Welcome to Dolphin Spirit
My quest is breaking the solo sailing record from San Francisco to Tokyo in dedication to ending the world’s largest dolphin slaughterover 20,000 killed annually in Japan. In three previous attempts, I just missed the record.
2011 Solo Sail to Japan Cancelled
Due to the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown at Fukushima, I have cancelled my planned solo sail to Japan this year. Our Save Japan Dolphins project will continue, but the priority now is assisting recovery and rebuilding projects, and closing down the Fukushima and other aging nuclear power plants in Japan. I have begun fund raising for these efforts and already donated over $1,300 on behalf of Dolphin Spirit Project to two great organizations in Japan. PEACE BOAT JAPAN has set up earthquake/tsunami relief teams headquartered in Ishinomaki City in Miyagi. GREEN ACTION JAPAN is a Kyoto-based NGO dedicated to educating the public on the perils of nuclear energy and shifting Japan’s energy program from nuclear to energy efficiency and renewables. For information on these groups, visit the PEACE BOAT JAPAN website and the GREEN ACTION JAPAN website. Save Japan Dolphins has also recommended other groups for donations.
Dolphin Spirit sailing with new rudder, genoa, and dodger, Fall 2009. (Photo: Latitude 38)
Dolphin Spirit to be in Strickly Sail Pacific Boat Show: April 15-18, 2010, Jack London Square, Oakland, California, 10-6 pm. Come see Dolphin Spirit and meet skipper Michael Reppy.
Haul-out was done at Napa Valley Marina, and main-hull rudder installed and linked to two exisiting rudders in the floats. The result has been very good, with much improved steering and tracking in bay sailing. The real test will be in offshore sail trails with autopilot steering.
A new carbon-fiber genoa, built by Pineapple Sails, replaced the very worn-out old genoa. It has proved a very strong, powerful, and excellent addition. A large, light-air screecher is under construction by Pineapple Sails.
A canvass dodger, built by Elizabeth Durrant, was installed, which provides much needed protection from the very wet conditions we get at higher speeds.
July 5, 2008
Dolphin Spirit Arrives in San Francisco
On July 3, 2008, after a five and a half day trip down the coast from the San Juan Islands of Washington, Dolphin Spirit sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge. It was an eerie and spooky sight to see the lighted bridge suddenly appear out of a moonless, dark, and foggy night. As morning dawned, I and crew David Howitt and Bob Dixon, motored across the bay to Marina Bay in Richmond, Dolphin Spirit’s new home.
It had been the shake-down sail we needed to test all systems on the boat after such a major re-fit, and in fact involved getting pounded hard beating out the Strait of Juan de Fuca our first day out. With winds gusting over 30 knots and vicious wind against tide seas in the strait, Dolphin Spirit was slamming and banging with terrific stress on the cross beam connections causing loud creaks with movement at the joints. We re-tightened all the bolts, and sailed on, but when stress cracks developed near the aft connections, we headed back to port to investigate. We determined the cracks were not structural weakening of the cross beam connections, did fiberglass repairs and set sail again.
The seas in the strait had eased and we had an easy sail out, turned the corner at Cape Flattery, and had an exhilarating run down the coast of Washington in 15-20 knot winds. Dolphin Spirit was heavily loaded with supplies and gear, but did hit 19.3 knots with a reef in main and the genoa up, and we could feel the potential for more!
The rest of the trip was very slow going, mostly motor-sailing in light southerly winds. We even had to pull into Crescent City to refuel. One highlight was passing a pod of orcas heading north along the Oregon coast, and took pictures to ID, and sent them to the Center For Whale Research on San Juan Island.
All in all, Dolphin Spirit performed very well, but we did confirm our suspicion that the steering is hard and difficult - too hard for an auto-pilot to handle in heavy seas and running at higher speeds in following seas. Dolphin Spirit has a small rudder in each float which had been adequate for hand steering by full crew in prior years. We have decided to build and install a main-hull rudder for better control for single-handing. I contacted designer Tony Grainger, who agrees that is the way to go.
So the count-down begins to out-fit Dolphin Spirit for her mission for the dolphins to break the solo sailing record to Japan next spring. High on the list are: the new rudder, new sails, a second auto-pilot, life-raft, new main halyard winch, and some new running rigging. Your tax deductible donations will be much appreciated!
Secret Documentary Film to Expose Taiji Dolphin Slaughter
Save Japan Dolphins Coalition has been working with Oceanic Preservation Society in a $5 million dollar "covert operation" film to be released in late 2008, featuring placement of High Definition cameras on the killing beaches in fake foam rocks made by Kerner Optical (formerly George Lucas' Industrial Light And Magic Shop), and cameras and hydrophones planted underwater by world free diving champion Mandy-Rae Cruickshank. The film captures the gruesome, bloody slaughter and the terrifying screams of the panicked and dying dolphins, and includes interviews with Japanese scientists condeming the sale of the highly mercury toxic dolphin meat. Japan Times story
October 12, 2007
Dolphin Spirit To Winter In Friday Harbor
With winter-like stormy weather patterns already setting in along the Pacific Northwest coast, I made the decision to keep Dolphin Spirit at Shipyard Cove Marina in Friday Harbor for the winter. I will be driving back down to the San Francisco Bay Area to resume my job as a home health care physical therapist and will return in the spring for more sail trials. Crew David Howitt and Scott Shaffer live on San Juan Island and will look after the boat.
Sept 26, 2007
Dolphin Spirit On First Sail
Along with crew David Howitt and Scott Shaffer, we took Dolphin Spirit out for a few hours on her first sail in light airs off Friday Harbor, San Juan Island. All systems worked well. But it will take a lot more sailing in more wind to really do a proper shake down, before she is ready to sail down the coast to San Francisco.
September 6, 2007
Dolphin Spirit Launched!
On a beautiful indian summer-like day, we launched Dolphin Spirit with two cranes doing the lift. Crew David Howitt expertly towed her on a trailer to the water’s edge, with Scott Shaffer directing clearance through cars in Shipyard Cove Marina parking lot.
I did the christening with a bottle of champagne, with a small gathering of folks cheering me on. Plans are for about one more week of work to complete electronics installation, re-glassing the dagger-board, stepping the mast, and rigging the boat for sailing. After a few test sails, we will sail Dolphin Spirit down the coast to San Francisco, where she will be prepared for my solo record run to Japan next spring.
Read the latest news and sign our petition to put a warning label on all dolphin meat sold in Japan.
Dolphin Spirit on her first sail in San Juan Channel off Friday Harbor, Washington ©Peter Fromm
Michael Reppy, David Howitt and Bob Dixon on arrival at Marina Bay, Richmond, California
Michael Reppy at Dolphin Spirit christening
Dolphin Spirit on trailer ready for launch
Dolphin Spirit launched with two cranes on September 6, 2007
Dolphin Spirt at the dock after launch
Michael Reppy christening Dolphin Spirit
Skipper Michael Reppy with crew David Howitt and Scott Shaffer