Notes on the 2016 SHTP

This is a recap to the race from the deck of Dolfin, better late than never. The Start – We’re out the Gate on the second (port) tack so that pre-race worry can be checked off. Want to get west ASAP but that plan is thwarted at Pt. Bonita where we’re becalmed for an hour. Many, many whales – we actually had to tack to avoid a long line of the spouting behemoths. Finally clear of the Farallons about 10pm and starting to move. The Windy Reach – Now we have wind and this is getting fun. Close reaching, then broad reaching in 20+ knots. Dolfin loves this stuff. Then the VHF is calling, it’s the Coast Guard inquiring if I know where Giant Slayer is because they got an EPIRB signal. I don’t know but soon a C-130 is circling overhead. This doesn’t look good but thankfully it turns out to be a false alarm and we all keep sailing. Spinnaker Problems – July 5th, we’re now broad reaching in relatively moderate wind (12-15kts) so time for the asymmetrical. It flies beautifully for all of five seconds until fluttering down from the masthead into the water. Not good and I’m thinking my only spinnaker halyard is now at the top of the mast. I haul in the sail from the water thanks to heavy bursts of adrenaline and realize I can retrieve the halyard because it’s attached to the ATN sock whose control lines are cleated to the deck. So now all that’s needed is to replace the exploded head ring. My first fix is spectra line knotted in a loop through the three webs at the head of the sail. I raise it again and after another five seconds it’s poof, deja vu all over again. Luckily the spinnaker doesn’t tangle in anything under the boat and I pull it in again. After inventorying all my spare parts I select a snap shackle that can be forced through the three webs and then snapped shut. After hack sawing off the swivel and filing the stump smooth I’m hoping the third time is the charm and raise the spinnaker once more. It works and we’re moving fast again after a few hours delay. Becalmed – July 6th, Spinnaker still up but wind is getting fluky and light. Definitely not as much fun as before. I’m chasing wind lines where ever they are but not catching many. July 7th, the noon to noon run is down to 96 miles. July 8th, 60 miles noon to noon. July 9th, 59 miles and I’m going crazy. Can’t help thinking of all the boats ahead who dodged this wind hole and are running away with the race. We finally start moving at 1:40pm, wing and wing. Hope that’s it for the light wind. Squalls – July 12th, Making good progress wing and wing the last few days but want to fall off to the south to get back on course so it’s up with the spinnaker again. Moving great except for the occasional squalls which make for more excitement than needed. At dawn I check forward and notice the lifelines on starboard are limp. That’s not good but I can’t figure it out until taking a closer look at the bow pulpit which appears to have been modified by spinnaker tack line under heavy load. So down with the spinny and up with the genoa while working to tension the lifelines somehow. July 14th, the spinnaker is back up when a stealth squall hits. By that I mean no visible clouds, just very sharp jolts of intense wind bursts, like someone snapping a whip. The sail and most of the rig is being pounded into the sea by the pulsing wind and I can only hold on to the horizontal deck waiting the something to break. I know that sail must come down but how to do it safely? Finally a lull and I’m deck, blowing the tack line to haul down the sock. But the sock is jammed and the colorful sail is flying above the top of the mast. Oops. I’m thinking of blowing the halyard next but am not happy with the prospect when just then the spinny flutters down where I can grab it and then let go the halyard. It’s in the water again but I’m able to get everything back on deck and down the hatch once again. I think that’s it for the spinnaker this trip. Roll Calls – Mike on Mouton Noir is great with our twice daily SSB roll calls. The only problem is there are only about six of us with SSB capability. It’s fun to get to know each other and follow our progress but it would be so much better if there was a way to follow all the boats. I think not knowing where you are relative to most of the others takes some of the fun out of the race but I don’t know the solution. I think less sailors these days use SSB and more are relying on satphones but that doesn’t allow for the group chats that are so special when alone at sea. It would be cool if we had access to the race tracker. The Finish – I think Dolfin is doing OK in the race and we are anxious to finally get to Hanalei Bay. At about noon (PDT) and 13 miles from the finish, I call the race committee and estimate two hours to finish. Can’t wait. But then the wind drops and finally dies altogether. I’m a mile from the finish, can see the boats in the bay and the surf crashing on the rocks only 100 yards away and yet Dolfin is facing backwards, completely in irons. Will I have to start the motor after 2120 miles and disqualify myself in order to save the boat with only a mile to go? Then yet another squall hits and we are finally pushed over the line at 3:40pm (PDT). Thank you, SSS Bill Meanley Dolfin

Seazed Asset loafing

Hi, Amy was here for a few shorts days. She arrived last Wednesday night and waited for my arrival. She got there a bit early, but its a sail boat race, you never really know the finish time. She was in the RC boat “Sea Squirrel” when I finished. The boat had an ice chest with ice cold water and beer. I went for the water first. Ahhh, so nice to drink something that cold again. We went to the Tree, I ate, slept, ate and slept some more. I took a few naps, catching up on lack of sleep. I did do some work, and replaced the broken shift/throttle lever. My brother Dale came through big time with the correct part. He only had my description and a brand name, to go by, yet sourced the correct part. Kudos to Dale. Amy went home on Monday,and took her to the airport and swapped rental cars. Then back to hanalei Bay. Took 10 gallons of fuel to the boat, in a pouring rain storm. Went by Race HQ and asked about Tree Time, in the rain. Location was changed to the house so I went to my motel and changed into dry clothes. Had fun at Tree Time then off to bed. Yesterday I moved Seazed Asset to Nawiliwili yacht Harbor. Its a bit removed, but am at a dock. Need to fix a few things, like the boom vang attachment, retrieve my halyard, replace the fuel gauge sender, top off water and load up with diesel. Oh, pick up my return crew at the airport. Steve Flyn, is arriving at 3 pm today. Its been hot an muggy on the boat. Had a difficult time sleeping. The trade winds started blowing again about 3 am , so that helped. I called Commanders weather for routing home. They said Sunday does not look good to start my return to the Bay Area. I need to wait for two tropical storms to get in front of me. Looks like a Monday or Tuesday departure. Vance Seazed Asset ————————————————- Do not push the “reply” button to respond to this message if that includes the text of this original message in your response. Messages are sent over a very low-speed radio link. The most concise way to reply is to send a NEW message to: wdi6622@sailmail.com If you DO use your reply button, be sure to delete the original message text and these instructions from your reply. Replies should not contain attachments and should be less than 5 kBytes (2 text pages) in length. This email was delivered by an HF private coast station in the Maritime Mobile Radio Service, operated by the SailMail Association, a non-profit association of yacht owners. For more information on this service or on the SailMail Association, please see the web site at: www.sailmail.com

Thrilled about arrival

32 more miles to go for my Lobster dinner. Expect noon arrival today Sunday. I’ve done this race twice before and arrived in darkness. Finally get that picturesque scenery. Very deserved for all TAZ has done to get me here safely. Sent from my iPhone

a bit more detail on AP failure.

Relay. On Sunday 7-16, about 1300 hrs PDT. 306 miles to go after a very challenged day, but back in the saddle again after fixing brain box connection of AP. Overwhelmed by fatigue, stress and emotions and the thought of Heaving to frequently. I cried n acknowledged my vulnerability. It was good to do that n it helped to move onto successful repairs. 22 knots n boat moving at 12 kts. Moon n stars are beautiful. Relay from Joe B Archimedes

top speed on Seazed Asset

This is going back to July 11. I set the chute at 0700 that day. It was windy high 10s to low 20s, and some very confused seas. They seemed to be going about 3-4 different directions at once. Making it difficult to steer the boat. Then the squalls started coming in about 0900. By noon I lost track of the squalls. The at 1230, a trifecta hit me hard. Rounded up, boom tip in the water, rounded down, spinnaker tip in the water, then WHAM, accidental jibe. That was it for me, game over, no more spinnaker. So I clear the deck and find nothing broken, except my pride. I am sailing under main only back on course, right for the palm trees, going 7 knots (it was windy). Then the bow pitches down, REALLY down, felt like I was headed for the center of the earth. I grabbed a handhold and looked at the GPS. The high 8s, the high 9s then high 10s, the 12.4 flashed for just a brief nano second. Came to the bottom of the wave with a nice soft landing and kept going:) Vance Seazed Asset