“Pacific Sail Expo” and after…

April 19, 2001  Oakland, CA 

Followers of Ocean Planet, if you haven’t already heard, OCEAN PLANET was christened at Pacific Sail Expo by none other than Ellen MacArthur at 7pm, April 19th, 2001. Right before, I had the honor to speak at the EDS VIP Sail Expo party, along with Ellen and Mark Reynolds (Olympic Gold Medalist in the Star!) The whole experience was a dream come true for all of us that have worked so hard to get OCEAN PLANET launched. 

It was wonderful to meet Ellen again (I met her before the start of the Vendee), and I took the opportunity to give her a tour of the boat. I’m proud to say that she liked OCEAN PLANET a lot. She was surprised to see our carbon fiber toilet however, as she used only a bucket on Kingfisher! 

We have been out test sailing, and I can tell you that OCEAN PLANET is a wonderful sailing machine. The boat is meeting all of our expectations and more. 

Sail Expo was a success, getting all the media exposure we had hoped for. Our other goals were to raise donations and to get sponsor contacts, with mixed results. We did have the opportunity to meet with EDS and present what we have to offer for the EDS Atlantic Challenge. Both EDS and Challenge business were very active at the show. 

EDS and Challenge Business would like us in their event, and they are working to find a business partner to sponsor us. However, time is running out to prepare and to make it to the start in St. Malo, France. We are making every effort to raise the final funds needed to make the race, and are down to the last few days. 

It won’t be the end of the world if we don’t make the EDS Atlantic Challenge, as we will shift our focus and marketing efforts to the Transat Jacque Vabre this fall, or possibly the Transpac. The Transat Jacque Vabre is a huge doublehanded race from Le Havre, France to South America. I was at the start of this exciting event in ’99, (see the “updates” page on our website for a full report). 

The Transpac would be fun, but I would only enter if OCEAN PLANET can race fully armed, with our water ballast and big kite. The Transpac committee might be nervous about OCEAN PLANET possibly stealing the show from the Turbosleds like “Pyewacket,” “Zephyros,” and the new “Pegasus.” It could be a very exciting race if we went. 

One advantage of the Transat Jacque Vabre is that it leaves us on the East Coast ready for the start of The Gold Race. The Gold Race is from New York to San Franciso around Cape Horn and will be starting in January 2002. The finish of The Gold Race would a fantastic homecoming. 

We have a great boat and a great team ready to go. Having built OCEAN PLANET almost entirely from donations, we now need some additional sponsorship for the only new AMERICAN OPEN 60 to go and race. 

Bruce Schwab
Globe Challenges


April 19, 2001
Oakland, CA 


Ellen MacArthur, visiting from the UK, christened the new Open 60 Ocean Planet on Wednesday. As you know, Ocean Planet has become the feature presentation at this years Pacific Sail Exposition, and who else more appropriate to show up and christen the boat than Ellen. Her rare U.S. appearance could not have been timed more perfectly. “To have Ellen on hand at P.S.E., and to christen the boat”, said O.P. Skipper Bruce Schwab, “lends the Made In America Foundation incredible momentum and exposure. 

Who’s this, and why is she smashing bottles of bubbly all over our new boat?.
(Photo Latitude38/JR) 

Unless you have been living under a rock all winter, you will know that Ellen (who is another phenominal success story for another time) recently finished second in this years Vendee Globe Challenge, sailing against Europe’s best. Just as the NBA is the source of the worlds best hoops players, Europe (France) has historically been the origin of the planets best singlehanded sailors. 

Judging from the first day at P.S.E. there is support for a bigger American involvement in the world of serious ocean racing. With the boat “open” for viewing, folks were lined up and around the docks in line for a peek inside.

More about the christening here from boats.com.


“Pacific Sail Expo” and after…

The latest News from OCEAN PLANET
May 9, 2001 

The very first race for OCEAN PLANET will be this saturday, in the annual crewed race around the southeast Farallone Islands. This is a classic race here in Northern California and will be a great opportunity to show off what OCEAN PLANET can do. I hope that there is a good breeze! Our start will be around 9:45am, and we will try to set a course record. 

The Farallone Islands abound with sea life. I look forward to introducing our beautiful new boat to all of the whales and other creatures that we see out there. There won’t be a lot of time however, as we will be going by pretty fast. 

Despite great press coverage and a huge public turnout for OCEAN PLANET at Pacific Sail Expo, we haven’t landed the level of sponsorship needed to race the first European races we had planned. I am disappointed, but in a way it is a relief, since there was a very short time to prepare. 

Our schedule now is to do a few tune-up races like this saturday’s Farallones race, and prepare for an assault on the Singlehanded Transpac record to Kauai, Hawaii. OCEAN PLANET is capable of demolishing the existing record, so that would be a lot of fun and good practice for me. Other races that we are interested in are the crewed Transpac race from Los Angeles to Oahu, and the Transat Jacque Vabre that is doublehanded from Le Havre, France, to Brazil. 

We will continue to work hard at finding additional sponsorship. In the meantime, the continuing donations to our non-profit foundation are REALLY appreciated. 

A great big thank-you to all of our Official Supplier Sponsors that have helped create OCEAN PLANET: 

AMD (All of our computers have “AMD on Board!”)
Doyle Sailmakers (OCEAN PLANET uses Vectran D4 sails)
Forespar Composites (Custom carbon bowsprit, bunks, and 16′ radar pole!)
Nobeltec (The very best in electronic navigation)
Metropolis Metal Works (Custom Titanium and stainless steel fabrication)
Samson Rope Technologies (All of our lines are Samson)
Spectra Watermakers (The most efficient watermaker available!)
MAS Epoxies (Custom resins used extensively in our hull and carbon rig) 

Thanks guys! 

Bruce Schwab

First Race… No Wind


OCEAN PLANET race report:
OYRA Farallones Race, May 12th, 2001:

Saturday was OCEAN PLANET’s first race, the annual crewed event around Northern California’s Farallone Islands. Looking at the computer weather models the day before, I knew that there was no chance of a record, as the conditions were obviously going to be quite placid. 

The reports were accurate, as the actual breeze was only 4-6kts of wind, except when nearing the Golden Gate Bridge (it always blows harder there). The wind direction was WSW, which is exactly the direction to the Islands, making for a very slow beat and run back, with no reaching (which is what you usually get in this race). These conditions, while not good for setting records on an Open 60, were very pleasant sailing. 

Also, they were well suited for an America’s Cup class sloop, the ex-IL Moro, which is the only local boat that can threaten OCEAN PLANET (in light air). Normally, an AC boat wouldn’t want to venture into the Ocean outside the Golden Gate Bridge, but the peaceful conditions evidently convinced them to go. In the end they beat us to the finish line. It is no worry for us, as we do not yet have our full size jib and spinnakers. 

Given our use of heavy weather sails, I am really impressed with the liveliness of OCEAN PLANET. I can’t wait to get her up to full throttle! 

I had a stellar crew aboard, including guest star Brad Van Liew (the only American finisher in the last Around Alone), Greg Nelson (winner of the 2000 singlehanded Transpac), Will Paxton (local up-and-coming tactical rockstar), Bill Colombo (professional sailor and owner of the local Doyle Sails loft), local rigger Jason Winkel, longtime friend and crew Joakim Jonsson, our new shore crew Antonio Mazzarisi, and Latitude 38 magazine editor John Riise. Perhaps we were a little overloaded, but hey, these guys are my friends, and we had a great time. It is amazing how many bad jokes this group came up with…. 

Anyway, we are all dying to go sailing on OP again, especially when the wind blows. But there is still a lot of work (and fundraising) to do to get her at full speed. I will be watching the weather closely this summer, looking for good conditions to set a new Singlehanded Transpac record. I will keep you posted. 

The attached pic is of OP & I in better breeze, coming down the coast in April (2001). 

We will continue to work hard at finding additional sponsorship. In the meantime, the continuing donations to our non-profit foundation are REALLY appreciated. 

Bruce Schwab


“Sailors young, and young at heart” June 12, 2001 

A few months ago, before the launch of Ocean Planet, I gave splicing lesson at a 5th grade class, and a talk about solo ocean racing and keeping our oceans clean. 

Well today we took the very same class for a sail on Ocean Planet, our great new Open 60 racing boat.  It is fun to take such a great group of young sailors out. It is amazing how much and how fast they learn. I hope they stay so interested in sailing, you never know if one could be the next Ellen! Almost all of our young guests had a chance to steer Ocean Planet. A few have a little sailing under their belts already and are pretty darn good.

It was good that it was light air, just to be safe, and we all had a great time. Ocean Planet is real racing machine, but she has great manners so she is the perfect boat to show young non-pro sailors the beautiful San Francisco/Oakland Bay.

Our team is very proud that we were able to make this boat a reality, so that we can share the experience and feel of a real Open 60 racing machine. This isn’t something these kids can do very often, as Ocean Planet is the only modern Open 60 in the U.S. Our supporters should feel as proud as I do, to give the kids this opportunity! 

I will keep you posted on Ocean Planet’s schedule. Our main focus right now is getting ready for my record attempt on the Singlehanded Transpac course to Hawaii. I won this race on corrected time in 1996 on my old boat “Rumbleseat”, the same year that the elapsed time record was set by “Wild Thing”. Ocean Planet is itchin to smash it!

Ok, this is good to pass up! I’ve included at the bottom of this report, some letters I just received from these kids. At first it might seem almost shameless but if you read them, you’ll realize they are written from the heart and still make me feel unbelievably good!

Dear Bruce,
Thank you for being a great influence to me and our class. On the sailing trip we had a great time and it was especially fun to drive ocean planet. I think that you did a great job building it AND GOOD LUCK AT THE VENDEE GLOBE.

Thank you so much for letting us go out on you boat it was loads of fun. I really enjoyed exploring it, it was interesting to look at all the computers and other high-tech things on your boat. Steering the boat was fun, too. I liked how you taught us how to steer your boat. The work sheet was interesting because it taught lot’s of cool sailing facts.

Dear Bruce,
I enjoyed going to your field trip it was fun! I especially liked it when you let all of the students in the class steer or tack the boat witch I learned means turning the boat around. I liked when the boat was tipping when it was on the side near the water. I liked that I got to steer because it was fun. I can see it now “Bruce around the world winner”, and when you win I will see you on tv and say hey I know that guy and I’ll e-mail you. Good luck on your boat race around the world trip. HOPE you win. THANX!! SINCERELY,
P.S. I definitely think you’ll win!!!! 

Dear Bruce,
The field trip we had was great. The best part was when we went sailing, it was fun. I think driving the boat is a lot of work but fun. Good Luck
From Tanner

Dear Bruce,
Thanks for taking our class sailing. I had the time of my life! But i still can’t believe that you built that boat. You did a great job. I think you will do great on your trip around the world. I know you will.

Dear Bruce,
Thank you for the tour of your fantastic boat it was great. My favorite part was steering the boat it was fun. wish you luck, from,

Thank you for taking us on Oceanplanet. I will always remember steering the boat. My favorite part was when I tacked the boat. I also liked the quiz. I loved your captain’s chair.
From, Josh 

Dear Bruce,
Thank you so much for letting Mrs. Thomas’s class be apart of your crew on Oceanplanet! I know all of us enjoyed it so much,especially because it is going to go around the world in a couple of years! I appreciate it greatly and thank you so much! I had a great time!
Sincerely, Robyn

Dear Bruce,
Thank you sooooo much for inviting us to sail with you on Ocean Planet. We all really enjoyed it! We wish you luck sailing around the world, and hope you do well. We look forward to talking to you on your website.
From, Brian, Barrie, and Alexa (3 of Mrs. Thomas’s 5th graders) 

Dear Moose,
You’re Oceanplanet boat is the coolest! We loved sitting on the front of the boat. It was really fun when we got to steer. How’s Greg? Have you ever hit someone when you were tacking, like I hit my brother? If you did, did they fall off the boat? We like the race car chair and the Global Positioning. Good luck on your race around the world!
Sincerely, Typed by: Grace Marie Some comments by: Molly and Braden 

Dear Bruce,
Thank you so much for taking my class sailing yesterday
. We all enjoyed it very much. My favorite part was when I got to steer the boat! Good luck in your around the world race! I hope you win! One day when your a famous sailor I’ll be able to say:” Hey! I know that guy! I steered his boat the Ocean Planet once!” Thanks again!
Sincerely, Christina 

Dear Bruce,
Thank you for letting our class ride in your boat. It was so exciting to go on a famous person’s boat and your boat is really high-tech! Ocean Planet definitely stands out against other boats I’ve seen. And thank you for letting me call you Moose and for the sodas.
Sincerely, Neda 

Dear Bruce,
I loved this field trip because I have never been on a sailboat before and it was quite interesting to me. I really recommend this field trip to any other class because all these fun things will amaze them! Such as steering the boat, sitting at the bottom of the boat, even when it is turning, and also if there will be if they go the SODA’S! I loved this field trip I think that you will win and you are very nice to us. You really explained to me how to steer a ship and even how to tack. I had the time of my life.
Sincerely, Jamie 

Dear Bruce,
Thank you for letting us sail on your boat. We liked your seat. We liked how you let us sit in the front of the boat. We hope you win the race.
From Yin-Ju, Tony, Michael, and Sherie 

Dear Bruce,
Thank you for letting me go on your cool new boat and letting me drive. Driving the boat was fun

Dear Bruce,
Thank you for letting us come on your brand new boat. Thank you for the tour of the boat, and for letting me drive the boat.
THANK YOU. Graham 

Dear Bruce,
I’m so glad you took us on your boat. Most kids never get to do that. It was also really cool steering. Thank you for everything and I wish you luck on all your races!!

Dear Bruce, I had a great time at your boat yesterday, and had a blast steering it. I think that boat will make it racing all the way around the world.
Good luck! Kelsey


July 4th Update  The latest Ocean Planet news:

The finish work and upgrades (you know how boats are…) on Ocean Planet are progressing, but are going rather slowly right now. We are still in need of upper level sponsors (thank goodness for our official suppliers and partners!), so if you have possible contacts I am all ears. We need direct personal contacts, since I’ve learned that sending out tons of brochures is pretty much just wasting trees without a personal introduction. One good bit of news is that one of our official suppliers is looking at a big logo spinnaker that we can show off on the Bay.

If possible, this summer I am still hoping to do a record attempt on the Singlehanded Transpac course (San Francisco to Hanalei Bay, Kauai, Hawaii). The real singlehanded transpac race is next year, so this would be a course record attempt only. Unless someone dares to race singlehanded against Ocean Planet! It would be nice to get a sponsor for the record run. Ocean Planet should crush the existing record (10days 22hrs, set in 1996 by Ray Thayer on “Wild Thing”), unless the islands move or there is no wind… I want to set a real record as a benchmark that will be tough to beat. In fact, we plan on officially registering with the WSSRC to make it official.

I am performing real financial gymnastics to keep things going, so please remember that all donations to The Made in America Foundation help keep Ocean Planet afloat! (http://www.oceanplanet.org/contributions.htm) How about some 4th of July spirit for America’s only Open 60!

An announcement: It gives me great pride to report that yours truly was awarded an honorary membership in one of the SF Bay’s greatest clubs, the Encinal Yacht Club (http://www.encinal.org/) of Alameda, California. I am really flattered, as the EYC is a great, fun club, just what a yacht club should be. They also have a fantastic Junior Sailing program, which is something that really counts in my book. I was already a member of the club, and I look forward to working with the EYC to get some of junior club members out on Ocean Planet! I hope to repay the support of the EYC as best as I can by sharing the experience of sailing an Open 60. 

I will keep you updated, and as soon we are sailing again I will get out the latest pics.


July 12, 2001 Update 

Bruce visits Samson Rope Technologies

I spent monday and tuesday at Samson Rope Technology’s plants in the Northwest. There they have plants in both Ferndale, Washington, and just across the border near Vancouver, BC. For a life-long rigger like me, it was like being a kid in a candy store!

I was invited by Phil Roberts, applications engineer and Dave Strauss, marketing manager of the recreational marine products division. I have known Dave for long time, as I bought a LOT of Samson rope during my years running Svendsen’s rigging shop.

It was great to see firsthand how my favorite rope, Amsteel Blue, is made. It is a very interesting process, how the tiny Dyneema fibers are wound into successively larger strands (or groups of strands) and eventually into full size rope. And I mean FULL SIZE! The biggest Amsteel Blue I use on Ocean Planet is 1/2″, which is incredibly strong. However, it sure looks tiny compared to the monster lines Samson makes for serious commercial applications, we’re talkin 3+ inch diameter, with a breaking strength of 1.1 MILLION pounds! These are used with the super powerful tractor tugs in Alaska, etc. Pretty amazing.

However, this didn’t distract me from the primary reason for my visit. I am working with Samson on the development of super low-stretch custom rope assemblies. It won’t happen overnight, but someday you may be replacing some of your yachts rod or wire rigging with custom-made ropes that are lighter and stronger. Can’t tell you much more than that, but it was great fun to break some test ropes on Samson’s very busy test equipment. They are working on a lot of other new stuff (still secret!), so it was nice of them to let me get in the way.

Ocean Planet news  07-22-01

Just having Ocean Planet in the water is a dream come true. But being tied at the dock without any operational funds often gives me the “Stuck inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues again” feeling (Bob Dylan fans will understand).

But if being an a struggling American singlehander gets me down, there are a couple of my own heroes I can look to for motivation. Being an ex-bike racer, to see cancer survivor hero Lance Armstrong dominate the Tour de France is so amazing. One finds it hard to conjure any self pity when you look at what this guy has come back from. What a champion.

Another inspiration is my friend and fellow singlehander Brad Van Liew. He has been a great advisor for me and has been going through the same fundraising battle. But he also never quits. Right now he is racing across the Atlantic aboard the British Open 60 “Gartmore” in the EDS Atlantic challenge (http://www.edsatlanticchallenge.com/en/).

They have their hands full keeping up with the likes of Ellen McArthur, Roland Jourdain, and Mike Golding, but “Gartmore” has been taking an aggressive and interesting route. I have been having fun analyzing the weather on my Athlon-powered PC and second guessing everyone’s tactical choices. Watch out for Brad if his weather tactics work out!

Meanwhile I’m here doing consulting and rigging work to pay my OWN bills, and trying to fit in time on the long list of Ocean Planet projects. These include modifying the rudder for more balance (less load on the tiller and autopilot), wiring modifications, rigging, sails, etc. Thankfully, there are occasional volunteers who help me out. 

If things go well, and we get some more donations, I can get Ocean Planet ready for a singlehanded Transpac speed run to Kauai. That will be good practice, and a good way to show what She can do. The speed run is a relatively inexpensive way to begin the long development process that is needed to get both myself and Ocean Planet up to potential, these things don’t happen overnight. I will keep you posted on my progress and of course send daily updates if we go.

Either way, look for Ocean Planet to show up at the Boats Afloat show on Lake Union in Seattle, Sept 12-16. If we do the record run, we would then sail straight to Seattle from Hawaii. If you want to help on that trip, I’m taking applications for crew. We will be in a hurry so it won’t be a long sail!


July 30, 2001

Note: The following interview with Bruce Schwab and Tom Wylie is reprinted with permission from the July 2001 issue of Latitude 38 magazine. 

“I like to think of this boat as a combination of Rumbleseat, a WylieCat, Rage and a Moore 24 – the whole West Coast thing I’ve been exposed to for the last 20 years.” So spoke Bruce Schwab as we sat below on Ocean Planet, the Bay Area’s newest boat and the first Open Class 60 ever built on the West Coast. Joining us was the boat’s designer, Tom Wylie. 

As you’ve been reading in these pages off and on for more than a year, Schwab’s Made In America syndicate has been actively raising funds to build Ocean Planet and enter her in the top shorthanded events in the world, including the next Around Alone (solo round the world in four legs) and Vendée Globe (solo round the world nonstop). 

The boat was built in Oregon at Steve Rander’s Schooner Creek Boat Works, which had a full-time crew going almost around the clock earlier this spring to make the boat’s first deadline: the Pacific Sail Expo boat show at the end of April. Schwab and a handful of supporters sailed her south to the Bay, hitting a top speed of 27 knots (with borrowed sails) along the way, so far her top mark. 

Her first official race was the crewed Farallones, which occurred on May 12. Unfortunately, rather than showcase the boat’s performance, it turned into a drifter with winds rarely exceeding 6 knots. Still, Ocean Planet finished second boat-for-boat, waterlined only by a 75-ft former America’s Cup boat. 

Bruce and Tom are proof-positive that opposites attract. At 40, Schwab seems built for speed. Compact and athletic, he’s a tireless, hands-on problem solver who spent 19 years as a professional rigger before striking out on his own with Made In America. In almost a full lifetime of sailing (he was partially raised on cruising boats), Bruce has done countless coastal, Bay and offshore races, both crewed and solo, including the 1996 Singlehanded TransPac, which he won aboard Rumbleseat, a classic 1930 racer that he heavily modified himself.

Wylie, on the other hand, is tall and Lincolnesque, his deep voice seeming to weigh and measure every word before its spoken. Over a career spanning three decades, his fertile imagination has given sailing such diverse boats as the Wylie Wabbit, the 60-ft cruising yacht Saga, the ULDB sled Rage, the incredibly diverse fleet of Wylie 39s and the current crop of modern cat-boats, the WylieCats. No one could ever accuse Tom Wylie of thinking ‘in the box.’

Together, Schwab and Wylie have created one of the most unique boats ever to sail our local waters. We caught up with them on a quiet weekday to discuss the thinking that created Ocean Planet, the dreams she will hopefully fulfill and the difficult financial road it will take to get there. 

There are two major differences between this boat and a ‘typical’ Open 60 – they’re wide and flat, this boat is comparatively narrow. And this boat has an unstayed, carbon fiber mast. Let’s start with the mast. . .

Bruce – In the original drawings, this boat had one set of spreaders, like Rage. Ted Van Dusen of Composite Engineering was the one that really got us going in the direction of unstayed. He and Tom and I went round and round with the design. Pretty soon, we got rid of the spreaders and had just one set of lowers. Then one set of really heavy lower runners.

In the meantime, we’d learned a lot about unstayed rigs playing around with WylieCats. In fact, we turbo’d out Tim Danford’s Wylie 30 Polecat as sort of a testbed for the big boat. It had a rotating mast and little bowsprit and it’s a great boat. Everything worked great.

We were all a bit nervous about going unstayed, particularly how heavy the mast would be. But the more Ted ran the numbers, and the more we looked at it, the better it looked. Finally I said, “What the hell, let’s just get rid of it all. Let’s go unstayed.”

As it turns out, the mast is actually a bit lighter than a comparable stayed Open 60 rig. And as long as you can rotate the mast, it’s remarkably aerodynamic. It also depowers itself. As the wind goes up, the mast bends, which flattens the main while at the same time spilling air off the top. 

Tom – An important aspect of this mast is its strength. The strength factor is off the deep end. You could roll the boat completely over and it won’t break this mast. 

There are also engineering advantages. A conventional rig compresses as much as it supports. Compression is why we need all those checks and runners and correct prebend – and it’s why if we put the spinnaker pole in to leeward, we punch the mast out. This mast is under minor compression compared to a stayed mast. 

Does that allow you to build the hull or deck a bit lighter?

Tom – It makes things easier all the way through. Because the rig depowers itself, the hull is lighter. The load on the various sheets is less. Our deck is as strong as a conventional deck because it’s our ‘shroud’, if you will.

What sort of system do you use to rotate the mast?

Bruce – We originally thought we’d need a steel bearing, but Jeff Daniels – our fabricator and another guy with great ideas and lots of valuable input – made up the plastic collars at the deck. We put them in just to get the boat to the Boat Show, but they work so well we may just keep them in there. At the base is a commercial bearing used in the tail assemblies of 747s. It can take something like 300,000 pound thrust loads. 

Tom – And it works because there’s low load. If the load were high, there’d be a lot of friction and that bearing might not work. 

What is the weight and height of the mast?

Tom – In the 850 category. That’s lighter than a sled. Heightwise, it’s 85 feet off the water.

Bruce – But the center of gravity of the mast is only 25 feet above the deck. (The CG of the boat is 3 feet below the waterline.) 

Tom – That’s right. And that’s important. A lot of people are weighing rigs, counting spreaders, looking at shapes, but unless they’re back sailing Finn dinghies, they forget one real simple thing: you can’t just care what the weight is, you have to care where the vertical center of gravity is. And if it’s lower for the same weight – as it is in this mast – it’s a no-brainer.

What sort of sail configuration will you have?

Bruce – Our normal upwind configuration is main and working jib. The main on this boat is huge, about 1,800 square feet. It’s a fractional rig, not quite a 3/4 rig, so the jib is relatively small. That jib is going to be used for everything from 4 knots to 25 knots and I’ll just throttle the main up and down. Over 25 knots, we’ll roll up the jib and go to the staysail, which is set on a ‘soft’ stay like the other 60s. For the death rides, we’ll take the main down to the third reef or go with just the staysail. Off the wind, there are different roller-furling gennikers we can put up. We’ll have a heavy reacher for beam reaching when it’s really windy. 

Tom – Another facet of this rig is evident in the regular winch sizes and lack of mini-grinders. Forgetting the budget to come up with the mini-grinders for a minute, no matter how strong anybody is, if it’s easier to grind the sails in, the boat’s going to be easier to sail. We have a big mainsail to deal with, but because the mast is so bendy and can spill power by itself, Bruce won’t have to deal with it quite as much, which means he’ll be able to rest more, navigate better and so on.

Isn’t it going to be a handful with that huge main when you go to jibe? Won’t you need runners?

Bruce – The only reason this boat needs runners is to shape the jib. They’re not ‘structural’. Neither are the headstays. Everything can come off up there. 

Tom – It’s a hard concept for most sailors to grasp, but there will be times when none of those jibs will be up; when really nothing will be up except the main.

Bruce – We can jibe the boat by taking both runners forward and getting them out of the way. So no backstay, no headstays and no runners are up. It just freaks most people out. 

Doesn’t it freak you out?

Bruce – Yeah, it freaks me out, too! But if it’s blowing really hard, it’s time to roll the jib up and jibe the main alone, because the main alone will never take the rig down. The main will probably be reefed anyway, so you just take the runners out of the way and then you do the WylieCat jibe.

The WylieCat jibe? What’s that?

Bruce – First think about what another Open 60 sailor has to do to jibe. He sails dead downwind and starts grinding in the main, grinding in the main, keeps the runner real close, main’s almost there, he’s going really slow and then BAM! – it goes over. He gets the other runner on before he jibes. It’s this incredibly long process. 

Tom – And he has to do it just like Bruce says. He can’t leave out any steps because if he does the rig will come down. 

Bruce – What we do on the WylieCats, and what you can do on this boat since the mast rotates (whether you have a headsail up or not), is you let the main way out. So it won’t jibe until you get way by the lee. You’ll get almost to a beam reach before the main backs and comes across. Here comes the good part: you keep turning as the main comes across – so the main never reaches the other side before it’s luffing. On the new jibe you’re just luffing. Then you just bear away and take off. 

It’s freaky when you do it, because you go way to weather and then here comes the boom at what you think is 100 miles an hour, but it comes to a total soft landing. 

Another unusual design feature of this boat is the pusher vang. How did that come about?

Bruce – Again, I’d have to give the credit for the pusher vang to Ted and Erich Chase. During the design process, the word ‘pusher vang’ came up a lot. Tom said ‘pusher vang’, Ted said ‘pusher vang’ and we all said ‘pusher vang’ – but no one could actually visualize what it should look like. 

One day I was down here and they called from Oregon and said, “We got it.” But when they tried to explain it, I thought it sounded too weird. But they said, “No, you’re going to love it.” And they were right. It just works fantastic.

Tom – That vang is going to be copied. Not for the same reasons we’re using it, but for low booms. That will be the first and last way a vang will be done for low booms. 

Bruce – It works so well on our boat because the mast is so strong down low. It’s not like we had to build another structure to hook something to. We said, “What’s real strong? Well, the mast!”

Tom – The second benefit of this boom vang that none of the other 60s are going to see is the same reason that a wishbone is a gain in the WylieCat. As the wind changes, the clew and leech distance go with the bend. So as the headboard goes aft or forward, the clew follows it. It doesn’t require Bruce to have four pairs of hands to adjust a traveller or deck-mounted vang because the pusher vang essentially locks the angle between the mast and the foot of the sail. In the WylieCat, of course, the wishbone acts as the ‘pusher vang.’ 

Ultimately, I think Bruce will do half the reefs and sail changes because the main is a dynamic, moving thing that largely cares for itself. 

Okay, now on to the hull shape. How does this boat compare width-wise to a ‘typical’ European Open 60?

Bruce – They’re much wider. 

Tom – 18 is an average number. I think Ellen MacArthur’s Kingfisher is 17.3 feet wide and Parlier’s Aquitaine Innovations is almost 19.5. The beam on this boat is 12.5 feet.

Doesn’t a wider shape plane earlier and easier?

Tom – There are different planing effects. The amount of water you have to drag along with you matters. The less water you drag along with you, the faster you can go. 

Bruce – Another way of looking at it is that in light air the wide boats are bigger and stickier. They have to carry more sail area in light air to go fast. When it gets windier, they have a lot of power they can utilize, especially the canting-keel boats. When they’re dialed in for any given condition, they’re extremely fast. But they need a lot of power to do that. They need bigger ‘engines’. 

Which is more windage, weight. . .

Bruce – And work. 

Tom – A key is getting 100% out of their engines. At this level and this type of sailing – where everybody is operating on four hours of sleep or whatever they’re getting – I don’t think anybody can say, “We are sailing our design to 100% efficiency.”

One of the things we’re going with in this narrow design with a self-depowering rig is we’re saying all the other equipment is too hard to sail to 100%. Bruce can rest more and do fewer sail changes. Because the boat is thinner, it can lay over a little farther or come back up a little more because it’s a more balanced hull shape. That gives Bruce more time to do global tactics. And if you have more time to rest and do global tactics, that has to be an advantage.

Bruce – Our way is just a different way. Rather than power, power, power, we wanted to make a hull that could plane while heeled over. Something that hasn’t been explored much on the grand prix scale is how effective a skinny boat can be on a reach. We have the right sails to make that work. These have come out of things we’ve done on Rage, Rumbleseat, Azzura, boats like that. We’re able to make essentially skinny boats like that go like hell on a reach. 

Tom – Some of the little boats like Moore 24s have done it with little tiny spinnakers. Dave Hodges is a master at it. 

Bruce – I’m not going to sit here and say we’re going to be faster than PRB or Kingfisher on a scream-ass true-wind beam reach where the apparent is at 45 or 50. But we’re going to be a lot faster than most people think.

Canting keels seem to be the ‘in’ thing with Open 60s these days. Did you discuss a canting keel at all? 

Tom – We discussed everything. It comes down to reliability and funding. By building the boat with a simple saltwater ballasting, we have a reliable system and we can stay within funding much more reasonably. Same with the rudder. We’re skinny, so we get to have one rudder. Guess what, one rudder costs half what two rudders cost. 

Bruce – We’re trying to be realistic with the funding. By doing it the ‘simple’ way, we’ll have more for the campaign – and we’ll have a more durable boat for a few years. On this boat there’s not a lot to break.

Is this ‘slender’ concept really a West Coast thing?

Tom – It’s fair to say it’s a coastal concept. The west coast of Europe has been into wide dishpans since I saw Revolution from Finot back in the early ’70s. On this west coast, we’ve been into sleds and these thin boats, which are a totally different concept than Europe.

The evolution as I see it started with Ragtime, a John Spencer design from New Zealand that was just a brilliant boat. Low cost, plywood, cool, fast. It’s still being owned and appreciated. Then Bill Lee made the same boat in fiberglass and faired the corners off. I think Bill would agree that’s a fair statement; we’re simplifying here. I think the next boat is Rage. It’s a carry-over of these light, thin, low-budget sailboats. In Rage, you have the beginnings of this boat – no permanent backstay, 13 feet of draft, and so on. Ocean Planet is the latest incarnation of the thin, cool, easily-sailed sleds.

Another way to think about these boats, about putting stability in a light and narrow form, is the concept of a ‘mono-maran’. A catamaran with one hull out of the water has in effect become a ‘mono-maran’, a monohull with a very skinny, easily-driven form.

The motion of a narrow hull going to weather is also much easier. Bruce is going to be half as exhausted as the rest of these guys just on the motion. 

How was the hull constructed?

Bruce – It’s cold molded over a male mold. The outside is two diagonal thicknesses of eighth-inch red cedar set at 90° to one another. There’s a 1-inch foam core and then two more layers of cedar on the inside. The laminate is slightly heavier than it needs to be but we get better insulation and better flotation, so we didn’t have to add any extra foam to meet the flotation requirements (110% of displacement). Forward, we’ve skinned the core on both sides with a thin layer of kevlar, which would make breeching the core a bit harder if something were to smash into the boat.

The deck is made in a similar way, only with birch over a honeycomb core. The hull and deck weigh about 6,700 pounds. The keel and bulb are another 8,500. 

Open 60s have to meet some pretty stringent stability tests. What’s involved with that?

Bruce – You put the boat in the water upside down – with you in it – and demonstrate that you can get it to turn upright. 

Most boats have to meet a minimum AVS – angle of vanishing stability – of 127.5 degrees. That means they can heel over that much before they want to go the rest of the way upside down. Some of the European boats have a hell of a time meeting that rule. This boat has an AVS of 148. That means that before the boat wants to go upside down, it has to go all the way to 148 degrees. Think about that. The mast goes in the water at 90 degrees. This boat can go over almost 60 degrees farther than that and still pop back upright. 

That also means that if it does capsize, to get it to go back, I only have to get it go a little bit. Some of these guys have to cant their keels while they’re inverted – I heard one boat had to fill the bow with five tons of water or something. Probably all I’ll have to do is walk back and forth across the counter here. 

Tom – In practical terms, that literally means a bit of breeze or a wave – anything that will ‘trip’ the boat back past its AVS will make it come up.

Where are you now in terms of funding and what’s next for the boat?

Bruce – As it sits, this is a million-dollar boat. The whole program, if we were to do all the Open 60 events from here until the end of the next Vendee, is like a $5 million program. 

Right now, we’re taking small steps. I’d like to set the singlehanded course record from San Francisco to Hawaii. The next big Open 60 event – the Transat Jacques Vabre – starts in France in November. It’s a race across the Atlantic to Brazil. We’ll need about $350,000 to compete in that. It would be great to do that race because that’s where I really got jazzed up to do this whole project. I went to watch the start two years ago. Brad Van Liew took me around and I met Isabelle Autissier, Giovanni Soldini, all these famous sailors. There was so much positive energy and esprit de corps. It’s an entirely different mentality than an America’s Cup.

So yeah, we’re looking to sell a co-title sponsorship for the Jacques Vabre – or divide it up among a number of sponsors. We’re also looking for people who can get us the meetings, get us in the door to talk to potential sponsors. 

Who are your major sponsors so far? 

Bruce – Our biggest sponsors so far are individual donors, almost all of whom are from the West Coast. Kevin and Shauna Flanagan bought the naming rights, which is really what got the boat in the water. Philippe Kahn also helped us out in a big way. Adrian Fournier was not only our third biggest contributor, he spent countless hours hooking up the computers and electronics.

On the corporate side we have ‘supplier’ sponsors like AMD, which provided us with fantastic computers powered by AMD processor chips. Doyle Sails is our sail supplier. Forespar made our custom bowsprit and a bunch of other carbon fiber stuff. MAS supplied custom resins used in the hull, mast and boom. Nobeltec supplied the latest digital charting for the entire planet. Samson Rope gave us literally about a mile’s worth of their best lines. Spectra Watermakers – those guys not only donated the equipment, they installed it, then went up in an airplane to shoot pictures of us sailing down the coast! David Haliwill did a ton of graphics work for free.

It’s been like that the whole way through. It’s been a huge network of individuals, a ‘cast of thousands’ that have made this all possible. We had professional sailors who took time off, flew to Portland and worked on the boat for a week or two for free. Kids on spring vacation spent it working on the boat. . . 

What this project has shown me bigtime is that there is a huge amount of pent-up support in this country to get an American Open 60 back in the world sailing arena. There hasn’t been one since Steve Pettengill sailed the BOC on Hunter’s Child in 1994-’95. Before that, it was Mike Plant. That’s what this boat represents – all these people who are motivated to get an American boat out there and see how we can do. 

Tom – There is a lot of pent-up energy toward shorthanded offshore racing. But I also think many people have donated to this effort for a lot of the reasons we’ve already mentioned: the strength of the boat, the self-righting, the unstayed rig – or the completely non-technical notion that this boat is going to ‘take care’ of Bruce.

This boat is not a rule-beating contraption. It’s an amalgamation of a lot of good ideas and a lot of work from a lot of talented people. Good things are going to come from it. 

  • latitude/jr

Ocean Planet Update
August 3 , 2001 

Rudder Work 

Refining an ocean racing boat is a long process, especially for bigger boats. Note how long the process is for Volvo 60’s and Americas cup boats–the top programs go at if for years and spend millions even before the real racing starts.

In a way I think that’s why the search of speed in sailboats is so addicting. There is always SOMETHING to improve upon, so if you are a perfectionist (which I am often accused of…..) the quest never ends.

Since Ocean Planet is very new, my initial list of refinements is rather long. Some items are piddly things for convenience or comfort that don’t affect speed. Or in the case of our rudder (Ocean Planet is one of the few Open 60’s that uses just ONE rudder), I decided to add more “balance” to the shape, to reduce autopilot power consumption. 

Rudder “balance” is the ratio of the rudder areas that are in front of or behind the rotational axis of the rudder shaft. The more area that is in front of the shaft, the less energy it takes to hold the rudder against the water flow. But if you have to much “balance” (area in front of the shaft), it will feel funny or even try to turn the boat by itself. In other words, if you get it just right, it doesn’t directly make the boat faster, but you burn less juice with the autopilot. If you burn less power, you can carry less diesel for charging, which saves weight and that can make a speed difference over the long haul.

In any case, modifying the rudder has been my project the past couple weeks. I used to build rudders a long time ago (some of those Olson 30 rudders are still out there!) so I did it myself. I had the helpful advice of our rudder builder, Larry Tuttle, and he supplied some templates made to a shape designed by our ace hydrodynamicist, Paul Bogataj. Basically adding balance is just building up the front edge of the rudder, but the shape must blend in perfectly or you’ll certainly feel any errors at 20+ knots. That’s why having the templates to shape to is really important.

My alma mater, Svendsens Marine, allowed me to use some space in their yard. I think that watching me get dirty is entertaining for them.

I started by gluing on a piece to the upper nose of the rudder that extended to the new profile. Then I started filling. For most of the filling I used a great product by MAS epoxies, called “Rapid Cure” mixed with microballoons. I’ve been a fan of this stuff for years, it gives you much better strength that other “quick cure” epoxies. But you have to work fast or you’ll glue yourself to what you are working on! Then it’s time to sand and measure, sand and measure, fill some more, sand and measure, repeated over and over until the templates fit perfect and it’s time to glass it over.

After the rudder is glassed and sanded, I had Chuck Wiltens of Svendsens paint shop spray epoxy primer and bottom paint on the rudder. He’s the best spray painter I know, and not a bad bicyclist either (we used to ride a lot…). Then she was ready to go back in the boat. I got my friends Greg and Joakim to carry the rudder down the dock (my back was killing me after a week of sanding), and then our team diver Matt Peterson of FastBottoms diving did a great job of sinking the rudder down. Modern rudders usually float, so it’s tricky to get them lined up in the water. But it went in smooth as silk. I hooked up our autopilot, rudder angle sensor, and we put on the (newly varnished) tiller. I can’t to try it out!

Today we are installing our awesome Doyle D4 mainsail after some refinements, and so we will be doing test sails soon.  Next Friday we are taking some of the top Junior sailors from the Encinal Yacht Club for a ride on Ocean Planet. I’m really looking forward to that, and will send out a report afterwards.

August 14, 2001 Bruce takes top EYC Junior sailors out the Golden Gate on
Ocean Planet.

“There is nothing I like more than sharing the experience of sailing Ocean Planet with kids”, says Bruce Schwab. “Especially the impressive young sailors from the Encinal Yacht Club Junior Sailing program. Last Friday we went for real sail, including flying the spinnaker all the way from Mile Rock outside the Golden Gate Bridge back to the Encinal Yacht Club in Alameda.”

“I was amazed by the talent in the group. Already experienced on small boats, these hotshots had no problem trimming the kite or anything else. Our young regular Ocean Planet crew, Campbell Rivers, had better look out for his spot!

“Although my plans are to race Ocean Planet around the world, whenever I can it is my goal to promote shorthanded ocean sailing with young American sailors. This is a primary goal of the Made in America Foundation, donations to which have made Ocean Planet possible. After I race the Vendee Globe in 2004/2005, I want to continue the program to develop young shorthanded sailors, and if possible, give them the opportunity to compete. Possibly even aboard Ocean Planet. Someday it would be great to have more Americans racing with our European friends in the great races like the Figaro, the mini-transat, the Route du Rhum, the Transat Jacque Vabre, and of course the Vendee Globe. 

“I believe having our talented young sailors become more known in this great sport will help raise American awareness of our vast and beautiful oceans. Good things can come from that.  “As far as our current schedule, Ocean Planet and I will not be able to do the record run to Hawaii, as we still need to raise support and awareness of our program. After being written up in nearly every top U.S. sailing magazine, you would think that finding sponsorship wouldn’t be so hard! But it will happen. We have a lot to offer.

“Here are some pics from last Friday just to let you know its not ALL sweat and hard work we’re doing.”

Bruce takes first solo voyage on Ocean Planet

On August 22 and 23rd, Ocean Planet and I went for a 300 mile spin off the
coast of California, just the two of us. I was a bit nervous with
anticipation beforehand as this was my first singlehanded sailing trip with
her. Didn’t sleep much the last few days, as there was a lot to do to get
ready. I needed to finish some details on our navigation and communication
systems. This proved to be time well spent…….

My local friends in the SSS (the Singlehanded Sailing Society) were racing
a 400 mile offshore race at the same time, so I passed them on the way out
to the Farallone Islands, even though I left about an hour after they
started. The conditions were quite light, but Ocean Planet was almost
twice as fast as the other boats. Of course it isn’t even fair to compare
“regular” boats to an Open 60 like Ocean Planet.

There still is a lot to learn about how to make Ocean Planet really hit her
stride, as she seems fast all the time. But it will take many months of
testing to iron out options like just how much water ballast to put in for
a given wind strength and angle. I really envy the Volvo 60 programs that
have two boats to test against each other, that is a great way to do it.
But at this point, in a way, it is good for me to just get used to being on
the boat and establishing a relationship with her. You can tell a lot by
feel and intuition once you get connected with your boat.

It was really foggy outside the Golden Gate (sometimes I think we should
call it the “Grey Gate”), but the fog lifted in the afternoon and it was
absolutely spectacular when I sailed by the Farallone Islands on our way
out to sea. I have raced around these strange rocks so many times, but to
go so close to them on Ocean Planet, with the afternoon sun illuminating us
both, was really a special moment for me. We sailed on into the night,
close-hauled in the light winds, the autopilot steering perfectly upwind at
8-9 kts of speed. Sorry I didn’t get any pics, the battery on my digital camera went dead and I forgot the charger…..

The morning of the 23rd, we were 100+ miles outside of the Farallones. The
winds were even lighter, which meant I needed to turn around: mid-day on
the 24th I had a job crewing on a Farr 40 in preparation for the weekend
races on the Bay. The trip back would be interesting with the light air
and thickening fog. After a while, I set a fractional spinnaker. It was a
good chance to practice this by myself and play with autopilot settings. I
was wishing we had our gennikers and bigger kite! Hopefully the
contributions will keep up and we’ll get more sponsors so we can add them
to Ocean Planet’s clothing inventory…

When evening fell I took down the kite. We will do nighttime spinnaker
practice on a later trip. From the Farallones on in to the Golden Gate bridge it
was completely foggy. I had to closely monitor the radar and Vessel
traffic on VHF to keep an eye on the freighters, tugs, and other mysterious
blips on the screen. Thank goodness for our Nobeltec electronic charting
system! With the GPS data fed to Ocean Planet’s AMD powered computer and
showing our position on the Nobeltec “Vector” digital charts, I was able to
tell exactly where we were at all times. With the bow of the boat barely
visible in the fog, we were literally flying on instruments. The San
Francisco Bay entrance is one of the busiest on the West Coast and it could
be really dangerous to do this kind of “blind” landfall without the right
equipment and software.

Just after passing under the bridge about 200 feet from the North tower
(never did see it) we gybed and headed for the San Francisco city front.
We had to hurry as there was a short window between a huge tanker and
another tug coming in that we had to pass between. As we got closer to the
City the fog cleared to show the welcome lights and smells of such a
beautiful place. I dropped the mainsail in front of the famous tourist
attraction of Pier 39 (no tourists at 2 a.m!) and motored to our home berth
in Marina Village in Alameda.

I got to bed at 4 a.m., and was out sailing the Farr 40 later in the day.
Now it Monday, two more days and five races later, so my arms are pretty tired from five days of grinding winches in a row. But this is great training! If I stay at it
perhaps I’ll be able to beat Ellen McArthur in arm wrestling….;-) Just kidding, 


Ocean Planet wins in Second Race ever – Windjammers
(sept. 3, 01)

Friends and supporters of Ocean Planet,

What a great weekend!

In only her second race, Ocean Planet made a clean sweep in a classic Northern California event. The race, run since 1926, is called the “Windjammers,” and is an annual 70 mile run from San Francisco to the popular beach town of Santa Cruz. Since this is a crewed race, we went with a team of six.

The first gun was at 1 p.m. on Friday. Starting an Open 60 in a fleet of smaller boats is a bit nerve-wracking, but we managed to squeeze through. We raced out the Golden Gate, past Mile Rock, and then the fleet worked south against a light to moderate southwest wind. A fleet of Santa Cruz 50’s and 52’s were in the start ahead of us, so we worked our way through them with Ocean Planet feeling quite powerful. Finally the wind shifted to the northwest and all the boats set the spinnakers. 

We still don’t have our full inventory of sails, but fortunately Steve Rander, the builder of Ocean Planet and the owner of “Rage,” loaned us one of the spinnakers from Rage. The two boats use the same size spinnakers, so the kite fit perfectly. Thanks to Steve and the gang at Schooner Creek Boat Works! I wish they all could have been with us as we left all the 50’s and 52’s far behind instantly. The fog was settling in, so we watched the other boats on radar, although they were quickly out of range! We timed our jibe towards the shore to catch the last of the breeze around Pt. Ano Nuevo, then we took a jibe back out. The most wind we had was about 18 kts, but still managed to surf up to 16.6 kts, and averaged about 13 kts for a while. We could go faster (through the water) by sailing hotter angles, but got better VMG (velocity made good) by sailing lower. There is a lot to learn about what Ocean Planet likes best, every time we go out I learn more.

As night fell the wind died, with us still 7 miles from the finish. A barely noticeable easterly wind came up and we crawled the remaining distance. Ocean Planet is really good in light air, so we were able to cross the growing wind hole before it shut down. A final drama: we snagged a bunch of kelp on the keel with a mile to go. I wanted to sail backwards to get it off, but crewmember Greg Nelson talked me into going straight for the finish since it was so close. That was the right call as it didn’t take very long, and we crossed the line at 9:30 p.m. The next boat, a Santa Cruz 52, was more than 2 hours later, and most of the boats didn’t get in until the next morning. Even on handicapped time, Ocean Planet was first place. There were a lot of visitors to see the boat, and even our competitors (many are supporters of Ocean Planet and the Made in America Foundation) were happy that we won.

This is only the beginning…

Since her launching in April, and christening by Ellen McArthur, Ocean Planet has been quietly testing and accumulating data, while I have been making the long worksheets to reach race readiness. For the next two months, she will be staying at the dock and the boatyard while our volunteer team and I tackle the dozens of refinements and touches that need to be done.

So far this year, Ocean Planet has competed in five local ocean races, for testing and to be seen by our local sailing friends. Of the five, she has been first to finish in four races (an Americas cup boat finished first in a very light air race). She has won three races in a row on corrected time despite an enormous PHRF rating handicap. She was so fast in the three races she won, that her handicap was adjusted for an even bigger penalty. We accept the new rating with pride, as a badge of honor!

I greatly enjoyed my first singlehanded voyage on her, taking a short 300 mile trip off the coast in August. I would take off sailing singlehanded on Ocean Planet right now, but while sailing would be fun, the responsible things to focus on are the jobs that need to be done and our fundraising efforts. Also coming up are more classroom seminars with our younger Ocean Planet inhabitants. It is really enjoyable talking to the kids and taking them out sailing, they are a big part of what the Made in America Foundation is all about. By the way, you can sponsor a young sailor to join the Ocean Planet team for one of our 2002 events! 

This year is just the beginning for Ocean Planet. Big tasks lay ahead right now, getting ready for 2002. With the support of volunteer team members, we will do absolutely as much as possible even though we lack funds. Ocean Planet is chomping at the bit to win races, but she needs to have the right outfit and the TLC that big boats like her need. We have an aggressive schedule proposed, in order to get PR exposure and prepare for the 2002 Around Alone race.

Take a look at our schedule below. If you are interested in sailing on Ocean Planet on one of these trips let me know. We hope you will consider supporting the Made in America Foundation.

Rest of 2001: Work on Ocean Planet!
Feb 2002: Delivery to San Diego for the San Diego to Puerto Vallarta Race.
Feb 23-28: San Diego-PV. Early March: PV to Panama.
Late March: Panama to Antigua.
April 28-May 4: Antigua race week.
Early May: Antigua-Charleston-Newport, RI.
June 15(?): Newport-Bermuda (maybe…if there is interest)

July-early August: My singlehanded qualifying sail for the 2002 Around Alone, transatlantic to Les Sables d’Olonne, France, and return. Les Sables (pronounced “Lay-Sob”) is where the next Vendee Globe race starts in 2004. I made some good friends there while visiting at the start of the last Vendee Globe, and Ocean Planet would like to meet them too.

September 2002: The start of the Around Alone 2002, the world’s longest singlehanded race, from Newport, RI. Competing in the Around Alone is a crucial step in preparing for the next Vendee Globe in 2004. 

It is my pleasure to hear from any of you, so don”t hesitate to contact me

Splish splash… I was flippin’ a boat!”

Today we did the IMOCA inversion test with Ocean Planet. It’s not every day I go upside down in a 60ft sailboat! The test went well, it just took a bit longer than I expected. 

After being inverted, I opened the deck air vents for the starboard water ballast tank (usually used to let the air OUT) to let the tank start to fill. It filled some and I also started to pump water in with a manual pump that is set up for filling the ballast tanks while upside down.

I pumped for quite a while, about 45 minutes or so, before I realized that the water I was pumping into the tank was just draining out of the air (now water) vents. After closing them I made much better headway.

However, the pump is small and the tank very large….. It seemed like about 500,000 pump strokes before we were getting close. I wanted to hurry since the companionway hatch was leaking just a little… enough to get kinda deep in the sump, er, coachroof…. Every so often I would go up to the sail locker and walk back and forth across the floor, er, cabintop, to get the boat rocking and see if she would go. When she didn’t it was back to the pumping. This went back and forth a few times. Finally, with the ballast tank about 1/3 full, I got her rocking enough to go over.

It was strange, one moment I was standing on the cabintop on the LEFT side of the boat, then taking a couple steps on the side as we rolled up, then I was standing on the RIGHT side of the boat. Kinda fun, really. The whole thing took about 2 and half hours I think. 

Thanks to everyone who came to watch! You encouraged me to pump faster… Also a big thanks to Trident, the folks running the big crane to flip us over, and Nelsons boatyard for all the help.

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