Kevin Jones here.  I live in beautiful Washington State, and I’m a boat nut.

I grew up in a boating family.  We had jet sleds, a lake boat, a larger runabout for fishing and playing in Puget Sound, and others over the years, but sailing wasn’t part of our on-the-water recreation.  I had seen people sailing on the bay, and it seemed exotic and appealing, so I began checking out books about sailing.  My mom worked for an avid yachtsman whose son had sailed around the world, and there was always a copy of Sailing Magazine in the lobby.  I thumbed through them when I could, and by about 1980 the bug had bitten me hard.

The Evergreen State College, in Olympia, offered a continued learning sailing course.  I signed on, and sailed C-Larks around Eld Inlet until 1983.  During college in Spokane I rented Ranger 20s, J-24s, Catalina 25s, and other assorted keelboats on lakes Pend Oreille and Coeur d’Alene, in North Idaho.  I still can’t believe those marinas let those nice boats go out with a bunch of college kids.  My first race was on a J-24 on Lake Pend Oreille in January.  If you’re familiar with North Idaho winters, you’ll know that this is a true frostbite regatta.

By 1986 I was living in the Seattle area.  At the time you could rent boats from the Center for Wooden Boats on Lake Union.  I sailed Lightnings, a Mercury, some kind of cat-rigged boats that they kept, and other classic wooden boats that I can’t recall.  They had a lot of them.  The CWB is a great place–a must-visit if you’re in Seattle.

My fixation with the Singlehanded Transpac began sometime in the late 80s.  I’d read about Bill Stange, a Seattle sailor who had won the 1988 race.  I had no idea people raced events like this.  It sounded crazy and fun, and I knew that one day it would be my turn.  I began following singlehanded ocean racing events and competitors and began planning my own SHTP.  Well, life happened in the meantime, and here we are in 2013.

I bought a Capri 25 in 2007 with a goal to do the 2008 race.  It turns out there’s a little more to preparing for a singlehanded ocean race than I’d imagined, and, with a high school graduation that year, the goal became to enter the 2010 race.  Blah, blah, blah–financial constraints and important family events–the goal is now to enter the 2012 race.  All the kids will be out of college and/or working in good careers, and no major, un-missable milestones should occur that year.  The delay has been fortuitous:  I moved the boat to Port Townsend, and have been putting on singlehanded miles in all kinds of weather, in protected and in open waters.  I’ve made mistakes that I’d rather make now than when I’m in the middle of the race.  Two more years of me and the boat getting beat up in the Straits, along with some more substantial ocean time, and I think the boat and I will be ready to go.

My intention is that this blog will be a record of my preparation and planning for the 2012 SHTP.  At this point, I’m about where I want to be.  So far, so good.  More later!

Update:  Well, the 2012 race came and went, and now I’m planning for the 2014.  Sometimes that’s just how it goes . . .

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