Archive for April, 2009


Antigua Day 2,3 and 4

April 28, 2009   

Day four of Antigua and it was an early start to the day. Gear breakages (not on Yeoman XXXII) have left our fleet with two boats – Rio and us. The conditions in Antigua have been beautiful with large rolling waves, hot sun and 15-20 knot winds. Today we had squally conditions with one squall giving us over 30 knots during which our downwind surf was interrupted by a slight mishap with the spinnaker when the wind shifted in the squall and we had to drop in a hurry to make it to the mark. But I am getting ahead of myself!

Second day was a race around the Island and we had 5 boats on the line for our start – Lee Overly the Cookson 50 formerly Chieftain is coming out for the Ocean Series as is Sojana. It was a course that provided many sail changes starting with a beat then bearing off to a reach, a run, a reach and a beat home. We used the J3, A5, A2, A0, JT, GS and SS and with constant trimming by the guys and some really nice surfs where we were constantly in the high teens we were able to beat the Cookson 50 on handicap but couldn’t keep up with the TP52. Unfortunately on the last beat home Windemere who was behind us retired from racing with breakages (I don’t know what) and they have not been out on the race course since.

Day three was a nice relaxing start to the day with a later start. With only two of us on the line we did a match racing start and were successfully holding Rio above layline to the start line until we made too much movement forward and they were able to get enough momentum to get out of the situation by ducking our stern. They had good momentum and were able to power out from under us. At least it made things a little more interesting as with them owing us around 5 minutes per hour we end up sailing around on our own the rest of the day. Despite this the guys are doing a great job of keeping the pressure on and sailing the boat as close to 100% as possible. One of the highlights of the day was seeing two whales breaching off to weather on the upwind leg. It was a close finish with us being around 50 seconds off the TP on corrected time – so many places we could have picked that up but that is the case with any race.

Today day four as I mentioned was an early start with two long races. Thankfully the race committee was persuaded to shorten the second race as it was the same course as race 1 and we had taken 3 hours to do the first race. The race had lots of corners making it hard work for the crew and very crew work intensive. We match raced Rio and the second race had a really great start a good 1.5 boat lengths ahead of Rio hitting the line at top speed on time. A great start to a race that we felt we were doing really well in until our spinnaker mishap. The wind was moving from 080 to 115 and we saw over 30 knots in one of the squalls with it above 19knots most of the rest of the time. There was some rain in the squalls closing the visibility down a little bit. Just as a fun little bit of information – Rio the TP52 is called Rio after Simon Le Bon’s song – Simon sails on the boat as he is a good friend of the owner.

Tomorrow was meant to be a 70 mile race downwind to Redonda and back to Antigua. But all things that go down must go up and we decided the concept of a 35 mile beat on our lonesome was not appealing. So with Rio we petitioned the race committee to shorten the course to a mark that the smaller boats are using. So still a 8am start time but it is only a 35 mile race – thank you race committee! The Cookson 50 and Sojana I believe will be doing the full distance.

Onboard footage on Yeoman XXXII

April 27, 2009   


We had a cameraman onboard Yeoman XXXII today. There are are a few good shots of us. The stern wave footage is off the back of the boat while we are roaring downwind.

Antigua Race Week

April 25, 2009   


A donkey crossing the normally very busy street to Nelson’s dockyard. Where are all the race boats?

Today was the first day of Antigua Race Week. I delivered the boat here from Tortola on Monday – 36 hours of beating into up to 35 knots (mostly low 20’s) and large confused seas with some breaking waves. We arrive to a bustling marina that just finished up with classics week however now the docks are eerily empty in Falmouth Harbor. The classics have moved off and the superyachts are leaving early for the med. There is a very large decrease in the number of race boats from when I was here with Yeoman in 2007. I have the pick of what ever berth I want – there isn’t a fight for the best berths alongside vs med moored. The beer tent area is so quite that one crew member remarked it was like a Wednesday night beer can party.

This year is the first year they are trying out a new format mixing some inshore and mini offshore days and the racing classes are all based out of Falmouth/English Harbor. As a boat captain I am very happy we don’t have to anchor out at Jolly Harbor which means I can sleep well in the knowledge the boat is tied up at the dock instead of waking up to check the anchor hasn’t dragged and sleeping on a hot and mosquito infested boat.

The tactician on the boat is Andy Beadsworth – the boat and I are under charter – and the crew is all pro. The last two days we have been out practicing in the afternoons after working on boat jobs in the mornings. This morning the organizers reduced the number of racing classes from 4 to 2 as many of the boats in class 2 and 3 did not want to do the long races that are planned for us.

We left the dock and hour and half before our start and did the normal pinging of the line. Small upwind, hoist the kite a gybe and drop the kite. We noticed Leopard upwind of us doing the same and then they dropped the main. They motored passed on their way into Falmouth and it was very obvious they would not be lining up against us this week. The boom was snapped in half at the vang a huge shame for those guys to be out of a regatta without even sailing a race. So with them out we were down to 3 boats in our class with the Cookson 50 coming out for the mini offshore. We had some fun sailing the boat today with a top speed of 20 knots. The wind speed was average of 19 knots and the waves were the typical Antiguan rollers. However, it really did feel like yet another day out practicing with the distinct lack of boats in the vicinity. Tomorrow is an early start off the dock at 8:30am for the round the island race – all in one go for the racing divisions.

Lifelines and jackstays

April 19, 2009   


ORC Regs tell you about the length of the spectra lashing shown above in the picture and about how slack you can have the lifelines. However, one more thing that I like to do is to not trust the welds of the rings on the pushpit/pulpits and instead I take the spectra around the main tubing as well using the welded loop merely as a way of holding the lifelines at the right height.

3.14.2 Lifelines required in Special Regulations shall be “taut”.
a) As a guide, when a deflecting force of 50 N (5.1 kgf, 11.2 lbf) is applied to a lifeline midway between supports, the lifeline should not deflect more than 50 mm.
3.14.6 Lifeline Minimum Diameters, Required Materials, Specifications
a) All lifelines shall be stranded stainless steel wire of minimum diameter in table 8 below. Lifelines shall be uncoated and used without close-fitting sleeving.
      Notwithstanding 3.14.6 (a), temporary sleeving may be fitted provided it is regularly removed for inspection
b) Grade 316 stainless wire is recommended.
c) A taut lanyard of synthetic rope may be used to secure lifelines provided the gap it closes does not exceed 100 mm (4 in


I don’t know if you can tell but this jackstay is twisted – on purpose. The worst thing to hear when trying to sleep is the rattling of the jackstay on the deck. Putting the twists in stops this from happening and also makes it easier to pick up when trying to clip on. See below for some more good information – pay attention to a(i) in my mind the steering pedastals and the pulpit don’t comply with this rule. Better to be safe than sorry so I install padeyes spefically for the jackstay.

4.04 Jackstays, Clipping Points and Static Safety Lines
4.04.1 The following shall be provided:
a) Jackstays:-
      shall be provided-
       i attached to through-bolted or welded deck plates or other suitable and strong anchorage fitted on deck, port and starboard of the yacht’s centre line to provide secure attachments for safety harness:-
      ii comprising stainless steel 1 x 19 wire of minimum diameter 5 mm (3/16 in), or webbing of equivalent strength;
      US SAILING prescribes that jackstays may be of configurations other than 1 X 19.
     iii which, when made from stainless steel wire shall be uncoated and used without any sleeving;
      iv 20kN (2,040 kgf or 4,500 lbf) min breaking strain webbing is recommended;

Happy Easter

April 13, 2009   

I left Tortola last week very happy to be heading home to the family but I was underwater (diving) all of Easter weekend which is good for the waistline but it was dissappointing to miss the easter bunny!


BVI from my window seat on the Cessna…

The flight out of Tortola was fun as it was on a Cessna flown by a women pilot. I have decided that maybe my next session of training once I tick off Divemasters might be flying!


I did an underwater navigation course in Monterey on Friday and then Saturday and Sunday I was assisting with an Open Water group as part of my internship. They did really well seeing as it was their first time diving in the ocean. All the days were beautiful and sunny despite starting out a bit iffy. The visibility was up to 40 feet and I got to dive at three different sites – Lovers Point, Breakwater and Monastery.


Breakwater – the most visited divesite in the US….


A self portrait after my 6 dive of the weekend in 48F water – tad chilly after the BVI’s! After finishing the underwater navigation course I became a master diver as I have 5 specialties – ice diver, altitude, drysuit, nitrox and navigator. I have a lot more work to do to complete my divemasters cert so will be back down in Monterey at the end of May.

Hope you had a great easter with lots of chocolate!

BVI is done

April 5, 2009   

Consistent – For all the races except one we were in 3rd. So 3 out of 4 for the regatta. Check out the video by Cowes TV on which I was interviewed.  The result was a lot of stick from the guys and their new knickname for me is Gwenth (as in Paltrow)!


Photo by Ingrid Abery

The crew are slowly dispersing and today we only had 9 people on the boat as 4 had to go home. Needless to say there was a lot of running around and people doing multiple jobs. Luckily we were able to pick up Rob from Latitude 38 to sail with us for the two races today as grinder. Now it is time to pack up the boat and take her out of the water while I head off back to the bay until the 18th. Looking forward to seeing my nephew and nieces – roll on wednesday.

Consistently 3rd

April 3, 2009   


We raced up to Virgin Gorda around Virgin Gorda and back on tuesday, wednesday and thursday. Our results were a mixed bag. Today we did four races in Francis Drake Channel and were 3rd in all 4 races.


We are staying up at Breeze Haven again which has a view of the race course it is a great place to stay the kitchen has the best view of anyone I have every been in. Across the water is Deadmans chest, Salt Island, Norman Island and in the distance St Croix. Today the boys helped create a feast of salmon cakes with wasabi, ginger mayonnaise sauce for starters, a ceasar salad with homemade dressing and croutons, french fries, pork loin on the bbq marinaded in rosemary, lemon, garlic and olive oil. Dessert was brownies again with chocolate ice cream. The boys are stuffed and partied so much last night they have decided to stay in.

Tomorrow another 4 races so early to bed as I have to dive the boat first thing.