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Monthly Archives: June 2009

So today is a good day.  All six pieces of laminated foam floatation are bonded to the interior of the hull.  Here are four of them, in case anyone was interested in seeing them.

Blog# 570

There is a 3mm sheet of marine plywood laminated to the tops because they may be subjected to a lot of abuse since there will be a lot of gear placed on them while sailing.  The sides are just thin walls of fiberglass.

I have to do a bit of lamination on the inside still, but that should be pretty strait forward at this point.

I also have had some very good oysters here.  People are pretty outraged when I say that the oysters we have between Louisiana and Apalachicola, FL are the best in the world.  So I’ve been eating a lot of the local oysters to get to the bottom of this argument.  The one’s pictured below have made things a little less clear, and I’ll have to come home and check.  But these were pretty damn good.

Blog# 572

They used to live in front of a friend’s house here.  The nice thing is, when the tide goes out, you can walk out there and grab them.   If only there was a way to get Northern Gulf Coast oysters here so we could have some sort of contest.

Here I am writing this blog.  I’m including this picture because my room is so dark that without the flash, I didn’t know half of those things were in this room.  I mean, what’s that stick thing?  I’ll check after I’m done writing this.

Blog# 574

I’m glad the room is dark though, because dusk isn’t until after 11 pm here and dawn is only a handful of hours later.

Tomorrow I’ll finish with the foam installation and I’m meeting with an electronics guy named Olive who is a friend of a bunch of friends and the B&G guy for the Gitana team.  I hope my problems are really easy for him to figure out, because you know the guy has seen everything.



So, what’s up?.?.?.  While I love being here in La Trinite, and am generally happy with “things”, not everything is peachy-rosy.  Some have been squishy.

What I didn’t cover:  My Gulf of Mexico crossing ended up being a good sea trial.  That is, I discovered a lot of problems.  The most obvious one occurred during the last ten hours of the trip which was upwind in 18-20+ knots.  The boat felt great, better than ever.  For the first time I was really enjoying sailing this boat upwind because she seemed to leap forward into the wind like she was meant to go there, which she’s not.  That’s all fine and dandy, but for the final 4 hours of sailing the mainsail track started coming off at the head of the first reef.  I was not too happy about it to say the least, but nursed the boat to Fort Myers beach, feathering the mainsail and pinching with a sea state that was flattening in the lee of the beach.

This happened in the same way the luff pulled out originally, a lumpy sea state and one reef in the main, except now, with the luff problem solved, the next guy in line is the track.  I was in a rush to pack the boat up and get her to Baltamore to ship so we didn’t do an in depth inspection of the rig before Europe.  Once in Belgium though, Jesse and I inspected the rig and found other places where the bond between track and mast was bad, and I have decided to replace the entire track instead of wasting my time and energy with this one.

Blog# 558

Finding a good solution in La Trinite wasn’t as easy as I though though because very few people use a D section mast here, so the Holt/Allen aluminum extrusion doesn’t quite fit properly.  After talking to several “giants” in the field of minis and maxie multihulls I was able to locate a rig guy who has an expensive carbon solution that he’s used on his brother’s mast for the past year with no problems.  So tomorrow I will go to Belz to do some dirty work so he can clearcoat the new track he’s put on.

Sea Trial problem #2:  My instruments don’t work.  Except for depth and voltage I have no good data coming from them, so I had to sail the whole time in a light and shifty breeze with an autopilot that only drives to compass.  It’s not a set up I would bother starting a solo race with.

ST problem #3:  Once at the Edison Sailing Center in Fort Myers I left the boat tied up with the instruments still on.  I do this often, for no really good reason.  When I came back to the boat the next day the autopilot had every conceivable alarm sounding and the ram was running back and forth sporadically.  I’m guessing the computer is fried.  I have no idea why it waited for me to get to the dock to do this, but I’m glad it waited.  I need to find an electronics guy here to help me solve both of the above problems.

Classe Mini Problem #1:  Cat 5 was not able to get my floatation sorted before I left, so I am having to do this here.  I’ve been at Charlie Capelle’s yard, Technologie Marine, where they build beautiful boats in any material you can imagine.  Charlie’s 40′ trimaran Acapella ( is there too and it is flawless.  Totally gorgeous.  This boat has an amazing history, but that’s material for a book not a blog entry.  Anyway, he has opened his doors to me and lets me run around there using material etc… as if I know what I’m doing.  Thankfully I don’t consider myself a craftsman because among his projects my work would be embarrassing.   So I’m building 6 foam forms that fit together on port and starboard and will be laminated to the inside of my boat.  It’s a pain in the ass to do this after the boat is built, because normally this sort of structure goes in before the deck is attached.  It should only be two forms, but I can’t fit two forms through my hatch!

Class Mini Problem 2: I need to buy a new liferaft to be legal to the new rules.  They used to allow a modified version of the raft I have, but not any longer.

Class Mini Problem 3:  My deadline to finish my qualifier is the 30th of this month.  At this point I don’t have a working boat that is class legal.  The electronics are the biggest question mark because I have no idea what the problem is with them, and it may not be anything big at all.  But I wouldn’t know!

I can get an extension for the qualif, but that means I will likely miss the start of the English Mini Fastnet race which starts on the 5th of July.  Without that race I cannot qualify for the MT.  So the timing is as tight as it possibly could be and I’m still not in the water.

On top of those problems is the one that calls the most shots around here.  I’m pretty much out of money.  After paying to transport my boat by land in the U.S. and Europe and paying to have my mast track issue resolved and paying for the other half of my new batteries, there will be very little money left.  Basically I’ll have enough left to have the boat inspected by Classe Mini and enter a couple of races.  But there’s certainly not enough in my bank now to pay for a new raft, boat insurance for the Mini Transat, all the race entry fees,  and other safety equipment like flares and a survival suit.  That is my reality, and I am fully responsible for it.

I’m not giving up on the Transat qualifier, but unless I can resolve some big issues in a very short period of time and a sponsor steps in after I’ve qualified, I’m out of options.  I was supposed to do some fund raisers before I left the U.S., but just like the boat, I ran out of time to organize such events.

I hope I have not let anyone down who is reading this.  Things are not really so bad.

Blog# 568

I have a great place to stay (above: Myriam Marello’s apartment designed by Nigel Irens), a loner car, I’m surrounded by boats and people that we only read about in the States (see picture below), and if I don’t make the Mini Transat start there are still plenty of races that I can do to get some great coverage for my current in-kind sponsors.  Also the experience of training out here for the 2,600 mile Les Sables- Azores- Les Sables Mini race happening next year will improve my odds of placing very well.  So I’m just going to keep at it like I have this whole time and we are going to get the results we are all hoping for from Myrna.Blog# 567

Sorry for taking so long to get this in print, but for obvious reasons I’ve been putting it off.

Thanks again for reading.


Jesse and I put Myrna away this afternoon.  We pretty much drove strait to Belgium and back in one shot sharing driving napping duties.  It’s pretty amazing actually.  His little four cylinder diesel was able to tow my boat up all the hills and everything!  I would have never believed it unless I saw it.  We are in Lorient now heading back to pick up the car I borrowed from Kip’s very dear friend Arnaud.  Then it’s back to La Trinite for me to start putting Mrs. Minkoff back in order.  Looks like she made the trip with no problems.  Unfortunately little gnomes didn’t crawl all over the boat fixing stuff for me.  Guess that’s one myth about Belgium that is busted.

More later.



Okay, I’m sorry I’ve been out of commission with updates.  It’s been hard to find wireless I can get onto with my computer.  Anyway, this place is great!  I’ll name drop later but everyone here has been great so far.  I have to run though because Jesse Rowse and I are about to head out to pick Myrna up in Zeebruge.  A quickey about La Trinite: It’s gorgeous and it’s pretty much a boat factory at the same time.  I’ll update more soon.

Louisiana oysters are still the best though (sorry Brittany)