Friday, January 31, 2014

Satellite phone for Single Handed Transpac

Waterproof and with wifi access point (using standard plan from the satellite) so that I can download grib files and get weather information.

Elise's engine fixed

It would start and stop really quickly...turns out spark plugs were dirty and carburator clogged up.

Ready to go back now! Hopefully Elise won't need a two next time there is no wind...which is planned for...tomorrow. Oh wait, she has no mast up right now...I guess I am biking this weekend...

Serge doing daily Elise clean up

Interesting new mast for the boat

Red bucket?

It's been at least 22 hrs since the last bubble bath

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Personal safety gear for SHTP. Complete.

Spare safety tether, spare harness (the kids' harness is for wine and cheese day. Elise has a kid lifejacket and that's the matching harness ;-))

This is the whistle I will use if I am not wearing self inflatable lifejackets (the lifejackets include whistles).

I have now completed my personal safety gear collection for SHTP.

Photo and shopping by Serge.

Elise getting her rig checked for SHTP

Photo by Serge, Elise's caretaker.

Elise is getting a new headstay, new set of shrouds and a new top spreader bar (the previous one was damaged with hoist operations). Everything else looked good, so just a bit of cleaning but that's about it.

I hope it's obvious to everyone that losing your mast because of bad maintenance in the middle of the Pacific isn't something to look forward to. I am a strong believer in good maintenance as a safety measure. Things will break no matter what you do, but I don't want poor state to be the reason for it!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Personal Safety Gear for SHTP

Continuing down the list of what to bring - I already have a pretty thorough and sea tested list for personal safety items (excluding sailing gear). The key difference and discussion point between single handed and crew is around the use of lifejacket.

Even doublehanded where you spend most of your time alone on deck or fully crew at night, or in rough weather, tethers are key to safety. Going overboard in the middle in the ocean with any kind of reduced visibility is a big no no. If you do need to go overboard for any reason, including a person bet and you have someone else on board, you want to carry a hand held VHF that is waterproof and that has GPS capabilities so you can guide the boat toward you. Unfortunately that doesn't work real well if you are unconscious.

A personal EPIRB will trigger somethign in a Coast Guard office but your crew would have to figure out clever ways to get to the information, and by that time, you may be drowned or too hypothermic to really care about being saved.

However, whenever there is one person nearby who can come and rescue you, in the event of tether failure, etc... a lifejacket is advisable as keeping afloat and serving energy, being able to be in the fetal position to keep warm can be the difference between life and death. I'd argue that in really cold waters, you should wear a full survival suit or not bother with a lifejacket. Take a gun instead if you don't like the idea of falling asleep from the cold within a min or so of falling overboard.

However if you are alone on the boat in the middle of nowhere, your safety is to remain with the boat. Unless the boat is so far underwater that your feet can't touch the deck, stanchion or any part of the standing rigging, you should figure out a way to be with your boat. That's where survival is. Anything else is trying to kill you more or less delectably. I know that when you feel seasick, it FEELS like you are dying, but it really is just an illusion donned on you by some clever Jedi.

When you are out of the boat and detached from the boat, the boat is gone...and when that is the case, staying afloat for a few more minutes buys you  few more minutes of anxiety but will not buy you survival. You should bring a lifejacket on board, no question. In the first days or the last days, you might be around boats - if you happen to be close to a boat and you know, wear it. With a hand held radio, if you were to fall overboard, you could hail the boat and they may be able to come and rescue you, otherwise, I'd argue that wearing a lifejacket alone in th emiddle of nowhere is futile and I would focus all the efforts on staying with the boat, and sink and drown as quickly as you can when that's not the case anymore...

From a personal safety standpoint (the boat comes with jacklines and higher lifelines to help with that...AND a deck and a cockpit that's as clean of lines as possible, etc...), that means, tether, tether and spare of the spare tether. So if there is any problem with any of your tether, you still have a tether.

And tethers with ALWAYS one end clipped on, whether you are clipped onto the other end. Whether inside or outside the boat, the tether is always attached to a solid unmovable part of the boat...tether not useful to you if tether is overboard...

For SHTP, I will be carrying

For when you believe there is a rescue option within your lifetime:
  • Self inflatable lifejacket, ocean grade (ie keeps your head out of the water once it inflates) with a spare cartridge in the event of accidental blowup - with manual inflation possible, with harness capabilities for tethering
  • Spare self inflatable lifejacket ocean grade with its own spare cartridge in the event that you lose the first one with harness capabilities for tethering
  • Each of the above with a pair of crotches
  • Spare regular Bay lifejacket in case both lifejackets above are dead in the water
  • A whistle  (no idea how effective that is!!! And cheap!!)
  • A personal strobe  (no idea how effective that is at night! and cheap!)
  • Hand Held VHF with GPS/DSC calling capabilities
  • Personal EPIRB (wearable)
  • Spot Device (if you think your personal EPIRB needs a backup)
For all the time:
  •  Dual end tether (yellow tether for Elise) + spare - double safety hook...There are ones that don't release on the chest end which force you to use your knife...Some people prefer because it is unlikely that the tether will accidently open. Interesting to hear feedback...
ISAF-Specification Safety Tethers

  • Spare blue tether
  • Spare climbing sling in the event of a jackline going 'woosh', or in the event your forestay breaks, or as a fast track of 'holy crap I need to be on the bow NOW to gyve that pole or take that kite down'
  • A personal knife - last thing you want is to have a foot caught in a line that wants to drag you off the boat...A knife is also good of course if you need to cut off a line that's threatening to do more damage than good, like 'I need my kite down and for some reason my clutch won't release it' but that's not just 'personal safety'.

For when you don't want to/don't feel it is helpful to wear a lifejacket (and you like the freedom of movement you get when you don't)
  • Harness (not lifejacket based) that's ocean graded that you can tether to and a spare...

That's about it! Anything that is critical absolutely critical for survival is likely to come with redundancy, particularly if it is light :)


Monday, January 27, 2014

More photos from Three Bridge Fiasco

Read Norcal Sailing writeup:
Part 1:
Part 2: h

(a lot more pics too, this is just a small snapshot) 

All photos from Norcal Sailing

Light air doesn't mean no fun

The winner!!! (and the only finisher)

Boat Work - rinsing and prep for SHTP


Rinsing the old genoa which helps with single handed's got a lot of patches and doesn't quite hold its shape anymore - still bravely pushing the bow ahead.

Rinsing Elise's lines. Light air has them drop in the water for light of they actually get wet too...

Elise's port side quarterberth leecloth was removed to support electrical upgrade work on the autopilot panel.

It's now back in place so we can use the bunk again at sea without falling all over the engine. Conveniently it also isolates some of the wiring from accidental pulls :)

The girl in all her splendor

Elise has a plexiglas door for long distance offshore (so it doesn't 'float up' if the boat is submerged in water) - it also needs to be attached to the boat in the event of 'removal' so it doesn't go overboard...

Mission accomplished!!

Sunday, January 26, 2014


RidePal picks the right investors... Sailing is big with them...

More photos from CYC Midwinters by Pressure Drop

Light air problem

The mark no one could get around...

Beautiful shots from three bridge fiasco

Photo from Elise on the way back

Beautiful Elise

Weird Coast Guard boat that stopped by Little Harding forever to look at sea lions...

Photos after the start taken by Ultimate Yachtshots

From Ultimate Yachtshots

From Ultimate Yachtshots

Photos below from Ultimate Yachtshots

Parking lot

Waiting for Elise to come back

Photos below from Pressure Drop's writeup:

There is a lot more there.

Three bridge fiasco - On The Rocks

A J22 caught in the North Tower current issues ended up on the rocks 


At some point someone called StFYC dockmaster on the radio, asking for a tow back to the Club

 Heading for the rocks...

The bow is unnaturally high...

So much for heavy lead keels...

Photos courtesy of Ultimate Yachtshots