• 1st December 2009 - By greg

    PB290001I have been trying to spend as much training time in WiTHiN as I can. I think this is important psychological training for me. I need to get very comfortable with a 14 to 16 hour shift sitting in the recumbent seat and pedaling the day(s) away. I will slowly build up to two, 14 to 16 hour days, back to back including sleeping in the cabin, cooking, etc. Although yesterday’s training session was only 6 hours, I do have 7 months until the crossing to ramp up my training volume.

    At this point – all looks good for a July 1st departure from Tofino! I have been consulting with my weather advisor Rick Sema from weatherguy.com and we think that a July departure is the safest. And, I am very happy and relieved to say that I have found a safety boat to accompany me across to Hawaii. I will divulge more details on who it is as soon as we make it official.

    As you can see in the photos, the cockpit is starting to look fairly cluttered. It’s actually pretty organized. After the packing ordeal with Jordan on Vancouver Island, I realized that there are certain safety items that we just can’t pack away into the bow storage compartment. There would be way too much stuff up there, and getting at any one item in an emergency – or otherwise – is a hassle. So, I installed some gear nets and bungee cords to secure most of the items that could be required in a hurry.



    1. Manual bilge pump (strapped to the underside of the arm rest)
    2. Fire extinguisher (strapped to the underside of the arm rest)
    3. Flares (in gear net below arm rest)
    4. Air horn (in gear net below arm rest
    5. Emergency ditch bag (below arm rest)
    6. Life jacket & jack line (below arm rest)
    7. Immersion suit (under sleeping bag in the cabin)
    8. EPIRB (on top of arm rest at bow)
    9. Spidertracks tracking device (on top of arm rest at bow)
    10. GPS screen (mounted on arm rest)
    11. VHF radio (mounted on arm rest)
    12. Flashlights (gear net pouch)
    13. Head lamp (gear net pouch)
    14. Knife / multi-tool (gear net punch)

    And other often used items that I want to have easy access to:

    1. iPod (In OtterBox water proof case on Ram mount above seat or in cabin)
    2. Daily food bag (in gear net beside the seat)
    3. Drinking water bags (2 of them in gear nets beside the seat, or on the floor under the seat)
    4. Computer (Viliv S5 hand held computer) (on Ram mount above seat or in cabin)
    5. Waterproof keyboard (on an expendable rod designed to be positioned anywhere in either the cockpit of cabin)
    6. Fan (clamped anywhere in either the cockpit of cabin)
    7. Jetboil stove (arm rest compartment or under bungee strap in cockpit)

    Seat-back storage bin:


    Bow storage compartment:

    1. 100 x food bags – each bag is 1 day worth of food. I want to build a long container to hold them so that all I need to do each day is grab the next bag, and pull the whole train forward so the next day is near the hatch and ready to access.
    2. Garbage tube – I want to mount a plastic tube at the top of the bow compartment to stuff garbage into. This will also stop the gear below from ‘fallling up’ during a capsize.
    3. Sea anchor bag – this bag contains the sea anchor, the rode and trip line.
    4. Spare drive leg
    5. Spare equipment bag (backup GPS, VHF radio, sat phone, etc)
    6. Spare rudder


    1. Clothing (gear nets)
    2. Bath kit (gear nets)
    3. Satellite phone (gear net pouch)
    4. Immersion suit (under the air-mattress)
    5. Air-mattress (small camping mat)
    6. Ventisit foam pad (mesh pad to allow air flow below the sleeping bag and allow water to drain without soaking the bed)
    7. Ocean gear sleeping bag

    I find that if the item is difficult to get to, I’ll postpone getting it. Retrieving something from a compartment isn’t like getting up from your chair right now and walking to a cabinet to fetch it. It’s a pain to get out of the seat, crouch down, crawl forward to the bow compartment, or turn around and get at the seat-back compartment, or even crawl into the sleeping cabin. All require some gymnastics and effort and I find that if it isn’t easy to do, I won’t do it, or I’ll procrastinate. One of the challenges that I face at this stage of the build, is figuring out the absolute easiest way of accessing everything. I need to make my life as easy as possible because it won’t be easy out there on the Pacific ocean. I could have serious issues to deal with, and trying to remember where the manual bilge pump, or fire blanket is, or delaying eating or drinking because it’s inconvenient is just going to make my situation worse.

    Ken is now back from his vacation and will start work again on Wednesday (Thank goodness!!!). Major items on the list for him:

    1. Install the water maker. I am thinking about NOT putting a through-hole in the hull for water-in / brine out. Instead, I am thinking of just tossing a couple of tubes through an open portlight when making water. Any suggestions or comments from anyone who knows better would be appreciated. (just trying to keep that system as SIMPLE as possible – the fewer connections, and valves and tubes, the less likely something is to get blocked, or clogged or leak, or etc, etc.)
    2. Install the AIS receiver
    3. Install a 4 point seat harness
    4. Wire the vhf radio
    5. Install the new wind generator (Rutland 504)
    6. Assemble the new back-up drive leg
    7. Assemble the spare gear-box shafts

  • 14 Comments to “6 hour training session WiTHiN the sweat box”

    • Rich Easton on December 1, 2009

      Greg-are you taking a spare bicycle chain for the drive?

    • greg on December 1, 2009

      Hi Rich: The bike chain that you see in the photo is just for inside training. The drive leg is two gear boxes and a shaft – no chain at all.


    • Bruce Bolster on December 1, 2009

      Hi Greg:

      I am a little confused by the figure captions – the third picture looks like the aft sleeping compartment, and the fourth like the seatback stowage area which is between the pedaling and sleeping chambers – am I wrong on this. I do not see a detailed shot of the bow stowage compartment, though you can see into it in the two shots of the cockpit area, ahead of the pedals.

    • Bruce Bolster on December 1, 2009

      Hi Greg:

      If the manual bilge pump is a kayak-style piston unit, I would suggest junking the thing and installing a diaphragm type fixed manual bilge pump, or even more than one, at low points in the boat, with overboard drainage built in. These pumps throw way more water than the piston style units, and are much easier to use, since the base is fixed to the hull and only requires one hand to operate. I have one on my keelboat, and have drained even a partially flooded main cabin space in minutes.

    • Bruce Bolster on December 1, 2009

      I wouldn’t have a sleeping bag directly on the floor, even with a pad under it – get it up off the floor on a platform so air can circulate underneath, or it will never dry out. And fit a bilge pump strumbox under the low point in the bunk bilge to get all of the salt water out that might accumulate.

    • Robert Chave on December 1, 2009

      Hi Greg,

      This is all sounding MUCH better than where you were six months ago. I don’t know how much time you have spent offshore in a boat, but you might have a friend take you sailing for a few days, out of the sight of land, in a litte weather, just to get a better sense of what you are up against. Perhaps you have done this already.

      I do think that your thinking on, for instance, hookups for the desalinator pump might be clearer after some time at sea. If you do not want to do through hulls, with the complexity and weight that they entail, you might then consider a siphon, which is more or less permanently installed. Basically anything that is loose can become a projectile, and so you will want to maximize the number of items that are bolted down.

      The four point harness is a VERY good idea. I hope you never need it, but if you get pitch poled off a wave, it may seem like barely enough protection.

      I admire your ability to push forward on these kinds of tasks, and modify as you go. It is a gift.

      Kind regards,


    • Doug D on December 1, 2009

      Could be just me, but just about every ocean rowing book that I read implies that there are times when you want to make water and close the portlights. I am admittedly not an expert in this field. This may factor into your decision vis a vis the hole in the hull for the water maker.

    • Frank on December 1, 2009

      I agree with Bruce on the sleeping bag. Moisture is a constant issue in boats and everything gets wet one way or another. You need to have drains in every compartment so the water can collect in a low spot and you can get rid of it somehow.

      I don’t have a lot of experience with ocean sailing but I did own a powerboat for several years and I kept it in the water. Moisture is a constant battle and so is corrosion. You wouldn’t believe how quickly everything corrodes.

      I also read somewhere that manual water-making in the tropics is out of the question. You sweat more than you can produce to replace it. Is that true?

    • DD on December 1, 2009

      (Where in the heck is the microwave oven? There’s got to be one in there somewhere!)

      Is there a way for the immersion suit to be swiftly pulled into the cockpit or outside the boat with an attached rope? It does no good (in crappy weather/waves) to be stowed just out of reach.

      On a hypothetical level, with consistent hard training, how much (estimated) NaCl do you consume every day? I’m curious how much seawater could be consumed safely (in addition to no-salt foods and requisite freshwater) on a daily basis by a healthy active athlete, as opposed to someone stuck in a life-raft dehydrated and immobile (who shouldn’t drink seawater at all due to weak Sodium pumping).

    • Guy Gilbert on December 1, 2009

      Bruce advise is the best of the day. Air must circulate under your sleeping bag. That way, your own body heat will keep the sleepong bag drying over and under.

    • greg on December 1, 2009

      On the sleeping bag / bed issue: Check out this pad that I had custom made for me by one of my sponsors Ventisit:


      It is a very stiff mesh pad that is about 2.5 inches thick. It’s not like an open cell foam – more like a plastic wire mesh. It’s the same foam that I use on the recumbent seat, although the seat cushion is only 1 layer thick (about 1/4″) which is more than enough to keep my back dry. I can blow air directly through it. Any water on the pad would fall through the open mesh to the floor where it can be soaked up with a sponge. I don’t have room for any kind of pumps back there.

      On the Immersion suit: the reason I have it stowed under the sleeping matress is so that it is easy to get at and put on. It’s laid out flat – not rolled up or packed.

      On continued ocean trials: I am planing another trip to Vancouver Island in January – this time it will include an overnight trip west into the Pacific from Tofino. January should provide some challenging conditions for that!!! I am also planing a longer journey down the east coast of Vancouver Island.

    • Frank on December 2, 2009

      DD, a recent study in ultra-marathon runners (100 mi) found that they lost between 11.2 and 144 g of sodium during the event. Obviously the range is huge and it really depends on the person. Total water loss in the same event ranges from 14 to 36 liters.

      A liter of seawater contains approximately 35g of salt. One liter of blood contains 9g of salt. For every liter of seawater you drank you would need to add 2.8 liters of fresh unsalted water to be “even.”

    • David Tangye on December 2, 2009

      I would far rather run the water desalinator via through-hull skin fittings, with proper backing plates and gate valves, than risk needing a port to be kept open.

    • DD on December 3, 2009

      Frank, thanks for checking that, good info.

      Greg, the suit is easy to get at while in the sleeper, but how about while fallen overboard in heavy stormy seas? (assuming WithIn won’t sink no matter what). Wow, 90 lbs. ballast!

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