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Ocean Planet/USA 05 Update from Bruce Schwab:
Thursday, February 19, 2004 


With a little help from your friends…

Announcement: New series of seminars by Bruce Schwab! Hosted by Portland Yacht Services and Portland’s Shipyard Brewery. Bruce will be holding a series of seminars covering his Around Alone voyage, rigging, navigation, and shorthanded sailing. The series kicks off THIS SATURDAY, February 21st, 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. at Portland Yacht Services in their new meeting room. Call PYS at  207-774-1067  for more info or to RSVP (limited seating). $20 at the door….next seminar coming March 13th.

Bruce has been going at it nearly around the clock, so one of his great supporters volunteered to help write the latest update below:


My week aboard Ocean Planet!
by Andy Evans

Grinding a keel takes on a whole new meaning when it’s twenty feet long!

Last week, a skein of single-handed sailors from across North America collected in Portland, Maine to help Bruce Schwab with his renovations to Ocean Planet. There were three Olson 30 owners: myself from Ottawa, our host Rich Stevenson from Yarmouth and Drew Wood from Newport. Katie Ambach brought her growing carbon fiber skills from her professional work with Eric Goetz; (Drew and Katie are building their own carbon Minis.) Rich Jones, from Portland on the left coast has already crossed the pond on Ocean Planet (Azores to Newport), so knows nearly every wire and winch; Dennis, a boat building project manager who spends as much time as possible in Nova Scotia, set up a customized compressor to bag the carbon; James spent hours sanding the newly formed bow; and Matt from Wisconsin, who could best be described as the temporary first mate on this voyage of renovation. We were all so busy we didn’t get a group pic, but here’s Rich S., Bruce & Me:

Bruce is obsessed with reducing the weight of OP, so much of our time was spent routing, cutting, chiseling, or hacking out large chunks of solid wood core material, and replacing it with a carbon/foam sandwich. He had us weigh each piece as it was cut off, in his goal to remove 500 lbs. But the worst part was that we even had to weigh the dust from our cutting/sanding/grinding efforts (46.2 lbs!).

I am amazed that a knee made of solid wood and fiberglass can be replaced with 6 ounces of carbon and foam. I had fun watching Katie and Bruce debate over the best method of laying these up. In the end, we all had to agree that she has become mighty good with vacuum bagging techniques. The new, sacrificial bow is in place and ready for a new carbon fiber skin. It is a real work of “boat shaping art” by Bruce, and it also brought the boat length right up to the 60 foot limit. I spent two days grinding over, under and around the keel, yuck! Here Katie contemplates a wrinkle in the carbon…


I thought Bruce’s obsession got the better of him when he wanted to save about 0.0002 ounces by adding more microballoons in the MAS epoxy mixture that I used to fill holes in the deck. I told him that if he looses the race by 30 seconds, he can publicly blame me…;-), but he is certainly is a man on a mission. Here he is in between sanding sessions checking email and printing handouts:


Bruce welcomes all volunteers, but his real need continues to be money. I could not believe it when he commented that just the radio system and communications requirements alone for the Vendee Globe could cost over $65,000! Bruce has hauled his personal debt up to the second spreader, so can barely feed himself let alone fix the autopilot. So please, as the saying goes, “if you can’t be an athlete, be an athletic supporter.”


Andy Evans
(All pics by Rich Jones)


Hey Andy, thanks for the help AND the update!

Bruce Schwab, Skipper
USA 05/Ocean Planet


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