Paralympic sailing article

The following is the a very good article about the Canadian Sonar team, Tingley Campbell Lutes.  They have consistently been in the top three on the world cup circuit.  This makes them the only Canadian in the olympic sailing events that I expect to come home with a medal.  The rest of the team looks good, but good results for the able bodied sailors are top 10 finishes, not standing on the podium.

The other thing this article does is address the water quality issue.  There is large amounts of raw sewage in the bay where the sailing events will take place.  This creates an obvious health issue.   Sailing specific media has talked this issue to death, but this is the first time I have seen any mention of water quality issues from any mainstream media outlet.

Good job CBC!

Here's the video:

Lee Shore's are bad

A truism in sailing is that Lee Shores should be avoided.  Traditionally rigged boats had difficulties working their way to windward.  Earlier this week there was a really good examply of this.

A pair of M32 catamaran's sailing in the Match Racing world championship event in Marstrand were in the prestart.  They sailed downwind up to a rocky shore, where the competitors used the rocky, lee shore as a barrier to prevent their competitor sailing to leeward of them and gaining the right to luff them up head to wind. One of the boats headed up violently and attempted to tack away from the lee shore, but they muffed the tack and ended up drifting down to leeward up against the shore.

A classic example of why Lee Shores should be avoided.

Here's the video

IMOCA Racing

This week the Transat Bakerly is winding up.  The majority of the pro offshore sailors are out for this race.

Line honours went to the Francois Gabart aboard the Ultimate trimaran "Macif"

Here is a good article about an english class 40 racer.

The website is here:

Now the majority of the fleet is getting ready to race back to Vendee, France.

There are several interesting english speaking sailors in the event.   Most well funded is Alex Thompson on board Hugo Boss:

Conrad Colman will be racing his boat "100% natural endergy"

and the Open 60 "O Canada" is getting ready for the Vendee as well.

English Speaking Vende Skippers

There are now 6 months to the start of the Vende Globe.  Competitors race around the word single handed in high performance open 60's.

There are a couple of english speaking sailors in the race this year.  One interesting campaign is run by Conrad Colman.  He is a very low budget, living the dream kind of campaign.  He is running a boat with an electric motor and solar and wind power.  Also, you can donate to his campaign to help him live his dream.

Check out the CNN Main sail piece here:

And his website here:

Van to Port McNeil Delivery

Earlier I posted about the delivery I had planned from Van to Port Mc Neil.  The trip turned into a bit of a marathon.

According to Navionics, between April 4th at 1300 and April 7th at 1730 we traveled 243.6 Miles.  76 Hours including our stop in Port McNeil for engine repairs.

The trip started off quite slowly with a through boat check.  This turned up a couple of things, which we got sorted and then got moving.  This was the theme of the trip as we constantly had somebody playing around with the boat getting it set up and prepared for its offshore leg.

Lots of motoring for most of the first day, and then the engine quit with a blocked fuel line.  Got towed into Comox to make repairs and then off again.  The unscheduled stop totally destroyed my nav plan so I had to come up with a new one one the fly.  Ended up with a nice route up through Calm Channel and staying in shelter as much as possible.  We went through a couple of places with names like "Whirl Pool Rapids"  and "Green Point Rapids" with lots of current behind us.

We got up to the Johnston Straight quite a long way ahead of schedule.  The current should have been against us, but we found that there was 6 knots against us on the south side, but if we hugged the north shore we had null current or about 1 kn with us.  The forecast had been saying 40+ knot squalls due in the afternoon so we moved along from shelter to shelter and kept evaluating the weather.  About mid afternoon we saw visibility reducing and lowering layer clouds.  We prepped for rough weather and headed for a little nook for shelter.  By the time we got there there were signs that it was already passing after some gusts above 20 kn.  Visibility was going up, the barometer was rising and when we called the air port at Port McNeil they said the squall had passed them without any terribly high winds.  Onward we went and arrived in Port McNeil to clean up the boat and have a nice dinner.  Next day we handed the boat over to the instructor and crew and headed back home.  Quite a challenging trip, but I am very glad I did it.

Here's a bit of GoPro footage from our departure from Comox and entrance to the Broughtons.

Crew overboard recovery

Earlier this spring I was part of a crew overboard recovery exercise with the Simply Sailing team of instructors.

We worked on the end but, after you have returned back to your friend who fell into the ocean, you have to get them back on board.

We used a 100 something lb dummy, which made for some interesting complications.  We  tried several variations on getting a halyard around the COB and hauling them up.  We tried working from the dingy alongside, then hoist up on a Halyard and loop a line around the COB from on deck and then haul them up.  The biggest problem seemed to be getting the line looped around the person.

It seems that I need to rethink my plan for retrieving a COB with the gear that is typically aboard a small boat.  I thank that the plan used for the Vancouver Sailing School's boats has some good merits, but I haven't got to try it yet.  They have a dedicated line that lives on the stern of each boat.  You reach down and loop the line under the COB, and then tie it in a long bowline.  This is then hauled up via a halyard or something else.

The thought for improvements on board the Simply Sailing cruising boats is to purchase a COB recovery sling.  This device makes it much easier to get the person into the sling and then get them back on board.  I will report further when I have more to tell on this topic.

Here is video I took and have shared with Chris at Simply Sailing:

Delivery to Port McNeil

The first trip of my little busy spell is the delivery of "It's Magic" from Vancouver to Port McNeil.  We leave the morning of May 4th and sail through the night to arrive in Rebecca Spit marine park early in the morning.  Then we have a short motor up to Bezley Passage and Surge Narrows.  Get through there at the low slack.  We are getting into lots of skinny little passages at that point, so we will have current to deal with for most of the trip.

We get through Bezley passage and then stop at Octopus Marine park.  To much current in a spot called the Upper Rapids a bit further on.  We are on the move again at 0330 the next day to catch the next time the current is with us. We ride the current as far as we can that morning, hopefully as far as Chatam Point.  Some time after that we will need to stop when the wind blowing against the current starts to create some rough water.

Another little rest in some little nook along the way and then we go through Current Passage as soon as the current is going with us again.  We might get through there on the afternoon of the 6th, but we might wait until the morning of the 6th.  After that we have an easy run into Port McNeil.  We go hove by car and ferry.

The crew and the instructor for the advanced course takes over from there and heads out around the north end of the island, out to sea for 150 miles and then back in to the Mainland.  A short over night sail back to Victoria and that's will be the end for them.

Here's a link to the tracker for the boat:

Busy Month

This year I am trying something different.  I have not taken a contract for an extended period from one school, I am trying to patch together enough work to keep me busy from multiple schools.

If the rest of the season goes as well as this month its going to work out fine.  This week I leave on the 4th to deliver a boat to Port McNeil with the Simply Sailing crew, and come right back and go again working for Simply Sailing teaching a basic course.  After that I have a couple of days off and a private client then I sail accross the straight with the Vancouver Sailing School's Beneteau 36.7.  Oh and I also am doing some sailing for fun on the Vancouver Sailing School's J24 "Josephine"

I am feeling pretty positive about this month.  I am really enjoying teaching on some lovely boats.  Here's some pics:

A bit more touristing in the UK

Getting close to the end of my UK posts.

After cruising instructor I waited in London for a several days to hear back from two potential employers.  Would have sucked to get home and then have to fly right back for an interview.  In the end neither interview happened, but I did enjoy some more touristing.  

I stayed in a cheep hostel in Greenwich.  One day I took the train into London and did a tour on a aquatic bus that was pretty cool.  Had a look around London and decided what else I wanted to see. Here's a video:

Next I spent the day in Greenwich.  I spent the morning at the Royal Observatory.  That is the place where the beginnings of modern navigation were developed.  The observatory has the survey equipment that was used to establish the Greenwich meridian.  This is the East / West point of devision.  All Latitude measurements are distances in degrees from this line.  I got the obligatory photo of my feet on the line, and then went down into the museum of time keeping.  This is important to navigation because if you take a sun site at exactly the same time of day, you can calculate your distance east of west from your start point.  It was a very difficult problem to develop a time piece that would stay accurate on a moving ship.  Most timepieces used a pendulum action that measured out the seconds.  If the length of the stroke changed with the ships movement then the time would be off.  Initially this error was hundreds of miles, but a brilliant man called Harison spent his life working on the problem and on his 4th attempt he built a small timepiece the size of a book that was accurate to about a mile.  Initially the British government, didn't pay for his work, and it took quite a battle to get them to change their mind.  He eventually got an audience with the king, who supported his case and dealt with him honourably.  Here's a BBC show about the chronometer: 

And also some pictures of the Royal Observatory and the time piece.

The last thing I did in Greenwich was to visit the Cutty Sark.  "Cutty Sark" is the fastest tea clipper ever.  She spent he life in the tea trade, and then near the end of the age of sail she carried wool from Australia to London.  She ran with a crew of 20 officers and men and spent her life plying the sea.  Unlike the historic ships I visited "Cuty Sark" went directly from being a working ship to being purchased and preserved.  She is sitting on the hard with a structure build around her.  She has elevator service to all decks, so she is accessible to all.  And for the last time, here's some pics:

Whale in English Bay

It seems there is a humpback whale hanging out in English Bay.  I have been lucky enough to see him 5 times this month.  I have been trying to get a picture every time but no luck.  When I have my camera around my neck, no whale.  When my camera is down below in my bag, the whale comes to visit.  One of these times I'll get a picture.  Here are some taken by JSCA

Continuing on with my UK trip

After my interlude of touristing, I got back to work.  I did a second Yacht Master prep course which ended with a successful exam this time, and then on to take cruising instructor.  I was so busy during the second prep week that I barely took any pictures.  Lots of night sailing as that was my big problem the 1st time around.

Next I took the train to Cornwall to take Cruising Instructor with a school called Cornish Cruising.  I spent a week getting some great coaching on my instruction skills, and learning more about the RYA standards.  Had an excellent week and completed the course successfully.  Also a very busy week, so not many pictures.  Here's a few of the town of Falmouth and the river Fal though.

More Historic Ships

This is yet another post about the cool stuff I saw and did during my Yacht Master trip to the UK.  Last post was about the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and "Victory" and "Mary Rose"

Continuing on from there, I went to see HMS Warrior and M32, also in the historic dockyard.

HMS Warrior has got to be my favourite  warship ever.  She was sailing at the very end of the age of sail.  She is absolutely huge and has both a steam engine and square rig sails.  19 kn under engine and 18 kn under sail.  She also has early breach loaded guns on part of her aft gun deck.  She fired modern looking explosive shells from these guns.  Basically she was the biggest baddest thing on the ocean at the time.  She was so powerful she never fired a shot in anger.  All the bad guys ran away whenever she tried to engage them, and that took some serious running!  She spent her service touring potential hot spots and reminding people that the british navy could kick their ass anytime they felt like it.  Here's some pics.

The last ship I saw at the historic dockyard was M32.  She is a monitor class from WWI  her job was to get in close to the shore or up rivers and bring the fight in close to the enemy.  She served in Galipalee during WWI.  She is painted in her Dazzle camoflage, designed to break up her outline and make her harder for submarines to spot.  Here's some pics:

More touristing in the UK

Continuing on from my previous post, after I went to the Needles I went to the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.  The dockyard is space within the present day navy base that has been used to present the history of the Royal Navy.

For me the main attraction was the ships.  They have the more than 200 year old flagship of Lord Nelson, "Victory" preserved and open for tours.  This ship is up on the hard, and the top masts are down.  She is a very well loved old lady.   She is also still a serving warship as the admiral in charge of the Portsmouth navy base still has his office aboard.

There is quite a large collection of historic ships in the dockyard.  When I was there the Mary Rose Museum was open for tours, showing the preserved starboard side of the Tudor battle ship "Mary Rose" and all of the guns, equipment and the remains of the crew that have been recovered. This ship was King Henry the eighth's flag ship he watched it sink in the Battle of the Solent just off Portsmouth harbour in 1545.  Her starboard side survived buried in the mud with most of her equipment.  The Mary Rose museum has been built around her and is designed to show her hull on one side of the viewing area and the equipment that would have been on that deck on the other.

There are still two more ships to talk about, so I'll continue in my next post

Touristing in the UK

After a week of STCW, I had a week of touristing around the Isle of White.

My first day off I took the bus out to the needles historic battery and light house.  This is the fortification that defends the western end of the Solent.  I really enjoyed my walk around there.

I also went to Alum Bay, which is next door to the Needles.  This is the site of a very old glass foundary.  They have coloured sand there that has used in glass making for many years.

Here's some pics:


Back to my UK Yacht Master trip.

After I did the two week yacht master prep course, I moved off the boat to a nice B+B in Cowes.  I took STCW 95 for a week.  That's the commercial vessel safety course.  We did one day of life raft training, two days in a fire simulator, a day of First Aid and then finished off with Safety and Security.

Here's some pics:

Southern Straights

I sailed in Southern Straights this weekend.  Southern Straights is a yacht race in my local area.  About 50 Miles West, then back to Point Atkinson.

I sailed with the Vancouver Sailing Club aboard their Beneteau 36.7 ClaraALLEGRO.  We left friday and spent the afternoon drifting east until the wind filled in around sunset.  We had 17 knots or so upwind by the time we were headed back west.  Then another drift back into the finish.  Very challenging sailing with an interesting group of guys.

Here's some video:

Yacht Master course

My previous post was a video about the whole trip.

Here's a bit of the story of the first part of my trip, the Yachtmaster prep and exam course at Flying Fish based in the town of Cowes on the Isle of Wight.

I flew from Vancouver direct to London.  The day I landed I checked into a hotel and slept for part of the afternoon.  Dinner and then bed again.

The next day I took the train to Southampton and then the Red Jet passenger ferry into Cowes.  The Red Jet is exactly what we should have in Vancouver.  Fast, no wake, shallow draft and capable in a moderate and high sea state.  The town of Cowes was lovely.  It's the first time I have been on a UK high street.  During that two weeks we sailed to both ends of the Solent and up to Southampton.  We did a lot of crew overboard, a lot of nav, and a lot of theory prep.  We also visited some very nice pubs in the evening.

Here's some pictures: