offshore seamanship

Newport Bermuda Race Nears Start

Newport Bermuda Race Nears Start

A Newport Bermuda Race Start - Photo Credit: PPL

A Newport Bermuda Race Start - Photo Credit: PPL

The 47th edition of the famed Newport to Bermuda sailing race is now less than four days away from its June 18 start in Newport, Rhode Island. Readers who want to follow the 188-boat fleet online have a great resource available from the iBoattrack service.  Here’s how the race organizers describe the tracking system:

“Once the fleet has disappeared from view, digital spectators can follow their favorite boat, class or division online. Go to the Newport Bermuda web site,  then click on the ‘Go to Race tracking’ within the Race Tracking window on the left, and follow the prompts. On the Boat Mapper page you can track individual boats, classes and divisions and add Gulf Steam as well as wind speed and direction graphics to the screen.

Because the racing crews can also log on to these tracks, the Bermuda Race Organizing Committee will impose a tracking delay during the race in order to satisfy the rule barring outside assistance. Positions seen on your screen will be the previous position for each boat.

George Owen, of iBoatTrack, points to a few improvements to the system. “Since we last tracked the Newport Bermuda Race in 2008, we have converted our main mapping interface to the more user-friendly Google Maps first used as a trial two years ago,” he explains.

In addition, the former ‘Leader Board’ function has been changed to a ‘Progress Board’ which provides information based solely on the boat’s tracker. This displays the progress of each boat on a ‘percentage completed’ bar. i.e. If the racer is halfway to Bermuda, 50% of the bar will be shaded blue. This is shown as a percentage of a yacht’s straight-line course to Bermuda and is not a tactical estimate.

The classic Newport Bermuda Race is organized by the Cruising Club of America and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. The New York Yacht Club Race Committee sets the starting line and makes sure all boats start in proper fashion. The record, set in 2002, is held by the late Roy Disney’s Pywacket with a time of 53 hours, 39 minutes 22 seconds.”

We will have continuing coverage of the race here on OceanLines, so stop back for the latest news and interesting features. If YOU have ever participated in this race, please let us know in the comments. We’d like to hear about your experiences.

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC. All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Cruising Under Sail, sailboat racing, Sailboats, seamanship
Video Debut: The Underway Series from OceanLines, Episode 1

Video Debut: The Underway Series from OceanLines, Episode 1

By way of introducing this new video series, let me re-state what will become obvious to you:  I am a writer. And writers may have great ideas for video but viewers will likely suffer a bit while the writer learns to be a filmmaker. And with that ugly excuse for the quality of our first effort here, let me introduce “The Underway Series” from OceanLines, which will document some of the routines of living and cruising offshore on a trawler or sailing vessel.  This first episode covers the “Periodic Engine Room Check” which all offshore cruisers should be doing, power or sail.

OceanLines Video - "The Underway Engine Room Check"

OceanLines Video - "The Underway Engine Room Check"

The philosophy behind an hourly, or every-two-hours engine-room check is that most big problems start out as small ones. And if they’re picked up early, many if not most, can be taken care of quickly and easily. Whether it’s a problem of the liquid outside the boat coming in — as in a leaking thru-hull or shaft seal; or one of the internal fluids — like oil, fuel or hydraulic fluid — leaking out of a component and into the boat, noticing it right away is key to offshore safety.

In the engine room, then, you will mainly be looking for leaks of the kinds just mentioned.  And as Gregg Gandy, project manager for Kadey-Krogen Yachts, and longtime yacht captain, demonstrates, a ritualized inspection will ensure you don’t miss anything.

This video was filmed during an offshore delivery of a new Krogen 58′ while more than 100 nm off the east coast of the U.S. Because our boat was brand new, with just enough time on the boat to be “broken in,” Captain Gandy was comfortable with a two-hour interval for the check. Some captains check every hour and a few go longer. I would say one or two hours is probably the right interval. Many owners these days will put a thermal imaging or even plain visible light camera in the engine room, fed to one of the helm displays.

You might consider creating and using a checklist at first. As pilots know, checklists are great for ensuring that distracting conditions don’t cause you to miss something critical. Another key, and you can see it in this video, is doing the inspection the same way every time.  Gregg likes to go to the far aft end of the engine room and work his way forward.

You can see him checking the running generator (we had two aboard the Krogen 58′) for leaks, vibration, loose belts or unusual noises. He then moves to the shafts, seals and transmissions, looking for proper cooling of the shafts, smooth, vibration-free turning of the shafts, no unexpected noise or vibration or movement from the transmissions.

While we may not have been able to get good voice quality in the engine room (remember to wear hearing protection, by the way), we will do so in future segments. Let us know in the comments what else you’d like to see.  I promise that we’ll keep them short and as interesting as possible.

Special thanks, by the way, to the folks at Kadey-Krogen Yachts — Larry Polster, Gregg Gandy and Greg Kaufman — who made this trip, and this video possible.

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Boats, Construction & Technical, Cruising Under Power, Cruising Under Sail, Engines, Maintenance & DIY, Passagemaking News, Powerboats, Sailboats, seamanship, Technology