Monthly Archives: July 2014

Results Are In

The official results are in, and once again, our team has been crowned the Fastest Wine Cellar on the Pacific!

Well, really the guys did finish well. Thirsty was second in the Kolea Double-Handed Division, fifth in the rating group and 16th in the overall competition. For their accomplishment, they were awarded a clock with a big dent in it. Okay, the dent may have been acquired at some point in the bar after the award ceremony, we can’t be sure.

They were also the only boat to cross with foie gras and that honor comes with an award of more foie gras. (Just don’t tell the fuzz!)

Oh, and by the way, they also managed to raise nearly $15,000 for the ALS Association and we’re all pretty excited about that. We’re still accepting donations though, so feel free to check out the donations page to see the current total and also feel free to make the number go up by clicking on any of the numerous links to donate.


Ground-based Crew Says Aloha…oh and thanks.

Well, the race is over for Thirsty and we’re all very proud of them. All of us at the GBC, that’s the Ground-Based Crew (yeah we’ve got names and acronyms too here…one of our computers was nicknamed “Sloth” for obvious reasons), have been humbled and honored to be just a small part of getting what action was going on the boat out onto the internet.

The GBC had quite the task to perform: translating and writing all of the blog posts and Facebook entries. Let us run through the communication plan with you to explain a little of what was going on behind the scenes.

Communication onboard Thirsty was only via satellite, meaning mucho dinero pricey. Charly or Fred would write up the previous day’s summary and send it by 9am Pacific time. Due to the insane cost of kilobytes traveling from boat to space and back to us on the ground (go figure), words were sparse as were the pictures. It was up to us to translate from French to English and fill-in with a little more ornate language than was provided to us by the Thirsty crew. If you know Charlie & Fred, you know they like to joke around, so at times we could tell that there was a funny anecdote that could’ve been written. So, we decided to pretend we were them by writing long and hopefully humorous diatribes to fill in and give tone to the story.

Sometimes we wouldn’t get pictures and we needed to pull from some stock we had (no, we aren’t as good as the guys who supposedly faked the moon landing…because it was never faked) to help animate the story. Some times we would get multiple messages per day; some good and some not-so-good. We needed to shed light on some notes that were sent talking about dangers encountered (a flipped over fishing vessel), days of frustration (Aeolus sleeping on the job), technical difficulties (some keys failing to work on Thirsty’s only PC onboard: tht ws hrd to del with…we’d like to buy a vowel please!), and emotional setbacks (reminiscing what this race could have been like with Gilles still around). We were living vicariously through our two sea-going heroes.

Towards the end of the race, our two sailors were visibly tired. We say “visibly” because we could see it in their emails: the tone shifted, the emails got shorter, and the punctuation went out the window. They were both pushing for a cause and wanted to make the biggest splash for the ALS Association they possibly could. Yes, in the end we are short on our donation goal, but these two guys literally bridged a gap between the ALS Association’s Golden West Chapter’s always-covered territory of California and newly-covered tropical territory of Hawaii. They sailed in with Iron Horse up, big smiles, and got the word out. They did it for a good cause, in memory of a great friend, and for more stories to be told.

The race may be over for Thirsty, but it’s far from the end for the race to a cure for ALS. will be up for a long time and donations can still be made…even if not on the website, donate on the ALS Association’s website ( and click on “Donate” at the top right-hand side of your screen. Doesn’t really matter: the money goes to the same bank account funding care and future cures for ALS patients (100% of donations on SailingforALS go directly to the ALS Association).

We love all of you guys. We love you for reading. We love you for caring. We love you for sharing. And we love you for being there.

So from all of us on the ground (Leslie, Gary, Matt, Phillip and Christine) and full-time employees at the ALS Association (Jenica, Cherryl, Julie, and Fred), we are signing off for the day and will return with videos and photos of the whole experience.

Tonight, we got a call from Charly and Fred, three Mai-tai’s in and damn happy to be on land: the morale is back up and they are ready for another race…maybe not next year but probably the year after that. Additionally, the crew of Thirsty would like to send a shout out to Kay, an ALS patient of many years now who came to see the guys and their boat in San Francisco to send them off…it’s her birthday. So Charly and Fred both say “Bon anniversaire Kay” and so do we. Happy Birthday Kay.

OK, that’s it now.

Good night from the California Crew.

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Last Night, Last Few Miles

Aloha Mateys!

It’s 4am here. We have 64 miles to go…that’s right, we’re in the double digits now.

Yesterday was not a walk in the park: a weather front moved through and was pushing 30kts+ of wind. We must have made five sail and rigging changes in one afternoon.

Since last night, we’ve been pushing as hard as we can on a direct route to the finish line. We’ve been dealing with some random yet strong rain showers the past two days, but last night was monsoon-mode just for good measure on top of all the weather crap we had to deal with already.

We’re exhausted but still have enough energy to be excited for the finish and the welcoming celebration. Seeing our friends and drinking Mai Tai’s have taken over our dreams, hallucinations, etc.

We’ll get you some pictures later because we didn’t have much time to work with my limping computer the past 24 hours. We did however have GoPro’s strapped, so we captured plenty of video.

That’s it for the news. Stay tuned for our newest adventure: hot showers, ice cold beers and Mai Tais of course.

We have plenty of things to do before our expected arrival of 1pm-ish local time, so I think this may be our last blog entry via satellite. Once again, we’d like to thank everyone for their kind words and their donations to the ALS Association’s Golden West Chapter.

Hawaiian hula hugs from now 61.4NM to go!

– Charly & Fred




It’s the Final Countdown: Less than 24 Hours Before the Finish

Greetings friends!

I had planned a longer update today but my keyboard is all screwed up. A few letters aren’t working so I’m getting creative.

We have 238 miles to go. Currently, we’re going 20 knots using Big Ben, Turbo and Big Momma at full. Just a short week ago, we were more tentative. Now we’re in Tarzan mode; we’re even rocking the attack wigs.

It’s become very clear that we won’t catch up to Wolfpack. Too bad. We had a debrief meeting yesterday and analyzed why we found ourselves in this predicament. It’s fairly obvious that they just were faster days 6 and 7, and we were never able to come back. The way we see it, it’s a good lesson for our next race (yes, we’re actually considering doing this sort of thing again).

Right now, we’re just having fun. We spent the night full-speed ahead and passed two boats in the process. We even averaged 9½-10 knots at certain times.

We’ve started cleaning and organizing the boat. If we keep going, we’ll be arriving at the finish line exhausted. We’re still predicting an afternoon finish. After that, we’re planning a Mai Tai IV on the way to a luxurious shower.

That’s the news for this morning. We’ll be debriefing you all on the race at another time.

Lastly and most importantly, I’d like to thank all those who made donations to the ALS Association in honor of Gilles. For those of you who have not had a chance to donate yet, we’re counting on you to visit The “Donate” button is in the top right-hand corner (so easy guys!). For US residents, it’s 100% tax deductible (can’t beat that!). Don’t forget to pass this along to your friends, family, coworkers, etc.

Happy Sunday!

– Charly & Fred

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Overtime on the Open Sea

Hello Thirsty Friends!

Late recap from yesterday’s adventures. Hey, it’s the weekend: we’re allowed to chill out and take it easy. Like real French people and their RTT’s (which means “Reductions du Temps de Travail”), which is French for “Reduction in Work Hours per Week” (RWHW), we’re trying to get down to a 35-hour work week, but Toto’s not as smooth as we are at the helm and he sure as shit can’t change a sail (damn Toto).

The previous night was long and intense.  Right when I was going down to take my nap and exercise my RWHW rights at 1:00am, the wind increased nearly two-fold in less than the time than it takes me to brush my teeth and put my jammies on!

Fred and I ended up battling gusts well beyond the 20kt range with full Momma (remember our sail nomenclature, kids), Turbocharger and Iron Horse flying proud. Yeah, a little too much for what was blowin’. Then, the rains started coming in like many scenes from the reality TV show “Deadliest Catch.” I was still tired, so Tarzan handled the helm and was in beast-mode through the night, thus going beyond his French government-mandated RWHW.  What a guy that Fred. I didn’t tell him that Thirsty doesn’t pay overtime yet (shhhhhhhhh!). Anyway, from that moment, it’s been a hell of a ride: winds varying direction and strength with big swells to bounce us around. To comfort ourselves, we opened a can of duck gizzards and poured a couple of glasses of Haut Brion; we even had kid-sized apple sauce for dessert!

Anyway, after all these crazy conditions, the wind died to 7kts for over two hours. Pardon our French, but Aeolus is a prick. Morale is not superb with these conditions, but we know we’ll be sipping Mai-tai’s in less than a couple of days. Later in the evening, the wind came back up. Instead of chasing the wind, we went back to a direct route towards Hawaii with our A2 spinnaker, The Captain (mind that sail nomenclature post…we told you to take notes) flying.

Back to the race though. It is seeming increasingly more impossible to catch up to Wolfpack: they are a lighter boat and the winds 80NM ahead of us (where they are) are stronger and more constant. So we are fighting to mitigate the spread in time.

Anyway, we are closer to Hawaii and the water is warmer: it might be time for a warm Pacific shower.

Now we think we should be in Hawaii Monday afternoon.

A little love from a couple days out from Hawaii!

– Charly and Fred