ETA for CA Tweets

October 12th, 2009

I added an ETA field to the Twitter updates of California, displaying month/day and time in UTC. It is based simply on the last 12 hour progress and the distance to finish. Because the 12 hour progress can vary a lot, the ETA should be taken with a big grain of salt. See yourself at clippercal.

California Clipper on Twitter

October 5th, 2009

To get immediate updates of the progress of California on your cell phone you can follow on Twitter.
The data is from Clipper’s Race Viewer converted into a more concise format.

1004-1500z #10(10) 12HR=24(27) DTF=3309(-4) DTL=588(+20) Racing


  • date (month/day) and time (24 hour format, in UTC)
  • 12 hour progress in nautical miles (previous 12 hour progress in parentheses)
  • distance to finish in nautical miles (difference to previous report in parentheses)
  • distance to leading boat in nautical miles (difference to previous report in parentheses)
  • status
  • First Leg Underway

    September 15th, 2009

    Following the first leg with Clipper’s online Race Viewer. Exciting, although California is last at the moment.

    Starting Part C

    July 18th, 2009

    The last two days have been a well-received break. I spent the first night in a bed&breakfast in Cowes on the Isle of Wight to be able to sleep in a real bed, after having soaked in a real bath. For some strange reason during the night the room appeared to be hull-like curvature and the bed felt tilted to one side. In the morning I went into a few of these many sailing shops on High Street in Cowes. It felt somewhat weird to be in the Henri Lloyd shop while wearing (at least) two pieces branded Henri Lloyd / Clipper. The other shop stuck out because the guy there was scolding his (apparent) demented mother for not again giving away goods for too cheap. Funnily the other Clipper guys who visited Cowes later on the same day reported a similar experience. There was also a good-sized dog being happy to stand adjacent to me and whip me with his tail while carrying around a pair for socks in his mouth which he got from the basket of sailing socks. I finally bought a Dubarry cap with a massive lanyard and an LED flash light which goes from white to red to blue to green. Not that I know when to use the blue or green.

    Next day being back in Gosport I did my laundry, sent some of my excess clothes as a package back to my home address. Unfortunately I exceeded the 2kg cheaper rate limit and paid 37 GPB, so I had to draw more money later in the afternoon.

    A good portion of the part C crew has arrived so far. We are waiting for the two persons coming back from the provisions shopping. Some seem to be eager to go to the pub. We got an initial briefing of the skipper. The next two days will be daysailing out of Gosport, followed by a 5 day “race” with the other part C boats probably towards Ushant. Can’t wait to get on this longer trip.

    Moving on to Part B

    July 11th, 2009

    Starting part B was kind of bizarr, finishing off a great part A on a Clipper 60 boat and moving on to Clipper 68 boat on the same day. The first half of the day was filled with doing a deep cleaning of the part A boat, while getting laundry done together with the other crew mates, because there is just a single washer and dryer. At the same time all of us who continued on part B moved their stuff over to their respective 68 boat early to reserve a good bunk. After having a short 15 break at the Pump House cafe, work continued: The clothing kit was issued. The foul weather gear, some jacket and t-shirt. This took longer than I thought. It’s also going to be interesting how I will transport the additional gear home (via Germany).

    Giving out the gear kit

    Giving out the gear kit

    At 16:00 I was back at CV9, my part B boat, where the remaining crew started to show up. The remainder of the day was filled with a walk-through of all systems on the boat. The skipper is Brendan, the race skipper of CV9. He is pretty organized in laminating lots of useful information and posting it to the cabin walls.

    Since I got power and Internet working from the boat (in the marina) just today, I hope to be able to write more in the next days. The previous days were packed with work and things to learn, as well as lots of fun.

    Laundry Break

    July 1st, 2009

    Having passed the Nav & Met course I got now some time before the next training module, part A, starts tomorrow at 1800. I’m doing my laundry using the washer and dryer of the marina facilities. The washer is 3 GBP and the dryer 2 GBP, depending on how dry the laundry should get.

    Washer & Dryer

    Washer & Dryer

    Then all I’ve got to do is to pack my stuff off Black Adder, the boat I have been (basically just) sleeping on the last few days, on to Serica, right in the next berth, which I’m assigned to for my part A. Being that early on the boat before everybody else should allow me to get the best bunk close to the mast. The bunk I had on Black Adder sucked pretty much. Being an upper bunk, it didn’t have a lot of headroom and was slightly tilted to the inside so my sleeping bag slided slowly and ended up in the lee cloth to a good amount.

    The remaining plan for the day is then further to get some more money from the ATM downtown which is a 15 minute walk away, head for the pub and find a place for dinner. Sounds manageable.

    Plotting and Drawing

    June 30th, 2009

    The first days we spend with a lot of chart work. Dead Reckoning and Course To Steer. For both we need the tide vectors. Working that out is tedious, starting with getting the hour before/after high water, which gives the vector bearing and two speeds for spring tide and neap tide. These speeds need then to be interpolated using the Computation of Rates graph using the tidal range of the corresponding day and time.

    After doing a rehersal of Lights and Shapes and taking the test on them, we got into the topic of Passage Planing. It’s even more work of looking up details from the almanac / cruising guide and collecting these in the passage plan. Time zone conversion was subject to long debates: Converting the time of high water looked up from the table of (fictitious) Victoria kept in UT into a place on (also fictitious) Southern Peninsula running on SP DST.
    The “home work” took then about 2.5 hours after class (still sitting the class room). At least afterwards we got out for a few beers and some decent food.


    June 29th, 2009

    Checking in at the United counter with almost no people waiting, the lady behind the counter took my boarding pass I already printed via online check-in and said, “today is your lucky day, I’m upgrading you to business class”. Sure I did not argue. After getting through the security gate, just having sat down comfortably at the gate, a United representative announced that the flight is overbooked, and they are sorting out who can get on this flight. A few minutes later they announced a first list of names and my name was among them. The United representative at the gate counter took my boarding pass, gave me a new one and mumbled something “because I’m a good United customer”. Soon thereafter, I could board while they were still looking for volunteers to fly the next day.
    The flight was pretty uneventful. I ate too much and trank too much. I have to confess that even the business class seats are still away from being optimal, i.e. I didn’t sleep too well. The arrival at Heathrow was quick in terms of bagagge, immigration and customs.
    I then made the mistake to take the Heathrow express train to Paddington, connecting to Waterloo by Tube to finally connect to the train to Portsmouth Harbor. My two bags were quite heave to carry around. I should have taken the coach from Heathrow to Woking as I initially had in mind. The train was a little on the small side and I had to put my bags into the bicyle compartment. The overhead compartments in the passenger cars were too small. The final leg to the water taxy was just a few meters from the train station. I arrived while the Clipper office was still open. Carol offered me a cup of tea and took the Clipper forms I had filled out before.
    I headed to Blackadder Clipper, at the close-by dock. It is my local accomodation for the next days until training module A starts.

    Booked on California

    May 31st, 2009

    Yesterday was Crew Allocation Day in Portsmouth. It’s now official: I’m booked for leg 3 on California. Three and a half more weeks before I leave for my training…

    From the Androids

    April 3rd, 2009

    Finally the various pieces come together. Writing a first post on my G1 and sending it by e-mail to my blog. The WP plugin “postie” converts it into the readable text. Images are supported as well, but I’ll try that another day.