April 24, 2020

R2AK Announcement and More Updates

Race to Alaska

The Race Boss of R2AK, Daniel Evans, writes: “There are two ways to say this:

  1. R2AK and SEVENTY48 are canceled in 2020.
  2. R2AK and SEVENTY48 2020 aren’t canceled, but you can’t cross the starting line until 2021.

“We chose to answer the same questions we ask of racers when racing:

  1. Can we do this? Yes or No.
  2. Is it worth the risk? Yes or No.
  3. Can we survive this? Yes or No.

“You need a triple affirmative before pushing away from your last success.” The Boss has already set the start date for 2021 (June 7). “Barring, I don’t know, gigantic dinosaur-extinguishing comets, we will be on the water in 2021 taking pictures like tourists and high-fiving finishers.”

F-18 cat
The Benicia-based Team Pura Vida — Christopher Green and Christian Vuerrings — had entered an F-18 catamaran with pedal drive in the Race to Alaska.
© 2020 Race to Alaska

In the meantime, you can glean some entertainment reading the team bios at https://r2ak.com.

Stockton Sail Camp

“The directors of Sailcamp are sad to announce that Sailcamp 2020 is officially being canceled,” writes Buster Long. “We are very disappointed, especially since we were excited to celebrate Sailcamp’s 30th year. Campers, we will miss you — hopefully you can find a way to get some sailing in this summer.” Sail Camp was on the schedule for June 21-27.

El Toro sailors
Sail Camp includes all levels of El Toro sailing.
© 2020 Stockton Sailing Club

Rolex Big Boat Series

Regatta Chair Susan Ruhne writes: “We at the St Francis Yacht Club are following the situation and monitoring the news. We’re optimistic that we can host the 2020 Rolex Big Boat Series. Our team is moving forward with planning, and we hope that you also plan to join us in September at the regatta.   We will continue to work with the club leadership, our sponsor, Rolex, the City of San Francisco, the YRA and the Coast Guard to ensure that we can hold a safe yet fun event for all involved.

“The Notice of Race is posted, and entries are open on www.rolexbigboatseries.com. All entries are 100% refundable until August 1; we will update this as needed. Classes invited include Classics, ORR (30 feet and larger), Express 37 — for the 30th consecutive year — J/88 for their North American Championships, J/105 and J/70.

“Please enjoy this taste of the Rolex Big Boat Series — and we hope to see you in September!”

Championships

The 2020 Laser National Championship and US Singlehanded Championship scheduled for June 12-14 in Norfolk, VA, has been canceled. The 2021 date is June 18-20.

The International J/24 Class Association (IJCA) canceled the 2020 J/24 World Championship, which was to have been held on September 12-18 at Parkstone Yacht Club in Poole, UK. Parkstone YC will host the 2021 World Championship on September 24-October 2.

Chafe Is Your Enemy

We’ve heard the mantra before, “Chafe is your enemy.” I thought this upon noticing the tow bridle for a friend’s inflatable dinghy was rubbing at its attachment points. It was early in 2019, and the mothership would have a very active season with the dinghy in tow at all times, so I thought I should mention it to him. Since he was doing some general maintenance that day, I offered to come up with a protective solution for him.

He was on a guest dock without access to a chandlery and other services, so we discussed the materials that were on board for repairs. He had some old fire hose, leather, seizing wire and waxed twine. There were tools aplenty, so I grabbed some pliers, wire cutters, sail needles, and a shackle key.

Chafe can strike where you most, or least, expect it.
© 2020 Joshua Wheeler

I pulled the dinghy onto the dock and inspected the bridle setup more closely. I first noticed the shackles used to attach it. They were oriented so that the pins’ heads were in the “up” position. I removed the seizing wire and the pins and rotated the shackles 180 degrees. I put them back together, immediately recognizing this was a better orientation, as it faced the hard-angled edges downward. This simple adjustment vastly improved the situation.

Want to prevent chafe? Start with some basic orientation of key parts.
© 2020 Joshua Wheeler

The shackles would still make contact with the dinghy under tension, so I wanted to add sleeves over them. At first, I envisioned using some of the old firehose, which could be slipped over and sewn on, but what was available to me were previously-cut remnants. The hose wanted to unravel as I worked with it, and the cuts were not the right size. It was not a good option.

The resourceful sailor always has supplies at the ready.
© 2020 Joshua Wheeler

I moved on to the leather and spent a few minutes fitting and refitting, trying to see how best to make it work with what I had. My supply was limited, and the junction of the dinghy ring, shackle, and thimble made an awkward chain. I cut rectangular pieces to fold around the shackle, sewing them on with the waxed twine and a whipstitch. Since the shackle connects the ring with the eye splice and thimble,  encapsulating the assembly entirely would require part of it to be covered by the leather. I was able to stitch around everything, which would keep the leather chafe guard from sliding up or down.

When I finished, I was not impressed with its beauty, but was confident it would serve its purpose. My friend, the mothership, and the dinghy went off for their summer adventures throughout the Pacific Northwest, and I went off on mine. Recently, a year later, I bumped into him and the boat in Port Townsend. I took a quick look to see how the chafe protection was holding up and serving its purpose. The leather guards were still securely in place, halting further wear on the dinghy.

A little leather does the trick.
© 2020 Joshua Wheeler

The importance of regular inspections cannot be stressed enough. Chafe on boats can be an ongoing battle. Constant motion and changing weather conditions can mean what is good one day may not be the next. Whether it be a towing bridle, docklines, sheets, halyards, or fenders (the list can go on and on), recognizing it is first. It might be as simple as adjusting a line or block. But if you need to add a guard, keeping leather, stitching twine, and one of my favorites, old lengths of vinyl or rubber water hose, onboard can prevent expensive and dangerous chafing. There are prefab items you can purchase for chafe protection, and these may cater to certain typical situations, but not to all. Be prepared to act on the spot when you see a problem.

When you need to fix something in a pinch, The Resourceful Sailor hopes to give ideas on how to make this happen. Remember, keep your solutions safe and prudent, and have a blast.

Passage Nautical Offers Virtual Tours

Passage Nautical
Passage Nautical offers live boating webinars, walk-through videos and podcasts. If you are in the market for a boat, the team at Passage Nautical can help you find it, from the comfort of your home.

Changing the Small Craft Advisory System

BoatUS sent this message to its contact list on Wednesday: “In a move that could simplify and potentially reduce misunderstanding of urgent weather messages used by recreational boaters to make critical boating safety decisions, the National Weather Service (NWS) has proposed renaming ‘Small Craft Advisory’ to ‘Small Craft Warning’.” The NWS requests boaters’ feedback. “Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) urges boaters to speak up now by taking a NWS survey for recreational boaters at www.surveymonkey.com/r/VZGX6BF. The survey closes May 24, 2020.”

Yawl on beach
This yawl ran afoul of a Small Craft Advisory in December 2018, winding up on the beach in Moss Landing. Both the skipper and the boat survived the incident.
© 2020 Stefan Berlinski

“Every day they go boating, boat owners check the weather and then make the decision to either head out or not,” said BoatUS government affairs manager David Kennedy. “We think the name change will help clarify what this means, leading to a better understanding of the severity of a marine weather forecast, and help give recreational boaters the information they need to make smart choices about boating safely.”

For decades, NWS has used the Watch, Warning and Advisory system to alert users about forecast hazards, but it has recognized this can be confusing. The proposal to rename ‘Small Craft Advisory’ to ‘Small Craft Warning’ is part of a larger effort to reduce the messages to just two terms: Watch and Warning. NOAA also says the name change would better align with all other marine warnings — Gale, Storm, and Hurricane Force Wind — leading to greater understanding by recreational boaters.

Changing from ‘Advisory’ to ‘Warning’ would not change the term’s definition. While there is no precise definition of a ‘small craft’, a ‘Small Craft Advisory’ is issued when sustained wind speeds or frequent gusts have reached 20-33 knots, and/or for seas or waves of 4 feet or more, and/or for waves or seas that are potentially hazardous. The requirements vary slightly by region, and local conditions may also prompt a Small Craft Advisory.

Small Craft Advisories are no strangers to San Francisco Bay. It almost seems as if we get one most days when the winds of summer blow through the Gate.

New Girl on the Block

Latitude 38 published an update about Wilbur Spaul’s build of the new Chubby Girl at Berkeley Marine Center in this month’s Sightings.

Wilbur Spaul achieved a significant milestone in his bid to sail the smallest boat to Hawaii: In February, he chainsawed the 8-ft Chubby Girl into pieces and tossed them into a dumpster. Her slightly longer, significantly lighter, and hopefully better-sailing sibling is currently under construction.

The End of Chubby Girl
An unceremonious end to the original Chubby Girl
© 2020 Mitchell Andrus

As you may recall from a Sightings in the October 2019 issue, Wil is a longtime sailor and cruiser, with the equally longtime dream of completing this passage. His inspiration — and the person to whom he will dedicate the voyage — is Gerry Spiess, the current record holder of the smallest-boat passage to Hawaii. In 1981, Spiess sailed the 10-ft Yankee Girl from Long Beach to Honolulu. It took him 34 days.

Inside Chubby Girl
How do you sail a 9-ft boat across the ocean? You basically turn it into a floating food locker.
© 2020 www.chubbygirlcruising.com

Spaul designed and built the recently-destroyed Chubby Girl out of glass-covered plywood in a friend’s garage in Walnut Creek. He began sea-trialing the boat out of Berkeley last spring. Despite a new set of sails from Pineapple and design assistance from El Sobrante naval architect Jim Antrim, progress — and performance — was slow and a bit disappointing.

Cree and the new Chubby Girl
Cree Partridge, the man with the building plan
© 2020 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Mitch

Read the full article in the April issue of Latitude 38.

Options for Cruisers in Hawaii

The Big Island

As an anonymous contributor reported on Wednesday’s installment of ‘Lectronic Latitude, Hilo’s Radio Bay — a well-protected man-made anchorage popular with recently-arrived cruisers — has now been closed to transient yachts. In light of the coronavirus pandemic and sailors’ apparently blatant disregard of Hawaii’s newly-enacted social distancing and mandatory self-quarantine rules, Radio Bay (as well as other sailing hotspots) is no longer open for business. While we hope this won’t be a permanent restriction, we fear that, like many other ‘temporary’ aspects of life right now, this closure will become the new normal. The closure has reportedly been contemplated for years. While the loss of this popular anchorage will surely serve as an inconvenience to a small handful of recently-arrived cruisers, and comes at a bad time for some, it’s not the end of the world.

Fortunately, there are many other great spots to anchor or moor a cruising yacht while sailing in the oft-misunderstood cruising ground that makes up the Hawaiian Islands. There is good holding just a few hundred meters away from Radio Bay in expansive Hilo Bay. There’s also a small state harbor there and a few select mooring balls in Hilo. Around the west side of the island there is the large Honokohau Harbor just north of Kailua-Kona, which may or may not have room for transient yachts. Farther north from Honokohau, there is the newly renovated Kawaihae Harbor as well as good anchoring and mooring nearby. Kawaihae also offers one of the best surf breaks on the Big Island.

Quiver in Lahaina
There is perhaps no place better to chill out, spend some time on the boat, and get away from it all than anchored or moored right in front of Lahaina, Maui. Here, the Peterson 34 Quiver practices some social distancing just off Lahaina. It is normally calm there, unless the trades go northeast and strengthen. In that case, just go for a daysail a few miles farther south and anchor somewhere else.
© 2020 Ronnie Simpson

Maui

According to the latest posted rules and regulations from the state of Hawaii, inter-island travel on one’s own yacht does not appear to be prohibited at this point in time, though the sailors aboard would be legally obligated to self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival at a new island. Pick an island and stay there. Recreational boating is still allowed, provided that boats don’t carry more than two crew unless they are from the same family or live at the same residence, and that those onboard observe physical-distancing requirements.

Just a day’s sail away from Hilo is the beautiful island of Maui, where one could anchor and/or likely find a mooring ball or possibly even a slip in one of the island’s two marinas. We happen to know of one particular HH55 catamaran that recently rocked up from Mexico and sailed into Radio Bay just as it was being closed. Getting out while the getting was good, they have now made Maui’s Honolua Bay home, and are surfing their days away at the world-famous right-hander that hosts the final round of the women’s world championship surfing tour each year.

Harbor in Lahaina
A great place to quarantine could be Lahaina Harbor on Maui. With a harbor, mooring balls, decent anchoring and more spots to anchor just up and down the coast, Lahaina has it all. Lahaina is a rustic old whaling port still full of charm.
© 2020 Ronnie Simpson

Oahu

A white man showing up on a boat during a pandemic may not go over well on Molokai, and options on Lanai will be limited, but arguably the crown jewel of riding out the ‘rona in Hawaii is Honolulu’s Ala Wai Harbor. Lock up your outboard and any valuables, and you should be all right. With a ton of slips, nearby provisioning and the world-famous Ala Moana Bowls surf break out front, even the seedy Ala Wai starts to look pretty good. The harbor in Haleiwa almost always has slips available. If one really needs a slip and doesn’t mind paying astronomical slip fees, Oahu’s swanky Ko Olina Marina is almost always less than half full.

Quiver off Diamond Head
The Peterson 34 Quiver practices social distancing just offshore of the hustle and bustle of Waikiki. The iconic volcanic cone of Diamond Head is in the background.
© 2020 Ronnie Simpson

Kauai

Kauai is only another day from Oahu and could have slip options in Nawiliwili or Port Allen, as well as anchoring options. COVID has changed everything, so call first.

Approaching Oahu
The views and the sailing in Hawaii are as good as anywhere in the world. Here, Quiver approaches Oahu after an overnight sail from Kauai in 2017.
© 2020 Ronnie Simpson

To Wednesday’s anonymous contributor, don’t let the closure of Radio Bay get you down: You’re on a yacht in Hawaii during a global pandemic. Load up the iPad with books, act responsibly, respect ‘da aina (the land), practice some social distancing, and enjoy the natural wonders of Hawaii. And here’s a free Latitude 38 life hack: Nothing prevents you from going to a Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation office to register your boat in Hawaii and technically make it a local boat. This writer lived aboard in Hawaii for years. It’s insanely cheap, and you’ll become an insta-local. Your Mahalo Rewards card should be in the mail shortly.

To be clear, we are not advocating cruising around and enjoying a carefree Hawaiian holiday. It’s not responsible, and it’s not legal right now. The goal of this article is to provide displaced cruisers in Hawaii with some local intel and options so that they can make informed decisions on where to responsibly ride out this current storm. Aloha.

Creative Alternatives
This coming Sunday, April 26, was to have been Opening Day on the Bay. Amazingly, the parade is on — but not in the usual fashion. Instead, PICYA invites sailors to enter model boats in a virtual parade.
Lockdown Reading Material
We asked Randall Reeves if he was going to write a book about the Figure 8 Voyage — or voyages. Reeves had been writing a blog since long before he departed on his singlehanded, round-the-bottom- and-top-of-the-world-in-one-season trips.
DIY Boat Projects
During the Saturday of February's Corinthian Yacht Club Midwinters race, Raccoon was hit hard, breaking the hull and deck joint and severely fracturing the hull.
On the Big Island
Radio Bay, near Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii, has been available as an anchorage and seawall mooring safe haven for cruising boats for decades.