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Back from Europe – was I looking at Kiwi Spirit II?

Took a break from bike training to go to Europe. First stop was Kiel, Germany where they are building a French designed 54′ Finot-Cinq fast short handed cruiser. It’s in truth the only boat that I have seen that fits what I believe I will need if I make a third attempt at a solo circumnavigation.  It was in early build and I need to see more before deciding. Then I went to the Dusseldorf boat show – no doubt the largest in the works dwarfing strictly sail in Miami and the sailboat show in Annapolis, in truth there were some twenty plus boats in the fifty foot plus range and I got to study them all. So much to reflect on. Now I start serious discussions.

Incidentally there are two attempting a circumnavigation at the moment. Tis the season. One like me had to put into Cape Town when he had electrical problems and the other continues but is slow and looks like 170 days and the record is 135. He’s also younger.

First day home I picked up my new Trek 7.7 hybrid bike with fancy looking gel seat. This bike I hope will serve me better than my road bike on hill ascents and there is to be plenty of them. The gel seat I hope helps for that’s my biggest problem – painful bottom after an hour or so, relived by walking around but hellish by the end of three or four hours. No other problems.

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2016 – A Busy Year

2016 will be a very busy year with some rather lofty and ambitious plans and some difficult decisions.

1.The year starts with the challenge to raise participation in the Bicycle Across America, 3,000 miles in 30 days with three days’ rest to raise money for much needed physical therapy research. We start April 1st and we seek persons to enter and persons to sponsor. You may do both at https://www.firstgiving.com/Foundation4PT/ride-for-pt-research and to get full information go to my 40 page document go to Bicycle Across America. You may join us for a day, a weekend, across a state or go the whole way – student’s half price and their funds go to their schools Marquette Challenge account.

 

Finot Conq design boat

2. At the end of January I am off to Kiel, Germany where they have in build now a 53 foot Finot Conq design (shown above). It’s being built for another yachtsman but if it inspires me, and that a big if, I shall have my team take a serious look at what I can do to have it ready for a 2017 third attempt at a solo non-stop circumnavigation. Yes it’s possible but not on the old Kiwi Spirit as she has let me down twice through no fault of design or build but facts are facts and my heart just can’t try in her again. I shall keep you posted. If I like what I see in Kiel I shall go immediately to the Dusseldorf Boat Show, the largest in all of Europe and see what’s the latest in gear, sails etc.  And then my last two days in Germany will be visiting with my professional mentor of the 1960’s Dr. Freddy Kaltenborn formerly of Norway and now of Germany. He is 15 years older than me and blazed the way in my field – he is 93.A decision on a third try at a solo circumnavigation will be made before the end of February 2016. Incidentally, there are currently two solo sailors out there now attempting a solo non-stop circumnavigation. Both are much younger than me and in smaller boats. One is trying to break the 137 day record set two years ago but seems to be going a little slow. No one has yet done it green and at 80 I would be far and away the oldest – stay tuned.

3. July it’s the Prudhoe Bay, Alaska to Key West, Florida – 5,300 miles in we hope 7 days on motor cycles. Son Alan is coming up from New Zealand to join me and about three others.

By the way I spent New Year’s Eve in Iceland of all places. The sun rose (that’s an exaggeration) at 11:30 am and set at 3:30 pm. Beautiful country when you can see it but we were with friends and had a splendid time.

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American Physical Therapy Association Gets Behind Bike Ride

The following article was posted on January 8th, http://www.apta.org/PTinMotion/News/2016/01/08/ParisBikeTrip/.

You can take part in the ride.  You don’t have to be a physical therapist.  Join us for a day, a weekend, across a state or attempt the across the country.  It all begins on April 1st.

Check out the Daily Schedule.

Check out the Bicycle Across America for complete information on the ride.

To register go to https://www.firstgiving.com/Foundation4PT/ride-for-pt-research.

 

 

 

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Bike Training – 3,000 miles in 30 days with 3 days rest for the Foundation

bikeMy training has been progressing well. I now have three bikes to choose from and will no doubt take two with me.  Each bike has a different handle bar and seating arrangement. I have the standard road bike with drop handle bars, another with a hybrid straight across and triathlon aerobars and a third hybrid bike with a straight across bar.  Seating is a problem and I am still experimenting to find comfort. The standard seat gives me pain and numbness. Larger seats are better and those with gel best of all. But extra gel pads and softening the tires by removing some air seem to help the most.  Getting up off the seat frequently is good. Best news is that no matter how painful it is at the end of the ride I seem set to go the next day.  I shall keep experimenting.

Currently I ride three times a week and 2 hours at a time. Here in Maine I am riding indoors on a trainer and can watch television and even read while putting in the miles. More good news is that my 78 year old stove pipe legs are getting back their old conical shape. Yes we lose some 20% of muscle mass for every decade over 50 years but I seem to getting back at least a shadow of my old rugby legs.

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Bicycle Across America – Reconnaissance Complete

In late December I drove across America following the Adventure Cycling Associations well mapped Southern Tier Route – the same route come April 1st 2016 we will be riding in support of the Foundation for Physical Therapy and its excellent research and scholarship programs. The distance by car using the interstates is about 2400 miles whereas that by bicycle which does use the interstate only for about 80 miles is a total of some 3,100 miles.Of course I had to drive the cycle route deciding where we would stop at the end of each day. Ideally since we will do the 3,000 miles in 30 days there should be a nice motel at every 100 miles – did not work out that way. Some days we will do 80 miles and others 120 miles and twice there is nothing where we stop so we shall just have to ferry riders and their bikes to a motel some 15 miles off the route.

My trip was made easier in that I bought a car. Not a new car but a nice one at that. In fact it’s only the second time I have bought a second hand car but I got a great price on a recent model DB9 – a James Bond model Aston Martin. It made the miles go a little faster.

I drove the route outlined and at times deviated from it in search of facilities. I plotted where we would stop each day, where we would place a SAG (Support And Gear) vehicle and where those joining us just for a day or a weekend or across a state would make contact with the team.

Who are we? At this point we are three riders who have elected to try to cycle the entire 3,000 miles in 30 days with 3 days rest. We welcome others. In fact we need others to make this a success. Join us or sponsor us but above all follow us and if you can contribute. The excitement builds.

For the full .pdf file on this adventure go to the following attachment Bicycle Across America which is some 47 pages in length giving all the details.

Stanley V Paris, Event Director for BAA

Delivering my second hand DB9 at a great savings over the original price!

Delivering my second hand DB9 at a great savings over the original price!

 

 

 

 

 

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MS 150 Successful Completion

With an April 1st, 2016, start for the Bicycle Across America, 3000 miles in 30 days with only 3 day’s rest, for the Foundation for Physical Therapy, I thought an early test of my current riding skills would be in order.  And so the MS 150 to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis organization seemed like a good challenge.  Actually, don’t believe the 150 as it was 166 miles over two days.

I rode solo most of the way as the groups of riders drafting one another were going too fast for this ex Ironman, but I finished in a good time.  I did not take all the stops, but when I did, I did so briefly. At 78 I was most probably one of the three oldest in the event.

On the first day I became dehydrated and very light headed and decided not to make that mistake again and so I hydrated every hour after the second hour.  On the second day, I crashed when my front wheel hit sand and left me with a skinned elbow and a hematoma on my right hip.  My bike needed a little therapy and before long I was on my way again.  All in all it was great fun.

Now off to New Zealand where I shall train three days a week in the mountain airs. I will pause to enjoy the fabulous scenery and to check on the local wine production. Retirement is a tough challenge!

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Active Eight Months Ahead – Catherine 104 Miles to Go – Me Three Adventures

I have been very quiet on social media as of late given a number of uncertainties – some of which are still up in the air, but the following I can share.

Catherine Patla (my wife) has completed all but 126.8 miles on the Appalachian Trail stretching 2,189.2 miles from Georgia to Maine. This summer I accompanied her through New Jersey, New York, Vermont and into New Hampshire. Many were her challenges. For me, I just dropped her off each morning and met her at the end of the day wherever I could – often hiking in to meet her. She had to camp out overnight on several occasions but I managed to get our compact RV into some pretty challenging situations offering a shower and a good nights rest. Catherine has been at the trail on and off for the past thirty years making her a section hiker as opposed to those who do it on one season and are known as thru-hikers. All have “trail names” and hers is “B Rock” for if she sees a rock of a suitable height she rests her butt on the rock. Sustaining a patella injury she decided to do the last few miles next year commenting, “the mountains will still be there.”

Now for me, there are three events on the horizon. The first event is to bicycle across America, 3,000 miles in 30 days plus  rest days. I am organizing this event to raise funds for the Foundation for Physical Therapy and my next blog will focus on this ride. The ride will be following the well established Southern Tier Route. For now I am interested in inspiring a small band of dedicated riders to join me and attempt the entire 3,000 miles averaging 100 miles a day to raise money for research and scholarship. If interested in cycling the entire way, email me at info@usa.edu. 

The second event is a little private in that a group of us are planning to motorcycle from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska to Key West, Florida, a distance of some 5,300 miles, in 7 days.  I have twice motorcycled across America from coast to coast, some 2,380 miles in less than fifty hours each time – so it’s doable. The start date is July, 2016.

The third event is not yet decided and it’s a third attempt to solo circumnavigate, to be the oldest to do a non-stop voyage and to do it green. The last two attempts failed when on one voyage the deck fittings failed and on the last attempt the mainsail tore in half.  So I am looking at a new boat and will be in Europe in January to see a sister ship in build. If I like it I will order it with some serous modifications based on all my team and I have learned from these past two failed attempts. If I do try again I will be 80 years old and will of course seek to raise money for the Foundation – last time having raised more than $125,000 for this good cause. My decision date for this event is February next year.

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Kiwi Spirit Home Again

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After an uneventful (relatively speaking) 37 day voyage from Cape Town, South Africa, Kiwi Spirit is once again docked at my home in St. Augustine. The crew consisted of Steve Pettengill, Mike Dolan and Kim Whitaker. They had one refueling stop in St. Thomas and also carried an extra fuel bladder which came in handy as many of the miles were windless. There were the usual manageable problems encountered by a cruiser on a long voyage – radar completely failed, the A2 (spinnaker) tore into three pieces and the starboard rudder once again gave cause for alarm as it worked loose and caused considerable “juddering” of the boat – but this they fixed while underway.  But the toilet worked as did the refrigerators and freezer – so yes – relatively uneventful I say with tongue in cheek.

Steve made note of the vast amounts of kelp (sea weed) that he encountered along the way. At one stretch they were in it for 1,600 miles often having to stop and back down to clear the weed from the keel and rudder. With an engine this is quite simple – just lower and furl the sails, turn on the engine and go backwards for a few yards until it all floats free. But under sail and not able to use an engine I had on occasion to head up directly into the wind in order to literally stall the boat (in irons), and in fact sail backwards to clear the weed – not an easy trick. Fortunately for me while I saw a great deal of Sargasso weed and had minor fowling of rudders and hydro generators (you might recall I replaced three sets of hydro generator blades) I saw very little kelp until Cape Town was within sight and I was, having abandoned the effort, able to use the motor and so could easily back down. It was not all kelp, accordingly to Steve, they also were fouled with plastics, wood, netting and other flotsam and jetsam. It’s more than just a little sad to see what is floating in our oceans.

Kiwi will now go to Maine to be completed and offered for sale. I look forward to seeing her in this state as we purposely to save weight did not finish her interior for my two solo attempts. Two toilets will be added as well as several air conditioning units – such a luxury. A larger hot water tank and many other final touches will be made. She is a powerful boat and will when completed be a fast family cruiser as has been the plan.  I will envy whoever buys her. In the meantime I am looking at a somewhat smaller boat and will be speaking to Lyman Morse and others about her design and production. Stay tuned. If I am to try again, it will be in November 2017 – at age 80! In the meantime I will be boat-less.

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As Promised – Response to some Blogs and Facebook Comments

As Promised – Response to some Blogs and Facebook Comments

I wish to begin by saying how amazed I am at the number who followed my effort and who gained inspiration from it. Thank you. Here are some comments that I thought would be helpful to respond to.

“Not carry an extra sail”

“Are you kidding me – no spare main?”

We did have a spare but after team talk we decided that it would be nigh near impossible for one person to launch the sail given its weight etc. Also it is extra weight to carry and all thought that a new sail was a better option. Hindsight – I should have carried the old sail and practiced changing it out.

 

“Get it repaired and sail on from Cape Town – Chichester (first person to solo) had one stop on his solo”

“Restart in Cape Town and finish up there”

Certainly I considered a restart which would have meant heading east again under Australia, New Zealand and South America, then up to and around Bermuda thence back down to finish in Cape Town.  Sounds logical but does not appeal to my emotional heart strings which was to start and finish in St. Augustine where I live and to proceed by way of Bermuda where I lived for some four years and from where Dodge Morgan, a hero of mine, began and thus to challenge his record which I could not have done re-starting from Cape Town.  South Africa is a great place but I have no attachments to it.

 

“This illustrates why sailing such a huge boat is a mistake”

“That he can obviously handle such a large boat is a given”

Yes the boat was large (large is faster) and given my age, any future boat will be smaller. But I was able to manage it albeit with difficulty at times. I did after all finish first in two races, one of which was single handed, and double handed I finished 14th out of 72 boats so the boat was manageable by one person. However a smaller boat may be more manageable. The Owners Brief I am working on is for a 56 – 58 foot vessel. Kiwi Spirit it 64 feet and with the bowsprit out some 70 feet and that is big!

 

“Leading edge innovations gives me the willies”

True. If there is to be a next time I shall opt for second generation tried and true. For instance I would have in-mast furling on the main rather than slab reefing and hydraulics furlers on the head sails. These I have had before and they worked well for me on my Farr 60.

 

“Why bother with going green – surely an unnecessary distraction”

Actually it’s fun to try to go green. It does take some attention such as monitoring the batteries and caring for the equipment but at sea there is most of the time, plenty of time. When matters get busy the green can be ignored until all is under control.  So I would again try to go green. However, I would use less solar as it takes up space and produces the least power. I would still have two wind generators but with them starting to produce power at different wind speeds, and maybe only three instead of four hydro generators.

 

“So what do you want to accomplish really? Win the race or just succeed?”

Succeed is the simple answer. But to be faster than those who have soloed would be good, to be the oldest to have soloed would be better and to be green would be a fringe benefit but significant to me and many who believe that every little bit helps to preserve this planet.

 

“Of course you should try again – there is no alternative.”

“I say third time is a charm”

“Survive to sail another day – accepting the challenge is the real win”

Oh yes there is an alternative to trying again! But if I do try it will be because I want to – not to prove anything or close out on unfinished business. It’s still less than a month since I ended the attempt yet it seems like years and I miss the challenge. I busy myself now between my wife’s honey to do list and working on a draft Owners Brief for the present or the next boat.

Three Closing Comments:

Could I have continued? Know that had I been around the tip of South America and heading north I would not have quit with just the sail problem. I had head sails that could have been adapted to replace the main, though not designed to be efficient for that purpose. I might have held the tear together as I did once before on a smaller tear with the sail rolled up a little and then held with vice grips holding the roll together.  But I still had the Southern Ocean to contend with and possibly nine Gales and one Storm it would have been very difficult and slow.

Thanks to my Team. I wish to thank all at Farr Yacht Design and at Lyman Morse boat builders for their professionalism and continuing support throughout the voyage. Each did their best in design and build. That I would do it differently is true but that is more due to my age and now the experience I have gained in what works best for me. So a big thanks to all and much appreciation. No one let me down.  I selected the team and was responsible for all decisions made and not made.

Finally, blogs now will be less frequent and maybe less than a month and perhaps only quarterly as events transpire. Notice will be sent via Facebook. Thanks again for you interest.

Stanley V. Paris, PT, PhD, FAPTA

Chancellor

University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences

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Update on Kiwi Spirit

Two issues have been brought to my attention  that I would like to respond to. The first is why I took so long to publish the pictures of the sails and to comment on them, and the second is the visual state of the boat. When I arrived in Cape Town it was on New Year’s Eve and typical of the nations in the southern hemisphere, principally New Zealand, Australia and South Africa, since it is their summer they combine the festive season with a long vacation – most businesses are shut down. So the principals of the loft at North Sails in Cape Town were not immediately available and did not open until Monday, the 5th to get their first look at the sail and get that information to North Sails in the United States. It was on Wednesday the 7th that North Sails communicated with me. Their communication was timely and frank in that they said they still did not understand what happened. It was a unique occurrence. For me to have posted pictures and speculated on what was the cause of the total separation of the sail would have been speculative and unfair. The sail has now been repaired and a crew of three leave this Friday to begin the delivery back to St. Augustine.

The second item concerns a posted comment on a Blog that said “Went down to the waterfront in Cape Town to have a look at Kiwi Spirit. Absolutely amazed at the state of the boat. Deck and cockpit in a complete state of chaos. Nobody about. Literally looks abandoned. Very sad to see such an amazing boat in this condition. Sheets, winch handles and running rigging just left lying everywhere.” If you read this then let it be known that it is totally incorrect. Before leaving the boat in the capable hands of Mike Giles, a professional sailor and well recognized manager of boats such as mine, and has been very helpful now on two occasions, we removed winch handles etc. and tidied up generally. What the person making the comment should be aware of is that Mike and his helpers needed to repair a hole in the deck from where a turning block was pulled out and also needed to raise the rudder as well as complete many other minor jobs to ready the boat. Winch handles and other gear are just not left lying around in a country of have and have not’s as such items have a habit of disappearing. So the boat was being worked on and boats being worked on are messy at times.

Soon I shall review many of the comments to my blogs and others on Facebook and pick from the many hundreds to make a Blog of some of the ones that appeal most to me.

 

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