Archive for August, 2000


New Zealand bound

August 11, 2000   

I got up at 4am to fly to New Zealand where I am now involved in a V60 Women’s Team for the Volvo Ocean Race starting next year (Sept 2001). I have had the weekend to be briefed and will start meetings on Tuesday – roll on September! Below are the J105 class results based on high points scoring system for Kenwood Cup:

Charade 65
Juxtapose 53
Jose Cuervo 44
Irrational Again 35
Puff 33
Tiburon 19

Awards – Kenwood Cup

August 9, 2000   

The boat was well cleaned up during the day including a full rig check and the sails packed to be shipped back to Quantum to be sold on.

The Kenwood Cup Awards dinner in the Sheraton banquet hall featured display of 150 expensive looking silver prizes to be divided up by the 29 boat fleet. The most were scooped up by Smile and Samba Pa Ti. Zamboni picked up their trophies and created a new Farr 40 seamanship trophy, which they awarded to Foundation in acknowledgement of the crew picking up a man overboard at night off the coast of Molokai. We took away our third place plates and a great photo of us arriving back from the Molokai race.

Molokai Race

August 8, 2000   

The triple-scoring Molokai Race (150 miles) was the last race of the regatta.

‘During the night, at around 0200 local time and somewhere off Molokai’s north coast Cha-Ching (Sydney 41, Scotter Simmons) lost the top part of her mast. In around 18 knots of breeze and with the towering sea cliffs of Molokai close under her lee, Cha Ching was for a time in some peril, through not actual danger. Big Apple III (Farr 45) and Smile (Beneteau 40.7) both pulled out of the race to stand by Cha-Ching. Cha-Ching suffered no casualties and eventually was able to proceed under her own engine power, allowing Big Apple and Smile to rejoin the race.”

I started the race wth full foul weather gear as the first 11 hours (overnight) was spent on the rail. I as relieved of the wave breaker position (bowman) for two hours to trim main a difficult job in the pitch black especially as I was unfamiliar with the traveller system. During the night, we saw up to 28 knot headwinds during a 75 mile thrash to Maui. The initial strategy was to leave the Oahu shore at Koko head however, the wind was more northerly going easterly so the fleet set off for Molokai. We were headed badly on that shore, the wind decreased and the sea conditions were simlar to the potatoe patch of San Francisco. By dawn, we were half way along the nothern Molokai coast and the view was amazing. As we headed toward the sea cliffs (highest in the world) on port tack we were lifted and tacked at their base in over 90 feet of water. This area is not inhabited due to the awe inspiring topography of densely forested near vertical slopes. The IMS fleet was only just starting to come back from the mark at Maui, we had expected the to pass us on their way back during the night. This was the first indication of our position on the water in terms of the other J105’s – Tiburon and Jose were behind us and we stretched our lead. What we tought was a J105 was in fact Smile the Beneteau, which we crossed tacks with for an hour. As we bore off for a short reach to Maui, everuone was concious of the rock, which had claimed the life of a Japanese woman in the 1996 race it was detectable from the desciption in the report we had read of the incident. To our surprise, we saw Big Apple II half way down the reach, at this point we didn’t know about the Cha-Ching incident and thought they had had a very bad race.

It was a great feeling to strip down to shorts and t-shirt after the night as the sun blazed down and the steady trades continued to blow at 18-10 knots. The obligatory factor 50 sun tan cream was smothered all over and we hoisted the kite to surf down the white capped blue rollers. We were picked up on each overtaking crest and the front third of the boat lifted clear of the water as we pumped the main and bore down to start planing like a dinghy. The spinnaker strained and as the boat surfed it had to be trimmed into deal with the change in apparent wind angle. The speedo steadily increased from 9 to 18 knots while the boat hummed. I was grinding and the trimmer and I did not even have to talk as we were totally co-ordinated, everyone on the boat knowing what to do to keep the boat on her feet. The remaining two crew were hiked out with one ready to release the vang if we lost it in the gusts, which reached 27 knots. A wide lane of white foam showed our path down the waves and some of the spray went over the timmers head where he was standing at the rigging. Approaching Makapu head, the wind headed us allowing us to obtain even greater speeds. Unfortunately, Jose had had a great downwind leg and having been 30 minutes behing Tiburon at Maui was now threatening our lead. We heard later that they reported 21 knot surfs and they created a 15 minute lead over Tiburon. We never caught Irrational despite great surfing and not collapsing the kite once. The 150 miles took just under 24 hours of what I think was the best sailing of the whole event.

More protests….

August 6, 2000   

A day of weaker trade winds, a result no doubt of us finding another crew member light enough to fill the remaining 121lbs left by the owner (we replace him with two people) again beng unable to race. The racing was fantastic leading to us taking 3rd place in the first race by under a second. We came back from two boat lengths behind Walloping Swede into a gybing duel, which lasted the complete downwind leg to the finish. We snuck in a very quick gybe 25 yards from the finish which caught them off guard as we swapped positions to do it – I took the new sheet instead of moving from the grinding position to foredeck which they were watching for as a clue to us being about to gybe. We managed to surf one last wave to the finish and by under sheeting the kit we were able to project it over the finish at the favoured end of the line.

At the start of the second race during pre start manoevres, Tiburon protested us for tacking in their water onto starboard. The mainsheet fine tune block broken during the incident and therefore the coarse mainsheet unreaved itself from all the boom blocks. The boom remained on the port side, which suggested to me that the main had filled heavily while we were on starboard and that Tiburon was therefore burdened boat as it established overlap rom beind on our windward quarter. I fixed the mainsheet by lashing the fine tube to the boom strap thus allowing me to rereave the coarse tune. This time I tied a knot in the coarse tune close to where I reattached it to the fine tune so that if the fine tune again disconnected itself (as it was tide on with Kev cord) it would not unreave itself as the end would not pass through the boom block. On the last leg downwind to the finish we were on starboard and Tiburon gybed onto port and not being able to pass ahead of us luffed up to pass our stern. In the process, their spinnaker hit our backstay as a puff of wind heeled them towards us. We set our protest flag immediately.

Back ashore outside the protest room one of the Tiburon crew was abusive to me after we won both protests – he believed we had lied in the protest room about the way they had flow their flag. However, they had stated themselves that it was hard to unfurl their flag from teh backstay as tape was securing it and therefore had not flown it until as least 45 seconds after the incident had occureed which automatically meant the protest was invalid. The jury had also seen a video of the incident and stated that there had been no infringement of the rules by us and that we had completed our tack in good time.

The race committee finally rectified the results; they had omitted to award us third place for race 1 and to double the points of the middle distance race.

‘The Sydney 41 Glama! owned by Seth Radow T-boned the Farr 40 Zamboni in what appears to have been a classic port and starboard gone wrong. Glama! apparently saw Zamboni and tried, but failed to bear away, hitting the Farr just where the cabin and cockpit join and bashing a considerable hole in both topsides and deck. More seriously Zamboni’s owner Dough Taylor, steering, was flung from the wheel to the front end of the cockpit and suffered a bad gash to the head. He was taken off and delivered to a waiting ambulance, but was reported in satisfactory condition on arrival at the hospital.”

Rules are Rules

August 5, 2000   

To our surprise this morning the committee had reinstated the fleet’s positions. When we asked why we were told that the race committee was ducking out of it’s responsibility to enforce the rule and therefore we sould have to protest the whole fleet. There was a split amoungst the crew of whether we should pursue the protest. My feeling is that rules are rules – I have myself lost a position due to not filing in time at Cowes Week. I was two minutes late after fighting a spring tide of 4 knots in the Solent with an outboard engine which cracked open the stern allowing water to come aboard despite an appeal I did not receive my position back. The rest of the fleet had simply not read the Sailng Instructions.

The Trades eased to between 14 and 16 knots and we only had one breakage today when the winch stopped working upwind. I took it apart on the downwind leg to find that the brand new springs in the port primary were not working. I replaced them with old springs and did not have a problem for the rest of the regatta. Irrational Again protested us for a mark rounding – they came in on the starboard layline after over standing and we came in on port. We won the protest and were not disqualified. The owner had to stay home due to a back injury so we took on his mainsheet trimmer who lived in Honolulu.

Unfortunately, there was a lot of yelling on the dock about the general protest, which was very distasteful. The other crews felt we were being unsportsmanlike and suggested that this was teh only way we could win trophies. After another bad set of results and a crew vote, we decided to withdraw our protest over the declaration issue. When we went to the jury to withdraw our protest we were told it was not possible, as we would win the protest as it as based on undeniable fact. We finally were allowed to withdraw it after much persuasion and teh race director was ”dressed down’ by the international jury for not enforcing the rules. We were disappointed with this lack of professionalism in an international event and had I been in the other crew’s position I would have requested to be withdrawn from the results, as I had obviously not followed the rules.

Plywood Cup

August 4, 2000   

We competed in the Plywood Cup; a team builds a boat of 1/4″ ply capable of carrying two people around a triangular course in the turning basin. We won the design trophy despite sinking in the first 10 meters and having to swim it around the course. The boat was too narrow with a tall rig (aka America’s Cup) and without a keel was very unstable; a keel was not possible as the start was in 1 foot deep water.

We were surprised by comments from another J105 of being unsportsmenlike. After asking why they felt like this we found that the race committee had given all the J105s except us a DSQ for racing on August 3rd. This was a result of the other boats having not declared their finishes in writing as required in the sailing instructions. We were used to this procedure, as it has to be done after every race in Cowes Week and Cork Week. We were therefore awarded a 1st.

Kaneohe Race – Kenwood Cup

August 3, 2000   

The long distance race of 55 miles from Diamond Head round the corner of Oahu to Kaneohe and return. We were in last position as we rounded the mark in Kaneohe bay, as again we had no boat speed upwind. Our pointing was better as we decreased halyard tension and increased backstay and brought our jib cars back to twist the sail off and open up the entry for power over the waves. The halyards have to be so loose that there are nasty horizontal lines almost into the 2nd panels of the jib and 1/3 of the way back in the main. After rounding the mark we picked up two places by hitting the shore hard and sailing rhum line coarse on the reach and downwind. We were one minute behind 2nd place ending up in 4th.

Lots of repairs! Kenwood Cup

August 2, 2000   

The breeze at last returned (20 knots) with big rolling seas, blue skies and blazing sun. This was my day of challenging repairs.

* The main clew slug pulled out of the boom and I sewed a larger fitting back on using the original webbing.

* A loud bang while going downwind and subsequent difficulties in dropping the spinnaker suggested a broken spinnaker halyard sheave. We carefully hoisted the kite for the second time (it took two people to jump at the mast) conscious that the halyard was most likely running over the bare mast exit. In between, the races I went up the mast to check out the situation and ran a new halyard into the starboard sheave allowing us to race the rest of the week. It later turned out that the screws holding the sheave cage to the mast were an inch too short and the shim weld had broken.

* A loud bang at the bottom of the mast proved to be the mast chock (made of spartite) which had not been made deep enough (2 inches instead of 4). A line tied around the mast at vang height and led forward to the block (attached to the forestay tack fitting) then back through the jib sheet cars to the primary winch. We were therefore able to crank the mast forward hammer the chock back in and then sikaflex it in place putting a hose clamp in position directly above the chock (this should have originally been done like this however, the owner had not used sikaflex and the hose clamp was not tight enough to stop it coming out).

* We had to sail into the berth as the engine had an air lock in the fuel system due to lack of baffles in the fuel tanks (a problem in all J105’s). I bled the system through to the injectors using the starter motor and compressors.

 We had problems pointing n the heavier wind and speed problems as a result we cranked a few more turns on the caps and V1’s. The navigator being discouraged with our inability to stay with the fleet took some flyers out to the right on the beat, which proved to not be successful. The left hand side of the course is very much favoured as there is a lift on port tack when sailing towards Diamond Head especially close in. The current is also slower inshore as it is predominantly wind driven.

No trade winds – Kenwood Cup

August 1, 2000   

The usually reliable trade winds were again missing and the sea was flat calm with barely a breath of wind. Race 1 of the 10 race series was scheduled to start at 1100 but the red and white postponement flag was up until 1250 when Class A started. The winds ranged from just three to eight knots and shifted frequently. Race 2 (windward/leeward) was abandoned.

There were many theories about the weather conditions and how long the remnants of Tropical Storm Daniel would affect the Trade Winds. We were advised that normally the situation lasts for 24-36 hours.

Once ashore at the end of the day we lodged a request for redress against the race commitee over the position of the windward mark (commitee boat said 175 however, it was 160). Other baots joined us in this request including Esmeralda, Bumblebee V, Air New Zealand, High 5 in class A and G’Net in Class B. The jury found our request to be substaintianed as the race director had omitted to put a 15 degree offset in the GPS that was used to lay the windward mark. The results were scored at the positions at the leeward mark, which gave us a 3rd. Originally we were given a 4th. The other J105’s immediately appealed against us being awarded 3rd place but were unsucessful.