Saturday, August 1, 2009

Sunday, October 19, 2008

How I became a sailing champion in one year

1. Set up the best rigs and master operating them; get key equipments especially a good compass.

2. Get the best crew and motivate.

3. Read the best books.

4. Practice and train a lot.

5. Know your strengths and maximize.

6. Always watch your competitiors.

7. Get the best starts.

8. Keep up enthusiasm and keeep eyes on the ball.

9. Anticipate moves.

10. Observe always weather and water.

11. Self check always boat and performance.

12. Win each leg.

13. Winning is at finish line.

14. Review race and learn lessons.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Sigwada wins Championship Series

This is the journal log of the deciding last race in the Championship Series of the International 110 in our yacht club. I sailed my boat Sigwada and won the championship.

Last Race Championship Series International 110

moderate wind. rather smooth seas. shrouds middle tuning. do diamond middle tuning. use old main. tight jib luff. good preparation with water. remembered ongoing analysis. genoa lead slightly move to fore since smooth seas and moderate wind. tight moderate cunningham. moderate tight outhaul. variable vang. ready on traveller. sit on center. got windward mark 31 degrees. starboard tack favored. tried current and waves. same. starboard more heading but steady wind and favoredness overcompensates. I feel it's OK. tried spinnaker. OK jibing too prepared for start at starboard. Paq's wishes me luck. am not too aggressive in start. believe your watch not the starting gun. late and no speed. George behind but has speed. Wahoo and Tommy tack to starboard. Dan says too. I check with compass and say no. George stays on same tack but shortly also tacks ( I think now even if tack is favored, if there's a general shift of header, one should tack a false, yes indeed. still follow compass regardless of header or shift. tack only if header goes beyond 40 degrees out of windward mark heading. they also tacked to cover. my good point also my tack became lifted. also adjusted superbly. felt weather helm and adjusted traveller to leeward. analyzed and adjusted vang and cunningham waves lessened. nearing ship will be blanketed. wanted to get back to rhumbline. flawless tack and was ahead of the lot. just a little bit off the mark degrees wise. calculated-guessed really when to tack for mark. that's what I omitted-tacking angle. know before start. OK naman. got spin out. they're close on my heels. Tom below me. Wahoo climbed up slightly wrong mark not ship's buoy. brought down spinnaker quickly. below ship and closed reach up. pressure constant. one mistake and they'll all trample me. jibe mark still first, they're still close. spinnaker up fast. where's mark. that's also one thing you forgot that you were lucky. know where's next mark even before turning. my first time in pressure to become the leader. last time I overtook on the last leg. ordered jib out. good decision. pulled away. sat on center. no boat disturbance. cunningform eased. outhaul too. timpla sa vang. feel. Dan ready on trapeze. my orders were all clear. it's good to be on top of the situation. exact spot bring spinnaker down not too late not too early. better early really than late if either or. depende kung naghahabol late then fast down. if ahead slightly early don,t risk foul up. windward again. I know favored tack that's where I accelerated. after a speed built up, tacked to port. they're still after me and are they nearing? windward is hard to know if they're overtaking me na in distance. sensed if speed decreased. OK lang but parang a bit slower. tacked to starboard. Dan stays in leeward long. nagheheel ang boat. what also won for me is very few tacks. wind is steady anyway while they wasted on too many tacks. baka masiraan ako. felt tiller if weather helm I moved traveller to leeward. OK felt speed pick up. diretso. decided to tack for the mark again. am still ahead didn’t hit mark. tack once more. to leeward lucky to have correct jibe. again before turning know and decide on next course. buti na lang correct. slight broad reach. spin out quick. Tom and George hot behind. let not the wind die down. am I falling off? is Tom climbing? can we jibe now? sagarin natin. next jibe is reach. Tom jibes below me. I jibe. tamang tama next jibe is reach. good jibing angle is wide. tacking angle is narrow. here I pull away. my timing and distance is excelent. last leg. windward. will they overtake me. went again to original area. got headed shouldn't I tack. waited a bit (good so you'll know if it's just temporary or permanent) sige ng sige so I tacked got lifted and lifted. I pull away. malapit na. dapat sigurado. tacked to mark. full concentration on telltales. got headed. tacked back. didn't risk touching buoy. APPLAUSE! , SIGWADA 1st ahead of George and 1st in championship series!.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

China Sea Race, Hongkong to Manila 650 nautical miles

This is a true story of China Sea Race, Hongkong to Manila, an open sea race of 650 nautical miles. I wrote this several days after the race which was years ago and found the manuscript only a couple of days ago.



woke up. took bath. felt good. watched HK clip continually. breakfast with Peter. taxied to Aberdeen. gave Peter fare and money for flashlight order of Boss. taxied through tunnel. Boatique store not yet open, still early. boys take noodle breakfast. drank tea. they're sanding bottom of boat. trip to RHKYC round HK island. I read satnav material. cold. anxious for race. baldheaded Taichi guy swimming off point in cold morning. steered off Aplechan Island. quite close to rocky shore. last sight of Central District, Victoria Harbor. Kowloon. back to Royal HKYC. prepared for race. good atmosphere. people looking at us like we're gladiators before fight. videoing and picturing us. I talk to correspondent John Hunt. towed out by Muskatelle. loaded with water. tried propeller. caput. Albert dove. would've done it to swim in HK waters. next Wabs dive. near Kai Tak strip. bad omen? we're in difficulties. can't we start? we tie up the propeller and that's it. preparing for start. I steer prior to start. we don't get the 10 minute gun and start late.


good we’re not far from line. canon start. I say go to right side, where boats were heeling. left side might be blanketed. Maiden Hongkong and Bumblebee hounded by spectator boats. one trail us and picture us. we overtake Bonatch and threaten Laventura. MH displaying her suit of sails. Tape drive, Red spinnaker. we're not really far from her. KB behind us. approaching rock. Laventura squeezes us out. Infraction. Gale kicks up. 10ft. waves and 30 to 35 knots. MH and B speed up. Bonatch also overtakes us. Laventura gets away. we're fighting weather helm. looks like everybody shocked. rusty? we don quickly our foul weather gear as spray fly around. weather helm really strong. we still refuse to reef. finally we reef, just one. weather helm is still strong. other boats seem to be in no difficulty. BB sticking at us from behind. Boss grossly wrong he made us light, now see what's happening. Thought of suggesting reef till comfortable. so let's race. we reefed beside warship. then past it, cracked off to 142 degrees on rhumb line. still strong weather helm. Peter decides to go down to 183 degrees where it's easy on the helm, justifying we're on the so called classic curve. Boss and me are disappointed. so early and we'll lose the fleet. true enough it exacts a psychological toll. Boss goes down. others sleep. I take over tiller and talk to Peter. wind's heading I'm going to 185 degrees. at 180 degrees, I can hardly control and if boat heads up, it heels and weather helm comes. we have to spill and boat stops again. my puyatness tells. I think of reefing further but not speak up. nobody doing strategy except P. nobody questioning. Peter justifies we're not too far away from rhumb line. I think of reefing and keeping close to R. line. we proceed. wind kicks up. we have on our reacher. we lose the fleet. nobody following. it's not really as bad as the sail to HK but somehow it was tiring. pitch dark, brackish water. hard on the helm. played the waves. watched out for going past reach. close reach it heals and I'd lose helm. I talk to P. behind me. tell him MH is good to windward so it goes 120. then later on when wind's light, it will plane down via its flattish bottom. we on SS must plane down now and later when it's light, we'll reach up via our lightweightness. rationalization? but it's still best psychologically to keep up with the fleet at least at start. wind gets strong. pretty wet. I don't eat I should've. at dark time I don’t know time we bring down main and we plan to set up reacher. go up to 120 degrees. this is waste. going down then up again. I suggest trysail but Wabs says we have no practice. Incredible. what about reef 2 on main. I say if main goes, we're out. Peter abides. Boss wrong again about Dacron main. so we go without main. very comfortable but slow. then reacher gets blasted. wow! next we put up #3. without main. imagine how slow we were. spirits down. wrong inventories. at this stage Pat Pender in Maiden HK told me later they used reacher and staysail and reefed main. with 10 solid people on the rail. wind weakened a bit. we put up the main reefed. P. said we should've put up the main 3 hrs ago. speed goes up by 1 knot. waves still big, no let up. prediction of Tim was Force 6 for 12 hrs. should be ending now, but no stopping. I'm not eating yet. I take a leak holding on to post at bow. urine splashing all over place. wet all over downstairs. sleep. just lie down on wet sails with my feet planted on bulkheads. wet foul weather gear on with harness and line. still managed to sleep. but OK. no seasickness. anti seasick adhesive quite good. am not checking chart. didn't do strangely as B. instructed. am preoccupied with helming. nor am I checking satnav. I dont know what happened to me. fighting spirit out. but lucky no accidents. hooking on to pad eyes crawling on deck. in and out of hatch. last night before reacher burst, we were gaining on 2 lights, B and MH? quite excited. then lost the 2 lights gradually. but felt really sailing on edge of earth out of rhumb line.


kept #3 and reefed main on 130 to 140. saw another to weather of us CHS? disheartened. for some reason went down relative to them why? didn't analyze. tried to catch up another ahead of us. sail heeling. didn't gain. is their helmsman better on waves? but we're doing as well. strange feeling. out here in the waves and storm, you see other boats and you're racing. actually you're 60 boats all spread out. from time we shift reef up or down who's monitoring this? at which time is right one? didn't analyze. speedo broke down. next time do also performance sailing. I should be enjoying and racing this. why am not? am not even eating. lost all gumption. at night very cold, most cold. Almost couldn't bear it. sang songs with Lyndon to drive away cold. but spirit still up pa naman. hardest part is waking up and going up and also sleeping and wet with hardly any food intake. absolutely no concern for tactics at this stage. that's why can't recall too much because things became blase. at least honed my helmsman. versus waves skill. my low strength obvious when I lose helm. I'd get pulled across to leeward. one time P. sleeps and I helm until a wave is struck and I spray him. he tells me he was just thinking how well I helmed with not a spray --- till now.


wind decreasing a bit. about time, this was supposed to be for 12 hours only. we still beat to close reach. a bit of sun streaming in. we get off foul weather gear. but still I don't touch navigation and tactics. What happened? I just helm and sleep. no brain. later we put up spinnaker. wind weakens more. Sun's coming out more and more. for food pala I take eggs balat by Wabs or Johnny. I also take noodles by Johnny. I'm now taking Watson regularly. that's it I really felt sick and I was busy surviving and no time for tactics. out of phase talaga. but in our shift I almost always take half time helming so I practically helm 25% of race (150 nautical miles,) Wabs 25%, Peter 25%, last 25% Albert, Bobet, Lyndon, Johnny. we also don't follow principle of trimming spinnaker. helmsman also does the trimming. in pm wind weakening. dolphins but not so much.


very calm. no satnav no navigating on my part ergo no tactics. didn't even read material. like I didn't start right so I'll just withdraw attitude? looked for holes and avoided them. just sailed where windlines were. rolling seas felt was here before to HK trip. no boats in sight so still downhearted. altho P. regaled us and Boss egged us on. he's still optimistic. in pm we see boats behind us. all of them go up but we remain low. we're not really spinnaker reaching up to the R. line or beyond R. line. didn't check that out. at night I do apparent wind gimmick. Albert calls me apparent wind master. he and Bobet can't do it. we see some clouds and go along with it. chase it beforehand. but going along we go off course down R line. we change to reduced spinnaker fearing squall. Johnny objects no squall. we put up old 3/4. then wind picks up. P. is confident. self vindicating talk. but we still don't beleive entirely. true enough it doesn't last quite long. basic question and we didn't know most of the time where are we? and how are we approaching game. should've pushed and got info.


a.m. beat. reason go into wind but we're meeting waves pounding us slow. we see mountains. I tell Peter to take bearing why didn't I do it myself. my you were really spintless. Louie wakes up and say why not go into land. Bobet complies and we speed up, no longer meeting waves. they're right if only for the speed. we're supposed to have local knowledge. why afraid of Luzon coast. wait didn't I see mountains. Thursday or Wednesday? Wed yata. right Wed ang first time then lost via glare. Thursday morning, abeam of Capones. so you see if you were spintless prior to no land because of no sight, no reason for you now. get bearing and make strategy. Thursday a.m. abeam of Capones. Boss says Corregidor but I see that's only Morong. That's where he made a mistake saying umikot lang kami. first place wrong direction siya. make your own opinion and dispute him if needed. when we turned to land we pointed to off Capones. fearing holes we turn outward again. boats now all around. ahead of us. close to shore. behind us (Laventura) we try to identify to no success. here again didn't exercise tactics. should've controlled sleep as this is most critical time. close to shore, seemed not to be moving. I have mountain top as landmark and we're gaining. but what if that boat is CHS or smaller we should really be gaining so don't conclude no wind inside. but boat ahead of us who tacked first seem pulling away. question: when are we heading away from course or parallel to R. line which is also parallel to Bataan coast? didn't look for answer. just lolled around. went to sleep. B now awake and showing disappointment and ignorance. waking up P. going to Mariveles mountain tip. then we tack out. approaching Bataan tip. almost Cochinos, he asks (first time he does, says let's discuss about it) whether to tack out or go on. he says he's lifting. it looks good we're lifting but I say (persistent shift ang nasa isip ko which I didn't validate whether that or oscillating) then we should meet the wind further so we can lift inside which is more favorable. P. says that makes sense. B. can't understand thinks we're talking too much and too soon but keeps quiet (he'll tell this later) but OK siguro since soon enough we approach South channel. I go to sleep. why am I sleeping at this critical time? awake again we're approaching Corregidor. I take helm and can't find correct rhythm. bumping into waves P. gets it and follows tell tale angling waves. we move. apparent wind master title goes to him. North or South channel? question tossed. we decide on S. although at times N. is funneled, so stronger. we go S. and seem to leave behind boats who went N. I helm. our spirits are varied? Al cooks chorizo and I eat belowdecks. good wind not stopping. smooth water moon reflected. coast with familiar Puerto Azul lights. bancas fishing. fishpens nearby is paradise compared to harsh China coast and seas. we finish. 3rd till Waverider comes pushes us to 4th.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Delivery Manila to Hongkong 650 nautical miles

This is the true story of the delivery of racing yacht Sunset Strip from Manila to Hongkong across the high seas 650 nautical miles in time for the China Sea Race. I wrote it just a couple of weeks after the experience and found the manuscript after so many years.

We sail out Tuesday p.m. Betamax with Tony Gonzales. then footage of us under spinnaker and on the rails. must be good shots. Finally we go on a 650 miles trip. Wind has weakened. We go past Sangley, then we sight San Nicolas. Boss goes down to sleep. Sunset and I take shots with Bataan in background. we set up watches. I wonder my name is last. I sleep so I'm awake off Luzon point. We still have wind off west Bataan coast but weakening. lot of fishing boats. we make good distance while wind lasts. I helm past Luzon point towards Morong. at times I get close to pts., cliffs but I stab to border of holes. I move on. but wind's shifting fast. I can't point to Morong steadily. time off I sleep. next time I awake there's racket upstairs and lights I climb up. discover Peter erred going into Subic they had to backtrack and go out. also almost bumped into an island which Albert saw in time. I sleep again. then they run into a fish net and Albert had to dive and cut through it. Next day Wed. we see Capones Island and sail off course. wind has weakened a bit but we're still moving. sun is beating on us mercilessly. mountains recede gradually. we keep watches and set #1, we plaster anti seasickness thing to back of ear. next day thursday pretty much the same we still have good wind. we use spinnaker reaching. we have a good rhythmic swell pushing us. we use awning for cover and Peter helms on his back. fishermen far out at sea. in p.m. we sight a whale spouting. Then come dolphins playing around the boat. I go to the bow and see them swim ahead of the boat. take good shots. always look at sunset. next day wind dies and we motor bringing sails down. we begin to be impatient. I'm sawa of the meat food. we look for windlines and all around us are water. swells flog the sails. we see occassional markers. all ocean. it's so wide and yet it's so localized. I could sail to HK on a 110. we figure BB's storm has this residue swell, not realizing its a precursor to the storm we'll have. Peter swings from a halyard and takes an ocean bath. I would've followed too. I lean to jerk spinnaker so it's always full. nobody trimming it. Peter makes a speedo and they play a team taking pictures. we'd have lot of fun w/o Boss. me Bebot and Albert develop yachting talk Saturday night we get fog. I helm with motor and Boss is beside me worried of unseen ships. it means we're approaching China. morning we see fishing boats, Chinese we presume. we see markers, nets but no wind so we motor. optical illusion of clouds and mainland but still far off. I should be able to predict weather through clouds. p.m. we get some winds and we spinnaker. just before evening wind stiffens we bring down spinnaker fast. then wind still picks up. so we reef 1. then still faster we reef 2. This is just a squall we said. our course is straight out then back so we arrive at HK morning daylight. mistake why not straight. then terror begins. waves go 20 ft, wind goes 60 knots. Wabs helms. wonder whether to have storm sail but can't set it now. worse pitch dark. and we're not sure of our position. Peter cant give us a fix. we don foul weather gear and harness on w/ life lines. Wabs helms for 6 hours straight. I fear helming things might break down under my stint. Lyndon and Johnny get cold and get knocked out. Albert is OK. boat gets banging on waves and gets broadsided broaches. its good I have 110 experience just go to windward side and wait for boat to stand up. I take over helm with trepidation after a while it's enjoyable or I master it shouting commands to make them alive. I strain my eyes for waves and cut them at an angle. spray cuts to my face and I spit saltwater. I could almost kalabit the waves before meeting them. they develop respect for my helming. Peter is afraid or something? finally he comes up. I tell Bebot to go inside and at least see lights of HK. Peter says we tack back and forth. we look continously at my watch and painfully or joyfully count half hours pass by. Boss and Bebot decide to follow Peter. but I fear a Fastnet. I would rather go inside look for lights But I follow decisions and do a good job of helming. 5:00 am now one hour more. sky lightens up. finally we see waves. and Peter tries radio direction finder which is all washed up. he says we have a fix 30 miles from HK. whats direction? He can't tell. I go for a low angle and teach Wabs to ride waves from quarter stern. we see ships and follow . we try to ask Taiwan boat who won't tell. wind picks up again. last night wind was whistling and rain stabbed like needles on my face. Stars' illusions positive the picture. a.m. find a fix before it gets dark again. I was insistent. then miraculously we saw a light blinking identify it's Waglan! we shout with glee and I steer towards it. then mountains appear past fog and we take pictures. China. my first time to be abroad and in this manner. I give helm and go down exhausted. we motor into eastern channel. I go up not wanting to miss anything. strange sights. rocks mist cold. buildings then city itself. airport autobahns boats barges HK then the yacht club. I'm afraid I might be sick I take hot shower. take lunch. vegetable and sea food and go to boat to sleep cold and drizzling. after sleep I'm recovered. erred not study satnav radio direction finder and SSB. for future racing. also should've made good log putting down wind direction swell etc. that night lights presumably of ships kept us alive in no small way. at least there'd be some people rescuing us.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

International 110 as daysailer

The 110 is a perfect daysailer. It is small enough to be singlehanded. It is also big enough to go farther than a dinghy. Here are my daysailing adventures that I most enjoyed:
1. Going to Cavite Sangley Point. I did this in one of the hookey days I decided not to go to office. For this I had to cross a long route traversing from the yacht club past relatively open seas till I reached the Cavite peninsula. I could choose entering the small cove where the naval base were and observe old ships and old planes as this base is now unused. Or I could anchor beside the old runway and and enjoy the fresher breezes and the more open sea. The water here is now unpolluted and the views natural and provincial. The way to and fro is very enjoyable as the water is cleaner and the waves are bigger so that even if these splash against the bow and wet me, the salty taste is refreshing.
2. Past the breakwater and approaching old ships. I once ventured out to where old abandoned ships were anchored. They were hulking monsters forgotten and left for scrap. But as I approached these I could see their beauty if not mystery. It seems as the waves moved them a bit, for they seemed immobile , they groaned and let out strange deep sounds. The color of their sides were out of this world. a combination of rust, weathered sea grey and blue, cast iron. Especially when the setting sun with its warm colors touched them, they exhibited a palette that is both mysterious and inviting. And the vast size contributed to the fear that I felt as I did not know how near I could sail. I just rounded each several times as each time they exhibited new facets new angles new sounds new colors, like they wanted to tell me their past stories. Fascinating adventure.

Happiness is sailing a 110

My most happy recollections in sailing my 110 are the following:
1. Playing hookey and absenting from the office. I would decide spontaneously not going to the office for the day, wear my sailing gear. I'd pass by McDonald and buy a couple of hamburgers and softdrinks. Then I launch the boat early in the morning while I see the cars in the boulevard building up traffic for the office day. I would gleefully leer at the office workers frowning while stuck in traffic. I go out to near the breakwater and just cruise practice some tacks. I have my small radiocassette and play the song Sailing. When a bit tired I'd loosen the line and anchor and drop it after bringing down the sails. I eat my hamburgers and drink the still cold coke. I just lie down on the deck and laze around enjoying the breeze and the quiet and the lullaby of the wavelets. I again sail around and look at the ships anchored loading and unloading cargoes. Close to late afternoon I call it a day and turn in to the yacht club totally refreshed and at peace with myself and the universe.
2. Sailing upwind in the groove. This is my favorite sailing direction. The hull tracks the water very smoothly as the beautiful bow cuts cleanly into the waves. The mainsail and the genoa work most efficiently in tandem as the wind pass over both sails while the luff threads indicate maximum efficiency. The helm has just a bit of weather feel that tells me the boat purrs like a pet that I caress. My body extends a bit outboard to counteract heeling. Extreme satisfaction .
3. Practicing racing in the early morning when the sun kisses the water and reflects like sparkling jewels. There was one time only me and George went out practicing. We were like birds in Jonathan Livingstone Seagull perfecting our moves and dancing on a vast stage doing our thing and enjoying it immensely.