So far, every interaction with the Pacific Cup volunteers or anybody closely associated with the race has been outstanding. I just contacted John Dinwiddie, the Harbormaster of the Richmond Yacht Club in order to secure a slip when we will arrive in the San Francisco Bay from Los Angeles. What I got back was a very welcoming response. The club is going to have room for the out-of-towners at a very reasonable daily cost and according to the email:
You and your crew are welcome to stay on the boat the entire time at no extra charge. You will have access to the restrooms and showers in the club house. The club house, the main office, and my office will be open and here to help you when we can. We will also have a list of local businesses that can help you with food or boat goods for you at that time.
Note to other competitors in the cruising class: if you think that I am writing this post in the hope that Med Viking will get special consideration for a price, you are absolutely correct!
Now that the toe rail is in place, we can start working on dozens of smaller projects. We started the day by removing both the main sail and the jib from their furlers. They both need a little bit of “help” from the sail’s loft but we also had to remove them in preparation for taking down the mast.
It was initially not obvious to me that the mast had to come down before the race. The surveyor who checked the boat last year told me that everything looks good and that the rigging would last a long time. He was for the most part correct but when Bob and I removed the boom on Saturday, it became very clear that carefully checking everything before crossing the Pacific ocean is the right thing to do. The boom itself was OK but we found 3 problems that I had previously missed:
- One of the retaining clevis pins was broken and the boom was almost out of its hinge
- The rivets on one of the attachment point of the main sheet were ready to give up
- One of the sheave inside the boom was broken in two – that may explain why the main sail was sometimes a bit hard to winch
I am wondering what we will find when we finally take the mast down – likely around mid-March.
We also installed a permanently-mounted antenna for the satellite phone. We had to drill a hole in the stainless steel arch (not easy), and route the coaxial cable through the tubing. I ordered 35′ of LMR400 and 4′ of LM240 with the TNC connectors that are standard for all the Iridium accessories.I ordered the cables from MPD Digital. The company’s slogan is: “Welcome – If it’s Made in a Communist Country we don’t sell it!“, which is a funny (?) way to claim that they only sell US-made cables. Regardless of their political opinion, the quality was extremely good and the price very reasonable for such a small custom order.
The external helix antenna together with the low loss cable should give us a reliable signal at the nav station. Verdict next week when I bring the phone for a test..
The iridium antenna
One of the requirements for the race is to have a full set of SOLAS flares. SOLAS stands for “Safety Of Life At Sea”. These flares are much more powerful than regular Coast Guard approved flares. They also cost more!
I have a few sets of USCG-approved flares but they are just good for fireworks displays… Yesterday I went and bought the full SOLAS set – all at once!
The full SOLAS set
The set includes:
- 6 red parachute flares
- 4 red hand-held flares
- 2 orange smoke canisters
The flares will be part of the abandon ship bag. Olivia also wanted to make sure that her daddy will be safe so she came with her bicycle to check it out.
Olivia checks out the flares
It looks like we will be able to document our race (and preparation) quite well because Bob and Dianna just bought a Go Pro Hero3+ camera. They also bought a number of mounting accessories so we should be able to shoot the race from every possible angle.
I am currently looking at the software that will be needed to edit the videos and turn them into a small film. Any idea for the music? I already know what the theme song will be:
Could that be the perfect song? Here are the lyrics:
Hold on tight to your dream
Hold on tight to your dream
When you see your ship go sailing
When you feel your heart is breaking
Hold tight to your dream.
And they even repeat it in French:
Accroches-toi a ton reve
Accroches-toi a ton reve
Quand tu vois ton bateau partir
Quand tu sents — ton coeur se briser
Accroches-toi a ton reve.
Apparently Dianna wants us to be well dressed for the arrival and the award ceremony so she got us some very nice Hawaiian shirts.Bob was happy to model for the blog:
Nice shirt Bob!
The front of the shirt is personalized:
The Skipper’s shirt
Thank you Dianna!
Well nothing is ever 100% done but Bob and I managed to install the 4th and last section of aluminum toe rail.
Thanks for you help Bob!
Sunset on a a new toe rail!
Well I am not supposed to need plane tickets but Christina and Olivia have their plane tickets to come and meet us in Hawaii. They will leave the day after the award ceremony.
We sail, they fly!
Thanks to the hard work of Bob and Bernard and some last-minute help from Dianna, we were able to complete the installation of the 3rd toe rail. One side of the boat is now completed.
Port side is done
We will still need to notch the rail in a few places to install the cleats. We already cut the rail at an angle to have a nice transition from the rail to the anchor roller.
Rail at the bow
The inside of the boat is a total mess as every cabinet had to be removed (at the least the top part).