. .

Monday, April 14, 2014

Charleston Race Week

This last weekend we participated in the Charleston Race Week -- this is one of the largest race events on the East Coast and consists of three days of racing in Charleston Harbor with approximately 25 boats in our division.  This was a new venue for us and a particularly tricky one given the two main rivers which converge in the harbor which combine with the tidal currents.  Immediately prior to the event we had a practice day with Monsoon and the 300 which was very helpful.

On the first day of racing we had moderate winds (7-10 knots).  On our first race we had a good start but never got in phase with the wind shifts and ended up mid-pack.  As they say you can never win a regatta on the first day but you can most certainly lose it -- our first race would have to be our throw-out.  On the second race we were over early and had to restart -- we fought back hard and finished 2nd or 3rd, only to later find out that the race committee didn't think we restarted so they gave us an OCS (ie, last place).  Things were going very badly unfortunately.

On the next two races we had great starts, had excellent boatspeed and stayed in sync with the wind shifts.  We ended up with two bullets which allowed us to end on a good note.

On day number two the winds were a little stronger (say 8-12 knots).  Again we had excellent starts, our boatspeed was superb, and we went the right way.  Two more bullets before the race committee called off the racing for the day.  Things were looking a little better.

On day number three the winds were much lighter (3-5 knots) and we drifted around until they started racing.  The first race was a general recall which resulted in a Z flag - 20% scoring penalty for being over early in the next race.  In the second race there was also a general recall and we were forced over by a leeward boat -- 20% penalty on our next score.  In the third race we had a great start but were slow upwind in the light air -- we rounded the windward mark mid-pack (not a good sign) but banged the corners on the downwind leg and caught back up.  On the next beat we passed a few more boats and ended up with a 4th place on the final race of the series.

The net-net is that we finished 4th -- had we not got the original OCS we would have won the regatta!  The lesson learned for us is that we need to be very careful to minimize our mistakes, especially to avoid putting a big number on the board early in a regatta.  We did however learn a great deal and the boat was going better than ever in all but lights winds!

Approaching the leeward mark

Mikey on the left on the start line

Light air sailing downwind

Tight Mark Roundings

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Patos Island Classic

This last weekend we competed in the 2014 Patos Island Classic -- this annual event consists of three courses - a day, short & long courses.  We competed in the long course which starts off Sidney Marina and heads south down Haro Strait to Beaumont Shoal, then north around Turn Point (Stuart Island), then up Boundary Pass, around Patos Island (any way), back down Boundary Pass, around the north of Moresby Island followed by a finish off Sidney Marina.  The total length of the long course is 67nm.

The winds were predicted to be very light and we anticipated a long sail and were pleasantly surprised by 8-12 knots winds for most of the race which allowed us to finish about 9:00pm in the evening.

Icon & Jack Rabbit at the start

Given the short start line we did a dip start and lead the pack out to Sidney Spit and then tacked south inside James Island down to Beaumont Shoal in a brisk ebb current.  On the way our PBO halyard broke so we had to switch halyards costing us some time.  Just south of Kelp Reef we headed east and tacked again in the main current river in Haro Strait.  Once rounding Beaumont Shoal we set our A2 kite and headed up to Turn Point.  As expected we were lifted into San Juan Island where we downshifted to the A1 in a jib set and then proceeded to work the US shore to Turn Point trying to escape the adverse current as best we could.

At Turn Point most of the short course fleet was parked on the Canadian Side -- we worked the Stuart Island shoreline for two tacks in adverse current and then gave up and headed over to the Canadian Side.  When we got near the Canadian Side a SE wind picked up and we beat up Saturna Island, then crossed over and rounded Patos counter clockwise.

After rounding Patos we set the A2 kite and had a long run down towards Stuart followed by a jibe back towards Moresby Island.  As we neared Moresby Island we were headed and had to put up a headsail to make it around.  At the north end of Moresby Island we put the A1 up and ran all the say down to Sidney in light winds.  We expected the winds to shut off but it didn't thankfully and we were able to finish without much drama.

In looking back at the race we left a little time on the course in three areas - 1) halyard breakage; 2) the parking lot at the NW corner of Stuart (we probably should have sailed right across); and 3) by rounding Patos counter clockwise - the flood had set in earlier than predicted and we could have spent less time in adverse current had we gone the other way around.

The net-net is that we won the IRC division by a wide margin and had we used our historical ratings we would also have won the overall.  A nice weekend and season opener!

Icon's Track during the Patos Island Classic

Monday, March 17, 2014

Pictures from Miami Race Week...

The US Melges 24 class recently sent us the following pictures from Miami Race Week -- we are bow number 83 -- we hope you enjoy them!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Miami Race Week...

March 5-8 we competed in the Baccardi Miami Race Week in the Melges 24.  We had a couple of days of practice with our coach (Ed Adams) followed by 3 days of racing.  The first day of practice we had moderate winds and did some general practice.  The second practice day we had lighter winds and did a lot of drills working out with the Italian Team Little Wing and the US Team 300.

The first day of racing we had moderate breeze -- unfortunately in our first race we caught the mooring line for the pin boat and wrapped it around our keel.  By the time we got this sorted out we started last by about 5 minutes, although we clawed our way back into 3rd.  Our races got progressively better and we finished the day 3-2-1, beating the excellent Italian team in the last race.

The second day of racing was one we won't forget for a long time -- warm, sunny and building offshore breeze that started 18-22 knots and built to 24-28 knots.  We had great starts are were launched for each of the three races -- we tried out some new crew positions and were gibing better than ever with downwind rides of 18-20 knots.  As the winds built there was a lot of carnage -- the M20 fleet lost about 10 rigs and there were frequent crashes.  We finished day two with a 1-1-1 and were very tired.

The third day of racing was a complete bust -- no wind but the race committee kept us out there until 1:30pm -- they tried hard but it just didn't happen.  We were early to the hoist line up and managed to have the boat mostly put away in time for the awards.

The net-net is that we finished ahead of the excellent Italian team and won the regatta taking home a nice Baccardi Pickle Dish!  A great event and one that we will have to do again!

Bryn, Kevin & Joy Receiving our award

Here is a great video put together by the race organizers for Friday -- Mikey was features in a number of the segments, although we are really far ahead of the fleet most of the time and didn't get involved in the tight mark rounding situations and other interesting moments.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

St Petersburg NOOD...

We entered Mikey in the 2014 St. Petersburg NOOD regatta.  This is an annual event hosted by the St. Petersburg Yacht Club that draws ~120 boats each year.  The St. Petersburg Yacht Club is a great facility located in downtown St. Petersburg.  Since we had been out of the boat for a number of months we had two days of practice followed by 3 days of racing.

On the first day of racing the winds were very light and the race committee held us at the dock until later in the afternoon.  We ended up getting only one race in due to the light winds.  Since we were sailing with only 4 people we did well.

On the second day of racing the winds were relatively strong (12-17 with higher gusts) and we got five races in.  Later in the day the winds became somewhat spotty giving us good practice shifting gears between full-planing mode, lazy planing mode and displacement mode.

On the third day the winds never arrived so we stayed at the dock, then put the boat away and headed home.  We finished the regatta with all bullets with the exception of the last race.  We had a great time and learned a great deal thanks to the help of our new coach Ed Adams.
Leading the fleet downwind on Day #
Light air start on Day #1 in Tampa Bay
Heading upwind in light air on Day #1
Full planing mode on Day #2
Beating in moderate breeze on Day #2
Lazy planing mode on Day #2

Thursday, November 14, 2013

2014 Round the County...

This is a place holder and will be updated as soon as we pull together our pictures, race track, etc.  Stay tuned for some great stuff...

Friday, August 2, 2013

Van Isle 360 "Highlights" Video

The 2013 running of the Van Isle 360 was another iteration of this classic northwest adventure race.  We had raced in this event two times before and took second place.  This lap around the rock was particularly sweet in that we won both our division and the fastest passage award, all this despite a particularly painful 10th leg where we just managed to hold off Westerly.

Eric put together a compilation of the various videos he created during the trip into a "highlights" reel -- this summarizes the event in a couple of minutes with the scenery ranging from the more tranquil waters on the inside to the rugged scenery off Brooks Peninsula and Cape Scott.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Van Isle 360 - Leg 10 - Victoria to Naniamo

Here is the video from Leg 10 of the 2013 Van Isle 360 from Victoria to Nanaimo...

Monday, July 22, 2013

Van Isle 360 - Leg 9 - Ucluelet to Victoria

Leg 9 of the VI360 is perhaps my favorite leg -- it starts off Amphitrite Point in Ucluelet and heads sounds down the Vancouver Island coast and into the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

The winds typically increase as you get further east, reaching a maximum at Race Rocks and then lifting/diminishing to the finish in Victoria. This run was no exception -- we had a good start at Ucluelet and steadily legged out on the fleet while aiming for Cape Flattery. We then executed a traditional Swiftsure return trip getting lifted into the US shore then jibing back to the Canadian side while anticipating the Race Rocks lift. Given that we were only rated for three spinnakers we had to choose carefully. In the end we had a near perfect run to Victoria and saw boat speeds in the low 20's when passing through Race Rocks.

This return was much better than the last one earlier in the year for Swiftsure. Here are some video highlights of this leg:


Van Isle 360 - Leg 8 - Winter Harbor to Ucluelet

Here is the video from Leg 8 of the 2013 Van Isle 360 from Winter Harbour to Ucluelet

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Van Isle 360 - Leg 7 - Port Hardy to Winter Harbor

Leg 7: Port Hardy to Winter Harbor

Van Isle 360 - Leg 6 - Telegraph Cove to Port Hardy

Leg 6: Telegraph Cove to Port Hardy

Monday, June 17, 2013

Van Isle 360 - Leg 4 - Campbell River to Hardwicke Island

Leg 4: Campbell River to Hardwicke Island:

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Blogger Problems

Just a quick note to let everyone know that Blogger is having technical difficulties and it is making it difficult for us to post our daily updates.  If this gets through we have two suggestions -- 1) follow the www.vanisle360.com website; and 2) look for our videos on YouTube - search for Icon Sailing Van Isle...

We won the 3rd leg in light winds and are 1st in our division -- as we have learned in the past this could change so we need to keep racing!

Van Isle 360 - Leg 3 - Comox to Campbell River

Leg 3: Comox to Campbell River Video

Van Isle 360 - Leg 2 - French Creek to Comox

Leg 2: French Creek to Comox Video

Saturday, June 8, 2013

View from the Top

Here is the view from the top of Icon's mast where we are tied up in French Creek -- we had a good day sailing and ended up with line honors plus 2nd in our division.  It was mostly light winds and downwind once we exited Naniamo Harbor.  Tomorrow looks like there will be more wind.

2013 Van Isle 360

The Van Isle 360 in case you haven't heard  is a bi-annual event where about 45 invited participants race around Vancover Island in 10 legs.  In addition to being logistically challenging it also involves sailing in a wide variety of conditions ranging from tight inshore passages (ie - Seymour Narrows) to full-on offshore legs.

The race starts and ends in Naniamo, BC and to make things even more complicated the scores for each leg are weighted by the complexity of the leg.  You also get bonus points if you finish 1st, 2nd or 3rd.  The boat that finishes with the most points wins --  we have come in 2nd twice so perhaps this time we will get lucky and maybe do a little better.

For this race we will also be accompanied by our 70' powerboat Swan -- hopefully the weather will be cooperative such that she can come all around the island with us.  We are using Swan as our floating hotel and sail storage locker -- this is enabling us to keep Icon very light with only the gear that we need during the race.

We will file a report each day of the event so stay tuned.  You can also follow along with our progress by accessing our APRS transponder using the following link:

Icon tied up in Naniamo before the 1st Start

Swiftsure - Hero to Zero

In our second race of the season we participated in the 70th running of the Swiftsure International Yacht Race put on by the Royal Victoria Yacht Club.

Last year we were fortunate enough to win 1st to the Swiftsure Bank, Line Honors, 1st in Division, and 1st Overall.  This year was a different story -- we were the first to round the ship anchored at Swiftsure Bank and had built up a comfortable lead until we hit Race Passage on the way home!  

We then parked it up for about 8 hours while the rest of the fleet sailed in!  Instead of covering Neptune's Car as we should have we headed for Albert Head and went round & round in circles.  The Car managed to catch the new wind first and beat us home.  We then corrected in dead last -- it was not to be our day!

Now on to getting ready for the VI360...

Thursday, March 14, 2013

2013 Van Isle 360 - IRC

The news is just in -- the 2013 running of the VI 360 will have an IRC division for the big boats.  In the next few weeks we will be announcing other events that will be providing IRC starts for the big boat fleet.  Hopefully this will be the start of something much better in the northwest...

IRC - It's Time...

It light of the on-going PHRF-NW ratings controversy we as a race team have reluctantly decided that it is time to move to a different rating system -- IRC.

IRC is a single number time-on-time system with similar measurement requirements to PHRF. It is professionally maintained and is the largest and most successful measurement-based rating system in the world. Most racing fleets world-wide use this rating system and until now the Northwest is the only region in the US not using it.

We will be working in conjunction with the big boat fleet to make a move to IRC and will be doing everything we can to promote it and grow a fleet.  Yesterday we invited Gary Morgan over and we measured up Icon in order to get an endorsed certificate -- the entire process was painless and didn't take very long.  Here are some pictures from this event:

Load cells at each corner of the cradle

Travel lift over boat

Poster Child...

Each year the Swiftsure International Yacht Race produces a poster to promote this wonderful event.  Under the capable leadership of  Vern Burkhardt the event is doing well despite a general downturn in both the economy and in yacht racing.  This year we are pleased to be part of the event poster along with our able & worthy competitor Braveheart.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Round the County Video...

At long last we have completed our editing of the footage taken from our on-board cameras during the 2012 Round the County yacht race -- enjoy!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

2012 NOOD Overall Champion...

At Grand Prix we were missing one of our regular crew members - Ben Colwell.  If the truth is to be told Ben had jumped ship in order to compete in the 2012 Sperry Top-Sider NOOD Regatta in the British Virgin Islands.

For those unfamiliar with the NOOD regattas, they consist of a series of regattas around the county (all one-design), the winners of which each winning a chance to participate in a championship event in the British Virgin Islands.  Each of the regional winning teams receive a 5-night charter for up to six crew members aboard a Sunsail 44.

After four days of buoy and distance racing against six other top teams Ben and his team won the overall title and were crowned the 2012 NOOD Overall Champions -- great work and congratulations!

Ben Colwell and the winning team

Friday, November 16, 2012

25th Annual Round the County...

Round the County is always one of our favorite events, yet it is kind of a gamble with the weather.  The race consists of a circumnavigation over two days of San Juan County, with an intermediate stop (ie, party) in Roche Harbor.  It seems like on average you get one day with breeze and another without, yet last year in a once-in-a-lifetime event we had two days with breeze downwind all the way around!

The 2012 edition of Round the County was to be under typical conditions - a cold but clear race on Saturday with a diminishing NE wind, followed by a building (but warmer) SE wind on Sunday

We had an excellent start on Saturday under gusty conditions -- we elected to start under Jib Top then fly the A2C when well clear.  Since it was a reverse start we had the opportunity to watch how the rest of the fleet managed to hold on!  Once we raised our A2 we quickly cruised through the fleet behind Braveheart who is considerably faster than us downwind in moderate breeze.  By the time we reached Davidson Rock we had caught up to them and the drag race along the south side of Lopez commenced.  The reach turned into a beat along San Juan Island and we managed to finish ahead of them.

On Saturday we had the remnants of the NE wind which was switching to a SE later in the day.  The start line was heavily pin favored and there was a huge cluster which forced us and Braveheart to go around and re-start up the line.  In the end this didn't hurt us much as we quickly moved out in clear air.  By the time we reached Turn Point we were ahead of Braveheart and held onto our lead to the finish.

After Turn Point we headed over to the Canadian Short and worked the current river while keeping a loose cover on Braveheart.  Unfortunately after rounding Patos the flood was still on our nose giving the advantage to those boats behind us.  Near Clark Island we managed to wrap kelp around our rudder & keel, forcing a costly back-down which cost us a couple of minutes.  Once rounding Pt Lawrence we set the jib-top and genoa stay-sail and sailed the rhumb line to the finish.  Braveheart set their kite and went very fast for the beach, then switched to up-wind sails for the run to the finish.  In the end we beat them across the line by approximately 3 minutes, with the rest of the fleet behind.

In the end under the "new" ratings we got 5th in division bring an end to a great season -- now we focus our attention on getting our rating adjusted to something more reasonable & fair!

Being chased by Braveheart down Rosario

Jib-Top Reaching along Lopez Island

The afterguard in inaction!

Seattle Grand Prix...

We had never buoy raced Icon before and thought we would give it a try in the 2012 Seattle Yacht Club Grand Prix.  We also wanted to see how things stacked up with our "new" rating (-108) although we were pretty sure what the answer would be!

Grand Prix is held in the protected waters off Shilshole Bay Marina and consists of one or more short distance races plus a number of windward/leeward buoy races.

On Friday then sent us on a distance race across the channel followed by a couple of distance races.  On the distance race we managed to time a few wind shifts correctly and finished relatively well for the day.

On Saturday under dark skies and a freshening breeze we went around the cans.  The start line was extremely short (around 20 seconds for us) so we deliberately went for very conservative starts, however being the fastest boat in the fleet we were always able to get clean air very quickly.  The course legs were also relatively short so we ran two (2) A2 kites with one always in the process of being packed.  Much to our surprise we were able to get around the course relatively cleanly with few mistakes.  At the leeward marks we typically used a Mexican drop as it was quick and safe.  Throughout the day we held our own relatively well against the other boats with the exception of FreeByrd who had straight bullets.

On Sunday we had a couple more buoy races and one distance race.  On the distance race we again got luckly as the wind shut off behind allowing us to extend.  At the end of the regatta we finished second to FreeByrd which was to be expected given the ratings fiasco.

The Seattle Yacht Club put on a great even and we will be back next year!

Beating upwind

Chasing Neptune's Car down the track

Friday, November 2, 2012

PHRF Big Boat Ratings Update...

In response to our recent letter the PHRF-NW board was kind enough to give us an audience to hear our grievences.  They were in a tough spot -- it was pretty clear that the Big Boat Council (BBC) was out of line by moving the entire fleet to a T-rating without notice or right to appeal, at the same time if the board overruled the sub-council there might be a walk-out among the handicappers who put in a lot of time & effort as volunteers.

In the end they denied our appeal to stay the rating changes but promised to hear a counter-proposal quickly and expeditiously.  In the meantime we have been working with several big boat owners to come up with a carefully reasoned analysis of the new ratings and a fair methodology which the BBC can use in the next round.

At the same time there is a growing push to move the big boat fleet over to IRC - at present this is something which we don't support as we hope that given sufficient time & analysis PHRF-NW will come around to some more reasonable ratings that are in-line with national averages.

In the meantime, if you are interested in the dramatic effects a 30-40 rating hit to a few boats has on the entire racing community, take a look at the following analysis which covers the 2010-2012 racing seasons.  The winners are not who you would suspect...

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Open Letter to PHRF-NW Board...

If you hadn't heard many of the owners of the big boat fleet are really upset with the recent unilateral rating changes imposed by a sub-committee of the PHRF-NW handicappers.  These changes represent the largest set of rating changes EVER made in PHRF-NW history (30-40 seconds/mile) -- and done so without any owner input or feedback and using an unapproved methodology.

Essentially what this sub-committee has done is come up with their own method of converting the ORR rating of a few selected boats back to PHRF using their own wind matrix and magic formula, such that their reference boat (J-160) came out with a rating of zero (0).  They then simply guessed at the rating of the remaining boats.  They then said live with the rating for a year and come back with an appeal if you don't like it.

The very premise of this approach is fundamentally flawed -- you cannot take a non-linear measurement based VPP system and convert it to an observed performance rating system like PHRF.  When you do (as they have done) you end up with a totally absurd set of ratings which result in most boats being completely out of line with their comparable PHRF rating in other regions of the country.  In addition, this methodology was only applied to a portion of the fleet (ignoring those rated slower than zero and the multi-hulls) and without any back-testing.

The big boat community is losing confidence in PHRF-NW and their ability to manage the fleet in an equitable way and this letter is an attempt to reach out to leadership in the hope that they will make some changes...
Letter to PHRF-NW Board of Directors

Sunday, September 30, 2012

2 Minute Trip to Blakely Island

We had the opportunity this weekend to participate in the annual Anacortes Yacht Club cruise to Blakely Island for a little end-of-season party.

The weather was absolutely wonderful, except that there wasn't much wind.  Eric put together a short video from the on-board cameras and condenses the trip over down to about 2 minutes....

Thursday, September 27, 2012

2012 Pacific Cup Video

At long last we have pulled together some of our video & still shots from the 2012 Pacific Cup. Enjoy..

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Foredeck Monthly..

A new magazine is about to hit the shelves and we thought we would pass it on -- it goes without saying that not everyone on the bus agrees with its content, but in the interest of free speech here it is...

Monday, August 27, 2012

Melges 24 North American Championships

Our premier M24 event of the year was the 2012 North American Championships in San Francisco hosted by the San Francisco Yacht Club.  This was a premier event with professional race management, an international on-the-water jury, random weigh-in's every day, plus great shoreside facilities.  In addition is was breeze on (20-25 knots) every day!

In this event there were boats from the US, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, and Switzerland -- most with completely pro teams.  Many boats also had on-the-water coaches and support boats (which we didn't).

We started the the regatta mid-pack and gradually worked our way up to the bottom end of the top third which consisted of the very top boats.  Each day we made some subtle changes which helped.  By the end of the regatta we were solidly racing the top boats and in the last race we lead all the way around until a spinnaker halyard jammed and a couple of boats passed us.

We ended up finishing 4th out of the US boats and 7th overall including the international boats -- not too bad considering it was our first big M24 event!

Mikey digging in after rounding the weather mark
Mikey leading the pack in Race #8

San Francisco Melges 24 Race Week

As a tuneup for the Melges 24 North American Championships in San Francisco we participated in the Melges Race Week hosted by the San Francisco Yacht Club.  This event was really our first opportunity to face off against some good teams and we learned a great deal.

It was breeze on for the entire regatta and we managed to hold on for 2nd against top boats like Bandit (AUS 717) and Monsoon (USA 747)...

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Icon Arrives Home...

Icon arrived safely back in Anacortes Sunday night, August 12 after an 11 day voyage from Kaneohe, Hawaii.   The crew is tired and looking forward to the amenities of shore!  A few minor issues to be addressed with the boat, but nothing much to speak of...

The big question will be what to do with all the extra fuel that they didn't use on the trip!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Icon 50nm from Cape Flattery

Icon has been averaging 272nm/day the last few days of the return trip and is presently 50nm due west of Cape Flattery with landfall expected between 10:00-11:00am PST, just in time to catch the building westerly winds down the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

During our SSB check-in with Icon last night the crew reported catching several nice fish (some of which ended up as sashimi) with calm seas & moderate winds.  They are expecting the winds and sea state to build slightly as they make landfall making for a fast passage home.  The big question the crew had was what we wanted to do with all the extra fuel they have left -- from the sounds of it they have only used the contents of the cabin-top fuel bladder and have yet to touch the below deck bladder, both main tanks, and the two stern tanks...

If all goes well we expect Icon back in Anacortes by 10:00pm tonight making it an 11 day return trip from Hawaii - nice going everyone!

Friday, August 10, 2012

400nm from Cape Flattery

Icon is now about 400nm due west of Cape Flattery making about 14 knots under sail in 16-20knots of wind from the south.  They covered 163nm in the last twelve hours and are on-track for a 325+nm day.  They expect the frontal passage to pass tonight followed by a diminished westerly clocking to a northwesterly tomorrow.

They are eating well with lots of fresh caught fish plus veggies from the refer for Bryn and Karl.  It is now looking like they will arrive late Sunday night or early Monday morning...

We had a long talk on SSB with them tonight - they haven't seen much tsunami debris on the way home, just 5-6 ships within AIS distance.  They said there was much more debris just south of the Pacific High during Pacific Cup.  Karl was wanting a ticker-tape parade with him as the star attraction when they get back, so we will see what we can arrange...

Stay tuned!

Christian (NA7CW) on the SSB with Icon in his Ham Shack

579nm from Cape Flattery

Based on the latest position report from Icon, the crew is 579nm WSW of Cape Flattery with an estimated arrival in Anacortes late Sunday evening August 12.  They are presently averaging about 11knots, and with the building breeze and the anticipated north westerly winds as they get closer to the coast they should be able to pick up the pace considerably (to more like an 18 knot average).

579nm from Cape Flattery

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Icon Halfway Home...

Jan and four others of our crew have been sailing Icon back to Anacortes from Kaneohe since August 1.  Their trip has been relatively uneventful with a few exceptions -- they have had trouble with one of the 24v batteries which doesn't like deep charging, the belt came off the watermaker pump when a set screw backed out, and there was a minor leak in one of the watermaker lines (which they fixed).

Not all the other Pacific Cup boats heading back have been so lucky -- Hula Girl (SC 50) lost their rig shortly after leaving Kaneohe and had to return.  In addition, the NE Pacific is somewhat a mess right now with multiple high pressure ridges and low pressure systems west of of Hawaii, in the Gulf of Alaska, and off Central America.

The crew is doing a great job of dodging the bad weather and keeping the boat moving.  They are averaging 10-12 knots pretty consistently and are presently heading for what they call WayPoint B at 44n and 144w.  They home to be back in Anacortes Monday night which will make the return trip 12 days long -- very quick by any standard.

Current weather routing for Icon

Monday, August 6, 2012

Pacific Sailing Championships...

This last weekend we took Mikey 835 down to the Columbia Gorge for three days of sailing in the Pacific Sailing Championships.  Our primary interest participating in this event was to get some time sailing the Melges 24 in serious breeze -- something that we don't get to do very often in Anacortes, and when we do it is typically in survival conditions.

On Friday we practiced in rare easterly winds that diminished later in the day - this made for long upwind beats and very short downwind runs.  On Saturday this easterly was a little stronger and we got in five races, each with winds in the 18-25 knot range.  On Sunday we were greeted with a nice westerly that built as the day went on, getting in four races before heading back to the dock to put the boat away.

We ended up the regatta with 9 bullets and first place - a nice change from our mid-pack results at the US Nationals earlier in the year.  The Columbia Gorge Racing Association put on a great event in a wonderful venue which I am sure will become a regular one on our schedule.

Here are some great pictures taken by Sean Trew of Mikey in this event:

Hiking out on the downwind sleigh ride

The view from the leeward gates

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Heading to Australia...

Now that we have crossed a good part of the Pacific Ocean so quickly the thought is that we just keep going and head to Australia -- we could be there in a couple of weeks!  Unfortunately we think not as we have many responsibilities back home.

In the next few days we will be preparing the boat for its voyage back to Anacortes with a delivery crew of six.

First to Finish...

After with what seemed like a very long last few miles with some intense squall activity we had the bow down for Kaneohe with our A4 max runner up -- this is a very tough kite which was important as the day before we blew up our much loved A2C as it loaded up at the bottom of a wave.  This was a big loss as this was a great kite and really lifted the bow up at over 25 knots.   The crew were frustrated with the A4 which really needed 25+ knots of wind to get going -- however we eventually figured out the sail trim and were quickly rumbling along.

Making a night finish to an ocean race to an unfamiliar harbor isn't easy -- we called for all hands on deck as we worked our way through the squalls, making the required radio check-ins at 100nm, 25nm, and so on.  We probably made more jibes in the last 10 miles than the entire trip, but in the end crossed the finish line around 4:00am Friday morning.

We were then met by a chase boat who escorted us through the main ship channel into Kaneohe harbor (somewhat complicated) and then to the dock where we stern tied.  At the dock we were met by a welcoming party and the press who were celebrating with us our arrival.