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Ryan Breymaier Interview


  • Ryan Breymaier Interview

    Ryan Breymaier has been a huge part of Tritium Sailing's "Lending Club", the converted Orma 70, which just completed the overall record attempt
    for the Transpac and came oh so close to doing just that, since the inception of the project. Ryan was kind enough to grant us an interview on the trip, what went right and what went wrong, avoiding and hitting submerged obstacles, his thoughts on L'Hydroptere attempting a Transpacific record in the mire of debris and the future of Tritium!


    Was it a bit of a disappointment not getting the record or was the goal to have a quick ride and if you got the record so be it?

    Ryan: Yeah, the whole goal was the record but as you know, we unfortunately ran into all these floating logs, telephone poles whatever you want to call it, and our whole goal was the record as there wasn't really any competition otherwise. It's a real shame as John and I are two years into this, to get the boat , get it in shape and get sailing and all that. But the whole objective was to get the record, so it is a bit of a shame, but it is what it island we had a nice ride over here, a great experience and a quick cruise over, so no regrets!

    For our readers who never have had the experience of sailing an Orma 70' 5 days in a row across the Pacific, what the sensation is like?

    Ryan: I think the best way to describe it is like when you are taking off in an airplane, and the pilot hits the throttle and the plane starts hurling down the runway, that's what it feels like for days at a time! It never really takes off, but it vibrates and shudders like that and the sensation of acceleration, ya know? That's the best way to describe it, that and when you are down below, it's like sleeping on a subway!

    Compared to Maserati, can you describe the subtle differences in the ride?

    Ryan: Ah HUGE differences in the ride. 1st of all , as any of the crew of Maserati will tell you ( Laughs),is the amount of water, you know they have green water over the deck the entire time, and we didn't have any green water over any part of the boat except the leeward floater which always wet. That's the big difference besides it's a much faster ride for about the same size of boat.

    How about the crew rotation and shifts?

    Ryan: We had 2 watches of 4 people along with the navigator. 4 hours on 4 hours off during the day along with 3 hours on and 3 hours off during the night which makes the watches rotate, which is nice. Gino and myself were the primary watch captains and primary drivers, so when condition were rough or with big breeze downwind, we did the bulk of the driving, and everyone would drive when condtions were a bit more moderate. When conditions were more moderate, we would lay off of driving and let everyone else have some fun. The difference in a multihull from a mono hull there is not a lot to do if you are not driving, there's not a lot of trimming to do, so basically you are hanging onto a sheet with nothing else to do.

    Apparent wind driving, please explain to those unfamiliar:

    Ryan: It's just another skill you learn very quickly when you start sailing the boats. You get a fast course, let the boat accelerate, then adjust course to what you want as the apparent wind move forward. The cool thing is you reduce drag from the boards, the hull and the rig and the apparent wind ratchets up more and more and more the faster you go the more the wind accelerates until the drag catches up and slows you down. Its just a matter of knowing the technique at the helm a little bit, if you have ever sailed on a little catamaran or a windsurfer you got the idea.

    Sleeping on board, in a micro cabin with 4-6 other souls, where was the sweet spot?

    Ryan: ( Laughs) Yeah, My spot! Aft of the cabin underneath the cockpit was a real nice place. It was nice and quiet back there and no traffic as you could only get in or out one way! We had two bunks back there and I managed to get one of them on our shift!

    How much shut eye did you actually get on a 24 hour period?

    Ryan: When things were moderate, I guess I got maybe 8-10 hours, when things were rough or we hit things, I guess maybe 5 hours out of 25. Not to bad.

    How about the Switlick drysuits? How much use did they get?

    Ryan: The were extremely useful, the best ones I have ever seen. I wore mine the entire time, it was the only foul weather gear I brought with me. I just took it off to sleep, then put it back on with just a tee shirt and shorts underneath! You could take it off when things got warm, but it kept you dry and the salt off which was nice.

    Your Best 24 hour run?

    Ryan: I don't think we paid any attention to it to be honest with you. I think it was north of 450 nm but we didn't have a lot of breeze the whole way across, maybe 13-14 knots the whole way across, and have not yet looked at the data. We did have a period at the beginning where we were sailing on just the jib and the main in nice flat water and the foil was working properly. Then the breeze went aft and we started running into things and things went south a little bit.

    Admittedly, Tritium didn't have as much time as one would like for offshore practice prior to the start, did that effect your crew or your performance?

    Ryan: We meshed together fine as a crew, it wasn't too bad. It would have been nice to have had time for a few more practices and figure out a few little issues with the boat that hurt us a little bit, not too bad but it would have been good to have some more practice with breeze, as it was we didn't really have much wind in the practices we had earlier.

    Any surprises after the 1st day or two?

    Ryan: No not really. We had a couple small issues, and the boat was a little heavier than we expected, which didn't help in the performance. We had received a new light wind sail just before departing a mast head jib from and old Volvo boat that worked really well.

    Lets talk about obstacles, can you describe the 1st to the worst?

    Ryan: Yeah, they were all really bad, all of them tree trunks or telephone poles, all about that size. Some of which were rotten and some were not. The 1st one we hit exploded and we broke it in two. That one was like 10" inches in diameter. The biggest one he hit with the centerboard dagger was 16- 18 inches in diameter, and it was so solid we thought the rig had fallen down, it made such a loud noise and turned the board back into the case and it took a lot of work to free the board out of the case. It was a pretty massive amount of problems you know.

    Did all the boards including the rudder suffer some damage?

    Ryan: Thankfully we did not damage the rudders. We only banged stuff with the central hull, which was really nice, cause if we had busted up any of the floaters, it would have been a lot harder to continue on, as it was, it became like sailing a catamaran, which was not that big of a deal. But if you hurt the out hulls, it become a problem very quickly.

    So there wasn't much damage done to the hull itself or the sleeves?

    Ryan: No, not really. The boat has built in crash boxes basically, the boat itself was fine, The foils are very soft foam inside a carbon core, so if you hit something with them they break pretty easily.

    Did that actually stop the boat when you hit them, or did it shudder and keep going?

    Ryan: Well both actually. We would feel the shudder and keep going and then when you felt the shudder would get to bad, we would stop the boat, pull the board out flip it over and then start sailing again. We did that several times, so we would lose time doing that.

    You indicated that you lost a bit of time against the record dealing with board issues, how much time?

    Ryan: I would say over the course of the race, where we had to stop and fix things it was in the area of 8-12 hours lost, where we could have easily broken the record.

    Were all the collisions night time or were some in the day?

    Ryan: Mostly daytime. When you are sailing Transpac,a large portion of the day you are sailing into the sun. Combine that with the waves and the fact most of these logs are barely at the surface or just below, you just cant see them going at speed and you don't know they are there until you hear the impact.

    Did you do your fair share avoiding ones you could see?

    Ryan: Not really. We only took evasive action once or twice during the whole time we were sailing. We sailed around alot of floating buoys and such, but that was about it. Most stuff was unnoticeable unless you ran into it.

    What would be your guess if L' Hydroptere were to hit one of those logs during their attempt?

    Ryan: (Pauses) Destruction of boat and loss of life. Honestly. I would say if they destroy a foil and pitch-pole and have people in the water. They are playing with fire to try to sail that boat at full speed across an ocean full of trees!

    Do you think it would help if the stayed well south of the rhumbline?

    Ryan: (Hesitates) I don't know. I think its everywhere at this point, and there's not much you can do, I think there just shit in the water everywhere you go. It's really just like sailing through a trash heap, it's unbelievable.

    Are you shipping Tritium home ore sailing her back?

    Ryan: We are shipping her home. She's going on a ship Tuesday to Oakland. I'm going to put it back together in Oakland, take her back to Marina Bay and then do some PR sailing with the Lending Club and Lending Club VIP's during the LV and AC. Then she's on the market, hopefully to a home on the West Coast. Hopefully she can do some Mexican Races which would be perfect for the boat.

    During the last part of the race, you guys took a pretty big jog north of the rhumbline, what was that all about?

    Ryan: We were just following the high, we were quick enough we could stay with the high pressure as it moved around. We had a really nice run going and knew were going to have to gybe eventually and ended up gybing on the shift.

    And finally, you guys phone the TPYC last night to let them know you were throttling back. What was that about?

    Ryan: We had some fairly bad sea state and by then knew the record was out of our hands, so we let them know we would be a bit later than hoped so folks would not be standing around for hours waiting.There was a period of time there when we were pushing really hard ,then the breeze just died. We had big sails up and big seas were plowing into the backs of waves, and just didn't want to do anything stupid. It seemed prudent and only fair to let the folk on land know our intentions.

    Thanks for the time Ryan,
    We hope to see you on back the Bay very soon !
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