Dear Newport Bermuda Race Organizing Authority...

As at least some of you know, we intend to sail our 21-foot Mini 6.50, Abilyn, from Newport to Bermuda and back to NYC on June 17--the same time that the Newport Bermuda Race fleet leaves Narragansett Bay en route to Hamilton Harbour.  And, as we've reported previouslyAbilyn is ineligible to enter the race.  Do I believe Minis should be permitted to race?  Absolutely.  These boats are purpose built to handle the rigors of the open ocean, and have been sailed singlehandedly across oceans for decades.  But rules are rules...and stability indexes are stability indexes.  Nevertheless, our taste for adventure persists.  And so, in a good faith effort to advise of our intentions and to promote good will, I reached out to the Newport Bermuda Race Organizing Authority purely in the spirit of Corinthian sailing.  

Below is the e-mail I sent.

Dear Newport Bermuda Race Organizing Authority,

I am the founder and skipper of Abilyn Racing, a sailing program based in Larchmont, NY, focused on shorthanded sailing.  Our weapon of choice is a Mini Transat 6.50 named Abilyn.  I am writing to advise the OA that, despite being ineligible to race in the Newport Bermuda Race on two grounds (length and ORR-calculated stability), we nevertheless intend to "race" double-handed from Newport to Bermuda on June 17.  Our goal is by no means to disrespect the race, its heritage, or the OA.  Rather, the upcoming Newport-Bermuda Race provides us with an opportunity essentially for live practice:  practice for next year’s Bermuda 1-2 Yacht Race; practice for future, bluewater racing and passage making; in short, practice for whatever sailing adventures come next.

Our approach to this adventure is well-grounded in the origins of the Newport Bermuda Race.  In A Berth to Bermuda, John Rousmaniere writes that Thomas Fleming Day had a radical idea at the turn of the 20th century—offshore sailing in small boats.  Day believed that “small vessels are safer than large, provided they are properly designed, strongly built, thoroughly equipped, and skillfully manned.”  Confident in his own abilities as a seaman, unphased by those who preached the dangers of offshore sailing, and desiring to “get a smell of the sea," Day set sail in 1906 from Brooklyn, NY, with three other boats in what became the inaugural Newport Bermuda Race.  

Day understood that sailing offshore in a small boat is a beautiful challenge for the prepared seaman.  Even today, to many sailors across the pond and around the world, sailing a small boat across an ocean means only that it must be Wednesday.  It is my belief that, if Day were alive today, he would have smiled and tipped his hat at the thought of sailors venturing short-handed into the ocean aboard 21-foot oceangoing machines.  He would have done so not in amazement, but rather as a gesture of respect and camaraderie that can only be shared among like-minded sailors who understand the importance of safety and seamanship as the bases for offshore sailing.

It is with the principles espoused by Thomas Day in mind that we intend to get a smell of the sea ourselves on June 17.  Our boat—a Pogo 2 Mini Transat designed by Groupe Finot and built to offshore standards—is properly designed and strongly built.  Indeed, Mini Transat boats have been racing across the Atlantic since the 1970s with crews of one.  At least one Mini has circumnavigated the globe.  And another Mini was recently sailed from the Caribbean to NYC, where it is staging for a record attempt between NYC and Lanzarote.  Our boat also will be thoroughly equipped as we are adhering to the Newport Bermuda Race Safety Requirements, as supplemented by guidelines promulgated by the Bermuda 1-2 Yacht Race organizing authority and the Storm Trysail Foundation.  Finally, our boat will be skillfully manned as my co-skipper and I have substantial ocean racing experience, including five Newport-Bermuda races between us both.  I also previously qualified for the Bermuda 1-2 Yacht Race aboard Abilyn.  

In view of our intention to “race” along with the fleet to Bermuda, we respectfully request that the OA permit us passage out of Narragansett Bay on June 17 by way of the official Newport Bermuda Race starting line.  As a gesture of good faith—and regardless of whether the OA grants our request—we will donate $500 in the name of the Newport Bermuda Race Organizing Authority to the Storm Trysail Foundation, the preeminent organization providing education to young sailors about the importance of safety at sea.  

Please let us know at your convenience whether the OA will grant our request.  We are amenable to speaking further about logistics, including, for example, an appropriate timing for our start so that we do not interfere with the starts of any official entrants.  

Respectfully submitted,


Ok.  I admit.  I probably shouldn't have led with the statement that, despite being ineligible, we nevertheless intend to "race," which implies that we intend to intrude.  This is not our intention, which I made that clear in a follow-up e-mail to AJ Evans, the chairman of the regatta, whom I understand is also the youngest chairman in the history of the regatta.  

Not being one to just let things mull about, I picked up the phone and gave AJ a call, primarily to introduce myself, but also to clear the air.  Why did I feel the need to clear the air?  Let's just say I received a response from a member of the OA that was not meant for my eyes.  This e-mail contained a few exclamation marks and made reference to RRS 69.   

Despite the vitriolic nature of the response, AJ and I had a very gentlemanly call, and even batted around a couple of ideas, since our request to sail through the official starting line was not well-received.  AJ initially proposed that I set sail from Brooklyn.  Although starting from Brooklyn has some appeal given that the regatta had its first start there in 1906, ultimately, we are set on leaving from Newport.  We can't help it.  We love Newport.  (If Thomas Day were alive today, we would have kicked back a few over at IYAC culminating with unspeakable activity at the Candy Store).  AJ, however, expressed a concern about potential interference with other boats while offshore if we were to leave from Newport.  I reiterated that we have no intention of intruding upon the race--especially with the official entrants who have undertaken significant preparations (both time and expense) to get to the starting line of this classic regatta.  I also mentioned that we would not seek to enforce any rights of way that we might have against any official entrant while offshore; if we have a port-starboard situation, and we're on starboard, we're going to give way, well before the port boat has to change course.  We're out there to sail as a fast as we can to Bermuda and participate in the adventure, not to be dicks. 

AJ also suggested that we sail out of Narragansett Bay either before or after the exclusion zone is enforced.  This too has appeal, but we're waiting to see the Notice to Mariners once it's posted on the Newport Bermuda Race notice board.  What we don't want is to leave too late in the day on June 17.

One option that we did not discuss would be departing after the last start, but potentially before the exclusion zone is lifted.  In 2014, the last class (14 in total) would have crossed the starting line at 1520 EDT.  Departing after the last start would address both of AJ's concerns:  potential interference during the start and while offshore.  Unless it's blowing 20-30 knots from a downwind point of sail at the start, most if not all of the fleet will remain ahead of us well into the ocean.  If it is blowing 20-30 knots from a downwind point of sail at the start, fuggedaboutit.  

No resolution was reached other than that we made clear that we'd keep clear.

All in all, I'm happy I was able to speak with AJ.  From what I could gather, he's doing exceptional work as the regatta's chairman and clearly has the interests of the regatta and its competitors as his primary focus (as he should as chairman).  

But I also got the sense that AJ understands and perhaps even appreciates what we're trying to accomplish.  In the end, we're all sailors and are unified by our connection to the sea, regardless of whether we're pros or weekend warriors, or whether we participate for trophies and records or for pure adventure and the feeling that overtakes us when we grab the helm on a downwind run under a full moon and universe of stars.  Just like Thomas Day and his contemporaries who chose to venture offshore in small boats in what became the first Newport Bermuda Race, we all just want to "get a smell of the sea."

See you out on the water.

REVISION:  Based on a comment posted to Sailing Anarchy, we want to make clear that we did not refuse AJ's suggestion that we start either before the exclusion zone is in place or after it is lifted.  In fact, we fully support that approach.  When we stated above that we would keep clear, we did not mean to suggest that we intended to start in a sequence but keep clear of official entrants.  We intend to keep clear by starting well before the first start, or after the last start clears.  In other words, we will be avoiding the exclusion zone altogether unless the OA gives us permission to sail through after the last start clears (but before the exclusion zone is lifted).  Our intention is not to violate any rules that are applicable to us as a non-racing, non-participating boat.



Abilyn Partners With Interlux: A Fast Boat Needs A Fast Bottom

If you find me in a boatyard, especially Newport Shipyard, it's tough to get me out.  I've been known to roam about, marveling at the lines of beautiful racing yachts and the almost mirror-like finish of their bottoms, oblivious to time.  "We gotta go," someone will say.  No.  We don't.

Abilyn hasn't had her bottom worked [insert joke here] since she was built in 2012.  So when Groupe Abilyn contemplated a fresh bottom with new anti-fouling paint for the upcoming racing season and our much-anticipated adventure to Bermuda and back beginning June 17, 2016, our primary requirement was--it gotta be fast!  So there was really only one choice for us:  Interlux® VC® Offshore.

The folks over at Interlux have graciously agreed to supply us with a couple of cans of VC® Offshore Baltoplate anti-fouling paint and InterProtect HS (high solids) epoxy primer to help us get to Bermuda as fast as we can, and succeed in beating some official entrants racing in the 50th Newport-Bermuda Race.  We chose Baltoplate because of reported superior performance in light air, which is important when your mast is only 36 feet tall and you have a wide ass.

And, we're happy to have Interlux partnering with us because, as it turns out, many of the racing yachts that have mesmerized me over the years have been painted with VC Offshore.

In the northeast, planning a pre-launch bottom job is still a possibility.  So pick up some yachtpaint, and have fun in the yard!  Or, if you're in the market for a pro job, I'd personally recommend Brewer Pilots Point (North Yard) (Bob Connell) or McMichael's (Helmut Bittlingmayer).  I've had great experiences at both.

See you out on the water.  We'll be the ones gliding by on a slick-ass bottom. 

Newport to Bermuda to NYC: Prepping for Safety

As some of you know, my co-skipper, Sam Cox, and I are planning on sailing (well, racing) from Newport, RI, to Bermuda on June 17, 2016.  Coincidentally, some other folks will be racing to Bermuda at the same time--something called the Newport-Bermuda Race ("Bermuda Race").  You might have heard of it.

Unfortunately, the 21-foot Abilyn, a Mini Transat 6.50, whose design has been tried and tested across oceans, is ineligible under the Bermuda Race Notice of Race ("NOR") and Safety Requirements ("NBRSR").  Like any regatta, the Bermuda Race has eligibility requirements.  For example, the minimum length for participating boats is "at least 27.5 feet."   NOR at Para. 4.1(a)(ii).  Given that Abilyn has a length of only 21 feet (6.5 meters), the NOR, on its face, declares Abilyn ineligible.  Although the Bermuda Race Organizing Authority ("OA") may waive the eligibility requirements at its discretion, see id. at Para. 4.1(b), we've been told that the OA will not do so for Mini Transat 6.50s.  However, even if the OA did waive the eligibility requirements for Abilyn under the NOR, Abilyn would still be rendered ineligible by the NBRSR, which requires a minimum stability index of 115 under the Offshore Rating Rule ("ORR").  NBRSR at Section 2.2.1.   Abilyn's sister-ship, USA 831, has been rated under the ORR as having a stability index of 85.2.  So we're screwed all around. 

The ORR stability requirements are what they are, and reflect only one of a number of methods used to assess whether a boat is "seaworthy."  But, notably, the rules for Minis competing in the Classe Mini circuit in Europe, and the biennial Mini Transat Race, which takes solo skippers across the Atlantic Ocean, require only that the boat have "positive stability with a 45 kg weight . . . at the maximum air draft point [top of mast]" when the "maximum air draft point [is] at sea level."  2015 Classe Mini Rules at Section J-15-b.  This test measures the angle of vanishing stability, and is often referred to as the 90-degree test as the boat is tipped around 90 degrees with the top of the mast attached to a weight and measuring device.

Source: (the 90° test the week before the start of the 2015 Mini Transat).

Class 40s, which are eligible to race in the Bermuda Race, rely on the 90-degree test to gain entry to many regattas around the world, including the RORC Caribbean 600.  The ORR, from my understanding, takes into account other values beyond angle of vanishing stability, including a "capsize increment," which can be negative for beamy boats.  But I am no expert on the ORR.  Thankfully, the ORR does not contemplate a 180 degree rollover test as required by the IMOCA 60 class rules.  See below.

At the end of the day, although Minis have been racing across the Atlantic since the 1970s with crews of one, and at least one Mini has circumnavigated the globe, which is reflective not only of the seaworthiness of the boat but also the dedication to seamanship exhibited by those who sail them, we're certainly not upset with the OA's decision.  Indeed, there are other long distance regattas in the U.S. that allow Minis to participate, most notably the Bermuda 1-2 Yacht Race, the Annapolis-Bermuda Race, and the Singlehanded Transpac.  But the Bermuda Race holds a special place in our hearts.  It's where we cut our teeth offshore on other boats, and learned to love and respect the challenges that sailors face offshore that they do not face sailing around the buoys.  So it's time to return to the course aboard Abilyn and take her farther than we've ever taken her.  

Although we'll be flying a Jolly Roger when we sail out of Narragansett Bay at the start of the official race (potentially the flag flown by The Rhode Island Pirate, Thomas Tew, or a hybrid of our own creation (see left)), our goal is by no means to disrespect the race, its heritage, or the OA.  Indeed, the upcoming Bermuda Race provides us with an opportunity for live practice:  Practice for next year's B1-2; practice for future, bluewater racing and passagemaking; in short, practice for whatever sailing adventures come next.  Our secondary, but equally important, goal will be to provide the Bermuda Race OA with an additional point of reference on which to rely when considering whether to allow Mini Transat 6.50s in the 2018 race.  If we can beat some official entrants, that would be icing on the cake.

With those goals in mind, we will use June 17 as our departure date, Castle Hill as our starting line, and St. David's Lighthouse as our finish line.  More importantly, as any sailor entering the Bermuda Race must do, we will undertake rigorous and comprehensive safety preparations to address the foreseeable risks along the race track from Newport to Bermuda and then from Bermuda to New York Harbor, where we hope the new Brooklyn Bridge Marina will give us complimentary dockage for a night or two before we head up the East River and back to Larchmont.  

Newport to Bermuda and back to New York Harbor.

So what does this prep look like for us?  Well, for starters, we'll be following the NBRSR's Safety Equipment requirements as closely as possible.  Section 3.0 lists all required portable and affixed safety gear, including:

  • Lifejackets
  • Safety harness
  • Jack lines
  • Companionway clipping points
  • Navigation lights
  • Spare navigation lights
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Horn
  • Flares
  • Lifesling (or equivalent MOB rescue device)
  • MOB pole
  • Heaving line
  • Installed VHR radio and antenna
  • Handheld VHF radio
  • Emergency VHF antenna
  • AIS
  • Satellite phone
  • GPS
  • Distance measuring device other than GPS
  • Depth sounder
  • Steering compass
  • Second compass
  • Charts
  • Sail numbers
  • Tapered soft plugs
  • Ground tackle (anchor plus rode)
  • Searchlight
  • Flashlights (watertight, 1 per crew member)
  • First aid gear
  • Radar reflector (11.5" diameter or greater octahedral reflector)
  • Buckets (2, stout)
  • Safety gear and through hull diagram
  • Emergency tiller
  • Tools and spare parts (effective means of quickly disconnecting or severing the standing rigging)
  • Marking of safety gear (retro-reflective material required)
  • Knife (readily accessible from deck and/or cockpit)
  • Reefing ability
  • Storm trysail
  • Heavy weather jib
  • Storm jib
  • Boom preventer
  • Boom support (means to prevent boom from dropping if halyard fails)
  • Emergency drinking water (1 gallon per crew member of emergency water in sealed containers)
  • Inflatable life raft (ISO-certified raft apparently not required)
  • Grab bag


Reviewing this list, the 21-foot Abilyn is already well-appointed.  Most notably, we carry a Winslow 4-man ultralight liferaft (weighing in at only 32 lbs.) and an offshore flare kit, both of which we obtained from Landfall Navigation in Stamford, CT.  

Abilyn is also equipped with a MOM8 MOB module (also obtained from Landfall); a VHF with integrated AIS, two EPIRBs (an ACR GlobalFix iPRO 406 MHz GPS EPIRB for the boat, and an ACR ResQLink 406 MHz GPS personal locator beacon for my PFD); and four separate GPS modules including the Mini class standard Garmin GPS 152, a handheld Garmin 78sc, and two BadElf GPS Pro modules.  


First Aid - Our West Marine Medical Kit 3.5 is still functional, but likely will need to be supplemented with more robust first aid measures designed for offshore sailing where potential evacuation may take more than 24 hours.

Tools and Spare Parts - We will also conduct a review of our tools and spare parts inventory when boatwork begins in full next month, with a plan to supplement our inventory of nuts, bolts, cotter rings, wrap pins, and Harken low friction rings.  In terms of tools, we have the standard suite of vice grips and screw drivers, and also a hacksaw with spare blades in case we need to cut away the standing rigging.  But we may consider a cable cutter.  

Storm Trysail - Instead of a storm trysail, we're opting to rely on our Dacron mainsail, which has a third reef point allowing us to sail with little canvas up.  We understand the limitations of this option, but, for the Minis, a triple-reefed main and reefed storm jib (or just the storm jib) has been reported to work well in storm conditions.

Detecteur de Radar

Detecteur de Radar

Radar Reflector - We have a Davis Instruments passive radar reflector that passes muster under the safety requirements.  However, with this device mounted in the standing rigging, we've found that the edges of the reflector, which are quite sharp, chafe against the main when the sail is eased against the spreaders downwind.  So we will opt to use two Plastimo tubular radar reflectors mounted on the shrouds, although the tubular reflectors have been reported to be far less effective than the octahedral devices.  That said, our primary means of avoiding close calls with other ships is our Detecteur de Radar, which emits a loud, biting, unbearable sound whenever we get pinged with radar and also lets us know from which direction the ping originates.

Boom Support - We're considering installing Dyneema lazy jacks.

Charts - We have Maptech paper charts for Narragansett Bay, and surrounding bodies of water. We will add to our charts inventory a Bermuda plotting sheet, and British Admiralty charts for the Bermuda islands.   

Satellite Phone - Our plan is to obtain an Iridium GO! module for use offshore.  This satellite device allows for the same race tracking and two-way text messaging as our Delorme InReach device. However, the Iridium GO! module also will allow for phone communication, and will also allow us to download weather and routing data through PredictWind's offshore app.  The device is attractive because of it's low monthly price for unlimited voice and data usage.  Yes, we understand this goes against purist Mini sailing principles.  In considering that point of view, we are looking at using an SSB receiver to obtain weather information.  Our Mini-sailing friend, Nikki Curwen, who raced in the 2015 Mini Transat, recommends the Sangean ATS-909X.  

Emergency hull repair - The NBRSR requires soft, tapered plugs for all through-hulls, which we have aboard Abilyn for her one through-hull.  Surprisingly, the NBRSR does not mandate sailors to carry items to address punctures or other damage to the hull.  Onboard Abilyn, we already carry emergency epoxy capable of hardening under water, but might pick up a couple of Rupture Seals.

Remaining Items -  Procuring spare navigational lights (bow and stern), a heaving line, a replacement searchlight, and an emergency VHF antenna shouldn't be an issue.

In addition to the required list of safety items in Section 3.0, the NBRSR contemplates that crew members have certain training, including man overboard training, CPR and first aid training, and general onboard training.  Sam and I certainly intend to tune up prior to the June 17 start.  Part of that tune up will include man overboard training, and optimizing through sailing in the Larchmont YC Edlu regatta and the Storm Trysail Club Block Island Race.  And at least I intend to take a Red Cross CPR and First Aid training course prior to the start.

But I consider myself a prudent sailor and somewhat of a perennial student when it comes to safety.  So relying solely on the NBRSR to dictate our safety preparations isn't enough.  Our safety prep will also include an onshore network of experienced sailors and at least one doctor who will be "on call" to field emergency communications.  Joe Harris, who is racing around the world on his Class 40 Gryphon Solo 2, recently described on his blog an incident where he had to activate his onshore network when his EPIRB inadvertently began transmitting a distress signal.  Through this network, which was established to handle "emergency communications," Joe's team was able to advise U.S. and Australian sea-air rescue teams to stand down.  Rich Wilson, who finished the 2008-2009 Vendee Globe in ninth place, set up a similar kind of network, which included doctors and professional yachtsmen, as he describes in his book, Race France to France:  Leave Antarctica to Starboard.  Although our voyage amounts to a fraction of the mileage of a global circumnavigation, having an "on call" onshore network seems prudent, if only to ease the stress on my wife and ensure that rescue services aren't implemented unnecessarily.  

June 17 is not far off, and we hope to lock down all safety essentials well before then.  Stay tuned for more coverage of our prep, including posts on our Helly Hansen gear, food, Gulf Stream and weather analysis, and other musings.  

See you out on the water.



A Delivery To Delay the Off-Season Blues

In a last ditch effort to delay the off-season blues, co-skipper Sam Cox and I wanted to get in one last, good sail aboard Abilyn before the demand for shrink-wrapping in the northeast goes through the roof.  So, rather than simply delivering the boat from Larchmont Yacht Club to Brewer Pilots Point in Westbrook, CT, we set out last Friday with a plan to round Block Island (or maybe even pull into Great Salt Pond for breakfast).  This would increase our mileage from 70 miles to 160 miles--a good distance to cap off a great season of Mini sailing. 

I watched the weather all week.  It was a no-go through Thursday as strong easterlies were barreling down the Sound.  But Friday's forecasts according to PredictWind and WindAlert called for those easterlies to flip to the west and southwest, which would give us a perfect wind direction to pop the kite and make easy miles to the east.  The forecasts then seemed to call for two possibilities--the westerlies might back to the southwest by Saturday and build from 10-15 to 15-20.  Or, the westerlies might clock to the northwest and bring 25 knots.  Either way, when we rounded Block Island, we would not be close hauled on the least according to the forecasts.

At 1600, we pulled off the mooring ball, dodged some Optis heading out for a late-afternoon practice, and popped the big kite as we glided past the Larchmont Breakwater in 65 degree (F) weather under clear skies.  The breeze was more from the south-southwest, which required us to sail at at a true wind angle (TWA) of 120 degrees in order to fetch our waypoint--Race Rock Light.  This proved too difficult with the big kite as our apparent wind was being pushed forward of the beam as the breeze built into the high teens and low twenties.  As we were being pushed north of rhumb line, we switched to the Code 5 so that we could reach higher and get back on course.  This was possible in the lulls, but we were still overpowered if we wanted to fetch Race Rock Light, even as the genoa provided surprising stability at higher angles.  Ultimately, we dropped the kite and jib-reached down the Sound, hitting speeds of around 11 knots.  We were sending it all evening, and well into the night.  Check out the highlights from the downwind leg below.

Delivery highlights from downwind leg out to Block Island.

At 0000, we had a decision to make--exit the Sound via the Race, the Sluiceway, or Plum Gut--or simply pull into Pilots Point and call it a night.  Heading for the marina wouldn't have been any fun, and, in any event, the last train back to NYC had long since departed.  Heading for the Race would have set us at a TWA of about 150 degrees--a little too deep as we weren't really in the mood to put the kite back up.  We opted for Plum Gut, which allowed us to continue power reaching under main and jib.  As Sam slept, I shot through the Gut at 8-9 knots of boat speed, which proved quite easy with the slack tide; it was my second time navigating this tidal inlet in darkness.  After we were clear of Plum Island, the third-quarter moon began to rise, and, at 0300 Saturday morning, I gave the helm over to Sam as we sailed past Montauk Point to the south.  By 0500, we had reached the southeastern point of Block Island.  

We could have cut our "losses" here, simply turning around and heading back to the Race and on towards Pilots Point.  But again, what fun would that have been.  So we continued counterclockwise around BI--gybing onto port on the backside and popping the Code 5 as soon as we had a clear angle to "1 BI"--the navigational mark identifying safe water north of Block Island.  It took us no time at all to cover the length of the island, as huge rollers from the south helped us surf up towards 1 BI.  By 0700, we reached our mark and headed up towards the Race.

It looked like we'd be able to sail at a TWA of about 100 degrees all the way to Pilots Point, which would have been a fast, albeit bumpy reach given we were now seeing some steep swell in the Block Island Sound.  "I'm in another damn washing machine," I thought.  Luckily, the steep swell was short-lived as the Long Island land mass to the south prevented any significant fetch.  As we neared the Race, both the swell and breeze abated significantly, leaving us with a 2.67 knot foul current just as we neared Race Rock Light.  Yep, we should have hit up Dead Eye Dick's on Block Island and waited for the tide to change.  Next time, Andy.  

As we fought through the foul current, a new problem arose:  the breeze began to clock from the WSW, ultimately hovering directly on our nose.  Well that wasn't in the forecast.  Now we had about a 25-mile beat in a boat that doesn't like to beat.  Lovely.  For the rest of the delivery, we tacked along the Connecticut coast, and pinched to achieve maximum VMG.  

So it was slow-going from the Race.  Our friend Adam Loory of UK Sailmakers astutely pointed out that we had our dessert before our vegetables.  True.  And we paid the price.  It took us 13 hours to sail the 100 miles from Larchmont, NY to Block Island, and then 10 hours to sail the roughly 47 miles from 1BI to Pilots Point.  Ughhh... And to top off the long haul, we were welcomed at the harbor by what can only be described as a death cloud--a line of dark gray cumulonimbus extending along the coast.  As we navigated through some shallow, rocky areas near the harbor, we didn't know what this cloud would bring.  Nothing?  60 knots?  Luckily, the breeze remained consistent at 18 knots as the cloud past overhead.  The worse that happened was that I bumped Abilyn into the rubberized corner of the dock as I was backing into the slip--nothing that a little compound can't resolve.

The best part of the delivery?  Pizza and beer at the greatest railroad station pizza shop in the northeast:  PIZZA WORKS!

So now the boat is tucked away, awaiting my return.  After the Bermuda 1-2 forum in Newport on November 1, I'll make a pit stop at the yard and strip Abilyn of all her goodies, and, along with the help of Bob and Andrew Connell at BYY, set her up for a restful off-season.  Restful, at least for her; I'll be spending the off-season pondering next June and preparing mentally for what lies ahead, given that we are now officially qualified to enter the race.    

Here are my favorite images from the delivery.  Enjoy!

Abilyn Gets a Splash of Color

Sam and I spent Sunday not sailing in the blustery American YC Spring Series.  Instead, we prepped Abilyn for the season and her first race of 2014--the Edlu hosted by Larchmont YC, which has an impressive class of well-sailed double-handed yachts.  

We fully rigged the boat--including with some awesome new lines supplied by West Marine Rigging (more on that in a separate post)--compounded the entire interior to get rid of some nasty stainage (the wife appreciates that), loaded on all our gear, and cleaned the topsides in preparation for a little splash of color that was added on Monday by Mac Designs--a Newport-based outfit that has worked on some pretty impressive race programs, including Puma Ocean Racing and Elvis, the Gunboat 62 led by Melges 32 World Champion and Viper 640 North American Champion, Jason Carroll (and sometimes sailed by an actual Elvis impersonator).

So if you see a 21-foot boat with pink and green screaming down the Long Island Sound later this week (I hope that easterly develops sooner rather than later), it's likely us.  

See you out on the water.