Archive for August, 2008


Tangs for short rigging

August 30, 2008   

A customer unfortunately ended up with a bent rig after a collision and the tangs on the new rig were not in the same position. As there are Brogla turnbuckles (total $1000 for the set) which are permanently swaged on we had to shorten the rigging by the minimum amount possible by cutting off the top marine eyes and reswaging on new ones. Then we had to make up some tangs to lengthen the uppers by an inch. Instead of using ugly and heavy store bought parts some plates as in the attached picture were made up and installed.


August 29, 2008   

This morning we arrived back in the Hamble with the boat. It was an uneventful 17 hour motor back with no wind almost glassy calm the whole way. Very different from last August when I was in the UK for Fastnet.

We spent two very nice days in Cornwall with my mothers cousin. We took his boat out for a sail from Falmouth (a little Westerley which he has set up with lots of gadgets),

had dinner at Port Navas YC which is a small friendly place with four tables over the river (very typical English)

and went to the theater at Minack Theatre which is the UK equivalent of the Marin county Mountain Theatre.

The theatre was cut into the cliff only 2 miles from Lands End by a lady see for the story. It was an awesome venue and I survived the chill with lots of blankets and a great picnic dinner including of course cornish pasties and home gorwn tomotoes (which as delicious) thanks to the cousins for providing. In my little brothers words however, I am a philastene as I don’t appreciate Shakespeare – the play was Henry V. I must admit I was more interested in the ships passing by – shakespeare is just really hard work for me.

Protest flag


I have been doing some protest commitee work and one of the first things we must do is establish if the following rule was complied with.

61.1 Informing the Protestee
(a) A boat intending to protest shall inform the other boat at the first reasonable opportunity. When her protest concerns an incident in the racing area that she is involved in or sees, she shall hail ‘Protest’ and conspicuously display a red flag at the first reasonable opportunity for each. She shall display the flag until she is no longer racing.

I have found that the most effective way to store the protest and penalty flag on the boat is to attach them to the transom lifeline, roll them and cover them with turnbuckle covers. When the flag needs to be flown you simply move the cover to one side and the flag flies – no need for tape etc.

Just squeezed in

August 25, 2008   

We just squeezed into third place for Torbay Race week on Santana beating 4th place by 0.5 of a point. Pretty amazing considering there were 3 Perrins on the boat all yelling abuse at each other. The other two/three crew need to take the trophy home for dealing with the Family Perrin for 6 races. Truly awful crew work at times and the worst chinese gybe in the last race 200 yards from the finish line that I have done in a long time. However, we survived each other – just – and the family holiday continues tomorrow in Cornwall with on shore activities. I am sure Dad will remember his 65th birthday celebrations with a mix of emotions. He is still trying to figure out how as a parent who provides a boat for his kids to race can be treated like an imbecile – kids will be kids Dad! We do love you.

Hamble to Brixham

August 23, 2008   

I arrive on thursday morning at Heathrow from San Francisco went home for a quick nap and then jumped in the car and drove with Myles and Dad down to Hamble. We threw things on and off the boat before heading out for a 110 mile delivery doublehanded with fish and chips in hand. I was still in my plane cloths as we motored down the river at 8pm at very low water. Not a good sign as you leave the Hamble as that means you will be fighting tide leaving the solent heading west. I went below off watch at 10pm as the horizon lit up with fireworks as it was a clear night they were very visble.

At midnight I came on watch and the jet lag was in my favor as it was only 4pm in San Francisco – life wasn’t all bad. At the end of my watch we only just left the Needles Fairway behind an incredible 6 and half hours to exit the Solent our SOG was only 2 knots with the revs on full. At least we didn’t have a 25 knot headwind. Two race boats went storming past at over 7 knots of boat speed without steaming lights – they would be in the west country well ahead of us…

At 1am I went through Hurst Narrows guided by the Hurst Point Lighthouse that has been there since 1786. At the base of the lighthouse is Hurst Castle built by Henry VIII as one of a chain of coastal fortresses was completed in 1544. Charles I was imprisoned here in 1648 before being taken to London to his trial and execution. During World War II, Hurst was manned with coastal gun batteries and searchlights.

The shippng forcast came on Radio 4 and I knew I was in the UK – cold, about to rain, fish and chips and the shippng forecast! Until I did the Round Britain and Ireland race I had always wondered where Rockall and Malin were. There is something quaint and a feeling of being home when you here the distinctive beep, beep, beep this is the shipping forecast etc… The forecast is the last broadcast of the evening for Radio 4 so afterwards they play God Save the Queen. Before switching to the BBC World Service.

The rest of my watch went quickly and just as Myles came up it started to drizzle – I was way to awake for him at 3am! I told him all about the radio programs I had listened to – Lyme Regis scallop fishing was banned, there was lots of knife crimes by teenagers in Birmingham and an odd play about a women who had a chicken she treated like a dog who lived in the house!

On my morning watch around 7:30am we just beat the tide around Portland Bill which is a major tidal gate if you don’t get round in time there are 4 knot currents against and it is not fun. We were moving at over 8 knots over the ground. Portland Bill is very distinctive and it is a tidal gate that will make or break you on the Fastnet Race. If you don’t get around and other people in your class do with the tide you are out of the race. The lighthouse on the promentry is painted red and white and helps navigate you around the tidal race and shallow reef the first one was erected in 1716. This is where portland stone is quarried and it is part of the World Heritage Coast of Dorset and Devon.

Myles tried to wake me for my midday watch and I declined to come on deck as jet lagged had fully kicked in so he was a gentleman and stayed on deck for another 2 hours with the radio blaring and eating pork pies, pringles etc. He was proudly flying his blue undefaced British Ensign which Dad got him for graduation present – it does look smart on the boat. Although not really in plae as we have US sail numbers and San Francisco as the home port on the transom. After 1864, the plain blue ensign is permitted to be worn, instead of the Red Ensign, by two categories of civilian vessel:- British merchant vessels whose officers and crew include a certain number of retired Royal Navy personnel or Royal Navy reservists, or are commanded by an officer of the Royal Navy Reserve in possession of a Government warrant. Or yachts belonging to members of certain long-established British yacht clubs, for example the Royal Southern Yacht Club. Permission for yachts to wear the blue ensign (and other special yachting ensigns) was suspended during both World War I and World War II. As Myles is a member of Royal Southern (est in 1837) he is allowed to fly it and he is also in the Navy reserves.

The engine died just as I was finally coming on watch 10 miles from Brixham – we had run out of fuel apparently it wasn’t completely full when we left. Also the capacity had decreased after we had found a leak in the tank and had to put a new bottom in. The shape of the tank means the last few gallons is useless particulary in a seaway. We hoisted the main and number 3 and luckily were able to fetch Brixham by going upwind. I figured out that when trimmed correctly I could jam the tiller extension in place and create a poor mans autohelm.

We had to sail onto the dock at Brixham which Myles did a good job of. All in all not a bad delivery and we ended up in the beautiful hilly fishing town of Brixham. The first town was established here in the 6th century by the Saxons so there is a lot of history.

BBQ and Etchells sailing

August 18, 2008   

On Saturday I had a bunch of friends over for a BBQ at the house. After getting up a 6am and dealing with clients in the morning and pushing them off the dock I finally got stuck into building the retaining wall around the patio and just made it to the dump in time for 4pm. Then off to costco and back to clean up the patio before the BBQ. Everyone brought really nice salads, appetizers and desserts. I threw some marinaded lamb, cooked salmon on a cedar plank, put a dry rub on beef short ribs and grilled some bell peppers, asparagus, portabellos and cherry toms. For a California party it went on late which means everyone had fun.

The BBQ was really fun – it was great catching up with everyone. My friend James brought a fire pit which was needed as it was cold and foggy – I managed to have a BBQ on the coldest night in a long time. However, with a jib strung up stopping the dew and the fire pit and patio heater going life wasn’t too bad. What was missing was lighting – it was a bit of a mystery as to what one was eating. The candles wouldn’t stay lit and the latern wasn’t charged enough. So I went to Home Depot today to get the necessary materials for a full lighting system for my next BBQ in a few weeks.

I woke up a little groggy on Sunday morning again early as I had work to do before etchells racing on the bay. I haven’t sailed etchells in a while and was reminded of how wet it gets on a flat day on the circle.

Hope you had a good weekend.

Helping Aunty Ashley

August 13, 2008   

My nephew came over today to play with power tools and help Aunty Ashley mix cement. He had lots of fun being Bob the Builder! I had loads of fun as well feeding him ‘teats’ – cookies and playing train with the wheel barrow.

The rotten wall before demolition.

Etchells Rig

August 8, 2008   

This week I worked on putting together a new etchells rig for a customer. It is a proctor (Seldon) rig from the UK which we had delivered on an etchells to the worlds in Chicago and then put on a boat from Fleet 12 who was at the worlds and they brought it back. Saved a bit in shipping. We measured the stiffness and I am using the following document to give me ideas on how to put the rig together. Maybe it will help you if you have an etchells. Forgot where I got it originally. Click here to download

Tinsley to Richmond

August 7, 2008   

On monday I delivered a customers boat from Tinsley Island StFYC island in the delta. It is a unique island which has the Southampton Shoal lighthouse that was brought up from the bay and is now used for accomodation on the island. The island is surrounded by a ring with some small breaks allowing the boats to be tied up on docks hidden away from the main river. Most people would motor on by without a second glance unless a large sailboat was up there with it’s mast showing above the trees of the outer ring. The island has watersports equipment, a small stage, swimming pool, bar and large eating area, many BBQ pits etc. It is a great place to get away to if you are a StFYC member or cruise up there on the one weekend a year that they allow members of other clubs.

I pulled out of the dock at 5am it was still dark and I felt bad as the sound of the engine starting up sounded very loud – I am sure I woke some people up. I snuck out of the enterance and heading off down river with a slight tide against me. The sun came up around 6:15am and my SOG was 4.6 as I still fought the flood. It wasn’t until 8:30 when I was off Antioch that the tide turned with me. The whole delivery the wind would follow me as I twisted and turned always dead on the nose. Last year I was able to put up a main at least but not this year. The forcast was for 30 knots on the nose. Not sure it was blowing 30 but it was a horrible wet ride through Suisun Bay as it was wind against an almost full spring tide. The ghost fleet of Navy boats seems to have increased from last year see for a story about this fleet. My boat speed was a miserable 4.1 knots as large powerboats sped by at least with the tide I was going 6.3 over the ground. I imagined the dollars being spent on fuel on the powerboats and felt better!

At 11 I had an early lunch that was kindly made by my customers and left in the fridge. Beautifully cooked tri tip steak and a salad with potatoes and asparagus. I was lucky to make it through the Carquinex Straights on slack tide and after Vallejo when the tide turned against me I hugged the shore. My VMG was a miserable 2.5 at the worst as it was dead upwind with waves coming over the bow. Where is the dodger to hide behind! At least I have autopilot so I ducked under the hatch when the worst waves hit.

It was a long delivery 11 3/4 hours by the time I docked the boat in Richmond. Time to clean up and head on home in time for reading my nephew a bed time story.

Aldo Alessio Regatta

August 3, 2008   

I did the mid bow squirrel position on Chance the J120 at Aldo Alessio regatta and as usual with that crew I had a great time. Barry the owner is a great driver and skipper and everyone is very good at their jobs just leaving you to get on with your own. We ended up in 2nd place. The racing in the top three boats was pretty tight a lot of the time we were within 10 boat lengths of each other. The racing was meant to be over 3 days however, St Francis decided to make the Friday Ocean Race into a Cat 2 ORC with exceptions and the fleet decided they didn’t have the time to prepare their boats so as a fleet did not race. This left two windward leeward races on Saturday – the first one was a whopping 2.75 hours long as there was a large flood time and a round the bay course on Sunday. After racing finished today I jumped in the car and drove up to Tinsley Island which is a private island in the Delta owned by St Francis YC I am staying on a customers boat tonight and will be delivering it back to Richmond tomorrow. It is an early start of 5:30am.