Thursday, June 30, 2005

Sea Wolf

The answer to yesterday’s literary quiz is “Sea Wolf” by Jack London (kudos to Tillerman for guessing correctly) – a tremendous tale of adventure that is more than worth the read. Sea Wolf spawned one of the entertaining characters in seafaring lore, the dread Wolf Larsen. For those not familiar…”The story starts with a gentleman, a Mr. Humphrey Van Weyden taking a nice cruise on San Francisco Bay. All of but a moment, a simple twist of fate changes his life forever. The large ferry-boat he was on, the Martinez was suddenly struck by a steamboat in the dense and sometimes deadly San Francisco fog. As he was floating through the water he is picked up by the schooner Ghost whose captain is known infamously for his cruelty, Wolf Larsen. Soon he is thrust into a world of hard labor and death waiting around the corner always…”

Jack London made his home in Glen Ellen, CA (Sonoma County) for many years on the 1,500-acre Beauty Ranch.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

What do Pussers Rum & Self Tailing Winches Have in Common?

Dodging Freighters & a Literary Quiz

The San Francisco Chronicle, online at, has moved some good sailing coverage in the last few months. In today's paper there's a story about two people (Nick Patz and his fiancĂ©e) who capsized in area of the SF Bay called the Carquinez Straits while day sailing their 14-foot boat to a bar in the town of Port Costa Saturday afternoon. According to the article they landed the boat on the beach and proceeded to the bar where they partied until 1:00 AM. On the return sail the boat began to fill with water, soon swamped and sank under the Carquinez Bridge. About 5 miles east in Martinez, a Greek-owned tanker called the Bow Prima had just picked up 100,000 barrels of diesel fuel from the Tesoro refinery and was outbound with two tugs, heading straight for the Patz and his unfortunate wife-to-be. Read on for the rest of the tale – as they say the truth can be stranger than fiction. And speaking of fiction, here’s a test of the sea going literary sort. What famous novel of the sea began with the hero in similar “straits” in the SF Bay? A hint, the equally famous author made his home in wine country...

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

A Southern Sailing Hootenanny (with wind)

On a visit down to Charleston this past spring I wrote about the Rockville Regatta – one of the preeminent lowcountry sailing fests of the year. The Rockville Regatta (NASCAR meets Wimbledon) is still forthcoming but here’s an article on last weekends “Lowcountry Regatta” sponsored by the Beaufort Yacht and Sailing Club. According to the article it was a resounding success - over 95 boats in the Beaufort River “…looping around markers and fighting for the coveted silver cups, while food, clothing and Bluegrass entertained the landlocked spectators.” Most surprisingly they had 15 to 20 knots of breeze Saturday. I sail as far south as the Chesapeake and, through this experience, have realized that summer in these parts is not the time to expect a blow…so I’m pleasantly surprised and gladdened to read that our lowcountry sailing brethren had such a solid breeze. Regatta aside, you can tell from clicking through their home page that the Beaufort Yacht and Sailing Club has little in common with, say, the Larchmont Yacht Club. From a cultural view Yankees can be ridiculously buttoned up about yacht clubs though I’m sure that they're places in Charleston (see this post) that would one up their eastern cousins. But generally sailing is a more “hoe down” hootenanny-type activity down south – an excuse to BarBQ along the riverbank, banjos picking while the sailors vie for the trophy. Contrast that with the crowd of smirking, farmer-tanned, Long Island Sound-sailing yuppies I threw elbows with at the NOODS after-party tent last September…I pick the hootenanny.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Oracle Challenge Needs a Tune Up

I haven’t been following the America’s Cup trials closely but it’s nice to know that even billionaire bad boys have a rough day on the course once in a while. The San Francisco Chronicle moved a story today about Larry Ellison’s kite mishap during a tune-up regatta in the Med on Sunday. Larry’s BMW Oracle Racing was in 4th place out of the twelve or so competitors on the course when, on a downwind set, their spinnaker was snagged on a spreader pole and tore in half. It took them a minute and a half to get the replacement up – too late to hold their position. It’s too early to be making sideline calls but worth noting that Larry’s challenge is the only American entry to date. The ongoing fleet matches, billed as Luis Vuitton “Acts” count towards initial points needed to win the Louis Vuitton Cup - which determines the team that will challenge America's Cup defender Alinghi in Valencia, Spain in 2007. I hardly need to point out the importance of the 150 plus years of the America’s Cup to sailing culture – but for those who want a review you can find one here and here.

Tred Avon Yacht Club Friday Series - Oxford, MD (6/24/05)

Friday, June 24, 2005

Friday Pass

On the NJ Turnpike (not a pretty sight) today down to Maryland for a Saturday sail out of Oxford. Apologies for taking a pass but I'll post over the weekend.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Blue Angels run the Golden Gate in formation - Fleet Week '04

Dreaming of the Big Blue

It’s long been a dream of mine to sail the Med. If you are on the Caribbean circuit in the spring there is usually the chance to crew on a delivery across the pond right after Antigua Race Week. Unfortunately I didn’t take that opportunity when I had it, but it’s on my short list of sailing destinations to hit before they plant me. Meanwhile I’m armchair cruising – tremendous two page article on Italy’s “big blue” here. According to the article the Ligurian coast in the north of Italy is one of the most beautiful stretches of the Mediterranean Sea…the view from the water of the cliffs and craggy coves with the immense outline of the Alps is “breathtaking.” Top ports-of-call from the many coastal towns and fishing villages include Ventimiglia, San Remo, Bordighera, Santo Stefano al Mare, Imperia, Diano Marina, San Bartolomeo al Mare and Genoa. One of my favorite things about our sailing culture is that so many cruising sailors are happy to share their insight on destinations like the Ligurian coast. We're lucky to have literate voyagers relaying their experiences for the benefit of both dreamers and doers. I’m planning to move back from the former camp to the latter one day - but in the meanwhile I’ve also posted on Dalmatia and, on a less idyllic note, the Red Sea. Anyone out there have favorite armchair cruising grounds (or stories) to share?

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Sailing to the Stars

By now many of you have probably heard of the Cosmos-1 solar sail space craft. It’s made press all over the world and the apparent failure of the project was reported today in the U.P.I. The Cosmos 1 solar sail spacecraft is a ship without an engine pushed along directly by light particles from the Sun, reflecting off giant mirror-like sails. According to the Cosmos 1 website, because it carries no fuel and keeps accelerating over almost unlimited distances, it is the only technology now in existence that can one day take us to the stars.

Obviously the solar sail engineers have tweaking to do - but the concept must resonate with sailors, long proponents of harnessing the force of nature to propel craft. All sorts of fantastic future scenarios coem to mind, but my take-away is, power-by-sail is the fundamental driver of exploration. When the planet was as mysterious and uncharted as space is to us today, sailors explored, recorded and mapped the unknown. Of course we developed smelly fossil fueled engines that provided more reliable and speedier ways to explore, but it was the science of seafaring and the technology of ocean passage making that enabled the successful exploration (not the discovery) of new continents and civilizations. Be sure to check out the Wired story here - they report that theoretically within three years a solar sail could be traveling faster than 100,000 mph without a drop of onboard fuel.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

2005 Laser and Laser Radial North Americans: June 17-20 in Seattle (Photo Credit: Cliff Estes)

Block Island Race Week Begins

What kind of Long Island Sound sailor would I be if I didn’t mention Block Island Race Week? Of course there is no way that someone with a corporate 9-5 job, a three year old and a three month old is going to have a chance in hell of participating in a week-long racing endeavor but that’s what makes the Web so wonderful…here I am in air conditioned anonymity reading an interview with Storm Trysail Club commodore, Richard du Moulin in Seahorse Magazine – STC is the traditional sponsor of the BI Race Week, a major IRC event in the U.S.. In the interview Richard addresses the resurgence of big boat racing and the nuances of an IRC rating. As well check out this BI Race Week overview article from The Block Island Times and stay tuned to the official web site through the week for scratch sheet updates, the latest race news, etc. Race weeks play an important part in the competitive subset of sailing culture. I’ve done Antigua a few times…there’s nothing quite like a week long sailing festival to focus the mind, tire the body and work the liver. For those of you who have never been to (or heard of) Block Island it’s a tremendous little island just past the mouth of LI Sound lying off the coast of Rhode Island. In some ways it is what the Vineyard and Nantucket used to be like before the new money millionaire swarm redecorated with McMansions and smelly power yachts.

Monday, June 20, 2005

An Original of the Species

Voyagers have been in the press lately – let’s kick off the week with a great Q&A here in the New Yorker about “Poppa Neutrino,” an American adventurer planning to raft across the Pacific Ocean. Not your typical yachtsman, Neutrino was the first man to build a raft out of garbage and sail it across the ocean. In the article, author Alec Wilkinson answers questions about the origin and make-up of this itinerant voyager…addressing, among other things, the composition of his newest raft built for the Pacific crossing. Neutrino’s rafts are like sailboats with hulls and cabins and decks a foot or so above the water line. According to Wilkinson, the most important feature of Neutrino’s rafts is that he designs them so that they will right themselves if a wave were to knock them over. His current raft is thirty-two feet long with a small deck in the back, a transom for the outboard motor, two cabins, and a deck in the front. The mast is in front of the second cabin, which is larger. The raft is made of plywood and foam. The best thing about Poppa Neutirno is that you couldn’t make this guy up – he’s an original of the species.

Friday, June 17, 2005

At the helm of the 77' Maxi Javelin - in a more buoyant moment offshore

Part Four: Eluding Davey Jones

This is the fourth and final installment in the four part saga “Eluding Davey Jones.” If you haven’t read the first chapter here, the second chapter here and the third here then please review before continuing…

Drifting off Puerto Rico in a 77’ aluminum hulled maxi racing yacht with a diesel powered bilge pump between you and Davey Jones (or at least a ride in the life raft) was not the recipe for a restful night. We took turns standing watch over the pump and the level of water in the bilge until dawn broke…by all rights we should have been a hundred miles from this point well on our way back to the east coast but instead we were faced with the prospect of making port in San Juan, hauling the boat in a place renown for thieves, smugglers and miscreants and taking whatever time needed to find the breach and remedy it.

“Might not be so bad,” Captain Tom mused. A Coast Guard cutter had hailed us at daybreak for a position and was on its way out to tow us into the harbor.

“Old San Juan rocks,” one of the delivery crew chipped in helpfully. They were disappointed, of course, but were free to fly back to the States. As mate of this tub I wasn’t going anywhere.

The cutter arrived and we got the tow ropes secured and were underway immediately. The raunchy exhaust from their engines drifted back on us, obscuring the clean saline smell of the ocean. A fitting welcome to Puerto Rico, I thought glumly. I took the helm and tried to steer us out of the path of the diesel cloud.

An hour or so later we made the mouth of Old San Juan Harbor and the cutter slowed, drifted.

“What the hell,” said Tom and raised them on the handheld VHF. “What? You have to be kidding me. You must be joking.” They were not. He lowered the radio and screamed expletives at the cerulean blue Caribbean sky. “Throw off the lines,” he said when he’d recovered. “They won’t tow us to dock, liability. We’ll have to contract to a tug for the rest of the way.”

The sharks were circling - it didn’t take long to raise the captain of an enterprising tugboat. His English was broken, but clear enough to reveal the bottom feeding depths of his evil heart.

“They want $1000 an hour for the tow,” Tom said. He looked stunned. One of the crew was stupid enough to ask the obvious question…how many hours would it take?

“As long as they fucking make it take,” he snarled and stomped downstairs to call our owner on the satellite phone.

Three and a half hours later we landed in San Juan, Puerto Rico. It was home for nearly three months.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

A Stitch in Time Saves Nine

More detail on high drama aboard S/V Scott Free trickling in – earlier this week I wrote about their predicament and now the New Zealand Herald has a more complete account. The boat was knocked flat by a rogue wave and the one of the crew (the husband) was smacked in the head, opening a huge gash (running from his forehead to the back of his skull) that bled profusely. To her credit his wife stitched him up field-style, 23 sutures total, and they were rescued by a merchant ship shortly thereafter. This tale of woe has been told in varying forms since man and woman first went to sea but worth noting is the importance of medical equipment and training. Though the wife, Lisa Blackwood, had no formal medical training she still did what was needed with the proper supplies at hand…voyaging is an inherently dangerous activity and requires a frontier-like self sufficiency that is utterly foreign to most people in this country (and other first world countries) who're used to having “911” at their disposal. If I were to characterize some of the traits that are common to culture, “self-sufficiency” would be at the top of the list – as true for the hardcore offshore voyager as the weekend warrior, kid in a Laser, the grinder on a maxi, the bowman on a Wednesday night beer can. Not all of us may be called on to stitch up a forehead but I wager most of us feel like if we had to, we could.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Taking a Pass

Sorry for the Wednesday miss - on a plane most of the day. Back to regularly scheduled posting Thursday.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

2005 X-Yachts Adriatic Cup - S.Giorgio's Island, Venice, Italy (Photo credit Max Ranchi)

Santorum Wants to Screw Sailors

Newport Beach was a welcome respite – the fish tacos are amazing and I took a walk along the docks of the Newport Harbor Yacht Club...there’s a beautiful Swan at berth so I spent a few minutes admiring her clean lines and wishing I was out for a sail instead of escaping a conference in Anaheim. Along the way I picked up a copy of the local boating rag (The Log) and on the front page read a piece about Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa), who has proposed legislation to eliminate virtually all free weather information currently provided by the National Weather Service. If you’re not familiar with Santorum he’s been in the press before for his “controversial” views on homosexuality – this unrelated push is his way of catering to Pennsylvanis-based Accuweather, a large private weather company that would dearly love to charge for what our tax dollars already pay for. I say let’s set Santorum adrift in a 20 foot sloop in the Gulf stream during a stiff blow and decline his credit card number when he needs the weather report. It's bastards like this who make the idea of "government for the people by the people" such a farce. Not that free weather forecasts are such an essentail part of sailing culture...but a general antipathy towards corporations that want to raise the cost of boating certainly is.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Pacific Standard Time

I’m out in Southern California this week for business so I’ll be posting on Pacific Standard Time. This afternoon I’ll brave the freeways to Newport Beach for dip in the ocean and tasty fish tacos. Newport Beach is a well placed port from which to embark on a sail to the Channel Islands…not many places to tuck into but the Channels make a great day or overnight jaunt. On the Pacific note, a dramatic rescue underway in New Zealand right now – two sailors, a husband and a wife, are fighting for their lives in massive seas and gale winds 740 kilometres northeast of North Cape aboard the Scot Free. Scot Free is Canadian registered - the skipper is from Canada, his wife English. According to news reports they were sailing from Whangarei to Tonga when they got caught in the storm...due to the bad conditions it will be 24 hours before they divert a merchant ship. Aside from hoping for their safe rescue, I have to note that New Zealand is a favorite voyaging dream – someday I will make a passage to this spectacular country.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Hamburg Cove, CT

Sailing Brigadoon

Favorite anchorages are a proprietary subject at best but I do think that it’s well worth the effort, given the far flung Zephyr readership, to raise the topic. The advantage of this is two-fold: 1) if you comment with a favorite anchorage you can feel reasonably safe that you’re not advertising to every sailor in your region, thanks to the geographic diversity of the Zephyr readership and 2) you will hopefully see responses to your post that encourage new ideas and cruising goals, idyllic spots to dream about, etc. Sooooo…I’ll get us started but please comment freely with your favorite summer anchorage – no matter where they may be – for the benefit of people who may never get there but still like to learn about a good sailing Brigadoon.

My adopted home ground is coastal Connecticut which means Long Island Sound. A host of places come to mind – Block Island, the Thimbles, Fisher Island and Shelter don’t have to look too hard to find a good anchorage on the Sound though in the summertime you’ll have company. But a truly special place is Hamburg Cove up the CT River from Essex. Locally known as a spring fishing hole for perch, Hamburg Cove is fresh water so the swimming is superb, there are plenty of little inlets to explore in your dinghy and the surrounding land is beautiful. A word of warning – during the summer days stinky power boaters anchor to swim so arrive later in the day/early evening. Sunday nights are better than Saturday and any weekday night is choice.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Thank You

I'd like to take a break from regularly scheduled programming to thank the many readers, far and wide, who have come (and returned) to Zephyr. As you can see clearly from the below pie chart - while the bulk of readers originate in the U.S. - I’m pleased to note that seventeen other countries are represented. It’s the ultimate compliment that I’ve reached audiences beyond the United States. Sailing culture, the overarching purpose of this weblog, is a topic that crosses borders, political affiliations, rums of choice and whether you’re for boxers or briefs (I say let the boys breathe). Sailing itself is a passion that allows folks from all walks of life and parts of the world to relate to one another. The concept of “voyaging” is intrinsically about crossing boundaries and going beyond the comfort zone to discover and explore. The racing circuit is international. And one of the nicest public comments about Zephyr on record was made by the European editor of Scuttlebutt. I’m deeply thankful to have a robust collection of readers from the U.S rounded out by sailors from all over the world. My only request is that if you like what you read here, please forward the link to your mates. Cheers!

A snapshot of Zephyr visitor geographies as of June 9,2005

Update: Pirate Attack

Here is a more complete story from the Boston Globe on the pirate encounters of Jay Barry and Carol Martini aboard the vessel Gandalf.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Pirate Attack on Gandalf Surfaces in the Press

I first wrote about the pirate attack on the vessel Gandalf off the coast of Yemen on April 12 but it's recieved broader notice recently. The Associated Press moved a story on the incident yesterday – both the Boston Globe and a local Boston news affiliate picked it up. The event actually occurred back in early March...a harrowing tale with a happy ending. The sailors successfully fought off the pirates - despite taking deadly fire from their AK-47 assault weapons – by turning and ramming the attacking fishing boat full speed. It’s a great example of combating aggression with aggression, sometimes the only way to defend yourself when nobody is going to swoop in last minute and save the day. Reminds me of one of my favorite scenes in the movie "Captain Ron" where the Coast Guard does exactly that. Back to the AP story…it’s brief with not much detail. Check out this link from my original April post.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Summer sailing off Watch Hill, RI

Venter's Sailing Sorcerery

A good friend of mind used to crew as chef aboard Craig Venter’s yacht “Sorcerer I” out of Annapolis and so when I saw the San Francisco Chronicle story yesterday about Craig, a brilliant scientist who led the project to sequence the human genome, I read on. The piece is about Craig's expedition to identify and catalog as many new genes as possible from microscopic organisms Luckily for him he can conduct this exercise from the deck of the 95 foot Sorcerer II, most recently anchored off Hamilton Island, Australia. According to the article this voyage was inspired in part by early scientific explorations, including Charles Darwin's voyage on the Beagle. As the author points out, Darwin and the men who accompanied him on his original journey (began in 1831) would have been impressed at the style the modern-day explorers have become accustomed to – air conditioning, brunch tables laden with fresh fruit, scrambled eggs, warm pastries, surfboards at the ready and Bob Marley piped through a state-of-the-art sound system. Regardless, it sounds as if Craig and team are making a strong case for the scientific utility of a leisurely round the world sail. "We're looking for life on Mars, and there is still so much diversity on our own planet that we don't even know about," Venter said, tacking into the wind. "I like to tell people, the next time you're in the ocean and you swallow a mouthful of water, keep in mind you just swallowed 10 million to 100 million organisms."

Monday, June 06, 2005

From the Journal

April 23, 1996
two days out of St. Thomas bound for Annapolis, MD


Through the salon and up the companionway, hatch framing a star filled night and as I gain the deck one falls, firing across the sky into darkness. The winds whistles through the rigging and a shadowed figure stands at the wheel reflecting the faint red glow of the instruments. I move to the high side and slide into the cockpit, stand with my chin resting on the canopy and survey the evening.

The boat rockets through the night, sensation of speed increased by the moonless black curtain drawn tightly around us. Wind is steady on the beam, sails filled. Eyes straining I can see brief flashes of whitecaps. We take a swell on the bow and the spray turns red and green from the bow lights. Salt water splashes across the deck and wets my face I lick my lips taste the ocean close my eyes and sway with the motion of the boat. A sense of timelessness - we are outside the sweep of the clock. We move through the night forever... morning will never come. I open my eyes and glance back at the wheel, the helmsman's face jumps briefly at me, lit by the glow as he draws on his cigarette. He nods and I step around, take the helm. It's warm in my hands and I can feel the boat surging underneath me, wheel tugging as the wind gusts and we drive on through the endless night. There's a flicker in the dark just outside my vision...I almost sense instead of see it then I swivel my head and it happens again. Off the port beam, far out on the black horizon heat lightning burns the sky like alcohol.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Wrong Way Racers in Beantown

I wrote about the Global Challenge race back in April…if you’re in Boston this weekend, you’ll have the pleasure of viewing the competitors making their only U.S. stop of the entire Global Challenge. The 2004/5 Global Challenge is comprised of twelve teams sailing identical 72 foot steel yachts out of Portsmouth in the UK. Billed as the world's toughest yacht race, the course takes them around the world the 'wrong way', against the prevailing winds and currents, stopping in Buenos Aires, Wellington, Sydney, Cape Town, Boston and La Rochelle before returning to Portsmouth in the UK 10 months later. Check out this article on for some background on the racers and their 30,000-mile, globe-circling race that lays a course the ''wrong way" around (east to west). They’ll be berthed at Rowes Wharf, which, as the article says, makes a natural amphitheater for spectators who walk in from Atlantic Avenue. Local sailors racing include Peter Dowd from Marblehead, and Dave Follett, a high-tech entrepreneur in Boston. Don’t want to get repetitive about how I think today’s safety and navigational advances have made ocean racing safer, and thus less appealing to the world at large - but going around the wrong way is one way to introduce a level of challenge that may (in part) make up for the lack of real drama in ocean racing. It would be interesting to compare which race - the Rolex Transat or the Global Challenge - recieves more notice from the general public. This reminds me of comdian Steven Wright riffing on why so many people pay to watch cars race in a circle...they're all waiting for the crash.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Your editor at the starboard drum aboard S/V Javelin downwind at the Rolex Regatta, St Thomas, VI - April 1997

No Comparison

Nobody is surprised that yesterday the 140-foot schooner Mari-Cha IV won line honors, breaking the 100-year-old race record across the Atlantic Ocean. The Mari-Cha sailed from New York to Lizard Point on the British coast in 9 days, 15 hours, 55 minutes and 23 seconds. The record set by the schooner Atlantic in the race for the Kaiser's Cup in 1905 was 12 days, 4 hours, 1 minute and 19 seconds. Many have written about the record and the challenges Mari-Cha IV faced included bad weather and a broken mast, so I won’t duplicate coverage you can read here and here. A point of interest to me is the comparison folks are making between Mari-Cha and the Atlantic, an apples to oranges dilemma in my opinion, though physically I can see how it might make some sense when you factor out the advances in material composition and building technology.

Atlantic was built in 1903 at Townsend and Downsey in New York to a design by William Gardner of Gardner & Cox. In overall concept she had a 'classic shape' with long overhangs at the bow and stern, then considered radical for an ocean-going yacht. In comparison, Mari-Cha IV was built by JMV Industries in Cherbourg, France and launched in September 2003. Her deck is much flatter, while her hull has more flair and is generally squarer with a near-vertical bow and a squared-off transom. As a result, Mari-Cha IV’s overall length is some 45 feet (13.7m) shorter than Atlantic’s, but only six feet (1.8m) less at the waterline. As an article on the ISF web site mentions, there are also similarities between the two boats above deck - both are schooner-rigged. Atlantic had three masts of increasing height going aft. Her principal sails, foresail, mainsail, and mizzen sail, were all hung off gaffs similar to a boom, but at the top of the sail, while each mast could be extended with a 'top mast,' enabling extra sail in the form of a topsail to be flown above the gaff.

The only other comparison I can see is that the ocean they both raced on has not changed measurably in the past 100, let alone 1000 years. But it ends there. In 1905 ocean racing was extremely hazardous from a navigational and weather perspective. The charting devices and communications systems that we take for granted today were non-existent in 1905. And the race in 1905 captured the popular imagination in a way that this Transat, however historic, will not. The reason? Racing across the Atlantic aboard a fully manned, modern craft with all the bells and whistles and attendant safety nets means that bad weather becomes a hassle, as opposed to a disaster. It’s not a trivial undertaking by any means – but the drama has leaked from this race like helium from a shriveled balloon. I’m glad that we’ve been able, through technology, to make ocean racing safer…but in embracing these advances we have ceded the authenticity that made for popular appeal.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

A San Juan Island Schooner From Scratch

Solo sailors braving the southern latitudes, rounding the Horn, dodging icebergs on a midnight watch – these people are impressive to me. As well blind sailors, altruistic sailors, dedicated voyagers, people who run programs with the goal of using to impact lives. Allow me to add another type to this short list (notice Dennis Conner is not on it)…cancer survivors from Maine who build beautiful wooden sailboats from scratch. The Kennebec Journal has a great story about 65-year-old John Rynne and his San Juan Island schooner, Grace. She was built from mahogany, black walnut and cherry – an accomplishment that represents 60 hours of work per week over two and a half years.