The First Meeting of The Siberian Express

Sans Souci continues to make good progress on its run up the west coast. Jeff just sent this email:

“… Current position is 36′ 04 N 121′ 42 W ( 15 miles south of point Sur) Wind 22 WNW , Swell 6 foot bucking into it. Heavy spray. Hoping it lays down. Jeff ….”

I called him on the boat, and he said they were taking spray onto the pilot house. He described it as “not so much bad, as uncomfortable.”


Tonight was the first official meeting of the group that is going to Japan next summer. Three of the four boats are already at the marina, and my boat will join them this Friday or Saturday. Our goal for tonight was to try to make up a list of all the “tasks” that need completed, and then split them up amongst the group. For instance, someone agreed to be responsible for arranging fuel for the boats. Another person took on weather planning. Another person took on finding us all marina space in Japan. We have a long list of tasks, and plenty of work to go around.

It was a good meeting, in that all of us are fairly experienced. Grey Pearl and Sans Souci crossed the Atlantic together in 2004. Seabird is in Seattle after having cruised here from the east coast, with lots of time spent exploring the Caribbean. Starr, the fourth boat has made a couple of prior runs across the Pacific.

The only low point in the evening came when Starr’s owner, Don, laid out a pilot chart for the Northern Pacifc, and we started looking at the weather on the longer passages. The first place we happened to look was the gulf of Alaska, from Sitka, to Kodiac Island. The pilot chart shows the probabilities of wind direction and speed. We all noticed at the same time that it said the odds were we’d be heading straight into 40 knot headwinds. Braun (of Grey Pearl) saved the conversation by reminding us that what it really meant was that we’d be positioning for the crossing, and watching for a 3 to 5 day weather window. It didn’t mean we’d be beating into the wind for three days. Based on the conversation we moved up by two weeks when we wanted to be to Sitka, so that we would have plenty of time to wait patiently for the right weather windows.

At dinner, we had a short discussion at my end of the table about “What do we call our Mini-Rally?” Every good rally has really great t-shirts! I suggested we call it the “Sayonara Rally,” but that idea didn’t go very far. Steven (of Seabird) suggested we call it the “Siberian Express” and people liked that better. I don’t know if we’ll ever actually come up with a name, and T-Shirts won’t be practical anyhow. Perhaps we need parkas with a rally logo?

Here’s the websites for a couple of the other boats (Grey Pearl doesn’t have a website as far as I know…)


-Ken W




4 Responses

  1. Eric: Yes. It should be Sans Souci .. and, is correctly spelled that way on the boat. However, the official certificate of documentation shows it as “San Souci” which was a typo somewhere along the way. I’m sure it won’t be tough to fix, and no one has noticed so far, despite a lot of time spent standing in port captain’s and customs offices. However, next summer in Japan might be a completely different story. I’ve heard that Japan can be quite finicky about these sorts of things.

  2. Ken,

    I’m not fluent in French, but isn’t the correct spelling “Sans Souci” – “Without worry” ?


  3. Good catch!!! I have looked at the Certificate of Documentation a hundred times, and never noticed that the ship name is slightly wrong. Darn – now I get to sort through the government bureacracy to try to determine how to change it. Hopefully it isn’t too tricky.

    I’ll mention to Jeff to change the type of boat in the AIS. I’m actually not sure he knows how to get into the AIS to change that, so it may not get changed until Seattle…

    Thank you,
    -Ken W

  4. Ken, why is Sans Souci’s vessel type “unspecified” rather than “yacht.” Also, I noticed that it is documented as San Souci rather than Sans Souci with the Coast Guard.

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