Tuesday, December 27, 2005

"Wild Oats Iron Pot"
2005 Rolex Sydney to Hobart
(Photo Credit: Crosbie Lorimer)

Gasparilla Sunsets

I'm on a plane to the Gulf Coast of Florida (Boca Grande on Gasparilla Island) for the New Year holiday with my in-laws so expect posting to be spotty over the next week. Not a huge fan of Florida...but I'll take what I can get these days and, to me, the Gulf Coast beats the anaseptic oddity of the Atlantic/Ft Lauderdale corridor. I was visiting Gasparilla a year or so ago on a similar vacation and Jimmy B himself (sister owns a house there) was reported to have been on island for a few days. I took that as positive. Unfortunately, the island is also a favorite post-Christmas fishing haunt of Bush Sr. I guess things balance out.

Anyway, discovered a very well put together sailing portal today on a random Google foray - a trulywell done sailing news site is a rarity. Allow a humble observation, quite a few national flags to click on but those Aussies always have a lot going on...

Monday, December 26, 2005

Boxing Day 2005

Very busy on Boxing Day. Local to Maryland (I'm on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay for the Christmas holiday) is the recent announce that a new Sailing Hall of Fame will be established in Annapolis. We owe it all to Jobson, if he doesn't say so himself...

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Friday, December 23, 2005

Winter in Newport

Here's a jump to a great story about liveaboards in Newport, RI. When I think of boat bums it's generally the "Cape Cod Bob" variety from my time in the islands. Cape Cod Bob was an old salt from Wellfleet, MA who lived on a decrepit sailboat anchored in Charlotte Amelie Harbor, USVI. Thrice divorced, he'd washed up on the Yacht Haven Marina scene and lived a cheerful life punctuated by rum, sand and sun. The Yacht Haven I knew is gone (courtesy of Hurricane Marilyn) but Cape Cod Bob and his brethren are probably still there - the folks in the Newport story seem slightly more reputable and certainly hardier. Winter in Newport, RI is no great shakes and it has little to recommend in the way of warmth…at least of the tropical sort.

May your days be merry and bright!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

2005 Corum Melges 24 World Championship, December 11-16
Photos: Copyright 2005 Tim Wilkes Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Naughty or Nice?

If you need a gift for that sailor in your life then I want to suggest a few, key blog resources to help you with your task. We're driving to the Eastern Shore of Maryland today for the Christmas holiday - which means I'll have the chance to do some last minute shopping in Annapolis...prime territory for sailing gifts. A favorite is the ball cap that reads "Annapolis - a drinking town with a sailing problem." But if you do your shopping, or at least researching, online then check out any one of the following...Navagear or Panbo's Electronics Blog and slightly less helpful but worth a click BoatersBasement.com

Monday, December 19, 2005

Blue Blazered Britons Sipping Cocktails

In the event that you missed it, the New York Times covered the Volvo in their "Yachting" space this past Saturday, December 17. The article, titled "Rough Seas and Rough Sailing," cites numerous mishaps and challenges competitors faced on Leg One. For those of us who follow such things this is, of course, old news. Worth comment is the leading paragraph where journalist Nancy Ramsey reveals either an astounding lack of savvy about what an offshore race - any offshore race - entails in the way of danger (as well as what it requires from its participants in the way of vigor)...or she is striving to create an aperture for her audience, many of whom could harbor stereotypical, Caddy Shack-like ("I christen thee the Flying Wasp") notions of yacht racing. Decide for yourself, I vote the former.

“If the first leg of the round-the-world Volvo Ocean Race is an indicator of the shape of seas and waves and boat malfunctions to come, the 32,000-nautical-mile, eight-month race may dispel the notion of sailing as the sport of blue-blazered Britons sipping cocktails at sundown.”

Friday, December 16, 2005

Circa 1998

Captain Tom Motley, who writes the weblog Motley Maritime Productions - sent me this photo along with holiday wishes. The year is 1998 and the boat is the 77' maxi Javelin. We're bound for St. Maarten out of the BVI, probably to the Heineken Regatta that takes place annually in March. I look at this picture and consider how far I have traveled in the few, relatively short intervening years from a 28 year old man with freedom he regarded (if he reflected upon it at all) as his right. Two young children, a wife and a mortgage later I realize that it was, instead, a privilege and though I consider myself blessed...I look around the office and feel doubly fortunate to have had it at all. God willing some day I'll have it back. Thank you Tom for the reminder!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

(Photo Credit: Onne Van Der WalPosted by Picasa

Christmas Winds, come blowing in...

Some good feedback came across from seadated on the last post.

The term "dead" reckoning actually comes from an abbreviation often used in ship's logs for deduced reckoning. They would spell it de'ed reckoning. Not that you wouldn't have already known that, but I just read it today in a Chapman book and thought it was interesting.

Thanks brotherman. I love tidbits like this...should have taken my lazy ass to the Chapman's
languishing in my closet.

As well our esteemed
Caribbean colleague, hold fast, says of the technology killing sailing topic, "There is a fine line between mastering technology and being mastered by it." Could not agree more...read the rest of his comment in the previous post. By the way hold fast, more snow coming our way tonight. Have the Christmas Winds filled in yet down there?

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Video Killed the Radio Star

Holiday office party has squeezed my day so look for more detail tommorow...but you should really take a peek at this article in which maxi skipper Sean Langman insists that technology is "killing sailing." I've not been privy to the sort of high-end push button technology (aside from the odd winch) that Sean regularly encounters on modern maxi's. Still I have to agree with his point and oh by the way, have you ever been offshore and wondered what might happen if the GPS shit the bed...it's called "dead" reckoning.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Warm by the Fire

The sleek and eminently covetable J/124 is launched. Necho II, the Pharoah of Egypt from 610 to 595 BC, is found to have ordered a fleet manned by the Phoenecians to circumnavigate the continent of Africa...a full 200 years before the Greek scientist Eratosthones calculated the circumference of the Earth as a sphere. The pirates of the Caribbean (remember Captain Ron, boss) strike again and the 23rd annual Lights Parade was recently underway in the merry sailing mecca of Annapolis, Maryland. No, we can't sail here in the Northeast (it's even too chilly for frostbiting diehards)...but it's warm by the fire and the Internet is our friend!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Sailing Spam

I don't generally "cover" spam but I received a very interesting email from the Skiff Asia Sailing Centre in Phuket, Thailand...not your ordinary solicitation so I decided to take a look and report back. From all appearences the outfit is a "Bitter End YC" meets "J/World" with an Asian twist. One place they have Virgin Gorda beat is the exotic locale department. I've never been to Thailand but the Skiff Asia website gives a glimpse of the possibilities - beyond sailing - that exist should you make the voyage to Phuket.

"See Phuket's Buddhist Temples, take an elephant ride, tour Phuket's spas, go horse backing, scuba dive, rock climb, shop till you drop for beautiful Thai silks, jewelry and antiques. Delight in the nightlife. Taste the fabulous Thai cuisine which varies from light, mild fare for the most delicate stomach to hot, spicy dishes for the adventurous. Have an adventure!"

Thursday, December 08, 2005

2004 International DN Ice Sailing World Championship
January 18-25, Lake Balaton, Hungary
Photos by Carlo BorlenghiPosted by Picasa

Luxist Strikes Again

I like to surf "Luxist" for exotic tidbits and sure enough a December 7 entry in the "Water" category touts S/Y Midsummer, a charter schooner built in 1910 plying the East African coast. I've been to East Africa - Kenya in the 1990's - one of the best sojurns I've ever made but...wasn't there news recently of a commercial jetliner shot down with by an RPG fired from Mombassa? I also remember hearing that East Africa is top on the pirate list. You can count on a bit more drama on charter in the Indian Ocean than, say, a typical bareboat cruise in the BVI. Sure, Foxy's can be a threat to your liver and you want to be careful of funny tea at Bomba's...also good to avoid passing out in the gutter in Roadtown (lest you get run over by a donkey) but none of this compares to the good times one might encounter in Zanzibar or Lamu.

Take a look at the yacht even if you don't sign up right away. She's a beauty.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Larry's In Bed With BMW

There's a sailing wrap-up from yesterday in the sports section of the San Diego Union-Tribune - including an update on the Volvo (Headline: This race generates sinking feeling) and a blurb on the French 100-foot maxi trimaran Geronimo - but most disturbing is an item that begins, "A victory by Larry Ellison's San Francisco-based Oracle BMW team in the next America's Cup apparently does not guarantee the event's return to the United States."

That's right...remember it's the Oracle/BMW challenge. And despite the location of Oracle's CHQ in Redwood City, CA...BMW has other ideas, none of which involve the North America continent. No offense to my German readers, but what crap. Who wants to pit the SF Bay against the North Sea? Or for that matter, the Baltic?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Captain Tom Motley's New Blog

Captain Tom Motley wrote today advising of his new weblog "Motley Maritime Productions" - Providing a keen perspective of the sea and what floats on top. Tom is an itinerant voyager, a steady hand on the helm and an old salt with more than his share of stories to tell (not to mention a swordfisherman, Merchant Mariner and professional yacht Captain). Keep an eye on his space...it promises to be a good ride.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Grog's Boating Knots

A buddy just passed this link on to me - you'll recognize that the animated knots on the site are primarily for boaters, but as Grog says, many are useful for anyone who uses rope and values safety. The knots can be selected from the index on the left of the page, or by their pictures, or from a page describing their various uses.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Photo by Onne van der Wal, Inc. Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 02, 2005

Fan Mail

Recieved mail this last week worth mentioning. My old friend and former captain Tom Motley wrote regarding a post from the Newport Bucket this past summer...

Hey Mate,

You might mention that Avalon won the second race beating Whitehawk over the line by 11 seconds, winning the Newport Bucket Cup. Credit to Jim Gibson for tactics and Ron Holland for driving as well as the entire crew.


Tom Motley

Excellent point Tom...consider it mentioned.

I wrote about Kiteship and their push to equip seagoing freighters with chutes a few times and Dave Culp, who notes that their kites power sailboats as well, invited me to experience the Kiteship difference up in Newport first hand - come spring. I gladly accepted. Spring can't arrive soon enough...a very tough position for a guy living in a place where the sun currently sets at 4:30 PM.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The new J/100 sets sail off Newport, RI Posted by Picasa

Cubical Dreaming

A slow day at work so I've been obsessing over J/Boats via Google. I covet the new J/100 and aspire to a J/109...but these days likely could afford, at best, a used J/24. I even got my local J/Boat salesman all stirred up by requesting a J/100 brochure. My wife will think I'm crazy insane when she sees that one in the mail but what's a wage slave to do if he (or she) can't dream? Of course having worked on boats I'm well aware - maybe more so than your average dreamer - that the $$ hemorrhaging usually begins at purchase and continues till the day you sell her or go broke.