Jeff Lebesch
Hammerhead 54
PHRF: -30
Homeport: Fort Collins, Colorado
Occupation: retired founder of New Belgium Brewing Company
Age: 54

I have been sailing since completing a number of classes at OCSC in Berkeley, CA in 2000. Most of my miles have been single-handed on a smaller trimaran, including trips to Ketchikan, AK and the Bahamas. However a 31-foot trailerable does not leave much elbow room for the family, so we have “moved up” in the fast-cruiser category. Hecla has been in the family since 2007, though has already visited Hawaii under the command of the previous owners. Preparations for the SHTP have involved a substantial refit, including electrical/electronic systems rebuild, new sails, new extendable bow pole and furling headsail, and mainsail controls routed to the cockpit for single-handed friendliness.

This is my first SHTP and ocean crossing. I have followed this event for years, and am attracted to it because of the well-developed rules and training options prepared by the SSS for singlehanded sailors. The camaraderie and general low-pressure flavor of the event are also highlights. My family will be meeting me in Hanalei, from where we will cruise around the island a bit.

My goals are to rigorously prepare the boat and practice the mental and physical disciplines necessary for safe offshore sailing. Event wise, I hope to finish near the front of the fleet, in the lower half of the corrected standings and without being totally exhausted; this way I know I have chosen a fast cruising boat and sailed conservatively. My experience from long triathlons suggests: if I am exhausted at the half-way point, I have gone out far too hard. I may be tempted to sail a near-rhumb line course and capitalize on Hecla’s light wind capabilities, while hoping to not get dumped upon by the fickle high. I also expect to make the journey without consuming any diesel or other fossil fuel for battery charging and cooking.

Navigation: 2x Garmin chartplotter, Garmin handheld

Steering: NKE hydraulic autopilot primary, Raymarine secondary

Communications: Iridium 9505a sat phone voice/data, SSB voice only

Food: coffee, soups, rice, fresh baked bread, yogurt, fresh fruits and veggies for at least a little while, canned tuna, ginger cookies, hopefully a fresh fish to throw on the George Foreman, occasional Fat Tire

Special thanks: to Kim, my wife, for enjoying sailing and tolerating these solo adventures, SHTP veterans Gary Helms and Greg Nelsen for coaching and hands-on boat work, and friend Jamie, who 9 years ago said “why don’t you learn how to sail?”