Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Bermuda Race Wrap Up

Russ and I had a blast racing to Bermuda. I love being offshore and find so little time to do it these days.

On the Wed/Thu before the start, there were some dire warnings from various weather routing services with the prospect of 20-30 knot NE winds pushing against the gulf stream creating tall, short period waves. By Friday afternoon, 52 boats dropped out and another 10 boats retired after starting representing about a third of the fleet that didn't make it to the finish line. We tracked the weather very closely leading up the start and for the 30 hours of so before we hit the gulf stream. By Friday evening, the forecast had moderated sufficiently that we didn't have any hesitations about continuing onward, despite some misinformation disseminated by the RC about conditions further south of us.

Shortly after the start


Yankee Girl, the boat that eventually won the double handed division, was in the neighborhood pretty much the entire race but the gains they made in the light air on Saturday were difficult to claw back from. About the time we hit the gulf stream, we'd gained back a little ground but their track further east of us proved the right call and we were left clawing back from another deficit. Eventually we were able to overtake them but it was too little too late and they sailed a fantastic final 24 hours to close the distance sufficiently to earn the win. Huge congratulations to Zach & Gust for a great race!

For having the smallest boat in the fleet this year, we were pleased to compare well against some other, very fast designs including a J/111 that rounded Kitchen Shoal right behind us, but this was a result of strategy, not sailing ability as those boats that strayed too far west didn't see the gains others made to the east with greater wind speeds on the north side of the front line. Clearly second place is not good enough for Russ and I but I suppose if we're going to loose, that's the way to do it.

The solo sail back was a fun adventure and I got lucky with some wind that was not forecasted so was able to get back in time for the many scheduled calls on the 27th. I have a pretty light racing schedule for the balance of the summer: Beringer Bowl July 22-23 and Maine Rocks Race Sept 17-18. If Marblehead's One Regatta lays out some decent courses for the shorthanded division, I'll do that one too but I've not yet heard what the deal is.


Sunday, June 26, 2016

Check-in/OK message from SPOT Jeroboam

Jeroboam
Latitude:40.94627
Longitude:-69.03369
GPS location Date/Time:06/26/2016 09:51:37 EDT

Message:No wind, slowly motoring against the tide.

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/YN5vM/40.94627N/69.03369W

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Jeroboam

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Saturday, June 25, 2016

Check-in/OK message from SPOT Jeroboam

Jeroboam
Latitude:39.11282
Longitude:-67.22098
GPS location Date/Time:06/25/2016 09:52:43 EDT

Message:Boat email not working apparently.All is well

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/YKjd1/39.11282N/67.22098W

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Friday, June 24, 2016

400nm To Go

Jeroboam is making good time but I'm afraid the breeze is letting up now as I pass through the front line. Boat speed will drop even further as I begin to cross the Gulf Stream in the next several hours. Hopefully the other side of the front will bring the 15-20 knots I had on this side and I'm well positioned for the NE breeze, not to mention ready for some cooler air.

I got the end caps off the broken pole yesterday and took all the measurements I need for a new one. I'm tempted to go with a carbon replacement but I know it will be materially more expensive so I'll probably end up with aluminum again, perhaps one with thicker walls and a higher breaking strength. One of the end caps was pretty banged up from the break but nothing a hammer couldn't bend back into shape.

I woke up last evening to the boat moving rather slowly through the water. When I popped up on deck, there was no spinnaker flying, rather it was dragging through the water by the tack line. I managed to get it back on board and it appeared to be intact though I won't know for sure until I fly it or lay it out on some grass and really go through it. Turns out the swivel shackle at the head which attaches to the sock failed. I located a spare and had it all back together before dawn.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Homeward Bound

We finished yesterday late morning, just ahead of Ruse so that was an interesting turn of events at the end. Not sure how we did in the standing but I would imagine the official results won't be available until later today or tomorrow.

After finishing, we motored to Hamilton, cleared in/out and subjected Jeroboam to a post-race safety inspection, which is identical to the pre-race inspection. This is the only race I do that conducts inspections on both ends. I suppose the race committee no longer believes this is a gentleman's sport and assumes at least some of the boats will attempt to race lighter by ejecting some safety gear between the pre-race inspection and the start. I can't imagine anyone doing that and would be shocked if they uncovered any examples of this.

By around 7pm last night, I was outside the reef and heading north toward the South Channel entrance to the Gulf of Maine. The forecast looks mild so it's going to be a stretch to be home in time for the conga line of conference calls on my calendar Monday but I will push the boat as hard as I can to get back.

Damage report from the race course mainly consists of the whisker pole. We were surfing dead downwind with the jib poled out to port and the main to starboard making incredible headway but the the large wave pattern would occasionally kick the stern way out to starboard, rounding the boat up. Even hand steering, I couldn't keep the boat on it's feet very well but the speeds we were hitting enticed us to continue on. As the breeze built over 25 knots, the whisker pole couldn't withstand the pressure of the back winded jib in a round up and folded in half. We managed to get the boat and two pole bits under control in time to not damage the sail or anything else. We recovered what was left of it and I will drill the ends out to attach to a new extrusion.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Final Stretch

It's Russ' birthday today! Happy Birthday!

We're about 90 miles from the finish line so we're hoping to cross tomorrow morning. The forecast has been a bit fickle today in a dying breeze then it picked up from the SW so for the moment, we're generally heading in the right direction. If the forecast holds true, we expect a shift to the S and a beat into Bermuda.

All systems are working normally on board including the watermaker so I basked in the luxury of a shower today, as did Russ. Many of my sailing friends reading this will no doubt chide me for such extravagances during an ocean race but when you race a cruising boat, there's no point in not taking advantage of these things. On my buddy Tom's boat, Whisper, they are undoubtedly running the air conditioner today - now that's true luxury.

Ruse is having a hell of a race out here so I think they are the boat to beat in our class at this point. Close on our heels is Yankee Girl which is a Morris 36 Justine co-skippered by another Morris 36 Justine owner so there's some serious experience with that boat on board. The other double handed class is presently dominated by Kiva and Solarus, two boat who have benefited from their long waterlines and their strategy of going East of the Rhumbline. We're doing our best to stay in the hunt.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Check-in/OK message from SPOT Jeroboam

Jeroboam
Latitude:35.61237
Longitude:-67.22821
GPS location Date/Time:06/20/2016 17:36:02 EDT

Message:Mother Nature threw it all at us today.

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/Y97g5/35.61237N/67.22821W

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Jeroboam

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