Wednesday, August 31, 2005


It’s necessary to take a moment away from regular content to acknowledge the unfolding disaster on the Gulf Coast of the U.S. and to extend thoughts and prayers south to the people suffering in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. I believe what makes sailing so unique as a sport and pastime is its dependence upon, and interplay with, one of the most powerful forces on the planet – the ocean and all she brings with her; wind, waves, beauty and destruction.

As oceangoing sailors recognize intimately - and the rest of us who dabble along the coast or inland on lakes also may also understand – when we expose ourselves by harnessing nature, we peel away the thin layer of civilization and comfort that shield us from our extreme insignificance and vulnerability. This awareness is what makes people who confront nature – mountain climbers, desert crossers, wilderness tamers…and sailors – very much brethren in the face of a modern culture that numbs us to the natural world.

It is in the spirit of this understanding that I would humbly ask every reader of this to click on the Red Cross web site (if you haven’t already done so) and donate whatever you can afford to the relief effort. As people who go to sea, we recognize how illusory and tenuous our comfort and safety is. The people on the Gulf Coast are now learning this difficult lesson. We owe them our compassion and support.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Wally Yacht Indio under sail (Photo from

Wally Olly Income Free

We could go on about the much discussed Herb McCormick editorial but it’s being well covered in other venues...and so, as to not focus on any one topic overmuch, we'll move along. Some good comments still popping up in last Friday’s post - as well opinions worth reading on Scuttlebutt.

When I was in Newport earlier this summer for the second annual Newport Bucket Regatta I had the chance to see a Wally yacht under sail. This was the first time I’d been face-to-face with a Wally and, like many, I found the experience impressive, nearly religious. In some ways these boats look like they're carved out of a single block of fiberglass; they really are that sleek and shapely. I’m raising this because news is out of a new Wally 130 performance yacht. According to their website, the boat will be the fastest upwind sailing craft ever engineered. If what I saw in 10 knots of light air off Newport is any judge we can almost believe their hyperbole. Naval architect Javier Soto Acebal is designing the Wally 130 – it will be built at WallyEurope shipyard in Fano, Italy, with the latest advanced composite technology using pre-preg carbon. The delivery date is scheduled for January 2008 (just in case you’re in the market.)

Monday, August 29, 2005

2005 International 470 Class World Championship
SF, August 19-28 (Photo Credit: Chris Ray)

Frozen Northwest Passage Suspends Solo Voyage

A few housecleaning items upfront – we’re off to the Chesapeake Bay on Thursday for a mini-holiday over Labor Day so posting will be sporadic as the weekend approaches. Also be sure to check out the lively discussion the last post generated off of Herb McCormick's Cruising World editorial lambasting the overall tenor of the 2007 America’s Cup.

Ifirst wrote about New Zealand voyager Graeme Kendall back in April when he began his 28,000 nautical mile journey to sail solo around the world via the Arctic Northwest Passage. According to this article Kendall, 58, is currently in Baffin Bay close to Lancaster Sound, the entrance to the Arctic Northwest Passage. He’s had to abandon his attempt after icebergs blocked his way and the Canadian coastguard advised that it would be too dangerous to attempt to continue…even if the Passage were to open up, there’s a high probability the sea would freeze over again, blocking any escape route. Kendall, a sailing mate of the late Sir Peter Blake, has covered over 18,000 nautical miles since he left Auckland on April 26. You can read more about his encounters over these many lonely ocean miles here on his website. Even though he wasn’t able to complete his journey…I think we can still award an A plus for effort.

Friday, August 26, 2005

EMPTY CUP (Thank you Herb)

Following is an excerpt from a story by Herb McCormick, the editor of Cruising World magazine. Posting anothers writing is a first for me but, as I hope you will agree, McCormick has captured it so well that attempting to extrapolate would be useless.


Of the 12 syndicates competing for the next Cup, four have a prayer of actually winning the thing. The two real favorites--the defender, Alinghi, bankrolled by Swiss billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli; and the top challenger, Oracle BMW, the sole U.S. representative, backed by software tycoon Larry Ellison--will have spent upward of $300 million before the first race is staged a little less than two years from now. Three. Hundred. Million. Dollars.

Yes, the America's Cup has always been about money. But only recently has the money become so obscene.

It'd be one thing if the Rich Boys had a little flair, some of the gumption of legendary Cup loser Sir Thomas Lipton or the controversy of Aussie rogue Alan Bond. But by all accounts, Bertarelli and Ellison are two, well, loathsome individuals. Want proof? Late in the game, they conspired to change the rules to suit their needs to ensure that Coutts, one of our era's most accomplished Cup sailors, doesn't sail in the next event.

And for the first time in three decades, good old Dennis Conner will sit this one out; he's been priced out of the competition. The New York Yacht Club? Nowhere in sight. The Aussies? Not this time, mate. The Brits are taking a pass, even on the heels of back-to-back successful Olympiads and the wondrous exploits of a wee lass named Ellen MacArthur. For them all, it's the same old refrain: No cash, no splash.

Don't get me started on Valencia, which was chosen over several windier, classier possible venues. Or the silly "Acts," which are supposed to generate interest in the interminable lead-up to the Cup itself but instead have been monumental bores. Or the fact that there are precious few Americans on Ellison's Kiwi-studded "American" team.

Which is sad, because the America's Cup, to me, used to be pretty cool. All in all, I reckon the Swiss should've stuck to cheese.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Tsunami Torn Indonesia gets Windjammer Relief

Now that the Tsunami disaster in Asia has faded from the public eye, media reports are few and far between. But like most natural disasters, work to rebuild and recover goes on long after former Presidents, movie stars and rock musicians have moved to the next cause "celeb." From the sailing world we have the dedicated efforts of Captain Ray Williamson and his team from the Camden, Maine-based Windjammers Cruises. Captain Ray runs the Windjammer Relief Effort in Jakarta, Indonesia. According to this article from a local paper, Captain Ray and Ann Williamson, owners of Maine Windjammer Cruises, were in Indonesia for the holidays and were visiting near the islands of Nias and Simeulue on Dec. 22, 2004. Williamson was meeting with the owners of an Indonesian-built and owned commercial cargo carrier to discuss a long-range plan to use the vessel to deliver humanitarian aid in the region. It was supposed to be a two- to three-year plan — in the future. The time line accelerated when the devastating Tsunami hit…the Williamsons immediately chartered the 900-ton cargo ship Maruta Jaya to bring supplies to the survivors. The Maruta Jaya is a motor-assisted sailing cargo ship of 900 tons. Built in 1990 in Surabaya, Indonesia, she is 200-feet long, a beam of 38 feet, a draft 15.5 feet and carries 13,000 square feet of sail.

"Everywhere we went, men and boys in canoes would paddle out to greet us," Williamson said. "Even though their lives were decimated, the children we met were friendly and warm, wanting to touch me at every turn. I'm sure for them I was one of the first Westerners they had ever seen."

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Antigua Classic 2005 (Photo Credit: Onne van Der Wal)

Hilary Lister Triumphs & Reality Sailing Doesn't

I wrote about disabled sailor Hilary Lister a few weeks ago – on Tuesday Hilary became the first quadriplegic to sail solo across the English Channel. Lister is able to move only her head, eyes and mouth…she used two straws to navigate her 26’ boat Malin through one of the busiest and most dangerous shipping channels in the world. I’ve covered off on this point already but kudos to Hilary for her bravery and fortitude. What else? Proving that our passion does not readily translate to the masses, a reality TV show in New Zealand that featured 12 novice sailors training to sail Sir Peter Blake's yacht Lion NZ in the 50th annual Auckland to Suva race has been cancelled due to poor ratings. If they can’t make this sort of thing fly in a sailing mecca like New Zealand…then I’m guessing we won’t be seeing a sailing “Survivor”show in the States any time soon.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Surfing for Sailors in Newport Beach

Here’s a report in the Newport Beach Daily Pilot on a technology trend that, eventually, will take hold in marinas and ports-of-call worldwide. Imagine being able to sail into a harbor, drop anchor and log on to high-speed Internet wirelessly to catch up on email, get weather updates, research the next anchorage, place VOIP calls over the network, update your blog, hold a virtual conference call, check your declining bank balance, instant message Herb Hilgenberg, etc. Many are familiar with wireless networking technology (or Wi-Fi) – according to the article a company called Seven Seas Internet has installed multiple access points in Newport Harbor, allowing visiting and resident yachties to log on and conduct their Internet business…monthly subscriptions, offering unlimited Internet access, cost $25. Users can also buy a $20 "Scratch and Surf" card for 500 minutes of access. As connectivity becomes ever more essential, the proliferation of these types of harbor networks will allow cruising sailors to communicate and access information as if they were on shore. Those of you with jobs that allow you to “work from home” take heed.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Rolex Middle Sea Race 2004 - October 20 in Valetta, Malta
(Photo Credit: Carlo Borlenghi)

Will's First Sail

We were on the North Shore of Boston this past weekend visiting a close friend , his wife and two children in Essex, MA. Aside from an internship I did years ago at The Mullen Agency in Wenham, MA and a few side trips to Marblehead, I’d not explored the area before. Essex is pretty but rural with some access to the ocean - but a real treat was the town of Manchester (by-the-sea). Situated 32 miles from Boston, Manchester is bordered on the west by Beverly and Wenham, on the northwest by Hamilton, on the north by Essex, on the east by Gloucester, and on the south by the Atlantic Ocean. Gloucester is the fishing port where the Andrea Gail, the boat in Sebastian Junger’s tale, “The Perfect Storm,” was based. Like any New England town, Manchester is full of history but what struck me was its gorgeous harbor…where my parents, who are retired and cruising aboard a 46-foot sloop, picked up a mooring to visit with us on Saturday. Yesterday morning before driving back we took my three-year old, Will, out for a sail with his Granddad (affectionately known as “Big Dad”) – it was his inaugural sailing experience on a big boat and, after exploring all the nooks and crannies below, he took right to it topside. It was the first in what I hope to be many opportunities for us to sail together. A very nice moment that I will remember for a long time.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Rising Fuel $$ Hampers Power Boat Sales

A good follow-on to our earlier conversation on the despicable trend towards ruinous fossil fuel draining “giga” yachts – MSNBC is reporting that in Seattle rising fuel costs are engendering a move from power to sail. According to the article, new-boat sales statistics from the Northwest Marine Trade Association indicate that sailboat sales were stronger than those of motor-powered vessels during the second quarter of 2005. Sail craft sales rose 4.3 percent during this period compared with the same quarter of 2004, while sales of new motor yachts dropped by 8.1 percent during the second quarter of this year, according to association statistics. I’ve just received my home heating oil contract for the winter and it has doubled over 2004, a 100% increase year over year. You can bet that I’m buying my wife and kids wool sweaters and warm slippers for Christmas this year. As we collectively feel the pain from rising fuel costs, behaviors are going to shift…if one consequence of this is a drop in the power boat fleet then let’s call that looking on the bright side.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Twelve Metre Regatta, August 12-14, Edgartown Yacht Club (Photo Credit: Jack Hardway)

Sailing Singles Scene

Here's an idea that could find legs in the NY Metro area. According to the Detroit Free Press article, Sailing Singles has been getting single, divorced and widowed metro Detroiters together to sail, party and score for 25 years. They have 200 or so members who not only sail with one another but gather for biannual black tie events, winter ski trips, white water rafting adventures and so on. I’m married so singles groups aren’t supposed to be my bag but if they were, this sounds like it would beat the pants off of (pick one), booze-fueled bar pick-ups, embarrassing parental introductions (oh Margie’s daughter is your age and lives in NY, you two have a lot in common) and scoping chicks in the vegetable section at the supermarket. Not to mention that the Detroit-based Sailing Singles has a fleet, well, a Flying Scott isn’t truly a fleet but still...what a way to meet the woman (or man) of your dreams. I’m a huge fan of my wife even though she doesn’t sail. When I need to get some time away that can be a good, though it might be nice not to hear, “I don’t get this sailing thing." Wait until she discovers I’m founding the NY Metro Sailing Singles circuit ;-) I'll represent myself as the nautical version of a know how frisky kids can get on night watch.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Summer Wind Comes Blowing In

Apologies for the unforeseen hiatus yesterday – I was in on business in Vermont at a location that, horror, did not have broadband Internet access. We’re smack in the middle of the dog days of August here...on the east coast of the U.S. that means light wind, heat and humidity. Not the most ideal conditions for sailors, barring a hurricane ;-) With that in mind let's discuss where the breeze actually will (reliably) blow in August. In my experience you can get an August honk in Maine, hands down the best place to be sailing on the east coast this time of year. The San Francisco Bay on the west coast is known for a strong August breeze. When it heats up inland the Pacific air is sucked in over the hills – I’ve blown chutes out under the Golden Gate in 30 knot gusts. In Narragansett Bay (Rhode Island) the afternoon summer southwesterly is famous. Anybody out there have August location in the States or abroad where summer sailors can get relief?

Monday, August 15, 2005

Cockpit of the J Class Yacht Endeavor - Newport, RI


Traveling on business today so not a lot of time but Monday highlights include the "elbow-nose breaking incident" aboard Team Shosholoza - a new one for the America's Cup annals - and a great piece from the Annapolis press on Paul Cayard's rational for signing on to shill for Disney in the upcoming 2005-2006 Volvo Ocean Race. Stay tuned - I'll pick up the slack shortly.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Sing Out!

I’ve not given much space to the discussion of tactics but heading into the weekend, I thought I'd break this trend by pointing you to an excellent article in Sailing World about calling puffs (both upwind and downwind). Though being able to read and estimate the impact of wind on the water is key, the larger point here is around communication. I was always taught to "sing out" and to this day I reflexively do so - a characteristic that sometimes gets me a funny look or two when I'm crewing as a guest aboard a new boat. If I'm trimming (as it seems I often am) and the helmsman calls a course correction I might say "Boat coming down, easing jib sheet." If we're downwind and someone amidships calls out the chute is collapsing I usually belt out "trim on." Not exactly rocket science but I tend to make myself heard, no yelling, just enthusiastic communication. Interestingly, despite the occasional strange look I've had people let me how much they appreciated this...not holding myself up as a model crew member per se...but whether its calling puffs or trim or the position of boats to leeward SING OUT people. The boats I've been on that consistently win have crew that chatter constantly about every aspect of the boat and the course. Have a great weekend & fair winds.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

A Confession

We are all well aware that there are some very rich people out there and anyone who’s spent time on the water can testify to the ever growing hoard of stinkpots propelling themselves though the seaways into nearly every harbor, anchorage, dock etc like a fossil-fuel devouring plague. I have to temper my extreme disgust when it comes to motor yachts with the knowledge that I spent six months in the Caribbean (a regrettable lapse) as second mate on a 130’, custom built Benetti. Aside from the pay, which was better than sailboats, and the chow, which was as you might expect superior – the experience was generally a drag. At least that’s how I now prefer to cast it though, admittedly, being in charge of the tender, an 18’ dual outboard center-console Boston Whaler, as well as being the designated “toy” supervisor with charter guests – a duty that included leading scuba tours (we had our own compressor), rigging the Laser and windsurfer and taking people sailing as well as babysitting guests at the beach bars – almost made up for my main responsibility, which was keeping the hulking wedge of floating steel sparkling clean in a marine environment. Oh and I got to meet Harrison Ford, nice man. I’m raising this topic via a short piece I found in the Associated Press. Apparently we’ve moved from “mega” yachts to “giga” yacht and, no surprise, Larry Ellison is the main culprit. According to the brief, fuel costs for these behemoths can top $1 million a year – a tidy sum that would buy me the Swan of my dreams…

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Waikiki Offshore Series (Photo Credit: Sharon Green)

AC 2007 Blog for Valencia, Spain

Thanks to EVK4 for calling out a good AC 2007 source - the weblog Valencia Sailing

The Cup is going to San Francisco in 2011? Is that confirmed beyond a reasonable doubt?

Musings on the 2007 America's Cup

I know it’s far too early to be daydreaming of the 2007 America’s Cup but that didn’t stop me from spending an hour or so online last night plugging away at Google to try and find out more about the venue, Valencia, Spain – and how I might go about finding suitable accommodations, invites to all the key parties, a ride of a sightseeing charter boat to watch the big dogs run the line, etc. Alas there is precious little detail on these topics. No problem finding info on Valencia though I was not pleased to learn that Palma de Majorca had been one of the finalists for the event and the committee went with, what is from all reports, a rather industrialist hodgepodge of a coastal city known for inventing Paella. I’ve been to the island of Majorca and consider it - particularly the rugged coastal mountain region and towns like Deia and Valldemossa - akin to heaven on earth. I did turn up an amusing email chain posted on Sailing Anarchy concerning a run in with fecal sludge in the Valencia Harbor – not a good sign. I downloaded the official 2007 AC screensaver and read about the parties at the last Cup in New Zealand...but overall it looks like I should check back in a year or so. Don't ask me how, but I will find a way to be there.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Twenty Years Later Simon Sails Drum

Somehow I forgot to mention that the biennial Rolex Fastnet kicked off this past Sunday from Cowes on the Isle of Wight – one of the all time classic ocean races, the Fastnet’s 609-mile course has been a proving ground for the worlds most competitive and hardcore offshore sailors. Famously Duran Duran frontman Simon Le Bon nearly died in the 1985 while racing the Fastnet aboard the sailing yacht Drum. I wrote on this back when it was announced that Simon would, 20 years later, get back on the Fastnet horse…love or hate his band you have to give the guy some credit for giving it another go. If you don’t remember, Drum capsized off the coast of Falmouth (Great Britain) when its keel let go. Simon and his crew where trapped inside the hull for 40 minutes before being rescued. 20 members of his original crew are joining him for the 2005 edition aboard, believe it or not, the original yacht Drum. The BBC has a wrap-up of the Simon story. Here's a report from the Independent on the light air conditions at the start.

Monday, August 08, 2005

S/Y Braveheart at Block Island Race week '05
(Photo Credit: Onne Van Der Wal)

Lightning Strikes Twice on Gov Cup Race

From reports it sounds as if the annual Chesapeake Bay Governors Cup race from Annapolis to St. Mary’s College began in light to non-existent breeze soon replaced by gut-wrenching thunderstorms – giving truth to the old adage that an hour of sailing is comprised of 50 minutes of boredom…followed by 10 minutes of sheer terror. This story from the Baltimore Sun recounts the experience from the deck of the sailing yacht SchockaRoo, a truly unfortunate name for a boat with a 63 foot mast braving a summer thunderstorm. The fun apparently began about two hours in…the captain was reported to have advised the crew not to “…touch anything metal.” Despite its name “SchockaRoo” did not get hit…though according to the Sun story that Nightingale, a boat from Annapolis, and Alert, from the Patuxent River, both dropped out of the race after strikes. I’ve never been aboard a boat that’s sustained a direct lightning strike, but I have been caught in a Chesapeake Bay summer squall, notably on the 2001 Annapolis to Newport race where we were slapped by 35 plus out of nowhere about halfway down the Bay. Many times offshore I’ve sailed through lightning and, of course, the notorious St. Elmo’s Fire witnessed by sailors through the ages has been attributed to thunderstorms and their associated electrical energy.

Friday, August 05, 2005

The coldest winter I ever spent was the summer in San Francisco (S/V Mr. Magoo off Tiburon, CA - August 2004)

Where We Go One, We Go All

As a few readers accurately guessed, yesterday’s quote was from the movie White Squall – a Dead Poet’s Society meets Master & Commander – type flick that is, despite it’s obvious flaws, one of my all time favorite movies. Captain Christopher 'Skipper' Sheldon, played brilliantly by Jeff Bridges, is addressing his new complement of students before setting off for a sail halfway around the world aboard the brigantine ship Albatross. I’m sure many of you have seen this film and not everyone will be as enamored as I…as mentioned there are some flaws, notably the protracted and painful ending…but I think it stands as one of the best in its genre. In other news the Rockville Regatta – famously described as NASCAR meets Wimbledon - is happening in South Carolina on Bohicket Creek this weekend – I wrote about it a while back when I was down in Kiawah Island for a wedding. For fans of tall ships, etc check out news of the annual SAIL Amsterdam festival. From August 17 to the 22nd, the Dutch capital city hosts one of the biggest maritime events in the world…over 500 “heritage” vessels will join. It’s safe to say that Dutch sailors know how to party – Amsterdam makes the San Francisco waterfront at its most Barbary Coast decadent look like a ladies tea party. It even smacks modern-day New Orleans down like Mike Tyson (before he became a washed up, ear chewing freak). Happy weekend! Hope you go sailing.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Ahhh the old days when our leaders were sailors...

TIME OUT: Sailing Movie Quote Quiz

For all of you sailing movie buffs - I was watching one of my favorite films last night and thought I'd throw a little quiz your way. There are times a movie character thrills the viewer with his or her authenticity - the things they say and do, and the way they do them and say them seem to ring true. This takes good acting, good casting and most of all, really good writing. So who said the following, what movie was it and who was he addressing?

"You know what's out there? Wind and wave and rain. Endless glassy pools that'll hold a sailing ship for weeks and then spit her out into the eye of a hurricane. A blow that could knock the bridge off a battleship. Reefs and rocks and sandbars that'll tear the belly from her and enough fog and night to hide it all. "
Unrelated - check out this terrific story in Cruising World about Humphrey Bogart's old yacht, now restored to her glory, the schooner Santana.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Arts Alliance 2005 poster design by Patrick O'Brien '86

St. Mary's Overnight Race (& Party)

The annual Governors Cup – a classic overnight Chesapeake Bay race from Annapolis to St. Mary’s College – is set to begin on Friday, August 5. As this article in the Baltimore Sun reports, roughly 160 boats will compete on a 73 mile course that heads down the Bay and then bangs a right up St. Mary’s River. The “sportsman” interviewed in the Sun article explains, “It is a combination of moments of dreamlike pleasure, communing with nature, seeing shooting stars juxtaposed with the sheer terror of racing in a thunderstorm with a spinnaker up in the middle of the night.” Having done the race back in the late 1990’s I can vouch for all of that PLUS the whizbanger of a party they throw on the St. Mary’s College campus. I crewed on one of the local Annapolis yachts and we arrived in the morning...crossing the finish line under spinnaker chute, doused and docked and began drinking immediately - drank through the day, stumbled to the dinner under the big top tent and left the dock that evening for home port Annapolis. I can’t claim to recall this part of the journey as I was unconscious on the deck – waking up only briefly when we grounded in the Chesapeake mud at 1:00 AM. Eleven different classes are expected to compete in the race, including Multihull, PHRF and the St. Mary's Alumni class.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Catbird Cayard Commissioned

I first wrote about the Black Pearl many moons ago – the boat is being built by a Walt Disney Co.-backed syndicate to compete in the Volvo Ocean Race, set to begin this coming November. According to news reports, celebrities will join on various legs - Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley are among the names that have been passed about. And now we have news of another celebrity of sorts, at least in our world…Paul Cayard has apparently agreed to skipper the Black Pearl. This announcement lends a semblance of credibility to what was arguably a glorified (and expensive at $17 million) marketing stunt to promote Disney and it’s sequel to the movie Pirates of the Carribean. But at what expense to the reputation to this sailing icon? As this article details, Cayard, a 46-year-old San Francisco native, has sailed in five America's Cup campaigns and is a seven-time sailing world champion. He was selected Rolex Yachtsmen of the Year in 1998 and was elected to the Sailing World Hall of Fame in 2002. This is a serious sailor, now revealed as a shill for a profit-hungry, marketing mad corporation. Aren’t we all, you might ask? Good point. But we aren’t all Paul Cayard. Shouldn’t the guy be a little more discerning? Corporate sponsorship is nothing new but, in the context of a race that features the most competitive and skilled offshore racers in the world, it is a challenge to take the Disney effort very seriously…that is, of course, until Cayard came along…

Monday, August 01, 2005

S/Y Misconduct in light air off Newport, RI

Sailing Hero Hilary Lister

I try to not take my generally robust good health for granted...but when you’re blessed enough to be healthy, it is easy to do. Just like childless people trying to envision having children, it’s tough to know how one might handle a serious disability or health crisis until actually faced with it. So it is that stories about people like quadriplegic Hilary Lister appeal to me. Hilary, 33, is in constant pain and has spent half her life helplessly monitoring the gradual loss of sensation in her limbs. Before discovering sailing she was contemplating suicide - now she’s preparing to single hand across the English Channel at the end of August. You can read about her Channel Challenge here…according to this news report she will be strapped into a cushioned racing driver’s seat, piloting her boat by sucking and blowing gently on two plastic straws linked to a control unit that operates the tiller and the two sails. Breathing in on one straw will steer the boat to starboard; breathing out will guide it to port. The other straw controls winches that adjust the sails. The courage of this woman is an inspiration to not only disabled sailors worldwide, but to we “enabled” sailors who handle the many tasks aboard a sailboat without a second thought of our extreme good fortune.