My Dream, achieved, aboard Ankle Biter
I can't show you everything in this small web site so I'll just hit some highlights. Doing the Singlehanded TransPac race has been a dream of mine for a very, very long time. I first got it in my head to singlehand the race to Hawaii around 1993. Since then, the race has been a daily part of my life in some form or another. It has brought me a lot of joy and many sailing adventures over the years, but it has also put a tremendous strain on my relationships, and brought a lot of heartache, too. I sailed the course...meaning sailed solo from San Francisco to Hanalei Bay in 1996 in my Ranger 29, "Spindrift". At the time I thought that would be enough, but within a year of getting back my heart was telling me that I hadn't achieved what I set out to do. Many races went by while I watched other sailors sail out the Golden Gate and head for Hanalei Bay, Kauai.
In 2004 I got it together with the help and consent of my wife, Joan, and prepared "Wisdom", a Santana 30-30 for the race. Unfortunately, she wasn't really built to take the rigors of an offshore passage, and we sailed out the Golden Gate into a 35-40 knot gale that year. The second afternoon I went down below and found that the hull was flexing up forward, in the bow. It would snap in and out every few minutes when we pushed into a wave. There was no way she was going to make it to Hawaii, so I had to turn back. I take full rsponsibility for that disaster. One of the credos of the singlehander is that it's YOUR boat, it's YOUR responsbility. I put in at Morro Bay, and then had a horrible passage up the California coast to Monterey. I then had to catch a flight to Hanalei anyway, because my mother and father-in-laws 50th wedding anniversary party was being held in Hanalei to accomodate my race. It was a life-changing experience, and not a very happy one. I am not the same person I was in June, 2004.
Fast forward to Spring 2008. I'd bought a new boat. I bought her in March of 2007 specifically to do the race. Her name is "Ankle Biter" and she's a Santa Cruz 27. She was built in 1977. I'm not keen on the name but Ankle Biter has some "history" and I couldn't change it! Instead of busting the budget like I did in 2004, I was a lot more conservative this time and I didn't go whole-hog on all the equipment. Here's Ankle Biter at Svendsens Boat Yard in the San Francisco Bay Area after I took her off of her trailer. She's getting a fresh coat of bottom paint and is high and dry for her survey (appraisal). Here are some cell phone pictures.