Two weeks adventures on Darling in pictures

August 28, 2012   

Coffee Darling style capsules that go into the coffee maker – confusing colours!

With the very long days this last two weeks I have actually had to drink coffee to wake up in the morning.

Sunrise at anchor looking towards Angel Island on Sunday turned out to be a stunning day unlike a few days before when we had lots of fog.

Fog  shrouding Angel island from our anchorage off Ondine’s resturant Sausalito.

Sea grass removed from  engine and generator intakes

My phone in a bowl of rice attempting to save it after a dunking in salt water. It wasn’t revived…

Tabouli (recipe from my friend Olivier) for the guests on Sunday. We had 12 aboard.

Food all ready for Paige to serve out to the guests on Sunday’s AC45 viewing.

At the helm of Darling keeping the boat on station.

Surrounded by 450+ sailboats, ferries, motorboats all crowding to see the racing.

AIS shows how crazy it was for commercial traffic but there was also all the boats without AIS.

One of the fleet races starts.

People keep on asking how the AC45 racing was! Frankly I couldn’t tell you I was concentrating too hard on keeping Darling on station and in a good position for the guests… A total of 145 hours work in two weeks. 4 days out on the boat. Basically it takes about 40 hours to set her up to go for a day sail and 40 hours to put her to bed! I haven’t finished putting her to bed yet. Tomorrow time to wash down the hull and polish her and get the interior back in shape.


Top of rig to the bottom

August 17, 2012   

Last two weeks Chad and I have been working on Darling from the top of the rig to the bottom.

What I was doing up the rig was removing the old top cap that had been demolished on the furler. It had damaged the foil so i had to hacksaw part of the foil then hammer out the old top cap and install a new one (as seen here). Instead of two machine screw I installed 4.

The remains of the old top cap and copious amounts of tape that had been put on instead of fixing the problem.

The  batten pocket ends had suffered a lot of UV damage so the massive mainsail that ways 400 lbs had to be removed from the boom by Chad and I and carted up to my truck and taken to Doyle (who has ground floor access) for repair.

You can see from the different shades of blue the uv damage to the mainsail.

Some safety equipment has needed an overhaul.

The cloud from the Chevron fire over in Richmond luckily we were upwind.

View from the top of the rig.

Chad being domestic and doing the ironing. I did some as well!  All those white sheets have to be ironed and hospital folded in the cabins.

Some nights I have been leaving pretty late.

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.

Memorial day weekend of fun

May 22, 2012   

I will be going to Newport Rhode Island on Thursday to race for the weekend aboard Bureau Veritas a class 40 for the inshore racing of the Atlantic Cup. Will try and post pictures etc. this coming weekend.

Hope you have a great weekend. In the meantime I continue to study and will be spending the day tomorrow aboard the Derek Baylis becoming more familiar with the systems aboard and boat handling of her.

Derek Baylis

May 16, 2012   

The boat is a 65 foot wyliecat with a very simple sail plan and perfectly designed for doing research. Only stumbling block is the USCG won’t accept my 200T MCA license so I have a very small amount of time to redo my captains license and take the 6+ exams. So my life for the next month and half will be all about studying to take my exams again using the US methodology. I went out for a quick sail on her today and will be back on her next week getting to know the systems a little better.

The boat is run by Sealife conservation see has been beautifully maintained since it was built. The efficient auxilliary 100hp turbo-diesel has a cruising range of 1100 nautical miles at 10 knots under power and burns a lot less fuel than many research vessels.

We will be doing a sea floor mapping project, mud grappling and shark tagging this summer with more projects lining up all the time.

Poor 40 Degrees

May 11, 2012   

Unfortunately Hannah and Peter suffered a rig failure on 40 Degrees at the start of Atlantic Cup.

So this means I might be available Memorial Day weekend after all…. I was looking forward to getting back aboard ‘the beast’ for the inshore portion of the Atlantic Cup but not as much as Peter and Hannah have been. So sorry guys for your hard work ending like this.

Today’s work


Yesterday we pulled the Extreme 40 – Smart Recruiters out of the container and today we put up the mast and went for a sea trial. Two guys from Offshore Challenges came out to SF to coach us including how to put the boat together and we rotated through positions on the boat. This is a whole new game for me multi’s are very different to sail than mono’s. What I love about this sport is how you can sail but have to start at square one and learn everything again just by moving within the same sport. I helped with logistics when Ishares came to the bay a few years back with Hugh Styles at the helm and was able to go out sailing then but only as a guest this time I am actually crewing.

Extreme 40’s are 40 feet long, have a 23 foot beam, displace 1250 kilograms of water, have a mast height of 62 feet and a claimed top speed of 40 knots (46 mph, 74 km/h). The mainsail is 75 square metres and the jib is 25 square metres. The Gennaker used for downwind sailing is 110 square metres.

Van Dusen Racing

June 6, 2011   

In 2002/03 I managed shoreside repairs for Bruce Schwab on Ocean Planet doing the Around Alone. Ted Van Dusen built the mast and boom for the Open 60. On the first leg of the race Bruce broke the boom and unfortunately a section was lost overboard so a whole new boom had to be built. Composite Engineering owned by Ted came to the rescue and in a week built a boom however, somehow we had to get it from Concord MA to the UK in time for the start of the second leg. So many people made that happen not least Ted and his team but a lot of volunteers primarly found through the website Sailing Anarchy – John Zisa and Andrew Roberts to name two more.

Last summer a year ago today we started the Round Britain and Ireland race doublehanded. So what has all this got to do in 2011. Well last week on Tuesday I decided to race with my little brother once more on my Dad’s Capo 30 in 2012. The Royal Western relaunched the TWOSTAR doublehanded race from Plymouth to Newport Rhode Island the race will start June 2012.

On wednesday while I was on a walk I thought about everything that needed doing including spare parts to be purchased. I decided we needed a carbon spinnaker pole as a second pole to our aging aluminum pole.

On Thursday I sent out emails to about 8 companies and Composite Engineering was the second company back with an amazing quote (on Friday) and a promise to start this weekend. See also on thursday I figured out that we could get the pole into a container leaving at the end of the month from Newport RI to the UK. The container will have the gear of Will Hubbard and his team that are racing in the NYYC RORC race which I would love to have been on.

On Friday I sent an email to my friend Lisa who is visiting her parents in Littleton which happens to be 15 minutes from Concord where the pole is being made. I remembered Lisa was planning on visiting friends in Newport in a week or so. I asked if she was able to move the pole from Concord to Newport for me to go in the container.

On Monday there is heavy snow here in South Georgia and the visiblity has been coming and going all day. I spent sunday in my bed as I have been sick for the last week. Today I did boring paperwork. I am sitting here in my pitroom looking out into the dark (the stars are stunning) and an email comes from Ted with the below pictures.

Pretty amazing customer service wouldn’t you say! Also a big thank you to my friends Will and Lisa for making it all happen and getting the pole to the UK for me so when I come home I can race to Newport with a beautifully made strong, lightweight spinnaker pole made my Ted.

Lance and his dogs

March 11, 2009   

On Monday after the regatta I took Yeoman round to Bobby’s Marina at the airport location. It was so much less stressful than two years ago as they have now marked the channel which is a large benefit when you draw 10 feet and can’t touch bottom with a delicate carbon boat!

Simpson Bay Marina kindly lent me a RIB driver to push my bow through the wind to get into the tight haul out which has a wreck on one side and a shoal on the other. Lance who runs the boatyard was on the ball and we were hoisted out within 30 minutes of getting there and an hour or so later a pit had been dug for the keel and Yeoman was all dug in for 14 days.

To say that Lance has a soft spot for dogs and cats is and understatement! The animals that he brings in from the streets are lucky indeed getting fed, watered, taken to the vet and cleaned. They are all well mannered and not at all aggressive all they want are lots of petting! Lance spends 50% of his income on his animals they are his family which as he says means that he is not likely to move anywhere. If he does go back to his native South Africa it will mean getting a container and converting it into a dog/cat transport facility. The two dogs I remember from last time I was here two years ago have unfortunately passed on and taking their place are a brother and sister. These puppies are easily spooked but are thriving on the attention and growing fast. Lance dropped me off at the airport at 5:45am including me in his dog feeding run – every other day he takes food to a large pack of dogs behind the movie theater and another pack next to the airport. I asked if he takes donations towards feeding the dogs and cats, he doesn’t – as he says money comes and goes it doesn’t make you happy in the bank.

Yeoman has a bunch of repairs to be done while I am away so she is in a bit of upheaval with floorboards out etc. I return in 9 days it will be a quick turn around and off to St Thomas and the BVI for some more racing in the sun.

Hopefully my long commute home to the bay will go smoothly and I will be hanging out with my nieces in the morning. Little Charlotte should be out of the hospital after surgery apparently her scar is 3 inches long which is half the length of her torso.


December 13, 2008   

The launching of the 40 footer went well at Svendsens and she is now having electronics installed and interior cushions done while I finish off the deck hardware and we await the mast delivery in a few months. The owner seems to be happy to finally have his boat in the bay and now I have to fix all the leaks which we are finding in the inclement weather. Hope all of you with office jobs appreciate the warmth and dry inside! I got hailed on today big pieces of ice falling out of the sky. In fact it is warmer in London than San Francisco.