Monday, 30 July 2012

Dockside in Paradise

As you will know by now Warrior finished the 2012 version of the Pacific Cup Race just before 1400 HST marking the end of another successful adventure.

I received a telephone call to announce that everything was great there and could tell that the arrival party - by then hours old - was still a force to be reckoned with!

I am expecting a follow up report after they have recovered (from the party not the race) and maybe had some sleep.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Another Sunny Daytime Finish?

Coming up!

A couple of hours ago according to the tracker Warrior was 40 miles away from the finish line.  They continue to click off about ten of those miles every hour and so the shoreside Warrior girls greeting party review are probably running at high dander by now.

(nb) Your Blogmeister is a shoe in for winner of the arrival time pool!

You will note that the Tracker is running in real HST time now and so what you see is what you get except that we are two hours ahead in the Pacific Daylight time zone.  Hawaii doesn't have Daylight Savings time.

The Website also list boats arrival reports almost as they happen so there is usually a good place to check.  Boats are requested to report when they estimate they are 100 miles from the finish, 25 miles from the finish and 5 miles out.  I notice that Warrior is not listed on these reports and I would expect they would be since they are inside 100 miles and probably now inside 25 miles now too.  They have experienced an unusual number of breakdowns this trip and I speculate that their Iridium and maybe even their iPhone may have given in to the fire hose conditions on board!  I'll keep checking back.

After all the planning and work to get the new boat to the starting line it must feel a little unreal to our crew onboard as they wind down another race across the Pacific to paradise.  For a little while after you get back you don't feel like a land animal.  It is good planning on the part of the Pacific Cup organisers to have back to back arrival parties and the Awards banquet to help them work through their PRS.

And then the stories will start and I can hardly wait to hear them.  When I do I will report them here for you too!

Cap't Billy


Friday, 27 July 2012

One More Sleep

All going well!

I spoke with Chuggy today by Iridium phone and all systems are go - well except for the GPS or instruments and the previously mentioned Sat Phone - but they are pressing on regardless navigating via Google Earth on an iPhone!

They have been a little hard on sails this last half too but they think, at their current bleed rate that they should have just enough spinnakers left to get them home.

Chuggy reports beautiful sailing conditions out on the peaceful Pacific this afternoon.  The sun is out - and it hasn't been that sunny, they have about 15 knots of wind and are on a track directly to the finish line.

Chuggy reports making one more short foray north (doesn't appear on the tracker) that it turns out was not the best idea and cost them some distance over the last 24 hours.

With the pressure off they are enjoying the sail but still plan to keep there foot down for their last night at sea.

So it is fitting that we feature Warrior Crewman and Owner Chuggy as we come down to the wire:

Here is a picture of the man who makes it all happen (maybe I should have a picture of Helen up here too!).  You go like Hell Chuggy!

Not quite in line with the estimate on the Pacific Cup Website I have our team arriving in Kaneohe a couple of hours earlier, just after lunch tomorrow - around 1330 HST.

I spoke with Liisa (Mrs. Fox) and if hers is any indication I would say there will be a happy arrival party shared by all.  And speaking of that Hammer reminds the crew to wash the Raccoon!  

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Narrowing in on the finish

Doug called on the Iridium Phone to let me know that Chuggy and Helen burned out the Sat Phone during their last "conversation" (refer to previous Blog post).  The Iridium Phone makes the user sound blurred, like he is about 4 Mai Tais into a 2 Mai Tai Happy Hour - but I am assured that was not the case.

The conversation was comical and went something like this:

DCB:  "I'm standing in the companionway hatch facing aft and it is just a firehose going on behind my back all the time."

Chuggy (overheard):  "Come on out into the cockpit  you get better reception"

The Dessert Fox (overheard):  Get back down below we are down to our last phone!"

While the crew onboard will be able to call in their daily positions uunfortunately the loss of the sat Phone means that we will not have anymore e-mail messages from the boat.  So now, with whatever I can glean from the web, I will just make stuff up!

Doug reports that they have learned a ton about sailing the new boat since they departed San Francisco a short week ago.  We should be reminded that all going according to predictions this crossing will be three days faster than any others we have made by our team.

Our people do have to acknowledge the crew of the other J125 Double Trouble.  Nevermind the schooling they have handed us they are out there making things darn uncomfortable for Icon - who is rated to finish 43 hours, or something like 500 miles ahead!  The last few days Double Trouble has actually taken distance back from Icon and narrowed the lead down to only 40 miles at one point.  Were it not for, what appears on the tracker, as an ill advised jibe into a lift and then back they looked to have had a real shot at line honours!

Today's featured Crew is Roscoe:

"That Rascal" is the Elder Statesman on board.  He has the most sea miles and a lot of enthusiasm for sailing on the ocean.  Roscoe is also the driving force for getting projects completed on the boat.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Is there a Righty in the Nighty?

To your correspondent the conditions look great out there!

While they are preparing for night 5 at sea we are featuring crewmember Evil:

There is a great long story about just the naming but you will have to buy my coffee table book to learn it.  What I can say is that when it comes to sailing Evil is a great waterskiier!  This is Evil's second Hawaii race.

Not to mention its usefulness in familial relations (nothing new to report on that front) the Sat Phone also sends us pictures from the edge and here is a fresh one:

It sounds like they are getting dialed in now and "having a great time".  The crew report that the new boat likes a lot of attention to keep it pointing down the track but it is within the scope of their ability.

To your correspondent current weather information seems to suggest a rightening (that is my own word) of the wind ahead which could present a tactical opportunity if prosecuted correctly.  If it happens lets hope our home team gets on the correct side of it.

They are running their A2 and Spinnaker Staysail presently in 15 to 22 knots TWS.  16 to 18 knots of boatspeed is considered routine but speeds in excess of 20 knots captures everyones attention a little more fully.  No one on deck wants to bear the brunt of an angry off watch crew who without warning got flipped out of his rack by a lttle round up!

Chuggy has taken to flavouring the water made onboard with a synthetic plastic taste.  Everyone loves it!  Why do they love Happy Hours so much?  Maybe now that riddle is solved!

I remember how it feels out there and especially this next part: the crew are all sending warm wishes back to their loved ones at home.

It's hard to keep up!

Here I am at still two messages behind.

The last Message from onboard would seem to indicate a bit of a calmer day at sea - and good news since the crew were all a bit worn out after Saturday.

This message was received her this morning and reports sailing with the Code Zero and Genoa Staysail "which is proving fast and forgiving"

Doug Backhouse aka Barkmulch, MacArthur, Snoop Doggie Barkmulch or just DCB - featured Crewman - sounding for all the world like a SoCal sailor complains it has not really been warm enough to all sit around and enjoy happy hour.  I guess our local Southern Straits Race has lost DCB for ever!

It looks good for Warrior to enter the second half of their race sometime overnight and preparations are are ready in play for the half way celebration.

Doug says it seems to be going fast and sounds nostalgic for those extra 4 days he and Chuggy enjoyed just getting clear of the Channel Islands in last years Transpac!

Helen, Chuggy wants to arrange for some Sat Phone Sex with you after he gets off watch - a new twist on an old game and just another of the marvels of new technology.

I wonder was I supposed to report that bit?  Well anyway it should be intimate with 4 other sweaty sailors there onboard within earshot and offering advice!

Why does everything happen when I'm looking the other way?

This is Cap't Billy returned from deep in the Gulf Islands Archipelago.  So deep in fact there was no Internet coverage of any kind.

So this is my first report since Saturday morning and a lot has happened over the last couple of days.

Firstly, and importantly, it has been brought to my attention that Grahuuum, the Dessert Fox, Wilder has not been as prominently mentioned in this Blog or on the Pac Cup Website as he should be based on his stature among the crew and sailors generally.  The Pac Cup Webmaster might have a more sophisticated response but here at Warrior World Headquarters the only excuse I can offer is embarrassment!

But I do think it is a good idea to feature members of the crew daily so here goes.  This is the Fox:

Ain't he cute?

I have in hand two as yet unpublished e-mails from the boat.

It seems that on Saturday night our crew got a crash course, crash being the operative word here, on high speed sailing from the inside of a cow, (as dark as /DWG).

Barkmulch's story begins describings their first real, all hands on deck, happy hour while sliding along easily at between 16 and 18 knots.  It was sometime around then that someone noticed the wind speed had increased to 20 knots with even higher gusts.

Driving Chuggy's new car.   .   .

.   .   . and sailing share a sense of commonality at this point.

When we walk along the sidewalk our vision is focused only so far as where next our foot will land.  Understandably when driving the Chugmobile the way Chuggy does (you go like hell Chuggy) you need to focus a little further into the future.  Sailing an overpowered light weight boat in high winds at high speed is a lot the same.  There is only a narrow slot where you can survive - too high and your reward is a Wide World of Sports spin out with sails flogging and happy hour spilling - too low and the potential for an even hairer round down wipeout where the boat may come to a sudden  stop but the rig and the sail plan might keep going - not to mention still spilling happy hour!

And for a part of Saturday night that is where our crew on warrior lived - all in the dark for added drama.

Following on from DCB's story .   .   .

"We switched up to a three man rotation on deck overnight and everyone worked really hard to make sure things worked out" <by worked out he means avoiding boat stopping and rig/sails carrying on CB>.

This morning (Sunday now) we are charging and recharging all systems.  We are low on battery, low on water, low on sleep and low on energy.  The engine is running and the CEV Lithium Ion Battery, quite literally our lifeline, is soaking up amps at a terrific rate.  In an hour or two we will make some breakfast and then we all need to get a little sleep.

The trip has not been without unanticipated incidents as we find that our Harken primary winches are chewing through our spinnaker sheets at an alarming rate.  We are through the cover on one and have shortened the other to provide a different point of chafe.  I hope we have enough rope left to get us to Hawaii!"

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Captains Blog Stardate 20120721

There is no need for concern - is there?

Overnight I notice that Chug Man of War and Snoop Doggie Barkmulch (can you recognise Hammer's vernacular in this post?) have fallen another 13 miles behind in their no excuses division of two.  But cheer up the other, equally rated J125 Double Trouble has run off to what appears the favoured south as well.  Warrior has them right where Double Trouble wants to be!

The good news is that the Santa Cruz contingent have not so far proven to be much of a difficulty.

I received this message from the boat last night:

>>>>>Hard at work we are taking a few minutes to remember the achievements
of a hard day. We have gone back to the jib and are making good pace
down the track. Our plan is to keep the averages above ten knots
(which seems fast except when it is compared to just about everyone
else in our division.

We have affected some watermaker repairs and that seems to be working
just fine now and we have stopped a couple of leaks in and around the
rudder post.
Its all good.

I am assuming they mean kelp cutter leaks around the rudder and so I am not concerned.  You will recall the consternation when they got too much polysulfide around the cutter - they couldn't get it in.  My guess is they erred on the side of too little this time.

It came with this picture below:

Now is it just me or does every picture have something to do with relaxing and just plain doggin it?  It is a good thing that Roscoe and Evil continue to carry the mail on deck or they might never get to Hawaii.

If they don't start clawing back on the other J125 we may need to limit the duration or suspend Happy Hour entirely!  I know but desperate times call for desperate measures.

Here is another message from Snoop Doggie on the boat which seems to indicate a passing interest in their racing results:

>>>>>Just a quick note to let you guys know that we have had a good night.
Wind is steady at about 12 knots and we are moving along at about 9 -
12 knots of boatspeed with the main and jib top flying. The boat is
very easy to sail and we have been taking short watches so it is never
too hard. The sea is quite calm from the days of no wind ahead of us
so we don't have very much water on deck either.
We downloaded fresh grib files this morning and seem to like our
location right now. We could see all the boats in our fleet (except
ICON) before the sun when down but I think the big waterline boats
have gotten away from a little bit. Can't just be that though as
Double trouble appears to have put some distance on us too... oh well
we will keep trying to win some of that back when we can.
I am going to keep this short because there is not a really good place
to sit in front of the computer.
Bye for now.

In this message DCB is referring to their first night not last night.

Is there any intelligent life out there?  Certainly none here in onboard the starship LawnDart in the Gulf Islands this morning - it got a bit Hammertime last night.

This is Cap't William T. Blogger Billy with Hammer and Julie Hammer signing off.

Friday, 20 July 2012

On the race track and making tracks!

Well I have no report yet but as can be plainly seen from the Pac Cup Race Tracker Thursday starters have burst upon the race course with considerable vigour - unlike earlier starters who are even now falling into the sights of the Class E boats.

Cap't No Expense Spared added a new Imarsat Satelittle Transceiver for the race.  This impressive piece of yachting excess allows the Warrior crew to access the Internet as well as e-mail, weather fax and GRIB files downloads.

As you might notice the tracker information is delayed by 4 hours so that it does not become a tactical weapon amongst the boats at sea.  This is a bit odd however because, this year, boats racing are specifically precluded from accessing the Pac Cup Tracker.  The primary reason Cap't NES installed the Satellite Internet facility was to access the Pac Cup Tracker onboard - but now he can't!

Warrior is making impressive tracks right out of the gate.  It looks to me like they made about 145 miles straight down the track by roll call at 0800 this morning.  About an 8 knots average speed so not bad for an abbreviated first day!

Suffering from the light winds that plagued the fleets earlier starters less than 100 miles straight ahead is fellow Canudian, Victoria's John Denny and crew on the Hobie 33 Por Favour.

Elsewhere in the news Nanaimo Yacht Club members Tim Daniel and his young son Ben finished the Vic Maui Race on David Ratner's, Vancouver BC based, SC50.  Their finish time was slightly less than 13 days.  There was a problem at the start for them but knowing how great the finish can be I'm pretty sure that is long forgotten.  According to the Vic Maui Website they were rewarded with a beautiful sunrise finish!  The Warrior crew salutes our fellows on Incantation for a successful crossing!

You might have noticed however that Warrior are slightly behind the class of the division.  Don't worry this was a part of the plan to lull the others into a false sense of confidence and then strike later on down the course!

Your correspondent is taking this blog to "the islands" - Gulf that is - to immerse myself and report with a proper sense of the sea.  I'll be back in the offices of Warrior World Headquarters on Monday.  I plan to make updates where possible while away.

So stay tuned and you will learn more as soon as I do - or maybe I'll just make some stuff up as inspiration moves me!

Cap't Billy 

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Pac Cup 2012 Going Live!

They are off!

Shots from the Yacht Cam at St Francis Yacht Club Race Deck:


1430 hrs. Live Report

I have just spoken with our crew live via Cell Phone.

They have arrived on station near the city front and the world famous St Francis Yacht Club.

The Start line is off the Yacht Club Docks and a permanent race mark named "A" nearby.

Presently there is some kind of Kite Surfing competition going on all around and throughout their starting area!  There are north of 50 Kites buzzing around at a high rate of speed in the reported 18 knots of wind adjacent to their starting area.

But don't worry to go along with Warriors "Kelp Cutter" on the Keel and Rudder the Dessert Fox has now installed a "Kite Cutter" between the Bow Pole and the Bow!

It's Showtime!

Today at 1445 PDT local favourites Chuggy, Dougy, Roscoe, Evil and the Dessert Fox depart San Francisco headed for Kaneohe in the 2075ish mile Pacific Cup sailboat race.

Boats race based on a rating system and the slower boats have been starting since Monday so they have a few days head start.  The idea is to get everyone to the finish line around the same time so that the parties are well attended.  Under normal circumstances that would mean that out team would need to grind down the early starters who might get out ahead as much as 600 miles.  This year not so much!  The present leader, at 450 miles down the track, is a doublehanded J120 who started on Monday.  They managed this by sailing radically north of the rhumb line.  There is a large cluster of boats, near the rhumb line, who are only around 250 miles out.  So the winds have been unusually light for the early starters.  And it might stay a bit light for a while today as well.

Raytech is a weather routing software onboard Warrior.  They also crosscheck/interchange Raytech with a routing software in Expedition - another program.  The weather software animates wind prediction's available every 6 hours from NOAA and downloaded onboard.  Conveniently we, at Warrior World Headquarters, also have this software so that we can second guess the racers at sea!

The software would be of little value without having a clear understanding of the boats performance characteristics in certain wind and at certain angles and these estimates are called Polar Speeds.  When the onboard computer (the box not DCB) has these two components it can calculate an optimum route that the computer estimates equals the fastest way to get that boat down a track to Hawaii.  It is almost unfair right?  Not really.  Because the program and the speed estimates contain probable error, and because the weather forecasts are - well forecast - and can change - there is enough variability that these resources are only tools against which to check an over riding strategy.

Here is what Warrior's Polar Diagram looks like:

Based on Warrior's Polar Chart and a recent NOAA weather prediction Raytech estimates a stunning sub 9 day crossing.  I always expect our crew to exceed estimates so a fast trip is in store!

Should Helen and the girl's crew reschedule their travel plans?  Stay tuned here for the blow by blow - and we hope it will by the way! 

Quality Control

Here committed crew member Barkmulch checks the work of the professional bottom scrubbers.

The First Order of Business Daily?

Not Today!

"D" as in Parture less 2 hours.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

The Strait Goods

You know you can count on Cap't Billy to give you the whole story and here it is:

In the abridged version, published previously by another correspondent - trying to muddy the water - the strident crew described heading out for healthful "groceries" to sustain them on the arduous journey across to Kaneohe.

The real story is that both teams of shoppers rushed out and immediately loaded up with enough beer to last until at least the end of the Mayan Calendar!

I am a little worried about their priorities!

Dockside in Tiburon

Welcome back sports fans!

Here we are back another year (or two) older and none wiser.

For the 2012 edition, flash across the pond, we have a considerably upgraded and flash ride.  You see as we get older we more appreciate the creature comforts and Narrow Escape was just getting a little too narrow.

Now the new boat, on the other hand, is the lap of luxury in the accommodations department!  You will find the softest pipe berths ever built, Refrigeration - if you remember the ice - and standing headroom for Midgets (The Dessert Fox) and an enclosed shoe horn style Head.

I will be filling you in over the next few days about the crew roster including pictures (Mug Shots) so you can get the names and the players straight.

In the meantime check back here often to see how the race unfolds.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Sailing in San Francisco Bay

Sailing back to our moorage spot in San Francisco Yacht Club. Chuggy is living the dream with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.
Today the crew spilt into two groups -- Greg and I rented a car and went searching for food and did a turn of Costco and Safeway. We are pretty much 90% complete on that job now. At the same time Web, Ross, and Graham took apart all of our winches and re-greased them set for race day. It's all good.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Notice how Ross is carefully applying the lifecaulk to fill up the top of the kelp cutter?
Well the boys spent the day working ever so hard in the sunny boatyard in SF getting the boat put back together again. Hard to tell if the boat made it into the water today but based on the progress we see here it looks like they had a pretty good day.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

In California now -- the boat will hit the water tomorrow.
The program remains on track with its arrival in SF this afternoon. Sounds like there may have been a couple of wrong turns -- no simple matter with this rig -- but otherwise an uneventful trip. Tomorrow the keel will be reinstalled and the boat into the water. The next day the mast is re-stepped and set up for sailing. The weather report from SF was sunny and windy which sets up for a great race.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Heading to SF

West Coast Warrior sits at Cutler's Boatyard with the final touches to be put in place
The first leg of this trip for us in the Drive down I5 to SF. This year Greg and Ross are taking the boat down and were up early this morning to catch the 5:15 ferry to the mainland. Once over there they will make the trip to Tacoma where they will pick up the repacked life raft and Mom8. Once they have these items in hand they should be ready to meet our safety inspector and have the boat inspected. Getting the inspection complete is a pretty big step in itself but we should have everything there ready to go.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Loading the Trailer

Getting Warrior onto the trailer is a bit trickier than for most boats. With Tom's help and some outstanding travel lift ballet. We had the boat onto cradle, keel into the cassette, keel cassette onto the trailer, and boat loaded in about three hours. We will run the whole process in reverse on Wednesday in San Francisco.

Good luck to the Vic Maui boats that started their adventure today!
Good luck to the Vic Maui boats that started their adventure today! 

Monday, 2 July 2012

Looking Back to the Previous Races

In setting up this site for Pacific Cup 2012 it reminds me to look back to 2011.

Our Chief Correspondent from 2011 was Captain Billy who worked tirelessly polishing the newsy one line e-mails sent from the boat and helping to tell our story. We are hopeful that Bill will help us again this year!

The link to last year's blog is

For anyone interested the 2009 Transpac Race that story is chronicled at this site

Again, literary credits go to Captain William Stick. 

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Getting Set for 2012

Tomorrow is the day we begin the boat disassembly in preparation for the trip to San Francisco. We will take the mast down tomorrow and will post some photos of that process to get things started. Thanks for joining the adventure again this year...

Cheers from the Warrior Team

Greg, Ross, Graham, Web and me.