Thursday, June 26, 2014

Monday, June 23, 2014

Elise's Shore Team

The team includes Nathan, Brian, Jason, Roger, Serge, David, Captain Rick, Gordie - for continuous help and so many others. I feel so indebted to all of them.

Without these people, the dream would not be possible - an ocean race, regardless of the number of crew, is usually a team getting a boat and a skipper ready.

Some will be on the start line for a passage to Hawaii. Elise is signing up to race hard. I mean...she is a race boat, so racing is what she does best.

I talked to George from Taz! at 'The Tree' gathering in Alameda last week and we agree on one thing - for us to leave we have to trust our boats. Ultimately, the boat is our protection from the elements, and our tool to travel through the water. The ocean is not kind but a well maintained well equipped seaworthy boat and a well prepared sailor can still achieve a lot in that environment. It still a very special place to be.

A simple philosophy for any sailor, and in particular for the offshore sailor is the old saying: 'if you take care of your boat, she will take care of you'.

This may be a singlehanded race but it is a group effort

From last week - and the news page of the single handed transpac:

There was a potluck and barbecue with the race committee, friends and racers.

Making it to the start

The plan

Tonight: enter all key phone numbers I haven't entered yet into sat phone. Express 27 sailor/medical doc friend was kind enough to give me his number if I need medical advice (this is considered OK, and is one of the exception to the 'no outside assistance' rule) - of course, most minor stuff I can deal with, with the help of the little manual I am bringing with me and which I have already read and mostly forgot or by reading the instructions on medication.

I am also doing a routing every day to get used to it (I still hate Expedition...) and I check weather info 2 or 3 times a day and start thinking about my strategy. The High seems to be becoming this weird oblong blub that extends super east...but too far out to really use that information. Not very reliable (just like the shift I waited for during my entire qualifier and that never came)

I borrowed the charts I didn't have, and they came with a nice watertight casing. I will add the charts I want to take (including Monterey, LA, etc...), places where you don't want to end up at, but if you have to, and your GPS craps out on you, good to have. Mostly I don't use paper charts, I use boat and hand held GPS

Tuesday 24 June - last projects:

  • get new license plate for the trailer (the old one got stolen in Serge's truck)
  • finalizing backup ram for autopilot (x5 wand borrowed from Brian) - Brian
  • protect backstay (with a 'stop') so that the backstay cannot be released too much by accident, protects the rig. (Jason)
  • reinforce aft cleat if I want to use it for a drogue (then led to winches)
  • install 20W panel / connectors 
  • go through the deck and tighten every single screw (vibrations tend to unscrew it is good to start with them being all tight, then every day you tend to walk around the deck and see if anything gets loose. If it is a bit rough, ok to do every couple of days. Usually, a lot of things caught early are easy to fix, and caught late a long and slow process...
  • one shopping item at REI: a personal stove to heat up water quickly. It seems to work faster that my gimble stove (better for soups, pasta, etc...) and that little thing could be used in the cockpit or companionway if weather permits. Sounds like a great little thing to have around coupled with a thermos bottle to keep that tea hot all night.
  • Also buy spare gas for gimble stove
  • Also physical therapy for the shoulder

Wednesday 25 June - start loading up:
  • Buy spare batteries 
  • Final survey of the keel (Captain Rick)
  • Hoist Trysail and check everything cool there
  • Hoist storm jib and check everything cool there
  • try drogue / para anchor set up and check everything cool there
  • Attach pennant line to tack of twin sail (to avoid chafing against pullpit, advice I got from Skip) 
  • Set up boat with
    • Spare lines
    • Storm sails
    • Spinnaker net
    • personal safety gear
    • Night time set up (mats, sleeping bag, cushions)
    • cooking utensils including gimble stove
    • tools and spares (including charged up drill and drill bits) 
  • Enter some waypoints into hand held GPS
somewhere between 26th and 27th of June, there is a trailer delivery to Matson Oakland...

Thursday 26 June - splash boat and take her to CYC
  • Pick up last pharmacy items (some periodic medications can only be picked up a few days before end of month)
  • Splash the boat
  • Install the dodger
  • Set up external halyard (so I don't have to go aloft while at sea if I need it...not just a matter of comfort but a matter of speed...if you are using a halyard, a sail is not
  • Rig up 'steering' line around the boat for a just in case scenario. Not connected to tiller
  • Rig up second downhaul for twin sail (not connected, just try it out and make sure I have enough line for it, and see how I will lead it back)
  • Set up radar reflector up in the rig
  • Set up bilge pump handle
  • Bring sails
  • Pick up liferaft (Nathan)
  • Set up main and one head sail
  • Sail the boat over to CYC by 6pm - flake the main around the boom and leave the lines in place
  • Order Commanders routing #1 (it is allowed to get this information before the race)
  • Pizza in the evening with the group apparently
  • Provisioning (Nathan's help)
  • Charge up all electronics

Friday 27 June - load up final items
  • Order Commanders routing #2
  • Skipper's Meeting
  • Aloha Lunch
  • Divvy up the food into the right buckets
  • Load up food and water
  • Load up floating hospital (that would be my first aid kit)
  • Set up spinnaker lines and pole
  • Load up liferaft
  • Bring up entertainment and comfort stuff
  • Bring all electronics/comms devices
  • Bring all navigation aids
  • Bring grab bag
  • General safety items (heaving line, fire extinguishers, etc...)
  • Say good bye to the kitties
  • Set up cameras, etc...

Saturday 28 June:
  • Get weather information one last time through WiFi
  • Do final routing morning of
  • Take personal gear to boat including toiletry
  • Choose headsail for start and first phase of race based on most current conditions
  • Hoist main and sail out of the harbor - this seems to be the only way Elise can leave the dock
  • Check in with race committee
  • Start

Internet Access (for email / weather information)

I was trying a new system which is supposed to be plug and play.

Except that the instructions online tells you to download two pieces of software which are unfortunately competing with each other.

Here's the culprit. It was so plug and play that it took me hours to figure it out after calling the Axcess Point provider, the sat phone provider and the sim card provider...

Easy enough right?

the problem was a blinking red little is now turning green.

Still pretty rough system, it drops calls, etc... but should enable me to download a bunch of grib files to get weather information, maybe input into nav software and perhaps send an email or two.

Cool stuff no matter what - being able to be connected with the world in the middle of the ocean, pretty neat.


She's legal now...

Thursday, June 19, 2014

View from main mast of Echappee

A couple of weekends ago I helped out Nathan with some issues that required a trip aloft.

View was great so I took some pictures.

Holder for ST 2,000 (and x5 wand)

Added this little guy again (after last year's Long Pac, I learned that the regular holder for the ST 2,000 does not work well...the autopilot keeps getting out of it. This works)

Unidentified lifeform on Elise

or ex lifeform..

Tuning the rig up

Jason the Rigger

Elise now tuned up for some heavy weather stuff

Replacing lifesling cover


Old, first tried to fix it but not really working. and pretty sure that if I don't do anything about it, I will be waving it byebye on the trip.

Installing big solar panel

Jason the Great

Sealing off electrical connections

Particularly the base of the mast - very exposed to weather

thx Serge

getting elise ready for her passage

thx Serge

Storm Tactics

Preparation is continuing. This book can be summarized as 

'learn to heave to and park your boat'

(and handy practical advice on how to rig a para anchor/drogue to get your boat to not foresail if the wind velocity increase past the point where either a triplereefed mainsail, or a trysail is too much for the rudder...or if you have no more rudder!)

A quote to remember

'I believe that any boat can be made to heave-to' - Sir Peter Blake.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Mast goes back up

With Jason and help

Looking better. Only missing item now is the boom...

Bilge Pump Fixing

The old and the new

And tested

Thanks Serge

Splashing Elise for her mast to come back up

At the hoist

The Mast

Mastless Elise in the water.

Her trip to the hoist

Hooking her up

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Photo from Latitude 38 back in April

Nat, Brian, Nathan, Mark and Scott

Elise is home with a fabulously smooth glossy looking keel

Gordie is a God that every sailor in the area should worship....He just worked a miracle on a super tight schedule...

Parts of the old keel. Turns out the gelcoat/paint and first layer of fiber glass was super thin and the epoxy was also very thin in places. The first two layers would come off with a screwdriver

Next the mast needs to go back up so she can recover her proud allure

Check out this beauty. Amazing.

Home again - and resting before her voyage.