Russell Brown

R2AK 2018

Recommended Posts

Two weeks to commit before the entry fee bumps up. Who else is thinking about it?

I have way too much work to do before I could go again and I can't afford it, but I don't think I can miss it either. 

Is Roger Mann going? Who might I have for company if I decide to go?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

RB,

Its too bad you're so far from Florida. The Everglades Challenge would be right up your alley. Shorter distance, smaller boats (have to be beach-launched). Some open water,  some extremely shallow water, some winding narrow channels, and inlets possibly breaking. No bears, but sharks, gators/crocs, pythons aplenty. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like bears way more than I like gators, crocs, and pythons, but the main reason I never got serious about the EC is that it's a 3000 mile drive from where I live. I'd rather fight gators, crocs, pythons, and bears than drive 3000 miles to go sailing. The reason I like the R2AK is that it's great sailing and then you get to sail all the way home. No driving. 

Maybe it's a bit early in the year to talk about the next race. I was just wondering who is thinking about it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My wife says yes!

And it is the most fun i have ever had with my clothes on,

I even invited Lia Ditton

Stephen

R2akteamgoldenoldies

downloadfile-1.jpg

123951 (1).jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We are definitely thinking about it. There is a 75% finished 20 ft boat in my garage that is being built with this race in mind.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2017-12-31 at 8:33 AM, Russell Brown said:

Two weeks to commit before the entry fee bumps up. Who else is thinking about it?

I have way too much work to do before I could go again and I can't afford it, but I don't think I can miss it either. 

Is Roger Mann going? Who might I have for company if I decide to go?

Russell,

You may very well have us "for company" - but only at the start line, for you'd soon after be way out ahead :-)  

We're currently in serious reconnaissance mode and as serious cheapskates seriously do not want to pay the slacker tax. (Leg 1 only at this point.)

We have our course chart, duly laid out on the dining room table - what else would we need (kidding!).

Jud and Miranda                                  Cal 20 "Calico"

IMG_5568.JPG

PS/Here's to a nice, relaxed downwind start :-)  

IMG_4808.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, multihuler said:

My wife says yes!

And it is the most fun i have ever had with my clothes on,

I even invited Lia Ditton

Stephen

R2akteamgoldenoldies

downloadfile-1.jpg

123951 (1).jpg

 

Nice looking tri, dude!!  Did you build it?  Design??  And the catamaran below?  Best of luck!  Our older Daughter is best friends of  a first cousin of the Burd brothers, I'm sure they will be there again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are the Burds really going again? I would likely only see them at the start, but it would be great if they were going.

I'm glad that there will again be boats entered that are just going for the experience, not trying to win. I can tell you that it's a lot more fun when you get a little sleep at night and aren't duking it out full time.

It would be really nice to get to know some of the competitors this time. Last year I got to know people only by talking for a short time while passing one another and while stopped at Bella Bella.

I'm hoping to figure out the communication thing a little better this year. I was completely out of contact North of Vancouver island. Any ideas?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The cat is one of the infamous Reynolds 33's.  I had one for a couple of years...

A lot of fun, but you had to keep on your toes or you were going to go swimming.

 

 

R33-7-sm.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Russell Brown said:

I'm hoping to figure out the communication thing a little better this year. I was completely out of contact North of Vancouver island. Any ideas?

When you say "completely out of contact north of Vancouver Island", what exactly (and with whom/with where) do you mean?  (I ask b/c we've been as far north as Glacier Bay, and only had VHF and it was fine.). I'm curious what others have used and there suggestions for you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

When you say "completely out of contact north of Vancouver Island", what exactly (and with whom/with where) do you mean?  (I ask b/c we've been as far north as Glacier Bay, and only had VHF and it was fine.). I'm curious what others have used and there suggestions for you.

We had the same problem going down the west coast of Vancouver Island. There are some spots where there is zero reception of any kind. A satphone would probably be the best solution, but it's expensive and I'm not sure you'd get reception even with that in some of the narrow deep channels.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

When you say "completely out of contact north of Vancouver Island", what exactly (and with whom/with where) do you mean?  (I ask b/c we've been as far north as Glacier Bay, and only had VHF and it was fine.). I'm curious what others have used and there suggestions for you.

I guess I wasn't talking about VHF, though there were areas where I couldn't access VHF weather. Other boats were keeping track of competitors and I guess it was via Sat Phone, which I won't be able to afford, but others were getting cell phone coverage that I wasn't able to access with AT&T.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, Russell Brown said:

I guess I wasn't talking about VHF, though there were areas where I couldn't access VHF weather. Other boats were keeping track of competitors and I guess it was via Sat Phone, which I won't be able to afford, but others were getting cell phone coverage that I wasn't able to access with AT&T.

You need Telus for full coverage here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm waiting for someone to enter a 25' Buccaneer. 

The SC27 with crew of 4 has a good chance of doing well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/2/2018 at 11:27 AM, Russell Brown said:

Are the Burds really going again? I would likely only see them at the start, but it would be great if they were going.

I'm glad that there will again be boats entered that are just going for the experience, not trying to win. I can tell you that it's a lot more fun when you get a little sleep at night and aren't duking it out full time.

It would be really nice to get to know some of the competitors this time. Last year I got to know people only by talking for a short time while passing one another and while stopped at Bella Bella.

I'm hoping to figure out the communication thing a little better this year. I was completely out of contact North of Vancouver island. Any ideas?

 

Just heard back from daughter Britt.  She says the Burds are probably not racing this year, because Trevor is on the US Olympic Sailing team for 49'ers?  Must be practicing, because I believe the next summer Olympics is a couple years off, still....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess winning the race kind of kills some of the enthusiasm for doing it the following year. I'll bet that the brothers are probably still recovering from last year. They pushed harder than I ever want to do. There will always be someone willing to take more risks than I am and I don't think that the floating logs magically disappear after dark.

I would like to hear from someone about what phone providers give the best coverage. I know that there's not much north of Van island, except near Bella Bella and Prince Rupert. The Sat Phone is not going to be in the budget, but a bit of cell coverage would be great.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

According to Telus coverage map, you'll get some passing Bella Bella, Hartley Bay, & Klemtu (but not sure if folks take Grenville Channel) If not and go inside Banks Island, nothing until passing Rupert.

http://www.telus.com/en/bc/mobility/network/coverage-map.jsp

Or you can rent Satphones:  ~ $150 for 10 days. No airtime included in that.

Or find a nice SA friend who will loan you one!

Or Garmin Inreach offers 2 way emailing. Purchase and a month plan. Sell at end of trip.

Or buy used on Craigslist and re-sell after race.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think Bell and Rogers typically has the best rural coverage in Canada, but it's still pretty dismal once you get north of Vancouver Island.  You can check these maps:

https://www.rogers.com/consumer/wireless/network-coverage
and
https://www.bell.ca/Mobility/Our_network_coverage

I have T-Mobile in the US and it roams onto both of those networks.  I think AT&T roams onto Rogers?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

AT&T worked only to Port Hardy and didn't wake up again until Ketchikan. The Inreach sounds appealing and I have heard talk about it. I'm terrible at texting though (and just slightly better at typing), but even for me it would be better than nothing.

Thanks for the feedback!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Russell Brown said:

I guess winning the race kind of kills some of the enthusiasm for doing it the following year. I'll bet that the brothers are probably still recovering from last year. They pushed harder than I ever want to do. There will always be someone willing to take more risks than I am and I don't think that the floating logs magically disappear after dark.

I would like to hear from someone about what phone providers give the best coverage. I know that there's not much north of Van island, except near Bella Bella and Prince Rupert. The Sat Phone is not going to be in the budget, but a bit of cell coverage would be great.

Russell -- re: the original topic, I'll be staying ashore too this year (family commitments).  But I'm excited to see who makes it to the start!

Based on doing 2x R2AKs, I wouldn't hold up hopes for cell coverage N of Vancouver Isl beyond what you mentioned near Bella Bella and Prince Rupert...   There simply are not enough towns (or even just cell phone towers) in that area...   We had AT&T, Verizon & T-Mobile in 2016 (sailing more offshore on the F-31), and Verizon & T-Mobile in 2017 (more inshore on the Nacra 20), which roam on various major Canadian networks, and none managed to connect other than in those 2 areas.

For example, when we ran out of water N of Bella Bella in 2017 (leak in water bladder), the next inhabited village to stop at for resupply, Kitkatla, was >100 mi away (as the crow flies), and that's a village of only 500 people with no cell reception (at least on our 2 phones).  There are a few other small inhabited villages/communities in between the two (Klemtu, Butedale, Hartley Bay) but they appear to be even smaller than Kitkatla, and are more inland so I doubt the reception would carry to the racetrack given the neighboring hills.  Same story from N of Port Hardy to Bella Bella.

Don't take my word for it -- check out distances and inhabited locales in Navionics or an online tool like this: https://www.freemaptools.com/measure-distance.htm

[Edit: Zonker & Alex beat me to this!] Also look at cell phone coverage maps via http://www.comparecellular.com/coverage-maps/.  For example Rogers, Bell, Telus coverage maps.  And this map of individual cell phone towers.  Same conclusion across all.  I had looked at these before the 2016 race and concluded we would have to rely on VHF coverage (which works well as you mentioned) for WX channel voice updates, and SatPhone for online weather and SMS/phone coverage. 

Both years we rented an Iridium Go (which connects to a smartphone via wifi) from NorthernAxcess for about $275 for 1 month. Expensive, but we wanted SatComms for safety reasons and for weather updates (even on -- or perhaps especially on -- the Nacra 20). 

The Iridium Go proved to be effective to download text WX forecasts and realtime weather buoy data (done via email -- you email a query to a SailDocs server and the server replies with an email transcription of any webpage containing the weather data you want).  I found this was only somewhat useful a few times (e.g. in Kitkatla), but never game-changing.  The Go was also good for SMS and phone calls (if needed -- beware the race's outside assistance rules).  On the other hand the Go was inept at browsing (e.g. the race tracker) or downloading GRIB data -- too slow to load any physical webpage, and I never got the purported integration with PredictWind to work.  Not that GRIB data is very useful in those inshore area (text weather forecasts by human meteorologists are bad enough)...  So to sum up, the Iridium Go was more about peace of mind & safety, while providing an occasional weather insight.

In terms of keeping track of competitors, in 2017 we stopped a couple of times ashore between Port Hardy and Bella Bella, first at God's Pocket and Duncanby's Fishing Lodge (both to stay out of the worst of the gales), where we managed to get online to see the race tracker on the resort computer (no cell coverage).  I think Waggoner's cruising guide lists a few more places & marinas like that, though few are close to the racetrack, so not something I'd plan for.  And the resort staff, while very friendly, clearly had day to day activities to focus on vs. humoring R2AK oddballs like us, so we tried to be mindful of not overstaying their generosity.

Finally, keep in mind connectivity (whether cell or satphone) has both upsides and downsides.  We received some awesome supportive SMS messages from friends & family, but at times I found the attention distracting (admonitions to "watch out for the gale...", "why are you going this direction" etc).  So I found it nicer to only connect occasionally, on our terms.

-- 2017 Team Ketch me if you can (Nacra Inter 20)

-- 2016 Team It Ain't Brain Surgery - it's BINBA (F-31)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks so much for this great response. I would put you guys in the same category as the Burd brothers where you did so well last year that going again this year might seem unnecessary. I thought that you guys were a bit nuts, but people that win races often are I guess. You are surely good sailors.

My race last year was very tenuous. The boat had lots of teething issues and I had very little time sailing it before the start. I was able to keep the rig  from falling apart and keep the boat upright, but I felt a bit blind on the course. I had Navionics on an I-pad which worked great, but still had no idea about currents North of Vancouver island (there was lots of current). I still don't know of settlements besides Bella Bella or where they are located. I also didn't know about the Higgins passage shortcut and went out around Reed island (I think that's what it's called).

Being able to understand current flows and see wind forecasts are two things I hope to be able to do for this year's race. I'm not at all tech savvy and I'll be on a budget, so I may be out of luck getting any more information than I had last year.

I really appreciate all the feedback.

Zonker, are you in BC? Get in touch if you come my way.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quick question about weather forecasts.

Does Canada mantain weather channels on VHF?  I found that authomatic voice VHF coverage of US east coast is sufficient. Is the similar service on the north west side? 

Thinking to enter the race. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, CrazyR said:

Quick question about weather forecasts.

Does Canada mantain weather channels on VHF?  I found that authomatic voice VHF coverage of US east coast is sufficient. Is the similar service on the north west side? 

Thinking to enter the race. 

Yes, the Canadian forecasts are on the VHF weather bands. Ch 4 is Puget Sound, in Canada you will be using Ch 2, 3, or 8 most of the time. As noted in other places, the Canadian forecasts tend to be wildly pessimistic a lot of the time. PredictWind is far superior if you can get it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Russell -- I'm definitely keen to do the race again, I don't think doing well last year really dampens my enthusiasm! -- there are so many great ways to do this race, more so than many of the other coastal and offshore races I've done.  Now that I've done it on a larger tri in <6 days and a small cat in 7 1/2 days, here's what I'd easily get excited about:

  • Solo on any boat (you, Roger and the other soloists are all an inspiration!)
  • Fast multi for the win (I'm envious of Pear Shaped Racing's fast tri from NZ -- Dragon)
  • Slow on any boat, to enjoy the lovely scenery some more (the contrary of the above programs)
  • Foiling...

I can probably think of a few other ways, though I can guarantee no SUP...!

We didn't have much idea of currents N of Vancouver Island either, though I didn't personally feel there was so much current as to actually influence decision making (at least on a sailboat, different story on a human-powered boat).  I was mostly worried that in Higgins passage we might have an adverse current or low tide, effectively blocking us.  For that I checked tidal/current stations in Navionics -- however, most stations are 10-20 miles away (they're very sparse N of Vancouver Island), so at best I only got an approximate sense of currents near Higgins.  Still, I think Navionics is the only source (if going via the inland passages, the Canada currents atlas also have some additional info of the major channels/rapids).

Regarding settlements & docks, the Waggoner's cruising guide is the best source.  I read every relevant page pre-race (and would have brought it with us if our boat were bigger / dryer).  I saved every dock, notable anchorage & potential pit stop from Victoria to Ketchikan as waypoints in Navionics and also in our Garmin handheld GPS.  That's what allowed us to very quickly make routing choices underway, e.g. to hole up in God's Pocket, Duncanby's Lodge, or to resupply in Kitkatla.  If people PM me nicely, maybe I can find a way to share those waypoint files at a later date...  I also spent a lot of time pre-race using Google Maps satellite view looking at key parts of the course (e.g. Higgins passage, Jonestone Str) to preview the most critical passages/anchorages/docks.  That prep really helped to not have to figure out as much on the fly when we were tired and sleep-deprived!

-- 2017 Team Ketch me if you can (Nacra Inter 20)

-- 2016 Team It Ain't Brain Surgery - it's BINBA (F-31)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Regarding Waggoner's Guide, it is an excellent resource and is available to registered Waggoner's users as a free PDF file. I'm sure Waggoner's would be happy to provide the racers with copies of the latest PDF (and if they won't I will). B)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Ishmael said:

Yes, the Canadian forecasts are on the VHF weather bands. Ch 4 is Puget Sound, in Canada you will be using Ch 2, 3, or 8 most of the time. As noted in other places, the Canadian forecasts tend to be wildly pessimistic a lot of the time. PredictWind is far superior if you can get it.

Thank you, Ishmael.

Im more concerned about sudden changes/weather systems/patterns than the actual hour by hour forecast.  So wildly pessimistic guys are alright as long as they give weather synopsis.

As I read there is no single source covering all the currents and flow patterns around the course, is it right?  Aside from nav software, is there any book one have to read before venturing out? I made a note about Waggoner’s  Guide. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No empirical data to back this up, just a good number of years sailing up there.  The wind speeds Environment Canada gives are typically the highest winds to be expected over their forecast areas, and in the lower wind ranges they are usually overstated compared to what you experience on average.  However, in the upper ranges, pay attention.  If they say its going to blow 35, or 50, they are usually spot on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Left Shift said:

No empirical data to back this up, just a good number of years sailing up there.  The wind speeds Environment Canada gives are typically the highest winds to be expected over their forecast areas, and in the lower wind ranges they are usually overstated compared to what you experience on average.  However, in the upper ranges, pay attention.  If they say its going to blow 35, or 50, they are usually spot on.

Except when they aren't. It's a very different weather area with winds coming in from various parts of the Pacific. For the BC Inside Passage, the book The Wind Came All Ways is a really good study as to what when and why. Apart from the fact that it is never what is forecast...

51J0V5JYMCL._SX325_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

Edit: What Left Shift said. They are right just enough to pay attention, especially if it's backed up by other sources.

Edited by Ishmael
looming senility

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Left Shift said:

No empirical data to back this up, just a good number of years sailing up there.  The wind speeds Environment Canada gives are typically the highest winds to be expected over their forecast areas, and in the lower wind ranges they are usually overstated compared to what you experience on average.  However, in the upper ranges, pay attention.  If they say its going to blow 35, or 50, they are usually spot on.

+100 agreed (based on my 2 R2AKs, certainly not years of sailing....) -- in general when EC forecasts 8-30kts, it seems you get 3-5kts less than forecast; when they forecast 30+kts you probably get the forecast (but potentially with timing off by 5-10hrs especially if you are at an edge of the forecast area); and when they forecast 5-8 you probably get 0-5kts.  Oddly they never seem to forecast 0-5kts even though we spent days each race with those winds...!

So yes, if they forecast a gale, you most probably will see a gale that day...  But sometimes in surprising places -- in 2017 on the Nacra 20 whereas we were supposed to get a mid-morning southerly gale in Queen Charlotte Sound and Central Coast peaking at 40kts (about right based on West Sea Otter buoy readings), only 30-35nm E of that SE of Calvert Island we were only getting about 15-20kts, perhaps gusting 25.  That quickly dropped to 10-15kts, to the point that we quickly hoisted back to full sail area around noon, and spent a good chunk of the afternoon paddling in lulls up Fitz Hugh Sound.  Someone ashore filmed us slowly passing by -- keep in mind this is supposed to be the middle of a gale...!  The max wind we got that day turned out to be in the late afternoon 35nm further north, at the entrance to Lama Passage, where the wind rose to 20-30kts in the space of 5-10 minutes, despite the fact that the gale was supposed to have moved on by then.  Ironically, this is one of the most inland and "protected" areas of the entire course...  We were under full main & spinnaker, hit some kelp, the rudder kicked up, and capsized...  And I heard West Coast Wild Ones who were ahead of us also got surprised in similar big winds just after turning the corner around Bella Bella town about 10nm away...

Same story on the F-31 in 2016, where we were supposed to see 15-20kts in the afternoon in Queen Charlotte Sound on the way into Bella Bella from the SW, building into a southerly gale that evening.  In fact, all afternoon we saw only 5-12kts well until sunset, and we cruised gently through Bella Bella thinking we'd head back offshore into fairly mild conditions.  But just as we left the coastal protection S of Price Isl, still under full main and screecher as the sun was setting, the wind freshened very quickly in 5-10min -- we furled the screech immediately and soon after furled the jib, sailing downwind under main only, already too dark and in rough waves to safely put in a reef, and too risky to turn head to wind without flipping.  We sailed all night along Aristazabal Isl  close on our lee, mainsheet fully eased heading dead downwind while dodging tiny rocks on our chartplotter.  We stuffed all 3 bows in hard once, stopping the boat.  Easily the scariest night of sailing I've ever done (I radioed the Coast Guard to self-report our position 2-3 times in cases things went awry).  That taught me not to dismiss EC's gale warnings -- even if the wind appears well below forecast earlier in the forecast window.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Russell Brown said:

Zonker, are you in BC? Get in touch if you come my way

Yes, I live in Vancouver and I'll be sure to drop by if I get to Port Townsend.

The Canadian VHF marine forecasts are pretty good - do they still give the synoptic discussion first? They would actually say "a cold front will move into Northern Coast waters overnight" - which helps you anticipate frontal passage and wind shifts.

Quote

We didn't have much idea of currents N of Vancouver Island either,

Due to the shape of the major islands/passages the current direction tend to strictly follow the channels NW/SE. Occasional weirdness near the mouths of open passages to the Pacific where the ebb flows out to the Pacific. Look at the charts for the current arrows. Timing is more of a guessing game unfortunately.  

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pear Shaped Racing is not going in 2018 but will go in 2019. Dragon arrives in a week so not enough time for the Canadian to do a thorough prep.  Two of us have work constraints in 2018, as well. But we will most definitely squeeze into our cheerleader outfits and wave our pom poms for the 2018 competitors.

We'll be documenting the Dragon activity on the blog and FB, as we did with Nice Pear (which is listed in the SA Classifieds and ready to go - make us a reasonable offer). Will try to do more video this time, as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/31/2017 at 8:33 AM, Russell Brown said:

Two weeks to commit before the entry fee bumps up. Who else is thinking about it?

I have way too much work to do before I could go again and I can't afford it, but I don't think I can miss it either. 

Is Roger Mann going? Who might I have for company if I decide to go?

I really want to do it.  My buddy and I have been talking about it but I think the logistics and price associated with getting things ready for this year makes it a no-go.  I'd love to crew though!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cell coverage note:

Everyone probably already knows this, but if you're in an area of bad cell coverage, save your batteries by switching to "airplane" mode. Switch to operating mode to check coverage, then go back to airplane mode to save battery life. If cell phones have trouble making a connection, they pump up the output power until they establish a connection. This quickly drains batteries.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2.1.2018 at 5:54 AM, multihuler said:

My wife says yes!

And it is the most fun i have ever had with my clothes on,

I even invited Lia Ditton

Stephen

R2akteamgoldenoldies

downloadfile-1.jpg

 

That is a Gougeon-buildt  tri? Light as a feather and wide - extremely fast under right conditions? Really like to see that in the R2AK.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎1‎/‎2‎/‎2018 at 11:27 AM, Russell Brown said:

Are the Burds really going again? I would likely only see them at the start, but it would be great if they were going.

I'm glad that there will again be boats entered that are just going for the experience, not trying to win. I can tell you that it's a lot more fun when you get a little sleep at night and aren't duking it out full time.

It would be really nice to get to know some of the competitors this time. Last year I got to know people only by talking for a short time while passing one another and while stopped at Bella Bella.

I'm hoping to figure out the communication thing a little better this year. I was completely out of contact North of Vancouver island. Any ideas?

 

Burd cousin, Lee told our daughter that Trevor is out this year, as he is training for Olympics in the 49er.

 

http://www.ussailing.org/five-athletes-added-to-us-sailing-team-roster/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, SeaGul said:

That is a Gougeon-buildt  tri? Light as a feather and wide - extremely fast under right conditions? Really like to see that in the R2AK.

Jim Gardiner designed/built tri. Jim was a young boatbuilder at the Gougeons and built this boat using their techniques for tortured ply. Pretty minimal boat and I think Jim entertained the idea of doing the TransAt Solo in it. Dick Newick put me in touch with Jim in Ft Lauderdale after I did a delivery there and Jim showed my the boat. I had just done the TwoStar on an equally spartan 35' tri and Dick wanted Jim to have the opportunity to ask about our race. Not sure my input helped but Jim chose a nice sturdy monohull for his solo race the next year. 

    Good luck Stephen with doing the race on the spider tri! I'd do the race with you if truly have Lia on board but might have to knock you overboard to have her all to myself...

Image result for lia ditton

Image result for lia ditton

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lia's a badass. I suspect she'd be the one making the choice and pushing the loser overboard.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, galacticair said:

That taught me not to dismiss EC's gale warnings -- even if the wind appears well below forecast earlier in the forecast window.

There was alot of learning going around that night! We too dismissed the forecasts because up to that point the gale hadn't materialized. Won't do that again.

In 2016 we had my iPhone on the Telus network - service was exactly as everyone has mentioned above, a few dead zones in Johnstone Strait and then basically nothing between Port Hardy and Prince Rupert except for near Bella Bella. We didn't have any problems with the inReach or VHF however.

One thing we liked doing was to create a mobile hot spot with our phones and connecting the ipad so we could watch the tracker on deck. It was actually pretty helpful to see what weather the boats ahead were in. 

I wish I could go again this year - hopefully in 2019. I'm kicking myself for not buying Galacticairs Inter 20 last summer, that thing was perfect!

  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
30 minutes ago, swangtang said:

One thing we liked doing was to create a mobile hot spot with our phones and connecting the ipad so we could watch the tracker on deck. It was actually pretty helpful to see what weather the boats ahead were in. 

When I'm cruising these waters (hopefully when my son is older we can do R2AK together as a family) I've had great luck in getting additional range out of my cell phone by hoisting it up the mast, and then viewing stuff on the iPad using the phone's mobile hot spot.  This isn't going to help in the multi-hundred mile dead zones north and south of Bella Bella, but it can be the difference between having 1 bar and 4 bars of signal elsewhere.  I've only done this at anchor, but it would work under motion too.  I just put the phone into a small drybag and hoist it on a spare halyard, running a messenger line that I can use to pull it back down.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't mean to drag the thread off topic, But three year life goal it to buy a boat and prep it (year 1), do the Everglades Challenge (year 2) and then the R2AK (year 3). 

What boat should I buy? budget 7k.

I'm thinking Narca 6.0 which I believe one has done the R2AK, anything else I should look at? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Rasputin22 said:

Image result for lia ditton
 

Oh those saltwater sores! Downright maddening! diaf.gif

I do have the solution though; a freshwater rinse followed by manual application of a soothing aloe balm which I would be more than pleased to apply in Lia's case! yeah.giftongue.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ho-Lee-Cow...

Roger Mann is rowing the 2018 r2ak in a Liteboat....

20 teams already.

Race packet hints at expecting more interaction with VTS

Leg One racers must be qualified to do the entire course to be accepted.

A bank is willing to pony up to sponsor a team.

https://r2ak.com/2018-teams-full-race/team-gas-monkey/

https://www.facebook.com/racetoalaska/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Lightfoot said:

Don't mean to drag the thread off topic, But three year life goal it to buy a boat and prep it (year 1), do the Everglades Challenge (year 2) and then the R2AK (year 3). 

What boat should I buy? budget 7k.

I'm thinking Narca 6.0 which I believe one has done the R2AK, anything else I should look at? 

Nacra 6.0 is not a boat I would take lightly. I don’t know level of your experience, but normally it takes 2-3 years of weekend racing to start being semi confident at your ability to bring the beast to what ever direction you want to go..,

you will also need a crew of two and custom designed wings. Trapezing in Adventure races is insane and unnecessary risk. Wings is the way to go. 

I have heard that leading watertribe crew is selling their Core Sound 20 cat ketch at the end of EC2018. The boat has everything one may need in coastal cruising. And it is fast for a monohull...

Alan(BandB yacht design, same guys) may also still has his Mosquito trimaran for sale.  Mosquito is an ideal boat for R2AK, just google it. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Norse Horse said:

 

20 teams already.

 

I only see 3 teams on the entry list?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, CrazyR said:

Nacra 6.0 is not a boat I would take lightly. I don’t know level of your experience, but normally it takes 2-3 years of weekend racing to start being semi confident at your ability to bring the beast to what ever direction you want to go.

Agreed.  The timeframe can be shorter with good prior sailing experience, but nevertheless beach cats like Nacra 6.0 / F18 / F20 are powered up and beastly.  This time last year we were just starting to learn the ropes on the Inter 20 and were capsizing once -- if not multiple times -- each time we were going out in San Francisco bay, particularly on the bear aways and gybes, in as little as 12-15kts, and then 15-20kts.  We were sailing every 2-3 weeks and it took us several months to nail gybes in 20-25kts, and we quickly learnt that 25kts+ gets really tough, really fast.  We made a ton of mistakes, I can guarantee that -- and broke a lot of stuff too (which kept us from sailing every week).  The thing that kept us sane was that we both had good multihull experience, and I had done a decent amount of Hobie 16 including a 250mi Hobie challenge, so we had a lot of the right instincts.  It felt like going from a Go Cart to a Formula 1, with margins for error shaved down by orders of magnitude.  Thankfully by April we were getting in the groove, starting to sail out on the Ocean and holding our own against bigger multis in bay races. So it can be done, but not to be taken lightly indeed.

We were in many regards very lucky that during R2AK we barely saw any winds >25kts, in part because it was mostly a light-wind year, and because we were thoughtful about when to seek shelter between gales (plus we did not get any notable weather forecast surprises).  That probably made doing the race on a beach cat look a fair bit easier than it truly is.  Waterlust's film of the Burd brothers' 2015 race better shows how hard it gets in a tougher year.

Quote

Trapezing in Adventure races is insane and unnecessary risk.

Curious about your viewpoint -- can you elaborate?  Tiring yes, but insane/risky, I'm not sure about.  All the big east coast distance races are on trapeze cats (Worrell, Tybee, Texas), as are the Hobie challenges.  On the Inter 20 we did have some initial problems with chafe in the trapeze height adjustment that led to several MOB in SF Bay (good practice), but we fixed that.  Though in the end we did have wings -- those were comfy and great downwind especially.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2018-01-04 at 10:23 PM, galacticair said:

That taught me not to dismiss EC's gale warnings -- even if the wind appears well below forecast earlier in the forecast window.

Had the same experience coming south after half a year going up to Glacier Bay, AK and then back down to Vancouver in a heavy cruising boat.  In Johnstown Strait (which of course has its own brand of meteorological witchcraft...), we blithely disregarded a NW gale warning, the first one we'd encountered for that stretch of coast, and I still remember it well, coming south and then hoping it would all be fine as we careened wildly into the harbour at Kelsey Bay for some shelter...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, SeaGul said:

I only see 3 teams on the entry list?

Only a handful have ponied up the rest of the entrance fee. It only costs 50 bucks to find out if you qualify. The r2ak said 20 had been accepted. For some teams, getting the time off is uncertain, boat mods have to be completed...last year we found out very late how many teams had signed on, after questions were asked on social media. The last week of 2017 registration saw a flood of entries.

I suspect Ptarmigan will be back for the full course this year after a stellar performance on the Proving Ground in 2017. One of the teams I will be tracking and cheering on... https://r2ak.com/2017-teams-stage-one/ptarmigan/

 

For anyone contemplating the race or looking to put a team together this is the place to post a thread. Likely some ex-r2akers looking for an interesting team. http://smallcraftadvisor.com/message-board2/viewforum.php?f=10

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In R2AK or EC, boat type is best the type you already have a great deal of experience in. If you're primarily a mono sailor, an adventure race is no time to be learning the ins and outs of a performance cat.

R2AK is a bit different than EC in that a beach launch boat isn't a priority, there's an abundance of deep water, and no crew limit. That makes a bigger boat much more feasible. Multis, I'd lean towards a tri in the 25' range. Monos, I'd lean towards a ballasted sportboat. A bit surprised no one has entered a Melges 24. Fast, self-righting, has a shelter cabin, and the cockpit is big enough to set up a rowing rig with sliding seat.

Go the Roger!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, Alex W said:

When I'm cruising these waters (hopefully when my son is older we can do R2AK together as a family) I've had great luck in getting additional range out of my cell phone by hoisting it up the mast, and then viewing stuff on the iPad using the phone's mobile hot spot.  This isn't going to help in the multi-hundred mile dead zones north and south of Bella Bella, but it can be the difference between having 1 bar and 4 bars of signal elsewhere.  I've only done this at anchor, but it would work under motion too.  I just put the phone into a small drybag and hoist it on a spare halyard, running a messenger line that I can use to pull it back down.

 

I have gotten signal in the middle of Lake Huron by standing real close to the mast (Alum) basically holding the phone to my ear and putting my ear to the mast. Gets 1-2 bars usually step away and lose all signal. Of course LOS is better up the mast. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A reasonable tri can be sailed by good mono-sailors i would tend to say... and a light tri is a winner boat - if not some crazy people show up in a M32.... and go the hole distance..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I would consider going again this year or next on my F27 Fly. I’d do it solo next time though. Only problem is that I doubt I have time to get a pedal-drive rig ready. I won’t be back home to the Comox Valley until April, with the boat. Just now sailed into LaPaz, BCS and so can catch up on interweb stuff. Thanks for the heads-up on this thread, Ian (Ian Graeme, who’s done all 3 R2AKs).

For me, solo sailing would take away the inclination to be a ‘racer’ , which might be safer and easier on the boat. Paradoxical that solo could be safer. It would also save hundreds of pounds of boat load.

I wouldn’t  use a rowing set up solo. Brutal. Tried it ‘for fun’.

As others mentioned , Telus cell coverage north of VanIsle is spotty. We found out that Hot Mess/Double D was actually behind us, not ahead of us as feared, in 2016 , when we briefly got connected to the tracker just off Oona River on Porcher Island. Game on. Again.

I’ve been using an InReach in the Sea of Cortez on this trip and it’s worked out well (cell coverage on the Baja is not unlike on the north coast of BC). Good marine forecasts available on the InReach from Ocens for a dollar extra per forecast. (The included-in-the-plan Darksky forecast is a little general but better than nothing)That Ocens forecast would only be useful if the Enviro Canada vhf forecast was unavailable. I’ve only been unable to get the vhf weather when anchored up in some little  hideyhole on the BC coast- never had an issue while underway in the open.

In 2016 the problem wasn’t getting the forecasts, it was the decisions made as a result of the forecasts that caused fear and radio calls. Still gets me excited recalling it.

check out the vid Go Fast Go North for more info. Super fun.

Friends could text the Tracker situation to the InReach ( this would not impact friends’ productivity at work since all they are doing is checking the tracker anyways). I’ve also been using the InReach for staying in contact directly with other sailors in the Sea Of Cortez on their InReaches, as well as with family and friends by text or short email).

Even if I don’t enter  this year I plan to be hanging around for the start.

Steve , on Fly F27, in LaPaz.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Steve,

Thanks for the informative post (actually, thanks for everyone else's thoughts too). Good to know that someone I know is smart enough to be in La Paz right now. I have been working 7 days a week, shoveling wood into the stove to make the epoxy think about curing, blah blah blah...

The pedal drive is a deep subject. I'm a month away from starting on a new one, which will be quite different from the first. The first one looks pretty good now that I sold it and am trying to design and find parts for the second one. My 2017 race was a trial of keeping things working and I'm hoping to avoid that this year.

Thanks for the thoughts about the InReach. That could be what I need, though I would love to be able to see predictive weather maps (such as windy). 

I hope that you enter this year. It would be great to have more solo competition. Last year I was passing much slower boats in the daytime only to have them pass me in the night.

This has been a great thread so far. If I can be of any help, let me know.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, pacifica said:

 Only problem is that I doubt I have time to get a pedal-drive rig ready.

Steve , on Fly F27, in LaPaz.

Health issue has put WILDFLOWER out of '18 R2AK. Have pedal drive someone might be interested in: New in 2017,  50 pedal rpm gets my 22' cruising cat  to 2.5 -3 knots tops with ~ 270 prop rpm.  All carbon, custom csc aluminum 73 tooth chain ring, new lower bearing and O-ring seal, 16x14 prop.  You'd need about 14" bridge deck clearance for proper prop immersion. Seating is athwartships.  Photo taken before hydro fairing added.  Come spin in Santa Cruz if you're around..... skipallanatsbcglobaldotnet

 

pedalpower1.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, sleddog said:

Health issue has put WILDFLOWER out of '18 R2AK. Have pedal drive someone might be interested in: New in 2017,  50 pedal rpm gets my 22' cruising cat  to 2.5 -3 knots tops with ~ 270 prop rpm.  All carbon, custom csc aluminum 73 tooth chain ring, new lower bearing and O-ring seal, 16x14 prop.  You'd need about 14" bridge deck clearance for proper prop immersion. Seating is athwartships.  Photo taken before hydro fairing added.  Come spin in Santa Cruz if you're around..... skipallanatsbcglobaldotnet

 

pedalpower1.jpg

Sorry to hear. Looks like very nice gear. Bugger, it rhymed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually no. I have no idea what clipless pedals are. I would like to know.

I'm really sad that Skip won't be doing the race this year. That's my old pedal drive that he's offering.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good info in here so far for anyone planning on doing the race. I'll pass along my tips having done the 2017 one (Triceratops):

  • Weather: The Canada VHF weather is available throughout the race and right on usually, especially for local weather patterns like Johnstone Strait and Qualicum winds (look out for those!). However keep in mind the weather is for the entire area, so sometimes it can be blowing a ton offshore but calm inside a channel, and the forecast will be for the offshore wind. We had good luck using the SailFlow products, though the better HRRR and WRF models don't go all the way north.  The InReach weather forecast is not super precise but was essential at some critical spots where there was no cell coverage and weather developing.
  • Cell: Between AT&T and T-mobile (roaming on the Canadian networks), we had good coverage until passing north of Queen Charlotte Strait. Then we had no coverage until reaching Prince Rupert (except for good coverage around Bella Bella). Though this let us sneak past 3 1/2 Aussies in the night as they couldn't see the tracker :) Note T-mobile roaming is free and works great in Canada but basically doesn't work in Alaska.
  • Human propulsion: Pedal drive is the way to go for efficiency and comfort, but requires some engineering for reliability. Nowadays there are some off the shelf kayak pedal drives available that could probably be adapted. Russell I really liked your set up - you were flying!
  • Navigation: We used the Navionics charts on iNavX and this worked great throughout the trip (except for when the ipad screen was wet in the rain and touch started acting weird). For the tides/currents I used the Navionics "Boating" app - this has a nice graphical display of the currents. This worked pretty well, but it was tough to find accurate current data for all the locations, especially farther north. You can sort of extrapolate the currents at a given location using the tide info in the broader area and visualizing where the water is going to and from. Keep in mind that the tides/currents are affected by the wind and barometric pressure, so they can vary significantly depending on the weather. Waggoner guide is great. Google Maps satellite view comes in handy too.
  • General tips:
    • The race is all about the way the wind funnels through the channels/straits of the Inside Passage. In the channels, regardless of the broader weather forecast, the wind is always blowing straight through whichever channel you're in. So you're either going straight upwind or straight downwind. After Johnstone Strait, there are a lot of choices in channels - basically if you want more wind go west, for less wind go east.
    • The key to placing well is just going nonstop 24 hours a day. Any stopping really adds a lot of time. But for crew sanity and weather, stopping is pretty essential to avoid mutiny.
    • Make sure your electrical power system is adequate. We had 180 W of solar and we did okay but that is about the minimum if you're running much electronics. The daylight is long but the sun angle is low and its often cloudy.
    • It's cold!!! At night I had a down jacket and double long underwear under my drysuit, insulated rubber gloves, and a hat, and I was still a bit chilly. Those heavy duty insulated rubber gloves are essential.

Enjoy! Definitely recommend doing the race for anyone who's in a position to do so!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, sleddog said:

Health issue has put WILDFLOWER out of '18 R2AK. Have pedal drive someone might be interested in: New in 2017,  50 pedal rpm gets my 22' cruising cat  to 2.5 -3 knots tops with ~ 270 prop rpm.  All carbon, custom csc aluminum 73 tooth chain ring, new lower bearing and O-ring seal, 16x14 prop.  You'd need about 14" bridge deck clearance for proper prop immersion. Seating is athwartships.  Photo taken before hydro fairing added.  Come spin in Santa Cruz if you're around..... skipallanatsbcglobaldotnet

pedalpower1.jpg

 

2 hours ago, Russell Brown said:

Actually no. I have no idea what clipless pedals are. I would like to know.

I'm really sad that Skip won't be doing the race this year. That's my old pedal drive that he's offering.

This being  the fourth year of the R2AK, isn't it about time for a "mass-produced" solution like this?  A dozen or so, anyway?

Why did you sell this one and how will you improve it?  I would think a drive shaft instead of a chain would be better?  To a bevel gear at the prop... or a _long_ drive shaft angled down to a prop, no bevel gear?  Or a pedal generator to charge up this 14 lb. electric motor you mentioned in the dinghy thread?

https://www.electricpaddle.com/about-ep-carry.html

about-ep-carry.thumb.jpg.d1ffd1c0942f8ce693a1131aeb6f15b3.jpg

Not the most efficient translation of mechanical (pedal) energy, I guess...  Still, so many racers seeking a similar solution might be an opportunity?

P.S.  Was there any typical length of time for using the pedal drive?  Entering and leaving harbors would be ~30 minutes at a time(?) but were there longer periods of use in light air?  How many times in the race did you pedal, and for how long total?  These are open questions for anyone with R2AK experience?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Russell Brown said:

Actually no. I have no idea what clipless pedals are. I would like to know.

Clipless pedals connect your shoes to the pedals with a mechanic connection.  They increase efficiency because your legs can power more of the circular pedal motion.  Think ski bindings for pedals. 

I have a pair of nice clipless shoes (Sidi Dominator 5, they were about $250/pair 10 years ago) that I'm about to get rid of. They are in great shape, I just never use them.  Size 10.5, and I'll give the shoes and a pair of pedals to you (or anyone else doing R2AK).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, ProaSailor said:

Why did you sell this one and how will you improve it?  I would think a drive shaft instead of a chain would be better?  To a bevel gear at the prop... or a _long_ drive shaft angled down to a prop, no bevel gear?  Or a pedal generator to charge up this 14 lb. electric motor you mentioned in the dinghy thread?

You still need gearing. The chain and rings give you both torque/speed translation and power transmission in one relatively lightweight and efficient arrangement. A belt might lighten things up but belts don't do well on small rings, so you'd probably need an intermediate pulley for two-stage gearing, which would eat up some of the weight savings.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I see Mathieu has his r2ak mono design posted. http://rowandsail.liteboat.fr/boats/litexp/

Will we see him this year?

Video of the Roger Mann Liteboat. http://www.liteboat.fr/en/literace-1x-vs-literace-2x-race/

https://www.facebook.com/rogermannorg/

1st pedal to AK? https://www.facebook.com/Teamtakemetothevolcano/

1st mirage drive to AK? https://www.facebook.com/TeamACER2AK2018/

No SUP team yet in a google search...

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, sleddog said:

Health issue has put WILDFLOWER out of '18 R2AK. Have pedal drive someone might be interested in: New in 2017,  50 pedal rpm gets my 22' cruising cat  to 2.5 -3 knots tops with ~ 270 prop rpm.  All carbon, custom csc aluminum 73 tooth chain ring, new lower bearing and O-ring seal, 16x14 prop.  You'd need about 14" bridge deck clearance for proper prop immersion. Seating is athwartships.  Photo taken before hydro fairing added.  Come spin in Santa Cruz if you're around..... skipallanatsbcglobaldotnet

pedalpower1.jpg

Too bad you can't do the race.

"50 pedal rpm gets [...] ~ 270 prop rpm" - that would be 5.4:1 gear ratio?  For a "73 tooth chain ring", the small gear would need 13 or 14 teeth...?  Looks more like ten teeth in the photo?  Twelve at most?  That would be 7.3:1 or ~6:1 gear ratio?

1 hour ago, IStream said:

You still need gearing. The chain and rings give you both torque/speed translation and power transmission in one relatively lightweight and efficient arrangement. A belt might lighten things up but belts don't do well on small rings, so you'd probably need an intermediate pulley for two-stage gearing, which would eat up some of the weight savings.

Just seems to me that running a chain all the way down to the prop might not be as good as a driveshaft and, if necessary, a bevel gear at the prop.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/6/2018 at 11:57 AM, Locus said:

I have gotten signal in the middle of Lake Huron by standing real close to the mast (Alum) basically holding the phone to my ear and putting my ear to the mast. Gets 1-2 bars usually step away and lose all signal. Of course LOS is better up the mast. 

Would that expose you to something possibly cancerous, using your brain as a conductor between the Antenna(mast), and you phone?r

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, sleddog said:

Health issue has put WILDFLOWER out of '18 R2AK. Have pedal drive someone might be interested in: New in 2017,  50 pedal rpm gets my 22' cruising cat  to 2.5 -3 knots tops with ~ 270 prop rpm.  All carbon, custom csc aluminum 73 tooth chain ring, new lower bearing and O-ring seal, 16x14 prop.  You'd need about 14" bridge deck clearance for proper prop immersion. Seating is athwartships.  Photo taken before hydro fairing added.  Come spin in Santa Cruz if you're around..... skipallanatsbcglobaldotnet

 

pedalpower1.jpg

 

Nice rig!! It appears that the chain is exposed to the salt water?  Shouldn't it be in a dry housing to keep the salt out?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Google carbon drive...

images.jpg.2b0c9938b2991605686ca10769ec0373.jpg

A dozen years ago, a Honda team showed up at the norba men's pro downhill races on Honda bicycles featuring a small carbon fiber tranny. They were back the next year, killed it both times, but their bikes were quickly locked up in their trailer both times. Only look at them was on the course (briefly) and I've never seen a Honda bicycles since. Sure would like to learn more about what they had. A lightweight sealed carbon tranny might be just the ticket for peddle power in a wet salty environment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, ProaSailor said:

I would think a drive shaft instead of a chain would be better?  To a bevel gear at the prop... or a _long_ drive shaft angled down to a prop, no bevel gear?  Or a pedal generator to charge up this 14 lb. electric motor you mentioned in the dinghy thread?

https://www.electricpaddle.com/about-ep-carry.html

about-ep-carry.thumb.jpg.d1ffd1c0942f8ce693a1131aeb6f15b3.jpg

Not the most efficient translation of mechanical (pedal) energy, I guess...  Still, so many racers seeking a similar solution might be an opportunity?

P.S.  Was there any typical length of time for using the pedal drive?  Entering and leaving harbors would be ~30 minutes at a time(?) but were there longer periods of use in light air?  How many times in the race did you pedal, and for how long total?  These are open questions for anyone with R2AK experience?

How about replacing the electric motor in this pic with a sealed pedal drive that spins the driveshaft?  The pedal drive can be oriented 360 degrees, independently of the prop's tiller.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Every time you change the power direction, you lose power due to inefficiently in the mechanism. So avoid these for low power drives.

A typical roller bike chain is about 97-98%.(power going from a big gear in front to small in back)

90 deg bevel gear boxes (off the shelf) are around 90% for helical worm. Normal worm are much worse. Do not use!

Bevel gears, maybe 95% if no big ratio changes.

I'd be curious if Harken coffee grinder bevel gear boxes are much different. Probably not just due to the physics of how gears work.Probably quite light though.

http://www.harken.com/productcategory.aspx?taxid=6756

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Clipless pedals are the standard type of pedals bike racers / serious riders use. Previously racers used toeclips and straps, the new standard type still clips in but it's built into the bottom of each shoe and on the pedal. So no toeclips = "clipless"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, ProaSailor said:

"50 pedal rpm gets [...] ~ 270 prop rpm" - that would be 5.4:1 gear ratio?  For a "73 tooth chain ring", the small gear would need 13 or 14 teeth...?  Looks more like ten teeth in the photo?  Twelve at most?  That would be 7.3:1 or ~6:1 gear ratio?

Good question.  I haven't seen anyone talk about gear ratios they use. Something of a secret sauce! (props you can pretty much tell at the dock)

On the Nacra Inter 20 cat we had a gearbox system (no chain) with 4:1 gear ratio and an 18.5x12 WPN propeller from APCprop.com.  We didn't have a great seating system given it was such a small boat, so I doubt we got high pedal RPM (probably much less than 50 RPM).  The 4:1 gear ratio felt insufficient -- could definitely have used more power via prop RPM since we seemed to average 2kts (though we could peak out at 2.5-3.0kt), which felt low given our boat was very light and slippery -- we should have been able to zoom away from many other boats.

We did test different props but it wasn't clear it changed all that much.  Nothing very scientific -- just pedaling in the water and looking at GPS speed.  In addition to the 18.5x12 WPN, we tested APC's 16x16, 18.1x12 and the massive WCAR-T6 20x15 (very fat blades, feels nearly double the surface area of the other props), all being RC plane "pattern" style props (specifically intended for lower RPM uses as far as I understand).  The props all seemed to push us about the same speed, with the T6 perhaps being a bit slower for us (too big), at least in our minimalist pedal drive setup.  So we just went with the 18.5x12 WPN thinking perhaps a bigger prop would help us at low RPM.

If anyone wants the 16x16, 18.1x12 and T6 20x15 props, PM me and I'll sell them as a bundle. They're currently on Ebay.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Jacob Warman said:

Weather: The Canada VHF weather is available throughout the race and right on usually, especially for local weather patterns like Johnstone Strait and Qualicum winds (look out for those!).

Make sure your electrical power system is adequate. We had 180 W of solar and we did okay but that is about the minimum if you're running much electronics. The daylight is long but the sun angle is low and its often cloudy.

Great tips, those closely align with my own experience overall.

Specifically on the two points above: 

Good call-out on the Qualicum winds.  These are the first major winds we saw on the course in both 2016 and 2017 (about 15-20kts, I hear they can go to 25kts+), and they came as a surprise -- seemingly out of nowhere after light air sailing near Ballenas and Lasqueti Islands.  We recognized the pattern a lot more in 2017, seeing the wind come in around Sisters islet and then fast reaching to Hornby Island to get some protection (it was sunset, just when you don't want to hit a wind funnel on a small boat).  Good to keep an eye out in that area!

I agree on having a good electrical system.  I heard Mail Order Bride arrived in 2016 with nearly dead batteries (they had small panels on the tramps that got shaded and seemed to corrode).  That being said, 180W of solar seems plenty to me, with the right setup.  Below is our experience in 2016 on the F-31:  

  • We had 100W solar (on the aft rail) and generated an average of 420 Wh / day with a range of 280-620 Wh/day (most days at 280-470 Wh).  Our min battery voltage by the end of ~6 days was 12.47V.  I have these numbers because I had installed a Victron solar controller (MPPT 75/10) plus Victron's nifty Bluetooth dongle that connected to my phone, allowing me to track solar panel output and battery voltages in Victron's app.  That's an average solar generation of 33 Ah/day at 12.6V, which allows a good amount of electronics. 
  • I budgeted power usage at 40-75Ah/day, including at the high end of the range: LED nav lights, 24h chartplotter + VHF + instruments, and a few hrs autopilot.  We had only 220Wh of batteries, but had installed carbon-foam AGMs (2x Firefly Oasis G31), capable of deep-discharges of 80% -- saving a lot on weight and providing us the equivalent available capacity of 350Wh of regular AGM or lead-acid batteries (capable of only 50% discharge).
  • My power budget suggests we had a daily energy deficit of ~5-40Ah.  However, given the 12.47V minimum voltage observed (with loads on and at night), my best guess is our batteries ended around 60% charged, i.e. only 40% discharged after ~6 days (about 90Ah out of our 220Ah battery capacity).  So in practice we were probably at a daily deficit of ~15A.  My power budget may therefore have been a bit conservative, it seems we were using closer to 50Ah/day in practice, in the lower end of the budget, and recovering 2/3 of that via the solar pannels.

In 2017, since our beach cat setup was a lot simpler, we just had dozens of Lithium AAA/AA batteries for our Garmin 78 handheld GPS, VHFs, portable nav lights, and NovaSail GPS display (which I'm a big fan of -- provided great situational awareness and SOG/COG/compass heading data day and night).  Our main battery usage was switching out 2 AAs into the Garmin GPS every 12-24h.  We also had a couple of large USB battery packs for our smartphones, which we recharged a few times ashore.

Eitherway, it's important to have a power budget and plan accordingly! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not so. Mail Order Bride had zero battery issues. In fact we had no issues at all. I had one 100 watt panel on the aft deck and another  40"watt to plug in if required. Never did. The key of course is keeping the demand down. I used battery powered LED running lights and only changed the batterie once. The only demand came from charging cell hopes and tablets and the garmin bulkhead mount plotter. All worked like a charm.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wayne -- Clearly my memory fails me.  Thank you for correcting!  The solar panel issues must have been Broderna... (I remember sitting on the dock in Ketchikan and hearing the story then)

By the way, thank you for the pre-race tips in Victoria on the "Wayne G" shortcut -- worked like a charm in 2017 even though both of us had to get out in the water to our waists to steer the Nacra through (with daggerboards nearly fully up).  We touched some rocks once or twice.  Must have been fairly low tide, because at the time I could never have imagined taking a F-boat through there.  Looking at the Race tracker after the race, I calculated we were 10nm behind West Coast Wild Ones as they passed S of Price Island, then ended-up 5nm ahead 4 hrs later as we left the passage.  And that's after stopping in the passage for a good 30min to better tape up the mainsail window that we had ripped in our pre-Bella Bella capsize the day before...

You must be amused to have seen so many boats on the tracker take the passage in 2017!

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Russell: Google clipless pedal shoes. Look at the images that show the soles. Most are highly impractical for boating unless you plan to remove the shoes immediately every time you're done pedaling. The shoes which might be at least partially practical are the Shimano style with the recessed cleat in the sole of the shoe. But that takes away non-skid grip from the most critical area of the shoe. The other older style clipless have large metal cleats which are mounted proud of the sole of the shoe and offer negative non-skid properties; it would be like lashing bars of shower soap to the soles of your shoes.

Cheap plastic "bear trap" pedals like on Skip's assembly make better sense when you have to be jumping from one position to another with any amount of frequency.

Clipless pedals are more efficient but I would think they are death-traps on a boat.

cliplessshoespedal.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How come I never got the tip about the shortcut Wayne?  You must have thought that I knew what I was doing. I did fully scope it out on the way home. It's about the most beautiful place I have ever been. How did you predict the tide and current there?

Okay, I knew what clipless pedals are, I just didn't know what they are called. I have used toe straps for 40 some years and still like them, but they didn't work on the boat. I doubt that clipless pedals would work either.

The pedal drive thing is a very deep subject and it's tough to find information about designing one. The unit I built was about as simple and efficient as it can get. The lower end of the shaft has a fairing that keeps the water out, so that the chain is not pumping water into the cockpit (until a wave comes along), but the fairing also makes it easy to rinse the chain by pouring a cup of water into it and pedaling while holding the unit up. The disadvantage of this unit is that it has to be pulled out and put somewhere when not in use. It only weighs 9 pounds, but it's awkward, especially when a puff hits and the boat takes off. 

Good to hear from you Jacob (triceratops). How are the Bahamas? Thanks for all the info.

This has been a really great thread so far. A lot of information has been shared. I'll share my new pedal drive design when I get going on it. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Clipless pedals pose no danger on a boat.

They are twist and release, couldn't be simpler or safer and if you like your toe straps, you will love clipless.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, I rode with clipless last year for the first time and would never go back to toe clips.

The NZ America's cup team used clipless pedals for their bike powered winches, and never seemed to have traction issues running across the boat and jumping into the cockpit on the other side. For the R2AK I think it would be a non-issue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Forgive a slight tangent but this is a race I and some east coast friends have been looking at.  Got the boat (F27), got the tow vehicle, got the sailing resume, but lack any insight into pedal drives and/or rowing (suspect pedal drives would be more efficient for a 3500 lbs tri but not sure).

Can anyone point me in the right direction to start to explore researching what might work (and install) well?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Russell Brown said:

The pedal drive thing is a very deep subject and it's tough to find information about designing one. The unit I built was about as simple and efficient as it can get. The lower end of the shaft has a fairing that keeps the water out, so that the chain is not pumping water into the cockpit (until a wave comes along), but the fairing also makes it easy to rinse the chain by pouring a cup of water into it and pedaling while holding the unit up. The disadvantage of this unit is that it has to be pulled out and put somewhere when not in use. It only weighs 9 pounds, but it's awkward, especially when a puff hits and the boat takes off. 

[...]

This has been a really great thread so far. A lot of information has been shared. I'll share my new pedal drive design when I get going on it.

I'm sure your competitors would love to have your insights and answers on this subject ASAP, so they have time to use the information this year. ;)

23 hours ago, ProaSailor said:

Why did you sell this one and how will you improve it?

[...]

P.S.  Was there any typical length of time for using the pedal drive?  Entering and leaving harbors would be ~30 minutes at a time(?) but were there longer periods of use in light air?  How many times in the race did you pedal, and for how long total?  These are open questions for anyone with R2AK experience?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Russell Brown said:

. The unit I built was about as simple and efficient as it can get. The lower end of the shaft has a fairing that keeps the water out, so that the chain is not pumping water into the cockpit

+1.  On WILDFLOWER, to achieve proper leg extension, we first built a test mock-up and then mounted Russ's pedal drive off center at forward end of cockpit. floor.  Sitting on a folding cushion while pedaling, the tiller, AP, winch, traveler, main and jib and sheets, chartplotter, etc. are within reach without leaving spinning position.  This is good for for both safety and pedal sailing, where pedaling speed increases AWS, allowing sail assist,  in some cases doubling speed.

With the athwartship's mounting, vision forward is also good, important for solo.  As well, in trials, we found getting weight forward is important for increasing speed.  Transom immersion in pedaling conditions is sucky.  Initially I thought maintaining foot contact with the pedals would be problematic due to gravity, and had considered a simple foot strap system.  In practice this has not been a problem, and I just wear boat shoes.

If you look closely, you'll see Russ mounted the prop forward of the shaft, like an airplane.  In this position the prop is in undisturbed water from the shaft.  Nice. There is some friction in the chain/jockey wheels, but on WILDFLOWER (and probably INCOGNITO), the propeller begins turning the pedals unassisted when 3 knots is reached.

Once the prop is vertical, retraction of the pedal drive takes less than 30 seconds..it's ~4.5 feet long and stows in a cockpit locker.  Reportedly, stainless steel bike chain is available, but so far I've not found rust to be an issue.  Still, I think I'd experiment with a Gates carbon belt drive like those Honda bike guys..

pedaldrive9.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I own a Gates drive and it's great but, as I said above, the belt doesn't like to go around small pulleys and is only made in a limited range of sizes. For both reasons, you'll probably end up needing an intermediate pulley assembly and the fairing may have to get significantly wider at the prop. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites