Archive for June, 2010



June 30, 2010   


Have to sleep so check out will write more on the plane home.

Quote of the leg – “sis why are we going so slowly? Because we aren’t on a class 40…. oh yeah”

Another one – I like the North Sea with AIS all the ships move out of our way the Channel VTS on the other hand is like a 7 year old waiting to cross a motorway!

There was anchoring and rowing involved in yet another light wind leg. More later…

Leg 4 a drift fest with cable layers

June 26, 2010   


Quote of the leg – ”I feel like I am in a wetlands nature reserve.” this from Myles as we disturb yet another lot of seabirds sitting on the glassy calm sea at night trying to sleep. The puffins flap and squawk and work very hard to not move very far – kind of like us!

It was a hard slog on the longest leg with absolutely no wind at points. We didn’t realise how much of a match race it was with Suroma but looking back at the tracks it was a very exciting race for those ashore to watch! At some points especially after being taken 21 miles off course to the west of the rhum line when we thought we had lost the lead to Suroma the boat was fully depressed!

We had to remind ourselves that it was at times beautiful sailing conditions. The cable layer had an exclusion zone of 3 miles either side and in front and 6 miles behind it so in essence it was a 54 mile moving exclusion zone. They pushed us into the center of the high and we almost lost the will to live. Luckily on the 3rd day we saw what turned out to be Beyond on the horizon and that spured us on. Then later that day we saw another boat on the horizon and pursuaded ourselves it was Suroma. We both went into inshore mode and worked ourselves into a frenzy and finally passed them and then found out it was Zest the Sigma 38. We cruised in company with them for a day and half and then on thursday night as we were 25 miles from the finish we tacked and they didn’t follow. The last night we didn’t sleep constantly trimming and working the boat really wishing we had an Autopilot.

On this leg you don’t see land for 95% of it so there is no cell phone signal it wasn’t until we got 25 miles away that we were able to find out where our competition was. At that point the smiles returned on the boat and depression lifted as we enjoyed going downwind in albeit very light wind in the sun.

We drifted across the line in 3 knots of wind with the tide and were followed in by Suroma 12 hours later, Zest about 2 hours later and Beyond about 10 hours later. What a frustrating leg! We are still in first and start again tomorrow morning in very light winds for the next week. We both have things we have to do July 1st – Myles a job interview and myself a flight so we will have to work hard to make it.

There was rowing involved again on this leg. Getting around the oil rigs was not as much of a mission as it was last time maybe because we had AIS. The AIS was a complete lifesaver great bit of kit worth every penny. All the ships altered course to go around us with the exception of the cable layer. The sandbanks off Lowestoft were challenging yet again and I promised myself never to come back to the North Sea. Myles on the other hand is suggesting we do the sevenstar round britain race doublehanded end of August going the opposite way round non stop. That would be the definition of crazy 🙂

Thanks to Taika (Kim Vasey) we have an autopilot for the last leg of the race so it will be a lot easier in the light airs of the next leg to trim the boat without wondering around the ocean at the same time 🙂

Leg 3 Harder work and going round the top!

June 19, 2010   

We have been lucky to arrive and therefore depart at sensible times of the day unlike some of the boats which have left in the middle of the night. The leg from Barra to Lerwick we left at around 4 pm after a few hours of necessary boat repair. The night before I reglassed the rudder on Comedy of Errors after they went aground – Santana only had minor repairs to be done in comparison. My parents who were camping on the shore overlooking the anchorage stood on the headland waving my dad’s red trousers which drew the attention of some passing kayakers who rushed over to them thinking they were in distress! Loaded with lots of mum’s tasty homemade food we were off for the 440 mile leg starting with a light air beat to Barra Head against the tide.

I was on watch for the first hour and half then Myles took over and did a great job tacking on the shifts and taking us around Barra Head which was shrouded in fog. The fog deepened the first night and wind went from 6 to 12 knots so it was a cold frustrating night just keeping the boat moving really wishing we had an autopilot that worked. Our autopilot gave up the ghost the first leg of this race so we are pretty exhausted as it means we have to wake each other up instead of doing sail changes on our own. Also the auto would be great for light air so we could trim instead of the spinnaker collapsing on each wave!

From Barra Head to St Kilda was very simple just stick to the rhumb line and as the sun came up it slowly burnt away the fog and the wind picked up so that we were freed enough to hoist the spinnaker.

St Kilda emerged from the fog looking like as Myles said something from Jurassic Park. The sailing was beautiful with some nice surfs and again rhumb line however we did stay slightly west in case the shift we were expecting came in earlier. 20 miles from Sula Sgeir the shift came in harder and earlier then expected and hoping it was temporary we stayed on the headed gybe and before I knew it we went from 2 miles left of the rhumb to 6 miles right. We had peeled the spinnaker just as I came on watch from the light to the heavier and also set up the heavy jib flaking the number 2 just in case. These sail changes combined with a long light air night in the fog meant Myles was pretty tired so I decided to leave him to sleep until I absolutely had to have him on deck. Finally we got to a point where we had to gybe otherwise we would not make Sula Sgeir which was 20 minutes till his watch so we did a gybe which was a bit interesting to say the least! When someone is coming on deck we tend to have them drive in a maneuver rather than risk them stumbling around on deck and falling off! So sometimes the driving has much to be desired! To my dismay the wind shifted more and it looked like we might have to put up the jib to make the ‘mark’. I can tell you I was mad at myself thinking I had lost us 6+ miles to the competition behind. However, the wind shifted back and we ended up dead down wind again going around Sula. Another night cold and damp in the fog with ¼ mile visibility meant we didn’t see Sula Sgeir as we rounded it.

From Sula up to Muckle Flugga is a long leg 190 miles and the wind was meant to clock from dead behind to right on the nose over the course of the leg. I was conflicted between taking a gamble and staying on the favored gybe heading right at Muckle at 10+ knots and hoping the wind would not go on the nose till later and by then we would be around the top of the Shetlands or gybe and give ourselves 10 miles westing on the rhumb line. How do you make a layline call in effect from 190 miles away using grib files which are already 2 days old? I really wish we had a satellite phone at this point to download some more gribs and I was wishing that even more by the end of the leg! So we went on the unfavoured gybe playing it conservative and covering the competition from ahead. This leg was a leg of wraps so which I can say is much better than Chinese gybing! Myles learnt the trick of gybing the main and leaving the spinnaker which 9 times out of 10 rotates the spinnaker back the other way clearing it from the forestay. The third gybe we switched around how we did the maneuver slightly and it went off quite well so we were pleased. The wind then headed us to aim straight at Muckle maybe paying us back for our rudder fixing in Barra ?

We kept the 10 miles of westing in the bank and stayed with the spinnaker until the wind went way forward and picked up. With the wave action and the wind shifting 30 degrees and getting up to 30 knots I broached waking Myles up. We put the boat on its feet again and off I went still trying to stay on course until another 30 knot gust came through combined with a cross sea we again broached. At this point I made the call to drop the spinnaker. Myles pleaded from down below cant it wait till I am on watch? Unfortunately that wasn’t for another hour and half and we would have lost out west advantage so I basically told him to MTFU or as we would say in Rothera put your dive suit on princess and come and do the sail change. So Myles grabbed the helm and I hoisted the number 3 and took down the kite. For the next 170 miles or so we were on a reach keeping out westing with the wave action and the boat not liking to reach it was a tough time and the wind got up to 40 knots. We went through several iterations of sail combinations trying to find the right amount of power. At one point we had the trysail and the main reefed put that was feeble. What we really needed was a smaller number 4 and a smaller reef in the main to balance the boat instead we ended up with a large jib and a very small main which also made me nervous as the rig was moving around a lot. The rig on the boat is older than Myles and I did what I could to stabilize it.

It is mid summer up here so it is light all day and night. After a hard night of being pounded and only 55 miles left to race and the wind still at 30 knots I decided to change to hour long watches as 3 hours at the helm was miserable. I changed our waypoints to 2 mile off Muckle Flugga instead of 800 yards as it was a nasty lee shore and the tide was against us and the wind. We freed off to a reach around the most Northern point of the British Isles and as Myles said the only redeeming feature of it was that we would soon be past it. The boat was soaking wet and we were cold and tired just getting dressed with the boat moving around so much took 30 minutes never mind making something to eat or drink. The wave action off Muckle Flugga was extreme with very very large rollers coming in from two angles and with the odd sail combination we didn’t really have the power to stay in front of the breaking waves. We battened down the hatches closing up the boat and Myles came on deck to sit on the cockpit floor looking behind tell me what waves were coming at me as I was concentrating on keeping the boat on its feet. The rollers from the left were breaking and rolling the boat and the ones from behind were breaking onto the boat. There was spume all over the place and I just wanted out of the area and to be headed south!

We sailed beyond Muckle out to the east until we were on the layline for the outer skerries but instead of risking a gybe we tacked around in the flat between the wave crests. I handed the helm to Myles and started bailing out the boat. The wind moderated to the mid 20s and seeing as it was dead down wind we shook out the two reefs so we had a full main and number 4 giving us 10 knots of boat speed. We were all set to make the outer skerries easily when Myles told me to get on deck as there was a fishing boat which we only saw when we were at the tops of the wave crests! I called the boat on the VHF by position then by number then by name to find out how far their nets were out behind them and to tell them we would go across their bow. No one answered and in fact as we went by we could see now one in the bridge which was very disconcerting. We called them again after we had crossed their bow and finally someone answered. Not wanting to have to gybe twice we soaked low being frustrated by the jib collapsing in the lee of the main and on the surfs but I was not willing to put up a spinnaker with only 11 miles before we would have to drop it and being very tired.

I took the helm again just before the Skerries and Myles had an hour and half asleep while we surfed to Bressay. It was sunny and cold and pretty good fun. Myles woke up and put the stereo on full blast and pranced around down below doing some more bailing out. With 10 miles to go both of us were on deck and I put the two reefs back in the main for the final 5 mile beat to the finish up Bressay Sound. Myles was wondering allowed who was going to watch England play in the World Cup with him in a Scottish port while I was dreaming of a shower and a warm dry bed! It was still blowing knocking the boat down several times and I was seriously concerned about the way the rig was pumping. So we finished at 4:24pm and I have just woken up after having slept for 12 hours. The locals in Lerwick are so kind and you are given a host family for your stay ours being the Frasier’s who live next door to the yacht club. Myles stayed on the boat as it continues to blow very hard and there was damage in the fleet with the boats being rafted together. I took up the Frasier’s very kind offer of a queen size bed and now it is 10am I am off to clean up the boat some more.

Quote of the leg ‘I think I should take up golfing they are all sitting in a warm clubhouse or alternatively take up yachting and just do round the island race!’ Myles Perrin

Leg two Kinsale to Barra

June 16, 2010   

Looks like the Carribbean but a bit chillier!

The leg from Kinsale to the Fastnet rock was a beautiful spinnaker run dropping at the rock and heading up on a broad reach on the rhumb line past Dingle where we ran into a wind hole and watched helpless as everyone behind roared up behind us and we in effect restarted. The wind came out of the North and built leaving us to beat the 120 miles up the west coast of Ireland into 25 knots with a reef and the number four. While charging in the rough stuff we got air in the fuel line and the engine shut off. We turned off all electrical for 36 hours as we couldn’t charge in the conditions – a big disadvantage which I didn’t realize the boat had ? At 2:30am with the need to turn on the computer as we were closing into the shore line I tore apart the interior of the boat removing the engine cover and bleeding the engine. The air block went all the way to the injectors requiring me to even crack those and it sputtered to life thankfully as it would have been a long next few days. The beat turned into dead down wind to Barra from the NW tip of Ireland we tried to stick to the rhumb sailing really low i.e. 170TWA for 6 hours in 20+ knots. Several times we were joined by pods of dolphins and even a whale. We knew the wind was going to veer to the North so we built up to 7 miles to the west of the rhumb line. After yet another rainy system came through and cleaning up after my brothers Chinese experience we had the number 3 up and were reaching to Barra Head eventually in beautiful sun and blue sky. We finished at around 4pm yesterday and just as we finished the rain came in and it started to blow 25 just in time for us to pull out the two anchors to anchor just off Castlebay.
A nice fisherman in Barra gave us 12 crab claws which we cooked up for starters in Barra while at anchor.

Leg one to Kinsale

June 14, 2010   


On this last leg we just finished she hit a top speed of 23 knots going down the face of a steep wave with the spinnaker up at 2am in 25 knots. About 30 minutes later I was pinned to the leeward side of the boat (which had been the weather side) covered in the full jib inventory. Myles was tired and had Chinese gybed after swimming out of the jibs I bounded on deck in only my thermals to sort out the mess he had created. As Myles says so much for all the people snubbing her as a 5 knot shit box!

The penalty for being over the line or extensions of it after the one minute gun is 30 minutes per 1 second over with no going back. We thought this would mean the fleet was way back from the line – not true! The committee boat was favoured as they didn’t want us getting to close to the pin (the Royal Navy ship Ironduke) and about 10 boats tried to fit in space for 5 while we started about 50 yards down from the boat in clear air about 15 seconds late.
Everyone started with small jibs for maneuverability and being the smallest we were soon wallowing while the big boys rolled over the top of us. At the breakwater we did an inline change to the number two and reached out to the Eddystone rock where the wind picked up and it was a tack change to the number 3. The change took us to the north of the rhumb line while everyone sailed on the favoured tack to the Lizard. We wanted to be to the left of the fleet as the wind was meant to go around to the south however, with the tack change we found ourselves the furthest right but in a 30 degree lift with the tide pushing us back to the rhumb line and around the Lizard. It became a fast tight reach to Bishops while everyone to the south was coming in downwind in lighter air so we rounded within the top 2/3rds of the 60 boat fleet.

The spinnaker was hoisted at Bishops and during the hoist the bag went over as Myles hadn’t clipped it on in his haste to try and retrieve it he head butted the deck. The bag disappeared behind and Myles stood up with blood coming out of his nose, teeth etc. Mum was going to ask me to explain this one in Kinsale!
The new spinnaker bag aka bin bag!
We had a great run down the rhumb line with the heavy kite deciding to take it down when the wind got up to 32 knots in the continuous rain squalls that kept on coming in. The AIS system was brilliant in allowing us to follow everyone’s moves in the race and see what their boatspeed and course was. I think this new cat 2 requirement is really going to change yacht racing. As we closed into the lighthouse at Kinsale at 2:30am we saw the fleet slowing to 1.5 knots and there was no way around the hole between us and the finish. The last 5 miles took 6 hours and included us getting out the oar and rowing (something you are allowed to do in the race!). My parents took 15 hours to get from the start in Plymouth driving and on the ferry arriving late the night before.

After a great 48 hours including the repair jobs, a visit to a 15th century fort, the best pub meal I have had in a long time and a very sound sleep in a great B and B we took off again early in the morning headed for Barra. My boyfriend who had come down for the stop over headed north (back to his home) with a few jobs to do and pass the parts onto my parents. Loading us down again with great homemade treats and food my parents left the night before for the three day trek by car and two ferries to the Outer Hebrides Island of Barra we ended up getting here 4 hours before them.

Mum’s food is very very tasty!

The boat and job lists

June 7, 2010   


My ‘little’ brother Myles (he is 23 and 6 foot 3!) and I spent a crazy 3 weeks before this race rebuilding Dad’s boat. I got back from Antarctica and the massive job list which was meant to be done over the winter on the boat had not been touched much to my disappointment and dismay. We had run a foul of the STIX number on the boat not being high enough to qualify for the race. However come hell or high water the little Santana was going to race – as far as my family was concerned we knew she was perfect for it. We took 30 kg of lead and bolted it to the keel stepped the mast and put in the rudder and the measured interior. That all sounds easy but the boat was full of fiberglass dust as all the bulkhead tabbing had been done badly by the yard had to be ground out. At a quiet marina in the River Hamble we had a ORC measurer do an incline test on her which involved a couple of 2 by 4’s some jerry cans full of water, lots of measuring and spirit levels! On tender hooks all weekend we awaited the numbers from the ORC office and low and behold we had a boat that was stable enough to do the race. Mast came back down, rudder came back out, interior stripped again and work commenced at full tilt with many of Myles’s friends coming down and putting in a few hours here and there doing what they could on the boat. Meanwhile Myles wrote 1000’s of words for his Masters and I had to go back to San Francisco to see my clients I had neglected for 8 months. The job list seemed more extensive than Ocean Planets during the Around Alone!

The boat is a Capo 30 my father bought in 2000 in Detroit and shipped it to the UK. Carl Schumacher who designed the boat was a family friend and before the Capo we had an Express 27 in the UK. Built at Westerly in 1984 she has become a bit of an anomaly with an Alan Andrews keel (now extended), a Merf Owen rudder, and some structural engineering done by the South African America’s Cup team allowing us to open up some bulkheads down below for easier access into the aft bunks. We are the smallest boat in the race little Santana is doing her original designer and everyone since proud.

If you had seen Santana a week before the race you would think there was no way she was going to be at the start especially as we still had a 300 mile qualifier to do. Indeed Pip who is winning the race overall (in another Carl Schumacher boat) commented to her friends that she didn’t think we would make it. She didn’t know then like she does now about how the Perrin family operates.

My boyfriend Clive was dragged over from Northern Ireland and spent 6 sixteen hour days with power tools, my mother wandered around the boat with a Henry the vacumn cleaner trying to get rid of fiberglass dust and kept the troops happy with food and drinks. My father ran around picking up parts and pieces around Hampshire and further. A sample of what we did during those 2 weeks to comply with Cat 2 regs and for the boat to be structurally capable ….
– Installed Hydra 3000 instruments (we have only ever had depth and log) including a whole new wiring harness in the rig
– Rewired the entire boat
– Installed VHF, GPS with DSC, AIS Class B, stereo with speakers, computer with navigation software
– Cut out over 2 feet of rotten balsa core around the mast partners and rebuilt the area and more core around stanchion bases
– New lifelines and stanchions which we also moved out to the side and backed with G10 plates (everything had to be epoxy plugged)
– Completely retabbed the entire boat and scarfed in new marine ply where the chainplate bulkheads had rottened out including building foam knees for additional support and glassing that in
– Rebuilt the companionway hatch so the liferaft could be stowed up top
– Replumbed the stove so the shut off valve could be accessed without leaning over the flame!
– Put latches on the engine cover and hatches, tied down the batteries
– Installed my Dad’s tiller pilot from the 80’s which is useless and has already died
– Melted down the lead to shape for the keel extension bolted it on and faired it in
– Wet sanded the bottom and repainted the keel and rudder with orange antifoul
– Rebuilt the winches, serviced the engine, sent the sails off for some repairs
– Installed a new rod rigging backstay, forestay and tuff luff
– Painted our sail numbers on deck and on the side of the boat

So everything needed doing from the top of the rig to the bottom of the keel to be ready for what I consider one of the seven summits of offshore sailing the list went on and on. While Myles and I did the qualifier my mother cooked up a storm in the kitchen making us homemade meals and treats which we could reheat in the pressure cooker and Dad booked all the ferries to act as a support team.

Uncle John

June 6, 2010   

In 1975 my mother a Pan Am flight attendant layed over every few weeks at a London hotel. One trip she had bought a rug which instead of being delivered bricked so she could put in the belly back to San Francisco it arrived as a roll an hour before she was leaving. A maintenance man called John at the hotel packaged it up for her – 35 years later John lay in St Margarets Hospice Somerset fighting a brain tumor which took hold of him in January this year. John along with his wife Gerda (a German who had lived through WWII in Berlin) became our ‘grandparents’. At every major stage of my life there was John dressed as a proper English gentleman with his collar and cravet bounding around with endless energy and putting his practical talents to work. He was at our cottage in England when we came as toddlers for summer holidays, at my university graduation and the start of many races always coming bearing bags of sweets and ready to tickle me even at the age of 30 to make me smile. John wasn’t just there for our family he became everyone’s Uncle John building a tree house with the neighbors kids with roofing tiles some ass**** even turned them into planning permission! He also spent a large proportion of his pension in the last 8 years personally paying for and packaging up over 5000 parcels which he sent to British troops in Afganastan. The lucky soldier would arrive back at base to find a 2kg shoe box filled to the brim with little treats – socks, razor blades, chocolate etc and better than that a hand written letter from John someone they had never met.

On 6th June we started the Round Britain Race, on our qualifying cruise to the start we received a tearful call from my mother saying John had gone to the Hospice. We had visited him a week before and told him we wanted him to make sure he was at the start of this race as he was when I did it in 1998. Having a hard time talking he signaled he would see it on the computer screen as he was at the point of finding it hard to walk. At midday the start gun went in Plymouth and at 1pm he succumbed to the horrible tumor which felled a unique vicarous, generous man. We set up a Just Giving page before the start at . To sponsor us as we race Around Britain and Ireland raising money for the Hospice.

All set to go

June 5, 2010   

We are all set to leave the dock tomorrow at 9 am race starts at 12:15 and it looks like a light air beat to the Scillies then a run across the Irish Sea. If we are too slow we will be drifting and then beating to the finish late on tuesday so we are hoping for some good wind to get us to Kinsale. The long range forcast shows us in 25-30 knots on the nose going up the west coast of Ireland end of next week. We have been desperately trying to get our computer to work on the boat to no avail so my personal computer will be coming with us – though it is at 100% of the CPU useage. So a day of being a computer geek while finishing off the hatch rebuild to store our liferaft. My mother spent the last week making tasty food for us with lots of treats – brownies, muffins etc. Dad has been running around collecting parts and pieces for us so Team Perrin is all ready for the race to begin and to start enjoying the experience. I personally am looking forward to Kinsale as Clive will be coming down to see me for the stop over and there is also a great steak restuarant we are all going to visit!

Follow us on the tracker at we are Santana

For Uncle John

June 3, 2010   


Myles and I will be raising money for St Margarets Somerset Hospice where our Uncle John was admitted yesterday. Please support us while we race Around Britain and Ireland.

Round Britain Prep

June 1, 2010   

We are tied up in Plymouth having got here at 3am this morning and it is beautiful weather amazingly! We managed to travel 310 miles for our qualifier by sailing out the eastern solent on sunday over to Cherbourg along the French coast back to the English coast out to Eddystone light and finally into Queen Anne’s Battery in Plymouth.

The last week and half have been an enormous amount of work including finish fairing the keel which we added some 30kg+ of lead to in order to pass the STIX requirements for the race. We also rewired the boat, put in a B and G H3000 system, finished re building the chainplate bulkheads which had rottened out. Basically a lot of things which normally would be sorted this close to the race! However, with the help of many of Myles’s friends and Clive and by doing multiple 14 hour days here we are with another three pages of jobs to get done by Sunday when the race starts!

So enough writing I am off for a shower and then will start on the job list.