Storm chasing & Sailing, Stan Honey on the Comanche

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
14,905
Philadelphia
Thought a few here would find this interesting, even if you’re not into sailboat racing. It’s all about timing a storm, and letting it push you across the Atlantic, to beat the Transatantic record, one of the most prestigious titles in the sailing world.

These races bring together all the elements, not just fast boats, but the tactics of the navigators, the skill of the skippers, and the endurance of the crew.

 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
Jul 12, 2006
7,041
Schenectady, NY
I used to race on J24s through the end of high school.


It always amazes me how much sail you can put on a boat if you're motivated to.
 
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EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
Jul 12, 2006
7,041
Schenectady, NY
Surprisingly low bow!
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
78,585
South Puget Sound, WA
Cool video, that's a big, fast boat. A coworker from before I retired has been selected to be on Team Seattle for the Clipper Round the World sailing race. The race starts in London this summer and ends back in London 11 months and 40,000 ocean miles later.
 
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begreen

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Nov 18, 2005
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South Puget Sound, WA
Amazing boat. Mast is 154' tall!! Here is a cool tour.

 
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Ashful

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Mar 7, 2012
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Philadelphia
My 5 year old asked me to take her sailing, as I was finishing up one of my chores around 3:30pm today. Turned out to be a fantastic decision, with their little training boat on the local lake for almost two hours this evening. One of the best days of sailing I’ve had in years, with a brisk wind in a very light boat, and with good company. I actually called it a day when it started blowing hard enough that I felt the likelihood of a capsize in cold water was getting real.

She may take to this, a chip off the old block. My older one hovers between fear and disinterest, around fast sailboats, but he does like the after-race picnics with the sailing club.
 

Ashful

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Mar 7, 2012
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Philadelphia
Amazing boat. Mast is 154' tall!! Here is a cool tour.

Would like to watch, but somehow link is not working. Search on "Tour of Comanche" on YouTube.
 
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Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
14,905
Philadelphia
Odd. Working well on my laptop.
Was able to search it and watched about 80% of it so far. Very interesting that they’re bucking the trend and going back to manual winches. Also interesting that they don’t use the compass at all, us dinghy racers live by the compass. My compass is the most expensive single piece of equipment on my racing boat, it is the centerpiece of my forward controls station.
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
Jul 12, 2006
7,041
Schenectady, NY
Was able to search it and watched about 80% of it so far. Very interesting that they’re bucking the trend and going back to manual winches. Also interesting that they don’t use the compass at all, us dinghy racers live by the compass. My compass is the most expensive single piece of equipment on my racing boat, it is the centerpiece of my forward controls station.
I'd think that without a compass, you'd be in a bit of confusion given the lack of landmarks, stars, and possibly even the sun considering the storm conditions.


That tells me they were looking at GPS, or even old school loran, lol. They were getting directions from somewhere.
 

Ashful

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Mar 7, 2012
14,905
Philadelphia
I'd think that without a compass, you'd be in a bit of confusion given the lack of landmarks, stars, and possibly even the sun considering the storm conditions.


That tells me they were looking at GPS, or even old school loran, lol. They were getting directions from somewhere.
I suspect the big race navigators (eg Stan Honey) chart their course by satellite, radar, and GPS, and put that right into the skipper’s console display. These big boat class races are a team effort between navigator, skipper, and crew.

His joke about Opti kids is a reference to one-design racing, in which class rules dictate what tech you can use. I sail one class that forbids anything newer than an analogue compass, no GPS, or even VHF, but some others allow all the latest tech.

In Opti racing the courses are usually small enough to keep visual on the marks (buoys), and the compass is mostly used to determine if you’re on the favored tack, or to judge your position to the mark so you can hit the lay line on your final tack to it. It can also help you come out of your tack on the right bearing, without waiting to read the sail, but I’m not sure it matters much on an Opti... they don’t carry much momentum!

https://www.quantumsails.com/getmedia/43a2923b-d111-42e3-b56d-964c03a07e93/Opti-Class-Page-Photo.aspx?width=700&height=938&ext=.jpg
 

AlbergSteve

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Dec 11, 2017
578
Vancouver Island
Very interesting that they’re bucking the trend and going back to manual winches.
It is odd. Alinghi and BMW Oracle started using gas engines instead of grinders in 2010. And Team New Zealand started using bicycle grinders in 2017 and won the AC. Go figure.
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
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South Puget Sound, WA
Less risk of failure for a long haul?
 

Ashful

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Mar 7, 2012
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Philadelphia
Less risk of failure for a long haul?
Less fuel weight, too. The America’s Cup boats Steve is talking about are built so light that if half the stuff on the boat isn’t broken by the end of the day, they say it was built too heavy. In the Comanche tour video you posted, Stan said the manual winches save them 2000 lb. of fuel, on the transatlantic crossing. When they’re cutting down the size of the crew to save a few hundred pounds, that fuel is a lot of weight.

His comments about the crew preferring the tactical feel and action provided by the manual grinders resonates with me. That’s most of the fun of it! With motorized grinders, the crew is just moving one step closer to their derogatory term, “rail meat”. The reason a racing boat carries a given number of crew often comes down to one simple thing: ballast. You need a given amount of weight moving from one side of the boat to the other, for a given point of sail and wind speed. Think of the photos you see of a dozen guys sitting on the windward rail of the boat, they’re not just there to wave to the crowd!

Heading out for a sail with my son today, he will be at the helm for the first time in our little racing trainer dinghy. He has helmed a 26’ racing keel boat in the Gulf of Mexico at age 7, and a tame little Hobie Cat off Bermuda at age 8, but this will be his first time on the tiller in a tippy dinghy. I expect to get wet.
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
Jul 12, 2006
7,041
Schenectady, NY
Flipped a Super Snark in a spring fed lake on Holloween back in the early 80s. My father was not amused! Lol.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
14,905
Philadelphia
Flipped a Super Snark in a spring fed lake on Holloween back in the early 80s. My father was not amused! Lol.
Hah... I owned a Sea Snark for 2 years as a kid, until we snapped the mast on a day with too much wind to really have that boat out in the bay. Those things were a great value, and got a lot of people out on the water for very little money. It's really a shame to see how sailing numbers have dwindled over the last 40 years, and how it's just about impossible to rent a Sunfish or similar boat at most local lakes and shore points. When I was a kid, every lake and beach seemed to rent Sunfish or other small family dinghies. I blame the lawyers.

Every kid should have a small sailboat at some point in their life, even if it's a beat-up old Sunfish or Snark, it's good life experience. You can't beat the gas mileage, either!
 
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AlbergSteve

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Dec 11, 2017
578
Vancouver Island
It's really a shame to see how sailing numbers have dwindled over the last 40 years,
No kidding. The average member age at the local club that I work at is about 70. Last year when we held our end of season regatta, there was one Opti registered for the junior regatta - needless to say, there was no junior regatta. Even with the 150 or so kids that go through the sailing school, none were interested in racing.

I blame the lawyers.
Yep, every time. We tried to get an after hours(after the sailing school is done for the day) informal dinghy sign-out for the membership, kids and adults, still hasn't happened. Between lawyers, insurance, risk assessment, liability issues, training minimums, don't think it will ever happen.
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
Jul 12, 2006
7,041
Schenectady, NY
I still have a minifish. I need to borrow somebody's sunfish sail some day, lol. See if I can push that little dagger board sideways!
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
Jul 12, 2006
7,041
Schenectady, NY
To be fair, pleasure sailing and racing are radically different.
 
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Ashful

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Mar 7, 2012
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Philadelphia
To be fair, pleasure sailing and racing are radically different.
My wife would agree with that. But to me, racing is the only pleasurable sailing. I have never learned the art of relaxation.
 

Ashful

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Mar 7, 2012
14,905
Philadelphia
No kidding. The average member age at the local club that I work at is about 70. Last year when we held our end of season regatta, there was one Opti registered for the junior regatta - needless to say, there was no junior regatta. Even with the 150 or so kids that go through the sailing school, none were interested in racing.


Yep, every time. We tried to get an after hours(after the sailing school is done for the day) informal dinghy sign-out for the membership, kids and adults, still hasn't happened. Between lawyers, insurance, risk assessment, liability issues, training minimums, don't think it will ever happen.
My club bought out another local club’s Sunfish fleet. They’re available for any club member to use any time, once you’ve been signed off by the commodore. My son and I used them a few times, but since they’re stored under tarps in a clearing in the woods and don’t see a ton of use, we would often have to fight off wasps to get one off the storage racks and onto a dolly. That killed the joy for us, although this year one of the members has been doing a youth sailing class with them, so maybe they’ll see more use (and less wasp nests).

The average age in our club is high, too, but not quite as bad as yours. I think the issue is time, I don’t think it’s any less financially feasible today than in the past, in fact quite the opposite. With all of kids’ structured activities and two working parents or single parent households, people just can’t set aside the time this sport requires. Each time I take my racing boat out, which almost never happens now that I have young kids, it’s a minimum 7 hour day. Even the little dinghy with the kids is 4 hours away from home for a 2 hour sail.
 
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EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
Jul 12, 2006
7,041
Schenectady, NY
I learned to sale on the larger lakes in this area, then moved to Florida, and sailed on the Atlantic.

Now I'm on a small, narrow lake with mountains almost up to the water. With a north or south wind, all is hreat. Any other direction and it corkscrews. The wind will show in your sail, but changes direction before you can react.

So, the mini fish is what I make due with. I'd love to pick up a small day sailer or some other monohull with a jib. Maybe some day.
 

AlbergSteve

Minister of Fire
Dec 11, 2017
578
Vancouver Island
On a slightly related sailing note, this one won't be racing anytime soon!
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
Jul 12, 2006
7,041
Schenectady, NY
Somebody is going to have a rough time over that.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
14,905
Philadelphia
“Holley’s statement also shed some light on the possible cause of the incident, blaming the loss on a failure of the yacht’s cradle that was provided by, warrantied, and assembled by the yacht’s owner and crew.”

Let the finger pointing begin!
 
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