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

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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

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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

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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!

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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

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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

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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

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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.