Results 1 to 4 of 4

Thread: @023 Qualifier Notes

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2022

    Default @023 Qualifier Notes

    Hey everyone,

    In preparation of the 2023 SHTP, I was encouraged by my friend (Robb Walker) to get my 2023 Qualifier in before winter and I was sure glad I did for so many reasons. First off, it gave me a chance to see first hand, what my boat (and I) really needed to do to prepare for the upcoming event and to have some reasonable time to get things sorted done. I have been solo racing for some time now on my Cal40 in medium distance (around Monterey Bay) events but the 400 mile qualifier event was a whole different animal. So many things were apparent that need attention/sorting including and so many lessons learned...

    1) Fixing nagging many leaks from rails and deck fittings being deluged by waves. Getting wet down below is really no fun and having a plan for NOT standing in water inside while healed over is critical.
    2) Having proper hand rails and hand holds both above and below deck. Routing jacklines and tether mounts effectively.
    3) Making a plan (and exploring remedies) for the motion felt onboard. I sure felt it and it was kinda rough! No appetite, dry mouth, etc. Finally taking meds really helped! Getting started sooner would be better.
    4) learning how to effectively move around a boat that is trying to "Kill" you all the time.
    5) Sorting out the new Garmin InReach, new chart plotter, AIS, GPS, and all the fancy (or not so fancy) electronics... and looking forward to an iridium Go system next!
    6) Learning how to prepare food when you really don't feel like it (or eating). And preparing some good nutrition to keep your energy and focus. Hydration being so critical too!
    7) Understanding that if you think it is time to reef, you probably should have done it hours ago... Less is usually better for solo and definitely reef before sunset so you don't have to do it (for the first time with new sails) in the dark!
    8) Seeing first hand how much electricity the night running systems and electronics soak up... and how much time the engine is needed to run to charge it back.
    9) How important it is to have a land-based support group to touch base with and to communicate with.
    10) Sorting out how to get weather information (Gribs)... which I look forward to. I know they really are important and not having them really sucks!
    11) Figuring out how your own body handles sleep deprivation and short rest periods. Seeing how important it is to get up every hour to check on things. especially in the shipping lanes where the AIS was priceless
    12) Oh, how much we really rely upon and use our autohelms... I truly spoke to and thanked mine every time I poked my head out of the companionway when waves were crashing across the boat.
    13) How important it is to be fit and physically and mentally ready for being out to sea... I can't emphasize this enough! Realizing that getting hurt would make a very hard job almost impossible. I'm now working with a personal trainer on balance and core stabilization now to help me improve.

    I'm sure there are many more ideas and lessons out in this group and this is why I am starting this thread for everyone (who wishes) to share some of their nuggets of wisdom, experience, and thoughts!

    So yea... My qualifier was pretty tough and I am actually glad it was! Now I know better what I am getting myself into and how important it is to be prepared and ready! Anyway, just some food and fodder for thought...


    Michael Polkabla
    Cal40 Solstice #4
    Last edited by mpolkabla; 11-06-2022 at 06:27 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Seattle, WA


    Congratulations on getting that done. Good report and all good points. What was your course and how were the conditions?
    s/v Morning Star
    Valiant 32

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Irvine, CA


    Well done Michael!
    I hope to get mine done soon as well.
    Michael Thomson
    Beneteau 10R

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2022


    Hey Lee,

    My course was pretty much due west out of Monterey for the expected 200 nautical miles but I decided to begin my trip back at about 175 miles due to the winds getting pretty strong (around 25+ at times). That way I could do a lap around Monterey Bay in "relatively" safer seas than way out there where things were "lively"! Seas were pretty large from my experience and winds were on the beam +/- 20's for the whole trip... So it was hard! Experiencing beam reaching in those conditions was really no fun at all but the Cal40 was solid... waves crashing unexpectedly from time to time made it a roll of the dice making sail adjustments without full gear. Down below was an experience too but very necessary to cook, rest, and for shelter. BTW, I don't care what other's say but I absolutely loved my dodger more than I can say in those conditions. It is so nice to have some protection.
    Healing over (while reaching) was also no fun either as the cabin puddles would never get to the bilge (centerline) to drain from the cabin sole... Yes there were far too many nagging leaks from the deck fittings and hatches that will need attention soon. Another reason I am glad to have made the trip early! So overall, it was hard but I am glad it was. Now to plan some corrections, upgrades, and to fix the issues from the many lessons learned.

    Cheers, Michael P.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts