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Thread: New Boat 4 Sled

  1. #1001
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    Just reading the whole R2AK commentary now. That play-by-play was more interesting than a major league radio announcer

  2. #1002
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    Dec 2011
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    Santa Cruz
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    When Skip first told me about the R2AK I thought it was a joke!
    Then when i found out it was really a serious proposal I thought it was STUPID!
    But now that it actually happening I am finding it very interesting.
    And I appreciate the info coming from this "FORUM"

  3. #1003
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    Sep 2007
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    Yesterday's (Tuesday, June 9) update from R2AK organizers:

    There are two types of people who follow the R2AK: the forgetful, the humble, and people who can’t count. All of us made predictions. In the months between when we announced the race and the moment that just passed, all of us have declared what the race would be, how it would play out, that the weather would be mild, that it would be about lightly built boats, or a particular strategy, or that Larry Ellison would rear up like a moneyed leviathan and sink the spirit of the race for the rest of us. From the organizers here at R2AK to the people lingering on the toilet just to avoid the criticism of checking the tracker one more time, we were all wrong. At least once, but probably way more than that. Come on, be honest, even you.

    Who would have thought that it would blow historically impossible wind velocity and duration? Who would have thought that Olympians and America’s Cup designers and fabricators would be bested by a couple of guys in a couple of kayaks? Who could imagine that a sailboat could sail upwind and up current against one of the most feared passages on the West Coast? That we’d have 10 teams less for the full race with just 4 days on the water, or that the first 30 hours the lead boat could be 24 hours ahead of the follow boats, or that their lead could shrink to 10 hours in the next day? Who would have thought that early this morning a Hobie 33 would be covering tacks on a f-27 up the backeddy to stay out of the foul current? This is the weirdest race we have ever seen.

    Tony Robbins-type characters like to offer up that the Chinese character for crisis is a combination of the symbols of danger and opportunity and that this is some sort of truism. While we lack cunning in linguistics to judge the veracity of that interpretation, today’s crises felt more like a combination of the characters “Oh shit” and “Thank god”. The day started early, by 0300 Team SeaWolf had affected a successful abandon ship of of Sand Heads near Steveston on the mainland side of the Strait of Georgia. It sounded awful. Loaded down and in heavy seas resulting from the shoaling up of the entire fetch of the Strait, SeaWolf was in 15′ breaking seas that washed the boat with every wave. Each wave a massive speed bump, it was impossible to get enough speed for the rudder to affect course and they were unable, even in winds that built to 40+ to turn up or down. A lee shore upon them they called the cavalry of the Canadian Coast Guard and did the hardest thing for any captain and crew – the crew of Team SeaWolf abandoned ship. No injuries, but dashed dreams as the boat was recovered the next day by Auxillarists.

    With the blood returning to our faces, and SeaWolf family and friends having their weak-knees moment that comes from learning of the crisis at the same moment learning of the resolution, a thrice blown jib on Team Y Triamoto ending their campaign at their hometown of Nanaimo, and a parted Halyard forcing the retreat of Team Golden Oldies (who are at time of posting heading downwind to affect repairs and/or bow out of the contest). There are conspiracy theories that they are up to something different, but only their crew and the Masons know for sure.

    In the predictions of the race we were all wrong at least once, and it still looks like it could be anyone’s race for first, wide open for the steak knives and an honest to god challenge just to complete. Think safe thoughts for the racers, the wind continues to howl and fatigue can only be getting worse. Buckle up.


  4. #1004
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    Dec 2011
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    Santa Cruz
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    Elsie Won!

  5. #1005
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    Congrats to Team ELSIE PIDDOCK, Al Hughes and crew, on their resounding win in the first Race2Alaska! So many fans were watching their finish approach in Ketchikan the Spot Tracker crashed. As promised, the crew of ELSIE PIDDOCK found their $10,000 cash first prize nailed to a tree (in their case a driftwood log) at the dock in Ketchikan.

    The remaining R2AK racers, about 18 of the original 37, are scattered downwind for several hundred miles, licking wounds and making repairs. Norton Smith on the Hobie 20 beachcat HEXAGRAM 59 has withdrawn before getting halfway out Johnstone Straits.

    The Hobie 33, Team POR FAVOR, currently lies in second, just west of Estevan Island. Second place finisher will receive a set of steak knives.

    Good luck to the rest of the R2AK fleet! http://r2ak.com/registered-participants/#top

    There is no time limit. A "sweep" power boat leaves Port Townsend on June 24, making about 75 miles/day. If the sweep passes a R2AK racer, they are "tagged out," and can request a tow to Ketchikan.
    Last edited by sleddog; 06-13-2015 at 07:45 AM.

  6. #1006
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    The Friday, June 12, update from the R2AK organizers. We have seen this comradery amongst SSS sailors for years. It's what makes sailing amongst friends special.

    June 12 – “It was never about the money

    After 750 miles, Team Elsie Piddock tacked up the channel, crossed the entrance at Thomas Basin to the fanfare of cheering crowds, a signal cannon, and a horn blast from a cruise ship and became the first team to complete the Race to Alaska. Impressive to the end, they finished their journey by executing a flawless landing, under sail, in an unfamiliar harbor, in 2 knots of cross current, and under all the pressure of a crowd of well-wishers augmented by a dozen representatives from the media all with cameras. Absolutely greased it. Flawless. Not bad for a crew of sunburned and sleep deprived sailors who had just sailed the race of their life, of all of our lives, upwind and on a boat they had sailed for a total of 4 hours before the race began. Test pilots don’t always come back, but these guys broke the sound barrier Yeager-style, and then landed it without a scratch, and the boom was heard around the world.

    They were greeted with accolades, $10,000 in cash nailed to the only portion of that tree we could carry to the dock, and a sixer of the best Rainer money could buy. “It was never about the money” was the quote that echoed across the sailing world and while it sounded like the rote kind of humble brag winners make when they know what is expected of those cast in the role of hero, what was different was these guys meant it. Meant it so deeply because it was true. For them, for the crowds on the dock who wanted to share in their accomplishment, for the families that embraced them not knowing the exact border between the pride and relief that flowed in their tears as a single emotion, it was never about the money.

    The moments that didn’t make the headlines because of their truth and complexity were the acts of fellowship that followed the moments surrounding Team Piddock’s arrival. No paper mentioned the members of Team Turnpoint Design and Team Pure and Wild (who exited the race 4 days earlier) who booked last minute flights to honor and celebrate. “They sailed a hell of a race and we wanted to be here.” No radio interview touched on the scores of Ketchikan residents that welcomed the race to their community by offering their homes, businesses and boats to accommodate this idea, or the fact that the sunburnt crew, stumbling and near delirious with fatigue stayed awake to revel in a paper plate potluck thrown in their honor by the earnest folks at the Ketchikan Yacht Club. Real people, inspired and appreciative, connecting over a propane grill wheeled onto the dock. This wasn’t a blue blazer golf clap and a champagne toast of the America’s Cup but a heartfelt affair with more burgers than pretense.

    “It was never about the money.” is a sentence that if it could wouldn’t be punctuated with a period but with the fact that 100 or so miles to the south Team Por Favor and Team MOB Mentality are still doggedly making upwind miles toward Ketchikan in the quest for a set of steak knives.

    Steak knives. Admittedly really nice ones with a fancy little logo on the box, but steak knives? There is hardly a cost benefit analysis that justifies months of preparation, the investment in sails and rigging, let alone the heavy weather sailing days that blurred together and tested the capacity for human endurance. Let’s be honest, no matter how nice they are, who really needs a set of steak knives? When was the last time that you bought steak knives – let alone risked injury to your boat and your body to obtain them? It’s incredibly doubtful even in the most bizarre world apocalypse scenario that steak knives will be the currency of the future. This is just not a meme that makes sense. Even the downtown shops that fleece the daily flock of rubes and cruise ship tourists don’t sell steak knives. But the teams press on, from the race for the knives to the teams whose brass ring will be to simply complete the trip of their lifetime.

    Al, Graeme, and Matt are the best kind of heroes, and we couldn’t be happier that the inaugural first place team are guys that “get” the R2AK to its core. This was never about the money. This was about the accomplishment, about reconnecting people to the adventure of the water and to the fellowship that can create. Want proof? Money in hand Team Elsie Piddock are staying to cheer and welcome the next sets of winners across the line. Class act. As sailors and humans these guys are the real deal.

  7. #1007
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    This past Saturday, 9 lovely schooners came out to play in the Great San Francisco Schooner Race, sponsored by San Francisco Yacht Club in Belvedere. DEL VIENTO, GOLD STAR, SEAWARD, BRIGADOON, JAKATAN, YANKEE, ELIZABETH MUIR, and the two "heavies," MAYAN from Santa Cruz and MARTHA from Port Townsend.

    With a staggered start, slower boats first, we took off from the Pt. Knox start for the first windward mark, Yellow Bluff, off Sausalito. MARTHA had a single reef in her main in the 20 knots of freshening breeze while on MAYAN we made the questionable decision to make a last minute change from the Yankee (non overlapping jib) to the big Genoa in anticipation of wind holes off the Sausalito headlands.

    The big Genoa paid off, and we were able to fore reach around the Yellow Bluff mark in a wind hole that had stalled ELIZABETH MUIR and BRIGADOON up ahead.
    Shortly we hit the windline coming in the Gate, and MAYAN took off, rumbling along at an honest 11 knots with Genoa, Forestaysail, Advance Staysail, Main Staysail, and Main. The next mark was Blossom Rock off the City Front, and the longer MARTHA was coming on fast.

    Schooner sailing is different from singlehanding. At the Blossom buoy we had to jibe all five sails in unison in 25 knots of breeze. All of a sudden, MAYAN's 18 crew and 36 pairs of hands seemed maybe not enough. Did I mention there is no winch on the mainsheet?

    The jibe went smoothly, and we beam reached on port towards R4. I could now read MARTHA's sail numbers astern. It looked like we could hold MARTHA off for only short term. The inevitablity of MARTHA's greater waterline length did not seem promising for the MAYAN crew.

    "Let it all hang out" was the call on MAYAN and we stuck with the big Genoa for the beat to Alcatraz. The lee rail was underwater, and so was Synthia, calling lookout on the bow, just aft of the bowsprit. The wind has risen to near 30, and ebb tide against wind was producing square waves. Nobody forward of MAYAN's mainmast was dry as MAYAN's 30 tons, 72 feet, and 17 feet of beam went through waves, not over. Sterling Hayden and Spike Africa would have approved.

    With MARTHA pulling abeam, 10 lengths to leeward of MAYAN, we needed to time our tack to clear Alcatraz perfectly. The penultimate mark was Little Harding, and first boat past Alcatraz's south side could likely fetch Little Harding and lead to the finish back off Angel Island.

    "Ready about!" Beau cried. In the wind's din, nobody forward of amidships could hear, so we relayed. Beau turned the wheel, and MAYAN ponderously came through the eye of the wind, almost going into irons. There was about 50 feet of jibsheet to tail, and that went slowly, the Genoa luffing loudly to leeward. Big schooners lose about 1-2 minutes per tack, and we were a prime example.

    MARTHA was now 5 lengths astern, and her local tactician called for a tack to port that would use the max ebb to shoot them past the windward side of Alcatraz, potentially cutting the corner on MAYAN.

    Unfortunately for MARTHA, she tacked 30 seconds too soon, and couldn't quite fetch Alcatraz, costing them two more clearing tacks and falling 3 minutes behind MAYAN, which was by now rumbling towards Little Harding. Where was MAYAN's starboard lee rail? Well underwater.

    Somehow, MAYAN's 10 foot bowsprit didn't bust off, the masts stood, and no one was washed overboard (no lifelines on MAYAN.) We finished ahead of the well sailed MARTHA by 3 minutes, which was what it was all about for us. A good day to be schoonering.

    http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/articl...in-6324558.php
    Last edited by sleddog; 06-15-2015 at 03:14 PM.

  8. #1008
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    Wonderful report, Skip! Thanks! And hope the east coast now is not too steamy.

  9. #1009
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    Sep 2007
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    Home is where the heart is. However, in the case of our feathered friends choosing nesting sites, there seem to be interesting and sometimes unwise choices. In the Sierra, Water Ouzels nest behind waterfalls. Burrowing Owls nest underground in farmer's fields. Bald Eagles nest on rocky ledges, where new eaglets sometimes accidently fall through gaps in the nest perimeter, as recently happened at the Isthmus at Catalina.

    One of the strangest nest sites is the Barnacle Goose. Their cliff top nests are often 400 feet or more above ground. Freshly hatched goslings, fluffballs unable to fly, then launch themselves into space, in order to join their parents on the ground below. The results are spectacular. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p028w8yc

    In the space of a week, I've seen two unique floating bird nesting sites. No, these are not flying fish nests, as we had one young Transpac crew searching for day's on end.

    The first nest was a seagull's on the bow of an abandoned boat on an "O" dock end tie, just north of the Berkeley Yacht Club. Every afternoon, the determined gull hung on for dear life as the 25 knot westerly wind threatened to blow her nest hither. Then, injury to insult, about every 10th OCYC crew-in-training on out-of-control J-24's would crash into the abandoned boat, causing the gull to issue apoplectic squawks. I can only guess the outcome. Maybe DURA MATER can give us an update.

    The better deal was a nest I saw this afternoon while sailing in Red Brook Harbor on Cape Cod. As can be seen in the second photo below, two osprey had built a magnificently large nest on a floating dock in the middle of the bay. I can only assume there were baby osprey chicks inside, as momma osprey was very vocal, even though we were approaching on starboard tack.

    Once I found a redwing blackbird's nest inside WILDFLOWER's boom end. With blackbird chicks freshly hatched, my sailing program was delayed until later in the Spring.
    Attached Images Attached Images   
    Last edited by sleddog; 06-22-2015 at 03:09 PM.

  10. #1010
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    Arnold, CA
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    Osprey are brilliant engineers, note the clever use of discarded halyards and dock lines as guys to support their nest platform.
    All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it is vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible.

    T.E. Lawrence

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