Pacific Cup 2008 on Sweet Okole

Start Date: July 15th - Finish Date: July 26th Result: 2nd Division C, 15th Overall

The Sweet Okole Program

Who: Dean, Pam, Helmar, Alex, Brian and Bill
Port: Richmond, CA
30 July 2008 | 2nd Division
08 July 2008 | including handicap times
07 July 2008 | Bowshot
03 July 2008 | We love your products!
29 June 2008 | Richmond Yacht Team Entry
27 June 2008 | Division C Start is Tuesday 7/15 @ 2:00pm
25 June 2008 | 20 days left to get ready!
20 June 2008
12 June 2008

Sweet Okole and Pac Cup 2008 video

01 August 2008
Discovery Channel

Race Summary

30 July 2008 | 2nd Division

Thank you to all our Sweet Okole friends and family for your interest and support through our epic 2000 mile Pacific Cup Race. It was a physically and mentally exhausting race and it was inspiring to think we had well wishes coming from both shores.

I'd also like to acknowledge the crew of Bullet for not only being smarter than us, but also sailing fast. They sailed a terrific race. Congratulations to them.

The race this year was so demanding in part because of the unusually strong squalls that came on at night. They were typically packing 20-30 mph winds. Coinciding with little to no moon for the second part of the race, the squalls were tough to deal with.

Toward the end of the race, sleep deprivation also became an issue with several members of the SO crew getting less than 4 hours sleep in the final two days.

Also due to the windy conditions and our pressing so hard to catch the Express 37, Bullet, we experienced a number of equipment challenges. The SO crew responded to each challenge and never let them become an excuse for letting up. In no particular order, the following had impact on our performance:

1) shredded No. 2 jib
2) shredded No. 2 reacher (jib)
3) blew out the mid-range running spinnaker
4) protective fiberglass on hull delaminated on forward left side
5) marine instrumentation failed
6) navigation hampered by lack of consistent web access
7) SSB antenna near top of the mast needed repair work

On the positive side, this year's Pacific Cup provided great sailing. I'd say, to use a skiing metaphor, it was a double black diamond run that went 24/7 for 300 consecutive hours!

Regarding the infamous split with Bullet, in hindsight, we should have obviously gone further south. At the time, however, we were pulling away from them and the majority of our fleet was north of us so we made the strategic decision to head further west and as best we could stay between the fleet and the finish line. What we did not expect was for Bullet to find much stronger winds to the south. Although our track made it seem like we actually headed back north, that was not our intention. Sweet Okole sails faster on a broad reach than directly downwind in less than 20 mph of wind which is why our course looked so jagged (we jibed on wind direction changes to keep up a maximum VMG or velocity made good.) And a dog ate our charts :-)

Check out the videos to get a sense of what life on board was like. (Will be uploaded on 8/1/08.)

Our Division C Lineup

08 July 2008 | including handicap times
The Pacific Cup race organizers cluster boats with roughly similar performance characteristics into divisions. In addition to clustering boats, they also assign a Pacific Cup Rating (PCR) handicap equal to some number of seconds per mile for each boat which factors in more subtle differences between the boats in any particular division. The PCR also allows for boats in different divisions to quasi-compete for overall standing. Realistically, with divisions starting over several days, luck will play a part in overall results. For example, Division C starts on Tuesday 7/15 and Division D on Wednesday 7/16. If one day is foggy and the other sunny, the wind conditions will likely be very different giving one of the divisions a big advantage. So getting back to what we have more control over (our competitors in Division C) here they are with handicaps relative to Sweet Okole and the key for identifying the boats pictured above:

Boats we owe time to (ie we need to finish in front of by more than the handicap allowance to "correct out" ahead in the final scoring):

"B" Bequia - SO spots them 1 hour, 43 m, 30 s
"E" Oceanaire - SO spots them 34 m, 30 s
"A" Ada Helen - SO spots them 34 m, 30 s

Boats we get time from (ie if we finish behind these boats by less time than the handicap allowance, we will correct out ahead of them:

"C" Tiki Blue - SO gets 1 hour, 9 m, 0 s
"F" Urban Renewal - SO gets 2 hours, 52 m, 30 s
--- Rabian (no pic) - SO gets 2 hours, 52 m, 30 s
"D" Bullet - SO gets 2 hours, 52 m, 30 s

Sweet Okole is looking good to go!

07 July 2008 | Bowshot
Dean and Pam have been working hard to get SO ready to race. Today, they completely emptied the boat of everything that wasn't bolted on. Then they gave her a good cleaning. SO looks spectacular. I took this quick shot of the bow this afternoon. As wide as SO is toward the back of the boat (which was the inspiration behind naming her), she is equally radically narrow in the bow.

Thank You Clif Bar & Company

03 July 2008 | We love your products!
From the food challenged crew of Sweet Okole
It's all about who you know and we are feeling so fortunate to have friends over at the Clif Bar & Company who have supplied us with a generous sampling of their bars and goodies to supplement our minimalist menu. The Sweet Okole crew is half ecstatic and half relieved that we'll have such tasty alternatives to hard boiled eggs and PB&J's. Thank you Clif Bar & Company!

Sweet Summer AMoore

29 June 2008 | Richmond Yacht Team Entry
An added twist: Team scoring = more chances at the podium! Sweet Okole is teaming with "Moore Havoc" and "Summer Moon". If it's windy, you gotta like this trio of downwind flyers.

From the PacCup website...

Suggested by the Storm Trysail Club and patterned after a trophy awarded in many of their races, this trophy will add a new dimension to the race. At the end of the race, one yacht club will take home the trophy, celebrating a combined performance under a single burgee.

Pacific Cup organizers hope that this new trophy will foster an additional competitive spirit. Some clubs may well find this triggers more than one discussion at the bars or the docks.
Vessel Name: Sweet Okole
Vessel Make/Model: Custom Farr 36
Hailing Port: Richmond, CA
Crew: Dean, Pam, Helmar, Alex, Brian and Bill
About: This race we are going with a mix of experience and youth. Three of us have done the Pacific Cup twice before. Everyone is excited and looking forward to getting underway.

The Sweet Okole Program

Who: Dean, Pam, Helmar, Alex, Brian and Bill
Port: Richmond, CA