Archive for May, 2012

Dodging whales


Just like the big boys aboard CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand V-70, we saw almost this exact same view on the ride home from Monterey last weekend.    Of course, CAMPER’s speed at the time was about four times ours (or about twice measured in boatlengths/second), and we didn’t actually have to dodge to avoid a collision, but it was pretty close all the same.   Santana 35 Ahi reported that they did strike a whale in the race, and had the barnacle residue to prove it.     Video found on the S/A mythical Front Page.

Spinnaker Cup 2012

Our Spin Cup day started early with the long motor out in the cold to the Knox start area, spotting one of the AC45s on the way, tricked out with a big “75″ logo to help celebrate the Bridge’s birthday.   Temerity was entered in the Shorthanded Division, with Andreas as crew.  The forecast was for 20 – 30 kts all weekend, fine for the race but I was worried about the long uphill slog for the return delivery.

The reality was very light wind for the start, and the flood already starting.  The RC made a point of telling the racers the scary forecast, including steep 6 – 8  ft seas at 6 seconds, with wind waves on top of that.   We got ready with the #3, motoring around the start area while starts were delayed to wait for wind.   Finally it was our turn as the last Division to start.    With Andreas’ good tactical advice we nailed the start, crossing the favored pin end in clear air about 2 seconds ahead of the drop.  The wind built quickly as we approached the bridge, and we took in a reef in a timely way, which helped us a lot later on.   It was a hard beat all the way to the R8 turning  mark,  which we needed only a small pair of tacks to make.  In the process we started catching up with the C and D fleet boats ahead.    Bearing off we found the wind was on or even a bit ahead of the beam.   The seas were a bit choppy but nothing like the forecast.   We stuck with the #3, sheeted to the rail.   No one of the C, D, or E fleets had set a kite.

So we sailed and we sailed.  We had seen Elan at the start, and I thought I again saw them up ahead.   We were very slowly overhauling them.    Then we heard USCG on the radio, hailing Elan and stating that a PLB had gone off.   Several boats responded, and since we thought we had them in sight, they asked us to try to get into hailing distance.    Of course, this being a race, it was easier said than done.   We had already tried Ch 16, Ch 22A, and the RC frequency Ch 65, so we tried sound signals and our strobe/spotlight.    Finally Ahi hailed us and pointed out that we were chasing the wrong boat.  D’oh!

We later gathered that USCG had sent a helicopter out to hover over Elan, to get their attention and get them to finally turn their radio on and tune to Ch 16.   I am sure the next SI’s with have a reminder on this point, although clearly a large majority of the fleet were guarding 16, and are now privy to Dylan Benjamen’s cell phone number.   (“We just want the number for our records, sir.”)

This next piece of excitement was seeing SC27 Furthur blast past us, chute up and crew working hard.   Oh, well.

Then, dark.   And cold.   We were still north of Santa Cruz and faced a long night, sailing very deep and abusing the poor #3.  The seas were very beamy and unsteady, so we still did not feel like we could set, and the wind varied from the teens to the low 20s.  We appeared to be making good time against the rest of the fleet, holding about 7 or 8 nm off the coast.   Neither Andreas or I had had much sleep the night before, so we started trading watches, letting the other guy get some sleep.    At one point mid-Monterey Bay, I went below and neglected to leave the handheld GPS (critically low on batteries) with Andreas, which turned out to be a pretty big mistake as he was sailing to the wind primarily, and when a big shift came we found ourselves fairly well off course.   Unfortunately the track data from the handheld has been lost, and getting the data off the plotter at the nav station is a task for another day.

We finished at about 0430, with a elapsed time of almost exactly 16 hours.   Starting the motor after we crossed the line brought more excitement, as every piece of electrical equipment on board died upon pushing the start button.   Teething pains from our new power electrics.   Fortunately, the ugly fix of combining the batteries got us started and to our slip.   The harbor and MPYC folks were more than helpful and welcoming, and we enjoyed some minestrone while receiving the very pleasant news that we had placed second in our division.

We left Monterey at about 1400 Saturday, and I decided to just straight motor home, as the wind was fairly light and on our nose, and the seas were moderate.   We made it to Alameda in about 21 hours or so, and probably burned about 10 gallons of diesel at 2800 RPM covering around 100 nm.    I was glad to do this test as it is valuable, current data that will help energy planning for both battery charging and possible motoring fuel budget for our Hawai’i trip.

All in all a fine way to spend the holiday weekend.


First Place SH trophy standing in for 2nd Place DH Trophy

 


Some of the famous Monterey Bay marine fauna. These  1-inch-long shrimp or krill  found their way into my raw water strainer.  We also saw whales and a dolphin on the trip home.

Kannad SafeLink

  

For our PacCup Adventure (and tomorrow’s Spin Cup as well), the Temerity crew will be equipped with the newly approved Kannad SafeLink R10 MOB recovery beacons.    We received two units just days ago, and will test them this weekend.  These devices combine GPS and VHF/DSC  to put out a MOB alert that can be picked up via AIS, generally that of the vessel that one has just departed.   In our case, we have AIS on board and even in the cockpit on our RAM mic.  So many life-saving acronyms!

The SafeLink R10 at Kannad’s site

Discussion at Panbo

Get your own at Landfall Navigation

One wonders what Char will be …

One wonders what Char will be packing for our half-way party.

New Temerity Racing twitter fe…

New Temerity Racing twitter feed @Temerity_Racing gets cross-posted to NSL, makes it easy to post en route with satphone SMS.

If anyone wants to order S/V T…

If anyone wants to order S/V Temerity a PacCup arrival lei, here’s how to do it: http://t.co/yB4PKohD

Exactly 2 months to go!

Hokey smokes.

Mermaid watching


Aloha, and Happy Friday!   For your viewing pleasure, Marina the Fire-Eating  Mermaid entertains to the strains of the Tikiyaki Orchestra.   Any more awesomeness in one small space would make this post implode.

Temerity’s Policy

Written in response to a request from the PacCup Chief Inspector.

Here is our harness/tether policy:

We are double-handed.  It is understood that a MOB in all but the mildest of conditions will more than likely not be recoverable.

I have just received two brand new Wichard double-hook tethers, the kind with the glow in the dark ends.

I also have new jacklines to replace the old ones that are wearing out from UV exposure.  These are special flat nylon webbing specifically designed for lifelines with 7000 lb breaking strength, and custom sized to our vessel.

We are presently sourcing new Spinlock PFD/Harnesses which come in S/M/L for better comfort and fit.  We will carry the older gear as backup along with recharge kits.

The policy of the boat is for all crew to be wearing PFD/harness and clipped in at all times outside the Gate, except when bathing, when a simple harness will be worn.

The crew on watch will carry our Standard Horizon HX851 handheld radio on his/her person, which has  DSC/GPS  capability, which along with our in-cockpit AIS display should facilitate MOB location if necessary.    I am also looking to get 2 of the newly approved  Kannand R10 AIS MoB beacons to be worn inside the PFDs.

Thank you,

David Nabors

S/V Temerity

But mainly   NEVER GET OUT OF THE BOAT.

Antigua Sailing Week


NSL buddy and sometime Temerity crew Wardog was lucky (and a valuable enough sailor) to be invited to Antigua Sailing Week where his regular skipper chartered a Farr 40 this year.   Like the Heineken Regatta, it’s a real sailing bucket list item.  Too much fun!   Let’s see if he remembers to bring home some of that superb Antiguan rum.

Possible PacCup DH Division Splits?

Now that the Pac Cup race entries are closed, I was wondering how the Division splits might look for the doublehanders.   Above is how I think it will break down.   I couldn’t get data on the Ohlson, but it surely will be in the slower of the two groups.   Moonshine‘s PCR is from 2010.

The PacCup rating for these boats is computed as the NorCal PHRF Downwind Rating  + 515, and is the handicap average boatspeed in seconds per mile.    The Time-on-Distance allowance is the course distance (2080 nm) divided by boatspeed expressed in knots.    So for example, Temerity will have to beat Plus Sixteen by 15.6 hours in order to correct out ahead in the final standings.

For about a day there it looked like there might be a late entry in the fast boat, DH group, which might have thrown the E-27s in with us in the slower group.   But it looks like this is the fleet that will be racing as of the deadline.

Byran Chong on S/A

Low Speed Chase accident survivor has published this today on Sailing Anarchy:

This is my first time posting on SA after years of lurking. First, I want to thank everyone for the kind comments about my original letter. I confess to some initial hesitation about publishing the story after reading heated SA debates over the years but I take my hat off to the collective sailing community for the respectful approach to the incident and follow-up discussions.

There are still questions floating around and I’ll try to provide some additional insight. Also, I have a special request to those that have done the Farallones race. Here are the most frequently asked questions since my letter:

Did SA change the original recipients of your letter?

Yes, but all I really cared about was publication of the complete story as opposed to how some of the news outlets butchered the message. One extracted this headline: “California sailing accident survivor urges new safety rules”. First, I never said there should be new rules. Second, they missed the real message around sparking discussions within the community and crews, or about safety as everyone’s personal responsibility not just the owner/skipper/captain.

Is there a GPS track?

Yes. We had 2 GPS’s running that day – the boat GPS and a handheld Garmin that we managed to recover from a mesh bag in the cockpit. I’m really amazed that it managed to stay on-board.

Here’s some interesting data from the handheld GPS: between 14:36:53 and 14:37:37 (44 seconds) the GPS traveled at 12 knots from a position approximately 464 yards north-northwest of Maintop Island to a position 295 yards southeast toward Maintop Island, this path was perpendicular to its previous direction of travel. Between 14:37:37 and 14:38:32, (55 seconds), the GPS again traveled southeast 160 yards to the shore of Maintop Island at a speed of approximately 5 knots.

I should probably rethink my initial estimate of 128 yards from the break zone. A 250-yard break zone would have then put us at 200 from the edge of the break zone. Any input from someone with a perspective on the depth of the northwest break zone that day would be greatly appreciated.

Where is the boat?

In a storage yard (not in Half Moon Bay).

Did you have a GPS EPIRB?

No. I said GPS in my letter to help those who would be trying to conceptualize an EPIRB for the first time. The Coast Guard said they got 2 hits from our EPIRB and then it went dead. This would have brought them to within a couple of miles of the boat and should clarify the initial misunderstanding about our location. The radio call was received before the EPIRB signal. Also, the EPIRB was recently recovered but the failure has not yet been determined.

How big (in feet) was the wave?

I intentionally left out an attempt at guesstimating the size to avoid the scenario where a bank robbery witness mistakes the Stubnose 22 for a 44 Magnum. The largest swells I’d seen prior to that one was on a boat delivery headed north around Point Conception. This wave was in an entirely different category from those or any I’d seen from shore or the water. Maybe wave science experts could estimate size based on ocean depth at the point we got hit.

I agree with all the comments about swell size verse breaking wave size. The wave that hit us grew as it approached. As I continue to digest, I should also add that the wave was relatively short when compared to a long breaking wave that you would see at the beach. I’m curious to find an ocean floor topography that’s more detailed than those in standard charts.

Did it take 15 minutes for the boat to get to shore?

No. According to GPS data it was about 2 minutes. It was much faster than anyone in the water. The majority of the time I spent in the water was trying to get out once I finally made it to the shore.

Should there be a course change and new safety standards?

Regarding course. I’ve intentionally steered clear of this subject as there are expects that have forgotten more about ocean racing and the Farallon Islands than I’ll ever know. I’m looking to those experts in concert with the local sailboat racing community to make the recommendations. Jay, Nick and I have and will continue to provide investigators with any data that will help them make informed decisions. I suspect the survivors and the families would support any decision that reduces the probability of another tragedy.

Regarding new safely standards.There is no shortage of boating/racing safety standards. What seems to be lacking is diligent adherence to those standards and best practices. I guess the best comparison would be motor vehicles. Lowering the accident rate is less about new rules and more about getting folks to follow the ones that exist today – using seat belts, not driving under the influence, respecting speed limits and observing stop lights/signs.

I wish I could say that before every ocean race over the years someone told me basics like where the bolt cutters were located, and made sure everyone onboard knew how to hail the Coast Guard, how to crank their engine, etc. What if the one person left on the boat after an accident is new to sailing and has no clue about how to drive a boat or manually set off the EPIRB?

How can I help?

I’d like to assemble GPS tracks for that day and get them plotted onto one chart to provide a single consolidated view of as many boat routes as possible around the island that day. I’d ask that if you were out there or know people who were, could you ask them to download their GPS track data and email it to me at bryan@chonger.com. Raw data is fine as long as it has the basic long/lat/time. Our handheld had our 2011 track data so I’ll also take previous years routes from anyone that wants to share. Please include wind and wave conditions if you can remember them. Thanks in advance for your help.

Thanks everyone for your support over the past 3 weeks.

Sincerely,

Bryan Chong

T – 10 weeks

… and counting.    Today we were up at the boat installing the new 200 A-hr LiFePO4 battery pack from Race Cell.   The  new 80A alternator and 135W solar will be on board in a couple of weeks, producing, one hopes, energy nirvana.

I’m not sure if I am going to do the Stand Down Marathon or not.   I need time under sail, but would prefer doing drills double-handed.  We’ll see.

Gear up


Shore team member and all-around spokesmodel Char displays our new 135W solar panel, soon to be fitted to Temerity, and the stylish Temerity PacCup 2012 aloha shirt, of critical importance to winning the party.

Not the Duxship

Last Saturday we had an OYRA race that was not the Duxship.   Following the Low Speed Chase accident, US Coast Guard Sector San Francisco has issued a ‘stand down’ on ocean racing originating in San Francisco (Santa Cruz, Princeton Harbor, and other west coast ports are not affected.)  The OYRA did a great job at the last minute scheduling a replacement course that did not go outside the COLREGS demarcation line.

We had a great start, once again in a heavy ebb and light winds.    We stayed clear of the pin and observed several boats piling up on in it in  a highly reminiscent fashion.  “That was us about 4 weeks ago,” I told Andreas and Andrew, who were once again crewing this race.     Our upwind leg was fast and fun; as you can see from the tacking angles above.  Even with so little weight on the rail we were in a good position rounding the mark, the Pt. Bonita buoy.   And there I blew it.   I knew that the current inside Bonita Cove would be much less than out in the main channel, and we had arrived at the mark a lot sooner than I had reckoned, so that the ebb was still in full force.    But with only 3 aboard and still a little jittery so soon after LSC, I decided not to go close to shore under spin for the current relief.    After we set the spin I had my hands full steering, and it wasn’t for a while that I realized how the ebb was setting our ground track to a net southerly heading.   So we lost a lot of ground on the run to the North Tower.  We made some of it up though with some good calls putting us near Angel, and anticipating the strong current still setting out of the channel to the north;  we make the next mark, YRA 8 without needing to douse and tack back up.  We doused before reaching the mark and went back up with the #1 for  a reach south.

The call to go behind TI also proved to be a good one.   There was a big wind hole just past the bridge, but apparently there was an even bigger one on the west side of the island and the course that way was longer.  A nice spin run down the Estuary got us to the finish, and only a few minutes from our slip, a very welcome change from the usual situation.    In all, a great day out with A&A, and a good party at EYC afterwards.