Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Maine Rocks Wrap Up

It was another fantastic edition of the Maine Rocks Race this year. We were never without wind and had a fast loop around the course, in fact Piper managed to beat Scott Miller's elapsed time course record by ~45 minutes on his J111, Eagles Dare. Jeroboam took another victory on corrected time, making this my 5th win on this course since the race first began in 2008, barely beating out Alessandro on Nina who is a relative new comer to the short handed scene but already posting some terrific results.

One of the really special parts of this weekend for me was at the skippers meeting Friday evening when Peter McCrea presented me with a number of awards I'd accumulated over the years but never collected. I rarely attend awards ceremonies as I'm usually busy delivering my boat back home or to the next race but Peter and Doug Pope have been kind enough to store my Maine awards since I began racing up there eight years ago. The most memorable of which was the 2007 second place trophy for the single handed division in the Downeast Challenge. There were only two entries in the single handed class that year, Peter and I, so second place means I came in last place but it was memorable for two reasons.

First, the Downeast Challenge was my first single handed race. Shawna Gauthier and I had entered the double handed division of the Beringer Bowl earlier that month, the first race I ever entered on Jeroboam, but I didn't even own a spinnaker at the time so we came in last place in fleet on elapsed time and corrected time. Luckily, we didn't take first impressions too seriously so I bought a used spinnaker and, heading to Maine anyway, decided to enter the single handed division of the Downeast Challenge.

Peter McCrea on Panacea
The second reason that race is so memorable is that was when I met Peter McCrea for the first time at the race's skippers meeting at Marblehead Yacht Club. He struck me as an old salt from whom I could learn much and he didn't disappoint. Peter had just rolled off a brilliant victory in his class at Bermuda 1-2 and suggested I check out some of the other short handed races around New England. He told me about the Newport Offshore 160, hosted by Newport Yacht Club, that was going on the following year and encouraged me to consider Bermuda 1-2 in 2009 as the Offshore 160 would serve as a qualifier. Peter continued to encourage me in 2008 when we raced together in Newport and Maine and was one of the main reasons I took on Bermuda 1-2 in 2009 which was a major milestone for me.

Doug Pope
A huge thanks to Peter for all his encouragement and to Doug for warehousing the hardware all these years. It's guys like you that make our short handed sailing community here in New England so great.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Check-in/OK message from SPOT Jeroboam

GPS location Date/Time:09/19/2015 18:18:43 EDT

Message:Maine Rocks Race, heading for Mt Desert Rock

Click the link below to see where I am located.

Maine Rocks Race

And we're off to the races. Breeze started out around 15 knots but as since deminished to less than 10, though with a lift I wasn't expecting. Just outside Rockland Harbor we sailed into a thick fog bank and I haven't had visual contact with the fleet since. I hear many lobstermen around me but rarely see them.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Off to Maine

Maine Rocks Race starts Saturday so Jeroboam and I are on our way to Rockland, just passing Thacher Island.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Vineyard Race

Piper and I are doing the Vineyard Race this weekend on his boat, Eagles Dare. They're using Kattack for the race tracker and here's the link if you want to follow along.

Race starts tomorrow just outside Stamford Harbor in Connecticut around noon and we have 14 boats signed up across the IRC and PHRF double handed divisions. The Long Island Sound short handed scene is well attended and very competitive. Many of them come out for the even year Bermuda Race which is double handed to Bermuda but no race back. Unfortunately very few of them come out for the odd year Bermuda 1-2 so it's difficult finding events to compete together.

What makes it even harder for me is that Jeroboam is unwelcome in this race as they too have a rating cap (technically it's only for PHRF but I was told my IRC entry would also be rejected). Once again, the idiotic rating cap is keeping me from competing against the best and it's with gratitude that I accepted Piper's invitation to race on his J111.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

ILDR Update

The Ida Lewis Distance Race skippers meeting is tonight at 6 so we won't know the course until then. They have the Yellow Brick tracker website up and the double handed division is schedule to start around 12:30 tomorrow. Ryan Wilson has graciously agreed to serve as co-skipper for this race.

Ryan works the primary winch on Nirvana

We've done a lot of fully crewed racing together, including at least one Halifax and a Bermuda race on Nirvana, a beautiful maxi that was based out of Marblehead.

Nirvana on the starting line in Newport at the 2006 Bermuda Race

Sadly, her owner, Charlie Kiefer, passed away in December of 2013.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Ida Lewis Distance Race

To be perfectly honest, I have a major problem with this race. Any shorthanded sailor who knows me has probably heard me bitch about it. There are two races on the eastern seaboard that restrict Jeroboam from entering: Ida Lewis Distance Race (ILDR) and the Vineyard Race. They do so by setting rating restrictions on entries. Why? Because the organizers are more concerned with getting the party started post-race than they are attracting boats to their races.

ILDR even more absurdly may allow boats with a handicap slower than 128 sec/mile to enter but even if they do, they're required to race with a rating of 128. This means that they have zero interest in providing a fair competition to 56.7% of the registered PHRF boats in Narragansett Bay. I have never heard of another race doing this. ILDR is uniquely idiotic.

Any boat with a handicap lower than 128 can cross the starting line with a reasonable expectation of doing well among their peers. If they prepared their boat well, trained, studied the course’s tactical features and sail well, they might just win. Any boat with a handicap higher than 128 can cross the starting line knowing that they are at a distinct disadvantage to all the boats with a rating of 128 or less. It doesn’t matter how well prepared their boat is, or how hard they and their crew trained, or how well they sailed, their corrected time will not be reflective of their boat’s performance characteristics because the race committee don’t want them to win. They don’t want to employ the PHRF rating methodology to allow dissimilar boats to complete on a level field, only those with a rating of 128 or faster. All the others don’t deserve the same courtesy. They are subjected to different rules because ILDR has no interest in attracting them to their race. They would rather they stay home, or if they insist on entering, lose.

In their mind there are two classes of boat owners. The welcomed class of owners whose boats have a rating of 128 or faster. No need to apply for entry, just sign up and come on down. They’re happy to have them. The unwelcomed class owns boats whose rating is slower than 128. First they must apply for entry, submit a sailing resume and provide documentation of past racing performance. If, and only if, their entry is accepted, they are forced to race with a handicap that was not assigned to their boat by the regional authority, rather one that gives them a slim to zero chance of a fair competition. When scoring the race, the race committee will then proceed to break their own rule as stated in the Notice Of Race, section 5.2.a, “PHRF Boats will be scored based on ratings assigned by PHRF Association of Narragansett Bay.” No, the race committee will do no such thing for the unwelcome class of boats. Instead it will use a rating other than that assigned by the PHRF Association of Narragansett Bay. It will use the arbitrary rating of 128. If the unwelcomed class of entrants doesn’t like it, they can stay home and write blog posts like this one. Or in my case, borrow a boat from a friend that meets their idiotic rating cap.

I enjoy racing too much to simply boycott this race. Instead, I will do what I always do: try to prepare to a greater degree than my competition, study the course/weather/tactics longer and harder than my competition and sail to the best of my ability. And thank Mike Piper profusely for letting me enter his boat.

Race starts Friday, August 14 around noon and will likely finish sometime Saturday afternoon (the race committee will choose a course short enough based on the wind forecast so their precious post-race party starts on time). Here's the likely course they will select:

Here are the current entries.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Training on Great American IV

Rich and I have had some good training sessions on Great American IV since we brought it down from Maine last month. There are still lots of refining going on with the new electronics and autopilot but that's always the case.

Here's Rich with the very large, masthead asymetrical kite:

And some cockpit spaghetti:

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Shorthanded Sailor Gathering

We had a fun outing at the Barrleman last night. It started with Ryan Wilson and I just wanting to get together to discuss our upcoming Ida Lewis campaign and ended up being a 15+ person gathering of some of our best sailing buddies and competitors.

To all who couldn't make it you were missed but we're planning another one this fall to send Joe Harris off in style. As most of you know, Joe is attempting a non-stop around the world record attempt, simultaneously fulfilling his life long goal to go all the way around. All of us have at one time or another thought about such an undertaking (and some people I know already have, like this guy and this guy!) so when one of us sets his mind to it, we need to support him every way we can. Through his adventures, we too shall live. Stay tuned for more details.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Bermuda 1-2 Seamanship Award

I was notified recently that the Bermuda 1-2 race committee awarded the Seamanship Trophy to me following the rudder failure on Eagles Dare and subsequent 200 mile limp home to Newport.

From the Bermuda 1-2 Newport Awards Party Agenda:


At least two came to mind. We thought about Mike Schum and Mike Stevens on the
return leg with problems tacking and a sea cock leaking water both of which forced them to
retire however while returning to Newport the back stay let go and the mast fell down. No
one hurt but they had to cut the mast and rigging away. They were running low on fuel so
they pulled into Menempsha, Martha’s Vineyard.

However we settled on this one. He started out on the first leg on the start with the
spinnaker flying which was over powering the boat at times with at least one big round up
that we saw from the race committee boat. The result is that he ended up behind in his class.
Worked up to the lead about 200 nm out when the rudder post sheared off at the hull. Their
emergency rudder was a backup rudder hung off the stern on pintles. This emergency rudder
developed a crack near one of the gudgeons so he had to nurse the rudder and didn’t want to
push it. He started to think of other options if needed. For the longest time he could only
head for NJ but as he got closer to land the wind veered and he slowly worked his way right
into Narragansett Bay. He had to hand steer all the way back since there was no autopilot on
the emergency rudder. Anyone who has lost their autopilot will recognize the difficulty of
getting to the end by hand steering. Eagles Dare – Jonathan Green

Monday, July 20, 2015

Photos From Halifax Race Start

Florence took some great shots at the Halifax Race start:

Eagles Dare, flying the A1.5 
Just before the start

Alibi, also in the Double Handed Division


Friday, July 17, 2015

Beringer Bowl

Boston Yacht Club runs this race every July and has a double handed division which is lightly attended. This year, Jeroboam and three other boats entered DH:

Vivace, an Aerodyne 38 that rates 33
Yare, a Taylor 42 that rates 48
Nina, an Alerion 41 that rates 105

Additionally, there are some fully crewed boats entered that I occasionally compete against in the short handed scene:

Catch 22, a Swan 48 that rates 30
Eagles Dare, a J111 that rates 36
Rockit, a Columbia 32 that rates 72

Forecast breeze is out of the south so we'll have it on the nose but at least there will be wind. July and August in Mass Bay and Cape Cod Bay are notoriously dead so this is good news indeed.

Last year, Piper and I raced Jeroboam to a DH division victory and I fulfilled a lifelong dream of starting a race with something smoking away on the grill, but this year the Irish Lass and I will take on the fleet. I've decided to make the starting line grill action a Beringer tradition on Jeroboam so I'll be stopping off at the deli on my way home for some burgers and buns.

Here's a look at the 46nm course that runs first to a buoy near the Graves then down to a turning mark off Wood End at the tip of the cape and finishing just at the entrance to Providencetown Harbor:

The first start is tonight at 7pm. As this is Jeroboam's first race of the season, much prep went into getting her ready over the last week. The bottom was particularly disgusting, requiring a putty knife and four tanks of air to scrape it clean.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Halifax Wrap Up

My apologies for not posting any meaningful updates in-race. Eagles Dare
being a proper race boat, requires more attention than little Jeroboam
to keep her moving at pace. Day two we hit a hole in the Gulf of Maine
that hurt us pretty badly. The boats to the north of us did much better
as they caught the northerly that only trickled down to our position. To
see the course line we should have taken, check Alibi's track. Gary
sailed a brilliant race - hat's off to him. The Canadian Class 40 Dragon
Glass also did very well but it will be interesting to see where they
end up on corrected time.

We had a few minor victories out there like beating the other J111 over
the line which was fully crewed (though they did not carry a Code Zero
so had a slower rating and will likely correct ahead of us) and barely
beating the J122 Resolute which is always very successful in the New
England shorthanded scene. Russ and I had fun; another offshore
adventure full of hard work, patients, determination and even some
laughs along the way. We learned a lot about the J111 in light air,
that's for sure.

The delivery home started out with 20+ knots on the nose which made for
a wet, bumpy ride until about dawn this morning when the wind lighted
and shifted to the NNE, the seas tapped down and the I was able to carry
the spinnaker. Forecast is for very light wind over the next two days so
I'll have to motor most of the way across the Gulf of Maine. I filled a
couple jerry cans in Halifax along with the boat's tank so should have
enough fuel.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Oh, The Charm of Light Wind

Is that a faint puff upon the sea?
Neigh a mirage has fooled me.
Drifting about the Gulf of Maine
Will we ever see land again?

Thursday, July 2, 2015

2015 Racing Season Take Two: Marblehead-Halifax

Eagles Dare has a new rudder so we’re off to the races again, this time to Halifax. I’ve done it three times, twice fully crewed on other people’s boats and once double handed on Jeroboam so this is my second DH entry. Mike can’t make this race so we recruited light air sailor extraordinaire, Russ Hancock to co-skipper. Many of you will recall Russ’ significant role in Jeroboam’s DH division win in the Bermuda Race last summer and we’re gunning for another one starting this Sunday, July 5th around 1 PM.

All boats in the fleet are equipped with trackers so you can follow along at the YellowBrick site. Eagles Dare is in the PHRF division.

As usual, I’ll post updates here and on Facebook during the 360 mile, ~3 day race and on the delivery back to Marblehead which I'll do solo.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Check-in/OK message from SPOT Eagles Dare

Eagles Dare
GPS location Date/Time:06/07/2015 19:21:30 EDT

Message:Rudder broken. Gutted. Limping to Newport.

Click the link below to see where I am located.

If the above link does not work, try this link:,-71.08231&ll=39.31847,-71.08231&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Eagles Dare

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

Ready for Adventure

Friday, June 5, 2015

On our way

Eagles Dare had a fine start, though I was a little behind the group.
The only class one boat to carry a code zero across the starting line, I
soon caught up and overtook the others. This was only the second time
I've flown that sail so I still have lots to learn, particularly an
efficient takedown. Outside the bay, as the wind headed me, I needed to
do just that. It's on a furler but it still took me 20 minutes to get it
in, while the others in my class pointed up and headed for Bermuda.
Behind again, I started clawing my way back and I've made some good
ground on the group though we're all still very close together.

It's been overcast since we got out of the bay, occasionally spitting a
little rain, and as the sun goes down, the temperature is descending
quickly, as is the fog. Samba was to my starboard a half hour or so ago
but has since been enveloped, as has Flying Turtle who was hot on my heels.

All is well on board though I lost my right shoe overboard. I simply
didn't have it laced up tight and it flipped off into the sea. Oh well,
I still have my boots.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Check-in/OK message from SPOT Eagles Dare

Eagles Dare
GPS location Date/Time:06/03/2015 21:53:42 EDT

Message:Pre Bermuda 1-2 test check-in via Spot.

Click the link below to see where I am located.

If the above link does not work, try this link:,-70.87282&ll=42.51485,-70.87282&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Eagles Dare

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

Ready for Adventure

Friday, May 8, 2015

Bermuda 1-2 Prep

Preparation for Bermuda 1-2 is progressing very well with the work list gradually dwindling. Accomplishments include:
Radar Reflector
  1. Replaced stern wire lifelines with dyneema
  2. Resolved gear shift issue for battery charging
  3. Stern knife replacement
  4. Soft shackles for jib sheets
  5. Soft rail for barberhaul/reaching and adjustable "car"
  6. Reworked main reef lines
  7. Reworked headsail in/out haul
  8. Rigged jacklines
  9. Improved NMEA data interface between autopilot and other boat systems
  10. Instrument calibrations
  11. Improved VHF DSC interface
  12. Full electronics checkout
  13. Tested bilge pumps
  14. Thru hull valves checked
  15. Nav light test
  16. Replaced inflatable PFD
  17. Added more smoke signals and emergency food rations to ditch bag
  18. Mounted and tested radar reflector
  19. Jib halyard replacement
  20. Paper chart kit checked
  21. Updated safety equipment location chart
  22. Comms test
  23. Applied race numbers to hull & deck
  24. All race provisions, mainly freeze dried food, acquired and organized by leg
  25. All Bermuda 1-2 safety requirements checked and dealt with
Additionally, we've had some good training days on the water but haven't been able to test the new code zero yet. Still tons to do and only 28 days until the race start. Charge!

New jib halyard next to an older one

Monday, April 13, 2015

We had a brutally cold winter in Boston this year and life on the boat was cruel. Water temperatures in the inner harbor dangerously approached the freezing point but thankfully there were only pockets of ice and my slip, on the outer edge of the marina where the Charles River current is strong, escaped getting iced in.

The water lines on board froze, as did the winter water lines the marina strings about a meter below the surface so I was without fresh water for a month or so but that was good motivation to get to the gym. Huge thanks to Sebastian and the crew at Constitution Marina for all their hard work at keeping the water flowing and the docks and parking lot clear of snow.

I've been busy getting Jeroboam ready for sailing season. Even though I'm not racing this boat to Bermuda in June, there are still lots of other things to be done and other races later in the season to prepare for. Spring work list includes:

  1. Remove canvas cover
  2. Bend on sails
  3. Check all running rigging
  4. Check all standing rigging, up the mast, inspect all the masthead gear
  5. Full electronics/autopilot test, re-calibrations for all
  6. New red/white LED bulbs for cabin
  7. Galley light housing replacement
  8. Auto pilot ram bolts re-torqued
  9. Clean water tanks
  10. Switch to propane water heater, commission, test
  11. Commission dinghy, outboard, bottom paint
  12. Replace stern vent covers
  13. Commission mooring, attached pennants, replace shackles, dive on mooring to inspect bottom chain and shackle
  14. Clean barbecue grill
  15. Dive on boat bottom, clean, replace zinc
  16. Spare docklines, fenders, hose, winter gear to storage
  17. Engine maintenance, oil/filter change, coolant/gear oil check
  18. Winch maintenance, disassemble, de-grease, re-lube

Having finished most of the above, I departed Boston yesterday for my mooring in Salem Harbor. Mike Piper's J/111 Eagles Dare is slashing in Fairhaven today and we're sailing back to Marblehead this weekend so the race to prepare/train for Bermuda 1-2 is officially on.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

This Saturday, March 28 is the rescheduled date for my North Shore OSTAR talk:

Time: 10 AM
Where: Marblehead Yacht Club, 4 Cliff St, Marblehead, MA 01945

Proceeds to support Rich Wilson's non-profit, SitesAlive! Rich will also be on hand to give an update on his Vendée Globe campaign. Please join us!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

UPDATE: OSTAR Talk postponed until Saturday, 3/28, 10 AM, Marblehead YC

UPDATE: my talk Saturday has been postponed until 3/28. The parking situation in and around Marblehead Yacht Club is dismal so we're going to put it off until some of those snow banks melt.

Proceeds to support Rich Wilson's non-profit, SitesAlive! Rich will also be on hand to give an update on his Vendée Globe campaign. Please join us!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Points East Magazine

John Keane brought my attention to a cool photo of Jeroboam in Points East Magazine. It was taken on New Year's Day when we competed in the Jack Roberts Memorial Race hosted by Constitution Yacht Club. I've done that race more frequently on Keane's old C&C 40 named Eddystone Light but this year was Jeroboam's second entry.

Photo Credit: Bernie Wideman

Melissa took some other good shots from on board:

Sunday, January 18, 2015

New Boat Designs for Vendee Globe 2016

Most of the new boats in the coming Vendee Globe plan to use foils to partially lift the hull out of the water, reducing wetted surface and friction, allowing the boat to sail faster. Here's a brief video of the Banque Populaire VIII program. Pay particular attention to the test mini near the beginning. The boat looks like it's about to head into the stratosphere.

Présentation du nouveau monocoque Banque... by VendeeGlobeTV

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Blue Water Sailing Club Talk

A big thanks to all who came out for my talk on January 10 in Charlestown and thank you to the Blue Water Sailing Club for hosting me. We had a great turnout with some terrific questions and I'm looking forward to doing it again in February on the 14th at 10 AM in Marblehead (details to follow).

Friday, January 2, 2015


I completed the Original Single Handed Transatlantic Race (OSTAR) in 2013 and experienced some trials and tribulations along the way. If you’re interested in hearing all about it, please join us at an upcoming Blue Water Sailing Club event:

Date: Saturday, January 10
Time: 10 AM
Place: Constitution Inn, Navy Yard
Address: 150 Third Ave, Charlestown, MA
Cost: $20 per person, event proceeds will be donated to sitesAlive!, a non-profit whose mission is bringing live, interactive lesson plans to K-12 classrooms
RSVP: Required, please email Roy Greenwald at

Also, Rich Wilson will be giving us an update on his 2016 Vendée Globe campaign.

The club would appreciate pre-payment if possible (checks payable to BWSC) which can be sent to Roy at 23 Myopia Road, Winchester, MA 01890 or please remember to bring it with you.

Hope to see you there!