Summer Splashing

Each year in mid September, MultiMarine in Venice, CA hosts the Summer Splash. It’s generally the largest gathering of performance multihulls for a rally/race event of the year on the west coast, and some years nationwide. Founder Mike Leneman has been a supporter of the Ravenswing build all along, so getting him aboard the finished boat this weekend was a very satisfying moment. Props to Kristie for upgrading their shop in honor of Mike’s 70th:

Friday morn was the sail from Marina Del Rey to Cat Harbor on the south (outside) of Catalina Island. Had to squeeze out of our tight slip. That shot looks peaceful but hours before a local sailing school boat was screwing around in the fairway behind us, pretty much failing at sailing. I was on the dock washing laundry when the driver starts yelling, “we’re adrift!” as their stern is coming for Ravenswing. After they failed at rope toss, and a narrow miss, the school’s fleet manager jumped aboard and asked us to shove him back off. He’s got this. Sails were up but engine dead. So I turned back to the wash. Three minutes later the same boat is headed at speed right at our vulnerable pointy float hull stern. Wings’ Bill had just brought over a cold beer, and thank heavens he was there to take the first blow from that Benetau. Inches away from a trip-stopping haul out! The fleet manager later apologized that he should have sailed on the jib instead of trying to trim their saggy main (yeah, no shit dude. Your people are on a sailboat and need to pull some rope instead of freaking out re: the engine). No harm done and an opportunity to realize it’s time to lighten up :)

Sailing-wise, Friday rocked because Ravenswing was tested by five other SF Bay Area Corsairs that had trailered down, plus Leneman’s big super light cat Minette. We kept pace with Mike all day, and kept the Fboats in our wake. It was extremely gratifying to find we’ve built enough of a performer to be competitive in multihull racing, even though we’ve got an oven and a bunch of cruising stuff aboard. All was well to the West End rock, but then WaterWings hugged the shore with spin while we went for breeze outside with the reacher. I found the hole in the wind and Chris/Todd ghosted in front. Amy and Dave and their girls on F27 WingIt and Bill & Tammy on Wings almost caught us as they could see WaterWings v. Ravenswing ahead. Of course Catalina then served up big wind gusts a half hour later as we were setting anchors. After the breeze died, Amy paddled over to visit. To thank Ravenswing for dinghy ferryboat work, the WingIt crew left the rainbow unicorn in our permanent care. Jimbo wonders what the hell we’re going to do with it. Seems great for the San Diego HaHa kickoff?

Fall is close by, as here in the Channel Islands it’s getting cooler. But the water is beautiful. My goal is getting south enough to dive the boat bottom (for a scum scrub) without hiring it out. Our mascot seems to have enjoyed the first passage. He did great. And Honey, as a good omen, you’ll appreciate that this one watched over our ice cream stop at the Two Harbors store. By mid Sunday morning all the other Splash boats rolled towards home, and we stayed on with the shallow end of bay beyond the mooring field all to ourselves. Such an advantage of the retractable-foils tri! We’ve parked a 40′ cruising boat within swimming of the dinghy dock. Similar size boats are a quarter mile out.

Thanks again to the co-owner for preparing and freezing beautiful food. Eating home-cooked real food on the challenging passage was a major morale booster, and I realize it keeps crew healthy. Beef stew, a nice slaw and Rogue Red!Anton had to depart Sunday, so the three of us are thoroughly enjoying splits of his share!

Today the plan is to round the island west tip and look for north side anchorages. And while there’s cell here, finally solve the where-in-LA? docking question that I need for the next few weeks.

On the 11s

Ravenswing departed Half Moon Bay at 11am Monday, and we arrived approx 380nm sailed south Wednesday at 11:50pm. We had punishing seas, flat seas, some fast beamy reaching, slogging along by motor and finally some amazing downwind spinnaker running. Getting around Pt Conception was a handful. No photos for you because it was 2am, seas were nasty, cross waves slamming the hull and the wind building. Dan and Anton took great care of the ship, driving hard with double reefed main and reefed jib. I woke up at 4am to dropping wind and by 6am it became a long motor-sail past Santa Barbara towards LA.

This trip proved sailing can be a great team sport. Jim finally got to live a long time dream of offshore voyaging (we went about 50 miles off the coast to find the right wind Tuesday). Anton also got his first long distance ocean voyage and did a great job handling late night watches. And diagnosing and solving a solar charging problem that could have hurt us if not attended. (Lost one of the four panels and they are in series; That’ll change!)

Big props to Dan the Man Mone. Bay Area skippers know they are lucky to get Dan aboard. He had his hands full on this trip with a green crew (skipper included), some untested gear, confused seas, and general sorting out to do. Dan and I sat on the forward beam tonight reflecting on how much fun he’s had sailing an ocean tri that can get up and go. He and I armwrestled for the stick during the glorious spinnaker run this afternoon from Oxnard to Pt. Dune.

lasagne Dinner on the last sea evening went over well, colored by sunset over Anacapa and Santa Cruz islands.

Here’s the boat’s first visit to a destination port. They put our 27′ beam into a 28′ slip because the big side tie dock was reserved for the 1989-90 Whitbread around the world all-female race boat Maiden. She’s been rehabbed by Tracy Edwards, the one who at 25 years old boldly told the sailing establishment she would rep England in the race with an all female crew. They were heavily mocked, until they won two of the four race legs.

We got to help land the boat this afternoon and talk with the crew. This evening was a free showing of the movie Maiden (tells Tracy’s story) that’s currently out in theaters. Go see it.

Enjoy a little look into the easy part of our trip.

First post from sea

You guys have patiently followed this thing through so many years of building. Today the focus changes.

The skipper was tearful after a loving sendoff from the co-owner. Zoom in on her waving us away. It was a peaceful morning sailing past The City. Then, par for my long course, we had to stop in Sausalito because my-built half of Keith’s new water tight escape hatch bolting device wasn’t good enough. Jeanne drove to the boat with stainless steel parts to mate with the Skateaway handle, and we departed the bay three hours later than planned.

Tonight we’re safely anchored in Half Moon Bay under a beautiful moon.

I wanted a mellow September sail out the Gate and make the easy southbound left turn. Instead the Gulf of the Farallones roared the way it can. Big steep waves, spray soaking the driver despite a big dodger (came right over the top) and bottom-cleaning slam downs. The boat did great. So did the crew in very challenging conditions. Phew, day 1 done.

This one’s for PaulM – he wanted action video :)

Into the wind

Howard started the F36 #5 hulls in 1995. Jeanne and Greg moved those hulls to Santa Rosa in late 2011. 8 years of fabricating and buying parts later it seems we have a boat ready for the ocean. Here was yesterday’s final punch list, for Ravenswing’s last day at home in Richmond. One of those spinnakers fits, and PaulM will be happy it’s a huge ass .75 that looks designed for light air pacific southbound days. The crew voted that I have to leave the paint at home. Yea there’s a cockpit sole to refresh, the equipment room touch ups and a few exterior modifications that need repaint, but it’s time to go sailing and call the boat BUILT. The rest is maintenance and upgrades. Keith, we finally did a proper job with the escape hatch keeper lines, but I didn’t finish the inside hand nut to match the one you sent. Will do that in LA this month.

And so, i really can’t believe it. 20+ years of dreaming about heading under the Golden Gate and turning left for adventure. God willing, it’s today. Of course there’s a big high pressure ridge and the forecast is gusts to 40kts between Monterey and Pt Conception. The crew has agreed to reef down, tether in and make the short run to Half Moon Bay this morning. We’ll await better weather from that safe harbor.

If you want to keep track of us, use the various AIS ship tracking websites (eg and search on s/v Ravenswing, MMSI #368065160

We thank everyone for supporting and making this boat possible. You know who you are, with all the advice, the labor hours in the workshop, Napa River and marina. All the sailing time making smart recommendations. And so much more. Soon it will be time to come sail the big F-boat in tropical waters. Hope you’ll join us in 2020 and beyond!

Bon voyage.

Final Thrash

Holy cow, it’s hard prepping the boat for ocean voyaging while also finishing building the thing! We’re extremely motivated by the thought that the tools will only grow farther away with every coming sailing day this fall. So now is the moment to finish those little bits!

Counter space is small and the stove is used only minutes a day. So here’s a new rough carbon crap catcher.

Need more cubbies for the little stuff. This encloses the back part of the chart table.

The engine ran perfectly two weeks ago during the long motorsail back from Drakes Bay. ChrisH, RickH and I set out last Friday for the Farallones (and whales) but the motor started misfiring before we left the bay. We sailed back to a Richmond and had a live exercise of building up the stored dinghy, side tying and using the 10hp motor tug boat. That worked well. Chris, after I replaced that fuel filter, the symptoms returned and haunted a Sunday sail with our siblings. So Labor Day became Suzuki Day. I think it was actually the three year old spark plugs, as my solo test drive Tues morn was smooth. Pulling the lower unit to change water pump impeller worked really well with engine lowered into the dinghy.

While buying parts I asked the Suzuki dealer about propellers and our inability to power above 4300 rpm. And we have very little reverse capability with the stock 9″ diameter, 10 pitch. Two years ago I went rogue and tried a flatter four blade but that didn’t solve it. Wish I had found these Suzuki guys in Sausalito sooner. Came away Wednesday with this. 10″, 4 blade, 5″ pitch. Very different and hopefully a game changer. But of course, it didn’t fit right. Here’s the old prop, ready to get the washer and prop nut. And the new one in same position. Note the brass splines not fully covered up by the prop hub. That’s bad. So an overnight package to get the ONE proper spacer available from Suzuki USA today, and hopefully tomorrow we’ll be motoring again.

Old knees make getting aboard a little tricky. This booster now helps. Charlie, that’s a recut of the aft cabin companionway ladder you and i designed over a Subway sandwich in Santa Rosa five years ago. Time flies.

And for Kai, no more worrying about our dinghy tags. Finally figured out to bond flexible plastic to the hull with pvc patch glue. And a trip to AAA with $15 to get replacement stickers. Yes I know they’re not the required 3″ away from the boat’s number. Live dangerously.

Still lots to do in two more days before Sunday’s departure. Think good thoughts for motor and spinnaker testing tomorrow. We may be sailors but would really appreciate a calm day tomorrow. Good luck with that around here :)

Three weeks ago the boat participated in an organized Crew Overboard Recovery drill. Great exercise and big thanks to Chris, Dan and Anton. In retrospect, we didn’t stop the boat soon enough. I had chosen to drop the sails, which we did quickly but a lot of distance gets by quickly in a breeze. Round up and stall is my new mantra for this. Meanwhile, our quick-deploy 4:1 hoist got Anton on deck really well. The gear and crew worked great. Truls did a nice write up here.

Commitments made

Well, no backing out now. Went in here and ‘gave notice’ to vacate our slip of three years. Gotta leave by Sept 20 or start paying again :)

Next we went here and signed up:

But before the Baja HaHa we’re pumped up for the Multi Marine Summer Splash on Sept13-15 out to Catalina and back. These are great deadlines for finishing all the little stuff.

When Jim mentioned his electric charging needs I realized all my battery sizing calcs never really factored in other crew power needs. Anton recently reconfigured our LiFePO4 charging program, so the solar panels sit idle quite a bit. The solar charge controller has a direct-to-load circuit available, so we installed USB and cig-plug charging ports fed directly by the panels. So Jimbo can charge up by day and use separate battery juice by night. Alls well.

Galley trim-out continues. Ravenswing is one of likely few boats with a dyneema veggie net. Just a bit of overkill!

This is what we should have had when the emergency hatch opened and flooded the aft cabin. A free standing high power pump, easily deployed. Got this rigged up today. Thought a field test was in order so we filled a bucket and set it all in the float hull. Yea, the boat builder didn’t think about how that big 2,000 gph in a little bucket would behave. Of course it flipped it over and pulled the hose back inside. So while the pump works great, operator error resulted in emptying the gear and drying out for the afternoon. Never a dull moment on Ravenswing.

Golden Oldies Multihulls (Stephen) called at 6pm yesterday, asking where I was because he had three spinnakers in his car. Dropped the wiring tools and hit I-80. Two hours later in Roseville we had this load. Home by 11:30pm and my dear co-owner was a peach about running the tapes with a 100′ measure at 8am today. There’s a .75 ounce asym that might be a little too tall. And a nice 1.5oz from a Reynolds 33 cat that’s a bit short but maybe good. On the third sail my tape measure passed 60′ from the clew towards the head when we hit thiswhat the heck? And what is the “.com” logo? Keep unpacking it and OMG, Stephen has a KiteShip kite sail basically brand new sitting in his garage for years. These things fly from very long sheets above the mast. They made a run at America’s Cup and Sydney/Hobart, etc. But the company is gone now. I’m not going to tackle this beast for Ravenswing, but want to try this out on a large ocean boat. Anybody in? Go search on kiteship and you’ll see what it’s all about. Meanwhile I’ll get ChrisH to help test the two spins on Friday and hopefully one fits!

One of the profile questions on the BajaHaHa entry form is “what is your dream boat?” I told them to go look at their own article from Aug’15. We’re finally getting there.

A bit of video

Dan just reminded me to tell you as we dropped the anchor in Drakes Bay, we must have startled a shark. I was looking down at the anchor from the main bow, with Dan watching over on the starboard float. Suddenly it looked like the anchor was coming back up at my face, but I realized it was a pissed-off leopard shark popping out of the water! ¬†Pretty weird sequence that was…

PS – we didn’t get to test the new anchor bridle as we simply hung from the chain all night in no wind. Good sleeping.

Check out a couple of minutes that Dan put together today. Thanks man!