Monthly: June 2016

30 Jun

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Team Angus Rowboats Update 4—#R2AK



Colin leaving Victoria Harbor photo by Debra Colvin

Yesterday evening Colin reported the day was spent in sloppy seas and light contrary winds or current. Conditions he says were, “Not good for sailing and not good for rowing.” These conditions combined with hot temps had him drinking through his water supply. Forced to begin rationing, he decided to stop at Campbell River to take on another 6 gallons. Nonetheless his progress has been impressive. Now through treacherous Seymour Narrows, he appears to be anchored just north in tiny Kanish Bay waiting for favorable current. He continues to maintain a lead of 25 miles or so over the nearest competitor in the small-boat fleet.

28 Jun


Team Angus Rowboats Update 3—#R2AK



Heard from Colin around 1330 and he’s in great spirits and was making some coffee with the wind at his back. After pulling up anchor at 5am this morning he headed off north in the Strait of Georgia and before long was using his hiking board—close-hauled in 20 knots. Then at some point the wind died completely and he back on the oars. That’s when he made the tactical decision to proceed east of Texada Island (maybe an R2AK first?) and was rewarded with a light southwesterly breeze that enabled him to rack up quite a few miles quickly.

The micro-climates continue to play a huge factor this year as the winds swirl through the region. More soon….

Filed Under: Blog, R2AK Race to Alaska

28 Jun


20-Feet or Under: The Small Boats of R2AK


A closer look at a few of the 20-foot and under boats in the Race to Alaska. All of these boats will be eligible for the Small Craft Advisor “Side Bet,” a $1,000 cash prize and their boat on the cover of our magazine.


Team Shadowfax
Boat: Hobie 16
Designer: Hobie Alter
Length: 16′ 7″
Weight: 320 lb
Sail Area: 218 sq ft

Pros: Speed. Good in light air. Thoroughly proven design.

Cons: Exposure. Lack of accommodations or protection from elements. Athletic boat requires hiking out. No standard auxiliary propulsion system.


Team Vantucky
Boat: Windrider 17
Designer: Jim Brown
Length: 17′ 4″
Weight: 320 lb
Sail Area: 139 sq ft

Pros: Quite fast—especially off the wind. Very difficult to capsize. Offers some protection as crew sits inside center hull.

Cons: No standard auxiliary propulsion system—Team Vantucky has adapted a rowing system. Doesn’t point especially well and the loaded-up open cockpit can be vulnerable to flooding in rough going.


Team Angus Rowboats
Boat: RowCruiser (Sailing Model) from plywood kit
Designer: Colin Angus
Length: 18′ 8.5″
Weight: 148 pounds (rowing version)
Sail area: 70 sq ft

Pros: Versatility. A strong, sliding seat rowboat that is also quite fast under sail. The most unusual feature—especially significant for R2AK—is her enclosed cabin with a 6’6″ berth, allowing her skipper to sleep aboard anchored out.

Cons: Low on the water and fairly exposed. Not as canvassed-up as some faster beach cats and tris.


Team Bunny Whaler
Boat: Boston Whaler Harpoon 5.2
Length: 17′
Weight: 565 lb
Sail Area: 160 sq ft plus optional 150 sq ft spinnaker

Pros: Unsinkable foam-sandwich construction. Stable. Venturi-style bailers for self-draining cockpit. Roomy cockpit and a stowage cuddy that offers dry storage and some protection from wind and spray.

Cons: Not an ideal rowboat. No designated sleeping berths. Moderate speed potential.


Team Nordica
Boat: Nordica 16
Length: 16′
Weight: 925 lb
Sail Area: 130 sq ft

Pros: Self-righting keel boat can handle rough seas. Small sleeping cabin.

Cons: Heavy to row. Cockpit is small for two crew and isn’t self-draining. Relatively slow under sail.


Team Can’t Anchor Us
Boat: Swampscott Dory (Custom)
Length: 17′
Weight: ?
Sail Area: 115 sq ft

Pros: Custom Swampscott Dory has been decked over and had a cabin added. Proven already as it finished the first and very rough R2AK. Designed with a custom sliding-seat rowing setup. Cabin offers dry bunk and protection from elements. Lots of flotation added.

Cons: Not very fast. Fairly low initial stability.


Team Squamish
Boat: Young 6M (plywood plans)
Designer: Jim Young
Length: 19′ 8″
Weight: 1153 lb
Sail Area: 229 sq ft

Pros: Cockpit and cabin comforts are palatial by comparison to most of the smaller fleet in R2AK. Stable, water-ballasted boat with dry bunks and accommodations. Swinging centerboard allows for shallow draft.

Cons: Heavy to row, but water ballast can theoretically be dumped to lighten load. Less manageable/beachable than smaller boats.


Team Excellent Adventure
Boat: Montgomery 17
Designer: Jerry Montgomery
Length: 17′ 2″
Weight: 1600 lb
Sail Area: 154 sq ft

Pros: Seaworthy design proven in last year’s R2AK. Shoal fixed ballast for stability. Fast and weatherly for a monohull its size. Deep self-draining cockpit and cabin provide dry accommodations and stowage.

Cons: Beamy and heavy—far from an ideal rowboat. Fixed shoal keel makes her hard to beach.


Team Heart of Gold
Boat: King’s Unlimited Carbon Fiber Stand-Up Paddle Board
Length: 19′
Weight: 27 pounds

Pros: Easily managed. Easy to propel under paddle.

Cons: Exposure. Exposure. Exposure. Lack of stowage capacity or provisions. Oh, and it needs to be stand-up paddled for 750 miles.


Team Sea Runner
Boat: Seascape 18
Length: 18′
Weight: 275 lb
Sail Area: 75 sq ft plus 115 sq ft gennaker.

Pros: very high speed potential performance design. Shallow draft with centerboard up. Small but enclosed cabin for stowage and V-berth. Added custom pedal drive system.

Cons: Not designed for distance cruising. Performance elements like twin rudders could be vulnerable in these conditions.


Team Why Not
Boat: Cal 20
Designer: C. William Lapworth
Length: 20′
Weight: 1950 lb
Sail Area: 195 sq ft

Pros: Safe, seaworthy fin-keeler that has been used for ocean crossings. Relatively comfortable cabin and accommodations.

Cons: Fixed draft of over 3 feet means she has to keep to deeper water. Not easy to propel under human power.


Team Coastal Express
Boat: Mirror 16
Length: 16′
Weight: 260 lb
Sail Area: 178 sq ft

Pros: Stable dinghy with small cuddy area forward for dry stowage. Easier to row than many of the monohulls in the R2AK. Beachable (draws only 6 inches board up).

Cons: Light boats offer a bouncy ride in rougher water. Not a lot of protection from weather.


Team Liteboat
Boat: Liteboat custom
Length: Around 18 feet
Weight: ?
Sail Area: ?

Pros: This sailing Liteboat prototype was built on a performance rowing chassis, so should be good under oar power. The trimaran sailing figuration makes her very stable under sail. The boat has multiple watertight stowage lockers. Low windage.

Cons: Versatile, but favors rowing over sailing performance. Close to water and exposed.

28 Jun


Team Angus Rowboat Update 2—#R2AK



Colin reports that although his hands were a bit sore last night, yesterday went pretty well.

He did have one exciting period—frustrated with so much rowing he decided to try to short-tack against the full ebb in a narrow channel and his RowCruiser was forced onto some rocks. Fortunately the only damage was a gouge in the centerboard.

Giving up on that approach he drifted back and attempted to set his anchor in the deep race running between the rocky islets on either side. After holding initially, the anchor dragged and in the melee he had to go overboard to retrieve an escaped oar.

Having put in a very long day he decided to wait the tide out and get some rest. It appears he anchored in the lee of Vance Island, just east of Gabriola.

Colin led the small-boat fleet yesterday and from the tracker it appears he’s off to another strong start this morning, moving northwest at 4-5 knots and about 10 miles in front of teams Vantucky and Bunny Whaler.

More later….

Filed Under: Blog, Uncategorized