Archive for May, 2008


Morse Code

May 30, 2008   

I came across a neumonic for memorizing Morse Code a few years ago and forgot about it until recently when I was doing some exams and needed to know a few of the sound signals. Of course I only memorized it for the exam and promptly forgot it!

My little man

May 26, 2008   

Last night I got to look after my nephew while my brother and sister in law went out to the movies. He is such great fun and although he can’t speak fully yet he understands a ton. The most important thing to me is that he can say my name and always comes running to give me a hug with a big smile. Believe me I spoil him a lot which is what Aunties are for.

The cutest game to play is what does a cow etc. say. He can do crows, snakes, pigs, donkeys, sheep, horse in fact most animals. This morning I went round and picked him and Draeger the dog up and we went for an hour and half walk in Tennessee Valley picking wildflowers to bring home for Mummy. As usual we were fascinated by rocks, wanted to look down all the holes and fill them with rocks, squashed ants, pointed at spiders, poked cooko spit on the grass and smelt every flower. A great way to spend a holiday monday. Hope you had a relaxing weekend where ever you are.

5.01 Lifejacket

May 25, 2008   

In Seahorse on the RORC Club Page the skipper of Holligan V mentioned that one of the key lessons learnt when their boat capsized was that all the lifejackets were auto-inflate so swimming out from the cabin meant that one could not be worn. This created a question ‘should some be manual-inflate? If so how many?’

5.01.1 Each crew member shall have a lifejacket as follows:-
a) equipped with a whistle
b) fitted with marine grade retro-reflective material (OSR 4.18)
c) compatible with the wearer’s safety harness
d) if inflatable, regularly checked for air retention
e) clearly marked with the yacht’s or wearer’s name

5.01.2 It is strongly recommended that a lifejacket has:-
a) a lifejacket light in accordance with SOLAS LSA code 2.2.3 (white, >0.75
candelas, >8 hours);
b) at least 150N buoyancy, arranged to securely suspend an unconscious man
face upwards at approximately 45 degrees to the water surface- in
accordance with prEN ISO 12402 – 3 (Class C) or equivalent (for persons
of larger than average build the ISO 275N jacket should be considered);
c) a crotch strap or thigh straps;
d) a splashguard/sprayhood. See EN394;
e) if inflatable, a compressed gas inflation system.

5.01.3 In Category Zero every lifejacket shall have the attributes listed in OSR 5.01.2.

5.01.4 For every gas inflatable lifejacket a spare cylinder and if appropriate a spare
activation head shall be carried.

5.01.5 Each yacht shall carry a spare lifejacket or lifejacket(s) as required in OSR

5.01.3 sufficient for at least 10% of the total number of persons on board
(minimum one spare lifejacket). At least one of the required spare lifejacket(s)
shall be a semi-automatic for use in man overboard recovery.

The non spinnaker cup

May 24, 2008   

After anticipating and getting ready for a 30 knot downwind flyer we instead had a long uphill light air slog which we finally retired from this morning into Santa Cruz. At the start we tested out the reefing and led both reefs just in case even though the lastest forecast was for it to lighten and become a beat but hopefully not till we were done. We also did 3 man overboard drills under sail with different drivers – lots of boats were staring at us…. I was all dressed up in my drysuit as the forcast looked like it was going to be a wet ride – I was all dressed up with no where to go!

Rob came from Idaho and helmed the start doing a great job (port tack at the pin) – that’s us way out front at the other end of the line red boat.

Chris drove up from Orange County and did jib trim. We did well in the fleet up to the North Tower and our first mistake of the race was to split the difference – some boats went Marin shore working their way against the flood (they did very badly). The main fleet worked the Mile Rock shore and did well. We did part Marin and then hit Mile Rock beach were there was early ebb hence the gain the fleet made on us. We were still however, up with the 40 footers although we couldn’t point like them and the wind was around 15 knots.

We turned left and there was no cracking off in fact the breeze just kept on backing and getting lighter. We were in with about 8 boats – White Dove, Phantom Mist, an Elan 40, Sapphire and quite a few others. Short tacking the shoreline seemed to be the way to go. Dinner of chilli and rice which was eaten out of the dog bowls but unfortunately we had made a tactical error and left the cutlery in the car – lids of coffee mugs work great as spoons! We turned on the nav lights as the sun went down and had to replace one of the bulbs (good thing we had extras). At 11pm Gus and I handed over to Rob and Chris. We had been short tacking to within .5 miles from the shoreline and only out as far as about 2 miles. It was very hard work as the instruments were playing up – every time you tacked you had to reset them. I know relying on instruments is not a great thing to do but with no moonlight and the swells pushing the boat into the wind making you think you were pinching they were a help.

6 miles before Pigeon Point we split tacks with the 40.7’s and went an extra .25 miles offshore of them before tacking back onto starboard. To our delight we killed them there was a right hand shift that lifted us to about 1/3 mile ahead of them from having been about 1/4 mile behind. However, the extra 7 feet of waterline paid off and despite tacking above their line we fell below White Dove and ended up in their lee with them passing within 1 1/2 boat lengths of us to weather. They were yelling out asking who we were. We tacked away to get out of their lee and stopped pretty dead with the swells on our nose it was a hard tack to steer. We ended up ducking hard around the starboard tack Elan probably could have made it but it was too close at night. The Synergy 1000 did not have nav lights showing which was very disconcerting and unsafe. It was really really cold out there last night.

When I went down the batteries were at 11.7 and I mentioned needing to charge sometime soon. What we didn’t know but I was nervous about as there are only two AGM’s onboard is that there are not seperate service and start batteries so when you are on 1 on the battery switch you are draining both batteries. Bad news for us when I woke up 2 hours later to hear the engine trying to start. The voltage was down to 9.7.We pulled out the tools and turns out there is no way of hand cranking the engine, we tried flicking the compression switches but nothing worked. So that was the end of electronics, lights etc. We turned everything off and pulled out the battery powered nav lights which we strapped to the stern and bow – good thing we had just bought those from Svends. Then it was handheld GPS and flashlights to look at the windex – oh what fun!! So when the sun came up everyone had got away it wasn’t safe to stay short tacking the shore without depth and an engine so we had to stay further out where it turned out there was a lot less wind (we found this out after talking to people who finished) – White Dove got in before 10am which was when we were pulling into Santa Cruz.

The owner Wayne woke me apparently Chris, Wayne and Rob were all chicken about coming down to Ãsk’ me about retiring. They made the decision to retire and then Chris and Rob told Wayne he had to come tell me! I told him it was his decision – he is the client if it was Rob or Chris I would have told them Perrin’s don’t retire and to stop being a weanie – but I don’t know Wayne well enough yet.

We decided to give the engine another go flipping the compression switches, pouring fresh boiling water over the batteries to warm them up etc. No good and we gave up not wanting to fry the starting motor. So we sailed into the fuel dock at Santa Cruz mis judging the momentum and falling a boat length short of the dock going sideways towards shore away from the dock. Quickly we unfurled the jib and backwinded it spun in the turning area and set ourselves up for a better landing. Quick boat clean up, plug the batteries in to charge, breakfast at Aldo’s, fill up the boat and delivery jerry’s with diesal, hook up the autopilot and we pushed Rob and Wayne off the dock to deliver up to Half Moon bay tonight and finish it off tomorrow. Meanwhile I drove home with Chris’s wife Julie (and the rest of the crew)who stayed the night in a hotel room in Monterey on her own waiting for us. You had to be there to think this is funny but it took 3 of us from the crew to get Gus’s boots off at my house and required the use of a screw driver – I will leave that to your imagination.

We learnt more about the boat and the job list got longer – batteries being on the top and the wiring of them.

Back home and now off to work tomorrow reinforcing stanchions on a J105.

Thanks to UK Sails for rush building us a bullet proof spinnaker which unfortunately we didn’t get to use.

Hope you have a good memorial day weekend!

Distance Racing Sails

May 23, 2008   

This is a great document put together by UK Halsey describing the various sails for distance racing and what they are used for.

A pleasure

May 20, 2008   

It is always a pleasure to sail on a boat that the crew are on top of everything, there is no talking and it just happens. On saturday I was set to go out for brunch and go for a hike when at 8am I got a phone call asking me to sail on the J120 Chance for Stone Cup. It turned out to be a typical San Francisco city front day blowing 25 with gusts to 31, a large fog bank basically rounding marks using GPS and then sailing out of the fog and into sunshine. Everyone was really cold and wet by the end of the day meanwhile in Belvedere (just across the bay) it was 80F and 15 kntos of wind. I was relatively warm as I was in the back trimming – short taking the city front always keeps you warm. We got two seconds, I didn’t sail on Sunday as I was not needed end result was a second in the regatta.

Saturday night Barry (owner of Chance) took us out to a restuarant down near the ball park. It was a great crew dinner with 20 of us, it was kind of Barry to include me. Antipasto for starters and a delicous dessert plate 🙂

The weather in the last week has been crazy – last thursday it as 100F and I didn’t go outside as it wasn’t neccesary. Friday cooled down a little and we had a fun Friday night race (with the usual brother sister bickering). This week it is cold outside in the mid 50F and it is trousers and jacket weather even in Marin.

This week we are getting the Quest 33 ready for Spinnaker Cup – race to Monterey which starts on Friday. Looks like we might have a quick ride down there. The forecast is for 25 to 30 behind us. I have made Taco Chilli for dinner and brownies for dessert. Now I have to finish the rigging!

Ultimate Grab Bag

May 14, 2008   

Ocean grab bag

Bag should be labeled with boat name and be red or orange with a contents list in the top. Pack items in containers that can be reused.

Seasickness tablets at top bag

Aluminum foil


Can opener




Chemical heat pack

Hiking compass

Plastic picnic cutlery

Chopping board a piece of plastic


Duct tape

Dye Marker

1st aid kit – small one


Food rations – high energy



Honey in unbreakable jar

Rescue kite

Knife sharpener



Water purification tablets

Magnifying glass

Thumb saw

Light sticks

Refillable lighter

Lighter fluid

Multipurpose tool with knife


Pack of cards

Pen and paper

Personal hygiene items

Personal medicine

Petroleum jelly

Plastic bags





Sea anchor

Sewing kit

Silicone sealant

Sheet plastic and surgical tubing 6 feet

Signal mirror

Solar Shower

Sippy cup


Stainless wire


Sunburn cream


Toliet roll

Liferaft survival book

Thermal protective aid or survival bag




Watermaker or distiller

Wet notes


Zip lock bags

AM/FM radio

Items to store in the grab bag




VHF with DSC


Cell phone

Yachts papers

Prescription drugs



Credit card

Baby wipes

Diving mask

Strobe light

Radar reflector

Last minute items to grab

Sextant and tables


Medical kit

Sat phone


Heavy weather gear

Immersion suit


Spare warm clothing

Food and drink


fuzzy hat

MOB bouy

Emergency water

Boat cushions

Sail repair kit – with sail repair tape which is really good for sticking when it is wet

Items to check are in the liferaft if not include in grab bag

Fishing kit

Life raft repair kit



Air Pump

Rescue line/coit

Safety knife

Signal card

Back ashore

May 9, 2008   

I spent the last five days cruising around the Florida Keys on a Bendy Toy doing my Master of Yachts 200 ton practical course followed by an on the water exam and an oral exam it all went well. The above picture is of Stiltsville which is a village in the Biscayne Channel which is now derelict.

It was fun messing around doing MOB drills, anchoring under sail and lifting anchor under sail etc.

The cake was thoughfully ordered by Steffi – thank goodness I passed! The Gastesi’s put on a great party for me about 30 people turned up from the local sailing community. All good fun.

Update: Just heard from one of the guys I did the theory exams with and looks like out of our class of 10 only 3 people ended up passing after the 17 days of courses and exams. The class I was with for my practical though had a much higher pass rate.

Rule 35 – Sound signals in restricted visibility

May 1, 2008   

Print this out and tape to your fog horn canister?
In or near an area of restricted visibility, whether by day or night, the signals prescribed in this Rule shall be used as follows:
1.Long. Under power, making way (sound every 2 minutes)
2.Long, long. Under power, not making way (sound every 2 minutes)
3.Long, short, short. Towing, fishing, restricted ability to maneuver, sailing, and NUC (sound every 2 minutes)
4.Long, short, short, short. Manned vessel being towed (sound every 2 minutes)
5.Bell for 5 seconds At anchor (sound every minute)
6.Short, short, long. You are running into danger (also 5 shorts)