Wet Wednesday – More Toliva Shoals Videos and a First Person Tale from Folie ‘a Deux

We’ve already had a few videos this week, courtesy of the Toliva Shoals Race. See Monday’s post and the sailish.com Facebook Page (and lots of other places).  If you have videos from Toliva Shoal (or other events) keep sending them in. We can make it a Wet Thursday and Wet Friday.

Onboard Kenelm Russell’s Freya 39 Rushwind, his daughter managed to get some footage of a relatively cockpit in a relatively frenetic race. You can get an idea of how much wind there was toward the end of the second video, when there’s but a postage stamp’s worth of headsail out, the main’s furled, and they’re charging to weather. Here are the vids:




And from Alert Reader Allison Garnette from onboard Folie ‘a Deux:

Toliva Shoal 2018

I have been sailing on and off my entire life and never have I sailed in conditions like we had in the South Puget Sound on February the 17th, 2018. I crew on Folie ‘a Deux, a 35′ Beneteau skippered by Jeff and Joy Johnson. With a crew of seven we did not expect to place very high, we just hoped to finish in one piece. As the day progressed, we focused on staying aboard, not breaking anything and not drowning the cockpit. We only succeeded in staying aboard. By the end, we had lost two battens from the jib, fully flooded the cockpit and buried the bow a few too many times. When we started we never would have thought that we’d be the only boat in our class to finish, taking first by default.

My absolute favorite memory of the day is from when I was working the leeward jib sheet as we hardened up just south of the shoal mark. We were heeled over at a good 30-40 degrees, there were at least 3′ swells with impressive white caps and then we got hit with a gust of who knows how many knots. Needless to say, we had lifelines in the water, waves coming over the windward rail and water pouring into the cockpit. I ended up thigh-deep in the Sound bracing against the water crashing into my chest as it sheeted across the deck and over the rails. It was fantastic!

Throughout the race we learned about the capabilities of both our crew and our trusty vessel. Most importantly, we found that we can keep calm and still have fun when faced with such exciting conditions. I have to commend each and every sailor who came out for the race and made 2018’s Toliva Shoal the most memorable yet.

Alison Garnett, Folie ‘a Deux

Ed. Note: Thanks, Allison. It sounds like an exciting, but not too exciting, race for you guys.


Wet Wednesday Videos – The Sea Nymph Lives, Meadow Point Kite Boarders

Wet Wednesday Videos – The Sea Nymph Lives, Meadow Point Kite Boarders

This week we have a couple very different videos. The first one, courtesy of the Volvo Ocean Race Turn The Tide on Plastic, absolutely screams irony. Remember the two women and two dogs that were rescued amid the fawning morning shows back in October? Well, while they have spent the intervening months trying to explain why they drifted for seven months in a seemingly sound enough boat eating oatmeal and pasta, their boat has been happily bobbing around the Pacific. Apparently neither they nor the US Navy saw the sense in scuttling the boat (which for the safety of other mariners should be done) or thought it was so close to sinking it would take care of its own sinking. As is often the case, the boat held together. The mast (which they felt couldn’t be used) was still standing, and other than some obvious water in the boat, Sea Nymph seemed quite intact. Certainly intact enough to sink a boat hitting it in the open ocean. As Tide‘s skipper Dee Caffari puts it: “We are asking you not to litter the oceans with plastic and here we have a whole yacht floating aimlessly in our oceans!” Caffari’s entire post follows the video. Talk about unnecessary plastic in the ocean…..


What should you do when you see a yacht floating with no of signs of life? Well that question was asked onboard Turn the Tide on Plastic yesterday.

We were sailing within sight of Brunel and to weather we saw another yacht close to our track. We looked through the binoculars as there was no sign on the AIS software and we contacted race control. We called on the VHF with no response and race control confirmed there was no active SAR in the area. We sent up the drone with James, our on board reporter, for a closer inspection and to get some identification for the vessel.

We collected some images and sent them back to race control and they confirmed the vessel was the abandoned vessel, Sea Nymph. Many may remember a big news story in the US, last autumn, regarding the rescue of two women and a dog from the vessel on their way to Hawaii. Well this was that vessel all these months later. She was sitting pretty low in the bow and her mainsail was washed over the side but the rest of her looked like she would make a nice cruiser.

We discussed salvage rights for a while and estimated that the race director would not give us redress if we towed her to Auckland while racing. So there she sits a hazard to shipping, a risk to islands, reefs and atolls and slowly not going anywhere.

We are grateful we saw her during the day as this could have been a very different story had we come across her at night. She was floating stern to us with no lights or signal being given out, there is no way we would have seen her. ]

I just hope now we have given authorities her position there is a chance for salvage or for scuttling her to prevent a far worse disaster in our oceans. We are asking you not to litter the oceans with plastic and here we have a whole yacht floating aimlessly in our oceans!

Dee and Team Turn the Tide on Plastic


The second video was on the exceptionally sunny and somewhat chilly Sunday past. The kite boarders were giving Meadow Point beach walkers quite the show, so I pulled out my phone. Some were foiling boards, some were not. You can get a close look at their gear and setup right there, and of course get some close views of takeoffs and landings when the waves are just right. It’s not too often placid Puget Sound serves up kiting conditions, but when it does it’s quite the spectacle.

Wet Wednesday – Icebergs and Olympic Classes

Back to a PNW Wet Wednesday, specifically Sloop Tavern’s Iceberg Series. This video comes courtesy of Marc-Andrea Klimaschewski (thanks!) from onboard the J/80 Reckless. Some fun footage of a flying reach to Skiff Point including losing the chute a couple times. Reckless ended up winning Class 4. Send those videos in. Now’s a good time to get your video gear sussed out for the season. You want to save it for posterity, right?

STYC Iceberg Race 2018 on SV Reckless from Marc-Andrea Klimaschewski on Vimeo.


And for you dinghy sailors, all those Olympic and up-and-comer types were in Miami for the World Cup Series a week ago. And while all the final races were broadcast live online over the weekend, I’m thinking not many of us spent our days doing that. Here’s a 50 minute recap of the series, with some great heavy air sailing in all the Olympic classes. Check out the boat handling, and check out Caleb Paine coming from behind to grab the silver in the Finn. You can skip around to enjoy the classes you find most interesting.

Wet Wednesday Videos from the Volvo Race

Wet Wednesday Videos from the Volvo Race

It’s soooooo easy to get cool videos from the Volvo Round the World Race that it’s tempting to do it all the time. I’ll succumb this time, ’cause there are two particularly interesting ones.

First off, we have the man overboard recovery adventure onboard Scallywag en route to their taking the lead in the current leg. These things happen, but one would think the bowman should have at least a life jacket on. Even with the best sailors in the world. Thoughts?


The second video, also from the Volvo Race, shows just how far media coverage has come with drones. Thousands of miles from shore, we get these shots of Mapfre trying to get back into the hunt. Not much to be said, except wow. I expect we’ll be seeing more drone videos coming for our PNW races. Don’t forget to share them here!


Wet Wednesday Videos

Wet Wednesday Videos

Apparently the sailish.com racers were too busy racing to take any video from the Duwamish Head Race on Saturday (good for you!). But that doesn’t mean it’s not a Wet Wednesday. So, for a change of pace, check out a couple interesting non-racing videos.

My friend Andy Cross of Threesheetsnw is wintering ashore in Alaska right now with his wife Jill and sons Magnus and Porter while his Grand Soleil 39 Yahtzee gets some attention. But here’s his video of part of his cruise to Alaska. I particularly like the idea of sitting on the foredeck reading to the boys. Perfect.

By the way, Andy will be giving presentations at the Seattle Boat Show; “An Unconventional Route to SE Alaska and Beyond” on February 2 and “Living the Dream: How to Get Your Boating and Cruising Stories Published” on February 3. I’m sure both will be good.

A Three-hour Tour

And in the following video that Cliff Mass unearthed, the passengers on the Norwegian cruise ship Breakaway recorded an extraordinary passage from the Bahamas to New York over New Years. As Mass is quick to point out, the meteorologists clearly predicted this storm and the captain decided to sail right into the most dangerous part anyway. As some commentators pointed out, other than some serious discomfort to the 4000 passengers, some wet floors and no doubt some water damage, it wasn’t a disaster. As top-heavy as those cruise ships look, apparently they have sufficient stability. Go figure.

My take on it is that the captain has to factor in the real possibility of breakdowns. It’s all nothing more serious than mal de mer until there’s some kind of breakdown. Lose an engine or have an electronics meltdown in this stuff and all off a sudden it’s a different situation entirely.


Wet Wednesday Videos from Down Under

Wet Wednesday Videos from Down Under

While we were all digesting our figgy pudding, the boys Down Under were, as usual, spending their Boxing Day racing from Sydney to Hobart. There are plenty of accounts and footage of the race. The biggest “moment” in the race came after the start. The video below should open at that moment (but you can start the video at an earlier spot if you want to watch the whole start). Here Wild Oats (aka WOXI) is on port and Comanche is on starboard. The ensuing protest saw WOXI penalized an hour and her line honors passed to Comanche.

Fewer of you may have seen the following footage taken onboard Comanche on day 2. It shows boatspeed (yawn-30 knots) and course. Be sure to go full screen with this video and use your cursor to pan around. It’s not quite reality but it’s the closest thing a lot of us are going to get to 30 knots on Comanche.

NOTE: Bruce Hedrick will put on his swami hat and gaze into his crystal weather ball on Friday with a post for the Duwamish Head race! I’m really hoping one or more of you alert readers comes up with a Wet Wednesday video from an exciting Duwamish race. (Hopefully it’s wet from below and not above) If you’ve got something, just email me.

Wet Wednesday Video, Eternity Only Inches Away

Wet Wednesday Video, Eternity Only Inches Away

As I don’t have any local videos to show, this week’s Wet Wednesday video comes from the Indian Ocean courtesy of Webb Chiles. And instead of green water pouring aft for jaw dropping visual effects, we see how a cruiser in a 24′ boat handles big conditions. A couple of things to note: Chiles’ Moore 24 is often heralded as the original ultralight, and the fleet in Seattle is very active. Chiles, now in his 70s, is an unstoppable sailing adventurer whose exploits span several decades. The Moore fleet would be a great boat, and crowd, to race on and against. Secondly, as you’re watching this video, check out his sheet to tiller self-steering setup. No autopilot, no windvane, just smarts. If any alert reader can explain this setup or relate some experience with it, please contact me and I’ll put it up on sailish.com. If you have 4 minutes, it’s worth listening to Chiles describe crawling up on the foredeck at night in big conditions. “I certainly was aware that eternity was only inches away,” he says… Check out Chiles’ blog. Much more on Chiles’ adventures on Sailing Anarchy and the Moore 24 Class Association site. (Also, check out the post script following the video)


Post Script: A couple of alert readers have answered the call on this sheet-to-tiller approach:

I have absolutely no experience with such a setup, but I have read about it in the past, this was the best description I found, still somewhat confusing.


-Matt Cohen

Scott Malone, who has cruised the Pacific as a child and both to Alaska and to and from New Zealand as skipper, called in his experience with the sheet-to-tiller system. Here’s Scott:

Oh boy this takes me back.

 My father home-built a windvane before our big family Pacific cruise. On the way down the California coast, it wasn’t working and he pitched it overboard. So for the rest of the cruise, including ocean crossings, my sister and I were basically hand steering for all the day watches.

 As a 10-year old I tried every imaginable sheet/tiller/bungee combination in an effort to get out of all that steering.

 The sheet-to-the-windward side works, but depending on the boat not too well. Once you get it set up, if you head up and the sheet loads up, the boat bears off. If the sheet gets too slack, you head up. But you have to be in cruise mode. You’ll find yourself 25 degrees to low and just tell yourself ‘in 4 minutes we’ll be 25 degrees high so it’s all good.’

 It seemed to work best broad reaching and didn’t work well at all beating. If you get way off course, for instance if your jib is luffing, there’s no way for the boat to find its way back to course.

Wet Wednesday Videos

Wet Wednesday Videos

Alert reader Justin Beals answered the call for video and came up with this one from Shilshole Bay YC’s Snowbird Race 2 last January in Seattle. It shows Justin and crew managing the Grand Soliel 40 Sadie Mae as an angry (and I’m guessing cold) squall rolled through. Racing in January? Yessiree! Please send in your videos – they don’t have to be recent, just wet. And don’t be afraid to tell more of the story that goes along with the video!


While it may be under many of our radars (yawn, another record….) it’s worth noting that François Gabart is about 2000 miles away from setting a new non-stop around the world record in the 100′ trimaran Macif. This footage is from a while ago, but shows pretty clearly what the state of the art is in record-setting boats is. Here’s Scuttlebutt’s post with much more detail.

Wet Wednesday Videos

It’s Wednesday, and our thoughts have finally dried out from Saturday’s Winter Vashon Race. In fact, the Northwest is seeing bright sun! Time to get wet. The first video is the new kiteboarding record run by  at Salin-de-Giraud, France. Courtesy of Malcolm MacNeil, the second video is from Crossfire‘s sail home to Seattle from the finish of Winter Vashon at the north end of Vashon Island. What a surprise, wind after the finish….

Please share your local videos so other Northwest sailors can enjoy. It doesn’t have to be a current/recent video, just something sailish readers would enjoy. Email me.


Wet Wednesday Kicks Off

Wet Wednesday Kicks Off

Welcome to Wet Wednesday, our weekly search for a video to break up the time most of us have to spend ashore. Something from the Northwest is vastly preferable, but we’ll kick it off with some top-flight pro dousings. The only rule is, something or someone has to get wet. The wetter the better. If you have a video from the Northwest, send the link to me and I’ll put it in the queue! Thanks.

What wetter way to kick it off than with the irrepressible Alex Thomson showing off Hugo Boss, and a recap of the second leg of the Volvo Round the World Race. If you have 7 minutes the Volvo video will catch you up to where they stand right now. “Our” Americans on Vestas 11th Hour Racing are doing great.



Please share this post with your friends! And for those of you headed out for the Winter Vashon Race on Saturday, Bruce Hedrick will be delivering a pre-race weather outlook and tactical plan. Watch for it Friday.