Archive for July, 2012


Independence Cup

July 5, 2012   

It was an odd halt to the week with 4th of July on Wednesday! On tuesday I met up with the potluck crowd at the Marin County Fair grounds to listen to a reggae band and watch the fireworks. I didn’t go and see the animals which I should have. Just a great time to catch up with friends and share the frustrations I have had over the last week including my rigging tools being stolen out of the back of my truck around $1350 worth of gear.

On the 4th we sailed in the Independence Cup on Tina’s Cal 20 Fjordling and aced the first start.

Ended up being 3rd in spinnaker division. It was typical July windy conditions mid 20’s all day and two pretty long races. Afterwards it was time to hang out with Trevor, Jess and Tristan in Sausalito and to watch the proper fireworks. Very different to a year ago when I was setting off flares in South Georgia with the reflection off the sea ice. I used my Royal Ocean Racing Club card to get reciprocity into the Sausalito Yacht Club so we had front row seats with the barge just off the deck without having to deal with the crowds at the waterfront. The SYC was in full party mode. The fireworks in the city were stunning and I think even better from Marin as it was possible to see both displays synchronized at once. Only a few reached the fog layer 🙂

Soft Wood Plugs

July 2, 2012   

The rule below is required for all boats racing no matter what catagory. Obviously it would also be a great idea if all cruising boats complied as no matter what you are doing in your boat if you can’t plug the hole it will sink!

4.03 Soft Wood Plugs
Soft wood plugs, tapered and of the appropriate size, shall be attached or stowed adjacent to the appropriate fitting for every through-hull opening.

As you can tell from my hand in the photo this is a large bung! For boats with waterballast scoops that is a hole that could need plugging so a custom one needs to be made. I take fencing material 4 x 4’s glue them together and then turn the plugs down on a lathe.

The packs that you can buy at West Marine are pretty useless for most of my boats as only 2 or 3 work for the thru hulls and the rest are too small. It is a requirement to have them attached to the thru hulls rather than in a bag somewhere in the boat the disadvantage of this is that the wood ends up swelling up as it picks up water in the bilge. Really you want the plugs to be dry so when they are pounded into the hole they swell up when the water hits them and therefore become well wedged in the hole. So keeping a few in a ziplock bag in the dry is also a useful thing to do and will allow you to intially plug the hole with the one next to the thru hull and then change it out with a dry one after the fact.

Extreme weekend

July 1, 2012   

Saturday was Silver Eagle regatta the course was around 46 miles and the Extreme 40 – Smart Recruiters entered its first race. As JP the normal RIB driver was out of town I was on the RIB driving all around the bay and managed to stay almost completely dry. It was a foggy day and the wind built throughout the day but with it being sunny there were a lot of boats out cruising around and some of them got a shock when the Extreme came by them at 20 knots+. Hopefully people will start to learn a little bit about how to deal with the cats on the bay ahead of the America’s Cup. Some boats were a bit like rabbits in the headlights and didn’t do predictable things as they don’t understand the acceleration and the angles the boats are sailing at. The boat had two exciting moments including a very close capsize situation where one of the crew was fully on the side of the boat which probably helped to stop the capsize.

On my ride around the bay I came across a pelican with a broken wing sitting on the surface and felt hopeless wanting to rescue it. Despite living close to the wildlife in South Georgia where there is death everyday I never stop feeling like the need to help even though it is just the natural cycle of things. I couldn’t tell whether it had been intentionally broken by humans and having it bounce around on a RIB going 30 knots for 6 hours would have been worse for it. If I had known about the Bird Rescue center in San Francisco I could have called them but it took a little while at home on the internet to track down some information. Apparently the number to call is (707) 207-0380 ext. 110

Sunday delivered the boat back from Alameda where whe had left it after the race as it was a touch windy to bring it home. We first of all helped out Bridge Runner which is an SL33 by towing them from Nelson’s round to Svendsens. They had torn their transom off on the way back to their berth on Saturday and were taking in water. They limped into Nelson’s but without a tender needed help getting back to Svendsens where they could pull out. So we attached a tow line to their winches and towed them at 18 knots to keep them on a plane and stop water ingressing into the hull. The marine layer had lifted by then as we were a little later than we wanted to be leaving Alameda so were in quite a bit of wind to go back to Richmond the guys headed up to Sausalito and set the gennaker to gybe through Racoon Straights back to Marina Bay. BTW in the above photo the fishing floats on the line is to stop the towing bridle I made from being sucked into the prop just in case you wondered.