Singlehanded Transpac Discussion at next PSSA Meeting

I’ll be speaking about my Transpac experience at the next PSSA meeting! September 10 at 8pm at the SMWYC at the end of Mindanao in Marina Del Rey. I’ll be talking about what I did to get ready for the race, my experiences during the race and what it takes to do well. If time permits I’ll also talk about the trip back. Should be an interesting evening, so I hope you can make it.

Tartan Ten Mast Down

Wow.  Sailing Anarchy just posted a video from the Tartan Ten North Americans showing a mast crashing down. Luckily no one hurt and the crew did a masterful job in the aftermath.

Note the mast falling backwards, indicating a likely problem with the forestay. Conditions didn’t look too rough, but hard to tell on the wide angle GoPro.

Scary stuff. I know Slacker took some punishment out there.

Home at Last

Sunday Morning, 6am. The coffee followed the champagne!

A sublime trip in on Saturday. As I passed Santa Rosa, the seas flattened and Slacker with her spinnaker up, slipped along around 4-5 knots down past Santa Cruz Island in the afternoon. Truly a peaceful day.

The wind disappeared as we neared Anacapa, and so Slacker motored towards Del Rey. At 4:30am, I awoke to Cecile Schwedes aboard Aeriagne just off Slacker’s port quarter. She called over with an offer for a cold brew, which I heartily accepted. A deft handoff was made as we motored along together in the moonlight, and as we approached the breakwater I found myself a little tipsy.

Having given up Slacker’s slip before I left, we proceeded to Burton Chase park at 6am where the temporary slips are located. Already there were Rubicon III and Thriller, with Rod Percival and his wife, as well as Brian Hobin and Tracee Cummings. They had just arrived from Long Beach. Ed Webber and Jerome Sammarcelli where also there! Truly unbelievable. So there we all were, at 6am on a Sunday morning, drinking a confusing mix of champagne and coffee on the docks. A more wonderful, amazing greeting was never had.

Jerome offered some slip space, so Slacker moved over to his slip temporarily until more permanent quarters can be located. Deone and the kids met me there shortly afterwards. It was so wonderful to see them again!

I’m home now, resting and fattening up.

Land Ho!

Lovely view of Santa Rosa Island to port this morning. A ship is off to starboard. First land or ship I’ve seen for 20 days.

Foggy and cold last night. Visibility was less then 1/4 mile much of the time. The AIS alarm went off twice, indicating ships 2 and 3 miles off, but still couldn’t see their lights. Wind & sea rapidly went light. By dawn the wind was down to 15, and now is about at 7 knots, seas are maybe 4 feet. When Slacker’s boat speed dropped to 3 knots I couldn’t stand it & put up the spinnaker. Currently making 4.5 knots, slipping past Santa Rosa. Winds are expected to be light all day, dropping to nothing overnight.

The fog has burned off and it looks to be a clear day for drying out and charging the battery. The cockpit is now a clothes line with things trying to dry. The forepeak smells funny, while I’ve been smelling funny for sometime. I’ll see about getting the solar shower out. With it being so rough the last few days, I haven’t attempted to bathe or scrape my face with that awful razor.

LA radio stations are coming in. Feels like a grand summer day.

Slacking on, 80 miles to Marina Del Rey. ETA is about 8am tomorrow morning.

Another Loss

The repair list on Slacker continues to grow. A tragic loss this time. The #3 Jib was left hanked on and with two ties to the rail & under the spinnaker pole. Somehow the leach got overboard and dragged in the water for I don’t know how long. The leach is shot & the sail now cannot be used. I was counting on this sail when the wind gets lighter this evening. The large #1 genoa’s hanks are too small to fit over the temporary forestay. So we will be slowed down further.

In the meantime, it’s still blowing 20-30 with seas 8-12 feet. Storm jib and double reef are yielding 6-7 knots. Not much to be done though when the wind lightens up, so we will just slow down.

A bright spot is we are able to pick up so music stations out of the Bay Area, so Slacker is getting a little bit of civilization for the first time in almost 3 weeks. Currently listening to Alice FM, at 97.3. The company is welcome, even though no news. Curiously, we’re not able to pick up stations out of LA, even at night.

I decided to head south of the Channel Island chain based on probability of better wind there, so now heading towards the north side of Santa Barbara Island. It’s 190 miles ahead, and Marina Del Rey is another 40 miles past that, so 230 miles to Del Rey. For reference, W. Santa Barbara Channel is 130 miles ahead, so we should be south of San Miguel Island sometime mid-day tomorrow.

Progress at Last!

Slacker was tight reaching into a 15 knot ENEasterly this morning, then thankfully the wind backed to the north. Now we’re on a more comfortable reach. Speed is up to 6 knots, so we’re making progress at last. We’re still expecting the winds to build tomorrow, so the storm jib is at the ready. Hopefully the wind will continue to back to the NW before it builds too much.

Finishing up “Truman” today. Amazing how underrated this unlikely president was (is?). Seems like he just wasn’t like the educated journalists and politicians, so he continually got bad press and a raw deal. History is vindicating both the man and his acheivements as it pulls him out of the shadow of FDR. Incredible times he had to navigate the country through: finishing WWII & the bomb, Stalin taking over the Eastern Block, the Berlin Airlift, rebuilding Europe, forming NATO & the United Nations, the founding of Israel, Chairman Mao’s march across China, and the Korean War. It’s too bad men of honor like him are so rare in politics. Even with Iran and Al-Queida, today’s issues are so petty in comparison. We can’t solve our own internal budget problems? Really? Where is the leadership?

Slacking on, 400 miles to W. Santa Barbara Channel.

Rough and Windy

After blowing around 20 last night and this morning, the wind is currently 25, gusting to over 35. Seas have built to ten feet and it has become quite rough with growlers. It’s getting wet below due to the annoying way water drains around the hatchway and over the sill. Currrently beam reaching at 5.5 knots with double reefed main only. Wind may continue to build and I didn’t see the point in stressing things further with the storm jib. We will get there a few hours later, but we will get there with the mast up and maybe drier. Hatchboards are in and we’re pretty much just hunkered down waiting for wind and wave to die down in 24-36 hours, or maybe to back enough to the west to raise more sail.

Reading material has shifted to John Wilkes Booth. Quite a contrast from Truman.

Too rough to really prepare any food, so it’s trail mix for lunch. Maybe I’ll get ambitious and heat some water for coffee, if I can figure out a way to drink it without spilling. Looking forward to my dehydrated beef stroganoff with eveining.

240 miles to W. Santa Barbara Channel.

Saving Fuel

To maintain a reserve of fuel, I stopped the engine at 9pm last night. Incredibly quiet out here. I could hear only the ringing in my ears. A lovely long swell to add beauty and interest showed up.

We drifted until 1am when enough wind arrived to work with. Currrently a 5 knot breeze from the north is providing a beam reach in relatively smooth seas. We’re making only 3.5 knots, but I’m expecting the wind to progresively build into Thursday, so progress should improve soon. The question will be when to downshift to the storm jib.

Still no ships, fishing boats, or sails of any kind since departing Hanalei on the 22nd.

Cold, cloudy & gloomy today. I wonder how long it will be before the sun returns? Perhaps not until I reach the Coast.

520 miles to W. Santa Barbara Channel.

Waiting for Breeze

I’m trying to get by one one razor for the entire 6 week venture. My face is not happy.

The unexplained queasiness dissipated, so I’m eating better. Yesterday I had oatmeal, a PB&J, a can of chili with wine and 3 or 4 Oreos. Maybe there was a handful of nuts in there somewhere. More than I’ve eaten for a few days. Or maybe a few weeks.

We’re still motoring along waiting for wind. Just about the time Slacker runs out of fuel, I’m hoping the wind will pipe up enough to sail at at least 4 knots. The wind is expected to steadily increase to 20-25 knots by Thursday. This should push us along smartly, provided I can keep the rig out of the water. It’s beginning to look like I’ll make it to Del Rey by next Sunday. I may make a fuel stop in Santa Barbara as the wind always dies off in the SoCal Bight after dark.

The light out here is unworldly. Feels like a different planet most of the time. Incredible visibility, horizon to horizon. Varying darkness near towering squalls, with light under deep blue skies. A strange stillness like the calm in a desert everywhere.

Very, very little trash, by the way.

Slacking On. 600 miles to W. Santa Barbara Channel.


Wind went light last night, so started motoring. Now glassed off, down to zero.

Shifted headstay, only signs of chafing are up at the ring, so will have to keep moving it around. This will be an ongoing concern, especially if the wind increases as I approach the coast.

Splurged and had a second cup of coffee with my apple cinnamon oatmeal. Provisions look OK, considering I’ve been out here 2 weeks. I wish I had more water to bathe. It’s been a while now…

Slacking on. 700 miles to W. Santa Barbara Channel.