Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Fragments of Ancient Sailors Found @ Nissi Beach

Cool story out of Reuters in the Med - an archaeologist has discovered what he believes is the earliest evidence yet of long distance seafaring in the eastern Mediterranean. Albert J. Ammerman, an archaeologist at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York, apparently located fragments of stone implements believed to be up to 12,000 years old on the beach - the discovery adds to a body of evidence contradicting the widespread belief that ancient mariners would never venture out of sight of land or had limited navigational capabilities.

Guess what, they did venture out of site of land. And they did have navigational capabilities. Makes depending on a GPS kind of curious...

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Give a guess...

We were out on the Boston Whaler off Oxford, MD on Thanksgiving Day and spotted this lone sailboat plying the waters of the Tred Avon. Can anyone identify it for me? Obviously some sort of catboat... Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 28, 2005

170 Nautical Miles North of Bermuda.

Here's some drama for those of you either making, or considering making that offshore sojourn to Bermuda. Love the image of "mountainous seas..."

Friday, November 25, 2005

Photo from The Round the World Yacht Race Posted by Picasa

Clipper Round the World Yacht Race

If you are, like me, tucked by a fire far from the maddening Black Friday crowds and happen to have a moment to indulge in a good article then click over the Scotsman and read about 42 year old Ken Pritchard. For the last two months, he and 16 other amateur sailors have been aboard a 68ft replica clipper ship on a circumnavigation...taking place in the 2005/2006 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race run by Clipper Ventures. The organizations chairman, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston made a historic solo non-stop voyage around the world 36 years ago. Enjoy your holiday...

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ironshore Mooring - Easton, MD
November 2005

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Turkey Day

Posting will be spotty as Turkey day comes on. Speaking of holidays...if any of you are in the market for "Nautical" themed Christmas cards then click here, here or here. Before you know it old Saint Nick will be heading our way. Oh, and here's the top item on my wish list ;-) I've been a good boy...really.

Monday, November 21, 2005

The Aviva Will, Indeed, Be Challenged

Dee Caffari, the wrong way global sailor & former schoolteacher is getting a lot of press...says The Independent, "...the 32-year-old is bracing herself for up to 170 days afloat. During this time, she will brave 80 days in the treacherous Southern Ocean where she will face 40ft waves, and gale force winds and endure chronic sleeplessness and fatigue." She'll blog her journey for us armchair adventurers (sitting by the fire, see last post). The "Aviva Challenge" is sure to make for great copy. First post on her Sunday departure is here.

Start of the Transat Jacques Vabre 2005
Le Havre, France - November 5-6
(Photo Credit: Thierry Martinez) Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 18, 2005

The Migration (or lack thereof)

In days gone by when I earned a living on the water instead of at the helm of a Thinkpad, this would be the time of year we'd be in Florida for six to eight weeks getting the boat in shape for the winter run to the islands. When I was crewing on the Maxi the owner rented dock space from a divorcee on Palm Beach proper - the narrow north end of the island off North Lake Way...ICW side though at night with a surf running you could hear the crash of waves on the beach, the Atlantic Ocean a few blocks west. During the day the captain, chef and I would work one or more of the endless boat maintenance projects, have a quiet dinner onboard and then go drinking at Au Bar (made famous by Willie Kennedy Smith) or E.R. Bradley's Saloon. In early December the Sailfish Club held a holiday regatta. We'd compete in that, a final visit to the boatyard and the rigger for a tune up and then post holiday the Storm Trysail Club feeder race to Key West (for Race Week) and off down island till spring. It's getting cold in the Northeast now and we're building fires in the wood stove...though I enjoy a fire it seems a mean substitute for a warm ocean night with 15 on the beam, red and green nav lights sparkling as the bow plunges, so many stars it makes your head spin.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

RPG Armed Pirates Take Aim

I've written about pirates in this space before but here we go again - earlier this month pirates attacked the Carnival-owned cruise liner Seabourn Spirit off the coast of Somalia. According to this news story out of Seattle it was the first piracy attack on a cruise ship in more than a decade - and one of more than 200 attacks that have occured on the high seas in 2005. The story quotes a Seattle passenger who described the melee in an e-mail saying, " My daughter saw the pirates out of our window. There were at least three RPG's -- rocket propelled grenades -- that hit the ship, one in a stateroom four doors down..."

Wow, pirates blasting you with RPG's can really make you wish for the Coast Guard....which is, of course, unlikely to be coming to the rescue off the coast of darkest Africa. Though boarding a cruise with Somalia on the itinerary - despite the all you can eat shrimp and open bar - is probably not the wisest course, here's another bright idea. Take careful note of the latest and greatest piracy report...

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Sailor Gear Makes Gadget Blog

Check it out...a piece of sailor gear made my favorite gadget blog,'s the Suunto M91 “the world’s smallest wrist-worn GPS for ."

Johhny Depp catches a wave at the Volvo start.
( Photo by Thierry MartinezPosted by Picasa


One of my (many) dreams has been to sail the South Pacific - I mean c'mon, anyone out there who doesn't share this dream then, well, you're no dreamer, pal. But according to this article in the travel section of the Telegraph the reality of tourism has hit the lotus gobbling idyllic Bora Bora of lore pretty hard. Luckily, according to the author, there are a few pristine, outlying islands where one can still channel Fletcher Christian...including Huahine which, as you will learn, roughly translates as "vagina." And that's all I'll say about that.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

"It Looks Expensive"

Gale force winds are sending the Volvo fleet into the port of Cadiz, Spain for repairs. But I'm certain you're all up on the latest here. Though it's been out for awhile I just ran across this book - for Jboat lovers and those who fancy themselves sailing entrepreneurs...take a read and learn how in 1975 Rod Johnstone used 20 grand to build the J/24, thereby beginning the empire we all know and love. When I mentioned recently to my sister that I might want to purchase a used J/27 in the spring she, not a sailor, took one look and said, "looks expensive..." We all know the old adage, stand in a shower and rip up $100 bills bla bla bla but I had to smile. Somehow she knew just the right words to remind me that I'm saving for not one but two college educations. I wonder if Johnstone's sister (if he has one) told him his boat looked expensive? Apples to oranges yes, but...

Monday, November 14, 2005

The Kiteship Spin

In mid October I posted on Kiteship, Inc. - a company designing, producing and marketing spinnakers for freighters. Now I'm all for new, innovative approaches to saving fossil fuel. I'll gladly allow that, if there's a smart way to introduce wind power into the equation then by all means... And I like the "chutzpah" of Kiteship in that they're challenging the status quo in, of all things, the shipping industry. Not a group of businesses known for their forward thinking - or for valuing sailors for that matter. All of this being said I still have to question whether or not this sort of () technology will ever be adopted given all of the barriers to entry that, in fact, Dave Culp himself cites on his recent comment to that October Zephyr entry. If anyone can make it happen then Culp would be the man - educated at Stanford and UC Davis, Dave Culp began professionally designing kite powered boats in 1978 at the age of 24. Anyone have a thought here?

Friday, November 11, 2005

Straight from the official Volvo Ocean Race site... Posted by Picasa

The Volvo Ocean Race Begins!

According to National Geographic... formerly known as the Whitbread Round the World Race, the Volvo Ocean Race sends superfast sloops circling the globe—the hard way. Following the prevailing winds, the course is deliberately plotted through some of Earth’s most inhospitable environments. As a result competing boats can expect to face three-story swells, iceberg-strewn seas, and ship-swallowing squalls.

As much as I love to be offshore this sort of thing is a very good show from the sidelines. The 2005 - 2006 race has a spectacular web site. Leg One - from Vigo to Cape Town - begins tommorow...the start what always is - and I'm sure will continue to be - an absolutely gripping tale of round-the-world offshore racing drama. For those who want a masterful first hand account I recommend Gary Jobson's "Fighting Finish: The Volvo Ocean Race Round the World 2001–2002." Says a review in Southern Boating, January 2003, "Much less expensive, a lot safer, and wholly more practical than racing around the world yourself is reading, Fighting Finish: The Volvo Ocean Race Round the World 2001-2002. It brings all the excitement of this challenging event to your coffee table.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Dame Ellen MacArthur Wins!

Running for the airport after all day meetings. Here's a quick jump to Ward @ on the ISAF Rolex World Sailors of the Year. Go Dame Ellen! Back in more detail tommorow.

Austin, TX

Had to fly to Austin on biz...back shortly. It's a long way from the ocean here.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

He prefers icebergs, squalls and cold

Check out this piece on admitted “sailing mercenary” Barcelona native Guillermo Altadill, 43. According the article he was poached by Sweden's Ericsson team for the round-the-world Volvo Ocean Race after he broke his leg in the spring and split from the Brazilian team. Says Altadill, “"I prefer the legs that go around Antarctica, areas that are more inhospitable. Icebergs, squalls, little visibility, cold... the crew depends only on itself, people can't come to look for you because the helicopters can't cover 1,500 nautical miles. The stage I like the most is the second one because you encounter the toughest conditions and experience counts more than anything. That's what this race was designed for." And this guy is 43! What a way to head off a midlife crisis…

Monday, November 07, 2005

Sailing Yacht Lady Lauren - that's some
freeboard, honey! Posted by Picasa

For Rent: My Yacht. I'll Throw in the Jacuzzi.

Here are a couple new ones on me. Yachtspotter by way of Luxist. The first is billed as, "...a gateway on the internet for the amateurs of megayachts." Makes sense. The second, and more interesting is, " online magazine — obsessively covering luxury products." And for the dreamers Luxist notes that the yachtspotter forum recently dicussed the S/Y Lady Lauren which for (the low low price of) 70K can be yours for one week...still a sight cheaper than the stinkpot charters being hawked in this past Sunday's New York Times article - aptly titled "For Rent My Yact. I'll throw in the Jacuzzi."

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Angel Covers

Received this email today and thought I'd pass it on...


My name is JoAnna Moskal and I'm writing on behalf of a small non-profit, Angel Covers that is holding an online auction next month which includes an picture of the Stars & Stripes - winner of the 1987 America's Cup (but you probably knew that!). It's autographed by Dennis Conner, the skipper.

I came across your blog and thought that you might be able to help spread the word about an online auction that Angel Covers is hosting starting November 7th. Angel Covers is an all-volunteer organization that works to help children in orphanages world-wide. They provide much-needed items, like vitamins, blankets, toys and clothing directly to orphanages in China, Russia, and parts of Africa. Volunteers work with orphanage directors to find out how to best support children and orphanage staff.

"Gifts from the World" is an annual auction of art and hand-crafted items that have been collected by volunteers over the past few months. The money raised will support education programs around the world.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Friday Pass

Back-to-back meetings today...look for a post this weekend. Have you heard the one about the Polish sailor who phoned home for a rescue?

Thursday, November 03, 2005


A "there but for the grace of God go I..." item in the British news. According to the BBC, firefighters rescued a 60-year-old man after he became stuck 40ft up a yacht mast. He had been carrying out maintenance on his boat when the pulley system jammed. I know, not earth shaking, but one of the funny details in the brief is...he waited two hours before calling for help on his cell. I'd liked to be privy to the conversation he was having, with himself, after the first 5 minutes.

"We'll I've bloody blown it now. Damn it's cold. Blast, this thing is jammed tighter than the queen's arse."

"Maybe you should call ol Bollyhocks in the pub to come 'elp ya."

"Shyte, I'll be the laughing stock. The boys an em'll razz me for a fortnight or more. Never live it down."

"Brrrrrrrrrr. Me Mum is warm by the peat fire watching telly. Call her. She'll have mercy."

"Nah. I'll wait it out. Maybe if I bounce a bit she'll come loose."


...and so on ;-)

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

CPYC Frostbiting 11/07/04 - Westport, CT
(Photo by Candice Brooks) Posted by Picasa

Dreaming of Frostbiting

Take a read through this very detailed and informative boat show review article from Cruising World discussing different types of sailboats - from multi hulled to classic, contemporary, etc – and their upsides, downsides and topsides. In comparing/contrasting I have to agree with the author that, ” …whichever boat was used and enjoyed more by its owner was the better one…” but like all sailors I have a preference. These days it’s embodied by the Dufour 365 but hey, it’s a dreamers prerogative to change his mind ;-) At the moment I'd be lucky to own a Laser (but I don't). Speaking of that...Laser frostbiting - a hallowed Westport, CT tradition - is starting up at CPYC. Here's a sailing activity that'll seperate men from boys...

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Volvo Depp Hype

Here's recent news on the good ship Black Pearl. I'd like to see an actual photo of Johnny Depp at the helm. As most of you probably know by now, the Black Pearl is - for better or worse - the U.S. entry in the upcoming Volvo Ocean Race. Only four days to go till start. More on that later...