Archive for June, 2012


Back to the books

June 27, 2012   

I am back home without my seabag as American Airlines sent it to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific and lost it.. with my expensive sailing kit in it. They just called to say they would deliver it to JFK which of course is a fat lot of good. Then they said they would deliver to SFO I told them they would deliver it to my house NOT the airport!!

So why the picture above? Well that is to do with my USCG Masters License.

Basically long story short USCG won’t accept my MCA 200 ton license and when I did the exams in 2008 for USCG the paperwork was messed up so I have to do the process all over. It has now taken 2.5 months to get to the stage where hopefully in the next week I will have a letter allowing me to take 7 exams and get my license before it is too late to take the job on the Baylis. I have had to have drugs test, fill out multiple sea service forms and have people that I sailed with in 1991 to sign them (so I had to track them down!), I have had a full medical, had to get a Transport Workers ID card and last but not least do a CPR First Aid course. The last is where the towels come in….

No disrespect to Emergency University but an online course that takes 25 minutes and then a skype video with an instructor is a bit worrying. That is all the training that a captain needs apparently! The towels are meant to simulate a maniquin so I can show the instructor on video skype that I know how to do CPR. The instructor was quite cool and figured out quickly that I didn’t need the training as BAS medical unit does a far better job and instead we chatted about the new methods of teaching CPR and about AED’s and their usefulness on a boat in the middle of the ocean etc.

My book that I have been reading continuously for the past month and half. Do you think if I sleep with it under my pillow the knowledge will seep in 🙂 I am at a disadvantage as the questions are all multiple choice which having been educated in the UK is a new thing for me. I have to get 90% in the COLREG exams and 70 in the rest so I am a busy bee for next three weeks.

Not only am I busy with that book but I am happily busy writing permit applications to return ‘home’ to the south onboard a 27m yacht. Getting excited about sailing into KEP and then down to Rothera and Ryder Bay in Dec – Feb.

Bermuda crew

June 23, 2012   

Gladys from a pacific island…

Mr Cunningham yachtmaster instructor examiner extroidinaire and sea survival instructor.

Mr Brooks at the finish last sailed with him in 2007 aboard Yeoman as usual he is the brawn on the boat! No disrespect Rob 🙂

Peter Grannis – Mr Hubbards friend from New York

Henry Maxwell – unfortunately suffers from sea sickness his first offshore race was transatlantic on Dawn Star! Pretty crazy way to start out. Solid sailor

Hubbard Junior it has been far too long since I got to hang out with him on a boat.

Mr Hubbard in his standard yachting attire – Brooks brothers button down shirt, kakhi’s and normally a straw hat but that went overboard unfortunately.

Our navigator Michael Lawson aka Forepeak Troll – rarely on deck but he was for the start and at one point in the race he went forward of the mast for some reason!

Cameron Oakie and myself in a little rain shower. Cameron is Will’s cousin he sailed the boat throught the Pacific lived on the boat in Sydney with Will and then did Hobart race, Transat and Fastnet. He works for an environmental not for profit in Long Island Sound.

Mr Hubbard at the helm and of course myself going into the first night. It has been a long time since I sailed with the Hubbards – too long. Looking forward to a project with them next year.

Abby with her first flying fish. Abby is 18 and is studying Marine Biology at University in Rhode Island. She is a tough cookie doing the trip in only a inshore caribbean jacket until Myles like a gentleman lent her his splash jacket. She was given the t-shirt – I am no longer an offshore virgin in Bermuda by Michael and loved it.

Myles helming halfway across in the gulfstream. There wasn’t much sun until the last day. I had Myles on my watch and there was only a little bit of brother sister tension!


We finished at 4am on Tuesday morning it was a very slow last 30 miles taking us about 10 hours. Our result was mediocore but we had a great time doing the race as a crew. It was the easiest in terms of conditions race that any of us had done just a shame we went the wrong way on the course.

Organising your flares – Cat 2

June 20, 2012   

Orange smoke flare being set off in the SFYC harbour.

After seeing the difference between SOLAS and non SOLAS flares at the Sea Survival course I helped run at SFYC many of my clients asked that I put together a OSR Cat 2 pack of SOLAS flares. I put them together in a way I have been doing for a number of years. The Cat 2 requirement is for 4 red parachute flares, 4 red handheld flares and 2 orange smoke flares.

As you can see I put a small square of adhesive reflective tape on the firing ends of the flares so if it is dark it is easy to figure out which end is the important end! Also in each box is a set of gloves to wear to decrease the likliehood of getting burnt. I splice on a lanyard with a clip to allow the box to be attached so it doesn’t float away.

I fill the box with foam to ensure that the box is inherently bouyant and doesn’t sink if it fills with water.

Newport Bermuda Race

June 14, 2012   

Tomorrow 11 of us will head off on Dawn Star to Bermuda from Newport. Sorry don’t have a picture of the boat but she is navy blue with a teak deck and she will not exceed 8 knots! After that she just digs a bigger hole in the water. Will Hubbard has sailed her 40000 miles around the world including transatlantic race, fastnet, sydney hobart and now we are off to Bermuda. It is great to be sailing with the Hubbards again and obviously my little brother Myles.

You can track us at

Looking forward to spending some time with my little brother on the race and then the whole family including ‘my’ dog Draeger when I get to Bermuda.

Sexual Depravity of Penguins Paper written on Scott’s expedition

June 10, 2012   

A funny and disturbing article all in one!

Stability Guidance Booklet


Several people have asked me recently about STIX numbers and vessel stability. The MCA has a great booklet which can be seen at

Continuous education is a good thing. Those who came to our sea survival course keep it up please.


June 8, 2012   

Last night was potluck with my good friends and we got to talking about what we had been up to over the past few weeks since last potluck. I had Paul with me (sea survival instructor) and everyone wanted to know what we were teaching. As I had the 150N foam lifejacket in the back of my truck I brought it in along with my spinlock deck vest. So it became a teaching session on lifejackets and radio calls.

The lifejacket in the picture is the 150N jacket which you would have to wear racing in Cat 0, 1 and 2 races if you didn’t where an inflatable. San Francisco is the only place I race where people haven’t educated themselves as to why kayak vests are not the acceptable form of flotation for racing offshore. We are changing that! A kayak type vest has about 50N of bouyancy, no yoke collar (so it won’t turn you upright) and no crotch straps (so it will come over your head).

I obviously don’t wear the foam so my offshore lifejacket of choice is the Spinlock 150N pro sensor modified with a manual inflate I have been wearing one since they first came out. Why… well it has crotch straps (a lifejacket is useless without them), it has a splash hood so I don’t die of secondary drowning and it will roll me face up.

So the courses were a great success. We got 42 people through the course and we hope it is a start to changing the culture of safety within the bay.

What does M I P D A N I O stand for? Well it is an acronym for the contents of a Mayday message you would make in grave and imminent danger.

Nature of Distress
Assistance required
Number of people aboard
Any other information

That’s all for now… have a great weekend. I will be racing up to Drakes Bay on Rhumb Boogie and back on Saturday and Sunday.

Sea survival course – flares and rigging

June 5, 2012   

Flare training – So SOLAS wins!

Going in with the bolt croppers

Different types of rigging to cut thanks to Composite Rigging and Svendsens.

Sea Survival course – Liferaft training


The liferaft that has just been inflated at the dock.

Group hug – keeping together and warm

Meet your liferaft!

How to swim as a group to the raft.

Liferaft teams racing to the raft.

Come on in and join the party