Monthly Archives: July 2011

Right Now… Rough Seas

It was very, very crazy here yesterday with high winds and rough seas.  On top of that, we were going upwind which was difficult and exhausting, so I wasn’t able to write a blog.  However, at this moment, I am told we are number one…having come up from fifth place.  But it is won’t be over until we get Honolulu.

We are all ok, although wet and tired.  It is difficult to eat and sleep in an intensely bouncing boat.  But the ocean should be calmer by tomorrow.  We were and are in a “get the job done” mode… Everyone is working hard.  Kevin and Eric are doing a great job directing our route and how to do it right.  They are very impressive guys.

We had a number of issues which cost us a bit of time, but we clearly have made it up.  One thing that happened was the inverter blew which means no microwave….Sheesh.  So, we’re boiling everything.

More later.

No More Land, Only 2000 Miles of Ocean

As we went to the start line, we sent off our first video.  (Watch: Heading to the Start).


We’re now about 3 hours into the race.  We had a great start…right at the committee boat – exactly where we wanted to be.  It has been mostly warm but then the ocean picked up as well as the wind.  For quite a while we were bouncing hard upwind.  We ate our chicken wrap sandwiches from the local restaurant, Gladstone‘s. They were great!  Tonight, we dive into the freeze-dried food.  It is important to eat and drink water constantly as this experience is quite taxing.


We just took Catalina Island to port (to the left side of boat) and are now on route to what we think our next “waypoint” ought to be.  Catalina is the last bit ‘o dirt we’re going to see for over 2000 miles!  That is weird thought, believe me.


Currently, we are all on deck, but at 6 pm this evening the “watches” start.  I am on then until ten pm, then it’s four hours of sleep; four hours on deck, etc.  It will take a while to get used to that schedule.

Be well.

No Screw Left Unturned

It’s the day before the race and all of us worked from 8am to 1pm doing the final “dialing in” of the boat.  Every nut, bolt, screw, line, etc. had to be examined.  If not given a thumbs-up, they were repaired or replaced.  All the freeze-dried food and snacks was divided into what we (9 of us) will need for a day, then bagged and lashed into place. (see photo below).  I was in charge of organizing and labeling everything in storage.  I am the queen of Velcro and labels!

The crew dispersed for the afternoon for each member to have their own private time before tomorrow’s start.  We will meet for dinner tonight for some enjoyable crew bonding.

My navigator (Eric Bohman), tactician (Kevin Miller) and I just spent about half an hour this afternoon going through all the weather reports and possible routes.  Reports and computer models give only a background to our joint sense of what is the best thing to do: direction, speed, sail choice.  No matter how high tech a boat can get…nothing replaces experience and “gut”.

I am going to walk back to the hotel now and take a very, very hot shower and relax before dinner.  Hopefully, getting to sleep tonight won’t be too much of a problem with all the excitement of anticipating the start.

We convene back at the boat at 8am tomorrow (Friday) and leave the dock at 10am to go to the start line area.  We will all be dressed alike in our red KATANA polo tops and Transpac hats.   About an hour from the start, we’ll have chicken subs for lunch (real food!) and by evening we will be into the freeze-dried.

You’ll be able to keep up with our progress here:

By the way: any time spent at sea DOES NOT come off your lifespan!

Prepping Katana
Preparing Katana the day before starting Transpac

Daily ration of food
Each bag is a day’s worth of freeze-dried food and snacks for 9 people.

Shaking Down My Boat

It’s Wednesday, two days before the start of Transpac 2011 for my boat Katana.  I got up at 5AM to get ready to leave with my crew to go to Long Beach, California to board the boat.  My doggies seemed to know “something was up,” and they were all exhibiting a “hangdog” demeanor as I readied to leave.

We arrived at the boat at Noon and I was way too hungry to do any work.  All 9 of us went to lunch at Gladstone’s, a local restaurant.  I had an ahi tuna sandwich on honey bread – fabulous (and you know how I love to eat).

We discussed basic concepts of neatness, orderliness, and hygiene.  Nine people on rotating schedules on a 47 foot boat over more than seven days requires all of us to take care of our things for safety, for the comfort of others, structure, and overall atmosphere. Kevin Miller, our tactician, remarked anything left about “below” deck might end up in the ocean – depending on his mood – so we all know neatness really will count!

We’re getting the boat ready for a two hour sail in order to check out all the remedies to small problems that always seem to pop up on a boat, as well as to make sure a repaired sail is perfect.  Tomorrow, we’ll spend half the day on the boat continuing to check all systems and get the food and gear organized.

We’ll have our “last supper” on land for quite a while tomorrow evening, then hope we can all get some good sleep in spite of our anticipation and excitement.

I go back and forth between nervousness and calm.  I’m more than confident because of my crew and all the time and extreme effort we put into practice overnight runs, we’ll be just fine out there on the open seas.

If you told me 5 years ago I would be doing this, I would have said you were crazy.  I’m 64 years old and am thrilled not only to be able to be so active, but to be able to take on such a challenge to mind, body, and spirit.

If there is anything you can take from my adventure, it is you should never let fear stand in the way of squeezing the most out of life.  For a life to feel “good,” it has to be filled with purpose, friendships, and adventures.

Getting Ready for Transpac – A Sailboat Race to Hawaii

This is my last day of preparation before TRANSPAC – the sailboat race from California to Hawaii in which I’m participating.  I have to organize all my gear (which is easier for guys who seem able to live in the same clothes for days and days).  Since we start out with cold weather and end up with very warm I have to bring a range of layers.  I don’t have much subcutaneous fat so I am cold when the guys are in t-shirts, shorts, and flaps!

Today I shop for my last piece of gear: a hat which keeps the sun off my face and neck – a necessity the closer we get to Hawaii.

Tomorrow (Wednesday) morning we all meet in Long Beach early to take KATANA (my boat) out for a shake down; we will do the same thing Thursday.  Thursday night we will have our “last supper” on land for a week or more.

Friday morning early we will get on Katana and get ready for the start.  It seems funny in a way that we will be revving up for a great start when the race is a week or so in duration and over 2200 miles.  But, as it turns out, every second of every day counts.  People have won by minutes or seconds!

We will all be on deck for the 1 pm start until 6 pm.  Then our “watches” begin with teams having different schedules.  I will be the 6 pm to 10 pm watch.  At 10 pm I go to sleep for 4 hours.  At 2 am ’til 6 am I am on watch again.  On watch means you are on deck sailing the boat and responsible for everything.  Two of us have the same watch and two others overlap by 2 hours. 

If there is an emergency or a major sail change…everyone may be called on deck.  It takes a few days for all of us to acclimate to the schedule without feeling “weirded out”. 

I love the 2 am to 6 am watch….well….I don’t like the 2 am part….but I like being up for the sunrise….it is beautiful out on the ocean at sunrise.

In the midst of all of this we have to take time to eat and clean ourselves up. 

Just in case you wondered….we are all a little wound up; even the folks with experience.  Butterflies are normal – it is a major undertaking and huge responsibility.  None of us take it lightly.

That’s all for now…I will write more tomorrow after we get to Long Beach and go aboard KATANA.

Quote of the Week

I’m a Yankee Doodle dandy,

A Yankee Doodle do or die;

A real live nephew of my Uncle Sam’s

Born on the Fourth of July.

               – George M. Cohan

                 1878 – 1942

                 American entertainer, playwright, composer, lyricist, actor, singer, dancer and producer

                “The Yankee Doodle Boy,” from the 1904 Broadway musical “Little Johnny Jones.”

Have a happy and safe Fourth of July holiday weekend.