Sunday, March 31, 2013

Departure

As I take a final look around this area I call home, there's not many signs of sailing season nor is spring really in the air. Sure, there are buds on some trees, even green grass here and there in the better kept parks but there are plenty of signs of winter as well: stubborn snow banks in the backs of parking lots, plows affixed to pickups bearing landscape company logos, white salt streaks across black sidewalks that have yet to be washed away by April showers. People always say it's the changing of the seasons they most look forward to in New England and that spring is an inspiration as life begins anew but it's still too early for me to draw any of that inspiration before I go. There's no getting around the fact that I'm heading out into the cold, wet, unforgiving north Atlantic alone with little to comfort me except the thrill of the challenge. There is no choice but to rise to it as anything less would spell doom. It's just about time for my first transatlantic.

I'm heading for Port-la-Foret, home base to many of the shorthanded French teams and the famous Pôle Finistère Course au large in nearby Fouesnant. Weather routing indicates a quick downwind passage for the first 1000 miles with at least one very ugly low to tangle with in about 6 days time (see chart below) which is to be expected this time of year. 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Fine Tuning the Rig

Chris and I went out for a quick test sail today to fine tune the rig so I tried out the masthead cam:


Can you tell I have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to video editing?

Friday, March 29, 2013

Sail for Kids Event at NYC

We had the Sail for Kids kick off event at Newport Yacht Club this week with a great group of student and some terrific speakers including Ned Caswell who did the BT Global Challenge in 2000, Phil Steggall who did OSTAR in 1980 and 1988, Hilary Wiech of Sailors for the Sea, Bob Morton of Newport Biodiesel and Bjorn Johnson.

Tiverton High School was well represented - here's a bunch of students
from Ed Fernandez's class, the teacher who did the delivery with me from
Beverly, MA to Newport.
A huge thanks to NYC for letting us use their clubhouse for the event and to Joe Cooper for pulling it all together. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Check-in/OK message from Jeroboam SPOT

Jeroboam
Latitude:41.48899
Longitude:-71.31856
GPS location Date/Time:03/26/2013 22:26:31 EDT

Message:Gearing up for Sail For Kids kickoff tomorrow

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/BWeZK/41.48899N/71.31856W

If the above link does not work, try this link:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=41.48899,-71.31856&ll=41.48899,-71.31856&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Jeroboam

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Please Support the OSTAR Educational Program

As most of you know I’ve partnered with a group call Sail for Kids, led by Joe Cooper of Newport, and the non-profit Storm Trysail Foundation to use my sailing and racing experience this spring as a teaching tool to get kids engaged in the classroom. Curriculum has been developed by Sail for Kids covering the gamut of science, the ocean/environment, resource planning and conservation, technology, etc. and will reach classrooms primarily in the Northeast US. 

As any teacher will tell you, getting kids engaged in the classroom in a topic of study is materially easier given a back story or experience that is itself engaging. This is where I come in. Providing reports from sea, both on the delivery and the race back, that mirror the lesson plans with real world applications is how we’ll connect those dots. 

The program is in need of funding, primarily for communications between the boat and shore so please follow this link to give to this worthy cause.

Please be sure to check "Expeditions -OSTAR - Jonathan Green" when donating.

Your support is greatly appreciated.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Bon Voyage

Gina & Walter Beinecke hosted a fantastic bon voyage party for me last night for which I'm very grateful. Thank you to every one who showed up and to all the well wishers who couldn't. My schedule has been crazy preparing and training for this race, neglecting most social occasions, so it was great to see everyone before I depart. I think some people took photos so I'll try to post some here later.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Alternate Transportation

I sent a mass email earlier this month to friends & family explaining what I'm up to this spring and here was my favorite response:


Greenie,

I do admire, and identify with, your yearning for an UK vacation. Also, like you, when I travel I like to have certain creature comforts from home with me. However, there are such things that are just too large to be practical to take with you. There is a boat that leaves this side of the pond from New York named the Q.E. II. I think she would provide you adequate passage to the UK and back, and alleviate the need for you to bring your own boat. Just a thought.

Cheers,

-Rex.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Back in Newport

Had an amazingly fun sail to Newport over the weekend with my buddy Ed Fernandes, a teacher at Tiverton High School and a big supporter of our Sail for Kids program. He may not have much experience sailing, but Ed toughed it out like a pro on an intense, freezing cold, very early season jaunt that included about 10 straight hours of beating upwind from the Cape Cod Canal to Narragansett Bay. Hat's off buddy. Here's a shot from the east side of the canal where the wind/waves were at their most well behaved.


A big thanks to Newport Yacht Club for accommodating me the next couple weeks and for hosting the Sail for Kids event on March 27.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Check-in/OK message from Jeroboam SPOT

Jeroboam
Latitude:41.48831
Longitude:-71.31789
GPS location Date/Time:03/17/2013 10:55:42 EDT

Message:Arrived in Newport. Tough beat down Buzz Bay.

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/BQw5A/41.48831N/71.31789W

If the above link does not work, try this link:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=41.48831,-71.31789&ll=41.48831,-71.31789&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Jeroboam

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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Check-in/OK message from Jeroboam SPOT

Jeroboam
Latitude:41.52837
Longitude:-70.80231
GPS location Date/Time:03/16/2013 19:45:12 EDT

Message:316.1940.4132.7048.218.4.244.10.1012

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/BQdTK/41.52837N/70.80231W

If the above link does not work, try this link:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=41.52837,-70.80231&ll=41.52837,-70.80231&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Jeroboam

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Check-in/OK message from Jeroboam SPOT

Jeroboam
Latitude:41.78728
Longitude:-70.48795
GPS location Date/Time:03/16/2013 14:45:47 EDT

Message:316.1441.4148.7030.183.5.043.8.1011

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/BQSpg/41.78728N/70.48795W

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Jeroboam

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Check-in/OK message from Jeroboam SPOT

Jeroboam
Latitude:42.13633
Longitude:-70.55707
GPS location Date/Time:03/16/2013 10:46:37 EDT

Message:316.1044.4209.7034.193.7.343.14.1013

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/BQKD1/42.13633N/70.55707W

If the above link does not work, try this link:
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Jeroboam

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Friday, March 15, 2013

Heading for Newport

Tomorrow morning Jeroboam heads for Newport for a brief interlude before sailing East. I have the pleasure of hosting a teacher who is taking part in the Sail for Kids program through the Storm Trysail Foundation, Ed Fernandez of Triverton High School. The plan is to give him an idea of what life is like on board Jeroboam so he's well equipped to answer questions from this students while I'm sailing to Europe and racing back. We've got some terrific breeze in the forecast for tomorrow morning then turning lighter as the day wears on and we get down into the Cape Cod Canal and Buzzards Bay. I'll be posting position reports occasionally and uploading some photos in route. Departure is at 5 AM so we'll be hitting the rack real soon. I can't tell you how excited I am to do some sailing this weekend.

Reaching Staysail

When I put up the new mast last year, my grand plan was to add some larger staysails for double head sail reaching and spinnaker reaching. Some of you in the US who compete against me have seen me fly the mini staysail which looks pretty silly at first glance because it's so tiny but I think it actually does a decent job maintaining attached flow on the main. Here's a shot of Jeroboam as John Keane and I were racing through the cut in Bermuda on our way back to Newport for the double handed leg of the 2011 Bermuda 1-2:


The hoist point is below the radar reflector and dome and is actually the pole lift but works well for this sail. I added two more staysail tack points between the one shown above and the forestay and there are two more staysail halyards above the radar reflector/dome for flying larger staysails like the one shown here:


I picked this up used and made some modifications including swapping out the wire luff for dyneema and  working up a different way to tension the luff. This one is hoisted from the highest staysail halyard can be tacked to either the forward most tack point or the middle tack point, as shown above. I would fly it with the bow tacked asymmetrical spinnaker while reaching at 75-110 degrees off the breeze.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Check-in/OK message from Jeroboam SPOT

Jeroboam
Latitude:42.54047
Longitude:-70.88376
GPS location Date/Time:03/14/2013 21:56:43 EDT

Message:3/14 2154,42.32N 70.53W,096M,12.6kt 320M,1012

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/BPR4w/42.54047N/70.88376W

If the above link does not work, try this link:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=42.54047,-70.88376&ll=42.54047,-70.88376&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Jeroboam

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The List

This fall and winter have been a mad dash to get Jeroboam ready for OSTAR. What started out as a very long list actually got longer for a while since for every item I checked off, I added two new things that needed attention. Here, at long last, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Here are the high level elements to the boat mods and gear acquisitions for this race:

Racing Dodger


Friday, March 8, 2013

How to Drink Seawater

Between re-hydrating the freeze dried food and keeping my body hydrated, I anticipate needing around 6 liters of water per day. Throw in a little water for non-consumption purposes and a solid safety margin and we're talking approximately 500 pounds of water on board for the race which will substantially slow down a little boat like Jeroboam.

Katadyn PowerSurvivor 40E installed under the galley sink
It was time to suck it up and get a reverse osmosis desalinator which turns the ocean's salt water into potable water. The smallest, lightest one I found is the Katadyn PowerSurvivor 40E which weighs in at a very reasonable 25 pounds and produces my daily requirement of 6 liters in about 2 hours. Other boaters with greater water requirements than I are ga-ga for Spectra units but they're considerably more expensive so this was the best option for me.

Installation was challenging primarily because I have some particular needs and zero plumbing experience. In a nutshell:
Raw water filer & 30 micro pre-filter,
also under the galley sink

  • Add small, 3 gallon water tank for desalinator so output is segregated from main tank
  • Plumb desalinator tank w/ valve to large aft water tank
  • Plumb desalinator output to dedicated sink faucet for testing prior to sending to desalinator tank
  • Plumb seawater from thru-hull w/ scoop strainer to raw water strainer to 30 micron pre-filter to desalinator w/ options to instead run desalinated water through (for cleaning) or membrane preservative (for storage)
  • Plumb desalinator tank and large aft tank to galley foot pump w/ option to draw from either

Dedicated tank for desalinator
product water in cabinet below icebox
Lots of pieces to this puzzle were required, thankfully there are places like McMaster-Carr out there with just about any bit of hardware you could possibly imagine. I once read someone's post on one of the sailing boards claiming he could construct his own space shuttle from the many parts sold here and I don't doubt him. But still, it was trial and error for several weeks as I pieced it all together.

I had my first successful test last night around 3 AM when the tide was coming in and made about 5 liters of perfectly delicious fresh water from disgusting salty seawater. Amazing.


The reverse osmosis technology behind it is fascinating but I won't go into it here.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Terrific article on OSTAR

Authored by Jerry Freeman, long time supporter of and participant in many shorthanded races in Europe including the last running of OSTAR in 2009 as well as the 1984 and 1992 editions. Great read from a guy who really knows his stuff:

Racing solo across the Atlantic

This is the time of year when sailors glance casually at a chart of the North Atlantic to check if it really is only 2810 nautical miles from Plymouth, England to Newport, Rhode Island. The motivation for this long term passage planning is the 14th edition of the Original Single-handed Trans-Atlantic Race – OSTAR – which starts on May 27th, Bank Holiday Monday, under the green and pleasant hills of Plymouth Hoe. The crowds will be massed in their thousands to bid fair winds to the thirty intrepid skippers who must battle westward along a trail first blazed in 1960 by Francis Chichester in Gypsy Moth II and Blondie Hasler in Jester for the small wager of a half-crown. Many sailors dream of the challenge when simply put, starting from Plymouth, turn the bow to the west toward the setting sun and keep going for three or four weeks to America, on your own. Read More...

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

T-Minus 30 Days

I depart for Europe in a month to compete in the 2013 edition of OSTAR. Here's a basic schedule:

  • April 1 (weather dependent): Depart for France
  • Three weeks later or so, arrive in Port-La-Forêt
  • Late April through Mid-May, fix all the stuff that broke getting to France, train & fine tune Jeroboam for the race
  • May 18/19, arrive in Plymouth, UK
  • May 24, reception at Royal Western Yacht Club
  • May 25, pre-race briefing
  • May 27, race start
  • 3-4 weeks later, finish in Newport, RI
  • June 30, reception at Newport Yacht Club

I'm planning to post here frequently over the next four months as I prepare to depart, deliver Jeroboam to France, prepare for the race and race back to Newport.