Key West Delivers on Day 2

key west race week

Day 2 of racing at Quantum Key West Race Week delivered blue skies and good breeze for some excellent sailing.

Day 2 of racing at Quantum Key West Race Week delivered blue skies and good breeze for some excellent sailing.
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BE GOOD TOO RETURNS: My Favorite Abandoned Catamaran Appears On a Beach in Scotland

Be Good beached

How the worm turns! I posted my account of how I and three others abandoned the Alpha 42 catamaran Be Good Too 300 miles off North Carolina exactly three years ago today. And now here I am come to report she has just washed up on a beach in the Outer Hebrides in Scotland. I couldn’t believe it at first. A guy named Jef on the island of South Uist sent me the photo you see above just yesterday, plus a few others, and asserted he thought it must be Be Good Too. The only similarity I saw was in the reverse destroyer bows. Other than that it was impossible to say if it was the same boat or not.

We kept slinging e-mail back and forth and eventually he sent me this link here to a BBC TV news account (in Gaelic, if you can believe it) that leaves no doubt as to the boat’s identity. Here are some relevant screen shots:

Be Good bows

This was at low tide, as opposed to the high-tide shots I first received. The distinctive orange and grey hashmarks on the bow are a dead giveaway

Be Good transom

And of course, there’s no arguing with the name on the transom!

Be Good bottom

The full rear view. The keels are gone. Those bothersome rudders that gave us so much trouble are gone. One saildrive leg is gone. And it appears the cabinhouse (not to mention the rig) is gone too. It looks like she’s probably been upside down for a long time

To give you a frame of reference, here are a couple of shots of healthy Alpha 42s:

Alpha hull 2

This is hull number two, Lucy2, which I met in Bermuda later the same year. She is now for sale, in case you’re interested

Alpha hull 4

And this is hull number four out of the water, so you can see what the bottom is supposed to look like. I toured hull number three, Platypus, at Annapolis two years ago and was impressed by how much the build quality had improved compared to our boat, hull number one

Just for the record, I should report too that one of the owners of the boat, Gunther Rodatz, has passed away since we had our adventure together. I heard he and his wife Doris took the insurance money they got from the loss of Be Good Too, immediately bought another production cat, and at least got in one season together in the Caribbean before Gunther died.

I’ve reached out to Doris, but so far no luck.

And as long as we’re discussing abandoned catamarans, I must mention that Gunboat 55 hull number one Rainmaker–which was 1) abandoned off North Carolina just a year (in January even) after we abandoned Be Good Too; 2) recovered as a hulk just off Bermuda a little over a year later; and 3) recently sold at auction–has just been delivered to the UK, where she is undergoing a total refit.

Rainmaker hull

Rainmaker at the Multihull Centre in England, where she will be made as good as new

I only wish Be Good Too could be so lucky!

The post BE GOOD TOO RETURNS: My Favorite Abandoned Catamaran Appears On a Beach in Scotland appeared first on Sailfeed.

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BE GOOD TOO RETURNS: My Favorite Abandoned Catamaran Appears On a Beach in Scotland

Be Good beached

How the worm turns! I posted my account of how I and three others abandoned the Alpha 42 catamaran Be Good Too 300 miles off North Carolina exactly three years ago today. And now here I am come to report she has just washed up on a beach in the Outer Hebrides in Scotland. I couldn’t believe it at first. A guy named Jef on the island of South Uist sent me the photo you see above just yesterday, plus a few others, and asserted he thought it must be Be Good Too. The only similarity I saw was in the reverse destroyer bows. Other than that it was impossible to say if it was the same boat or not.

We kept slinging e-mail back and forth and eventually he sent me this link here to a BBC TV news account (in Gaelic, if you can believe it) that leaves no doubt as to the boat’s identity. Here are some relevant screen shots:

Be Good bows

This was at low tide, as opposed to the high-tide shots I first received. The distinctive orange and grey hashmarks on the bow are a dead giveaway

Be Good transom

And of course, there’s no arguing with the name on the transom!

Be Good bottom

The full rear view. The keels are gone. Those bothersome rudders that gave us so much trouble are gone. One saildrive leg is gone. And it appears the cabinhouse (not to mention the rig) is gone too. It looks like she’s probably been upside down for a long time

To give you a frame of reference, here are a couple of shots of healthy Alpha 42s:

Alpha hull 2

This is hull number two, Lucy2, which I met in Bermuda later the same year. She is now for sale, in case you’re interested

Alpha hull 4

And this is hull number four out of the water, so you can see what the bottom is supposed to look like. I toured hull number three, Platypus, at Annapolis two years ago and was impressed by how much the build quality had improved compared to our boat, hull number one

Just for the record, I should report too that one of the owners of the boat, Gunther Rodatz, has passed away since we had our adventure together. I heard he and his wife Doris took the insurance money they got from the loss of Be Good Too, immediately bought another production cat, and at least got in one season together in the Caribbean before Gunther died.

I’ve reached out to Doris, but so far no luck.

And as long as we’re discussing abandoned catamarans, I must mention that Gunboat 55 hull number one Rainmaker–which was 1) abandoned off North Carolina just a year (in January even) after we abandoned Be Good Too; 2) recovered as a hulk just off Bermuda a little over a year later; and 3) recently sold at auction–has just been delivered to the UK, where she is undergoing a total refit.

Rainmaker hull

Rainmaker at the Multihull Centre in England, where she will be made as good as new

I only wish Be Good Too could be so lucky!

The post BE GOOD TOO RETURNS: My Favorite Abandoned Catamaran Appears On a Beach in Scotland appeared first on Sailfeed.

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The House Wins

racer cruiser

A family of Puget Sound liveaboards brings their home out to the racecourse for the annual regatta.

A family of Puget Sound liveaboards brings their home out to the racecourse for the annual regatta.
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Following a Dream – closing in on the finish

For the next few weeks this blog is going to be following a crew racing in the Cape to Rio Race. It’s not just any crew, it’s an extraordinary crew made up of non-white sailors that have come from impoverished backgrounds and are, as their slogan states, “Following a Dream.” It’s a wonderful story of self motivation, determination and hard work that got them to the start of one of the most iconic yacht races in the world. You can read the original story about them here. That particular blog took on a life of it’s own in South Africa and was shared around eventually making it all the way to the top of government who seemed surprised that the crew of The Ullman Challenge had taken upon themselves to get to the start of the race without looking for Government help and were not looking to be part of some kind of quota system.



Project leader Andre Julius
Although we have just 366 miles to go to the finish of the Cape to Rio race aboard The Ullman Challenge, the weather is not making it easy for us to get there.  Our routing software seems to indicate an arrival during the day on Wednesday, so just “two more sleeps”, as they say.  In reality we each get a lot more “sleeps” than that, but with the watch system that we have onboard, the sleep periods are shorter, but more frequent, than what we would get at home…four hours during the day time and three hours at night.  However, with continuing squally weather and dead-downwind sailing the off watch is frequently called on deck to help with gybing and sail changes.  Today we have had to gybe 11 times already and completed 4 spinnaker changes in order to keep the boat moving along its intended track through the rain squalls.

Vulcan completed the course today, and with her finishing it appears that the top three slots have been filled.  Our closest rival is still Mussulo, who is some way ahead of us on the water, but she gives us a lot of time on handicap, so we are still fighting hard for the fourth place and so were reasonably happy with a day’s run of 192 miles in the tricky conditions.  We have a lot of work to do before the finish, but are certainly trying to keep up the pace.

One follower of this blog has commented that perhaps I should pay less attention to the birds and more to the navigation, so today I won’t mention the Masked booby bird that appeared, circling the boat and then disappearing in the direction of mainland Brazil.  I will probably be in for a bit of a grilling if I don’t focus on the job at hand…

Nonetheless, all the crew were very excited when we were accompanied by a large pod of Spotted dolphins for a while.  These were the first dolphins we have seen since leaving the coast of Africa and all of the team quickly recognised that they are a distinctly different species to the Dusky dolphins we get at home.

The picture accompanying today’s blog is “sunset with squall”.  Returning the focus of the blog to racing, rather than wildlife, some readers might like more information about our references to 0.6 spinnakers and 0.9 spinnakers, etc.  All the sails aboard the boat are identified by different names and serve different purposes.  Different sailmakers, and even different boats, might use slightly varying names for similar sails, as there is no scientific nomenclature for sails as there is for birds and dolphins, and instead sail names vary from place to place and boat to boat.  Anyway, when we are running downwind we always hoist one of the colourful spinnakers, of which we have five.  In the attached sunset picture we are flying the 0.6 S2 spinnaker.  The 0.6 refers to the weight of the sail cloth in terms of ounces per yard of material, and for those unfamiliar with ounces and yards, that indicates that the sail is made out of very lightweight material and consequently can only be used in gentle breezes.  The S2 part of the name refers to the fact that it is a symmetrical sail (the “S” in the name), with both sides being of equal length, and the “2” indicating that it is intended for gentle or moderate breezes from far aft, in other words when we are running downwind.  The other sail we have been using a lot is the 0.9 S2.  This is similar to the 0.6, but made out of heavier material so is better suited to moderate breezes when we are running downwind.  The sail that we tore on the first day was the S4, again a similarly shaped sail, but smaller and heavier than the previous two sails – the “4” indicating that it is intended for strong breezes when we are running downwind.  Yet another spinnaker that we carry onboard is the A2.  The “A” indicates that it is asymmetric, with the front (luff) being longer than the back (leech).  This is one of the most versatile sails because of its shape.  The final downwind sail that we carry is the Code 0.  This is sort of a cross between a jib, that is used for going upwind, and a spinnaker, that is used for going downwind.  The Code 0 is used in the “in between” reaching conditions.

A lot of planning goes in before the race trying to figure out the optimum sail wardrobe, as it is not possible to carry the perfect sail to suit every condition, so a selection needs to be made.  A careful analysis is made of the expected conditions and then Andre sat down with our designer, Harry, to discuss how each sail shape, size and weight could be optimised to make them most useful for the anticipated conditions.  It certainly helped that Andre is employed at Ullman Sails in Cape Town so that he could oversee every step of the design, development and construction of each sail.

I hope that you enjoyed this blog. I invite you to subscribe so that you will not miss a blog post. You will get a great free gift and weekly sailing related blogs. Click the pic to subscribe.


Brian Hancock – owner Great Circle Sails

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Following a Dream – Champagne sailing

For the next few weeks this blog is going to be following a crew racing in the Cape to Rio Race. It’s not just any crew, it’s an extraordinary crew made up of non-white sailors that have come from impoverished backgrounds and are, as their slogan states, “Following a Dream.” It’s a wonderful story of self motivation, determination and hard work that got them to the start of one of the most iconic yacht races in the world. You can read the original story about them here. That particular blog took on a life of it’s own in South Africa and was shared around eventually making it all the way to the top of government who seemed surprised that the crew of The Ullman Challenge had taken upon themselves to get to the start of the race without looking for Government help and were not looking to be part of some kind of quota system.

Champagne sailing
Today began much like yesterday:

A dark night:

Spinnaker peel…gybe…gybe…rain…gybe…Change spinnakers again…gybe…change spinnaker…sunrise!
The one highlight of the night was seeing the lights of another yacht off the port bow.  At first we guessed it to be “Skimmer” but when our radio call got no response we tried calling “Sophie B” and got an immediate, though rather broken up reply.  Reception was not good enough for a decent conversation but at least we were able to confirm that it was “Sophie B” – one of the smaller boats that had started the race a week earlier than us.

At sunrise another sail appeared on the port bow, and this time it was, indeed, “Skimmer”.  We sailed along, parallel to them for a while, until we were hit by a torrential rain storm.  We gybed twice during the squall and did two more sail changes and by the time we looked around again “Skimmer” had disappeared over the horizon.

Today we got the news that “Black Pearl” has finished the race.  Second across the line, but it seems that she is ahead of the first to finish, “Runaway”, on handicap.  The next boat to finish will be “Vulcan”, on Monday morning, and she looks close enough that she might just snatch the handicap win from “Black Pearl”.  Aboard “The Ullman Challenge” we continue to battle it out with “Mussulo” for 4th place.  At the moment she is still in the lead, but our day’s run of 193 miles has kept us in contention for the 4th place.

By afternoon the wind had settled down again, as it so often does, and we ended up sailing into the sunset under full main sail and 0.6 spinnaker…

Having passed our closest point of approach to Trinidade island we are now, once more, in excess of 200 miles from the closest piece of land.  The significance of being 200 miles offshore is that the distance is clearly marked on all nautical charts because this is what is referred to as a country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).  This is not the same as a country’s Territorial Sea, which generally ranges out to 12 miles from shore, and is where a country has pretty much full control over all activities in those waters, while not restricting another country’s vessels right to “peaceful passage”.  Further offshore is regarded as International Waters, that no country has complete control over, but within the EEZ they have the exclusive right to control things like fishing, mining and drilling.  For us, racing across the ocean in the Cape to Rio race, it is of little consequence, but crossing the EEZ line on the chart is another one of those milestones that seem to mark significant points in our voyage.  As followers of this blog will have noticed, I have a fascination for the birds that we encounter around the boat, if only because they are often the only signs of life that we see out here.  Interestingly the 200 mile EEZ often marks a sort of border between the more territorial species and the more migratory species, and so it was today…For the past couple of days, within 200 miles of Trinidade, we were mostly seeing Sooty terns, which breed on that island.  Today, now beyond 200 miles from land, the  most common birds have been the Great shearwaters that breed on the Tristan da Cunha group of islands, 1 400 miles southeast of here!  4 million of them nest on Inaccessible Island, close to the main island of Tristan da Cunha!

In our final piece on individual crew-members I have attached a photograph of Clarence Hendricks trimming the spinnaker.  Clarence is another highly experienced ocean sailing member of the crew.  He completed his first transatlantic crewing for me in 2000, from Buenos Aires to Cape Town.  Later we sailed together from England to Rio and Rio to Cape Town, the later voyage being completed double-handed on a 33 foot boat.  Our 4th transatlantic together was on a delivery from Newport to England, so we have certainly done some miles together!  Since that last delivery together he has moved to the UAE where he works at Xtra-link, who have kindly supplied us with the satellite communications equipment that I use to send these blogs and receive weather information and race position reports.  In addition to that Xtra-link have provided all of the boats with satellite tracking systems which show up on the Cape to Rio race tracking website.  Clarence, nicknamed “The Arab”, because of his time in the Emirates, has completed several other ocean and offshore passages since I last sailed with him, and this has again created an excellent all-round seaman, able to helm, trim, and generally take charge of all the tasks that need doing on an ocean racing boat.  With his background in satellite communications and racing boat electronic systems, he has, by default, been appointed as our onboard electrician, sorting out things from dodgy light bulbs to improving race data monitoring!

I hope that you enjoyed this blog. I invite you to subscribe so that you will not miss a blog post. You will get a great free gift and weekly sailing related blogs. Click the pic to subscribe.


Brian Hancock – owner Great Circle Sails


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Photo Finish Expected for Vendée Globe

vendee globe

The Vendée Globe is going down to the wire with the leading pair of Armel Le Cléac'h and Alex Thomson near the finish.

The Vendée Globe is going down to the wire with the leading pair of Armel Le Cléac'h and Alex Thomson near the finish.
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