Thursday, July 15, 2010


[update] We finally have it on the blog - see here: Finally - we have the Halfway-Video up and running! [/update]

by Ulli:
So it was Sarkozy, the man in high heels, who removed the movie. Gee, and I almost blamed Google for it. It went through the shortwave radio based sailmail just fine. Imagine, a video over sailmail, which is as slow as an old IBM electric typewriter. I had verified the video posting methodology when still at home, and it worked well, so I simply used the same setup (a netbook running Ubuntu Linux) for processing the video. Best transmission times are in the evening, I carefully selected best radio station, and successfully transferred all mails - it seems Rick is writing a book every day - the video, and received all comments - what a load! we enjoy those just as much as you - and the GRIB weather files, all in one shot in about 1 hour. Despite all shortcomings of sailmail via radio due to the physical limitations of the atmosphere (ionosphere to be more precise) my compliments to the makers of sailmail. And then Sarkozy messed up.
Maybe our able seaman, on-shore crew member Chris finds a way into Google for some advice of how to post a 'video.mkv' file (ffmpeg to compress video as H.264 and audio as flaac, put into Matroska container). The video must have arrived on the google server, since the text part of the message went there.
Well, I really don't want to burden sailmail again with that load, but we do have the sat-phone, which can transfer faster. But what a bummer: the software only accepts pictures as attachments and only as *.jpg and *.png, not even *gif, and no word, excel, pdf, and no video files! Can anyone help? We are using the UUPlus Software SPS-Mail Version 6.0.076-W. In the Settings->Setup->Account Settings dialog box is a button 'Allowed Attachments', but is is greyed out, and if it is activatable, I don't know how. Anyone knows?
As an apology to the pain inflicted by promising a video but not delivering, I am attaching an extra big still picture of the halfway party!
And as you can see, we are not as lightly dressed as we usually during this time of the race. Which leads me to the question about all these northerly routes, the boats have taken. Reason for this? The wind. In normal races, like those since at least 1998, the most northerly route taken by the boats was basically the Great Circle from San Francisco to Hawaii. One example for an opposite, an extreme southerly route, was actually Cirrus in the transpac 2007, which yielded Cirrus 1st place in division. This year, almost all boats "went North" with the exception of Dart. Dart may have missed the news and went South, which yields them last place in fleet. They have moved north 2 days ago, but it will be too late. And going north made for a cold ride. I tell you, have we had problems with the icicles on the spreaders! Initially I climbed the mast, removed them for better sail performance, and simply threw them into the water. Later, we used them to make Margarita on the Rocks and like stuff. Icicles from the boat do give a nice salty flavor to the drinks.
These times are over. It is warmer. In the daytime we are now in t-shirts, but during the night we still wear foul weather gear over multiple layers of sweater. The sky is still fully cloud covered, no stars visible, and the moon is still in New moon phase, so not visible and it is really dark at night. During daytime, the sun is barely peeking through the clouds. This is also unusual for race; at least partially clouded on a blue sky is the norm for this part of the race. It never is a crisp clear sky; some haze is always present. Even the night a few days ago was breathtaking mainly because of its full dome, 360 degree view, but because of clarity. You can see a really clear sky only over dry land, high up, like in the Sierra. A little bit of sun would be nice, is that too much to ask?
By the way: since we were outside of the Golden Gate Bridge, we have not seen a single ship (= big boats), nor boat (= small boat) during the last 5(?) days. No racer in our vicinity.


  1. Ulli: I was unable to find the video on Google's video server. I found the 2006 halfway party, but I doubt that's what you have in mind. If you would like to send the video to me, I can post it. I never ran into the attachment issue on SPSmail myself, so I sent UUPlus an email asking for help. I'll let you know. ~~Chris

    Please report on deck aboard Cirrus at cocktail hour sharp for the bi-annual Hemingway lookalike contest.
    Verbal essay for this year's contest:
    Using the following quotation "You think that is one thing you will never have. And then, on a lousy show like this, co-ordinating two chicken-crut guerilla bands to help you blow a bridge under impossible conditions, to abort a counter-offensive that will probably already be started, you run into a girl like this Maria."
    Respond to the question, "What would Papa do?"
    Winner earns the right to drink, fish, and otherwise carouse with abandon for the next two years,

  3. "What would Papa do?" I think he would rub her head (she had a crew cut, as I recall).

  4. Just wanted to say hi to Kathy McGraw from Doug and Marsha Asche. Missed on the race deck at the starts but know you are having more fun on the course. Maybe will see you at KYC next week.

  5. What a great picture of the whole crew!! BTW, who took the picture? The flying fish or that Klabautermann "friend" of yours?
    You all look happy and I am glad for that. I would love to see the video and I hope Chris can rescue it :)
    Rick I had not seen you for a looong week, you look relax and very happy!!
    Cirrus crew, did you try the spinnaker again today? How was it?
    Keep enjoying every minute of that adventure. See you soon,
    Maria Lucia

  6. Hey Dad (and crew)
    You all look great!
    I'm sitting at a desk in Katie's office here in Vancouver. We had an excellent dinner. I flew in from Kansas City today and I will be here for a whole week. Glad you have made it halfway. We will be doing some BBQ and siteseeing and such for the next few days.
    Katie says to say hello and good luck.
    And to wish you fair winds.
    Love ya

  7. How can you blame Sarkozy when Klabautemann may still be aboard? This seems unsubstantiated to me. Ben