream and a nasty little storm heading up from the south.

By the time we get to Cape Hatteras, there will be a strong opposing wind to the formidable Gulf Stream current, so that's not an option. The plan is to skate the waters between the stream and the continental shelf off Virginia Beach then cross tomorrow morning when the wind shifts as the storm passes by to the east of the stream.

John's usual first 24 hours of hard knocks has passed and he's contemplating eating a chicken ceasar wrap.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Southward Bound

After a weather delay this weekend, John Keane and I departed for Charleston, SC around 10AM this morning. The breeze is much more manageable today than it would have been yesterday, the seas too. Some of the offshore NOAA buoy data showed wave heights in the upper teens so we expect that to be in the lower teens by the time we get out there later tonight.

It'll still be rather wet though. Even the small 4-6 foot waves as we exited the bay brought plenty of spray to the cockpit. These are wet boats.

We sailing with a double reefed main and the J3 in breeze in the mid-20, which is pretty conservative for this boat in these conditions, but this is a delivery, not a race, and our goal is to not break anything. We tried the solent in the bay when we first left NEB but the gusts were killing us so we downgraded. We have both the tanks full at this point which really helped flatten the boat out and provide some stability.

The routing challenge for this delivery is avoiding a low that will be coming by us Wednesday morning. We'll aim pretty far West today and tomorrow to be sure it passes to the East of us.

To see were we are, click on the link to the right labeled "Privateer Iridium Tracker"

Friday, November 3, 2017

Privateer Update

Prior to heading for Miami over Thanksgiving, there's much to do, most importantly, I need to have the boat weighted, measured and subjected to the 90 degree test. Per Appendix to Class Rules 1.5 which requires "a new measurement following any change in ownership. The purpose of this requirement is to update the data for each boat at a given moment to limit any uncertainty from changes made from year to year."

In other words, they're looking for cheaters. People who make modifications to their boats without reporting said changes to the class.

Privateer's seller is definitely not the type to circumvent rules so I have no doubt this is a complete waste of time and money, but it must be done if I expect to compete in my first class event, Atlantic Cup, in May and June.

Presently it's scheduled for Wednesday or Thursday of next week, depending on the weather, and I'll try to post photos/video/updates along the way. In the meantime, here's a list of projects i'm dealing with:

Order spare parts for Ronstan mast track/cars
Take apart halyard lock, clean/grease/reassemble/test
Re-string pipe berths
Deal with all the trailer shenanigans, including harness wiring, inventory, registration, plates, etc
Replace battery combiner
Secure Winches with proper nuts, washers
Measure stern for hailing port lettering, order, install
Strip old gasket from fwd compartment hatches and install new one
Test observed capacity of manual bilge pumps

Pre-90 degree test:
Drain engine oil
Put engine absorb rags around dipstick
Drain engine coolant
Drain sail drive oil
Close raw water intake & run engine to try to get rid of all seawater
Tape up fuel tank vent

Lastly, I apologize to those of you who subscribe to my blog. If you signed up for email updates, you would have received a pile of posts yesterday and today as I tested the Iridium tracker. The issues are all worked out and you can track Privateer here, if you wish, or click on the link to the right named "Privateer Iridium Tracker"

Thursday, October 26, 2017

The Next Chapter

Since I completed OSTAR in 2013, I've been saying that I've done just about all I can do on Jeroboam, a 35 foot coastal cruiser that I shoehorned into an offshore race boat over the years. I was long overdue for an upgrade so this fall I began exploring options.

I wanted a one-design boat that would be suitable for shorthanded offshore distance racing and only found one option in the US: Class 40. Europe also offers the Figaro class, which draws some amazingly talented solo sailors but there just isn't anything like that here.

There are about 150 Class 40s in existence, mostly in Europe, but there is a solidly established, albeit small, group based on the US east coast. I looked at all the Class 40s I knew on the market and settled on Privateer, a Farr design built by Cookson in New Zealand. I will keep the boat name.

My first race will be the Miami-Cuba race in February. A dedicated Class 40 event called Atlantic Cup regularly draws some talented sailors here on the East Coast. The 2018 edition in May and June will feature a double handed leg from Charleston to New York City with a second leg from NYC to Portland, Maine. There are also some fully crewed, in-port races so lots of action over a 3-4 week period.