The delivery North to Charleston
May 08, 2002

Ocean Planet, on the Way to Charleston…at 8:20 Atlantic (5:20 Pacific) time.

Last night was AWESOME!! Flying along on a crystal clear night with sparkling islands on both sides, we quickly left Antigua over the horizon. Reaching along at 12-14 kts in 12-17 kts of warm wind, we watched the lights of tiny, mountainous nations slide by, with the occasional shooting star thrown in for good measure. The sky was clear enough to see the silhouette of most of the islands against the stars. 

We left Falmouth Harbor at about 5:30 p.m. yesterday, and are now about 170 miles away just about to pass the last of the Virgin Islands (Anegada) on our left.

Present position is 18 42N, 64 09W, course 320 at 12.5kts. 

USA, here we come!


The delivery North to Charleston
May 10, 2002

Greetings from the Good Ship Ocean Planet! (Friday morning, 5 a.m. PST)

We are now 732 miles from Antigua, and 642 from Charleston (24 03N, 72 25W). We have been flying along, and what a great trip so far! The weather has been very accomodating, allowing us to fly our beloved “Borland” genniker the whole way. Thanks to Borland software for the great sail which we have used for thousands of miles already.

Right now our speed is over 15kts on a course of 310Mag. We have been leaning “left” (west) towards the Bahamas in order to stay in this breeze as long a possible, as it may start dying later today or tomorrow.

Blastin by the Bahamas,



In Charleston SC
May 13, 2002

We’re here!

Late Sunday night (or actually at about 2 a.m. Monday morning), Ocean Planet and her crew arrived in the wonderful town of Charleston, SC. 

Our arrival back in the US of A was made even more exciting by a fantastic greeting by fellow singlehanded sailor Brad Van Liew, who zoomed out in the pitch darkness to greet us with his new speedboat, even bringing cold beer! If you don’t know Brad Van Liew, he was the only American finisher in the last (98/99) Around Alone, becoming one of my heroes in the process. Brad is also preparing for this year’s race entering Class 2 in his 50 footer, and becoming sort of the “scout leader” for the few other Americans in the race. He just landed a big sponsor (I’m not at liberty to say who), so with Ocean Planet as the only American boat entered in Class 1 (the high profile “Open 60” division), I should be next, right?

The sail to Charleston was the best trip on OP so far, with moderate broad reaching almost the whole way. The last day slowed down with light air, but 1300 miles in 5-1/2 days was so relaxing after banging upwind to Antigua from Panama, and then Antigua Sailing Week! We had a great crew aboard, including Kevin Flanigan, the man (along with his lovely wife, Shauna) who is mostly responsible for making it possible to build Ocean Planet. Kevin really cares about the ocean and gets as bummed as I do when we see trash in the otherwise perfect sea. We hope to make a difference, so please remember to keep our ocean planet clean.

Today we are pulling the rig out here at Charleston Boat Works and hauling out today or tomorrow. It seems like just yesterday that we were out of the water in Alameda, but that was more than 10,000 miles ago! There is a LONG list of stuff to do to get ready for my transatlantic qualifying voyage, and I need to be ready to go by mid June. Let’s see, that gives me….ONE MONTH??!! Yikes! All volunteers are invited (begged?) to help out, as I need all I can get to pull this off. Hopefully, we will meet our matching grant offer put together by supporter Hank Grandin… we can pay the yard bill! Please join me, Kevin, and all of our supporters in this (final?) effort to make the start of the Around Alone. If we can get OP ready so I can complete the qualifying sail, we are bound to land a sponsor!

And I promise to get a haircut…;-)



Ocean Planet In Charleston SC
May 18, 2002

Well, it seems like just yesterday I was driving everyone crazy at Svendsens and Nelson’s boatyards in Alameda, California….in the rush to get Ocean Planet ready for her trip to the Atlantic.

Now I’ve found another great bunch of guys to push over the edge, Charleston Boat Works, run by Teddy Turner (the son of you-know-who) and America’s Cup vet John Spence. These poor guys have had the misfortune to attract not one, not two, but THREE crazy singlehanded sailors in the midst of frantic preparations for the Around Alone. Aside from myself and Ocean Planet (we are the only American entry in Class 1), there are the Class 2 entries Brad Van Liew’s “Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America” and Tim Kent’s “Everest Horizontal” just boat lengths away!

It’s great fun to be around these great guys and boats, but the atmosphere is pretty serious most of the time with the impending deadlines looming. We are all in the same boat, no pun intended, with more to do than is possible in the time we have. Brad has four of his own guys going full on in addition to help from the boatyard. Meanwhile, I’m mostly on my own, mainly relying on the boys in the yard to attack the long lists of prep and modifications needed to be done.

There is less than one month(!) to prepare my boat for the required singlehanded transatlantic qualification sail. Also, by June 14th we must raise the rest of the donations needed to meet the matching grant of $50k put up by a group of my supporters. If we don’t meet the matching, grant I may have to call off the qualification sail and consequently my entry in the Around Alone! We are doing well, but still have about $20k to raise, so, uh, send money…and/or at least talk someone else into it… 😉 OK, enough worrying already, I know that somehow we’ll pull it off!

Meanwhile, being near Charleston is great. The city no longer hosts the Around Alone (that is now Newport and NYC) but there is a great association with the race here. I meet people everywhere that just love to talk about the sailors who were here four and eight years ago! They are super friendly. In fact, I have been invited to stay at several homes, which is nice since I was staying in a very questionable fleabag hotel near the closed naval base….I had to go to the hotel office the other night to get TP and towels which were slid to me under a protective window….

The economy here has been somewhat depressed but is apparently rebounding. As a Californian used to exorbitant real estate prices, it is hard not to drool at the really nice homes here for less than half the price! And I really like downtown Charleston too, hmmm……but I’ll wait until Charleston Boat Works has a new travel lift instead of the crane they used (see the attached pics) to haul out OP! In one pic you can see John Spence coming to get me….just kidding! 


The latest news from Ocean Planet

June 9, 2002

I’ve been back in Charleston since last Monday, my week home was short but sweet. It was good to see Jeanie, our goofy cats, and to fit in a classroom seminar in between going through the mountain of paperwork and emails . . .

Good news: Big thanks to everyone who pitched in to help make the $50k matching grant organized by Hank Grandin and our supporters!! We just made it, and the pledges are coming in just in time to help get us back afloat . . .

Speaking of the boat…no, we haven’t sunk…;-) In fact, Ocean Planet is high and dry in the boatyard getting ready to head for the Azores. This will be a singlehanded trip, as it is my transatlantic qualifying passage for the Around Alone, required of all the skippers and boats. The only skippers who are not required to do the qualifying trip are those that have already soloed around the world, if their boats have been around too.

I am finishing and modifying a lot of things to get ready, including new runners and staysail stay using Samson Ropes new “Lightning” Vectran/SK75 blend. This great new rope provides the durability of SK75 (spectra/dyneema) with the no-creep characteristics of Vectran. After the qualifier, I will also be upgrading some sheets and halyards to the double-braid version of Lighting: Validator SK. (check out

Doyle sails has installed new Lighting double luff ropes in the working jib and gennikers in addition to repairing and customizing our mainsail. The double ropes in the luffs will twist less when furling, which is a big deal on our “soft” luff furling sails.

Other projects include:

Improving the keel wedging system with additional wedges for fore/aft rigidity (design upgrade by yours truly, with approval by our Guru, Tom Wylie).

Raising the foredeck hatch 4″ to reduce water coming in while open (less bailing after sail changes!). Thanks to JB Currell and MAS epoxies for helping out on this and other tasks (!

Customizing our Nexus Instruments configuration so I can switch between the masthead and radar tower wind transducers (

Installing more custom titanium handrails made by Jeff Daniels of Metropolis Metals (these are SO cool).

Upgrading our LED cabin lights to the latest by Don Mcleish and Berkeley Point (

Fixing our SSB radio (always great consultation from Don Melcher at HF radio on board ( and Marilee at Waypoint (

Designing and installing our emergency transom rudder system (thanks to expert fabricator Erich Chase!).

There are a hundred other projects under way, but it’s time for bed and my brain is requesting sleep. In the attached pic, you can see how we can slide the keel up to the boat, so it can sit closer to the ground while we are working. Sure beats climbing up a teetering 18ft ladder. If the pic is confusing, don’t worry, the keel system is semi-secret anyway….

Bruce and Ocean Planet.


Ocean Planet Report 

June 14, 2002 

We are now back in the water, and the race is on….against time! I am working frantically to get ready for my qualifying sail to the Azores, as I need to leave as soon as possible and get back in time for the final preparation for the Around Alone. 

With 2500nm (Rhumbline) to sail to to Azores, a few days buffer while there, and the trip back, it could be a month turnaround if the conditions are slow. Preparation for the trip is slow for a number of reasons, one is that I am taking the qualifying sail very seriously. It is the only time available to test a number things that are just getting finished. It would not be a good idea to start the Around Alone without installing and using, for instance, the transom emergency rudder system. Another issue is that the boatyard here is swamped, and they are having a hard time keeping guys working on the boat. Admittedly, I can be pain to work with as I am a fanatic about preparing the boat properly. But, I simply cannot leave until things are finished enough to sail safe, fast, and be able to push hard enough to legitimately test out Ocean Planet solo on the trip. 

Launching Yesterday (the 13th): 

Back again, now it’s the 15th . . . 

After I wrote the update above, we had a very exciting time stepping the mast. We were in a hurry and tried to get it in before a big thunderstorm hit us . . . BIG mistake as we took too long, and got blasted in the middle of the process with torrential rain, big wind and of my favorite: lightning!! We didn’t get a direct hit, but two guys hanging on to the mast felt a shock and had to let go! We had to abort the process and wait for the storm to pass . . . more time lost. Overall, the experience was excessively exciting and stressful.

A big thanks to Ashley Perrin who has been here to help out the last couple weeks. She was a childhood chum of Ellen McArthur’s and has a good amount of experience for her years and works hard. Too bad she has to leave today. 

I am having a real problem here in Charleston getting enough help to get the boat ready. It doesn’t look like I will be able to leave until the middle of next week, which puts me back in the U.S. only a month before Ocean Planet has to be in Newport. It will be a hell of a month! If we find a sponsor, there are a couple of secret performance features that have yet to be added to Ocean Planet that we haven’t been able to afford so far. I can race without them, but she won’t be at her full speed yet. As I am very competitive it will be tough for me not to be fully armed for battle, but I will try to make the start either way. 

Dyin’ to hit the high seas (once we’re ready),


Ocean Planet Report
June 24, 2002

Better late than never! Ocean Planet and I are FINALLY ready for my singlehanded transatlantic trip to the Azores! I will leave tomorrow evening or Tuesday morning. We went for a test sail yesterday (in torrential pouring rain), to have a look and most everything is ready. Well, almost ready. Tomorrow morning we will still have to mount the housings for our new transom/emergency rudder system. It won’t be completely finished, but I will be able to test it out and finish it in Newport before the start of the Around Alone. 

My goal is to get to the Azores safely, while testing a number of things we just changed: new jib luff ropes, backup autopilot, improved solar panels, some new Samson running rigging, different gear storage system, changed foredeck hatch, and a dozen other things that I can’t remember right now…. In the Azores, a few crew will be meeting me on the island of Faial, for the trip to Newport. I hope to get to Newport by July 20/24 or so. 

There will still be number of projects to finish while in Newport, and time will be short, but for the moment all my attention is on getting going on this qualifying trip and raising the approximately $10,000 for the last installment of the Around Alone entry fee that is due July 1st. We made enough in donations and matching grants to cover the prep for the qualifier, but not the complete entry fee…one week to go! We can pay it later but then there will be a late penalty of about $7,000…ouch!

Anyway, Ocean Planet is looking good and that helps me forget the financial stresses. It will be GREAT to actually get sailing and get reacquainted with her and see how she likes all the little changes. Here she is, impatiently waiting for me to quit working on her and go sailing:



Ocean Planet Report
June 26, 2002

Position at 2318 UTC: 34 11N 75 14W. Wind southerly at 12-16, course 075 at 10-16kts. 

I am just a little over 24 hours and 250 miles into my trip to the Azores. I was going to really take it easy for a couple of days, but something changed my plan . . . . .another sailboat! Ok, it was just a cruiser, but I couldn’t resist putting up the small genniker and blasting by them. Another reason is that I need to get NE soon enough to latch onto the bottom of a low pressure system tomorrow that should give me a big push across the pond. 

Conditions are great right now, and last night the thunderstorms were quite mild, just a lot of rain. But things will get more interesting as we go along. 

Aside from the task of sailing singlehanded across the Atlantic, one of the requirements for the Around Alone is to take and solve a few celestial sights to prove we can do it. Of course, you would never need to unless all your GPSs’ fail and you run out of batteries for the handheld, but it is a good exercise anyway. I started working on some today and was reminded that it has been a long time since I last did it. Taking the sight with the sextant is fine but messing about with the books and worksheets is a drag. I sure have been spoiled by my Nobeltec navigation software! 

Thanks to everyone who made this qualifying trip possible. We raised just enough funds to get out of Charleston! Hopefully in the next few days some more good news will come in the mail at the office, and we can pay the last installment of the Around Alone entry fee (due July 1st!). All I can do now is sail safely and learn what I can from this trip.

At least I’m eating well. Stay tuned tomorrow for an announcement on nutrition…



Ocean Planet Report
June 27, 2002

Position: 35 26N 72 22W course 070mag at 11kts.

When you have to stay up almost all night dodging freighters and fishing boats, it sure helps to know you are taking the best vitamins! See the announcement and thanks to Mariner’s Vitamins for the great products. 

A percentage of the sales of Prometan bars (which are really delicious) and Mariner’s Vitamins will go to support Ocean Planet and the Made in America Foundation, so please visit their site where these products will soon be available!

We are still in need of donations or that “big” sponsor to make the Around Alone, but it sure helps to have these folks aboard. 



Ocean Planet Report
June 27, 2002

Mariner’s VitaminsT Joins Ocean Planet to race around the world! 

San Leandro, CA, June 27, 2002—SCS Intensive NutritionT, a San Leandro based nutritional supplement firm, proudly announces its support of solo racing sailor Bruce Schwab and Ocean Planet, the revolutionary new all-American Open 60 Class racing yacht. Bruce Schwab and Ocean Planet have entered the challenging Around Alone, the world’s longest solo competition in any sport. Recognizing the need for improved nutrition in one of the world’s most grueling events, Intensive NutritionT will support Ocean Planet and Bruce with its expertise and the latest nutritional supplements from its exclusive marine line, Mariner’s VitaminsT.

SCS Intensive NutritionT is a professional nutritional supplement company, founded in 1968 by Dr. Bela Balogh. Its manufacturing center and main office is located approximately 30 minutes from San Francisco, and it has recently expanded to include a European sales office in Budapest, Hungary. Intensive NutritionT manufactures and distributes over one hundred nutritional supplements to health professionals, retailers and health conscious individuals worldwide. All formulas have a foundation in Dr. Balogh’s scientific research and have been designed for superior bioavailability in the human digestive system.

To optimize his racing performance, Bruce will utilize the latest from the Mariner’s VitaminsT line, including 5 specific products that support and meet the nutritional and energy needs of active sailors. PrometanT, a high-energy bar, combines anti-stress vitamins with fortifying nutrients. Unlike most energy bars, PrometanT provides exceptional nutrition without sacrificing taste. Multi-VMT is the professional grade multivitamin is available in moisture resistant packaging, perfect for the marine environment, and provides the complete spectrum of daily nutrients including antioxidants. Bromelain, a natural anti-inflammatory, helps speed recovery from muscle strain or sprain. Mag’CT is a Vitamin C Ester formula fortified with Magnesium that will help keep colds at bay and keep one’s digestive system regular. Last but not least, TabitT is an invaluable product as it is an excellent anti-diarrheal and can help treat an upset stomach.

For more information on Mariner’s VitaminsT and Intensive NutritionT, please contact SCS. 1972 Republic Avenue San Leandro, CA 94577 1-800-333-7414. Visit us online at or 



Ocean Planet Report
Ocean Planet Qualifier Update
June 28, 2002

Pos at 1217 UTC:
35 26.5N 66 52.6W.
Course 100m at 14kts. Wind SW at 20-25kts.
About 1850 miles to go! 

Now we’re havin fun. This is the first chance I’ve had to sail solo on the boat in good running condtions. We’re zooming along even though I’m not pushing it and am sailing a bit undercanvassed. Right now we have a double reefed main and the working jib (which is relatively tiny on this boat). Had the small genniker up the second day out, but had a bad roll-up putting it away that evening. Looks like it needs to be modified with less roach (extra sail area in the back of the sail) in order to roll up better. I definitely want to have that sail dailed in before I use it again if I want to avoid another foredeck wrestling match. There is another sail I have yet to buy, a special reaching/running jib made from Doyle Sails new OceanWeave cloth, when we can afford it….. 

Everthing seems to be working well, so I’ve been trying to stop worrying about everything and get some rest. There was a spell last night of 30kts where we were flying, but noise and motion was making it hard to sleep so I cranked up the stereo to partially drown out the wind and water. Not sure how much it helped sleep-wise, but at least I started to relax a little…..;-)



Ocean Planet Report
Ocean Planet Qualifier Update
June 29, 2002

Pos @ 1130UTC:
37 04.7N, 61 17.7W
Course100mag~84true, @ 11-13 knots

Yesterday and last night was a balancing act, trying to find the most comfortable yet fastest course between the semi-stationary front just to our NW and the higher pressure to our SE. Left (north) = more wind for a faster trip, but also adds risk of squalls and breaking something . . . Going fast helps us stay in the wind longer too, so with the small genniker retired for now, I’d put up our next lower gear, a light upwind Doyle D4 roller jib. I was feeling kinda guilty for taking it so easy with the working jib, anyway . . . 

Well, of course, not long after I got going nicely the wind decides to pick up (as it gets dark, naturally) and the tall dark clouds that had been about 40 miles to our left started encroaching on my territory. They also decided to illuminate themselves with lightning (which always gets my attention). I didn’t need any more convincing to head for the foredeck and test out the efficiency of the custom rolling luff rope I made for this sail (a different setup than our working jib and gennikers). It works quite well, so we hunkered down with just the double reefed main keeping both jibs rolled up. I also headed up (more south) enough to keep the menacing clouds at bay. Now, if I was racing, my approach to this whole equation might be different, but we’re not. The main idea is test some stuff out and get the qualifier done safely.

BTW, do you know what the most important tool for celestial navigation might be? No, it’s not the sextant (the device used to measure the altitude of the sun). It is an ERASER!!, and I forgot to bring one. Which is a drag since I have to make my own plotting sheets (uh, forgot those too), to truly finish a few sun sights I did. Laugh all you want, it’s not as bad as when I did my qualifier for the ’96 singlehanded transpac on “Rumbleseat,” when I forgot my sleeping bag and matches for the stove…:-) 

In any case, it is beautiful this morning; 20kts of wind, the clouds have retreated, and we are easily rolling along at 11 to 15kts with the working jib and main. Perhaps it is time for me to roller the bigger jib back out . . . a surefire way to encourage the wind to pick up.



Ocean Planet Report
Ocean Planet Qualifier Update
June 30, 2002

Good morning, this morning! Fairly mellow night last night, and today is quite nice as the edge of the low we have been riding has handed us off to a building high pressure ridge. The wind has lightened and backed from southwest to more south. A couple of small rain squalls this morning, and then I took out the second reef as it got a bit lighter and I didn’t want to dally.

It alway works like a charm to get the wind to pick up, taking out a reef….so of course now it’s back in! Actually, if we were racing she wouldn’t need it, but I’m being careful still. 

Here we be: 37 45 N, 55 37 W. SOW (speed over water) is about 11, but SOG (speed over ground) is over 12, so we have favorable current. We’ll take it! At this rate, we’ll be in Horta, Faial, Azores, in 4-1/2 days, but I’m not counting on it. As usual, exceedingly nice conditions make me rather suspicious, but hopefully I’m wrong! 



Ocean Planet Report
Ocean Planet Qualifier Update
July 1, 2002

Much slower going now as we enter the western side of the Azores high. Funny how much things can change in a couple days, but that’s what wonderful about the ocean. It’s not exciting sailing, but it is BEAUTIFUL out here. Perhaps I could have gone further north to stay in the wind a little longer, but the high should squish south in a day or two and I should be fine. 

Right now I have the full main and light roller genoa up, Sam Bush on the stereo, and just finished a bath and general cleanup around here. I think that’s why they put these big patches of light air in the middle of the ocean, so we can get organized again. Great idea!

Finally saw some freighters last night, three at once, then they were gone. They must travel in schools around here…;-)

That’s it for now, I feel a nap coming on….but maybe I’ll put the kite up first…



Ocean Planet Report
Ocean Planet Qualifier Update
July 2, 2002

UTC Time: 02. July 2002 18:56
LAT: 39,01.65N LON: 045,45.47W
Course: 90mag (72 true) @ 10-12kts,
Wind SW at 12-15.
Pressure 1025mb

It’s late in the afternoon here, but only 10 a.m. back at my home in Oakland, California. It’s amazing how often, even in the middle of a sail change, my mind drifts to our backyard and the garden with Jeanie’s carrots, onions, tomatoes, artichokes, oranges, lemons, and more. Sheesh, if I get homesick here in the North Atlantic, I’ll be even worse in the Southern Ocean! Oh well, I think it makes me sail faster…..;-)

Last night was fun as I saw a little sailboat just before dark. I did a few tacks (I was sailing upwind in light air at the time), to get closer and they called on the radio . . . in Spanish. We couldn’t communicate very well, too bad, but I think they are headed for the Azores too. I was going to sail close by and see them in person, but it got dark just a little too soon. Just after the squall (more like a mild front, really) came by, there was a nice southerly wind shift and it was “Adios, Amigo” as Ocean Planet happily took off down the track. This is a treat after a day of messing with spinnakers and taking reefs in and out. 

The wind has held all night and so far today, which is great as I try to work north a bit to have a better angle to the islands. The “Azores high” is going to take hold, and we are likely to skid to a crawl again if I don’t play it right. It has been good practice messing around with the SSB radio and weatherfax software again. Of course, one can just go online with the mini-m and download the faxes without any static from the NOAA website, but it costs about $20 a page with the slow (2.4k!) link at $3 a minute. The SSB will pay for itself soon! 

Oh, oh, rain squall coming, that’s it for now. 



Ocean Planet Report
Ocean Planet Qualifier Update
July 3, 2002

1235 UTC
39 43N, 42 13W
course 095mag (78true) at 10kts. 

The wind hasn’t quit yet, so I’m taking advantage of what we have to keep working north. Hopefully there will be some wind in the last few hundred miles to the Azores, which according to the weather fax pics will apparently have a giant “H” in the sky just west of them….;-)

For now it is great, fairly flat but moving good. Last night was another dreaded rain squall from hell, not that much wind but way too much lightning! For such a light show and the huge rain pattern on the radar, I thought It would blow so I reduced sail and basically hunkered down. As it was, I just wound up not sleeping much for no big reason, just worrying! But better safe than sorry. 

See several freighters a day now, must be on the Freighter Freeway. As long as they don’t get too close… 

636 miles to go, as the seagull flys, but we’ll probably sail a good 800 to get there. Stay tuned. 



Ocean Planet Report
Ocean Planet Qualifier Update
July 4, 2002

Not a bad feeling, to be at sea on an American Open 60, on Independence day. It is absolutely gorgeous out, not too hot and clear. Although the wind is light and the sailing isn’t super thrilling, it is very satisfying to be able to slide along at 8+ knots in 6 kts of wind. Ocean Planet is fantastic to sail solo in these conditions, and what a ride it has been the past two years to get here. 

The Azores port of Horta on the island of Faial is now 407 miles away which seems close after going 2000 so far from Charleston. I should be able to spend a couple days looking around there before a few supporting crew arrive on the 10th to help me sail to Newport. Now that I’ve gotten used to being on board myself it is going to mighty crowded with crew!

The past couple days have been really easy; hardly ever touching the sheets, plenty of napping, and some good reading. I’ve been re-reading one of my favorite books of my youth, “The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be” by Farley Mowat. I highly recommend it along with “The Boat Who Wouldn’t Float,” both are true stories and are hilarious. The freighters going by must be wondering where all the laughing is coming from….

I also recommend the Nexus instruments and the Doyle sails you’ll see in the attached pics. That big roach main is SURE nice when it’s light like today!

Happy Fourth of July!

Go Lance Armstrong! (In the Tour de France.)



Ocean Planet Report
Ocean Planet Qualifier Update
July 5, 2002

Whew! After “parking” for some time last night and going into a scheduling panic (worried about meeting my crew in time, getting to Newport ASAP, etc), the wind is back, and I don’t mean the “wind” that results from too much freeze-dried food….:-)

I don’t know if you have been following the weather, but there was a good chance I could have been swallowed up by an expanding Azores high. To avoid getting stuck, I have been working north and east the last few days, but still had to jibe. 

North again early this morning. It is strange to head 90 degrees from your destination at 2 kts, but if you can reach wind, that is the thing to do. Apparently the high is moving west a bit so that helped too. So at the moment we’re back on track at 9-10 kts in 8 kts of wind.

If you are wondering why I am so easily freaked out by any delay, check out the schedule we are facing in order to make the start of the Around Alone; (this is assuming we raise enough donations and/or sponsorship by August 1st).

July 10/11: Leave Horta for Newport, allowing for weather 10-14 days max.
July 20/24: Arrive in Newport, head straight for Newport shipyard. ship out sails, etc.
July 24-Aug 19: Complete myriads of structural, performance, and cosmetic jobs (strip and paint bottom, fairing, modify mast bearings, rigging, blah, blah, blah). At least what we can afford to finish, anyway.
Aug 19-22: Relaunch, step mast, rerig. get repaired, modified, or new sails and do tune up daysails. 

This gives us only four weeks in Newport to complete the boat before August 23rd when I will attend my brother’s wedding in Seattle. I know what your’re thinking, but the race rules require that the boats be at the race village docks and be pretty much ready to go by August 27th.

Sounds impossible? Does to me, too, but if you told me two years ago that we would build an Open 60 primarily from donations, and that I would sail it singlehanded to the Azores, and be qualified for the 2002 Around Alone….?

I say we have a chance. In fact, while I was writing this I was even able to go up and put a reef in, so perhaps the wind is back for good. 

The race for the race is on. Now, will somebody please find us a big sponsor already.?.? 

Sailing fast and fast talking,

Bruce + Ocean Planet


Ocean Planet Report
Ocean Planet Qualifier Update
July 6, 2002

Pos at 1257gmt:
38 40N,
30 06W,
course 113mag @ 9-10kts.

Almost there! 71 miles, to my waypoint (38 29N, 28 37W) just south of Isla Faial, to be exact. 

Yesterday I heard some cruising sailors talking on the radio, one English, one French. They are both also headed for Horta on Faial. They were having a hard time communicating with the language barrier (and I would be of no help there!), but they were both disappointed with the lack of wind and their limited supply of diesel fuel. I talked to the English fellow onboard “Jewel of Yorkshire” (hope I remember that right), who was some 40 miles south of me or so. I had better wind so I recommended that he head north for a bit (he was motor-sailing) and that things should get better for him. He was delighted.

Next task: the French boat was a tiny speck on the horizon in front and south of me, so I cracked off a bit to have a look and see if he wanted some of my extra diesel. I rolled out the bigger jib for the lower course, and I quickly caught them (he and his wife, evidently a cruising couple) by surprise as they couldn’t imagine any sailboat appearing so fast. After rolling up the jib I still had to luff the main to have 30 seconds to talk. They were as excited as I was to see someone and we both took pictures. They appreciated the offer of fuel but said that they were fine and hoped to see me in Horta before I leave there. Then it was au revoir as Ocean Planet and I sped off over the horizon. What fun. 

I’ll try to send an update tonight after I arrive but no guarantee. I’m a bit nervous about anchoring this boat for the first time by myself, in an unknown port, at night, so it should be an experience.

Bruce and Ocean Planet


Ocean Planet Report
Ocean Planet Qualifier Update
July 7, 2002

Pos at 1257gmt:
Horta, Faial, in the Azores!

What an incredibly wonderful place! From the stunning green hills and volcanic mountains to the enchanting little town chock full of sailors from all over the world. I feel like this place has been waiting for me. 

Approaching in the late afternoon turning to dusk, I pushed Ocean Planet on a tight reach (just off of close hauled) at 10-11kts across a nearly smooth sea, trying to make it before it was too dark. This was achieved and I dropped the main, rolled up the jib, emptied the water ballast, and motored slowly towards the unknown harbor as I dashed in and out of the boat rigging my anchoring system. I assumed I would have to anchor outside the harbor since my charts showed the marina was not deep enough for our 15 ft. draft. The light was fading, but a marina bristling with sailboat masts and the smells, music, and energy of a bustling little town beckoned me closer. 

There was a particularly tall mast just past the main marina and I ventured in to see if it was a deep draft boat. She turned out to be Chippewa, a Swan 70 that we had raced against in Antigua! They assured me that the “water was fine” and we happily rafted up alongside where I was promptly greeted with a cold Corona by the friendly crew. The next few hours of sailing stories and discovering mutual acquaintances was a perfect ending to a wonderful trip. 

Today I checked in with the port captain, customs, and immigration, which turned into a delightfully long conversation with the port captain who exclaimed as he read our ship’s documention: “Oakland? I just returned from there!” Turns out his soccer club was sponsored by the government to spend several weeks in California. He loved it and we talked of Yosemite, and the Golden Gate bridge for some time before some other sailors came in to register and we had to finish our business. 

The are sailors here from all the world over, and they are already streaming by to see Ocean Planet. Most of today was spent meeting people and showing the boat. Tomorrow I will tell you more of the flavor of Horta, a centuries old port and meeting place for the sailing travelers of this ocean planet, earth. 

The view to the east of Horta, the neighboring island of Pico:

Bruce and Ocean Planet


Ocean Planet Report
Ocean Planet Qualifier Update
July 8, 2002

Center of the Atlantic
Horta, Faial, in the Azores!

Across the waters of the Atlantic come sailors from Canada, England, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the U.S. (just to name a few), to this green, mountainous, and historic island. For centuries this quiet natural port has been an essential sailing stop over and resupply oasis. For the crews and boats it is a much needed chance to take a breath of air filled with the smell of flowers instead of seawater and to walk on ancient cobbles rather than a rolling deck. 

Such is the sense of appreciation for this place. An amazing tradition has come to pass, that every one of the thousands of boats that pass through here must make their mark to commemorate their visit. Upon the miles of seawalls and sidewalks of the marina exists a most wondrous display of art. 

As you walk along, you travel the globe as you read the names and nationalities of countless adventurers. The level of imagination put into the paintings is overwhelming as you sense the relief and delight of those who reach this place after thousands of miles of crawling across the ocean.

Family LeMercier! I found your sign! (Followers will remember the friendly French family and their boat Malamok that I met in Antigua.) 

Most of the signs are whimsical, such as this one below;

And some play upon famous art pieces:

Supporter Lydia Vargas arrived today and is as charmed as I with Horta. Tomorrow, the remainder of my crew arrives. Sadly though, we must leave soon as the race to reach Newport is on and I hear the clock ticking. 

But I took some time (and I had some help) to leave a nice little sign on the pier:

I think Bruce could do a fine job decorating cakes too! Doesn’t this look tasty enough to eat? -ed.) 

Bruce and Ocean Planet


Ocean Planet Report
Ocean Planet Qualifier Update
Return delivery to Newport, RI USA
July 11, 2002

Pos @ 2240gmt:
35 29N 30 23W
Course 245T at 9kts. 

Off to Newport!

With a combination of reluctance and anticipation, we set off for Newport, RI, USA yesterday afternoon. This time I am not sailing solo, but have a crew of a few supporters including a very key one, my Mom! I am a bit apprehensive about subjecting her to the rigors of ocean sailing (my dad is the sailor), but she has been contributing to the cause and really wanted to go. The other crew are supporters Lydia Vargas of Valpraiso, Indiana, along with Edie Felix and Rich Jones of Portland, Oregon.

After falling completely in love with Horta (even though I hardly left the marina), it was tough to leave so soon. I could spend forever there meeting sailors and sightseeing! But if I’m going to make the start of the Around Alone, Ocean Planet needs to get the boatyard, the sails to the Doyle loft, and a million other details that need to get done. Oh yeah, there’s also the small detail of raising the money to pay for all of it….preparing for and doing the qualifying trip completely drained our funds. It is good that I have a crew now, for I will be spending a lot of time on the satellite e-mail looking for $!

There are two basic ways to sail to Newport from the Azores: North, over the top of Azores high which is the shortest but primarily upwind, and South under the high which is longer but easier. Not wanting to risk breakage (40kt winds are blowing on the north side) and create even more work to do, we are taking the southern route. We headed straight south out of Horta last night and are continuing to dive south to pick up some NE winds in the next couple days, I’ll keep you posted. 

Please send us any ideas and/or sponsor leads (I have some helpers to follow up since I’m out here….), time is running out!

Horta, Azores in the rear-view mirror.

Bruce smiling while “On the job” with his Mom.

Bruce, Crew and Ocean Planet


Ocean Planet Report
Ocean Planet Qualifier Update
Return delivery to Newport, RI USA
July 13, 2002

Pos: 32 01N, 34 30W@ 1252gmt. 

Late yesterday we finally got south enough to get some nice NE wind. Today we are happily gliding along with our big kite at 10kts. It just might be some karma payback for a good deed yesterday as we were motoring out of the Azores high….

Several times a day while at sea you will see some junk in the water. It is always a little disheartening to think that some people will toss plastic into the water where it will float forever, or worse, choke a turtle or bird. There’s not much one can do, but yesterday we spotted a larger than normal pink spot a few hundred yards away and decided to investigate.

We discovered a big plastic fender with a bit of sea life growing on it. Supporting crew Edie Felix of Portland volunteered to fetch and clean it so I backed up slowly and she hoisted it up. Quite a little cosmopolitan society of creatures had attached themselves to it, tempting us to make a soup…..but we set the hordes of little crabs free and scraped off the barnacles. Nice fender! The wrong color for Ocean Planet, but hey, great price. Perhaps I can sell it in Newport to a nice mega yacht….;-)

Under the Doyle big top (our masthead spinnaker).



Ocean Planet Report
Ocean Planet Qualifier Update
Return delivery to Newport, RI USA
July 15, 2002

Position: 30 41N 42 42W

Well, if there is a ‘middle’ to the Atlantic, it’s somewhere near here. Plot it out, you’ll see what I mean…

Not much to report, other than beautiful moderate air spinnaker running in light tradewind conditions. My crew is getting the hang of things, other than a tight spinnaker wrap in the big kite that took a few hours to untangle. The guilty driver won’t be named, to avoid embarrassing a great supporter…..;-)

We are running two watches, with Rich & Edie on one and Lydia and my Mom on the other. I float and spend time on both watches keeping an eye on things. It seems like I’m sleeping less than I do when I’m sailing solo, but there is a lot to teach and explain about the boat. I’m also spending a lot of time on email, trying to keep the processes of finding $ and lining up the boat work in Newport. Ideally, the $ should come before committing to spending it, but there isn’t time to wait!

The crew is enjoying the idyllic conditions, which is good since it’s going to get a lot less pleasant when we finally cut north to head for Newport and leave the easterly trades. I’m glad we are this far south right now, as a tropical depression will be rolling NE a few hundred miles off the US coast. Hopefully it will be long gone by the time we get there….

Hey, I hear that there is a nice article on us in the current issue of SAIL magazine! Check it out… 



Ocean Planet Report
Ocean Planet Qualifier Update
Return delivery to Newport, RI USA
July 17, 2002 

Quick update from 31 13n 51 39w

Finally cutting across the millibars from the west side of the high towards the stationary front that we have to get through to get to Newport. The easy part of the trip is over as now we are close reaching in 20kts of wind at 13kts. Just over 1100nm to go.

Trying to organize all the shore work and fundraising from the boat, not easy, but we are down to the wire. Need major donations or sponsorship in the next couple of weeks or will have to pull out of the Around Alone soon after arriving in Newport. To say I’m stressed is a huge understatement, with all that everyone has put into this.

We are so close, yet so far.



Ocean Planet Report
Ocean Planet Qualifier Update
Return delivery to Newport, RI USA
July 19, 2002 

Pos: 34 39N, 57 38W

Sorry to be late with the updates, but we’ve had a busy couple of days. Right now it is the middle of the night, and I just finished filling in for my Mom for her watch. I was up most of the day beforehand, but she is still seasick and needs a little help.

Let’s see, where did I leave off…..oh yes, we were about to cut through the big front that had established itself between us and Newport. Well it was quite exciting, with a full-on “white squalls” with 40+kt gusts and torrential rain. I was snoozing when the first one hit, which resulted in a torn working jib before I could get up on deck and furl it. So we are down to the staysail and light genoa for upwind work. I hit 17kts with a double reefed main only in the middle of the first squall. 

This afternoon we sailed clear of the front, which was spectacular to see, as there was this huge wall cloud structure that I had never seen before. As far as the eye could see, there were these walls or blocks of clouds hanging from an overcast complete with a few funnel clouds, and nearly clear sky on the other side!

Of course now it is really light and we are going upwind with staysail and full main in 4-6kts of wind. I sure miss those downwind trade winds already, but it looks like at least one other front to play with before Newport.

The other thing I miss is some sleep, that’s where I’m headed now…..between floating on both watches, standing in for the sick crew, doing the sail changes, a lot of the cooking, and piles of emails organizing our arrival in Newport, I slept more on my singlehanded trip!! More soon…. 

Bruce, onboard chef and creator of “Pasta Planeta”
Ocean Planet


Ocean Planet Report
Ocean Planet Qualifier Update
Return delivery to Newport, RI USA
July 20, 2002 

Pos: 34 56N 62 04W

Last night we had a major gift with a moderate SE to S breeze allowing us to sail straight west almost all night. A big improvement over the motoring we did most of the day! But that’s all we’re gonna get, now we’re headed back to a NW course and the SW wind is going to steadily build as we close in on the next front and the notorious Gulf Stream. I’m definitely learning a lot about Atlantic weather, way different than the eastern Pacific that I’m used to. Kinda fun really, until you blow out a sail or two…. 

Unlike the crew, I haven’t been seasick (yet) on this trip, but I’ve come down with some kind of bug and have a splitting sinus headache that makes writing a real chore. So here’s some pics from the past few days instead…..;-) 

Headache banging towards Newport,

Bruce and Ocean Planet


Ocean Planet Report
Ocean Planet Qualifier Update
Return delivery to Newport, RI USA
July 22, 2002 

Just cleared the north wall of the Gulf Stream. This ocean “riverbank” is a notorious place for big squalls when fronts are near, but luckily we went through what was left of the front yesterday well south of the GS. So last night was a combo of motoring, beautiful light air reaching, and constantly checking the radar for the rain signatures which barely appeared. 

Other travelers in these parts are nervous, too. For the last day or so we have been followed by a little swallow who must be pretty lost. He (she) lands, preens, and hangs out for a while in different spots. Then back into the air, wheeling about looking for the bugs that one would think would be following such smelly humans…;-) 

Actually, the crew has been cleaning up often, keeping my Spectra watermaker busy, which is no big deal. The watermaker draws such little power per gallon that I don’t even turn the engine on to run it anymore. What a great unit. Nothing beats a few jugs of fresh water after a salty sail change… 

The boat is doing great, although my list of things to do in Newport is getting imposing. Going to need all the help we can get when we arrive tomorrow. 

More later, 

Bruce, Ocean Planet, crew, and aviary friends


Ocean Planet Report
Ocean Planet Qualifier Update
Return delivery to Newport, RI USA
July 23, 2002 

Important Ocean Planet Update

78 miles to Newport: 40 15N, 70 35W

Today, Ocean Planet arrives in Newport, the host town for the Around Alone race headquarters.

It is now make or break time for fundraising. I have only one week to raise the funds to pay urgent existing bills, and to decide whether or not we can finance the preparation to start the Around Alone. There are several sails needed, a lot of rigging, mechanical, and electrical work to do for what is the longest race on earth. This is an extreme event, and yes, I’m terrified of the safety consequences of not being ready, and we won’t be ready without the $ to do it. 

It is incredible that Ocean Planet has come this far with only donations (a heck of a lot of them!), supplier sponsors, and volunteer help. I began this project with the goal of representing a major sponsor or two, but amazingly we have found a way so far without one. There is no one more surprised than me to be on the East Coast with a custom Open 60, and to be the only American boat entered in Class One of the Around Alone. From the beginning we have had a great team, they and others are ready to go as soon as we get the funds to prepare. 

BUT A LOT HAS TO BE DONE, RIGHT AWAY!! Several projects on Ocean Planet that have been postponed until now, for financial and developmental (always test before finishing!) reasons. It has been an exhausting balancing act trying to keep the boat on schedule to be a viable entry, and at the same time sail her to Newport. I have used every trick possible, and I am proud to say the end result is a great boat, and several lifetimes worth of goodwill, friends, and supporters that I am determined not to let down. 

There are so many people to thank for getting us this far (take a look at our contributors page on the website!), but here are a few I really want to give special thanks to: 

Kevin and Shauna Flanigan, who created and gave us the Ocean Planet name, and the spirit of being at one with our oceans. Their contribution has been huge both spiritually and financially, and there is no way the boat would have ever hit the water in Portland without them.

Philippe and Sonia Kahn (, who gave us a huge push early on. They are also committed to having a clean and safe planet for us to live on. 

The hundreds of other contributors to The Made in America Foundation. So many of you were already great friends, but amazingly so many more that I didn’t know before. They have donated their hard earned dollars to create an all-American boat and dream. 

And a very special thanks to Adrien Fournier, who was a rigging client of mine when I came up with this crazy idea. He was the very first person to contribute financially and become personally involved to get the project going. He even came to Portland to work on the wiring and other endless projects himself. Thanks Adrien, it’s all your fault! 

To all of our official supplier sponsors who have pitched in. In today’s economic environment it may be considered risky to put product and/or $ into such an extreme dream, but if there is ANYTHING that will pull the U.S. out of any downturn, it is the spirit and drive to do something productive and difficult, because it simply IS WORTH DOING. That IS the American spirit and what has made our country great. People should take note of these brands and appreciate them sticking their necks out for me! 

And to Jeanie, my sweetheart, who knows that no matter how far away I sail, I will find my way home. 

So to all: Please don’t let us fail now. We have worked so hard, but I cannot make the start of the Around Alone without some more help and an influx of cash….. 

Consider this: The Sept 15th start of the Around Alone from New York is exactly one year, to the day, after the attached photo was taken by Latitude 38 during our tribute sail for the 9/11 tragedy. We really should be at the start. 

Thanks everyone! 

Bruce and ‘The Peoples’ Open 60′, Ocean Planet 


Ocean Planet Report
Ocean Planet Qualifier Update
Newport, RI USA
July 27, 2002 

First days in Newport

Well, here we are. This is my first time in Newport, which is pretty much the “yachting center” of the U.S. East Coast (and that’s saying a lot). In a later update I’ll try to convey what a sail-mad place this is….

It was a good passage from Horta. The trip was just under 13 days, not bad for taking it easy going under the Azores High. It would have been a real thrasher going the other (northern) route. I was lucky to have an enthusiastic crew, who were able to make up for any lack of experience with their perseverance and dedication. A big thanks to my supporting crew Lydia Vargas, Edie Felix, Rich Jones, and of course my mom, Anitia Jimenez. 

There has been a good response from the local shorthanded sailing crowd, with some volunteers helping me to get started on things. Local photographer, Billy Black and his wife Joyce, have graciously put me up at their wonderful place, a nice break from my quarterberth….;-) It’s a good start and the more volunteers the merrier since there is plenty to do! 

The positive vibe from the people I meet helps me to ignore the impending financial disaster. Hopefully the great coverage and the help that the sailing press has done for us will pay off by getting the word out and donations in. In my last update, I pretty much came clean about our situation and I was surprised to see the update and/or stories show up in many of my favorite online sailing sites and e-newsletters like, Scuttlebutt, and others. I am flattered that these folks see fit to publish my stuff. It is this kind of support that keeps me going. The start of the Around Alone is so near yet so far! We have less than three weeks to haul, finish and relaunch by August 17th or so.

If you are near Newport, come by and visit. Everyone is welcome to come aboard and look around, just be prepared to grab a tool and you’ll have to take a donation form with you when you go! 

Hangin in Newport, 

Bruce Bruce Schwab


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