September 5, 2021
It’s a tale of two programs that began with a J-70…
By Karyn Jones
Our skipper, Liz Hjorth, had enough of sitting at home throughout the pandemic and decided that she would buy a J-70. Since we had previously been competing on club-provided J-70s in both New York and Valle de Bravo Mexico, it seemed to her like the perfect boat to purchase for our match racing practice. Our game plan was trial by fire – which meant that we jumped right into racing rather than practice and joined up with the local J-70 fleet to compete in the Spring Series, Cal Race Week and Cal Cup.
When it seemed as though lockdowns were beginning to ease, our team (Stine Cacavas, Kevin Thomas, and myself) encouraged her to accept invitations for both the California Dreamin’ Series (an open event match race series hosted by StFYC, SDYC and LBYC), and the US Sailing Women’s Match Racing Championship (USSWMRC) hosted by SDYC. She was accepted to both and then petitioned to be accepted to compete in the J-70 Worlds hosted by CYC. Long story short, she was also accepted to compete in the Worlds. As a team, under the direction of our shore crew leader, Chris Gillum, we chipped in to help get the boat ready for Worlds.
And then there was the C-15 North Americans that I promised I would do with Stine…that would be program number three…I tried to get to every Wednesday night Sunset Series aboard Doug Johnstone’s Viper 640 “V” and Thursday night Sunstroke Series aboard “Flook” (with my crew Tim Martin) that I could whenever I was in town.
A quick recap for the month of August looked something like this:
We competed in DRYC’s J-70 pre-worlds July 28-29, SCCYC’s C-15 NA’s Aug 7-8 , J-70 Worlds Aug 11-15, SDYC’s USSWMRC Aug 20-22 and StFYC’s California Dreamin’ Series stop #1 Aug 28-29.
It turns out that I spent more days on the water than off the water this month.
I admit I’m pretty tired. I believe we all raced like this was the first time we could race like this and that it could be the last month that we’d be able to. The competition was amazing.
SCCYC Attends Safety at Sea Seminar
There was a good contingent of SCCYC members at DRYC for the US Sailing Safety at Sea seminar this year. Bruce brown put on a great presentation and managed to make 2 days of safety training not be boring (I was a little worried). And oddly enough, after talking about boating disasters for 2 days straight, I left feeling inspired to go on longer sailing adventures and multi-day races.
Here are some of the 3 big take-aways from our members:
My biggest “ah-ha” was that the USGS helicopter pilots can’t see LED lights with their night vision goggles.
Chris Kitchen-Key Take aways:
- Know your equipment (check their expiration regularly, test the inflatable life jackets, know how everything works, and know where it is)
- Practice, practice, practice
- Talk through emergency procedures with your crew, make sure they know what to do
- If you practice good seamanship and keep the people in your boat then you won’t have to worry about fancy electronics, expensive life jackets, life rafts, etc.
Jen Kitchen -Key Take-aways
- Keep people in the boat- prioritize checking lifelines, installing jack lines and points to clip in to (not stanchions or life lines), purchase or make tethers. And make sure you know if someone fell off the boat, especially if you are double-handing, so use a perimeter detector and keep a waterproof GPS VHF on you.
- Make sure people are communicating- it was surprising how little people did this even in man overboard drills
- Epirbs are nice but you can do a lot to just make yourself more visible with whistles, safety mirrors, splashing in the water, cheap stick-on water activated lights (lumeon), and cheap glow sticks.
Ah-ha moment- my dinghy vest does a great job keeping me afloat, even when I am completely flat and face down in the water. Now I understand how off shore vests are different.
Len Gordon -Key Take-aways
- Mayday – What to say and when to say it
- Two rules of sailing. Rule 1 – Stay on the boat. Rule 2 – see rule 1.
- Night vision googles cannot see LCD lights.
Rascal Wins Sunset Series
SCCYC was proudly represented at the Cal Yacht Club 2018 Sunset Series Awards ceremony by Rascal, the overall Cruising Class A and overall Cruising Division recipient. SCCYC Member Kathy St. Amant and her boat partner, Staff Commodore, Monica Chaban, co-skippered the boat to the top of the standings by the end of the summer series along with our Rear Commodore Tim Doran (master foredeck) and a stable of fantastic crew members.
Dash – A Polynesia Adventure
Woo hoo….a 200 mile (made good) day…that’s enough to put a smile on our faces! It was Day 15 and we had come far already but still had a way to go. Mike and I, along with our friend Justin, left Marina del Rey on March 28th to head south. After the obligatory stop in Avalon so we could call friends from a ‘noisy bar
in Avalon’ (thank you Crosby, Still, Nash and Young and Southern Cross) we headed Dash, our Taswell 56 south. How far south? Well, our first stop would be Hiva Oa’, Marquesas, French Polynesia.
Just under 20 days it was anchor down in Hiva Oa’ after completing a 3000nm passage from Marina del Rey to the Marquesas. We sailed all but 12 hours of the trip and went through only 30 gallons of fuel. What broke on the boat – nothing! Did we have enough provisions – absolutely (and still have some items in the freezer from what I cooked before we left). Did we have enough beer – absolutely not (and I’m not a beer drinker and still wish we had brought more). Did we have enough wine and rum – absolutely!! (Thank you, friends!). Were we ready for the cruising lifestyle – still getting there!
It has been a dream of ours to do exactly what we are doing and we know how fortunate we are to be experiencing all of this. We spent three weeks in the Marquesas and would have loved to spend more time here. These are lush green islands; similar to Hawaii with jagged peaks poking out of the clouds. Then we moved on to the Tuamotus…all atolls with fringing reefs with the highest point being a palm tree. We loved riding our bikes on the various atolls as going up in elevation meant pedaling about three feet up. The snorkeling and diving is amazing here (once you get used to the sharks). One day we saw synchronized blue nose dolphins jumping six feet up in the air playing in the standing waves at the entrance to the pass. And the water in the atolls is at least fifty shades of blue and green.
Then it was on to the Society Islands – which are more commonly referred to as “Tahiti”. These islands did not disappoint either. Cook’s Bay, Moorea is drop dead gorgeous, Bora Bora’s lagoon is amazing with all the shades of blue and Huahine is the laid back, enjoy-life island. We have finally gotten into the cruisers’ lifestyle where we stay someplace longer than planned because it is incredible. We move when we have to find an ATM or need something from the supermarket. The French baguette is subsidized here and costs roughly $0.50 per – buy some ham and we enjoy an amazing lunch.
We have had a wealth of visitors join us in the last four months and enjoy all of our ‘mules’ (eh – friends) bringing us much needed supplies (Mt Gay Rum, peanut M&M’s and tortillas to mention just a few).
Our plan is to stay in French Polynesia for a year. We will leave Dash in Marina Taina (Papeete) for the holidays and fly home returning sometime in January. From there we hope to return to the Tuamotus and explore more of this beautiful area before heading west onto Niue, Tonga, Samoa, Fiji and New Zealand in 2019. Some have asked about the boat’s name – Dash – well, we are living our dash… the line that goes between the day you are born and the day you die.
- Kellie Fennessy and Mike Priest
September 12, 2018
Construction is underway in earnest now. The footings for our new club and now even some steel girders have been constructed on our future home on Bali Way. We have a move committee that is meeting periodically to go through some of the construction details and make sure that things are being built according to plan. We are in communication with the developers and are working with them to ensure that our vision of our future club becomes a reality.
It is important to note that, because this building is governed by the county, there are a lot of regulations and design review boards that need to be navigated to get changes made. We are doing our best to work around them and still get what we are looking for. Either way, it is going to be a brand new building with the latest in energy efficiency, a sleek exterior, wet and dry slips and most importantly, A HOIST!
If you have any input, concerns or questions please direct them to Jennifer Kitchen at email@example.com and I’ll give you updates or let you know when move committee meetings are going to be held.
Construction Update 9.18.18
Free Spirit sails to Spain
Our boat, Free Spirit, is in her new home in the Carboneras fishing port. Her journey started 40 years ago in Taiwan. She lived in San Francisco for many years and became derelict with a drunk living on board. He cut down the wooden masts. A film teamster captain, Bowser, rescued her about 18 years ago and motored her south to Marina Del Rey in Los Angeles where he spent 10 years living on her and refurbishing the inside and adding new aluminum masts.
We purchased her in 2011 and started the refurbishing of all the mechanical systems, the sails and the exterior paint and varnish.
She is a heavy displacement, long keeled 36th ketch, with an extra 6 ft bow sprit, designed to be able to sail around the world, which is lucky as the last legs of this journey were in storm winds.
Our friends Trevor and Bob motored her down to Ensenada and loaded her onto a very large yacht transport ship. The ship headed south to Panama, went through the canal and up to Miami where some boats were unloaded and new ones added.
With the aid of software we were able to follow the progress of the ship across the Atlantic, and when it passed to Gibraltar, Bob, who had flown to Almeria and stayed a week, and I boarded a plane from Almeria to Palma de Mallorca to meet up with Michael Laine who flew in from LA.
Mallorca is an Island so everything has to be shipped in. There are an endless convoy of ferries that arrive with trucks and containers. The port is big and the yacht marina is even bigger, full of mega yachts of the rich and famous, and a lot of very nice midsized yachts. Palma has a great historic area, castle and cathedral. The island has wonderful small villages, great bays with anchorages and beautiful scenery.
We watched yacht transport ship sail into the harbor on Sunday April 8th. Importing a USA boat into Spain is not easy but the combination of our friend Antonio (our lawyer) and a local ship agent (established in 1850’s) it went well. Avoiding taxes and registration fees of about 30% required a lot of preparation and paperwork which we started last October. It paid off as we had clearance in 24 hours with no inspection.
We boarded the transport ship at 7:30am on the Monday morning to find Free Spirit nestled between 4 big mega yachts of 120 to 160 feet long and a total of 17 boats but only one other “small” sail boat. Two of the mega yachts had speed boat tenders bigger than Free Spirit.
All the boats were on their supports but the ship flooded the cargo area and as the boats floated divers removed the supports below. The ship is 80 meters wide with stern open to the sea. At about 3 pm we were allowed to start engines and slowly, one by one, the boats powered out.
It was an exciting moment to hear the engine start and reverse out into the Palma harbor. We had arranged a mooring at the Royal Club Nautico and ended up 3 boats from one of the Monaco Royal mega motor yachts and close to the club entrance. It took two days to get the boat back into a state to sail, putting on the sails, adding water , fuel, food etc. Tuesday night the wind increased to storm level from the South West, we had hail, intense rain and the ferries stopped working. The same wind a little earlier in Carboneras was measured at 90 Kph and knocked down an old brick wall on the terrace.
Antonio joined us Wednesday morning and at that time we had no idea when we could leave. Our direction was to the South West.
The professional; crews on the larger boats around us said that normally the prevailing wind is from the North or North East and not too strong making it easier to sail along the Mediterranean coast. This year (despite Trump telling us there is no weather change) they have had weeks of high winds from the south West. The long range forecast indicated no change for a week. Antonio had to get back to his legal work, Michael had a plane booked on the Monday from Almeria back to LA, Bob was due to go to Morocco and I did not want to leave Francesca for weeks to manage the building on her own, and the daily mooring costs in Mallorca were Euros 90 per day and due to go to the summer rate of Euro 220!
That evening the forecast said the wind was shifting North a little. At 5 am Thursday the wind had reduced to 20 knots, and the ferries were due to start again. We left in the dark, wrapped up in foul weather clothing, with harnesses and safety lines, and the main sail and genoa reefed. The seas were enormous but we were on a close reach for a direct 12 hour sail to Ibiza.
For two hours it was thrilling, if not a little scary being in the dark in waves of 3 and 4 meters, but then everyone (except me luckily) became sea sick and the winds turn south. We ended up motor sailing without the jib and arrived at 6pm very cold and wet with Antonio, (who we sent below for his safety) declaring , “I am dying.” Even before we got into the harbor he called Mar, his wife who booked him out of Ibiza on a 10pm flight!
Club Nautico in Ibiza gave us a berth and much needed hot showers.
The next day we dried out, repaired the bilge pump and found we had a one day window with the wind coming from the NE at 20 to 30 knots. As the wind was coming from the land the seas would be calmer and we should make great speed.
Ibiza has great tapas bars and we enjoyed them for lunch and dinner and in between washed and dried our clothes.
Next morning we left at 6am, headed through the short cut between the rocks in the reef outside the harbor. The forecast was correct, the wind quickly built giving us a beam reach with a storm jib sailing at over the theoretical hull speed. It was great, but Bob had a major attack of cold and seasickness so he had to go below and Michael and I helmed. To try and keep the wet and cold out we had added layers of clothing below what should have been waterproof clothing. We both had clothing designed for the few Pacific winds going to Catalina and now understand why real storm clothing is so expensive. We became wet and very cold and on top of that needed to pee often but to do so had to go below and basically undress with the boat rocking and rolling in the waves. Even so by dusk we were ahead of schedule and off the headland before Cartagena, when the wind changed to the South West. We had to motor sail again into the wind. It was so cold Michael and I changed watches every hour. The wind increased and we made little progress so by dawn were only off Cartagena harbor. We discussed going into the harbor but the wind dropped, Bob appeared from below largely recovered so we continued to motor sail with an ETA at Carboneras at midnight.
Soon we were able to sail again, in sun and by 8pm we were passing Garrucha harbor which is 15 miles from Carboneras. We discussed going into the harbor but were unable to identify the harbor lights against a back drop of multiple tourist hotels. When in doubt it is safer to go out to sea which we did and then the wind died. No problem, 3 hours motoring would get us home. The motor would not start!! I am pretty good at getting the engine to start but not this time. I called Trevor and the mechanic in Marina Del Rey. They had no suggestions I had not tried. Later we found it was an overheating electric fuel pump and it worked fine next day.
It took 12 hours to sail 15 miles against the light wind but we entered Carboneras fishing port at 11am where Francesca whisked us back to the house for hot showers and her great food.
The trip would have been impossible without Michael and Bob. Otherwise we would have had to wait until the weather turned normal and it has not yet. As I write we have had 3 days of 25 Mph winds gusting to 40.
I was concerned that I had lost Antonio as a friend but later in the morning he called asking to have a “crew” lunch to discuss one of the greatest event of his life!! Sea sickness forgotten. We had lunch on the terrace at home.
Michael missed his flight and on leaving three days later said the stay at the house was well worth it.
Bob headed to Morocco and is due back next week for a couple of days. He is an ex CBS news cameraman and shot more video which we will edit and distribute later.