Here is a spreadsheet that calculates the loss of a vhf coax in a boat, as a function of the type of coax used and the length of each segment of coax.
This document includes some suggestions for good practices for masthead vhf-ais antenna selection and installation, and describes how coax can be easily tested.
In all but light air, we sheet the spinnaker via an “outgrabber”. This is a nearly forgotten technique from the heyday of symmetrical spinnakers. It stabilizes the spinnaker when running deeply without having the leech get too tight the way it does if you just moved the spinnaker lead forward on the rail. For racing it is specifically allowed by 50.3 (b) in the Racing Rules of Sailing.
For details see:
Notes on weather sources for San Francisco Bay Racing:
Here are some powerpoint slides with background on the TA record, the 8000+ routes we ran for the previous 11 years of weather to figure it out, and some images showing our actual weather and track. Note how small our patch of wind was late on 25 July and early on the 26 July. We were lucky.
We use a Lavac head, which we’ve found to be trouble free. The Lavac head uses a standard Henderson diaphragm pump. We added some PVC plumbing and valves on the input side of the diaphragm pump so that we can also use it as a backup bilge pump, to pump out the floor of the head if we use the hand-shower, or to empty the holding tank.
We cut out the original Cal 40 hatches and glassed in short pedestals that are about 2 inches high at the outboard edges and absolutely flat on the top. We then installed Lewmar hatches on the short pedestals. They have been perfect and leak free for 28 years. We lubricate and clean the rubber seals every few years with some silicone grease.
The varnish on the top edge of the cockpit coamings on Cal40’s never lasts long because folks sit on it, step on it, drag lines over it, and hit it with winch handles.
We borrowed an idea from Lin and Larry Pardey and put a top piece of brushed teak on the top of the coamings. The bit of brushed teak on the top is slightly wider than the coamings, which makes it more comfortable to sit on. It also makes it easier to not get varnish on it because the proud edge of the brushed teak holds the edge of the varnish brush when you’re varnishing the coamings.
That bit of brushed teak needs no maintenance, the color looks fine with the varnish surface next to it, and it saves tons of wear, tear, and work.
Bob Pearce built this table for us. It is removable for racing. It is terrific for cruising. The normal Cal 40 table tended to be in the way.
It folds up out of the way against the main bulkhead. It can be used either in a single width mode or doublewide. It is held up by a spectra line.
If Sally sets up her sewing machine on it we have a removable foot to hold the table up because the spectra line would be in the way.
We use hanks on Illusion. We like the ability to change headsails easily. Shorthanded it is also nice to be able to just run the jib halyard and not worry about anything going wrong. This is a helpful ability either in a squall, or in a spinnaker set. When you’ve got time you can pull the jib out of the bow wave and onto the deck.
In the old days when Cal 40’s were used for the Congressional Cup, with full crews and hanks, we did the same thing. At the weather mark the mastman would just run the jib halyard and let the jib just sit on the bow wave. The first crewman available after the set would later pull the jib out of the bow wave, over the lifelines and onto the deck.
Racing Illusion singlehanded on Farallon Races I would always gain on my competitors when we passed Point Blunt and had to change from our #1’s to #3’s. I’d do a bald-headed change, but I’d already have the new sail hanked on under the old one, so I’d just have to drop the old sail, tie it to the deck, unhank it, move the halyard, and hoist the new sail. At no point in the process was there any risk of losing control of a sail or having a sail blow out of the luff groove. Meanwhile the guys trying to change a luff groove genoa by themselves were having a very difficult time, and the guys with roller furlers had a hopeless sail shape once furled and were out of the race.
We don’t see many boats using hanks any more in the cruising fleet, but it works great for us.
On Illusion for cruising and deliveries we use a 125% reefable solent jib, and keep it on deck in a jib bag when at anchor. We didn’t invent this sail. I first ran across this idea when I delivered the Cal 40 Whisper back from Hawaii after the 1975 Transpac. I credit the Brauch’s for inventing it although Whisper’s solent jib used reefpoints instead of a zipper and tended to hold water in the reef.
The jib has two tacks and two clews.
To reef the jib you temporarily drop it on deck, roll the foot up, run the very heavy zipper which encloses the rolled up foot, change to the new tack and clew, and rehoist. The jib goes from a 120 to a short hoist 100. Having the reefed foot enclosed in the zippered pocket keeps any water from accumulating in the folds of the reef, which can happen if you use reef points.
Reefing the jib has a number of advantages. The sail has a perfect shape both when reefed and unreefed. We are able to carry one fewer sail.
For racing upwind, however, we use a #3. We do use the highcut, reefable 125% as a blast reacher in Hawaii Races.