• Transpac Mutiny

    Anyone Following Division 8 in this years Transpac suspected that something was amiss aboard the Jeanneau 43 Sun Odessy "Aquarius" with it crew of 5.

    It's tracking was all messed up, it went north , it went south and mostly it went slow. Really slow!
    Behind the scenes, the TPYC was aware of some issues aboard the boat and the ongoing struggles between crew and captain.The following is the report from the navigator, X_____ X____ as posted on

    Mutiny at Dawn - Transpac Race 2013

    My crewing/captaining luck finally ran out on me, I was shaken but not broken. I need reinvent my luck to continue to sail the great ocean ours.

    Here is my daily log while on board a 2002 Jeanneau 43 DS on on route from Long Beach, CA to Diamond Head, Honolulu, HI during the 2013 Transpac Race.

    I changed the names of the people involved for now.

    Me - rockDawg or RD. as on-board navigator
    Jake – Near coastal USCG licensed Captain. Serve as a crew.
    Harry - Skipper/Owner – A Japanese national owns a Sushi Restaurant in LA, long time old traditional sailor, but no off shore or long passage experience. Serve as a skipper
    Jane – Partner of Harry, co-owner of the Sushi Restaurant. Has no sailing experience. Serve a watch crew as needed
    Sheryl – Mother of Jane, 86 yo. No official duty.
    Jeanneau 43 – Corporation owned sailing vessel

    Arrived LAX Friday July 5.
    Skipper Harry picked us up at the airport. He looks older than his age and on a heavy side, but nevertheless, a kind and humble gentleman. A number of close calls on the way to the marina, he veered off into other lanes on the highway a few times. I hope Harry sails better than he drives, but I did not say anything and just sat quietly so he could concentrate on the road.
    When we got the marina, Harry had a hard time to find a parking space. Coming from as an exNYC cabbie, he does not how to drive. We were late for the 'First Time Racer' party. The kitchen at the yacht club was closed but Jane, Harry's business partner bribed the kitchen, and they made us a chicken sandwich for each of us. Actually I would have preferred go to Sam Woo to dinner. Oh well, the guests did not have the choice.

    -Day 2, Sat, July 6
    Clear sunny sky in Long Beach. Oh boy, I really have a hard time understanding Harry's English. We need to develop some sign language. He apologized to us all the time about his language , but this is ridiculous. He has been in this Country for 16 years……hahaha. We leave his marina and head to Long beach. He had me on the helm until we entered Long Beach since I have no idea when I am going. At time I have to rely on my iPhone. His chart plotter on the helm sucks, it is B/W and the screen has no contrast, impossible to read. We moved the boat to Pine Ave Pier, where the race official marina was.

    There were other boats there on the pier. Because of space we were docked stern in with dropping anchor at bow. I was not able to convey my idea to Harry, so I drew pictures to show him my suggestion. He agreed and we docked successfully.

    I saw lots of big boy toys in the race with professional crews. Our Jeanneau 43 just did not fit in the race. But whet the hell, we are here.
    We had the skipper meeting in the late afternoon. I recorded the meeting so that I wouldn’t miss anything. I had zero local knowledge and was not familiar with the local names, so it was hard for me to follow what they were saying without a chart/map.

    Obviously the meeting was not geared towards newbies like us. After the meeting was the party. Good food and good entertainment but one has to buy your own drinks in the party. Jake bought me a coke for the evening.

    -Day 1, Sunday, July 7:
    A bit disorganized, lots of things to do were found not done. We tried to help as much as we could. I found out the provisioning was not done as planned. Sat phone and other safety equipment not installed done. Harry refused to buy a pair jack lines from West Marine. He insisted to use an old 3/8” round sheeting rope. Some of the re-inspection from the race committee was not just a joke. Just a check in the box deal. Totally unfocused, Jane hauled in a wind generator she obtained from eBay and asked me to install for the trip. Are you serious? I asked in my head.

    We canceled our trial spinnaker run with Sam of Norht Sail in San Diego because Harry needed to go shopping for our food. Sam was a 17-time TransPac veteran. It was good that I could at least meet him in person. I tried to pick his brain as much as I could for the race. He gave me a lot of local knowledge. Jake and I wrote down as much as we could. I felt much better as I had sometime to study the chart and the weather report. It seemed to all come together well and scientifically made sense to follow the 1020 isobar.

    Rocky start at the top: not sure what was going on, but there must have been big fight between Jane and Harry. Harry barred Jane from boarding the boat until 2 hours before the race started. I got a text message from Harry that was intended for Jane to read. Things were not looking good, I felt uneasy. I finally intervened and made both shake hand and start the team again.

    Jake was also having second thoughts and considered backing out. I sacrificed so much for this race/voyage, I felt like I was being let down. Jake asked me what to do. I told him that I was committed to this trip and if he and Jane wanted to back out, I was comfortable sailing the boat alone with Harry. I told him I know Jeanneau well. We would be fine if Jake backed out.

    Day 0, Monday, July 8: Race Day.
    An unexpected and totally unnecessary event. Harry blew up over the coffee filter left on the coffee maker by Jake. It was a half hour rage and total shut down all operation. My goodness, the man needs an anger management course badly. He threw things all over and around him. He was insulting Jake and everyone else claiming this is his house,….. blah, bah.
    I don’t think it was a big deal. The filter was still warm and he should have given Jake a chance to clean up. After all, we were being pulled all different directions for the last two days by two bosses. Well…. I didn’t care, I just want to sail the Pacific and nothing can stop me know.
    {Edited: Never knew this was just the beginning of an ordeal that I have never expected}.

    When my daughter was in her second grade, I think she had a better organization skills than that of Harry and Jane. We rushed and rushed in a totally disorganized way, I didn’t really have time to think. Somehow, I thought we would have plenty of time to work out the details once the rush is over when on route to Hawaii. Jake reminded Harry to top off the water tanks but he left the dock anyway to head to the starting point. Both Harry and Jane were equally controlling.

    We were 20 min late to the start of the race, but I was happy to see that we were underway; at least I was thinking we will have time to learn or adapt Harry’s style. As I often said to other on the net. It is his boat, his house/castle, his rules unless my life is endangered.

    Day 1 and 2, Tuesday and Wednesday, July 9 and 10:
    I am totally confused with this trip. Stress and fatigue were high. We were pulled into different directions at all time, like working with two bosses. We were being watched at all time. Micromanagement is too mild a word on this boat. How about nano- or pico-management?

    And how about constantly remind you:
    1. You don't know and thing!!!
    2. You are a very bad crew!!!
    3. You are a crew and an employee, We don’t need your opinion, You should do what you are told.

    Day 3, Thursday, July 11
    Calling it quits.
    Harry exploded with his temper. We had no idea what the hell he was screaming and jumping up and down and stomping his feet like a five year old. He does not use sentences to communicate, just a single words. He continued screaming at you louder and louder with the same mispronounced word. No one knew what he meant, including his partner for 13 years.

    Day 4, Friday July 12
    Weather is getting warmer. Water temp went up to 71 degree from 68. Partial sun is out for the first time. Our jib was tore and need to be repaired. Although it was a bit too early and we were far from the trades wind, at 2 pm. We flew the spinnaker with heading toward HI and wind was on 160 degree. Doing 6 to 8 knots. Argh, finally we got the speed that I was hope for.

    Day 5, July 12.
    Too upset and too exhausted to enter daily log. Micromanagement and constant yelling finally wore me down.

    Day 6, July 13:
    Conditions were not getting better despite Jane talking to Harry. There was a significant mistrust towards Jake and I. We were not allowed to talk to each other and not permitted to sit at the navigation table and must stay in our berth, per Jane orders. In despair, Jake contacted a military ship “HS V2 Swift” nearby for rescue, claiming unsafe environment. Unfortunately Harry and Jane refused to let us leave the boat. The captain of Swift talked on the radio that they would monitor for 3 hours. They took away the VHF radio and sent Swift away. We were officially their prisoners.

    Without any hope of getting off the boat and still has at least 2 weeks of sailing, I tried to repair the jib and the jib track on jib furler. Jake hoisted me up to the forestay to repair the tract and lower down the jib. I ended up being hoisted 4 times. It was no fun and impossible to hold on. The bosun chair was so poorly made, it cut out my circulation from the waist down.

    I was starting to put a doubt on this voyage what would if this bad situation continues. The boat was doing about 4 knots, and every day there are about 2 to 4 hour of yelling and the boat moved less than 3 knots. We are going to run out of food before seeing land.

    Day 7, July 14:
    Things seem getting better since I raised hell or should I say I exploded. Jake and I stopped working, Harry apologized to me telling me that he did not properly maintain his boat for this trip. The forestay track came apart because the loosen allen screws. He thanked me to go up the forestay to fix the track. Otherwise, we have to return to Long Beach.

    I warned him that I made no apology of my behavior of rising hell if he ever endangers my life again. He ordered me to go on the dock immediately to take the spinnaker down with my harrass. At the moment of his rage, I obliged and went on the deck with Jake to take the spinnaker down. That was stupid of me.

    Day 8, July 15:
    Cloudy again
    Since I was ordered to stay in my berth, I did not do any watch. When I was up, I was informed the spinnaker was down, Harry claimed it was a wild gybe or should I say he was not good enough to sail at night with the spinnaker. I told him to use autohelm if needed to control the sudden wind changes. But he avoids and claim that autohelm is dangerous.

    The repaired jib at least held up. But we were moving very slowly again.

    Conditions are getting worse. Blame games begins. It is apparent that it is their boat, it is their decision. They don't care how long it takes to get to Hawaii. Both Jake and I want to get out this situation as soon as possible.
    Jake and I set up the spinnaker again. We were doing quite well and got the speed up. A few hours later, one of the snap shackles came loose and caused the spinnaker fly like a kite. We carefully got spinnaker safely on deck and just used the jib and main sail. Wind was good and we are doing about 6 to 7 knots.

    Day 9, July 16:
    Every day seems like just another explosion. Life on this boat sucks big time. They think we are here to be their servants. Constantly being humiliated, we can't even trim the sails until we are asked. WTF!!!
    Jake and I sewed and repair the bottom part of the spinnaker so that it won't rip further up the sail. We have no control where we are heading where the wind is. Harry just take to rhumb line 243 degree, But we worked all day.

    Jane took away the sat phone preventing Jake from downloading the weather grib file. Harry has a problem controlling his temper and totally lacks people skills, but Harry is not a bad person. Jane is an evil, manipulative, and controlling liar. She appears she controls Harry until he blows up.

    Day 10, July 17
    Got up early in the morning and found out Harry took us directly north for almost 45 nm. WTF. Now we need to spend a whole day sailing back south. Wind died again.

    We saw a j40 passing us. They did not even look at us or wave. They depart 2 days behind us. We are hardly moving.

    Day 11, July 18:
    Jake and I stayed watch from 10 to 4 am. We had a good run with the spinnaker doing 6 to 7.5 knots at all time, we use the autohelm to get us through some hairly situation. It was the best we had for this trip. After more than 7 hrs, Harry came to relieve us. Less than 5 min at the helm. He lost control of the spinnaker and it suffered a total system collapse. We rush back on deck with total disbelief. We knew it would require 5 to 6 hours of me and Jake working hard to get the spinnaker up again to sail in decent speed.

    Both me and Jake worked franticly to prevent any further damage to the spinnaker under a total darkness with 17 plus wind. I almost killed myself and I decided I must quit in the dangerous situation. Jake and I want back to the cockpit and told Jane we could not work under this condition. In less than two hours, it would be dawn. We would try again to fix the fouled spinnaker.

    At day break, Jake woke me up and get ready to rescue the spinnaker that was stuck permanently on the forestay. After 3 hours, fight with the wind we got it down and fly the spinnaker again.
    The rest of the day, we sailed ok. Me and jake tried to dominate at helm as much as we could. Because we don’t want harry at the helm to fuuk thing up. If things fuuked up, it is me and Jake to fix the problem.

    Day 12, Friday, July 19:
    Mutiny at dawn
    Got 2 hours sleep in 24 hours, me and Jakeues were on the helm all night until 4 am. Handed the helm to Harry and within 30 min the emergency whistle blew and rushed to deck with my half naked body and harness. The spinnaker collapsed and fouled. The guy line fell. WTF!!!
    Jake and I fought like hell and battled 15 knots wind with huge sail of the spinnaker, and tried to save the spinnaker. We finally reattached the guy and cleared the fouled lines went back down to sleep. We were very lucky this time.

    Must be less than 5 mins, the whistle was blew again, what the **** now. I bet my blood pressure went through the roof. The spinnaker was hopeless wrapped on the forestry. After 2 hours, Jake and I took down the damaged, torn spinnaker.

    Mutiny is the only way to survive. I begged Harry to use the autohelm to control the spinnaker or we quit. We gladly put our lives on the line so many times (6) and we were only half way to Hawaii. We could not do this anymore. Like all the other times, they refused to use autohelm. I instructed Jake to use my satphone to call Dave Cort (Race Committee) The boat's satphone was no Longer accessible to us. I spoke to Dave begging him to help us to resolve the problem. He refused and claimed that is not their problem and we must resolve ourselves. I told him that this had become a safety issue for the crew members. I asked him to contact the CG for us and have the CG to call the owner. He hung up on me.

    Because of poor reception, we moved up to cockpit to call the CG. Harry came behind and attacked Jake and use his arm around his neck and tried to get our sat phone and throw it over board. I struggled with him and he turned around and picked up the winch handle trying to strike Jake's head. I blocked his arm from hitting Jake. I dared him to strike me. But I was in a combat mode to block and struck his nose. He hesitated for a second and I grabbed and threw the handle away. Jane jumped in the midst of this for our phone, I grabbed her hands and pushed her to the starboard side of the cockpit and sat still. I told Jake to escape into the v-berth with the phone.
    I shouted both of them with fouled language that they were no match with my strength and speed. 'Don't be stupid'!!!

    I went to the v-berth after Jake and locked ourselves in. Harry stepped on the hatch, preventing us from opening the hatch for air and better reception.

    I had my iPhone with me and CG number. We contacted the Norfolk region and worked ourselves to west coast region. I asked Jake to call CG, since he speaks perfect English with un-detectable Jewish New Yorker accent.

    After explaining the situation to CG, the remaining question was to ask CG for advice on how to take control of the boat legally. Under what situation we must follow to get us safely to Hawaii.

    If we don’t take control for the boat and sail her properly, our sails will suffer more damage and water supply will become an issue. We would be in trouble. We were totally out of CG Helo range. The wild gybe that Harry causes because his inability to sail at night, put me and Jake a greater danger.

    Our water is dangerously low. Jake only given 1.5 L bottle of water to drink each day. And we are carrying an 86 year old lady who has no idea what is going on around her.

    The CG informed us to deescalate the situation best I know how while he seeks legal advice. Lt. Daniel Han asked us to call back in an hour.


    This article was originally published in forum thread: 2013 Transpac PLUS PD Pick n Win Contest! started by Surf City Racing View original post