"Any damn fool can navigate the world sober. It takes a really good sailor to do it drunk." - Sir Francis Chichester when asked why he carried so much alcohol on his solo sail around the world.

Friday, November 16, 2012

That's Huge!

For those that don't think that 35' waves exist on Lake Michigan. Photo taken at Grand Haven, MI on October 12, 2012.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

2012 Mac Race Finish

These were taken as we motored around the harbor waiting for our docking assignment on the island.

 The following were taken as we were about to cross the finish line. (We have the red, white, and blue chute)

Photos taken by S. Hardy

Monday, September 24, 2012

Wow...that's fast

What do you get when you mix gale warnings, surfing in huge seas, and downwind sailing... besides a big hole in your main? Scary fast sailing!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

2013 Solo Mac Qualified

I’m qualified! This past week I took off for my solo Mac Race qualifier; sail a minimum of 24 hrs and a minimum of 100 miles on the boat that I planned on racing. I barely made the 24 hrs, I had to sail outside of Chicago to add time, but I sailed over 150 miles. I left Chicago under small craft warnings with wind in the mid 20’s and gust higher, and steep monstrous waves that sent green water running down the deck. The wind was coming from the NW and I was heading north, so it was going to be wet and lumpy for at least half of the trip.

In all of the sailing that I’ve done, never have I been hit by a bat. About 5 hours out of Chicago, still in daylight, as I went forward to do one of 14 headsail changes, I felt something hit me in the chest, this was at about the same time that a wave came roaring down the deck. I changed the headsail, went back to the cockpit and there laying the in cockpit was a small black bat. I’m not sure if he flew into me or was carried by the wave, but he was to become some happy fish snack.

Despite the waves and wind the trip north was uneventful, until I was offshore of Milwaukee, WI when I was hit by a 52 MPH squall that put Bootlegger on her side and had me testing the limits of my tether and harness. I was caught with a #4 and a main with a 2nd reef, which would appear to be not that much sail, but in these winds was way too much. I tried to roll up the 4 only to have the lazy sheet wrap around the block and sheet so that I couldn’t reduce sail, and the main refused to come down because of the pressure on it. Then to make matters worse the main halyard wrapped around the starboard upper spreader, another first. It took a while, but everything was sorted out and the only damage was a tear in the leech of the main from the flogging. Lots of lessons learned.

After the squall the wind shifted to the SW for a short period of time and went very light, slowing my progress back to Chicago to 3kts with very lumpy seas. The original wind returned and off we went to Chicago.

Since returning home I have talked with every accomplished singlehanded sailor and sail maker that I could find and have sorted out and confirmed what I need to change on Bootlegger to make her faster and easier to sail. Don’t get me wrong, Bootlegger is a great boat, but she can always be better. In the mean time I can’t wait to go out again.

Why do I like singlehanded sailing? Most people go about their lives never having to take 100% responsibility for everything they do, not so with singlehanded sailing. Something goes wrong or right and you have to deal with it, it’s that simple. Singlehanded sailing also makes you a better sailor because you’re helmsman, navigator, mechanic, weatherman, trimmer, grinder, tactician, etc.
I really need to get a waterproof camera.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Tri-State or Bust

Sunrise from the mooring before we depart for St. Joseph's, MI

The Tri-State Regatta never seems to disappoint and the 2012 running was no different. First of all, we choose not to do the race because of the dropping out of some crew and instead sailed to St. Joseph, MI on Friday for the party on Saturday. It was an easy spinnaker run with us moving at 7-8 kts most of the time.

Once we arrived in St. Joe’s I did something that very few have done…I hit a tree, actually just a few branches, when we were pulling up to the wall. Because of the low lake levels there was only 8 ft of water at the wall, only six inches more than Bootlegger requires, so we had our eyes on the wall and the depth sounder. Before I knew it there was a cracking noise in the rigging and bunch of small branches stuck between the starboard D1 and the V1. No damage done to Bootlegger and the tree no longer overhangs the wall.

On shore we immediately met Dawn and Nick, mother and son, who were on their way to do shots, something I’ve never thought of doing with my mom. It turns out that Dawn owns a bar with docks behind it named the River’s Edge, and they offered us free docking. So we did what anyone with a boat named Bootlegger would do and moved the boat to their bar. What they didn’t mention was that the dock was only 12’2” wide, only 2 inches wider than Bootlegger.

The bar was interesting to say the very least, with a few of the patrons speaking in a sloppy Cajun dialect, and racism spoken out loud as if  we were at a Klan rally. We left our mark on the bar by taking down a ceiling tile and signing our names on it. Why? Who knows?
Moving back to the wall after a night at The River's Edge

Saturday morning the boats started to show up from the race and tie up along the wall, so we moved back to the wall. This time leaving the branches connected to the trees. I don’t know if it was a sign of the times or what, but there was absolutely no party or celebration in the park, and worse, there was only one Porta Potti for about 600+ sailors. Needless to say it reached the totally gross stages in a hurry.
St. Joseph Yacht Club knows how to throw a party, and even a short downpour from Isaac couldn’t temper the festivities. The band, P.S. Dump Your Boyfriend aka Pfreak Show, was fantastic. If you ever get a chance to hear them, I promise, they won’t disappoint.
While other boats set goals, like winning the race, we set the bar low and decided ours was to get a picture of one of the crew members wearing the football helmet that the male lead singer wore while doing a Beastie Boy song. Goal accomplished! The crew was fantastic and fit in perfectly with the mood of the party and Bootlegger; I owe a lot to them for bringing the party to the party. They’re always welcome on Bootlegger.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

That's gonna leave a scar!

Russell Coutts is one of the best of the best, but even Coutts has an occasional error in judgement. In the video below Coutts hits the committee boat at the start of a race. What's it have to do with Bootlegger...nothing.

Advice from a master of self-reliant sailing: jump overboard

One of the earliest influences on my love of singlehanded sailing was Robin Knox Johnson. When I was a kid I read his book, A World of My Own, about the singlehanded around the world Sunday Times Golden Globe Race that he won on his boat, Suhaili, in 1969. Below is a Sailing Magazine article about RKJ and his attitude towards self-reliance.

Advice from a master of self-reliant sailing: jump overboard

I’d like to go sailing with Robin Knox-Johnston sometime. I understand he can be a bit crotchety, but I think we’d get along. I admire his commitment to the ethos of the self-reliant sailor. Besides, anyone who recommends that sailors jump overboard instead of calling for help in some circumstances would have to be an interesting shipmate.

RKJ, as he’s frequently called to get around the clumsiness of a hyphenated surname, got my attention when he wrote: “Why are so many sailors frightened of the water? It’s as if beneath the surface of the sea lurk unimaginable dangers and monsters waiting to trap those who enter.”

The comments rose out of his irritation over boaters whose first instinct when something goes wrong at sea is to cry for help. He was grousing specifically about sailors who call for rescue after wrapping a line in their propellers. “Whatever happened,” he asked rhetorically, “to jumping overside with a knife or a hacksaw to cut the prop free?”

I can picture RKJ leaping into the sea with a knife between his teeth. At 73, he looks tough enough to do it. In the photo over his column in Yachting World, the British sailing magazine with the same oversize pages as SAILING, his darkly-tanned, deeply-lined visage looks like a topographic map of Cape Horn.

I agree with him about the diminishing self-sufficiency of sailors. I can also relate to his recommended remedy for a fouled propeller.
Once after a spectacular yard-sale broach (sheets and sails and pieces of spinnaker arrayed everywhere as in a rummage sale) while crossing the finish line in a breezy race, I started the engine, put it in gear prematurely and promptly strangled the propeller in many turns of a spinnaker guy. I figured that if I was dumb enough to do that (the memory comes back every time we do a man-overboard drill), I deserved the honor of freeing the prop.

I took a knife “overside” with me (in my hand, not my teeth), but found that it was little help. There were so many layers of rope that I’d still be sawing if I had relied on the blade. I was eventually able to unwind the mess, but I have to say it was not quite as easy as RKJ makes it sound. “Holding your breath underwater is not as difficult as it seems,” he offered helpfully. I don’t usually find that difficult at all, but doing it long enough, and frequently enough, to free a prop choked in snakelike coils of high-tech line is another story.

But back to the old mariner’s point. Making a mayday or pan-pan call because you can’t use the engine on your sailboat (assuming you’re not in imminent danger of fetching up on the rocks) is surely a trivial use of emergency services. After all, if you weren’t interested in a swim, you could just sail the boat home and persuade or hire someone to deal with the problem at the dock.

RKJ says the Royal National Lifeboat Institution answers 250 calls a year from yachts in British waters that have something tangled in their props. He’s right to make a point of it because Britain’s admirable lifeboat service, manned by well-trained volunteers and classified as a charity supported by donations, is too precious to waste on sailing inconveniences.

It’s a little different in U.S. waters. Make an emergency call about a fouled prop here and you’re likely to get a visit from a commercial towboat and have to produce a credit card before being spared a jump overboard.

I guess that’s an incentive to self-reliance, though sailors shouldn’t need it. Being able to take care of yourself at sea is the essence of sailing.

As the first person to sail singlehanded non-stop around the world, RKJ is an expert on the subject of self-reliant sailing. He accomplished the feat in 1968 on his 32-foot Suhaili, a heavy Atkins design that, as he told SAILING readers in a reminiscence published in our 45th anniversary issue last year, started life as large teak log delivered to the Bombay docks. She was no speedster—it took more than 10 months of self-reliance to complete the circumnavigation. (By comparison, the around-the-world sailing record set this year is 45 days.)

“Those 312 days alone at sea with Suhaili,” he wrote in SAILING, “created a bond that has continued to this day....and every time I step on board her I get that feeling of impending freedom that comes when we can get out to sea and away from land influences and interference.”

RKJ was knighted by Queen Elizabeth for his accomplishment and has remained quite visible in sailing circles and elsewhere ever since. He was even featured in a BBC reality TV show called “Top Dogs,” the premise of which was a competition between geezer adventurers who had found fame courting danger in different fields. The sea dog competed against two sexagenarians, a polar explorer (ice dog) and a war correspondent (dog of war).

In an article about the show, the Daily Telegraph wrote, “Apart from high cholesterol, plastic lenses in his eyes and occasional difficulty finding the right word, Knox-Johnston is extremely fit, despite 10 cigarettes a day and a fondness for the amber nectar.”

What if RKJ and I did go sailing and a line got tangled in the prop? I guess we’d have to arm wrestle for the privilege of being self-reliant. Winner goes overside. He looks pretty burly; he might win. That’s fine with me.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Oh well...

Matthew driving
Kathryn driving
We spent 4 Aug – 11 Aug on the boat in Chicago. Our original plans were to sail Racine, WI and St. Joseph, MI or where ever the wind took us, but the weather had other plans. The beginning of the week had light winds and the end of the week had plenty of wind with gale warnings and waves that came right over the break wall. The weather was so bad for Thursday and Friday that we received permission from the harbor to relocate Bootlegger to a less vulnerable mooring, and the Verve Cup cancelled all racing on Friday. Below is a posting from the Verve Cup race committee. 

CHICAGO, IL (August 11, 2012). Today on the water the circles were each able to get in three races after Friday’s racing was postponed due to weather in the Chicago area, including wind gusts approaching 40 knots (46 MPH) and waves nearing 14 feet. Verve Cup Regatta Chair Martin Sandoval said that after no racing on Friday, competitors were eager to get out on the water today. “You can never make up the missed races, but we got three races in each circle today and it should be good sailing tomorrow with more moderate weather.” Chris Bedford of Sailing Weather Services said racers can expect “a bit of a mixed bag” when Sunday’s racing begins. “During morning racing there will be a lingering offshore breeze around 10 knots,” Bedford said. “That wind is expected to die during the morning with variable conditions mid-morning through early afternoon. There will be a midday southeast lake breeze of 5 to 10 knots and the waves should be down, so it should be pretty nice out there tomorrow.”

Due to the foul weather we were limited to day sailing and a quick trip to Hammond, Indiana and back, but never did get in our originally planned trip to Racine, WI and St. Joseph, MI.

Computer time in the Chicago Yacht Club
More computer time in the CYC
Kathryn doing handstands on a beach north of Chicago

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What happened in the Mac

I’ve been real slow at get this out, but here it goes. The 104th Chicago to Mackinac Race is over and here’s how it played out for us: the things we did right and the things that cost us. First of all, I’ve never been in a Mac Race like this one: it was fast, we put the chute up at the start and took it down at the finish, and any little mistake was capitalized on by the competition and very hard to make up. First place in our division, Chicago-Mackinac Trophy, finished in 37:28:47, while we finished 84th place in 40:53:40, that’s close especially for a race that’s 333 miles. Within our section, Section 07, first place finished in 39:05:10, we finished 15th in section 1:48:30 later.

The start went… well….not as planned. My plan was to start in clear air away from the majority of the fleet, in this case the committee boat end, but the wind died right at the start and we ended up trapped at the pin end behind most of our section. Why would I do this? Our sail handling wasn’t as strong as needed and I was concerned that putting us in the heat of things during a downwind start with a chute and having to do some fast last minute gybes could put us in a position to do a lot of damage. Starting a 333 race in last place a minute or less behind the rest of the fleet didn’t cost us very much. Once we got our .5oz flying we rapidly put time on our competitors. David Stevenson did a great job keeping us out of trouble.

After the start the wind allowed us to stay close to the rhumbline until Saturday, July 21 @ 19:56 when we gybed to port tack. The idea was to put us between the new wind and the competition. The eventual winners of our section: Smokum Too (1st), Fast Tango (2nd), and Velero VII (3rd) all stayed on the original tack sailing at 37-44 degrees to our 344. Once we hit the rhumbline we sailed up the line until Little Sable Point.

At Little Sable Point our competition, to the east of us, sailed in 11 knots to our 9.7, but we sailed about 1kt faster due to the angle. Between Little Sable Point and Big Sable Point we passed Velero VII. Velero VII and Fast Tango went east to shore while Bootlegger and Smokum Too went west of the rhumbline.

Sunday, 22 July at 12:27 we gybed to 300 degrees to get out of hole. We were trapped in a convergence zone between a sea breeze to the east and the new wind to the west. Smokum Too was to our north and west. The gybe to the west cost us. The boats inside of us kept moving in the right direction and Smokum Too set themselves up to sail a hotter angle into the Manitou’s.

Sunday, 22 July at 18:31 everyone, but Bootlegger gybes towards Point Betsie. We stayed on the rhumbline. Smokum Too moves into first place.

It became evident that the first boats into the Manitou’s would get the most benefit from the wind and would put miles on everyone else. The rich would get richer. We lost some time getting into the Manitou’s after our competition and Velero VII regains their lead over us.

Monday, 23 July at 00:00 we gybed just outside of the Manitou’s and separate from the fleet. Our competition is sailing at 39-43 degrees to our 24 or less (sometimes around 300). Our speed is equal to Fast Tango and Velero VII, but .20kts slower than Smokum Too. At 04:28 on Monday we gybed away from Beaver Island. The competition stayed pretty much on the rhumbline.

Some beautiful sunsets

Once we reached Gray’s Reef it became evident that going to the west was very costly. Between the exit of the Manitou’s and Gray’s Reef we lost 8.8 miles to Smokum Too, 6.4 miles to Velero VII, and 6 miles to Fast Tango.

Monday, 23 July at 09:30 we blew out the tack of the .6oz Poly chute; it took us 26 minutes (09:56) to get the new chute up. We didn’t go bare headed; we did get a headsail up, but moved almost 2kts slower until the new chute was raised. We finished the race at 10:49:54 on Monday, 23 July.

Some pictures of the 335 finishers docked at the island. Bootlegger is in the middle of the bottom picture (blue main cover with white 32823 on it)

So what worked:

·         We had a plan and for the most part it worked.

·         Our weather prediction was closer to reality than the committee’s

·         With the exception of Joe and myself, everyone got some sleep

·         Everyone offered good input to what was going on around us, good team work.

·         For the most part when someone drove they removed themselves when they started to become ineffective

·         We had fun. This one is huge.

·         Top speed, as recorded on the GPS, was 11.8kts

What cost us (without repeating the above):

·         Joe and I didn’t get enough sleep and became ineffective on Sunday night. The night that we should have put the most time on everyone else.

·         Not practicing enough before the race. This one is huge and hurt us more than everything else.

·         Sail handling. We had a nasty habit of trimming the chute too tight.

·         Sailing to the curl. Works well when shorthanded, but with a crew we should have driven to a course and the crew adjust to the wind. You can’t drive to the curl and the course unless the wind doesn’t vary at all.

·         Inexperience with the boat

Much like the race the trip home was fairly uneventful. We did have a short blow of around 27-28kt true from the south, the direction we were heading, above the Manitou’s, but that settled down and allowed us to make good time. We made one stop in Frankfort for fuel and a pump-out and then motor sailed back to Chicago. We arrived in Chicago around 18:30 on Friday. Top speed on the GPS was 12.2kts.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Last Call..

Jim and I have just closed the Chicago Yacht Club bar and's time to sleep. The women have rejected us and Joe.....well...his boobs are too small and droopy.

Our tracker is on and we're ready to race, with a few small details that we need to attend to: finish the bottom, make some sheets, and drink a few more Mount Gay's, has nothing to do with sexual preference.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

It's always something

Joe and I arrived Monday night to start the last minute preparations for the race and the pre-race inspection, which we passed with flying colors. The weather has been awful with temps around 100.

The bottom of the boat looks terrible, so I'm spending the day in the water scrubbing it clean. Boats and women should both have nice clean bottoms. Tomorrow we'll tackle the spinnaker pole and hydraulics. Also, tomorrow we'll do the final race sigh in,'s time to push her hard and see what comes out at the northern end. The key to winning....sail the fastest and shortest race, the doing is the hard part.

Right now, depending on the weather source, we'll start in 8kts from the SW with the wind building to 15 and holding till Sunday night. Of course, this is likely to change by race day. If this holds then up the rhumbline we go.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Who's in our Section?

Here's a list of the boats in Section 7. There are 23 boats in our section and 344 in the race.

Sail number Boat Name Yacht Make Length Club ORR AP ORR OW
USA 50369 Absolut Beneteau 38S5 38.3 None 0.855 0.853
USA 16826 Absolute Peterson 37 37.2 North Star Sail Club 0.864 0.860
USA 64 Aegir C&C 99 32.43 Burnham Park Yacht Club 0.863 0.865
USA 42973 Blue Heaven Pearson Sl 39 Waukegan Yacht Club 0.867 0.861
USA 32823 Bootlegger Peterson 37 37.16 Harbor Point Yacht Club 0.864 0.856
USA 50254 Celerity C&C 402 39.8 The Anchorage Yacht Club 0.856 0.852
USA 16770 Cheep N Deep C&C 39 39.5 Chicago Corinthian Yacht Club 0.859 0.860
USA 51804 Cyclone J92 30 Chicago Corinthian Yacht Club 0.863 0.870
USA 15004 Fast Tango North American 40 39.73 Bayview Yacht Club 0.858 0.856
USA 52832 Foray Beneteau First 37.5 37.5 Columbia Yacht Club 0.859 0.850
USA 31436 Heat Wave Dehler DB1 33 South Shore Yacht Club 0.851 0.847
USA 53026 Measure for Measure Morgan 36 Nelson-Marek 36.0 Columbia Yacht Club 0.847 0.841
USA 6204 Rush Nelson Marek 36 36 St Joseph/Benton Harbor Elks Yacht Club 0.864 0.857
USA 60016 Samba Beneteau First 30 32.2 Columbia Yacht Club 0.859 0.856
CAN 161 Smokum Too Beneteau 42s7 LWshoal 42.6 Thornbury Yacht Club 0.870 0.875
USA 212 Spar Wars III Olson 30 IB 30 Boyne City Yacht Club 0.863 0.857
USA 51045 Steadfast Canadian Sailcraft 40 39.25 Bayshore Yacht Club 0.868 0.865
USA 54951 Tenacity Olson 34 33.9 Burnham Park Yacht Club 0.843 0.840
USA 52845 Tide The Knot Jeanneau SunFast 35 35.3 Midwest Open Racing Fleet 0.865 0.854
USA 40655 Unknown Lady² Frers 36 36 Jackson Park Yacht Club 0.859 0.853
USA 15044 Velero VII North American 40 39.8 Bayview Yacht Club 0.858 0.856
USA 73038 Vesalius Tripp 37 37 Midwest Open Racing Fleet 0.871 0.860
USA 42934 Whisper Express 34 34.0 Columbia Yacht Club 0.848 0.844

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Are we there yet?

We left St. Louis Tuesday, June 26 and arrived in Chicago on Saturday, June 30 one day latter than our planned arrival. There were 8 locks that we had to pass through and we had an average wait time of 5 hours, much longer than any trip that I've taken in the past. Part of the problem was lock maintenance which caused a loggerhead of commercial traffic, another contributing issue was the gross inefficiency of some of the lockmasters, one of which made no effort to hide is distaste for pleasure craft.
Our fuel consumption really surprised us, I was expecting to use close to a 1/2 gallon an hour, instead we only used a quart an hour.
After the first day, which was our only cool day, we saw a lot of 100+ degree days and tried all kinds of different techniques to stay cool: bucket baths, plugging the cockpit drains and filling the cockpit with water, using a bed sheet as an awning, and drinking an incredible amount of water.

The heat wasn't our only weather foe, while waiting for the Lockport lock to empty we were hit by a very powerful squall that had winds in the 60's+, lots of horizontal rain, and more lightening than than I've seen before. With a lot of difficultly we put the boat against the wall at the lock entrance, but when we tried to tie up to the railing, it was hit by lightening and then the transformer, only about 30 feet away, was also hit and exploded causing the lock to lose all power. In time, we were able to get the boat tied up and wait while the lockmaster got the generator to power the lock.

After entering the lock a second squall hit us causing a bit of a wrestling match between us and the lock wall. We won and the mast escaped with bearly a scratch. Seeing that we were about to be hit by a third wave, I asked for, and was granted, permission to tie up for the night outside of the upstream side of the lock for the night.

Leaving St Louis with Matthew taking a nap on deck

Matthew climbing a cell, used to tie up barges outside of locks, while waiting on the Starved Rock lock.

Joe, taken from the Starved Rock cell.

Jim, taken from the Starved Rock cell.

Matthew summits the cell

Inside the Starved Rock lock, almost at the top of a 38 ft. rise.

Approaching Chicago.





Downtown Chicago. When we passed under the Canal Street bridge we had to remove the windex arm, put everybody on the bow, and weigh down the end of the mast with a bucket of water to clear the bridge.

Approaching the last lock between Chicago and Lake Michigan. I jumped the gun and tried to enter the lock early and received a rather public lecture from the lockmaster to wait my place in line.

Finally. The last lock behind us and we're on Lake Michigan. Now on to Burham Harbor to put the mast up.

On the mooring with a storm approaching. Nothing like the Lockport storm, but it did have a officially recorded 82 mph wind gust. This storm went on to cause a lot of damage in W. Virginia.

In a tender, water taxi, leaving the boat on it's mooring.

Leaving Jeanne and the kids after their short Fourth of July visit.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Slow ride to Chicago

Tomorrow, Tuesday, June 26, Joe, Jim, Veronica, Matthew, and myself will leave Harbor Point for Chicago. We should arrive sometime on Friday, and with any luck get the mast put up the same day. Then we move onto the mooring and some fun fresh water big lake sailing....finally.

Bus Ride Back From the Island

The Chicago Mac Race has post the bus ride information from Mackinac Island back to Chicago. The bus will leave Mackinaw City at 10 AM EDT on Wednesday, July 25. The cost is $95 per passenger. You can book your ticket online here:

Thursday, June 21, 2012

We have been issued our ORR rating for the Mac Race, and it is 0.864 All-Purpose TOT (time on time) and 0.856 Offwind TOT. The race committee will most likely follow history and use the All-Purpose rating.

So what do these numbers mean? Well, the higher the number the faster boat, in the rated conditions, and the lower the number equals a slower boat. The race committee will use one of the following formulas at the end of the race to calculate our corrected finish time.

Time on Time Scoring:

Corrected Time = TOT x Elapsed Time

Time on Distance Scoring:

Corrected Time=Elapsed Time - (Rating - Rating Scratch Boat) x Distance

Thursday, June 14, 2012

And then there were six

Mike Tomsu has withdrawn from the Mac Race this year for personal reasons. So instead of seven we're going with six: David Stevenson, Cody Stevenson, Joe Levanowicz, Jim Sliger, Jason Wiggins, and myself, as I had originally planned.

Our sistership, Absolute, is going with 10 crew, and is betting on heavy air, while I'm betting that the race won't be much different than most, a little of everything. It is going to be of the utmost of importance for us to make sure that the off-watch get some sleep or we are going to run out of steam by Sunday night.

I also wanted to thank everybody for getting their liability waivers to me as quickly as you did, I'll sent them into the race committee tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Valour taking on Newport to Bermuda

A sistership of Bootlegger's is racing in the doublehanded division of the Newport to Bermuda Race this Saturday, June 15. Ernie bought Valour, hull #1, about the same time that I bought Bootlegger and we've traded ideas, research, and a lot of questions ever since then. You can track Valour and wish them good luck at the Yellowbrick tracking site.

Yellowbrick is doing the tracking for the Newport-Bermuda Race and the Chicago - Mackinac Race so this a good chance to play with the tracking site and see what all it can do.

If you go to the "Other PETERSON WIGGERS 37'S (sisterships) " section of you'll find more information and some photos of Valour.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Mac Schedule

Because of travel and other distractions (lack of water, Chicago's marinas not opening because of OWS, etc.) Bootlegger hasn't left for Lake Michigan...yet. I haven't nailed down a departure date, but will let everyone know as soon as possible when I have one. Here are the dates that you'll want to put on your calendar:

  • Saturday & Sunday, July 7 - 8  -  We'll have a practice, do a million chute changes, MOB, try our watches out, try out different food, etc. Depending on the weather I would like to go sailing Saturday morning and practice MOB drills, then go for a long sail to....depends on the weather, which would include a night sail. Then Sunday return to the harbor. Joe and I will probably go up on Friday.
  • Saturday, July 21st - The start of the Mac Race. You'll probably want to get to the boat on Friday to participate in the pre-race chaos. I'll try to have the boat on the end of the pump out pier till about 9 PM Friday night, but then I'm going to move it to the mooring in order to get a good nights sleep. Joe and I are heading to Chicago on Wednesday, July 18 in order to take care of the required last minute paper work and to get the tracker installed. I'll post more information as soon as possible.
  • Wednesday, July 25 - We leave the island for the trip back to Chicago. I'm not in a hurry so we'll probably not be back in St. Louis until Wednesday, August 1. Joe and I are the only one's doing the return trip as of now, which is plenty, but anyone else is welcome. I'll post the bus back to Chicago information as soon as the race committee makes it available.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Too Cool

I recently added a new Standard Horizon GX2100 VHF radio with built in AIS (Automatic Identification System) to the boat. According to Wikipedia, "AIS is an automatic tracking system used on ships and vessel tracking services (VTS) for identifying and locating vessels by electronically exchanging data with other nearby ships and AIS Base stations." So what's this mean to us? It allows us, especially when I'm singlehanding, to see, avoid, and contact commercial vessels that I might not otherwise be aware of. Bottom line, avoid collisions.

Below are some screen shots taken from our boat computer showing a southbound barge.

MaxSea shows the barge as a green target. Bootlegger is red.

OpenCPN shows the barge as a yellow target.

The yellow box has the barge's name, mmsi number, speed, heading, position, and more.