Nathan's Sailing Blog/Notes


Sailing and related topics, SF Bay and beyond.



Nathan Bossett is a San Francisco area racer and now cruiser on a variety of boats.

This blog will evolve in form over time. It's intended to preserve a blog format while keeping subjects/tags intact for sort/search. For now, the minimalist cms bloxsom is an excellent fit.

  • CSS instead of tables
  • links by month
  • cleaner spacing on pics/text

Sun, 30 Mar 2014
ZYC Challenge
Red Sky, Olson 34, Brian Boscha, leading the ZYC Challenge
Elise, Express 27, Nathalie Criou
Echappee, Nathan Bossett, Amel Maramu
Four Sails, Echappee, Amel Maramu
Steve Douglass and Ben Westenburg on Echappee

March 30 was the second attempt at the ZYC Challenge. Nat Criou had been trying to get me to race my house and Serge decided it would be fun to procure a perpetual trophy. It was conceived as a singlehanded event out to the lightship and back. It wound up challenged in both ways: weather and tide made the lightship attempt inadvisable in the amount of time we had and I had invited a few folks along.

The boats which made it to the starting line were Elise the Express 27 (Nathalie Criou), Red Sky the Olson 34 (Brian Boschma) and my own Amel Maramu Echappee. The unpleasantness of the weather during the shorthanded event the previous day cost us a competitor or two as did an engine problem. The final course agreed upon was starting at Mason, passing near Anita Rock, heading to the Berkeley Circle (XOC), rounding Treasure Island, and passing under the Bay Bridge to finish.

Echappee is not as nimble as Elise or Red Sky tacking upwind although I was pleasantly surprised with boatspeed. By Anite, Red Sky and Elise were quite far ahead.

We only flew one spinnaker downwind (from the mizzen) and had to point quite high to carry it because it was rigged asymmetrically. For the future, I have to get blocks, lines, and winches set up to run spinnakers.

On the plus side, we we were flying four sails (our competition only 2, which is hardly even trying). We also had excellent meat and vegetarian tacos as well as guacemole and other necessities of racing life (courtesy of Ben). Thanks to the group (Steve, Mara, Ben) for a great time and to Nat+Serge for kicking it off.

Pics taken by me except the one of Echappee, which was taken by Nat from Elise. Full size ZYC Challenge Pictures are at the usual place.

Ben Westenburg and Mara Guttman on Echappee Steve Douglass on Echappee Lunch, ZYC Challenge, Vegetarian Tacos
Wed, 01 Jan 2014
Start to the New Year on Echappee
new year's fireworks jan 1 2014
Amel Maramu Echappee and Santana 35 Breakout on New Year's Morning

As a kind of symbolism I decided to enter the new year on the water. Fairly early in the evening, I headed over to the cityfront to anchor. It was a calm evening with just a little bit of chill. The anchor grabbed immediately in about 15 ft of water.

I'd have been happy just sitting out on the boat, but a friend was kind enough to run out in a dinghy and bring me to shore for a while. As it turned out, the clock ticked over while I was standing over the water. The fireworks over the Bay Bridge were great. After that was a little quiet contemplation and a night of satisfying sleep.

All of the systems worked perfectly: windlass, heater, lighting. A good start to 2014, followed by a meetup with Lloyd Ritchey on Breakout!

Sun, 22 Dec 2013
Echappee's Merry Christmas - Gifted Spinnaker
echappee amel maramu mizzen spinnaker

Elise/Nat's Christmas present to Echappee: A mizzen spinnaker (in Elise's size).

It turns out that Echappee's mizzen mast isn't all that much taller than Elise's (Express 27). So, Echappee now has a spinnaker for that mast too. Thanks, Elise/Nat!

It looks short on the hoist but it's being flown from the deck. Getting set up with proper spinnaker poles might be an exercise in geometry given the main backstay and boom complicating the space to fly and gybe a spinnaker.

Next up, adding some halyard winches so I can hoist main, mizzen, and two spinnakers at the same time.

nathalie criou mizzen spinnaker
Sun, 15 Dec 2013
"Third Half Opener" - Singlehanded Gatecrasher by Elise, Red Sky, and Echappee
Nathalie Criou on Elise the Express 27 Brian Boschma on Red Sky the Olson 34 Serge Zavarin removing Christmas lights from Echappee the Amel 
Maramu Seal outside the golden gate Pt. Bonita Lighthouse

We'd intended to have a small singlehanded race to the Lightship and back as both a first race for Echappee and as a chance for Serge to host an event. The schedule fell apart as they sometimes do- maybe next time! Instead we would up with an informal "third half opener" to the northern approach buoy and back: Elise (Express 27), Red Sky (Olson 34), and Echappee (Amel Maramu).

Serge came along on Echappee anyway, with a first task of getting Echappee out of Christmas Party mode from the night before and into racing trim. Christmas lights using up all of your halyards and tying the sail covers down seems to hurt performance.

We met on the center of the bay near Alcatraz for a trip out the gate and back: how far to be determined by when we felt like we wanted to get back. The wind more or less cooperated: light at times but up to 14 or so kts at times.

Particularly in the light stuff Elise and Red Sky had an advantage. Maybe I should put the dinghy and two out of three anchors and ground tackle ashore next time. The cooking equipment and food stores are staying, though. Sailing effectively couldn't hurt either.

My first guess at which track to run the jib cars from was totally wrong: the aft track was right for these conditions but I'm wondering if I would wish the track extended a bit further forward in deeper reaching conditions. That's also a function of the exact jib size and clew height; I'll test some different settings. Overtrimming was not helping either; for quite a while on the way back in I had everything snugged in a little too far.

Elise and Red Sky were looking practiced. Red Sky's autopilot seems to be doing a good job of letting Brian take a break from driving to adjust sail trim as required even in the slightly light and puffy conditions with strong current that we were experiencing. I guess that's what happens when you get to design your own autopilot. From prior experience, it also steers Elise well downwind with a spinnaker.

Elise had all sorts of new gear and rigging arrangements to try out: a fine tuner addition to the mainsheet, a line which runs all the way around the front of the boat and back to control the rudder, etc.

Pictures without Serge in them courtesy of Serge Zavarin at Ultimate Yachtshots.

Sat, 07 Dec 2013
OYC/EYC Lighted Boat Parade 2013 on Echappee
echappee amel maramu lighted yacht parade 2013
Echappee herself (by Fred Fago)
echappee crew lighted yacht parade
lighted yacht parade police car
lighted yacht parade blue lights
trawler santa lighted yacht parade

Every year Oakland Yacht Club and Encinal Yacht Club jointly host a lighted boat parade. From the shore side, viewers are clustered at a few Jack London Square restaurants, the ex-presidental (FDR) steam yacht Potomac, the Pasta Pelican, and of course OYC and EYC.

Breakout crew and friends/family formed the group which took Echappee out, Echappee having the joint advantages of a large inverter and berth location very near the parade. The weather was cold but everyone bundled up and we had hot coffee and a heater below.

Our decorations were impulsive. Some of the other boats had prepared very elaborately: police car including soundtrack, Santa scenes, whimsical lighted creations, and even Santa and 8 reindeer rowing an open boat.

Afterward, we headed out to the Golden Gate, examining the city lights and showing off our own decorations to waterfront tourists.

The full size versions of these lighted boat parade pictures taken by me are available in the usual spot. Fred Fago's parade pictures are the official event ones.

nested lights christmas lighted yacht parade
Wed, 27 Nov 2013
Thanksgiving-Eve Tour of San Francisco Bay
daniel bossett henry bossett echappee
evan bossett mom daniel bossett amy bossett
golden gate bridge sunset
san francisco bay bridge at night

Much of my family was kind enough to come out for a Thanksgiving visit. In addition to yacht club turkey and fixings, we had some good weather and did a tour of the bay on Echappee the afternoon and evening before Thanksgiving. The bay was fairly empty except for a bit of commercial traffic; we had calm and clear weather.

We spanned sunset on a round trip from Alameda just outside the Golden Gate Bridge and Back, stopping for all of the usual tourist spots such as the bridge view itself and the sea lions and tourists at Pier 37. Serge made us lattes halfway through.

Great week and chance to show everyone the new house.

(Pics from my father, Henry Bossett, except for the one he's in)

oakland container terminal echappee
mom daniel bossett echappee san francisco at night from the water
Fri, 15 Nov 2013
Amel Maramu Offshore Racing/Safety

Amel Maramus are extremely well-built boats for offshore use. In fitting Echappee for offshore competition, here are some notes on rules and compliance

Singlehanded Transpac (SHTP) 2014 safety rules

Some of the safety regs aren't really checklist items (such as being "...properly rigged and ballasted, be fully seaworthy...". I also omit the simple equipment checklist items (wooden plugs next to through-hulls, etc.).

RuleTopicRequirementAmel Maramu Notes
4.07.1Lifeline materialUncoated stainless ro dyneemaCruisers often use coated, not allowed
4.07.2Max stanchion spacing87"Varies between around 44" and 54" with the max spacing around the place where the stanchions have shrouds in between them. Easily legal.
4.07.4Lifelines, boats over 43' longTop lifeline >=24" above deck, max vertical gap 15" and minimum diameter 3/16" Top is stainless tube, about 26" above deck level.Vertical gaps of about 11 1/4". Structure dimensions easily legal, inspect wire diameter to make sure 3/16" or better.
4.08Foredeck toerail heightAt least 3/4" Maramus have about 3" toerails all the way around, easy pass.
4.22Storm coverings for large windowshave for any window above 2 ft^2 area?
4.24Water tanks
Sat, 02 Nov 2013
Echappee Gets a Spinnaker Inventory
Nathan Bossett and Brian Boschma test-flying a spinnaker on Echappee the Amel Maramu

It's not entirely usual for Maramus to fly spinnakers but Echappee needs a few in order to get into racing and slightly higher performance cruising. She didn't come with any but not having them just didn't feel right to a racer.

Enter Ben and Lucie Mewes, who are about to exit stage left towards Mexico and had some surplus inventory to unload. Brian was kind enough to hop aboard and go play in the South Bay.

The asymmetrical seems to fit quite well even though the mast height of the original boat was a bit taller (pictured). The proportions in the picture look a bit odd because standing on the stern of a ketch to take a picture leaves you further aft relative to the dimensions of the spinnaker than you'd be able to get on a sloop. The 1.5 symmetrical seemed ok from the half hoist we got out of it before shrimping. Oops.

Offer made and accepted, Echappee now has three kites!

Fri, 27 Sep 2013
America's Cup 2013 Final Race, Sept 25 2013

Coming into the final day of the America's Cup with the score tied 8-8 (after applying the 2 race penalty to Oracle) excitement was up and the spectator areas were crowded.

Conditions were just about perfect- under the limit but still exciting and sufficient for the teams to foil upwind and down. A mixed group came out on Echappee from work, a few people who'd been on Astraea the day before, and a few other sailors.

I didn't get many pictures in as the spectator fleet was dense and not everyone was paying very close attention. The racing was extremely exciting with NZ taking the start followed by multiple lead changes. Definitely worth the trip out!

Sat, 07 Sep 2013
Watching the America's Cup, 7 September 2013
Pics at:

While the weather forecast was for very light breeze, it was still a beautiful day and worth a trip out onto the bay.

We left too late to catch most of the first race starting at 1315, but still caught the commentary on VHF 20 and the finish.

The crowd of boats and other craft (even jetskis, etc.) was impressive. We stationed ourselves near the leeward gate, towards the cityfront from Alcatraz. There isn't any one location which gives a great view of the whole race but our compromise gave us a nice view of the foiling downwind and roundings. They were really very impressive though as for competitive racing the wins were by very large margins.

We motored around during the racing for better maneuverability, then did a quick reach back and forth across the bay once the AC show was over.

A good time with great friends.

Mon, 26 Aug 2013
Echappee's View of the Express 27 Nationals, Aug 23-25 2013
Pics at:

Echappee played the part of tender to Elise this past weekend in her first overnight trip. Elise the Express 27 (ref Nat's Elise blog) was racing out of RYC for the extended weekend. I brought Echappee over to RYC early Saturday morning so she could provide snacks and lodging for Elise's crew during the weekend.

The view on the trip over was great with layers of fog, visibility, and clouds. Nat and Serge brought over some food for the day and Nat gifted Echappee a latte machine because civilized racers should be able to make fluffy milk in the morning before a race.

She was well up to the task of entertaining a tired E27 crew after the races Saturday and Sunday. She has good ventilation, light, and room to spread out.

Thu, 01 Aug 2013
S/V Echappee
Echappee is a 1979 Amel Maramu, a French-built medium/heavy displacement cruising ketch. She is hull #29 of a 275 hull production run. I signed the papers at the very end of July 2013. Particulars:
  • LOA: est 45' or 46' (varied within the series)
  • LWL: 36.75'
  • Beam: 13'2"
  • Displacement: 23,000 lbs empty

She was designed to be a go-anywhere bluewater cruiser requiring minimal crewing and strength to operate. Her lines are classic, with significant overhang at both ends. She has two staterooms, two heads, and a very nice living area with a nav station which is generous by modern standards and a galley which is modest by those standards. The helm station is well protected under a hard dodger and sail trim is accomplished from the center cockpit with only the mainmast halyards terminating forward.

She has adequate tankage, storage, ground tackle, and other equipment for long term cruising. Her hull is solid fiberglass with two watertight bulkheads forward (anchor locker and the main transverse bulkhead at the main mast).

While not optimized for speed by any means, she is capable of respectable passagemaking in exceptional comfort. After decades of racing sloops, cruising a ketch is a new direction for me.

Her name has a variety of meanings, including a physical or spiritual withdrawal. It's also the term for a bicycle racer breaking out of the pack and seeing if he can keep the lead.

The name was the result of a number of factors: There are too many Exit Strategy's around, including on the bay. It's phonetically very similar to the old name. Plus, a French couple with an SF Bay Maramu named First Love observed to me that the French give their boats English names and the Americans French names and it seemed apropriate to oblige them.


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