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Thread: What worked, what didn't.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007

    Default What worked, what didn't.

    Welcome back to all the returning skippers! I think Ronnie and Ed are still enroute, and Gary may not have reached Puget Sound yet. Any updates?

    After the last couple of SHTP's we had a thread like this on the board, where skippers could say what worked (or didn't) during the race - what they might do differently, etc. Any contributions?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2009


    Bob, great thread idea, I'll post a reply soon. In terms of warrior's wish, check out his website (on the SHTP page). Can someone confirm, did they loose the entire keel (of course, how do you loose part of a keel)? I wonder if the coast guard can give us more information? It seems they are going to try to sail the rest of the way with no keel.

    I spent a lot of time with Ronnine and Ed in Waikiki, I've been thinking about them.

    Last edited by ajgoldman; 08-12-2010 at 10:16 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007

    Default Ronnie's Keel

    From his description on another site, it sounds like the entire keel is gone.

    My first reaction was they should motor-sail back down(wind) to Hawaii, but they are closer to the mainland and the weather forecast doesn't look too bad for them to continue on - the wind is light through next Thursday. The problem is it's on the beam.

    Ronnie is about as resourceful as they come, they've received a bunch of diesel from a passing ship and it sounds like they are prepared if the boat rolls over. If they motor along gingerly, another six days should find them in L.A.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Sausalito CA

    Default Thoughts w/ Warrior's Wish

    Hey Bob & AJ...
    Just pulled this from Sailing Anarchy..
    Sounds like they have the situation somewhat under control and the weather for the next few days looks promising...About 700 miles from San Francisco...Will be following closely...Any idea how close to the coast they need to get before the Coasties could pull them in?

    s/v BOZO

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007


    Hi Adam - the Coast Guard would take them off (or have another vessel get them) but they wouldn't tow the boat in. I don't know the range for the Coast Guard choppers but I don't think it's 700 miles.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Default Gary is in Port Angeles. WA

    bobJ you asked about Gary on Pekele. Heard from him this evening. He is in Port Angeles, headed for Port Townsend. He was 20 Days out from Hawaii and finally spotted Cape Flattery thru the fog and pulled into Neah Bay, small Indian Village on coast. Says it is nice and warm, finally shorts and t-shirt weather plus stays light till 9PM. Working to get his land legs back though. He plans to cruise the Puget Sound area a little before heading south. Maybe coast will clear by then for him.

    Pete S

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009


    Quote Originally Posted by BobJ View Post
    Ronnie is about as resourceful as they come, they've received a bunch of diesel from a passing ship and it sounds like they are prepared if the boat rolls over.
    Sounds like they've got a "ton" (not literally) of motor oil in drums on the weather rail. How 'bout that... dinghy sailing sans dagger board 700 miles to weather. I'm sure Ronnie and Ed can do it, though. No sweat! Rock on you guys!


  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2009

    Default What worked, what didn't...

    What didn't work:

    Raymarine tiller pilot drive unit...definitely not reliable.

    Leaky portlights and forehatch... they didn't leak before I left, but they sure did after our little storm and during most of the return. I should have rebed before the race just to be sure.

    Twins... I never used them. I prefered poling out a jib or going bald headed in the squally weather. The boat still exceeded hull speed. And I couldn't sleep with two poles up anyway, for fear one would stab the water on a roll.

    My stomach! Next time I'll be better prepared.

    Food... Again, I'll be better prepared next time. Aside from staying dry, having the right food is probably the most important ingredient for morale (and energy).

    What did work:

    Spinnaker net... it was indispensable. I made my own and it worked great.

    Solar panels... at the last minute I installed 2 65W Kyocera rigid solar panels. Supplied nearly all of my electrical needs. I used the engine to charge only once during the race (17 days), and only twice on the return (21 days). This gave me great peace of mind, and I hate hearing the engine anyway!

    Power consumption of the instruments I chose... The current usage from the total of the "always on" instruments (Raymarine wind, depth, speed, x-5 pilot, Comar AIS transponder, Watchmate AIS display, VHF radio, Garmin GPS miniplotter) was barely over 1.5 Amp when the autopilot was in a low response mode, and at most it was 3 Amp when the pilot was in a high response mode. I was not surprised by the low current draw of the AIS components, but was very surprised by the miserly draw of the Raymarine stuff.

    The Raymarine Smart Pilot x-5 controller... despite the poor reliability of the drive ram, the system itself performed great (I had a spare ram that served successfully for 3500 additional miles and is still purring softly). Handled a great variety of wind and sea conditions, both up and down wind, w/ and w/out spinnaker.

    The remote control... also last minute I picked up a remote for the Raymarine gear. From my berth I could view all the instrument data and completely control the autopilot. Awesome, and in a storm? Well, let's just say I stayed drier.

    Following a compass course... I tried both wind and compass, and mainly because of the boat's angle relative to the sea state, I prefered compass. Wind mode (and the Monitor vane) would quickly change the boat's the angle relative to the sea state as the wind strength varied (apparent wind anlge moves around a bunch with changing wind strength). Less drag of the rudder, less wagging around this way, too. True wind mode might have worked, but I didn't try it.

    The boat... Olson (and Ericson) sure made a nice boat. Solid hull, built strong, swift and stable. I didn't sail the boat nearly as fast as she could go. I kept throttling her back because I was still new at this and unsure of my own ability. If sailed more aggressively, wow, she could fairly fly. Plus, on the return trip with the apparent wind well forward and the seas either forward or on the beam for about 2400 nm, this was a major test of her rigging, hull and joints, keel, you name it. I am so totally confident now in the boat's ability, and I guess more confident in my own, too.

    The Quantum #2 headsail... it's a structured sail I picked up a year ago July, tafetta on one side for durability, their Fusion MX Technora design, supplied by Don Teakell and crew over in Richmond. I love it. It has taken Culebra now I think over 2000 nm in the past year (the Long Pac, SHTP and return from Hanalei). Its holds its shape perfectly in both light and heavy air; I was able to use it in a huge range of wind conditions (from little puffs to about 20 kts true); and it still looks and behaves brand-spanking new.

    Oh, I could go on and on... but this is plenty for now.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Sausalito CA

    Default What worked? What didn't?

    What did and didn't work aboard s/v Blue Moon International Folkboat:

    What did work

    *Twin headsails made by Lee Sails. Once we got to the "almost trades"...these Twins worked beautifully. And once I got used to the set up...I ended up taking the "Roper approach" and flying the twins with Main...with the windward twin on a pole and the leward twin trimmed to a close reach...

    *My second hand drifter for the light air conditions. Being very much waterline challenged in the light stuff (19 feet for the Folkboat)...the drifter helped push us along. I will definitely have a drifter made for the next race.

    *UK Halsey Mainsail w/ three reefs worked great. Well built...very solid construction...and it seemed to really put the turbo in the Turboed folkboat

    *Forespar single burner gimbaled stove worked very well in a variety of sea conditions...Only used two green propane canisters for the trip over..very efficient.

    *NASA Marine stand alone AIS unit: worth its weight in GOLD. I had this running 24/7 for the first week of the race...draws very little energy and really allows you to sleep a bit better

    *GPS NavX setup on my 12" G4 Laptop worked well...but due to how wet everything became down below...I really ended up using my little handheld Garmin GPS 60 & chart for the majority of the race.

    *Iridium Sat Phone worked very well...Long battery life....Never had an issue with reception...dropping calls..ect.

    What didn't work or What I wished I had

    *A good solid Autopilot--For this race I now believe it is a must. I brought along an old AH800 tiller pilot that worked in some situations but with any bumpy sea did not like it! So I would install the nicest Autopilot I can afford for the next time.

    *Not foreseeing just how wet things would get on my little time around I would do a better job of having everything I don't want to get wet in Plastic bags...dry bags...etc. After the first 3-4 days of the entire boat from forepeak to quarter berths was soaking wet...and once we started getting into warmer climates...everything had been wet for soo long that things started to GROW on my books, charts, clothes, etc. Keeping things dry is KEY!

    *Extra pairs of Foul Weather Gear (perhaps even three sets!) My gear got soaking wet early and it would have been nice to have a fresh set waiting while my other set dried...And remember to always put your jacket over the one of my exhausted states early on in the race...I mistakenly had my bibs over my Jacket...and water finds its way into your BIBS real easy with this scenario

    *Wind Instruments would have been nice for all the downwind work of this trip...Going would be nice to only have to look forward as opposed to up all the time

    All in all..I was very pleased with Blue Moon's preparation...we didn't have anything major break...and the boat actually looked good once we reach Hanalei...Oh Hanalei

    More to come...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2009


    OK, my turn:

    What Worked

    Raymarine X5 Autopilot computer - I had the same setup as Paul, and found the X5 computer to be pretty decent. Unfortunately on high gain it commands a lot of action from the drive, which wears out quickly. I mounted one control head by the tiller and one by the companionway so I could easily switch the pilot on and off, or adjust it without having to leave the cabin, let alone dive across the entire cockpit.

    SSB - My antenna was a piece of speaker wire inside the spectra backstay, and my ground was a 1" copper braid hose-clamped to a keel bolt. It seemed to work at least as well as most of the other boats out there.

    Dry bags - I learned this the hard way on my qualifier. On a wet boat like the Olson 30, anything you don't want wet should be in a dry bag (I had two big ones) or a ziploc. Charts were always in vinyl chart cases. I also had 4 or 5 rubbermaid bins, tupperwares, or other plastic cases.

    Solar panels - I had one 135W and one 40W Kyocera solar panels. This was overkill, and the 40W panel was installed in a position where it wasn't working most of the time. I would probably go with two 65W panels next time. Autopilot drove maybe 80% of the race, laptop/AIS/instruments were on 24/7.

    Netbook computer - I bought an ASUS eeePC 1005PE for the race. It's the lowest power consumption PC on the market, and I replaced the hard disk with a solid-state drive to make it wave-proof and lower power consumption even more. Total power draw was about 600mA, and it never crashed. Cost: ~$550, including SSD.

    1.5oz Heavy reaching kite (code 3) by Hyde - good for reaching in anything from 0 to 18 knots, and running when I'm too chicken to put up the big 0.5oz chute. I had 4 chutes, but ended up flying only these two, with no damage.

    Spinnaker Net - don't fly a chute without it. I spent a lot of the race watching the spinnaker trying to make love to the forestay.

    Solar showers - Adam gave me one, which I didn't use on the race, but used often in Hanalei and on the trip back. I used 11 of my 28 gallons of water for the race (0.78 gallons/person/day), and ~30 of 45 gallons for the return (0.65 gallons/person/day), with several hot showers a week each, which is a pretty amazing thing on a wet little ULDB. Some of the water jugs had slow leaks, but I didn't worry about it too much.

    Lewmar OneTouch winch handle - I just have to rave about this thing somewhere. It's awesome.

    The Olson 30 - the boat's record speaks for itself. Mine has the "old" mast, spreaders, and rudder. I tried to beef up the deck a little bit, but it was probably a waste of time.

    Bonine - I never took it, but it seemed to work really well for Peter on the trip home.

    Earplugs - I didn't wear any during the race, because I wanted to wake up if something wasn't right, but they were invaluable for the delivery home. Next time I would try to put some sound insulation near the autopilot mount.

    Rubber/Foam padding - the Olson 30's a little tight down below, with lots of bolts protruding. Pad them or your scalp will suffer. I also padded the mainsheet traveler for my shins' sake.

    Cockpit cushions - I had a bunch of cushions for kitchen chairs lying in my garage.

    Food - Fruit juice (I didn't pack nearly enough for the race). UHT milk. Round loaves of fresh bread in ziploc bags will last a couple weeks. Tortillas for when the bread runs out. Dried sausage. Citrus fruits. Eggs. Hard cheeses like Gruyere and Emmental stay good for over a week. Jam stays good forever. Couscous is much faster to cook than rice or pasta and uses almost no water. This is all the good stuff I ate before I got to the usual canned and dehydrated things. Canned pears - mmmm!

    Fishing gear - It's amazing what fish will try to eat.

    What Didn't

    Raymarine tiller pilot drive unit - I wore through a brand new one on day 3 of the race. I then lowered the gain and the next one (which already had at least 500 miles on it) held all the way to Seattle.

    Raymarine wind/speed instruments - water squirted under my poorly-constructed sea-hood and the connectors immediately corroded away. The speed instrument is horribly inaccurate (I tried to calibrate it multiple times). I fixed the corrosion on the wind instrument enough to use it as a reference at night, but didn't trust it to drive the boat to AWA, so I always had the AP on compass mode.

    Breathable Foulies - They work for a couple hours. I had several sets of waterproof gear, but next time I'll have a pair of non-breathable ones for when I'm really getting soaked. I spent the first 3 days of the race wet and mildly hypothermic.

    Ankle boots - I have an aversion to high boots, but 3 days of wet feet has probably cured that. I'm lucky I didn't get trench foot.

    Chartplotter software - I had a "black box" AIS with no display, so I just ran freeware or open-source chartplotting software on the laptop to display targets. SeaClear kept giving me false alarms, so I ran most of the race with the AIS alarm off. For the trip back I used OpenCPN, which handled the AIS better, but is still far from perfect.

    Dinghy - The little West Marine/Zodiac dinghy itself was great, but the oars and oarlocks are worthless. Rowing through surf was adventurous.

    Sailing gloves - I don't know why, I just don't wear them. My hands looked like a leper's in Hanalei, but were fine for the rest of the trip.

    Bananas in a gear hammock - Don't do it.

    Other Thoughts

    I got a lot of interference from the autopilot on some SSB channels, and none on others. This was kind of a problem trying to pick up weatherfax, and I ended up doing a lot of hand steering at times to try to get a clear picture.

    Netbook computer - I didn't spend enough time making sure all the software worked properly, and ended up not being able to download my GPS trace, which is too bad. The weatherfax software was also problematic and kept chopping up my charts.

    Hygiene - Wet Ones, a good absorbent towel, and Lantiseptic are a must to treat the rash and pressure sores that show up after 3 days of sitting on hard surfaces all day and night in wet underwear. A spray bottle with rubbing alcohol is also a great deodorant/cleaner/antiseptic.

    Alarms/Timers - I had two decently loud digital kitchen timers which I could set up to 99 minutes. I would set them for 20-30 minutes during the first day or two, then 45-60 minutes for 3 or 4 days, until I started sleeping through them. For the second half of the race I figured I was "in tune" enough with the boat, and stopped setting the timers and just slept through the night. My watch alarm clock could not wake me up.

    My boat lives in fresh water, so I was pretty surprised by all the corrosion and salt that showed up. At times the deck was slippery from all the salt. Cleats stopped working because they were jammed with salt. A daily freshwater rinse of important hardware would've been good.

    Wish List

    Satphone or Pactor modem to send/receive emails and gribs.

    A better dodger/sea hood setup to minimize the water going down below.

    A loud timer/alarm I can set to 3 or 4 hours.

    Standalone AIS - I really like the Standard Horizon combined AIS/VHF, but a Class B AIS transponder would give me more peace of mind.

    More books to read, and maybe some audiobooks.

    Last edited by cafemontaigne; 08-21-2010 at 10:39 PM.

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