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Thread: Thinking About 2018 SHTP

  1. #1
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    Default Thinking About 2018 SHTP

    I've been a regular reader of the website and forum for a long time, though I haven't done a lot of racing. I've been planning on doing a single handed sail to Hawaii for a long time, and have long thought I would basically prepare as if I was entering the SSTP (e.g., a 400 nm qualifier, SAS seminar, most if not all of required safety gear). Now that it looks like 2018 will be the soonest I can clear the time to go, I have begun seriously considering entering the 2018 race.

    The next thought that idea brings on, is to spend less of my sailing time in 2017 cruising, and concentrate on getting as much ocean racing experience as possible. Trouble is, as far as I know, there aren't any regularly organized solo races in my home waters in San Diego. The PSSA runs a nice set of races out of Marina Del Rey, but that's too far away to be practical for me.

    So, I'm basically looking at regular PHRF races, but do not intend to hand steer a whole race. Suggestions?
    Last edited by BobJ; 01-01-2017 at 10:23 PM. Reason: Correct header

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZ Sailor View Post
    So, I'm basically looking at regular PHRF races, but do not intend to hand steer a whole race. Suggestions?
    If you choose PHRF races, consider sailing DH. It's safer in crowded waters having two sets of eyes, and DH is basically singlehanding with an autopilot that has eyes. Best to get a partner with as much or more experience than yourself. ~sleddog

  3. #3
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    The benefits you get doing regular PHRF races will still be beneficial if you sail with crew. Mostly you will be working on boat handling, sail trim, tactics, sail selection, and just general boat speed. Having others onboard might be helpful for all of those things and speed up your improvement.

    The differences racing solo aren't so much about the race itself as it is about boat handling, sleeping, eating, managing energy, weather routing, etc. You can practice all of those things without actually racing.

    If I were you, I would do as many PHRF races as you can either DH or with crew and then spend as much time just out in the ocean solo as you have available. Plan a day to sail down around the Coronado's and back and work on using the autopilot, raising and dousing the spinnaker, cooking, etc. Learn from that experience and then repeat it again soon after.

    Also, if you primarily sail in San Diego, you might want to seek out the windiest days to head out into the ocean. Leaving SF Bay can be a whole nother world from sailing in San Diego. It's not uncommon at all to see 20-30 knots the first day or two or more. Make sure you are comfortable with that. You might only get a few days a year in SD with that kind of weather.

    What kind of boat?
    Life is not a dress rehearsal.

    Bermuda 1-2 on a Schumacher 28

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by sleddog View Post
    If you choose PHRF races, consider sailing DH. It's safer in crowded waters having two sets of eyes, and DH is basically singlehanding with an autopilot that has eyes. Best to get a partner with as much or more experience than yourself. ~sleddog
    That's a great suggestion, and one I'll definitely try. Thanks.

  5. #5
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    From my perspective, the more you race, the better sailor you will be. But make sure you practice anchoring (and ensuring a good hold) from time to time, too

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by svShearwater View Post
    What kind of boat?
    She is a 1985, sloop rigged Valiant 32. Purchased in March of 2015, specifically in hopes of solo ocean crossings.

    As to your other comments, I appreciate the suggestion that time on fully crewed race boats would also be valuable. I will remain flexible, and just try to race as much as possible. As far as getting out on the ocean alone, and in tough conditions when possible, that is what I've been doing for more than 10 years. Bought my first keel boat in 2005, and in both that one and this one, the majority of my cruising has been single handed, off shore. November's cruise included an overnight sail (mostly under A-sym) from Avalon to SD. October's was 200 nm non-stop sail out to Cortes Bank, around the Bishop Rock buoy and back. Gimballed propane stove to cook on; Watch Commander to help me keep 21 minute sleep cycles through the wee hours of the night. SSB, Monitor wind vane, solar panels, radar, AIS, etc., all installed and working.

    I think I've got a pretty good experience/knowledge base on those things. If was cruising to Hawaii, I think the only things left would be the 400 nm qualifier, and getting the life raft re-certified. But I would not enter the SHTP in order to cruise to Hawaii. So, 2017 is to be my year of racing, and then we'll see.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gamayun View Post
    From my perspective, the more you race, the better sailor you will be. But make sure you practice anchoring (and ensuring a good hold) from time to time, too
    I know racing will help me be a better sailor, so that's part of why I've decided to concentrate on racing this year. Binging almost exclusively a cruising sailor to this point in time, I've done a lot of anchoring. I prefer it to guest slip or mooring when out of SD, whenever possible.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZ Sailor View Post
    She is a 1985, sloop rigged Valiant 32. Purchased in March of 2015, specifically in hopes of solo ocean crossings.

    As to your other comments, I appreciate the suggestion that time on fully crewed race boats would also be valuable. I will remain flexible, and just try to race as much as possible. As far as getting out on the ocean alone, and in tough conditions when possible, that is what I've been doing for more than 10 years. Bought my first keel boat in 2005, and in both that one and this one, the majority of my cruising has been single handed, off shore. November's cruise included an overnight sail (mostly under A-sym) from Avalon to SD. October's was 200 nm non-stop sail out to Cortes Bank, around the Bishop Rock buoy and back. Gimballed propane stove to cook on; Watch Commander to help me keep 21 minute sleep cycles through the wee hours of the night. SSB, Monitor wind vane, solar panels, radar, AIS, etc., all installed and working.

    I think I've got a pretty good experience/knowledge base on those things. If was cruising to Hawaii, I think the only things left would be the 400 nm qualifier, and getting the life raft re-certified. But I would not enter the SHTP in order to cruise to Hawaii. So, 2017 is to be my year of racing, and then we'll see.
    Interesting. I've owned 2 Valiant 32's. Hull #1 and Hull #2 from 1977. You must have one of the only V32's built in Texas. Very nice. We actually, live aboard our V32 in San Diego from 1997-2000 and sailed it from Seattle to the Sea of Cortez. Given your fine choice of boat, the potential for strong breeze in the early days is much less of a concern.

    Do you have an inner forestay? You mention sloop, whereas a lot of the Valiants were cutters. Just thinking that an inner forestay would be a fine place to fly a staysail with the spinnaker for a little more sail area.

    Sounds like you are in a good place with 1.5 years to go.

    A Valiant 32 did the SHTP a few years ago. Around 2004 or so, I think. Rob Tryon was the skipper, if I'm not mistaken.
    Last edited by svShearwater; 12-16-2016 at 10:50 AM.
    Life is not a dress rehearsal.

    Bermuda 1-2 on a Schumacher 28

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by svShearwater View Post
    Do you have an inner forestay? You mention sloop, whereas a lot of the Valiants were cutters. Just thinking that an inner forestay would be a fine place to fly a staysail with the spinnaker for a little more sail area.
    No stays'l stay. As I understand it, most or all of the later V32's were sloops, with the mast stepped forward from where it was in the cutter configuration; a design modification to reduce the weather helm that was evidently something of a problem. And yes, s/v Morning Star was launched on Lake Texoma, after the Valiant move to Texas. By various sources there were either 65 or 67 V32s in total. Morning Star is number 62.

    Thanks for the kind words.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZ Sailor View Post
    200 nm non-stop sail out to Cortes Bank, around the Bishop Rock buoy and back. Gimballed propane stove to cook on; Watch Commander to help me keep 21 minute sleep cycles through the wee hours of the night. SSB, Monitor wind vane, solar panels, radar, AIS, etc., all installed and working.
    Well, yeah, spoken as a naive and not nearly as prepared but hopeful SHTP 202x participant: sounds like you have the offshore SH part under control. Throw in some gnarly swell and big wind and call it good.
    Not sure how much doing short-course (<20nm) races, singlehanded or crewed, compares to a 2000nm slog to Hawaii, especially if the priority is just getting there over pickle dishes. I understand you get the bronze belt clip regardless.

    The handfuls of SSS bay races I've attempted have taught me that (1) sailing fast is key (2) local knowledge is key (3) 1 & 2 can be practiced outside of race context; just put the beer down and try. Maybe next time. This beer is good. And so is this song...aah, who am I kidding? I'm a croozer!

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