Family Friday 25 June 2010

We chartered a 1973 38′ Columbia from GT Sailing, out of Anchorage Marina, Holland MI. This boat is completely restored and the hardware was wonderful to use.  We got the whole family on board, one friend for each child, the grandparents, and Aunt Lynn.

Captain Kim helped us cast off, and being a full keel, it needed a bit more steerage way than I anticipated. The weather made it even better, as we sailed through the channel with our main sail up. Then off shore about 10 miles, and headed back. We had appetizers and snacks for everyone. This was the first time for Grandma and Aunt Lynn to be on Lake Michigan.

Out return was early because of other commitments, but we made the slip very easily, as the full keel was our guiding angel with a strong cross wind at the marina.

Till next time. Skipper Drifter.


Too short of a Vacation Requires a Yacht Delivery

Somehow your summer vacation  is too short and puts those famous ports just out of reach.  You have worked hard and the adventure of reaching those ports would sure fill your “Summer Bucket List”.  We have an affordable solution. I would like to return your yacht or sailboat to your home port for free.

I am currently working on my USCG Captains License and cannot charge a fee for deliveries.  The USCG License has many requirements, and my current chellenge is to fill 90 days on the water in the last three years.  So read my resume, and if my skills fit your requirements, then email me at and lets review your specific timing and requirements to see if we have a fit.

My resume:

  • Age 46 and physically fit, with three children, and wife that is ASA certified for 101, 103, and 104.
  • ASA Certified Instructor – level 201, 203, & 204.
  • Boating and sailing 20-30 days a year since age 13, including fishing boats, sailboats, and cruisers.
  • Regular crew on a 35 ft racing J/35, on Lake Macatawa, Holland, MI, every Wednesday night.
  • Chartered sailboats in British Virgin Islands, Lake Michigan, Lake Macatawa, and Lake Charlevoix.
  • Full-time IT Auditor and hold the following certifications: Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT (CGEIT), Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional (CSSLP), and ACL Certified Data Analyst (ACDA).
  • My professional work requires me to review risks and controls all day long.  Sailing, navigation, boat hardware, and weather offer a complete set of risks that require constant risk management every step of the way.

June 16 Race #3 Summer series

Near full crew on Lickity Split.  Due to a lack of wind on the big lake, the race was to be held on Lake Macatawa, and the lighter winds meant we only had time for two legs.   

Brave Bert – We sent Bert up in the Bolson’s chair to fix the WindDex.  We used the main sail halyard, and a backup line with the genoa halyard.  He packed his pockets with tools.  Of course it required one more tool, so we sent a five gallon bucket up another halyard with allen wrenches. Once it was at the top, it posed an undesirable image: a 5 gallon bucket directly underneath Bert as he was working the mast top equipment.  Not a pretty picture.   

Our division started at 1910.  Our speed ranged from 1.5 to 3.1 knots.  We were all trying to eek out more speed, and we stayed ahead of “Drumbeat” on the first three tacks.  Each time she would have her retractible spar extended a bit, reaching out toward us, as we crossed paths in three near misses, and each time, she passed within in feet of our aft.  Put a sharp point on the front of the spar and she would have been a ramming ship. 

In the end, other boats were fortunate enough to be in a lane of breeze, while others like us, nearly stalled in calm spots.  To our unpleasent surprise with spinnakers sailing downwind, Carpicious sailed under us, as we sailed over them on a port breach, and we fully expeted to steal her wind, yet they excellerated and we stalled.  Uggg. 

Swinging SteveO – SteveO is our main spinnaker guy, reconnecting the spinnaker pole to the opposing clew on each jibe.  In heavy wind it is easy to see that the job has lots of increased risk of injury.  Last night was calm, but Lake Macatawa was crowed and narrow and required at four jibe manuevers, all performed smoothly by SteveO.

Bay Shore Race #2 Summer 9 June 2010

Captain Jeff reports:

Wind out of the SW…around 15k…. started out about 2 to 3ft lumpy seas…quieted to about  10K…1- 2 ft at race end…perfect skys…clear visibility…just a perfect evening for sailing…We had 7 onbord, three short of full crew.


Tom drove….  I think our winsdpeed is off as it was showing a steady 17-19k…which prompted a call for the #3 headsail…which was the wrong call as we were slow the 1st upwind leg…   Other than that, the race went fairly smooth… 4 ..1 mile legs….            We were 4th out of 4 in our division….


Bay Shore Race 1 of the summer series

June 2, 2010

We heard that there was no wind on the big Lake, so we took our time and headed out in medium fog to check in with the committee boat on the small lake, Lake Macatawa.  We had eight of our 10 crew.  The fog increased and we could hardly see 100 yards.  It was gripping to be with a 200 yards of 36 sailboats, as they pop in and out of sight.

Captain Jeff said hold off on raising the sheets, as he keenly anticipated the race would be canceled.  And sure enough, at 1855, the race was canceled.  The committee boat noted they could not see the other mark to be able to determine which boats were crossing the finish line.  It would also be very dangerous to suddenly see sailboats heading at you, and be surrounded by other boats in your division, and not able to tack in time.

How foggy was it? 

When we arrived at the marina, Captain Jeff turned into a slip, only to notice he turned two slips too early.

Till next week.

Race 4 of the Bay Shore Spring Series 26 May 2010

A few of the crew arrived early and installed new cunningham sheet and running back stay sheets.  Sunny and warm at 75degrees, and 6 knot winds from the North at 353 degrees.  The race was to be 4 legs .75 km each leg, and to take place on the big lake.

Michael was keen to record each tacks course and determined our starboard tack had an advantage tonight.

The race was called short from 4 legs to 2 legs as we could see the fog moving in.

Calm winds made it tough to get out sailboat out in front of the competitors.  I found the rhythm and pace of work too slow and easy to forget my next steps.  Enough time in between allowed my mind to wonder.  It was not the captains fault, it was wind against me. 

Till next week.

Race 3 May 19, 2010 Calm winds and great sunset.

Bay Shore Race 3 May 19 2010 – Light Winds

Noth West winds at 7 knots made for an easy sale at 65 degrees temperature.  Before the start, the portside mid-mast back stay controller cable came out, same as race 1.  Up went Stevo to fix it on the bolson gear.  No accidents. 

 We started race within seconds of the start.  We ran the old jib #1 which reminded me of the Black Perl’s sails, a bit darkened.  This 2 leg race started on starboard tack, and top speed of 2 knots.  We tacked to portside and found us hitting 4 knots.  This was repeated on each tack. Maybe there was a current?

Our spinnaker produced 4.5 knots. 

No issues to report, and we were not stretching our skills because of the minimal winds.   Anyone with camera  would have had been rewarded with great sunset pictures.  

See for race results.

Race 2 – 12 May 2010 Knockdown

Race two of the year was a hairied ride with gusty East wind.  Crew arrived early around 1700 to perform pre-race fixes to halyards and other minor items.

Crew for this week:
TJ Captain A – Helm
Jeff Captain B – Helm
Kathi – Eyes and Ears
Mike P, CrewMaster
StevO, Spin Master
DavO, Jib and Cunningham
Bert, Jib and Cunningham
Stormy, Jib sheets
Mike 2 (absent), Spin Down-Top Haul Sheet
Drifter (me) Pit (spinnaker top & down haul and sail stuffer)

Our departure was a hint that tonight would be a windy challenge, as the wind was in command of our boat and kept forcing our bow and boat downwind, preventing us heading into the wind and out of the marina.  We traveled awkwardly sideways down the slips heading towards dockwall on the shoreside.  Finally we pushed the bow downwind enough for us to power in reverse heading into the wind in reverse.

We are down one crew member tonight.  Note to crew – the gas station has  signs all over that discourage boat pickups. Need to find alternate late pickup location, maybe MBYC.

Upon exit of the channel with main sail up, we flew the spinnaker.  TJ was noticing the pull on the boat from the spinnaker sail and we all were preparing to practice several spinnaker jibes.  This is a challenge because the bow-man Stevo has to detach the spinnaker pole from the mast, attach to clew sheet, jibe-ho, and re-attach opposite end of spinnaker pole to mast, with sail in between wind loads.  I was a bit behind on the top and down haul lines, and with the East wind pushing us farther away from shore, we all seemed to notice the wind gusts getting bigger, stronger, and we could all smell danger in the air.  In short order we were a mile off shore and passing the committee boat, and the wind-gusts were now exceeding 30 knots.  TJ cancelled the jibe practices (great call) and yelled pop-the-spinnaker,  and we did.

I hit the pit and we all began to pull in the spinnaker.  I was timing myself on stuffing the spinnaker.  I tried a new approach with the head and clews all on the port side and after it was 90% stuffed in the turtle with rubber-bands, the red clew still had 20 ft to go and the blue clew was 0 ft.  Dam.  I had to redo it again, and now at 8+ minutes.

Not sure who called it, but someone yelled “knock-down“.  Sure enough – an S2 7.9 “Second Wind” had a knock-down.  It seemed like a very long time as we watched and hoped they were not injured and pinned.  I am pretty sure the sails were wet, and about 15 seconds seemed to drag-on, but the crew pulled themselves on board and released the sheets, and the mast slowly raised. Hopefully they only have a few bruises.

Time was 8 minutes to the start and one less boat. We noticed SwiftSure with only jib, as we later found out, they blew there main out minutes earlier.

Our Spin class started at 1910 and off we went, blocked by Rumors ahead giving us bad wind, and Swiftsure behind us, passing to leeward.  We noticed the gusts sometimes up to 38 knots.  “Lake Effect” and “Hot for Teacher” had wind gusts that forced them to round-up.

Upon rounding the East windard mark (nearest the shore), we saw ahead of us “Capricious” and “Sufficient Reason” launched their spinnakers.  Then we saw “Sufficient Reason” blow their halyard or top of their spinnaker, and the crew quickly pulling it in as they sailed over the sail.  We all commented how smart it was for us not to launch our spinnaker.

As we rounded the windward mark, the wind gusts,  pushed us hard, as we released our sails to a broad reach, we sailed along with more than 7 knots.   We finished.  Check out for their photos.

Opportunities for Improvement:1) Replace cunningham line.

2) BoomVang connection is ready to pull out and we will need new screws to replace, and maybe pipe-clamp straps around entire boom and connection.

3) Need a mainsail preventer line readied before the race.

Race 1 – 5 May 2010

Our first race of the year on a new (used) J35.  We arrived early at 1700 for a 1900 race.

Pre-race readiness check.  As the crew arrived at the boat “Lickety-Split”, TJ was already busy sewing in battons on the #3 jib.

Crew for this week,
TJ Captain A – Mainsheet
Jeff Captain B – Helm
Kathi – Eyes and Ears
Mike P, BeastMaster
Stevo, Spin Master
Dave, Boomvang, cunningham, Spin#2
Bert, Backstays
Stormy, Jib and Spin Sheet
Mike 2, Spin Down-Top Haul Sheet
Drifter (me) Railmeat and Pit (spinnaker sail stuffer)

As we departed from dock and headed out on Lake Macatawa,  we needed to remove the genoa roller furling jib sail.  All of us a bit rusty from Winter, and new to the boat, struggled, fought, fumbled, and a whopping 5+ minutes later, the sail was down, and the #3 was ready.

We picked up Mike 2 from the channel gas stop in a strong cross wind.  This spot is used when a crew member misses the first departure at the marina.  The reverse on the engine was not as powerful as hoped, but we managed fine.  We hoisted the mainsail in the channel.  She is a sharkskin brand and looks like it.  We all commented that there is only one reef setup and no reef grommets, except the tack, and clew.

We exited the channel and hoisted the jib.  The flag was full and estimated the winds at 20 knots. Lickety-Split felt fast.  The wind speed gage read 17 knots??? and we headed off to test a few tacks.  On a J35, there are adjustable back stay cables (preventers ?), and one was yanked out.  As we headed down wind to the starting line, Stevo instantly had his bolson straps on and was being hoisted up the mast to re-attach the back stay cable.

As we readied the boat for the start, we did pretty well for estimating the 19:10  start for our division, and were about 15 seconds below the line at the start.  Not bad.  Windward mark is usually set directly into the wind, and at SW 170 degrees(?)

On our start, we were crowded on a starboard tack with a leeward boat 10 ft away and 5 ft ahead, unable to tack without risking a collision with the windward sailboat two boat links behind.  Once our windward boat tacked, so did we.  We all discussed strategy as our current course on port tack was 248, and we expected a lift on our starboard tack, as the wind had a forecast to change from  SW to West.  We tacked to starboard with Rumors ahead of us, and it worked out great and we stole wind from our leeward sailboat “Capricious”.

Rounding windward mark #1, jibing, and raising the spinnaker, is an adrenaline rush.  Our timing was not horrible, as we raised the spinnaker, only to find we hoisted the clew, and pulled her up sideways.  Hmmm.   As we were all surprised, there was a humm of laughter and chuckles, and Stevo had it corrected before the chuckling stopped.  Enough said.  During the jibe, I reminded Captain TJ about safe jibing on the mainsheet, and he nodded, he was ready, but I was nervous.  It reminded me of a hockey stick hitting the entire bench of a team.  Not a pretty image.  Regardless, TJ was way ahead of me.  As we changed course for Mark #2 on a port tack, dropping the spinnaker was in process, and as I was in the galley waiting for a clew of the spinnaker to start my work of pulling the spinnaker in, as it seemed like minutes went by waiting for the spinnaker to arrive.  I could hear yelling and sheets being pulled, and squeaking tackle.  I think the new wider boat is a farther reach for the crew pulling the spinnaker in from the deck to reach the pit.  Next time I want to step up out above the pit and grab a clew line, so the deck crew does not have to over reach when handing off the spinnaker into the pit (galley).

Onward to leeward mark.  Rounding leeward mark#2, and exactly as planned, our port tack was now 255 degrees, so we kept this tack short as possible, and the starboard tack would continue to give us lift.

Rounding windward mark #3, jibing, hoisting the spinnaker went up strait, but we struggled with getting it untwisted. Rumors beat us to the finish line.  It was said that the older Lickety-Split would have passed Rumors.  So let it be known, we need to optimize this newer boat and pass Rumors on downwind runs.

Opportunities for Improvement:

1) I am going to time myself on stuffing the spinnaker (with rubberbands) into the turtle (bag) and return to deck as fast as possible.

2) Pit guy grabs spinnaker clew line to assist getting clew of spinnaker in pit faster.

What did I miss guys?

Acquired ASA instructor certifications

April 2 Friday night, attended the kick-off meeting held by Flagship Sailing in St Petersburg, Florida.  ThereCaptain James Thompson was the Instructor Evaluator from Flagship Sailing, and he promised to be fair and firm.  He was.  My fellow sailors all had respectable sailing resumes.  Captain Arno sailed for two years with his family from Cape Town, South Africa, to America.  Captain Anderson was a young 26 year old with eight months in the caribbean, and sailed all his life, and enjoyed surfing.  He is currently teaching sailing at a ASA school in Panama City.  Captain Ken Masters has years of experience and boat deliveries.  Captain Ken Brown has restored a 65ft trimaran and has sailed it endless places for 11 years and he is working on his 500 ton masters license.  Taking this course with these professionals was a great networking opportunity.  Most everyone were persueing their ASA 201, 203, and 204 certifications.

Saturday went well with instruction from the Instructor Evaluator and drills on the boat in the afternoon.  The St Petersburg side of Tampa Bay offered some nice sailing and the depth was a consistent 13.5 ft.  Winds were light and easy.  The bay offers some good exposure for advanced sailing with range lights, numerous lighted buoys, navigation lanes, freighters, shoals and spoils.

Sundays nautical navigation exam was tough and my first 15 minutes I choked and everything looked foreign.  Then after pressing on, bit by bit, I solved one problem after another.  In the end, I passed with 85.5%.  Yaa.  After I reviewed the answers, I could have exceeded 90%.

Monday we lost one student as they were not seeking the 204, and gained two others.  Captain Mark Smith from Fair Winds, and Captain Jeff of OnWatch.  We sailed and convincingly shared our mini lessons on various aspects of charter boating.  Everyone was great.  Thanks to everyone sharing their personal stories.