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Monthly Archives: September 2009

I’ve spent the last couple days packing up my friend Arnaud’s apartment, and cleaning his car so that when his family comes out to visit they will not be too shocked to see the amount of crap I have stacked in the downstairs bedroom.  I moved there a little over a week ago.  It’s near La Trinite in a small town named Locmariaquer  (pronounced: lock-my-yack- care).  It’s beautiful and has three bedrooms and two bathrooms.  It’s the first time in years I’ve lived alone, and I was enjoying it.  However I won’t be back there until the middle of the winter. 

The other part of this equation was packing the boat up.  She is tidily packed away at Charlie’s place with all the loose deck hardware off, boom and bowsprit down below, tape on everything that needs UV covers, winches and clutches covered and the mast safely hanging inside a small warehouse attached to Technologie Marine.  So that’s all good.


I have been spending my spare time with France Birch, Mike’s wife and the mother of my friend Tifenn.  The three of them have been and continue to be extremely helpful to me here in France, and have been great company to boot. 

France is in town visiting her apartment and working to get some visas for a music group from the Dominican Republic.  She’s been working with them for a couple years now.  Anyway, the point of this is that we’ve been eating a lot of Oysters at lunch time, and they are getting really good.  I’m guessing it’s a result of the season changing and the winter approaching.  The one’s I had earlier this summer didn’t even compare to oysters in Louisiana when they are in season.  The same can be said for the one’s I’ve been eating lately.  When I get back to Louisiana I’ll have to do some more measured tests.  Lie detectors, sensory deprivation, stenographers wearing blindfolds: that kind of thing. 

So now I’m in Paris, and Tifenn and I leave from here to go to Athens to meet my friend Dee at the boat.  Dee’s flying in from NOLA, and she’s sailed on the boat quite a bit.  I think it’s just the three of us for this delivery to Gibraltar, because my Dad may have to get back to the States for a little while.  It’s been six months for him on the boat, so…


More on this later.



I’m glued to this race right now.  If you had told me it was possible for a series boat to lead the MT fleet I would have never believed it, but that is happening under the relentless attack of Francisco Loboto.  There is really no excuse unless the protos are holding back to be conservative.  The boat’s Francisco is in front of  right now cost 3-4 times as much, weigh as much as 500 lbs less, have taller lighter masts and deeper keels and are all carbon fiber.  I won’t even mention the canting keel advantage, because even down wind it’s significant.  So basically what he is doing is really phenomenal and inspiring.  This is a battle of mental strength and he is winning on many levels.  It’s like “Scanners” where if you look at him he’ll make your head blow up.  That’s what’s happening offshore right now.

Now that I’ve mentioned my enthusiasm for Francisco’s work he’s bound to break something.  Therefore I’m not including a link to the race.  You know, the rules of superstition and stuff.

Okay, enough of that.  What’s happening with Myrna?   Tomorrow I’m taking the mast down and bringing the boat to Charlie’s, Technologie Marine to get a bottom job.  I’m also going to prepare the boat for a new sponsor who is supplying synthetic rigging which is way freaking lighter than the steel stuff that’s up now.  I’ll mention them when we have the details ironed out.  

 I’ll take the weight savings aloft and remove the equivalent from the bulb to lighten the boat a bit more.  Than I’ll add more sail area with the new main and jib, because I think we can get away with it.  I’m not the type of person to say I like pushing my boat or going “balls out”, or decorating the walls with balls or something to do with balls, but I know what my boat wants and for some reason she likes having a lot of sail up.  I’m hoping to better define an “edge” by lightening the boat a bit and adding a smidge more upwind sail area.  Plus it will be fun to drill holes in the bulb. 

I’m going to Paris on the 18th or so to visit, then I fly out Athens maybe? to help my Dad deliver his boat to Spain.  He’s out of crew and as usual I get the tap.  It will be fun to see him.  We always have a good time sailing together and arguing about what sails to put up.  Then he tries to convince me that he’s preparing “the best steaks ever” and comes on deck with these black things that are oozing a mixture of blood and oil all over the place.  The bleeding grease shanks are usually followed up with a warm Red Dog, and as boredom mixes with beer I’ll start to joke with him about how he destroyed my childhood, because it always gets a reaction.  Inevitably we both end up laughing our asses off about it, because we both know wouldn’t change a thing, even if we could.  I’ll do an interview with him for those who don’t know him.  I leave for that trip on the 23rd. 


P.S. I am not sponsored by AIG.  That was a joke.  I’m actually sponsored by Blackwater USA with logistics and catering supplied by the CIA. 

P.S.2 I like this picture by Bruno Bouvry


It’s posted:

I left Jesse and Conrad yesterday to get back to La Trinite.  Jesse seems very well sorted out for Transat and only used my help because I was there.  Conrad still has a few things to do, but is pretty well taken care of at this point.  Chris Tutmark and Craig Horsfield seem really sorted well, and didn’t require any help from me at all which shows they are well organized.  Most everyone is ready to go from what I could see. 

The Editor at SA said they’d be following me in the Mini Transat closely.  That should be easy to do since I can blog about it from land.  I guess he didn’t catch that I’m not going!  I hope that doesn’t throw a wrench in the works for SA.  I sent him an e-mail already. 

Strangely I don’t feel upset or anything about not doing this year’s race.  I’m excited for the guys who are going, but not jealous which surprises me.  I thought I was more petty than that.  I must be slipping.  I just feel relieved to have the hardest part of the mini over with.  That is the refit.  I’ve still got a small work list, but it’s nothing compared to the massive amount of work (for me) I put in over the past year.  Mostly I’m just feeling relieved to have gotten here, sailed in one race and made my sponsors happy with a good result.  Now the fun part starts and I am doing the budget for next season.  A budget which includes hotels with internet!   

Speaking of budgets, look at this:


The massively modified and amazing Gitana 11, now 78 feet long preparing for the Route du Rhum in 2010.  One of Gitana’s problems being the 95′ Idec to port.  The other being the 100+ foot Sodebo about 100 yards away to starboard.  Consider this: the Route du Rhum is a solo race.  These are big boats for solo racing, and they are as fast as they are big.

As a sixty foot ORMA class trimaran, Gitana 11 sailed the 4,000 mile course in just over seven days under the spell-like control of Lionel Lemonchois.  It was a sublime accomplishment.  Historic and poetic. 

Sometimes these races are won by men behaving like machines, but Lionel’s record showed me solo racing can be more than that, and that’s why I’ve come to France.  On the mini it’s hard to get over the mechanics, because the boats are so small and are rarely, if ever fully in harmony with the sea.  The big multihulls are a much better medium to interact with the sea.  Their highs and lows are proportional and extreme, and to me it’s the purest and most honest way to go offshore. 

Until then, minis.


I guess they are doing it in two parts.

Beyond that I’m in La Rochelle helping a couple Jesse Rowse and Conrad Coleman to prepare their boats for the Mini Transat.  It’s something I wish I had for all of my races, and I can offer it, so I am.  Maybe one day it will come back to me.  Who knows.  I’ll keep you posted about the race.


A small explosion in cyber space.  People are actually looking at this blog.  What could it be?  Check Sailing Anarchy…  Okay that makes sense.  Now I have to produce a story.  Unfortunately because of SA it now has to be “extremely entertaining”.  How does one come up with an entertaining story about sailing a 280 mile race on a mini that is mostly upwind in 15- 20 knots?  If any of you have done it, you’ll understand there is nothing “entertaining” about sailing minis upwind, and with the confused sea state along the Aquitaine coast, it’s nothing short of absurd.  Maybe that’s the angle then.  I’ll write this today and get it to the ever lurking and sometimes dangerous Editor of Sailing Anarchy.