Monday, December 29, 2014

Year End Sailing Wrap Up

2014 was a little on the quiet side but after the transatlantic last year, just about anything would feel that way. Reliving the experience via talks at various yacht clubs around New England has been a lot of fun and a great way to meet other sailors interested in shorthanded cruising and racing. I’m presenting to the Blue Water Sailing Club on January 10th in Charlestown, MA – if you’re interested in attending, please let me know.

My buddy Rich Wilson continues his training and preparation for Vendee Globe 2016, a single handed, non-stop, around the world race and it’s been a blast to assist where I can with his campaign. During the race, he will conduct a K-12 education program through his non-profit. For those interested, I encourage you to visit for more information about this amazing teaching tool for educators all over the world.

This summer, my biggest race was the double handed Bermuda Race which I entered on my boat Jeroboam with my buddy Russ Hancock. Light winds tested our patients and my skill set but as Russ races often around Marblehead (or Marble-dead to which it’s often referred), he excels in these conditions and we managed to pull out a class and division win.

Jeroboam also posted solid results at the One Regatta, Beringer Bowl and the Maine Rocks Race this summer with the final race on New Year's Day in Boston Harbor. 

The big race this coming June is Bermuda 1-2 which is single handed to Bermuda then double handed back to Newport. I’ve entered twice before on Jeroboam in 2009 and 2011 but this year my buddy Mike Piper suggested I race his very sporty J/111 down, with him joining for the double handed return. This is a great opportunity for me to test my skills on a proper race boat and we have already begun preparation and training in earnest.

Wishing you all the best in the new year!


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Vendee Globe Press Conference, Paris Boat Show

Rich Wilson was in Paris for the boat show last week when the Vendee Globe race committee released the NOR and held a press conference introducing the 15 skippers (so far) who are planning to be on the starting line in November 2016. (note, this video is in French and if you want to skip ahead to when Rich is introduced, move the slider to 30:42 when the ad is finished)

Of the 15 who plan to enter, 7 are building new boats:

Morgan Lagravière (FRA / Safran)
Armel Le Cléac’h (FRA / Banque Populaire)
Alex Thomson (GB / Hugo Boss)
Sébastien Josse (FRA / Groupe Edmond de Rothschild)
Andrea Mura (ITA / Vento Di Sardegna)
Jean-Pierre Dick (St Michel-Virbac)
Nandor Fa (HG / Spirit of Hungary)

And 8 intend to enter on existing boats:

Vincent Riou (FRA / PRB)
Yann Eliès (FRA/Groupe Quéguiner)
Jérémie Beyou (FRA / Maître Coq)
Tanguy de Lamotte (FRA / Initiatives Cœur)
Louis Burton (FRA / Bureau Vallée)
Eric Bellion (FRA / Comme 1 seul Homme)
Rich Wilson (USA / Great American IV)
Armel Tripon (FRA / For Humble Heroes)

Monday, December 8, 2014

2015 Bermuda 1-2, NOR & Preliminary Scratch Sheet

The Bermuda 1-2 Race Committee released the Notice of Race for the 19th edition of this fine event. Since 1977, on odd years, skippers have been piloting their boats single handed to Bermuda and double handed back to Newport in the US east coast's premier short handed race. I did this race twice, in 2009 and 2011 on Jeroboam, but missed out in 2013 to participate in another race.

I went through the NOR and didn't see any surprises, but then again the Bermuda 1-2 race committee has always been good about giving participants an early heads up on anticipated changes to safety requirements, unlike some other races I know.

Quite a few have already declared their intent to participate and others have in recent years regularly entered so I compiled a preliminary scratch sheet. Granted, not all these people will make it to the starting line but here's a matter of infinite hope:

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

High Modulus Polyethylene

There have been a lot of changes in the approach to standing and running rigging in recent years with the introduction of high modulus polyethlyene line such as Dyneema and Spectra. There are lots of pros and cons relative to wire and traditional line which I won't go into but in summary, it's lighter and stronger though less chafe resistant.

This summer I began making some changes to Jeroboam to take advantage of the weight savings by using soft shackles as replacements to metal ones, replacing the wire lifelines with dyneema and reconfiguring my backstay with a cascade to replace the hydraulic backstay adjuster which was completely overkill for Jeroboam (not to mention heavy).

Here are some examples of soft shackles:

From the left, the first is made from 2mm FSE Robline MRX dyneema and has a breaking strength of approximately 1,000 pounds. The middle one is made from 1/8" Samson Amsteel AS-78 and has a breaking strength of approximately 3,000 pounds. The right one is made from 3/16" Sampson Amsteel AS-78 and has a breaking strength of approximately 6,500 pounds. With the right tools and a little practice, they're easy to make. This website contains a lot of good information.

I added the hydraulic backstay adjuster in the fall of 2012 when I installed the new mast. It's a Saletec 17LI long stroke adjuster capable of 8,750 pounds of tension.

Low Friction Ring

It's completely overkill for Jeroboam, which isn't a stiff boat to begin with, so I worked up a new design that uses Antal low friction rings in cascade and a single block with becket and cam to tension. I used a single strand of 3/16" Samson Amsteel AS-78 with New England Ropes dyneema chafe sleeve from the mast head to about two thirds of the way to the deck, then split the backstay from there and added the cascade pictured below:

The adjustment takes place at the bock and cam, shown left and the pic on the right shows the the whole set up.

The lifelines are made from 3/16" Samson Amsteel AS-78 with New England Ropes dyneema chafe sleeve used only at the stanchions:

Word on the street is that dyneema lifelines are in the process of being re-reviewed by ISAF. Previously they were allowed under the offshore special regulations (which apply and/or influence rules for OSTAR, Bermuda 1-2, Halifax and others I've entered) but I hear an ISAF working group is reconsidering their stance.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Bermuda 1-2 Fall Skippers Meeting

I was able to get caught up with lots of friends and competitors Saturday evening at Newport Yacht Club where the fall Bermuda 1-2 meeting took place. There were a bunch of new faces there which was very encouraging for the 2015 race which starts June 5th. I gave a brief version of my OSTAR talk which went well and solicited some great questions. Roy also gave us some highlights of the changes to the NOR that should be released toward the end of the month:
  • Skipper must be present for the boat/safety inspection
  • Life raft inspection must conform to manufacturer specs
  • Can openers in ditch bag replaced by multi-tool
  • Ship's bell no longer required
  • Ship's horn must be of compressed gas or electric type
  • Drinking water minimum of 10 gallons in 2 suitable containers
  • Satellite phone or single side band radio required, must be capable of two way communications (Spot Messenger not ok)
  • Online registration, should be up and running by January

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Great American IV Sailing

Just came across this brief video (and article) by my friend Peter Neilson at Sail Magazine from last summer when we went out for the afternoon on Rich Wilson's Open 60, Great American IV.

Bermuda 1-2 Fall Skippers Meeting

I've been asked to give a brief version of my OSTAR presentation at the fall Bermuda 1-2 meeting at Newport Yacht Club on Saturday, November 1 at 3:30pm. Stop by if you're in the neighborhood. The audience is all single and double handed sailors so the conversation will likely trend toward the technical aspects of the race.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Qualifier Accepted

I heard from the Bermuda 1-2 race committee that my qualifier had been accepted so I'm all clear for entry on Eagles Dare. I would expect the NOR to be released soon, possibly this week.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Qualifier: Done

The qualifier went well, though it was rough out there. A couple minor malfunctions on board, including loosing my grip going down the companionway and falling backward on my head but none the worse for wear. I was planning to just sail down to the E-W shipping lanes south of Block Island and come back but Eagles Dare is such a fast boat that I had to put some more miles down in order to meet the minimum 24 hour duration requirement. Here's the route I took:

I only flew the heavy weather jib and had either one or two reefs in the main so wasn't pushing the boat at all but it was still flying along. I actually tried to slow the boat down a little at one point by dropping the jib and sailing under a double reefed main only but the boat was still doing 7+ knots! Here's my log book:

It was great to get the qualifier done before the end of this season so I can focus on boat prep this winter and training in the spring as soon as we can get it back in the water.

Here's a photo of Eagles Dare on the starting line of the Newport-Bermuda race this past summer with Mike and Rob getting ready for the double handed division start.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Check in

For some reason my Spot check in didn't go through. I made it down to the E-W shipping lanes south of Block Island and turned north for Newport but this boat is so fast that I got back in no time. Minimum duration is 24 hours so I turned south and am heading back out to sea for a couple more hours.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Off Block Island

Still have a cell connection from the tower on Block so here's a quick update. Sea state is manageable, the swell has a very long period so it's easy sailing over it and the breeze is below forecast in the 10-15 range. Sun is out and it's pretty warm out here. Still puttering along with one reef in the main and the heavy weather jib but making 7+ knots due south.

Outside the Bay

Wave action outside the Bay isn't too bad. 14 knots of breeze and the boat is doing 6.5 knots with a reefed main and the heavy weather jib. Forecast was for a SW breeze but it more out of the S right now to I'm beating out of the bay.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Bermuda 1-2 Qualifier

Mike Piper is allowing me to race his J/111 Eagles Dare in the next Bermuda 1-2 and he will join me on the return double handed leg. In order to qualify, I need to make a solo, offshore passage of not less than 100 nautical miles and not shorter in duration than 24 hours. I depart tomorrow morning early. Forecast is showing 15-20 knot breeze with gusts to 30, which is plenty but the real challenge will be the sea state as I'm expecting a large swell from hurricane Gonzalo to mix and confuse with the wave action from the SW, turning W and NW wind. It's going to be ugly but as I'm not racing, I won't be pushing the boat and will sail conervatively with goal to be not to break anything and safely complete the requirement.

I'll post some position reports here via Spot and will try to take some video footage along the way to post upon my return.

Here's hoping all are safe on Bermuda tonight. They're in for a far rougher ride than I.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Philip S. Weld Memorial Trophy

Jeroboam's trophy for the Bermuda Race double handed division win arrived yesterday. Found a nice spot on my office wall below the black bear to hang it.

Great American IV Update

Great American IV came out of the water at Maine Yacht Center this week. Joff and crew are in from the UK to strip the mast and put the boat away for the season. The keel will stay on but the rudders will come out. Some work to do in the shed over the winter but nothing major.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Beringer Bowl 2014

I've always wanted to start a race with something on the grill. This was the year.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Maine Rocks Race Wrap Up

We all know light air, finesse racing isn't my strong suit; thankfully this race was the opposite. And after all the upwind racing I did last summer, I finally worked out the kinks to make Jeroboam go to weather at and beyond her polars which came in very handy this race.

Nothing broke but mistakes were made. I probably didn't need to launch the kite out of the gate and if I hadn't noticed Panacea pointing high on leg one, I might have missed the opportunity to put a little in the bank for the moderate shift leading up to Matinicus. No mistakes on leg 2 (see next paragraph titled "What Went Right") but on leg 3 I didn't put enough in the bank as the breeze came around back at Matinicus and I rounded too wide. To be honest, I was pretty tired toward the end of that leg and wasn't paying enough attention to notice the shift. Rookie mistake.

I think leg 2 strategy was the make/break factor for this race. Those who hung on a little longer to the right avoided more of the header on port tack and enjoyed more of the lift on starboard. Resolute was the first to go over then it was decision time. To help me decide, I blasted the Clash, Should I Stay or Should I Go over a cup of coffee and decided to dig in on the right, even taking Eagles Dare's transom, the last to go over in front of me. Luck was on my side, as my eventual tack required no others nor was footing off called for at Mt Desert Rock. Leg 4 was a methodical plod to Rockland, fighting the tide and working hard not to get demoralized by the atrocious tacking angles. I put this leg in the What Went Right category as prior to OSTAR, these were the ones I was sure I wasn't sailing right, resulting in lots of yelling, second guessing and thoughts of the Caribbean where there is no tide to speak of. Instead I stayed focused and plodded on, watching my polar percent, confident that if I just showed a little patience and grit, dividends would be paid

As always, it was a terrific honor racing with the Maine crowd and I appreciate all the work Doug Pope and Rockland YC do to make it happen. Fantastic course, good late season breeze and brilliant competition!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Maine Rocks

Rough and tumble on the course with heavy wind, precipitation,  a 180 degree shift and lots of sailing to weather. Finished around 11:22 this morning and on my way back to Marblehead.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Check-in/OK message from SPOT Jeroboam

GPS location Date/Time:09/13/2014 18:32:14 EDT

Message:Good breeze tho shifty and on the nose.

Click the link below to see where I am located.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Check-in/OK message from SPOT Jeroboam

GPS location Date/Time:09/11/2014 22:57:36 EDT

Message:good breeze for the sail to Maine

Click the link below to see where I am located.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Check-in/OK message from SPOT Jeroboam

GPS location Date/Time:08/23/2014 01:47:13 EDT

Message:Approaching 2nd mark of One Regatta, P-town

Click the link below to see where I am located.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Great American IV - Training Voyage

Rich set sail on a training voyage to test lots of different boat systems, functions, sails, etc. I'll post periodic updates here, with links to some of the cool stuff we're developing for his Vendee Globe campaign in 2016.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Up the Rigging

The two part staysail halyard was killing us out there so I had to go up to loose the second part. Couple bruises and some harsh language but worked out other than that.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Bermuda Race Prize List

The race committee released the prize list which notes Jeroboam took the Philip S. Weld Prize for corrected time winner of the double handed division. The prize is named after the last American to win OSTAR in 1980, until another American won it last summer.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Check-in/OK message from SPOT Jeroboam

GPS location Date/Time:06/27/2014 21:13:43 EDT

Message:Squalls, lightning, thunder and lots of rain

Click the link below to see where I am located.

Provisional Results

Tommy and Russ mentioned the RC posted some provisional results with
Jeroboam at the top of our class & the double handed division. We should
hear final results no later than tomorrow but it appears J-bomb did it
again! Huge Win!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Check-in/OK message from SPOT Jeroboam

GPS location Date/Time:06/26/2014 19:43:53 EDT

Message:Spinnaker & staysail, beam reaching bliss

Click the link below to see where I am located.

The Finish and Beyond...

Jeroboam sailed across the finish line at 1330 EDT yesterday, her crew
soaking wet from a heavy rain shower that hit us with the line in sight. It
was a cleansing of five days of blood, sweat and tears we poured into the
race. Well, to be honest, since Jeroboam is a cruising boat, the shower was
functioning and used in route. If you have a watermaker, why not, right?!

Russ did a fantastic job keeping the boat moving in all conditions and was a
great collaborator on weather analysis and strategy development. It was a
brilliant team effort that I think will show well in the standings. Our back
of the envelope calculations indicate good results for Jeroboam.

I'd intended to clear into Bermuda in St. George, drop off Russ and
immediate head back to Marblehead but I was forced to go all the way to
Hamilton, adding half a day to my transit (no, they wouldn't even let me
land in St George and cab it to Hamilton). When pressed on the idiocy of
this requirement, the race committee blamed immigration and vice versa so
I'll leave it to you to decide who came up with that one.

After dealing with all the post race paperwork, I got underway for the solo
delivery back to Marblehead and am presently 80nm north of Bermuda. I was
hoping to be back at work on Monday but the post-race Hamilton idiocy didn't
help. It'll have to be a fast transit and the forecast doesn't look wildly
accommodating but we'll see.

A couple people have asked me why I'm not sticking around for the
festivities in Bermuda and the answer is simple: spending a month's wages on
dock space at RBYC and burning through my scarce allotment of vacation days
isn't worth it for this race. Besides, those that know me understand that
when it comes to sailing, I'm here to finish, and if sailed well, win. The
parties aren't even a small component of any reasons I have to enter.

I want to thank Russ for being a fantastic co-skipper, Tom for all his help
and mentoring and Kirsten for putting up with six months of insane prep and
training for this race.

So what's next? My friend Rich Wilson is preparing for a solo training
voyage so I'll be helping him get ready for that and will assist with some
of the shoreside components. He has some really interesting stuff planned
which I'll be sure to write about here with links.

If anyone hears news of the Bermuda race results, please pass them along.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Check-in/OK message from SPOT Jeroboam

GPS location Date/Time:06/25/2014 19:04:47 EDT

Message:We finished! Dropped off Russ,next stop Salem

Click the link below to see where I am located.

Check-in/OK message from SPOT Jeroboam

GPS location Date/Time:06/25/2014 10:48:06 EDT

Message:Land Ho! BDA in sight, finish early afternoon

Click the link below to see where I am located.

Check-in/OK message from SPOT Jeroboam

GPS location Date/Time:06/25/2014 06:30:47 EDT

Message:Way to go Jeff MacFarlane! DH line honors!

Click the link below to see where I am located.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Another Dying Breeze

The light air finish is sure to test our patients. The GRIB files have been
limited in their accuracy, perhaps only 50% of the time have their
predictions come to fruition. The latest report is showing a big header into
Bermuda so we thought about pointing up a bit in preparation but in
sacrifice of speed.

As the wind speed drops, we're having to work the boat hard through each
shift, trying to keep pace with Lora Ann, Choucas and Arrowhead, the lead
boats in our class. Paladin swooped in last night and is driving hard toward
the leaders as well. We're doing everything we can to stay in the game but
it's frustrating in a dying breeze.

Up at the front of the DH pack, Alibi and Resolute have done a brilliant job
keeping up with the Class 40s. Alibi has the rating advantage so if Resolute
doesn't make some moves soon, they're going to end up second fiddle on

We had some issues with the two part staysail halyard so I had to go up the
mast yesterday which was very unpleasant in that sea state; a little banged
up but none the worse for wear.

We're still hoping to finish tomorrow but all depends on this breeze. Just
as I typed this out, we lost another half knot of wind speed. Hang in there!

Check-in/OK message from SPOT Jeroboam

GPS location Date/Time:06/24/2014 07:32:23 EDT

Message:Light air, hope to finish tomorrow? We'll see

Click the link below to see where I am located.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Check-in/OK message from SPOT Jeroboam

GPS location Date/Time:06/23/2014 09:46:43 EDT

Message:Great speed thru squalls this AM, 250nm to go

Click the link below to see where I am located.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Moving Well

We're happy with the progress so far. We ended up a little too far west to
enjoy the favorable current from the large cold water eddy near us so we had
to harden up a touch to get over there. The boats to the east faired
slightly better and posted some gain on us but we're where we want to be,
cracked off and doing 8+ knots.

The fleet is tightly bunched so we see lots of other boats around us with
Choucas, Arrowhead and Ruse periodically showing up on AIS, and in
Arrowhead's case, visibly. They all owe us time so it's nice seeing them in
the neighborhood.

Lora Anne and Kiva continue to dominate our class while the Class 40s and
Resolute are showing very well in the other double handed class. Scott and
Gust are keeping a hell of a pace on Resolute. One of the bigger surprises
is that Paladin is not at the front of our class. They favored the left side
of the course and I think generally the boats that went over there didn't do
as well as those on the right those first 30 hours or so.

We're expecting the breeze to gradually tone down over the next 24 hours
then hit some more light stuff. Perhaps it'll slow down the class leaders
enough to give us a chance to catch up a bit.

All is well on board. The weather files are taking longer to download than
anticipated so we're burning through more satellite time than we budgeted
which means fewer updates in route. We'll try to use the SPOT tracker more
for brief updates here and there.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Happy Birthday Russ!

Today is Russ' birthday. He celebrated with some Chili Mac w/ Beef freeze
dried then went about the business of racing. I should have brought some of
that space ice cream the Crowell brothers always rave about but Russ seemed
happy with the chili mac so all is well.

The start was better than expected wind wise. We beat out into RI Sound with
the sea breeze that gradually went light and swung 270 degrees slowly
through the evening. By dawn we were in a decent southeasterly which has
held nicely all morning and into the afternoon. It's starting to head us a
little, and lighten up so we'll see what comes next. The water temp rose
rapidly even before we got to the shelf with that warm water eddy
circulating so far north of the main body of the gulf stream.

All systems are working well on Jeroboam. We made 20 liters of water
yesterday to convince ourselves the watermaker is in good working order
prior to getting too far off shore. It worked fine on the delivery to
Newport but it's such a critical part of our existence out here; amble
reason for caution. Wind turbine and solar panel are pumping out the juice.
The AIS had a little bit of a headache at the start. I think it might have
been overloaded trying to process the 200+ targets swarming around the
starting line. Once we got out of the bay, it perked up.

We've raced with every sail combination Jeroboam has and we've only been out
here for 24 hours. Lots of good team work and no issues on the sail changes.
We both got some good sleep through the night and I think we're into the
groove with our 2 hour watch schedule.

I assume we're in last place on elapsed time as we're one of the slowest
boats in the fleet, but this is nothing new to Jeroboam. It's always a race
against ourselves on these handicap races.

Check-in/OK message from SPOT Jeroboam

GPS location Date/Time:06/21/2014 10:28:31 EDT

Message:shifty wind last PM, all systems go on J-Bomb

Click the link below to see where I am located.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Double Handed Division Breakdown

The Newport Bermuda Race, the "Mt Monadnock" of sailing, begins tomorrow with the first class going off at 1300. Short handed racing is slowly gaining popularity here in the US and this year's double handed division has 21 boats ready to go, but this is a far cry from the 30+ that applied for entry.

We all know why Dragon won't be on the line, and Rail Meat's in-race forum antics will be missed but how and why did all the others drop out? Sure it was only $50 to apply for entry, but we have to assume they all wanted to be there and can't because they couldn't get ready in time. More evidence that the first big chunk of any distance race is fought before the starting gun sounds.

The DH division will be split into two classes, as has been done the last several runnings. The first, and slower class will start at 1510 and will be occupied by names we've all seen before. Lora Ann and Paladin have been dominating the Long Island Sound short handed scene for the better part of a decade now, the former with at least three Bermuda race DH wins and the latter winning in 2010. But do either of these boats enter Bermuda 1-2, or how about the 2012 Bermuda race winner, Mireille? Nope. Might they be rusty? Probably not, but it's fun to talk a little smack pre-race.
Enter Scott Miller of Resolute and his co-skipper Gust Stringos who each have three Bermuda 1-2s and plenty of Bermuda Races under their belts. Resolute was best in fleet in last year's 1-2 on combined score and won every other short handed race he entered. The guy's got momentum and this could well be Resolute's year.

But there's plenty of other contenders out there include Kiva and Alibi, who have plenty of experience on this course and have earned third place showings in 2004 and 2012 respectively. Another entry worth noting is the J111 Eagles Dare, who just rolled off a DH line honors victory at the Block Island race and gave Resolute a run for their money in a couple solo races last summer in Mass & Maine.

The four Class 40s are going to have a hell of time reaching the podium because of their ORR ratings. We all remember 2012 when Gryphon Solo 2 destroyed the DH fleet on elapsed, including all the other Class 40s and still only managed a second place on corrected. No doubt that wasn't good enough for Joe and he's planning to do something about it this week but his biggest challenge is the rating.

Anyway you slice it, the light air, finesse sailors will have a keen advantage for the first chunk of the race.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Ready to Race

Jeroboam is happily swinging on a mooring in Newport Harbor and ready to race. Literally, ready to cross the starting line with all systems go. Russ and I made an uneventful passage through Mass Bay, Cape Cod Bay, Buzzards Bay and Rhode Island Sound to arrive in Newport on Saturday afternoon. After cleaning up a few things, I registered for the race at noon Sunday and headed back to the office to wrap some stuff up at Brook and visit with my bro, his wife and my niece prior to the race Start on Friday, June 20.

There are lots of ways to follow along:

  1. Race Tracker
  2. Jeroboam's SPOT Tracker
  3. Facebook
  4. Twitter
  5. Sailing Anarchy
  6. SpinSheet Magazine
  7. Race Website
  8. And of course, right here on my blog, which will have the most detailed and updated info on Jeroboam
Photo Credit: Kirsten Wilson

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Check-in/OK message from SPOT Jeroboam

GPS location Date/Time:06/14/2014 07:36:01 EDT

Message:Jeroboam's almost to Newport,race starts 6/20

Click the link below to see where I am located.

Check-in/OK message from SPOT Jeroboam

GPS location Date/Time:06/14/2014 00:18:37 EDT

Message:Almost to Cape Cod Canal, rain stopped

Click the link below to see where I am located.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Onward to Newport

The day has come to delivery Jeroboam to Newport. Russ and I will use the trip as a training session, both safety and performance, and we'll post updates through the weekend here. We're hopeful to make the favorable Cap Cod Canal window which closes around 4:30 AM tomorrow. We moved up our target departure time as we have a headwind in the forecast. Once through the canal we'll beat all the way down Buzzards Bay and over to Newport, hopefully arriving in time to attend Peter Bourke's book launch party at the Seaman's Church Saturday night.

It's a terrific book of his life and his entry in the 2009 OSTAR race, the only American that year, as I was in 2013. Peter was kind enough to loan me a manuscript prior to my departure for OSTAR and I found it to be a fantastic read.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Check-in/OK message from SPOT Jeroboam

GPS location Date/Time:06/12/2014 19:52:47 EDT

Message:Dove on the bottom w 800 grit, smooth as silk

Click the link below to see where I am located.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Freeze Dried Bonanza

Enough for our 6,000 calories per day target. Tried to get a little more variety in there from last year's OSTAR race but there's only so many meals to choose from and half are awful.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Making Progress

Joe Harris was kind enough to conduct Jeroboam's safety inspection last night and all is well. There's still lots to do prior to crossing the starting line but everything is progressing smoothly and on schedule.

Russ Hancock will be racing with me which is fantastic. We did our first Halifax race together on Rick Williams' boat in 2005 and have since done a lot of frostbiting together, among other things. Here's a shot of Russ from the Halifax race, oh so long ago.

My all time favorite photo of Russ was taken in the Wobbly Barn on one of the train wreck Killington ski weekends he occasionally puts together but I won't post it here, or anywhere. Ever.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

More Press: SpinSheet Magazine

SpinSheet Magazine is planning some good Bermuda race coverage which you can find here, including some emphasis on the short handed division. I met one of the editors, Duffy, a couple years back working race support at Flip Flop Regatta on John Keane's powerboat, Rockstar.

Friday, May 30, 2014

2014 Newport Bermuda Race Program Published

Each race, the RC publishes a program to get people excited about the event. This year's program includes an article on short handed racing by Chris Musler who crews often on the Class 40, Dragon. Chris is a great guy, solid promoter of short handed racing and frequent writer for a number of different sailing publications and websites. Not all the elements of this article that pertain to me are accurate but I'll cut Chris a little slack since it was 2 years ago and many of the reports issued by the RC at the time contained inaccuracies.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Bow

Deck view from the first spreader
Photo: Kirsten Wilson

Made some great progress this weekend in getting Jeroboam ready for the Bermuda Race. Safety inspection is scheduled for June 2 and all is on track for that milestone. Start is about 3 weeks away.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Great American 4

In the shed but not for long, launch is coming soon.

The guy on the ladder is Joff Brown leader of the UK team of pros who are helping Maine Yacht Center modify, prepare and launch the boat.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Sundown in Salem Harbor

Photo Credit: Kirsten Wilson

The Work List

I'm slowly ticking through Jeroboam's spring work list. The bottom was a big one, very glad that's out of the way and I managed to finally resolve the radar issues I was having in Plymouth last year (and which have been following me around since then). Here's what's on the docket for the next 45 days leading up to the Bermuda Race:
  1. Masthead tri/anchor switch replacement, test
  2. Rudder Reference Sensor Switches replaced
  3. Engine kill cable replacement
  4. House battery test, possible replacement
  5. Annanometer calibration and testing - this thing needs help
  6. Speedo is out of commission, and it isn't fouled, possible replacement if I can even find a spare part
  7. Primary & Backup Autopilot calibration and testing
  8. AIS Firmware Upgrade
  9. VHF/AIS antenna testing
  10. Laptop testing, sat & cell data connections, software updates
  11. Commission water maker, replace pre-filter and membrane
  12. Review spares inventory, replace/replenish/discard
  13. Replace cockpit jackline
  14. Gel coat repairs
  15. Replace aft boom main sheet/preventer
  16. Up the mast for a full standing/running rigging check
  17. Engine maintenance
  18. Mooring ball maintenance
  19. Dinghy maintenance
And of course I'll be adding to the list frequently...

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Perfect Bottom

Jeroboam was out of the water this past weekend for a coat of paint at Beverly Port Marina. Before OSTAR in July of 2012, I hauled Jeroboam out for two weeks, removed all the ablative paint, started at the gelcoat, added three layers of barrier coat and finished with three coats of nice, hard vinyl Interlux VC Offshore paint.

Last week I was almost down to the last layer of paint so I added one this weekend and sanded the finish to 200 grit. I dive on the boat every week or two during racing season so there will be plenty of opportunity to wet sand underwater with increasingly finer grit prior to the Bermuda Race which starts June 20. I'll gradually build up to 800 grit then do a final burnish with bronze wool an evening or two prior to the race.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Check-in/OK message from SPOT Jeroboam

GPS location Date/Time:03/30/2014 09:46:13 EDT

Message:2014 Pre-season Jeroboam communications check

Click the link below to see where I am located.

If the above link does not work, try this link:,-71.05765&ll=42.37057,-71.05765&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1


You have received this message because Jeroboam has added you to their SPOT contact list.

Ready for Adventure

Thursday, March 27, 2014


Short clip on Boston Harbor frostbiting, including a cameo by my buddy Katheryn