Monday, June 4, 2018

Mistake at the Turn

Boy, we really messed up at the rounding mark. I think we were in pretty good position for a while but held on waaaaaaaay too long on that last bit before tacking back to the mark and let a lot of boats get ahead of us. I wish I could say we had some technical challenge, but I think fatigue was the key factor.
We're bombing up toward Portland and are making decent time. If the wind holds out, we'll likely make it by tomorrow morning.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Brutal Beat

We've been beating upwind for over a day now in 20-30 knots and heavy seas. We have two reefs in the main and the J3 flying, but we can't sail very close to the wind because of the rough sea state. I screwed up my back as we were exiting New York harbor, so I'm a bit handicapped and in a lot of pain.  But the most challenging part of this type of sailing is being soaking wet the whole time, never really drying off, and being cold. We're hoping to make it to the turning mark by mid-day tomorrow with a better angle to the finish line in Portland.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Day 3

I don't know how many sail changes we did today, but it took a toll on the crew. My body is pretty banged up.

We had an active cell move over us last night that gave us some trouble taking the A3 down. We really had to wrestle it in and became very wet in the process. From there, we sailed some deep angles with just the solent and main, then moved to the A2 as it lightened up.

Eventually, we ended up in a hole, which is always frustrating in an offshore race, particularly a race like this where we have access to the progress of other boats. Watching some of them sail onward while we waited for the wind to come up was a lesson in patience. When the wind did come back, we tried the J1 and had some good results in keeping the boat moving in light air.

Then we tried to go to the A1.5, but the halyard snap shackle let go when it reached the top of the mast. This sail is in a sock, so it wasn't too bad to recover out of the water, but still a huge effort, as quite an lot of water came aboard with it. Next was recovering the halyard, so Chris winched me up to the top of the mast, for which I paid with some large bruises in the bumpy sea state.

Then it was back to the solent as the breeze moved back on the nose, and finally, just now, back to the A1.5 as the wind swung east again.

No doubt, there will be more tonight.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Day 2

We managed to keep the boat moving pretty well throughout the evening. The breeze went light toward dawn, then picked up and headed us enough that we are still searching for the elusive gulf stream. The boats that went further offshore yesterday are enjoying some favorable current, while those of us further west are sailing fewer miles but without the benefit of current.

We seem to be chasing Toothface at the moment; as of about noon, they were about eight miles ahead, so we're doing our best to reel in Mike and Tristan.

Angola Cables and Amhas are in very good position and are sailing fast. Looks like they'll be the first of the westerly boats to get into the current.

We've had a rather aggravating electronics issue on board. There's a problem with the NMEA2000 network. I checked every connection on the network but haven't resolved the issue yet. My leading theory is one of the network terminators is bad—probably the one at the mast, since that's the one most exposed to the elements.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Off the Start

We had a couple rough tacks off the start, so we were one of the last out of the harbor, but we're clawing our way back now!

Friday, May 25, 2018

Atlantic Cup Race

Hello Friends and Family,

The Atlantic Cup starts tomorrow and my buddy Chris Pitts and I are racing Privateer, the Class 40 I acquired last fall, from Charleston, South Carolina to New York Harbor. We’ve put a lot of time and effort into the boat preparing and training, including doing the Miami-Havana Race in February, but this race holds some serious competition. There are eleven Class 40s entered, and all are crewed by some very talented sailors.

You can track the fleet here. Privateer has its own tracking page here, but the fleet tracker is better because it shows our position relative to the competition. I will occasionally post updates to my blog, and we will try to capture some video along the way as well (some training videos are posted to Privateer’s Facebook page). And you can vote for Privateer as your favorite team here.

Leg 2, from New York to Portland, Maine, begins June 2, and the third part of the race is two days of in-shore, fully crewed racing in Portland for which Russ Hancock, Ben Newman and Gregg Carville will join us.

Thanks to everyone who has helped out with Privateer’s program this year including Chris, Will, Keane and many more in Newport, Charleston, and beyond. I really appreciate it.



Saturday, February 17, 2018

Homeward Bound

After two days in Havana, we were ready to head back home so, after a long clearing out process, we departed Marina Hemingway around 11 this morning. The breeze is on the nose again, but at least we have the gulf stream with us. We'll clear back into the US at Lauderdale then head for Charleston, SC, probably arriving Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.
In all, this was a pretty cool adventure but logistically challenging. I'm glad I did it, despite the poor showing against Dragon, and learned a lot about making the boat go fast from Chris. His guidance on sail trim has been invaluable.