The final miles of the Vendée Globe nonstop race dealt a brutal blow to Kiwi-American solo skipper Conrad Colman when his IMOCA 60 monohull Foresight Natural Energy dismasted Friday night. After 97 days and more than 26,500 miles racing around the world, with just over 700 miles to the finish line, Colman’s mast crashed down in 35-40 knots of wind and big, confused seas. He was 270 miles WNW of Lisbon, Portugal. Colman was dealing with a big, active Atlantic low-pressure system, a big hurdle before his final passage across the Bay of Biscay to Les Sables d’Olonne, France, where he was expected to finish in tenth place on Wednesday.
After cutting the mast, rigging and the mainsail free before they damaged the hull of his boat, the 33-year-old skipper managed to save the boom — which had suffered some damage — and his headsails. He planned to repair the boom then set up a jury rig using the boom as a mast and some of the sails he still has. But first he had to wait for the wind and seas to subside. Winds moderated today into the low 20s, but the seas are still chaotic.
After Armel Le Cléac’h and Alex Thomson finished the Vendée Globe on January 19 and 20, respectively, seven more solo sailors completed the race, leaving nine still working their way up the Atlantic Ocean. American Rich Wilson, 66, on Great American IV is currently at 30°N in 14th place.
Over the weekend, docks in the Bay Area were bustling with activity, as we were blessed by two splendid, sunny days, after enduring weeks of almost nonstop rainstorms. Not surprisingly, one of the dominant topics of conversation heard between slip neighbors was, "How are you coping with mold and mildew?"
As one old salt noted, "Hey, it’s a boat. You’re always going to get some of that."
But some boats suffer far fewer mold and mildew problems than others due to the steps their owners take to battle this inevitable nuisance. Many longtime boat owners will tell you that ventilation is key, but when storm conditions bring horizontal rainfall driven by 40-knot winds, leaving hatches cracked open isn’t always an option.
Some boat owners swear by dehumidifiers or low-amperage air-circulation devices. But even so, mold and mildew can creep into isolated areas, so periodic cleaning will still be necessary. What to use? Many longtime cruisers swear by plain old vinegar, as it is mild yet effective, nontoxic and available everywhere.
For many sailors the fallback when combating really nasty areas is often to hit it with a bleach solution (i.e. 10:1 water to bleach), the downside being that bleach fumes belowdecks are never pleasant, and potentially could be harmful to lungs, skin and eyes.
A quick Internet search led us to a variety of other techniques that are nontoxic:
• baking soda (small amount in water)
• isopropyl alcohol (regular "rubbing" alcohol, sprayed or rubbed on the surface)
• hydrogen peroxide (use full strength, but sparingly; may bleach fabrics)
• tea tree oil (use 2:1 with water; works great and eliminates moldy smell)
• grapefruit extract (although not so easy to find, it works well and protects against future growth; safe around children)
That’s our ‘two cents’ on the subject, but if you’ve got additional thoughts on this icky and annoying topic, we’d love to hear from you. What have you found to be the most effective weapon against mold and mildew?
"A new race is being formulated to run from San Francisco to Ensenada, Mexico. The start will be September 23, 2017," writes Bay Area naval architect Jim Antrim. "Part of the notion for this race is a more interesting way for Southern California boats to return home after the Rolex Big Boat Series, hence the timing. For NorCal sailors, what a great way to start your winter Mexico cruise! I hope the new wall won’t extend out into the ocean.
"The organizers are considering multihull classes, and that will depend on how much interest there is from the multihull community to enter. If it’s just one big SoCal multihull looking for a new course record, what’s the point? If a group of BAMA members are interested, great!"
Del Olsen of Richmond Yacht Club is the organizer of the 445-mile California Offshore Race. For more information, call (510) 237-2821. Hotel Coral & Marina will host on the Ensenada end.