Author Archive

The Road Book

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November 12, 2021 posted by Diane

A road book is something not talked about too often when we head off for an overnight passage or race. You may create a passage plan….but a road book contains more significant markers along the way. The road book contains your “gates” and the sail plan to get you there. It includes the weather routing you have done by hand or generated with software. It includes who your emergency contacts are along the way and the prevailing winds you expect to see when the short range forecast runs out. The road book is a significant tool in the plannings of your passage. Here you see a picture of the weather routing update I added to my road book for the start of the Mini Transat. It was a significant weather system that held us at the dock for literally weeks. But because I had done such deep work on building my road book and then adding updates as our delay went on….when it was time to go I was ready at the drop of a hat. Because I so intimately knew my road book it also meant that while underway when the race was abandoned, I knew exactly where I was….what to expect and where to go while sailing in a part of the world I had never transited before.

In my Offshore Racing Program you will become versed in building a road book. To learn more, check out the Offshore Racing Progam.

Arrived Lisbon, Portugal

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October 7, 2019 posted by Diane

Monday October 7, 2019

Ahoy from Tim again,
Diane has just pulled into Cascais, just outside Lisbon, Portugal. Hope for some news in the next day or two.


Delivery Mainsail in Hamble, UK

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September 30, 2019 posted by Diane

September 28, 2019

Ahoy there! Tim here, posting an update from Diane. It’s been a while… Good to see Diane offshore again.

On the weekend Diane was at Universal Marina, up the Hamble river, just below the bridge. Lots of jobs to get done as always with boats. Ryan and Diane are bending on the cruising main. Yep, that’s a big sail.

A whole lotta cruising main to hoist!

A whole lotta cruising main to hoist!

And Ryan needs to get part way up the mast before hoisting the sail: Diane is grinding.

Diane grinds a halyard to get Ryan partway up the mast.

Diane grinds a halyard to get Ryan partway up the mast.

One little problem. Depth is showing an error message. Key piece of intelligence needed, and not just for going down river to get out of Southhampton. Plus we got some new things: lifering and storage bins. We are very close to going.


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September 23, 2019 posted by Diane

September 23, 2014

Look what arrived perfectly in time for my flight! #HellyHansen


IMG_20190920_171857_resized_20190920_052832402 IMG_20190920_171544_resized_20190920_052858164

It’s the AEGIR Race Jacket and  Skagen Offshore Bib Pants

At the last minute I was able to set up a training run for after my trip to the Canaries via Malta and the Rolex Middle Sea Race.  Pip is doing the Transat Jaques Vabres and I will get to do a training run with Pip to bring the IMOCA 60 back to England from Brazil after her race!  6000 Miles from Brazil to England double handed!  #feelalive !  We leave Brazil early November as soon as Pip has finished the TJV and should arrive to England early December….But to do it right, I need to have the right gear and some awesome inspiring food!

Seems for the first time I will be super warm and dry with my @hellyhansen gear.  I’ve tried many brands over the years but never seen the results like I am seeing with HH.  Even in my Mini sailing days I always had to bring a spare set of fowlies and had to devise a way to dry out my gear for when it soaked through.  This time as we approach the cold temperatures of England in December I will be warm and dry!!!

The other thing that keeps you warm is food.  Not just a warm cup of tea or a warm pot of freeze dried, but specifically a warm well calorie and taste managed bag of scrumptiousness.

Happy Yak

A few years ago I was wandering the boat show in Montreal.  As is often the case, there was a company offering food samples.  Well, as a sailor you know you never turn down food!  So I stopped and tried some food in a pot.  It was good…..really good.  I started chatting up the owners and what I thought was some kind of catering company was actually a freeze dried food company!  All I had seen was the pot cooking on the single burner and went in for the taste test.  I was super impressed with the taste.  But I wanted an unbiased second opinion.  So I sent in my friend for a taste test to get their opinion.  They came back saying “Oh wow, this is fantastic!  I never would have guessed it was freeze dried food!”  I was sold, but I didn’t have any upcoming adventures at the time.  A year later I came across them again and since then have been building a nice little relationship with HappyYak.  On a boat it is easy to get cold, wet and demoralized.  The Hungarian in me knows that good food not only generates energy and warmth but it also generates peace of mind.  Thirty days at sea is no easy task on a 6o footer.  I’m looking forward to doing it with good calories, good taste and good karma in my food!  Thanks Happy Yak!


2000 Miles To The Med

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September 5, 2019 posted by Diane

Sept 5, 2019

facebook post

Two fantastic adventures on the horizon to pack for.  First up is an education opportunity.  I love teaching people how to sail and how to be better sailors so they can love sailing just as much as I do.  Next week I will be in Kingston teaching two groups cruising on a 30′ cruiser.  A little fun dodging through the islands, playing with current and sitting on anchor at night and watching the world go by. My entire bag of gear can fit in this 50L Helly Hansen bag.  The only thing not in the bag is my fowlies.  The other two bags are teaching equipment.  Let’s see how big a bag my students bring!


Then the action is going to really ramp up.  30′ is going to grow into 60′ and a little 2000 Mile run from England to the Mediterranean for the RORC Middle Sea Race.  Challenger is a Volvo 60′.  She is a great old boat and a fine example of if you take care of your ride, your ride will take care of you. This reminds me of the line in Master and Commander.  She’s a fine boat….in her prime. With older boats (or boats in their prime), comes a completely different approach to sailing than something you may jump on to charter.  Challenger is a simple boat that only has the things she needs….good old hard core sailing!  No autopilot, vast galley, showers, cabins, microwaves…….  Just good old tough proper sailing.

The adventure begins!


Sarah Wins Gold!

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August 12, 2019 posted by Diane

Aug 12, 2019

Sooooo Awesome! Sarah Douglas is from my home club Ashbridge’s Bay Yacht Club. She is going to the 2020 Olympics AND has just won gold at the Pan Am games!!!! Super amazing talented lady.

Read more on Facebook.



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July 24, 2019 posted by Diane

July 24, 2017

Yesterday I was unpacking from my recent adventures from Belfast Maine to Port Hawkesbury Nova Scotia and back…. and saw this.  What a great flashback!

base layer

Our route took us across the Bay of Fundy and then into the Labrador current on our way up to Newfoundland.  The Labrador current is very cold.  The warm summer air over the cold current also generates a ton of fog.  During the nights this makes the air damp and cold.  Well, the first night into this colder temperature I didn’t have my Helly Hansen technical base layer on and was very happy when my time on deck was up and I could get below to put this on for my base layer.  The next night as we slid into the colder temps and a nice little low with 30 knots in it I was super warm with all the right layers on.  Thanks Helly Hansen for being so awesome at what you do!


Maine and Back

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July 16, 2019 posted by Diane

July 16, 2019

Well hello everyone!  By now you will have seen that our trip to Scotland on Eleanor is being rerouted back to Maine.  It has been quite the adventure indeed!

Leading up to this trip I spoke a lot about planning and preparation for an adventure.  The food to eat, the sails on the boat, the gear to wear,  the route we would take and the weather we would encounter along the way.  All of this trying to take into account the variables that we may encounter and how to plan best for those variables.  For example, what if we saw light winds all the way across.  How much food would we need to compensate for that and how much diesel would we need to be able to generate power all the way across.  So many things to take into account, but eventually you just need to go.  And off we went.  Well prepared and well armed with a new lithium battery system, a generator fully functioning and food packed to the gills.  We were unfortunately down by one in our crew complement.  The delay of start that we had experienced with a failing generator was ultimately the cause of this.

The weather heading out the first day was great.  Light winds in the right direction.  A perfect setup for everyone to get to know the boat, start to get comfortable with watch routines and settle in. For some this is easy and for others it’s always a struggle.  But everyone pressed through.  One of our crew though was struggling with a bit of sea sickness and this was causing him a reduction in food and water intake.  After all, who wants to eat and drink when they feel sick!  We were also struggling with our fuel consumption.  Something wasn’t right with the tanks.  We were going through the diesel twice as fast as calculated.  Hmmmm.  Next up was our weather update.  The weather files were coming into the boat just fine; lots of information and a great ability to keep on top of the information.  We had some weather coming in.  As much as 35 knots close hauled with tons of rain was forecast to last a full 24 hours.  What an excellent opportunity to set ourselves up for the conditions we would surely experience between Newfoundland and Scotland!

During our first couple of days we had also noticed that the chart plotter screen on deck was causing havoc with the B&G GPS signal.  When this happened, the B&G would completely shut down.  It was like two kids in a playground fighting over the same stick.  Hmmm, more things to add to the new equation.  And then came the wind and the rain.

Earlier in the day we readied the boat for the new weather.  The storm sail was bent on, a deck check was completed, food was cooked up ahead of time and people got their fowl weather gear out ready for action.  Boy was I looking forward to wearing my Helly Hansen gear for this!  By now we were about 80 Miles from Sable Island.  Running to sea was not an option.  Too many miles to get there before the storm and it would put us off our rhumbline by too much.  And the wind built up to 20-25 knots.  At 20 knots we could fly the genoa at the second reef mark with 2 reefs in the main.  A conservative sail plan for sure.  We were underpowered, but could hold a decent course.  And as the Skip onboard I felt comfortable going to sleep knowing the wind could build while I wasn’t watching.  And it did.  Once we were up to 25knots, it was time to furl the jib and run with the Storm Staysail.  Now for most they would say that that too was conservative, which it was.  Remember the forecast was potential for 35 knots and I would not always be able to be on deck.  So conservative was the chosen path.  And then we saw 30 knots.  The sea was lively but not unmanageable.  It felt “sloppy”.  Eleanor weighs 23,000lbs and is a 40 foot boat.  The power to weight ratio becomes a struggle when you load her up with all the things you think you may need.  We struggled somewhat to make any headway forward.  The Storm staysail will only ever allow you a 60° angle to the wind.  The sea state is always wanting to push you backwards so you need lots of power to climb up over the hills and Eleanor was really struggling to do so, but we endured.  The seasickness was becoming a challenge as well.  Now, at the time when one needs lots of energy and to have their wits about them, some of our team was being challenged.  Numbers were down on the watch system.  12 hours later the winds started to ease and we were able to regroup and learn from the experience.  There were two significant takeaways from experiencing our first rough weather.  The first was being a “man down” during a weather battle.  The complement of 3 did not work in pressing times.  The second takeaway was the ability for Eleanor to pick herself up and move forward in heavy weather.  The preparation of setting to sea on this boat is impeccable.  The problem is the power to weight ration.  How could we optimize Eleanor for such conditions.  In the ocean it would be less of an issue.  We would simply go slower.  But managing a lee shore or passing between islands is a different battle and must be achievable.

With all of that experience in hand and a new list of things to sort out on the boat like the GPS arguments in the playground, the power to weight ratio and the seasickness, Eleanor is returning to Maine with a clearer picture of what our world will be like in an open ocean and how to achieve this ultimate goal of sailing to Scotland.

Life is an adventure.  Regardless of the setbacks there is always something amazing to take away from the experience.  Use this as fuel for the next adventure!


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July 8, 2019 posted by Diane

July 8, 2019

We are good to go!
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Eleanor will be casting off tomorrow morning the 9th, first thing after breakfast. You can follow us on the yellowbrick tracker. We should be in Scotland in 3 weeks. The weather is looking very much in our favour to be from behind for at least the first few days while everyone gets settled in. See you over in Scotland!

Decision Made

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June 27, 2019 posted by Diane

June 26, 2019

Well the decision has been made.  The generator will get fixed.  The crew are being put in a holding pattern to return in a week or so for the crossing.  So many variables to take into consideration.  Weighing the risks with the costs and availability of crew and a good weather window.  All make for a complicated equation.  If you read my earlier discussion on the generator…. the analogy would be that not only have we decided to charge the phone battery, but we are bringing two extras with us!

Stand by for a weather update and mechanics update for a leaving date!