Wednesday, May 25, 2016

IMOCA Racing

This week the Transat Bakerly is winding up.  The majority of the pro offshore sailors are out for this race.

Line honours went to the Francois Gabart aboard the Ultimate trimaran "Macif"




Here is a good article about an english class 40 racer.
http://www.thetransat.com/news/view/phil-sharp-to-hell-and-back-in-the-transat-bakerly

The website is here:
http://www.thetransat.com/

Now the majority of the fleet is getting ready to race back to Vendee, France.



There are several interesting english speaking sailors in the event.   Most well funded is Alex Thompson on board Hugo Boss:



Conrad Colman will be racing his boat "100% natural endergy"
http://www.conradcolman.com/

and the Open 60 "O Canada" is getting ready for the Vendee as well.

http://www.canadianoceanracing.com/

Saturday, May 21, 2016

English Speaking Vende Skippers

There are now 6 months to the start of the Vende Globe.  Competitors race around the word single handed in high performance open 60's.

There are a couple of english speaking sailors in the race this year.  One interesting campaign is run by Conrad Colman.  He is a very low budget, living the dream kind of campaign.  He is running a boat with an electric motor and solar and wind power.  Also, you can donate to his campaign to help him live his dream.

Check out the CNN Main sail piece here:


And his website here:
http://www.conradcolman.com/

Monday, May 16, 2016

Van to Port McNeil Delivery

Earlier I posted about the delivery I had planned from Van to Port Mc Neil.  The trip turned into a bit of a marathon.

According to Navionics, between April 4th at 1300 and April 7th at 1730 we traveled 243.6 Miles.  76 Hours including our stop in Port McNeil for engine repairs.

The trip started off quite slowly with a through boat check.  This turned up a couple of things, which we got sorted and then got moving.  This was the theme of the trip as we constantly had somebody playing around with the boat getting it set up and prepared for its offshore leg.

Lots of motoring for most of the first day, and then the engine quit with a blocked fuel line.  Got towed into Comox to make repairs and then off again.  The unscheduled stop totally destroyed my nav plan so I had to come up with a new one one the fly.  Ended up with a nice route up through Calm Channel and staying in shelter as much as possible.  We went through a couple of places with names like "Whirl Pool Rapids"  and "Green Point Rapids" with lots of current behind us.

We got up to the Johnston Straight quite a long way ahead of schedule.  The current should have been against us, but we found that there was 6 knots against us on the south side, but if we hugged the north shore we had null current or about 1 kn with us.  The forecast had been saying 40+ knot squalls due in the afternoon so we moved along from shelter to shelter and kept evaluating the weather.  About mid afternoon we saw visibility reducing and lowering layer clouds.  We prepped for rough weather and headed for a little nook for shelter.  By the time we got there there were signs that it was already passing after some gusts above 20 kn.  Visibility was going up, the barometer was rising and when we called the air port at Port McNeil they said the squall had passed them without any terribly high winds.  Onward we went and arrived in Port McNeil to clean up the boat and have a nice dinner.  Next day we handed the boat over to the instructor and crew and headed back home.  Quite a challenging trip, but I am very glad I did it.

Here's a bit of GoPro footage from our departure from Comox and entrance to the Broughtons.

video

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Crew overboard recovery

Earlier this spring I was part of a crew overboard recovery exercise with the Simply Sailing team of instructors.

We worked on the end but, after you have returned back to your friend who fell into the ocean, you have to get them back on board.

We used a 100 something lb dummy, which made for some interesting complications.  We  tried several variations on getting a halyard around the COB and hauling them up.  We tried working from the dingy alongside, then hoist up on a Halyard and loop a line around the COB from on deck and then haul them up.  The biggest problem seemed to be getting the line looped around the person.

It seems that I need to rethink my plan for retrieving a COB with the gear that is typically aboard a small boat.  I thank that the plan used for the Vancouver Sailing School's boats has some good merits, but I haven't got to try it yet.  They have a dedicated line that lives on the stern of each boat.  You reach down and loop the line under the COB, and then tie it in a long bowline.  This is then hauled up via a halyard or something else.

The thought for improvements on board the Simply Sailing cruising boats is to purchase a COB recovery sling.  This device makes it much easier to get the person into the sling and then get them back on board.  I will report further when I have more to tell on this topic.

Here is video I took and have shared with Chris at Simply Sailing:
video

Friday, May 6, 2016

Delivery to Port McNeil

The first trip of my little busy spell is the delivery of "It's Magic" from Vancouver to Port McNeil.  We leave the morning of May 4th and sail through the night to arrive in Rebecca Spit marine park early in the morning.  Then we have a short motor up to Bezley Passage and Surge Narrows.  Get through there at the low slack.  We are getting into lots of skinny little passages at that point, so we will have current to deal with for most of the trip.

We get through Bezley passage and then stop at Octopus Marine park.  To much current in a spot called the Upper Rapids a bit further on.  We are on the move again at 0330 the next day to catch the next time the current is with us. We ride the current as far as we can that morning, hopefully as far as Chatam Point.  Some time after that we will need to stop when the wind blowing against the current starts to create some rough water.

Another little rest in some little nook along the way and then we go through Current Passage as soon as the current is going with us again.  We might get through there on the afternoon of the 6th, but we might wait until the morning of the 6th.  After that we have an easy run into Port McNeil.  We go hove by car and ferry.

The crew and the instructor for the advanced course takes over from there and heads out around the north end of the island, out to sea for 150 miles and then back in to the Mainland.  A short over night sail back to Victoria and that's will be the end for them.

Here's a link to the tracker for the boat:
https://share.delorme.com/simplysailing


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Busy Month

This year I am trying something different.  I have not taken a contract for an extended period from one school, I am trying to patch together enough work to keep me busy from multiple schools.

If the rest of the season goes as well as this month its going to work out fine.  This week I leave on the 4th to deliver a boat to Port McNeil with the Simply Sailing crew, and come right back and go again working for Simply Sailing teaching a basic course.  After that I have a couple of days off and a private client then I sail accross the straight with the Vancouver Sailing School's Beneteau 36.7.  Oh and I also am doing some sailing for fun on the Vancouver Sailing School's J24 "Josephine"

I am feeling pretty positive about this month.  I am really enjoying teaching on some lovely boats.  Here's some pics:




















Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A bit more touristing in the UK

Getting close to the end of my UK posts.

After cruising instructor I waited in London for a several days to hear back from two potential employers.  Would have sucked to get home and then have to fly right back for an interview.  In the end neither interview happened, but I did enjoy some more touristing.  

I stayed in a cheep hostel in Greenwich.  One day I took the train into London and did a tour on a aquatic bus that was pretty cool.  Had a look around London and decided what else I wanted to see. Here's a video:

video


Next I spent the day in Greenwich.  I spent the morning at the Royal Observatory.  That is the place where the beginnings of modern navigation were developed.  The observatory has the survey equipment that was used to establish the Greenwich meridian.  This is the East / West point of devision.  All Latitude measurements are distances in degrees from this line.  I got the obligatory photo of my feet on the line, and then went down into the museum of time keeping.  This is important to navigation because if you take a sun site at exactly the same time of day, you can calculate your distance east of west from your start point.  It was a very difficult problem to develop a time piece that would stay accurate on a moving ship.  Most timepieces used a pendulum action that measured out the seconds.  If the length of the stroke changed with the ships movement then the time would be off.  Initially this error was hundreds of miles, but a brilliant man called Harison spent his life working on the problem and on his 4th attempt he built a small timepiece the size of a book that was accurate to about a mile.  Initially the British government, didn't pay for his work, and it took quite a battle to get them to change their mind.  He eventually got an audience with the king, who supported his case and dealt with him honourably.  Here's a BBC show about the chronometer: 



And also some pictures of the Royal Observatory and the time piece.







The last thing I did in Greenwich was to visit the Cutty Sark.  "Cutty Sark" is the fastest tea clipper ever.  She spent he life in the tea trade, and then near the end of the age of sail she carried wool from Australia to London.  She ran with a crew of 20 officers and men and spent her life plying the sea.  Unlike the historic ships I visited "Cuty Sark" went directly from being a working ship to being purchased and preserved.  She is sitting on the hard with a structure build around her.  She has elevator service to all decks, so she is accessible to all.  And for the last time, here's some pics: