Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Urban's Limerick

Duct tape on our windows outside and in
Patches on sails ready to trim
After chili for dinner, the odors were abundant
I guess you can say the air was rather pungent
Junk yard dogs of the sea, we took on the fleet –
Victory in reach would be rather sweet.
We turned north, though our margins were thin,
we were taking a risk but we knew we might win.
While we thought we’d go fast, instead we ended up with our thumbs up our….
Ask us why we did it!!!
If it would have worked out we’d have cleaned the fleet out.
We look a little ghetto although we’re pretty cool.
After all, the boat is called Urban Renewal.

Home at last

The Urban Renewal crew crossed the finish line at 3:28 a.m. Monday morning. Family and friends headed out on Ho'onanea to meet the boys at the finish line. We left Kaneohe Yacht Club at 1:30 a.m. and headed out to the R-2 buoy. Navigating in Kaneohe Bay at night is definitely a challenge. Throw in some squalls and it is a bigger adventure. We braved the elements to get the first glimpse of our loved ones. There were several boats finishing at the same time and it was hard to tell which one was Urban. After a lot of is that them, no that is them, no they're over there, even driving past a boat and cheering (oops not them), we got to Urban and yelled, screamed, cheered, and clapped. It was a wonderful experience to meet them at sea. Thank you David for taking us all out at such an early hour.

After docking we greeted each other on land giving leis, hugs, and kisses. It is great to have them back at home. Especially Ellis, Don, and John who have been away for over a month. I am sure I speak for Gail and Ruth Ann when I say we missed them a lot.


P.S. I have posted a bunch of pictures. Look to the left of the site and click on the links. I am working on putting up more, especially the video of the start. It takes a long time to load so it is taking some time. I will post a blog when they are all up.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Final Hours


4:50 HDT, Sunday evening

Friends and family, We notified the race committee that we are 100 miles from the finish. YAHOO!! The sight of land is still 9-10 hours away. This adventure was greater than my expectations. The scope of things learned, about sailing and personally, rivaled any college credits one could amass. (Even though some of us are challenged by wind direction, like East vs. West).

Our current position: N22*33 W156*21
Wind: NE 12-16 nmph
Boat speed: 7.5 to 14 nmph
Swells: 2-4 meters

We had one of our bags fall into the SSB (single sideband radio) and put it out of commission for the remainder of the race. We have been using an iridium phone to keep officials posted. Daily, people are very concerned about each boats whereabouts and safety. This fits with our program well. If we are interested in safety, why are we having cans of Stags chili on our last night? Could be an interesting finish after all.

Mahalo, for your support and interest, this will be the final E-mail from "Urban". Our E.T.A. for tomorrow morning, should be 6:30 - 8:30a.m., always, subject to change. Thanks again, Sailing Safe

Your Crew and Friends,
John, Rocky, Les, Don, Randy and Ellis

Sunday, July 27, 2008


0200 hrs Sunday just coming off watch, Squalls and stars, driving constant 8-10kts / even hit a 16.1 my personal best / crashing water on deck / pitch black one min / stars and the milky way just unbelievable / on our watch 36 nms average 9 kts for four hours - -that is some hot stuff for me!!!. What a great adventure this has been for me. We started preparing about a year ago, then did the delivery and now the race - - WOW!!! For all of you that have supported all of us/me for the delivery and now the race - - it was great having you part of my life and knowing you were following along with your thoughts. If the wind Gods are willing we should finish sometime Monday morning - - looking fwd to seeing all of you at KYC - - and for you off shore people hope to see ya' soon on the mainland. Thank you Ruthann for allowing me to be part of this and supporting me all the way.


Saturday, July 26, 2008

Day 11 - 292 miles to go


5:22 p.m. Saturday

"Ready or not, here we come." In San Francisco we met a captain, his quote, from his wife, "How can I miss you if you never go away." Well girls, we've been away, but I don't think it will become a habit. You are stuck with us. We are anticipating a Monday morning landing at Kaneohe Yacht Club. For those interested, we will be radioing KYC from 100 miles out, 25 miles out and 1 mile out. Then calling KYC at the finish line for an escort into the club.

Today was another very strong performance by "Urban Renewal", we should sail close to 190 miles for the 24 hr. period. We are gaining on many, but, too little too late. We moved to 5th in our division. For dinner this evening, ham, potatoes and apple sauce or peaches. At this point, we are trying to empty out refers, storages, etc. Spirits are high with the anticipation of landfall, and your smiling faces.

See you SOON !!!!!!!!

The Crew, John, Don, Les, Rocky, Randy and Ellis

Friday, July 25, 2008

492 to go


Time: 6:48 p.m. pdt Friday July 25

Support team, "Urban Renewal" is charging towards the finish. We jibbed a few hours ago, yes, finally we are heading south. We could, conceivably, keep this tack right across the finish line. As noted above, we are 492 nm to R2 buoy. For the last few days we've been averaging 175 nm. Ahhhhhhhh, the flying fish,(inedible) have been landing on the deck every day, during the delivery and race. One of which is our mascot. We should have had this little guy leading us out of the "parking lot", 5 days ago.

Our position: N26*36 W150*47
Bearing: 221 degrees
Wind: NE "Trades" 10-16 knots
Current boat speed: 9.8 nmph

The day began with steely blue water. It is now a deep clear blue. Beautiful stuff. Tonight, we are finishing the turkey and dressing. Prepared by our guest chef, Rocket J. Squirrel. We are hoping for a Monday landing. Your support has been tremendously appreciated !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The Crew, Don, Les, Rocky, Randy, Ellis and John

Parking Lot Sale

Aloha Family and friends,

After spending nearly two days in the parking lot looking for good deals, I mean wind, it was time to push forward. Yesterday, we recorded more miles toward "the finish line", than 6 of 7 yachts in our division. Finally, we gained a little ground. Today, was another very good day. There is hope of at least a respectable finish?? We currently have 668 nm to the finish line. Looks like a Monday or Tuesday finish. (Always, subject to change.)

Current position: N 27*33 W147*01
Wind direction: NE 10-14 nmph
Boat speed: 8.4, averaging 8 nmph for the last 5 hours
Swells 1-3 meters, surfing rarely.

To nights fine cuisine, Dinty Moore stew, presented by master chef, Randy. Our provisions are holding well. The ice is on its last stand. (much better preformance than delivery crews). Dry ice was key. Could be the last chilled beer tomorrow, that's still much better than anticipated.
Sailing fast and safe,
The Crew John, Randy, Les, Rocky, Don, and Ellis

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Day 9


7:36 p.m. pdt What a concept, we kept the boat moving all day and night long. A few days ago, not sure how many, we spotted a hundred to one hundred and fifty dolphin swimming in front of our bow. They were in a big hurry, splashing as they went. The line of dolphin stretched over one half mile. It looked as if they were herding other fish, but they swam a straight line. Perhaps they were the prey, not the predators?

Today was gorgeous, skies and water were blue and company was good. We are currently 828 nm to the finish line.

Our position is N27*55 W144*22
Bearing is 233 degrees
Wind is NE, blowing 10-15nmph,
.6 oz. spinnaker has been used all day.
Swells are 1-2 meters

This evenings dinner was baked lasagna. We ate the entire thing. For the race, we have been using dishes and cutlery made from vegetable by products. It's odd how quickly we volunteer for K.P. everyone is enjoying good health, and spirits.

See many of you sooooon in Kaneohe Bay.
The Crew, John, Rocky, Ellis, Don, Les and Randy

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Light but steady

We are out about 885 from Kaneohe Finish line. moving pretty close to the mark, but at least away from the effects of the HIGH PRESSURE SYSTEM that haunted us for the last 3 days. we figure we lost at least 2 days, mostly going 1 to 2 knots, sometimes we had to drop the main because the heavy sail created such a disturbance to the spinnaker when the boat rolled. This put us out of the hunt for 3rd place which we were close to when we ran out of wind. now we are trying to get out of the lace where we were yesterday, a short way ahead of the other j-35. Last night we had our half way party, nice steaks on the bar-B beer and wine and Ice cream sandwiches for desert! I understand from sup op Supply Operations, that we are down to our last 30 beers and one bottle of wine. we also have a bottle of Gran Marnier so we will make it one way or other. John, Com Ops, is getting quite comfortable with the radio reports and plotting the positions of the principal competitors. Randy and Rocky handle fab ops (food and beverage). So we await the next report and the next puff of wind. looks like sometime Tuesday, late Monday if we get some good wind. Hope all is well ashore,

Aloha, Les, Nav Ops, Master & Commander (Don Likes to call me that), Owner of Urban Renewal, and Northern Goat!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

today's update


A day and night of intermittent squalls provided us with wind. Not enough to keep us from dropping like rocks toward the bottom of the fleet standings. Nonetheless, great fun, laughter and experience is being had by all. We will have stories to tell. This morning we reached the half way point, 1038 nm. That equates to filet mignon BBQ tonight. Sounds like more entertainment to me. Randy caught a 30-35 pound Aku (tuna), early this afternoon. We released it. It would have caused much havoc on deck, plus dinner was already planned. Perhaps, tomorrow will bring similar success. The real success will be brisk winds all day long, we don't want to miss too many festivities at Kaneohe Yacht Club. We will keep you posted.

Current standings: 7th out of 8 in the fleet. (however, we did pass some poor suckers today) Current position: N29*41 W141*56
Current bearing: 231 degrees
Speed: 5.9 nmph, ugh Squalls surrounding us all day

The wine is breathing,

The Crew, John, Rocky, Don, Les, Randy and Ellis


Just getting ready to take the helm on my watch this Tuesday afternoon and looked at the fish lines, one was TIGHT. We caught a 35 lb ahi. it was a huge fish and had to slide gaff it to get it on board. argh, too big, too much, lot to waste, we did the right thing and let it go.

yes we took picks. Randy



After much discussion, we decided to sail West, rather than drop South like most all other boats. Well, we dropped several places today, after recording THE lowest mileage in the fleet. Our theory, "Go for the Victory", failed. Now, we are trying to get to Kaneohe in time to enjoy a few of the parties mid week. We have been sitting in little, to no wind for over 24 hours. We are having a great time...but, there is no need to create space for any new trophies. Dinner tonight was corn beef and cabbage.

Our current position: N30*47 W140*51
Miles to R2 bouy 1069 nm (the half way point is 1038- so some time tonight, hopefully, we'll be on the down hill run)
Bearing is: 229 degrees
Swells: 1 meter
Wind speed was 6-7, just dropped to 2-3 (we'll see you as soon as we can)

It was very beautiful out here all day!!

We are sailing safe, but we wish it was a much FASTER safe, T

he "Urban Renewal" Crew, John, Les, Rocky, Don, Randy and Ellis

Sunday, July 20, 2008

words from the crew

Aloha Family and Friends,

The "Urban Renewal crew is enjoying a glorious day on the water. The sun is glistening off the deep blue water, white billowy clouds dotting the horizon and a breeze NE 5-11. Sounds like a good afternoon for a bucket bath off the bow??? It smells like the time. This mornings breakfast was bacon and egg burritos, very tasty. Thanks to Rocky and Randy.

We are still competitive within our class. "Boys Night Out" is still the theme, but we are paying attention to details. Are goals are clearly defined. We'll let you know the results after the awards are presented??? We have 1175 nm to the finish line.

Our exact location is: N31*45.684 W139*06.625
Boat speed is 7.7 mph, but has been slower through out the day.
Swells are 1-2 meters

We changed spinnakers this morning. Now we are flying a .6 oz. spinnaker, the wind has been moderate at best. This has been the slowest going since we left S.F. But, we are all in shorts and t-shirts, the foulies aren't put away for good, yet. Once again, "Life is Good". Except for the fishing....the lines are getting rinsed off behind the boat. No fish seem to be interested. We have plenty of tuna aboard, ugh!! Tomorrow evening we should be half way home. At which time we will BBQ steaks and perhaps a little vino rosso to augment the menu selection.


Les' comments: Had to do the dishes last night, tough duty on a green boat like urban, we toss our "potato starch" biodegradable bowl and sugar cane bagass forks go over as well-boys don't like the old way of doing dishes. the pots are done the old way but Don stepped up to that chore. With the light wind today we discovered a new field of information on the gps. we now get a number called VMG or 'velocity made good (to the finish line). so we can go at 6 knots right at the line or head up to make the boat go faster and see if we get there faster going faster higher by comparing the vmg on each point. we are already high of the fleet, about on the original rum line from SF. the forecast is for the wind to fill in west of us, north first, so that might work for us. have not seen the Sunday positions but feel it probably did not change to the good at any rate. John, Ellis and Randy have all become excellent helmsmen which really helps spread the driving load. I have been driving for my shift at night since the spinnaker in the dark takes more seat of the pants instinctual steering that only comes from experience. We put up the spinnaker net yesterday, goes between the mast and the headstay to keep the spinnaker from wrapping around the headstay when it collapses. This can be fatal for the spinnaker if it tightens up and can require the spinnaker to be cut away (I've seen it many times}. We still have dry ice and regular ice in the icebox. Cold beer and wine at the end of the day. All Right! Randy's research questions with the dry ice guy have paid off in spades. Gotten a little wordy so enough. Thanks for all the kind emails of encouragement. Aloha, John, Les, Rocky, Don, Ellis and Randy the "Urban Getto gang" (Urban Renewal is a sweet boat, but not the standard of most of the fleets )

Its about time. weather is great, shorts t shirt and a bath. only wish we had more wind now. last night and today has been light. Night driving has been cloudy without stars so concentration is intense, lots of fun! been trying to beat Les'14.9 surfing on waves but well see. we are counting on fish as an integral part of dinner tonight so i am working hard on that now... failure is not an option i know where the can tuna is. talk again soon. Randy

Actually I think we have enough food on board for a month. Plenty of good meals to come. We are not going to be losing weight on this trip like they did on the way over. Rocky

warming up but slowing down

We are starting to get more sun and the nights are less freezing, although we still wear are foul weather gear at night. During the day it shorts and shirts. Well that is the good news, the bad news is that the wind is down and the longer it stays this way the more ground we loose. We are still predicting a Sunday arrival but it may be late, so pray for wind. At the moment we are trying to catch dinner, we still have half a day. Our cold stuff is still cold and we are still enjoying an occasional cold beer in the afternoon, yeah for the dry ice. I recommend this for boats without refrigeration that are going to be out more than a couple of days, it works well. Don't leave bottles or cans next to the block or they will freeze, keep the block a bit insulated to last the longest and provide good refrigeration temperature. We'll hopefully see you Sunday at KYC, other wise we'll see you when we see you.



Few problems, changed to our 85 kite, worked good, destine for a 200 mile day but a late afternoon squall changed that when we blew out that spinnaker and went back to the 1.5 kite which was much heavier and did not do well in the lighter air we encountered. I accidentally ate my ice cream sandwich which I mistook for a granola bar in the dark. Was supposed to be for the half way party. We are at 1333 now, so I guess we are looking at Monday for that event. The weather map is starting to get dicey as the high is getting large and extending close to our area, should affect every one, but so far we seem to have a good breeze with some squalls. With the breeze a little lighter we have our 3/4 oz spin that much made for us in 1993. We are babying that to make it last. We still have lots of kits but all of them old. Actually we do have Rocky's new kite but it is a little small for the boat. Still in 4th place, the boat Begiua seems to be sailing well and we have to beat them in by 5 hours and they are only .1 miles further from Hawaii than us. The computer for the race estimates our arrival at 2:45 am Sunday morning if we keep our present speed, as of 9 pdt today. We haven't slowed too much making about 7.8 average speed for the course. We did 195 miles to the good yesterday, so our straight line strategy is working for us so far, we just have to sail faster! Ham for dinner last night, breakfast burritos this morning. Tomorrow will be the test. We have fish on the menu for dinner, barbecued but we have no fish on the boat. Do we just give us fish or do we teach us how to fish? We will put line out in the morning. I was corrected, we do have tuna in the can, though our Mayonnaise did go flying across the boat earlier in the week. Our dry ice is keeping our ice cold and we are still drinking beer cold at our cocktail hour so time keeps passing and I am enjoying being our here. The company is good and the sailors are getting better, more tomorrow. Note, this goes out the next time we hook up to the modem/single sideband radio.

Aloha Les and Crew

Friday, July 18, 2008

No Fish Yet

Aloha Ocean Racing Enthusiasts,

We flew the 1.5oz. (heavier) spinaker last night. The evening was uneventful, for drama. That is a good thing. The competition came back to us a little. We are currently in fourth place in our division. But, the race has just begun. We have yet to see the moon, or many stars. We have seen a lot of ocean!!!! Early today the wind decreased, we changed spinakers to a lighter 85oz., making the steering much easier. The wind speed is 8-12 knots per hour. The ocean has swells of 1-3 meters. (No rogues, yet, Darlene) We have 1519 nm to go to the R2 buoy outside Kaneohe Bay, (which will be very near the finish line).

Our exact location is N33.33 W132.36
Boat speed currently ranges from 6.8 to 13.1 nmph.

You've heard of where is Waldo?? Where is Joe?? Not a line in the water yet, for the racing team. Hence, no fresh Mahi or Aku YET!!! We are not starving, however.

We are racing home, safely,

The Crew,
John, Les, Don, Rocky, Ellis and Randy

day 2 progress

Aloha all,

Today, the weather conditions improved. The sun popped out for a few hours, foulies were cast aside, sunglasses used and attitudes brighten by the suns glow. Yahoo....we hoisted the spinaker around 1 p.m., and are considering taking it down for the night. It definitely requires more focus. Yesterdays, "position report" had us third in our class and fifth overall. After this mornings report we dropped to fourth in our class and thirteenth overall. All the fastest boats haven't begun, yet. The race is just beginning!!??

Our current position is: N35.03 W129.37
Distance to R2 buoy: 1690 miles
Wind speed: 6-10 knots
Boat speed: 7.5 knots
Swells 2-4 meters
Current weather: clear, squalls on the horizon
Time: 3:59pm PDT

Tonights Bill of Fare....cup o soup....yumm

Sailing safe,
The crew, John, Les, Rocky, Don, Randy and Ellis

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Day One

Aloha Family and Friends,

Tuesday, July 15th at 1:45 p.m., the race start, out the "Golden Gate", heading towards Kaneohe Bay, Oahu was exhilarating! "Urban Renewal" was third of eight under the bridge. Leaving San Francisco was bitter sweet. Saying good byes to loved ones and our great friend Larry Sweet, was emotional.

Larry, on Monday, July 14th while stepping on the boat, tripped on a life line, stumbled, lacerating his cheek and severely bruising his ribs. ER diagnosis, "no Pacific Cup for Larry this year". Larry you are missed. Ellis Abram, who helped on the delivery, is now with us on the return. Thank you, Ellis. We have just completed our first 24 hours. Weather was cold and gray, but the wind and ebb tide proved beneficial.

Distance to R2 bouy, just outside Kaneohe Bay, 1928 nm.
Course: 237 degrees
Position: N36*54 W124*43
Speed: 7.2 nmph
Swells: 2-3 meters, choppy seas
Wind Direction: N 10-15 knots

Last nights dinner, salami sandwiches. Oh yeah, another reason to miss S.F., "the food". We used the Single Side Band radio, to successfully transmit our position to the race committee this morning. Much thanks to Ron Dubois and Jim Young and many, many others, for their help!!!

Day One complete and still "Sailing Safe",
Crew of "Urban Renewal"
John, Don, Rocky, Les, Randy and Ellis

The Race Is On

Today at 1:45 p.m. the crew of Urban Renewal crossed the starting line on their race back to Honolulu. With one minute to go Urban headed to the line along with several boats in close proximity. As the time crept to the final start time one boat went over early with Urban following close behind. Les’ master sailing skills kept Urban just behind the line until the final signal and she crossed the line with perfect timing. All the boats sprinted to the Golden Gate Bridge and in no time were gone. The crew checked in via cel phone about an hour later and said they were sailing along in about 12 knots of wind and doing fine.

I was able to take a video of this exciting start and hope to put a link up on the blog site as soon as I can. I have limited resources here in San Francisco, especially now that Ellis isn’t here to provide his expert technical skills, so I may need to wait until I get back to Honolulu next week. I will sneak in a blog to let you know when to video is up. I am also working sharing some of the pictures from the delivery and Bon Voyage party.

Stay tuned, Cathy

change in crew

I am sad to report that, Larry Sweet, one of the original crew members was hurt on Monday as he was working on the boat getting her ready for the race. Larry tripped on the lifeline and fell into the boat hitting his face on the gear shift. He was badly hurt and went to the hospital. He received 15 stitches on both the inside and outside of his left cheek and bruised his ribs. Doctor’s orders were, no sailing! We are all extremely saddened by this unfortunate accident. Larry is a wonderful person who was very excited to take part in this adventure. It was a solemn day for us all.

Sailing the boat with five can be done. However, it would be better with six so an offer went out to Ellis to join the team on the race back to Honolulu. Ellis felt extremely honored to be extended this invitation and accepted.
Lonely in San Francisco, Cathy

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Final message from the boys

Sorry for the delay, but got excited to reach land!!! and leave the boat (and computer). WE SET FOOT ON LAND, JULY 4TH, 01:35 a.m. in very foggy conditions, the visibility was ¼ mile. We began our run through the shipping channel at 23:15 hr..Don was at the tiller, Ellis hovering above his GPS, giving precise headings, Joe and I were at the rails starring into the fog, to find buoys. The sound of fog horns from different unseen ships passing through the shipping lanes was eerie. We could not see the “Golden Gate” until we were underneath it.
We were met, lovingly, at the dock by Ruth Ann and David, a very good friend of Don and Ruth Ann. Champagne was popped, photos were taken, hugs all around, walking on land a phenomenon. St. Francis Yacht Club has been terrific.

This concludes the first chapter. Stay tuned for the second chapter, “The Race Home”, beginning July 15/16.

They have arrived

Hurray, after 20 days at sea, the superior sailors on Urban Renewal arrived at the Saint Francis Yacht club @ 2:00 a.m. Friday morning (S.F. time) safe and sound. Ellis called me at 11:00 while I was still enjoying the Thursday after party at KYC. I proudly let everyone else at the club know they boys have landed. Harry played a song for Ellis to hear over the phone, "Should I Stay or Should I Go." What do you think that meant? The guys were fortunate that Ruth Ann flew over the day before and was able to meet them at the doc with cold beer and champagne. What an adventure for them, I am sure we will have stories to hear for months to come.

The next adventure begins on July 14th when Urban will shove off again for the race back to Honolulu. Stay tuned.


Thursday, July 3, 2008

Getting closer


Family and friends, as we head into Day 19 The wind god didn't want to visit last night, or this morning. We motored much, and sailed little, 2-3 knots per hour. This moment we are 61 miles to the Golden Gate. We need to be frugal with fuel as we enter the shipping lanes and then Bay. We will also be watching the tide charts, carefully. Last night the cloud cover, fog, was prevalent. We thought seeing the city lights a possibility, negative. At this clip, we will not hit land until later tonight or early tomorrow morning.

Our position: N 38*00 W 123*50
Wind: changing, 1-4 knots
Distance to the Gate: 61 miles

As always, sailing safe, We will keep you posted,
John, Don, Ellis and Joe

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


If there is fog, we must be close to S.F. Not true, we're still out 151 miles, and there is plenty of fog. However, not on these mugs. It is crystal clear, we are in range to hit the shore tomorrow, with just a little consistency. (Funny, we haven't seen much of that during these last 18 days.) We'll see???

Current position: N 38*20 W 126.01
Winds: ESE 8-12 knots
Swells: 1-2 m
Course: 82 degrees

We are now busy looking at charts of the coastal waters and Bay, plus, tide charts. Our first target is "Light Box", a location out 10 miles from the Golden Gate where ships stage, for their entry into the Bay. We will keep out of the shipping channels, but not by much.

More later, (but not too much more)
John, Don, Ellis and Joe

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

moving day 17

Family and friends, the last 24 hours have been excellent sailing. We made 153 miles on San Francisco.

distance to the "Gate": 321 miles remaining
current position: N 38.40 W 129.13
winds: ESE 10-15 knots
course: 80*
swells: 1-2 m

It was uplifting to have a full day of significant progress. We began July 1rst with the same conditions. The weather maps are suggesting confusion as we near the coast. So, we will plan according. The latest news comes from Joe... Aku, for lunch/dinner...just this minute. It cannot get fresher than this. Joe, to date, has caught 10 fish, five of which, were released. Way to go, Joe. All mechanical system are good. Constant tightening and tweaking a must, daily. SSB radio systems are being tested daily. If we do not report our position daily for the Race, we lose time. The St. Francis Yacht Club has consented to our company while in the Bay area. Score!!

Getting ready for a "watch" change. Weather is cool, ranging from 50 to 70 degrees. All is good, more soon.

The Crew
John, Don, Ellis and Joe

Monday, June 30, 2008

Latest news and weather


Greetings from location: N38*47 W132*45

We had, what is becoming a typical day. We started slowly, 1-2 knots early in the morn. Then, North winds, lasting 6-7 hours, at 6-9 knots. We just sat and sat during the night, for nearly 10 hours. Now the wind is coming from the South. It has been steady at 10-12 knots for the last 4 hours. Our weather maps are not showing these inconsistencies. Making it difficult to forecast arrival time. Oh well, part of the adventure. We are currently 473 miles from the Golden Gate. wind speed is 6.7 knots per mile course: 77* - - at present we are making course. All provisions are holding, but I'm surely looking forward to a few of those S.F. eateries and pubs.

More later, the crew
J.S. "galley boy", Don, Ellis and Joe

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Disclaimer Status

Aloha all,

Here is an update from J.S. (the galley guy):

Even though directionally challenged, (thank God for GPS) there have been improvements. Today, I'm on deck,....lashed to the mast....what a view. Still, a huge smile on my face. Crossing the Pacific a lifetime dream and goal, into day 15. Current position: N38.43 W134.46 Wind: North 6 - 10 knots Heading: 75* Course: 74* Miles to S.F. 558 Gray overcast skies, no rain, yet.
Coming soon, to a bulkhead near you, J.S. (the galley guy), Don, Ellis and Joe

Saturday, June 28, 2008


Aloha all - - all is well no mutiny & no keel hauling to date - - although neither one is out of the question. How ironic the Day of Reckoning comes on the exact same day as that great day you all gave us the wonderful Bon Voyage send off. Here are the gruesome facts. The wind Gods now control our fate / no more motoring fuel available. We started with 72 gal of fuel and we now have 2ea 5 gal jugs still on deck and there is approx 5 gals in the tank. Our fuel consumption rate is approx 1/2 gal per hour. So that gave us a total motoring time of 144 hours / in comparison Cirrus carried 300 hours of motoring fuel. We want to keep 10 gals in reserve so when we hit the light box at SFO we will have 20 hours of running time to get us to St Francis Yacht Club. That leaves us with 5 gals to keep the batteries charged. We burned our last reserve motoring 5 gals last night - - we motored from 2300 until 0900 this morning and still did not pick up a breeze. So we are presently @ N39-10 / W136-41 - - approx 670 nm from SFO - -wind out of the east (not the JS west) course 015 SOG 2-3 kts, seas flat and clear sky with horizon clouds. We will stay on this course for awhile to see if anything fills in and then do a tack south and see what we can carry - - course to steer for SFO is 110. We were hoping to see the fireworks over Alcatraz - - maybe next year.

Don & crew


Aloha all - - DISCLAIMER - there is a member of the crew, (we won't mention his name but his initials are JS) who is compass challenged. We have been working with him but despite the fact he is old he is also compass inept. We believe this has come from living in CA for so long, which is the west, that when he is headed to CA that is the west so he believes he is heading west @90 degrees. Until we are better able to break thru this syndrome and establish some form of compass rose understanding, JS has been relieved as tactician/navigator & relegated to full time galley duty - - standing watch purely as an observer. We are also going to start editing anything that JS sends out from this point to prevent further embarrassment for himself and the crew. As you sailors know there is a lot goes on in a voyage and being dissed by your fellow crew members is one of them.

DAILY REPORT - - not a good day for distance but great day for relaxing and reading, auto pilot working just great, wind has dropped to about 5kts out of the S/SW, calm seas, clear sky. We are @ N39-01 / W138-06 course of 065, SOG 2.5. Weather map shows we are in a small high and it should fill in out of the NW. We sure hope so - - this is not getting us to SFO. We are not motoring because we only have approx 22 gals left onboard and we need to save a certain amount for emergencies and to charge batteries As always, eating good, we all eat what we want for breakfast & lunch and then we cook dinner. Tonight was corn beef and cabbage and fruit cocktail. Missing everybody, but it sure beats working on the house, sitting in traffic and going to work.

Don & Urban Crew

Friday, June 27, 2008


The only time the cold has been a factor are the night watches. Taking "Urban" up, that equated to a 4 hr. watch. Don uses PJ bottoms for his extra layer. Easy to shop for, they can multitask?? Boots are the same, I wore socks one night, after that, nothing. Only keeps the occasional wave off, plus any cool winds. Ski or water proof gloves are good. Yesterday, we did 162 miles. Today we should do the same, Henrietta (the auto helm) is driving. Our course is 63 degrees, the position is N38*43.065 W141*37.602 We are tracking slightly north of Point Reyes. 884 miles to "The Gate".

Hope this finds all of you healthy,




We are back to sailing. Had a brilliant 24 hours yesterday, 162 miles gained, with beautiful conditions. 10-14 wind speed, with a SW wind, 4 to 5 foot rolling swells, stars leading the way during the night watches. Today, is a "copy / paste" of yesterday. Apparently, we will ride these conditions straight to the West Coast. Today, on the boat we arranged the remaining provisions. On the whole, our projections are very close. (Except TP, we'll have enough for the next few crossings.) And like everyday, tightened nuts and bolts, checked lines for wear, added to the "to do list" in preparation for the Race. Our start day moved up a day to July 15th at 14:10 hrs. That leaves us one less day to prepare. Not to worry , we WILL be prepared. We are currently 877 miles to the Golden Gate. Our heading is 72 degrees. Our position is N38*45 W141*27 Current boat speed 6.7 knots per hour.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR be DAR, our beards are of sailing salts, (some scruffier than others)

Miss you all, til tomorrow.

John, Don, Ellis and again, "no fish today, Joe" waaas up?

FLASH / FLASH/ FLASH// - - Joe just caught an aku

Thursday, June 26, 2008

still moving along

Picked up a nice south wind - - cruising along on a beam reach heading of 70 - - I want to keep going a little north and east at the same time - - absolutely gorgeous day - - brilliant blue sky -- little following sea making 6-7 kts toward SFO. Lat 38-53 / Lon 145-00 - - now this is what it is all about. I had my first mid Pacific bath. Happily surprised the water temp was near 70 degrees. The boat was only moving about 1 1/2 knots. Surprising to myself, it took an effort to catch up to Urban. Our latitude was 38*60, I was expecting much colder temp. Hope all goes well on the home front. This is a VERY good experience. The learning curve is HUGE,

John, Don, Ellis, no fish today, Joe


Bernie & Bennie were family - - we all know the grieving process that goes with the loss of a loved one. It did not take but a day for the crew to notice the difference in Bennie since Bernie was gone. Bennie became lackluster, roamed around on deck, couldn't stay focused in one position. The extra workload and the loss of Bernie was more then Bennie could cope with. Bennie try befriending the loan white throw cushion, but to no avail, Bennie was forlorn and broken in spirit. Bennie was severely injured early in the trip and had a drastic weight loss - - we were able to patch him up but we did not have the necessary skills and refurbishment onboard so Bennie had been having a hard time even before the loss of Bernie. Sooooo late one evening while we were sailing along Bennie slipped quietly into the loving arms of the Pacific Ocean to be one with Bernie and circle the Pacific High forever. Both are "sorely" missed and we will hope to contact family in SFO to see if they want to join the crew and see the Pacific like Bernie & Bennie!!!!!!! MASTER & COMMANDER OF URBAN RENEWAL WITH ALL RESPECT FOR THE FALLEN / don brown

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

new sailor tip #2

Here is another tip for new sailors to help us sail more comfortably. Stay warm, especially feet and hands. Foul weather gear is not enough to keep you warm. You need warm mid and base layers, maybe not so much pants but certainly jackets or at least long sleeve shirts. At night on deck it is doubly cold and wet and if you are sailing fast then that means it's very windy too. Water proof gloves and boots are not a luxury, it will go a long way in helping you not be miserable on a cold, windy, rainy night watch. So don't skimp on the cold weather stuff. If your brother (Steve) sneers at you and thinks you are going overboard you are just getting to the warmness level you need, don't be afraid to go a little more.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Think Wind

Tuesday morning and we are drifting along @3-5Kts, wind is suppose to fill in from the NW pretty strong - - that will be good because we are coming down from Lat 39. Working on projects on the boat. We have Approx 22 gals of fuel remaining so we really do not want to do any long time motoring this far out. Need to save for an emergency and battery charging - - so we are slow rolling it right now on our way to SFO. Well it is 1900 and we have had no wind all day - - no miles made good to SFO. We all took a swim and took Prell baths had corn beef and cabbage and worked around the boat. When you are cruising and you get days like this it is a pleasant break - - but when you are trying to get somewhere by a certain date it kind of weighs on you that you have completely lost a day. We are at Lat 38-29 / Lon 147-15 - seas calm, clear skies distant clouds, 3kts of wind out of the N making no way. Everybody is catching up on laundry, drying out fowlies and reading. Lots of smack talking going on between the crew about stuff & things and what we are going to do when we get to SFO. We miss all of you but are having a good time in our own way. Everybody think wind out of the NW

Are we sailing yet?


Family and friends, the last day and a half qualify as contributing to the adventure. We sat and sat, finally last evening we picked up an 8/9 knot breeze coming from the south, PERFECT. For nearly 7 hours, we touched nothing, we were being taken in the exact course we could have asked. Only, at 2:15 a.m., the wind suddenly shifts, the sails backfill and all hands are on deck!! By 3 a.m. the excitement is over. We'll survey damage control at sunrise. Results: only a few more gray hairs. This morning started slowly, again. By 10 a.m. northwesterly winds picked up and we have been moving very well since. Yahoo....back to sailing. At the moment our position is : N 39*06 W 148*81

We are on a perfect heading towards California. North/Northeast, 15-20 knots, rolling seas and an occasional bounder. Our heading is 090, in other words straight west. The weather data we're collecting indicates we should have a great run all the way to S.F. We are roughly 1200 miles from the coast. IF, we do 120-140 per day, we make land in 10-12 days. Today is our 8th day. Todays culinary delight was Pop Tarts followed in the late afternoon by chili. Note: Joe caught no edible fish today. Also, we have not had a cold beverage since Day 5/6, all ice long melted. The adventure continues. One certainty, things will change!!!! Speaking of change, we have been notified that our start date will move up one day to Tuesday July 15th.

We'll keep in touch, The "Urban Renewal" gang,

John, Don, Ellis and Joe

Monday, June 23, 2008


From day one, my first safety meeting with the crew, Bernie & Bennie Beanbag showed an air of arrogance and safety to the wind attitude. When we got underway they where always sitting high on the rail with no harness & not hooked on. They would sit out on deck by themselves never once hooked up. Well as fate would have it when you live in the fast lane - - late last night when a squall came thru and everybody was scrambling - - when the rain and wind stopped Bernie was gone. Bennie is grieving and has finally seen the error of his ways and is certainly hanging on much tighter. Our thoughts and certainly our butts go out to Bernie, drifting the Pacific never to be seen again. Hopefully we will be able to find some family members in SFO and reunite them with Bennie and add them to the crew list. In memory of Bernie we dropped a lei at the site - - our butts certainly miss Bernie Beanbag. Master & Commander of the mighty Urban Renewal / Don Brown

The new guy experience

This is my first crossing and longest ocean voyage I have ever made. Being on the water for over a week I have learned a few things (tips) that may help new sailors like myself prepare for something like this, and for the old salts it may bring back an amusing account or event where they may have first learned or had these experiences.

The first tip is very simple, anyone who has sailed or even had to much to drink will understand this. Tip number one is "one hand for the boat". On the ocean or even in rough coastal waters you always need to have one hand for holding on. So you will need to do everything with one less hand so to speak. You will surly find yourself in some awkward and precarious positions as you work your way around the boat. The simple task of putting on your pants can be a struggle. I will write again as my learning experiences mount. Ellis

Living Good in the High

We are at Lat 37-16 /Lon 150-06 about 1284 nm from Point Reyes but still headed north - - We want to get to Lat 39 before we turn (one degree is 60 nm) and we are sailing and motor sailing intermittently as the winds allow us. The seas are rolling swells @ 2 feet, cloud cover with squalls, wind at 8knts out of the SW, we are trying everything / wing on wing & tomorrow we are going to fly the chute if it is still like this. We are starting to be careful with our fuel we are down to approx 30 gals / we burn 1/2 gal an hour so we need to keep enough fuel to make sure and be able to charge the batteries for the complete trip and also save some in case we run into another high. We have plenty of food and water and this afternoon John gave me my first cribbage lesson and Ellis & Joe were playing domino's - - we have Henry the auto pilot on watch right now. We take turns cooking and we have used up all the great meals everybody prepared for us and now we are into canned goods. Nothing cold left onboard. We do not get internet so we can not see the blog but I hear Cathy is doing a great job - thanxs Cathy. Spirits are good - - we need some wind. Don and Crew

looking for wind

N 36`34.953' W 150`22.950' GPS 008M 0510 HST

We hit a little wind last night about 7 knts coming from SSW, a little push but not enough to turn off the motor. It doesn't mater though at 1600 hrs we will have to shut down to conserve gas to charge the batteries, I guess we then become real sailors and go where the wind blows us, maybe Aculpoco! Hopefully we will find some favorable wind today. Ellis

Sunday, June 22, 2008

one week recap

First, the latest news. We are sitting in a high:N 35*34 W 150*51 What that means, very little wind. So with the use of computer systems, we are trying to find a good westerly wind to take us to the west coast. The computer has us in that wind within a few hours, however, there is no sign of change. These are the situations that make this an adventure. If this "high" continues, we will conserve on fuel, so occasionally we can charge our batteries. Joe, caught another Mahi today, (that's three so far), while doing our laundry. So, since the seas were flat, we had our first BBQ. The mahi was marinaded in shoyu, ginger and a little garlic for a few hours. We added to our dinner with cole slaw. One of the only green produce that will survive out here. A terrific meal and conversation. The view wasn't bad either. We have seen a little debris thus far. All of it in the last day and a half, in this "high". Spirits are very good, but we are sailors looking for wind. For the crew racing back to Kaneohe, last night I could have used a third layer below the waist.

Here is a peek at our watch schedules: Don and I 2 a.m. until 6 a.m. noon until 6 p.m. 10 p.m. until 2 a.m. Joe and Ellis 6 a.m. until noon 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. 2 a.m. until 6 a.m. Looking forward to our winds freshening,

John, Don, Ellis and Joe

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Fresh fish

Current position GPS N 35`08.639 W 151`02.308 1435 HST Well once again the weather is not cooperating with us. We have been motoring for 2 full days and it seems that another high is coming down on us. At least we all got to do laundry. We are low on fuel and have to keep some in reserve to charge the batteries. When the fuel is gone we will just have to wait for the wind to come to us. Once we get to the Lat 39` we will hang a right and head for SF if there is wind and when it comes hopefully it is in the direction we want to go. We have to get to the race before the 16th. Everything cold is gone and there is no refrigeration on this boat. We do however have a great fisherman name Joe who catches Mahimahi almost every other day so we have some very fresh fish most times. The crew is in good spirits and waiting for some wind. Ellis

we are HIGH

Well it is 0300 hours and John and I are sitting out in the moonlight with the auto pilot steering away with the engine running going 6 knots due north going thru the high. Checking the weather grids - - we are at N34 W151 and at N35/36 some westerly winds are suppose to fill in. I sure hope so we only have so much. Fishing is good and the crew is getting along just fine.

Still heading north

Yonoo - - the tiller is 24' from pin to end of handle. Les if we could we would be going north, it is just a little hard with the wind coming out of the north - - you know it is that sailboat thing. So we are going North as much as possible and east as little as possible to get up to 39 - - when we get to 150 I have to make a decision for my next move. Weather grid shows some west filling in which would be great - - but until something else happens we are stuck tacking back and forth. Thanxs for the start time. r/don

Attitude for Latitude

Thanxs for all the info Les - - we call the rudder post thumping the boat "heart Beat" it has stayed pretty much the same but it definitely needs looked at in SFO. The tiller ext - - we just safety wired and taped the two broken ones together to make a good one. The roller furling story - - when we went to roll it up the the drum just spun freely not turning the luff. Upon examination the three set screws that hold the luff to the drum were missing. I don't think they we ever tightened and just vibrate out. I replaced them with screws we had on board - - not the correct size but it is working. We will need to tap out the threads and put the right ones in at SFO. I hope they hold out - - if not we will have to strip that jib and go to a smaller one. As far as dry boat goes that story is over - - I think there is one dry spot in the cabin - - that is my gin bottle - - leaks, leaks and more leaks. This will not go down in the log as our most favorite leg. Grey sky, wind out of the north at 15 - 20, rolling seas out of the north and we are motor sailing at 5 knots on a course of 5 -6 knots - - we are slowly working our way up north. Rock, I believe all boats are offered (for free) the transenders. Yes, please...everyone will be able to follow us. We are already in our cold weather gear. Position N 33*05 W 152*50 Somebody said, "It affects your attitude when you leave the latitudes,", thanks, Jimmy. This morning I started with T-shirt, fleece shirt from Luann, heavy foulies and ski gloves with ski hat and boots, and Under Armor bottoms. (Enjoy the beach, you turkies.) That worked for an hour and half. Then had to strip the fleece and ski cap. Replacing the fleece with Patagonia. Good combination for me. Hard call on Joe's flight. We working hard getting North.
Great experience out here, John and Don

Friday, June 20, 2008

are we having fun yet?

We just can't get a break on the wind -- won't let us head north - so we are making good time going the wrong way. Cooking is quite the challenge, serving is no easier and clean up is just as much fun. John and I are on watch together and Ellis & Joe are together. We continue to work 6 on 6 off during the day and 4 on & 4 off from 1800 until 0600. It is working out well. Not many leaks - but any leak is in the wrong place and annoying. Don

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Day 3

Aloha, Crew, today was great sailing. 12 to 15 knots out of the east, all day long. We encountered no squalls today, with none on the horizon as the sun sets. Our average speed today was 6.4. We've been eating well, but no one is over hungry, provisions are holding very well. Les, Don went back to the bolt for the rudder and tightened it, again. The impact was immediate. No clanking, and tiller play at a minimum. Received your e-mail, but, Don would prefer to tighten daily, if needed. As of 6 p.m., we have 1634 miles to go. Our position is: N 27*54.766 W 153*20.769 Thanks for the Tiger update.Back to the sunset, John

to beat or not to beat

Aloha all - - beating north to get to the HIGH - - for those of you who have beat to weather you know / / for those that have not don't do it!!!! HA!! All are settling in / working 6 on & 6 off during the day & 4 on 4 off during the night. Catching fish, chasing the squaws and having a great time. We are 450 nm north of Kaneohe N 27 -13 / W 153 - 40. Approx 1700 nm from SFO. DR

still learning


We had one calamity, we spilt one of our dinners behind the stove. Ah, the learning curve continues. there were a few squalls today. Good training. We made 144 miles the day. Our spot on the globe as of noon Monday was N25*41.223 W155*05.339 Nautical miles to S.F. is 1782. The seas have been aggravated with the squall activity.
Love to call, The Crew

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Monday update

Don called in and said everything is OK. The weather goes from squalls to almost nothing. They are going back in forth from dropping the jib to full sails ahead when the squall goes by. Everyone seems to be OK and no one has gotten sick. They had turkey dinner last night and enjoyed the food. Food is still frozen but the ice is almost gone. Don and crew say hello and good sailing to everyone.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Randy Reed

My favorite color is racing! I pit crew with the Baja Fools in the Baja Trophy Truck races. As far as sailing, I’m part of the crew on Ho’onanea out of the Kaneohe Yacht Club, where I am a member, along with my girlfriend Lora.
I’m basically the go-to guy when something doesn’t sound right on a boat or in a boat’s engine for some of my friend’s boats. I work full time for the Federal Government in Pest Control at the PWC at Pearl Harbor, and own Randy’s Auto Service in Kaneohe.
This is my first Pacific Cup. I’ve done a whole lot of racing in Hawaii, but this is my first – and longest – race so far, sailing.
I have two daughters, Ashley and Megan and a lot of family and extended family in California and Montana – with the exception of my mom, Mary, who will be working in Alaska this summer. (p.s. this photo show me the day of the race -- my first time at Wal-Mart, getting purple yarn. You'd better check out Don Brown's profile to learn why the yarn had to be purple.)

First Day

Great send off......what a start, beautiful breeze and good friends. We are 138 statute miles from the R-2 bouy,just out of Kaneohe bay, only 2252 to go to S.F. n 23*24.440 w 157*15.274 The sunset, stars and sunrise were especially ordered for us. BEAUTIFUL!!

Not much sleep for anyone last night. Joe caught a small Aku, we released it. The only real excitement, one of the bean bag chairs sprung a leak. We are waiting for the stuffing to dry.
Life is good, John and crew.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Bon Voyage

At 10:02 this morning the delivery crew of Urban Renewal set off for their great adventure across the Pacific Ocean. Family and friends gathered to wish these four sailors fairwinds and calm seas in traditional Kaneohe Yacht Club style. Bloody Marys and Mimosas flowed as well wishers gave many hugs, kisses, handshakes, and of course a good old pat on the back to these fine men.

Urban set off towards the Sanpan channel and two boats tagged along for one last goodbye. Urban raised sails and started pulling away, she was moving fast and looking great. As she pulled into the channel the crew gave their leis to the ocean, turned towards us, circled around our boat, and set off. It was a perfect day to start their journey: clear skies, 8 knots of breeze, and calm seas.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Yoooo Purple Flash here, Don Brown

Purple is my favorite color. Sixty three years young and just full of it!! I have been sailing for 50 years starting with a sunfish on the fire ponds on the farm in Hershey, PA. Just retired from the Army Reserve & Army Civil Service and loving every minute. Ruthann and I bought a Catalina 380 and sailed it to HI from San Diego and we have it at Kaneohe Yacht Club. I have a 100 ton CG license and am presently Vice Commodore of Kaneohe Yacht Club. So far I have Five Pacific crossings, couple each way and have raced Pacific Cup twice before. Also did a great Tahiti race with Kamiloa. Sailing is my favorite but I also enjoy tennis, racket ball, riding my Harley, skiing, jogging, kayaking and giving Ruthann a hard time and loving her to pieces. Two daughters, 5 grand kids & two super son-in-laws. Life is good.

Joe D. Farrell

At 5,10 155 with blond hair and blue eyes,arguably the best looking of the delivery crew. I grew up sailing and surfing the hawaiian waters from age five till this day.and on my second hawaii to california passage.Fishing is one of my passions and this trip allows me to fish every day!with three Mahi's and an Albacore landed already were not starving yet.i Have two daaughters Portia Kainoa and Jannick Piilani who are both living on oahu and doing wery well with their job's and have great boyfriends.yes lady's I am now single and live in Kaneohe.Sea ya soon.

John Stolp

Moved from Santa Cruz to Kailua two years ago, with my beautiful wife of 29 years, Gail. Been sailing for many years, but the real education began in Hawaiian waters, Kaneohe Bay, interisland trips, etc. The fantastic thing about sailing is the never ending learning opportunities. Coupled with association with great friends. Two children, one of which is currently in Zambia, traveling the world. My passions are sailing, adventure and golf. Come to think of it, golf is an adventure for me. Life IS Good, and, the Best is Yet to Come.

Ellis Abram

New to sailing less than 3 years with my SO Cathy Pratt. We have a beach cat and a Ranger 33 on the windward side. Currently Rear Commodore of Sail for Makani Kai Yacht Club, I like competing in races as well as cruising. This is my first trans pacific crossing and also the longest I've been on a boat. Sine I have become a boat owner I've learned more about boat repair than sailing but still have a lot to learn.