Friday, April 29, 2011

Mark's Photos - Lightship

Sorry, I lied...Mark also had some photos so these are the actual last lightship photos.

On the way back to the gate with the new genoa on deck
Michiel, looking cool as usual
What a great photo of Nathan!!!
Suzanne - did a GREAT job trimming on that day
Some Open-something-big boat. Looks like they didn't even bother to fly their jib upwind and they were still beating the crap out of everybody.
Can you spot Nat?
The calm before the storm ;-)
Nat is setting up the new Man-Overboard pole.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

note re: lightship

"A little more disappointing when you realize Magic started in the PHRO2 fleet, and was actually 4 mins late to their start.   Talked to owner Jeff last night."

From Mark

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Early Photos of Elise -

Express 27 Nationals 2004!!

Love this - another picture of another Express broaching with Elise just sailing by.


Go Joe!

There were boats I have not raced against such as 'Attitude Adjustment', 'Exocet', 'Freaks' - we have not seen 'Strega' for a long time either.


2010 Gracie and George Trophy Photo

Nat and Margaret
Elise's Nathalie Criou (right) accepts her trophy from race organizer Margaret Fago, who painted the watercolor prizes. ©2010 Fred Fago



Full-Crewed Lightship 2011 - Last race photos

 Cool hairdo
 Before the start
OK, maybe the helmet with the Elise jacket wasn't very useful...but then, Nat didn't bang her head on anything...Another 4 weeks to go before she can take it off when doing sports! And probably should nto consider riding her bike between now and then...
 'You talking to me?'
 Happy Mark trimming the kite
 The competition
 Looks a bit gloomy on the way back.
 Heading back to the gate - and even though it was technically flooding, the main channel still had an ebb going, so being on the edge of the channel, and preferrably on the South side to get a nice little push by the South Tower was the name of the game.




Courtesy of Suzanne!

Full-crewed lightship 2011 - writeup.

Nathan: helm
Nat: tactics/pit (ended up doing foredeck on the downwind)
Mark/Suzanne: trim
Michiel; foredeck

From Nathan, the skipper:
"Being 4 minutes behind the other E27 is a little disappointing.  The two boats we beat owed us 66 and 54 seconds a mile, respectively and we beat them over the line as well as on corrected time.

Good trim and boatspeed.

Two obvious problems

       1) the start- not much we could do once a faster boat barges in and then sits on our air.  The wind and current were such that we didn't really have any options at that point.

(Note from Nat: this boat had no right, it came in, pushed us down to make space for herself on the line, ignoring rights, we did not forcefully asked for a penalty turn after that. And a second boat barged in doing the same exact thing as they didn't want to have to tack and start again which is really what they should have done, so not only were we pushed down, we had a huge boat sitting on our air that shouldn't have been there in the first place)

       2) getting the GPS's working properly.  Since it's still new, perhaps one is still set for true instead of magnetic. (Most boats with analog compasses set all of their electronics to display in magnetic so that if you tell the driver to steer 250 you're not doing mental math all the time)."

Additional notes from Nat:

We headed North tactically. The forecast was indicating South, veering South West, so breeze moving west. Since the wind started West in the morning and was veering North West without the usual noon drop, our assumption was that the forecast was wrong and that the wind would continue to clock North favoring us. It did not, it shifted south and west thus putting us at a disadvantage, lengthening our course and forcing tacks on us, and favoring the majority of the boats windward of us. So I think that this is what lost us the race -

We also went in a little too far inshore on the way down, past Mile Rock and stayed in too light winds for a few min too long, allowing Magic to take off - maybe 5 min or so. not sure we would have caught up with them, but we could have closed the gap some more. Another tactical call.

Boat speed and trim were very good on both the upwind and the downwind. The first couple of tacks were very slow but all the other ones went it really smoothly, despite the fact that we were flying a #1, eg. Elise's biggest headsail for upwind so crew work was awesome there.

A little bit of a miscommunication on the spinnaker hoist as having learn the hard way, Elise launches the spinnaker in one of two ways from the bow: either the bag and the entire sail is forward of the forestay, or the sail is led up under the jib or genoa and behind the forestay. Otherwise, we have learned that the spinnaker can get caught on the hanks of the forestay and 1) get ripped which cost time and money and 2) the halyard can open, just like it did a few weeks ago, the sail drops in the water and Nat has to go up the mast to retrieve the halyard. Neither one of these situations are desirable.

So Nat can fix her GPS and learn to react to wind shift much earlier probably...the min a decision doesn't look too good anymore? Or hedge her bets?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Full-Crewed Lightship - back under the gate - April 2011

Photo purchased from H2oshots (

Elise is tiny but she likes the ocean...and was built for fast downwind in big waves. We didn't get much in terms of wind nor waves, but she still looks pretty proud.



Full-crewed Lightship Results

28454 John Liebenberg Always Friday Antrim 27 CM ODR 75 14:15:04 3:25:04 3:33:16 1 RYC
18151 Charles James Bloom County Custom Mancebo 31 90 14:21:38 3:31:38 3:34:56 2 SYC
1000 Greg Nelsen Outsider Azzura 310 57 14:11:42 3:21:42 3:35:59 **sr SSS
S1001 Josh Grass Summer Moon Synergy 1000 45 14:08:03 3:18:03 3:36:21 3 STFYC
2 Mark Howe War Pony Farr 36 ODR 9 14:01:08 3:11:08 3:42:15 4 RYC
18170 Keith Dettman & Dave Mosher Xtreme Hobie 33 ODR 87 14:30:30 3:40:30 3:45:00 5 FYC
80 Jeff Phillips & Mike Reed Magic Express 27 ODR 129 15:04:20 4:14:20 4:03:28 **sr EYC
101 Nathalie/Nathan Criou/Bossett Elise Express 27 ODR 129 15:08:25 4:18:25 4:07:23 **sr STFYC
28368 Jason Roach Roach Coach Custom Newland 36 63 15:10:23 4:20:23 4:36:06 6 TahoeYC
79747 Thiebaud & Biery Eurydice II Custom Ross 930 75 15:21:15 4:31:15 4:42:06 7 BYC
140 Dean Daniels Wuuf Daddy Melges 24 84 DNC : : 9 SBYC

Another amazing photo by Michiel

Taken during the full crewed lightship race


The eye...update 2

Healing very nicely.


Photo courtesy of my mirror.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Elise Boat Work Day

Today we did a couple of things

  1. Aired out the boat, she needed this badly after the rainy season and a few very wet ocean races
  2. Added a small solar panel to the back of the boat to keep the battery topped off constantly for every day use
  3. Fixed the two quarterberth lee cloths (they had fallen)
  4. Fixed a missing pin on the autopilot rudder fixture
  5. Realized that the connector of the spare autopilot is corroded and needs to be changed

Nathan installing the small solar panel that will just stay on deck now
Nat playing with fire...there was a short-circuit (a spare connector ended up touching the wrong wire...) - no fire, just a lot of smoke and burned wires and melted plastic.

Captain Carnage's photo

From Serge, Ultimate Yachshots

his caption 'it's a hit'


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Elise Boat Work Day - by Serge

Serge did three things

  1. He sanded and applied a first coat of marine varnish to the traveler wooden plank on Elise, the last bit of wood that needed to be treated outside the boat (note we need to do woodwork about once every couple of years, and that was moved from once a year by the use of the boat cover!)
  2. Replaced the 'padding' for the rail crew
  3. Replaced the broken sheet bag in the cockpit (we use it to stuff spinnaker sheets during the upwind and jib sheets during the downwind to free up space in the cockpit making it also safer to move around. We don't do this around the buoys as we would spend our time putting the sheets in the bag and taking them out :))

Thank you so much Serge - this is wonderful work.

We typically need to apply two coats of varnish for it to last the full two years, so Serge will come back to do that. The inside of the boat still has this wonderful smell of fresh varnish and happy wood!

[[posterous-content:pid___0]] The work bench[[posterous-content:pid___13]] The tools[[posterous-content:pid___12]] The sanding [[posterous-content:pid___2]] The new sheet bag[[posterous-content:pid___3]] From another angle and ready to be used this weekend for the crewed lightship race[[posterous-content:pid___4]] Its brother, the old sheetbag, hanging on the port side[[posterous-content:pid___5]] The twins[[posterous-content:pid___6]] The artist[[posterous-content:pid___7]] The lunch[[posterous-content:pid___9]] The chemical[[posterous-content:pid___10]] The magic touch[[posterous-content:pid___11]] The painting[[posterous-content:pid___1]] The padding

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Elise, like any boat, has a constant list of ToDos...

Here is the current list - and any team member can help :)

  • sand and varnish outside
  • set up new MOB pole
  • fix LED for compasses
  • fix gelcoat on the side (pro job)
  • locate switch for autopilot 2 and check that autopilot 2 works
  • Check main autopilot works
  • Add new solar panel to top off battery on a continuous basis
  • fix the forward hatch
  • replace jib car bearings
  • Connect stereo (Nat has holder) and check with 4 sets of speakers + iPod
  • clean up and air inside of boat (remove mildew and rinse everything off, includes bilge cleaning - takes a day worth of cleaning taking everything out and putting everything back in)
  • investigate and fix outhaul line or cleat
  • service winches (we do this once a year)
  • change outhaul cable
  • Teak wood treatment inside the boat
  • instrument covers -   '  compass covers (no longer fit) and we need a new cover for NKE
  • Add instrument repeater on the mast for boat speed

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The eye...update

From Saturday - photo courtesy of Serge from Ultimate Yachtshots. The eye looks much better and I will be wearing a helmet at the crewed lightship this weekend


Monday, April 18, 2011

Tori's Photos from Sunday

"Surfing back to town"
"On the way to the Pacific...soaked in"
"Elise's captain"
"Which line?"
"Blue skies!"

With her own captions :)

Happy Birthday Tori

Sunday we celebrated Nathan's and Tori's birthday - and Elise's late Christmas I guess :)

First, Serge gave Elise some pillows and a flood light for cruising. Elise also got a small solar panel at the boat show to keep her batteries topped off. We'd be looking for this for a while, the big solar panel draws a lot more amps, but is only used for long distance racing. We were missing some parts to hook it up but it's promising!

On Sunday morning, Nathan and Nat came down to the boat to do some work. We understood what was causing a small leak for the forward hatch, removed the broken part and we will take it to a shop to see if we can get a replacement. We also replaced the fuse holder that was broken for the instruments with plenty of electrical grease and replaced a connector that popped out for the main autopilot.

We were very puzzled in that we lost a switch. Not kidding...we couldn't find the switch for the 2nd autopilot. Where it used to be is now a simple connection...which seems to indicate that the switch went somewhere else...but we couldn't find it! It is connected to the battery, but there doesn't seem to be power going to the spare autopilot so there has got to be a switch somewhere along the circuit...and it was obviously off :) Mystery of mystery!!

Remember...a boat needs constant maintenance. Elise more than other boats as she sails often and will suffer more wear and tear on parts and sails than other boats. This is why Elise's crew is contributing to her care, in return for enjoying her more often!

We also picked up a replacement Man Overboard Pole for the long distance ocean races and a new chart book...only to find the old chart book in a place it's not normally stowed in. Never mind...Elise will have a replacement ready to go...

Then, we were ready to go sailing!

Elise was taking Tori out for a birthday sail and Nat took Tori out for a birthday brunch beforehand.

Preparation before the event - Tori is setting out the table cloth. Just kidding, we are flaking the genoa as we weren't going to be using it on that day, given that it was blowing 25 to 30 on the city front and 15 close to Point Bonita.
We took Elise's #4, which is really a tiny number 4. It actually qualifies as a storm jib per its dimensions and as you can see it is a tiny little piece of cloth...We didn't reef the main so the boat wasn't perfectly balanced upwind. We just wanted to fly that sail as we know that we will be doing offshore races and we like to identify work that needs to be done on sails we don't often use on the Bay early on :) It just needs a little bit of re-rigging on the tack, but other than that, was fine.
We first went upwind, under the Golden Gate, right past the South Tower, helped by the strong ebb - we sailed by Mile Rock, then tacked over to stay close to Seal Rock on the South Bar. This was by design, we wanted to catch some of the good waves over there so that we could surf home. We saw a gust at 30 knots near the bridge, but other than that, 27-28 - it mellowed out after we passed the bridge to about 15 true.
We then bore away and set the kite with the national colors - Elise uses her old sails on cruises since we don't care as much about sail shape as we do during races and since sails do not like UVs...So we keep our nice sails for when we need them, unless we are practicing sail trim or something like that. So we flew her old mainsail (it did Pac Cup) and the most beaten up kite that she has! It's a reacher, and a light cloth. It does the job though!
We caught a couple of waves to surf on, so pretty cool. The wind was a bit weak before the gate and the waves weren't as big near the gate when the wind picked up, so it wasn't the perfect offshore experience but I think that Elise put on a pretty good show

Tori being a Californian and Nat driving to the kite down a wave. We flew by under the gate as the wind picked up. Really nice bow waves, it was awesome. Clean spinnaker work. Nathan did the set, Nat gybed the kite forward and took it down on a reach. Everything went smoothly. Nice practice for double-handed work, we didn't lose much throughout the winter which is always good...since we didn't get to set the kyte at the double-handed farallones race.

We were flying the kite a little low and kept the bow a little too deep in the water - but fast overall

Elise heading back to her berth after a great afternoon on the Bay. We sailed by Angel Island and west of Alcatraz.
Serge's artistic effect to give us a vintage photo...

Tori asked for a birthday sail. she is a sailor herself - she got

  • a lunch at the yacht club
  • a day entirely under sail, eg. with no engine (it's actually pretty usual on Elise - unless there is absolutely no wind, we never take the engine out, it's a real pain to do so! so usually, between March and October, we only sail in and out of the harbor)
  • a very wet upwind ride to past Point Bonita and under the Golden Gate
  • a nice representative afternoon of a summer day on the Bay (it blows between 20 and 35 every afternoon near the Golden Gate bridge in summer)
  • Some cool mini-surfing
  • Some cool downwind acceleration
  • Some cool Bay pictures
  • typical sailors' talk. Eg past sailing stories. For some reasons, sailors seem to have an unending supply of those...and forget everything land-related when they are in the presence of a comrade

Photos courtesy of Nathan and Serge