Grey Goose ISAF World Championship,
Newport, RI - September 24-October 1, 2005
(Photo Credit: Emily L. Ferguson
Friday, September 30, 2005
I obviously missed this one but back in early August the Coast Guard celebrated its 215 year anniversary. According to this blurb I came across this morning, the CG officially began in 1790 when Congress authorized the construction of a fleet of “revenue marine” cutters. Essentially tax nazis under sail, the cutters were responsible for enforcing “…the nation’s tariff and trade laws..” as well as protecting the collection of federal revenue. The Coast Guard as we now know it received its name in 1915 when the Revenue Cutter Service merged with the Life Saving Service. I’ve been boarded by the Coasties…underway no less. I was on the maxi Javelin as first mate making way through the C&D canal (between the
Posted by Zephyr (Sail) at 10:38 AM
Thursday, September 29, 2005
I tend to stay away from tabloid fodder but this was just too good to ignore. According to an article in the Gulf of Bahrain Daily News, a London couple’s marital spat dissolved into destructive mayhem (as they often do) – the wife put their allegedly £100,000, 35 foot sailboat code named Rebel up for a fire sale at the low, low price of £40,000. They had apparently sailed the Med together in the craft and the husband, incensed that his wife was selling, took an axe to the seacock and sunk it. No background on the cause of their marital distress - but it’s not hard to imagine that she discovered him in flagrante delicto with her best girlfriend aboard the good ship Rebel after coming home with a headache mid shift (she’s a waitress) and proceeded to freak out, demand a divorce and all the other things a wife does when she finds her husband helming an illicit vessel…now disgusted by the boat upon which they’d once enjoyed romantic moments under sultry Mediterranean breezes (and needing money for her lawyer) she decided to screw him and sell it. He reads the ad in the paper over morning coffee and reaching for his trusty axe swears that he’ll see Rebel at the bottom before she’ll get one blasted dime…something like that.
Posted by Zephyr (Sail) at 11:05 AM
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Posted by Zephyr (Sail) at 10:17 AM
As a deskbound wage slave I’m a sucker for stories of wandering gypsy sailors. Here’s a good one from the local Annapolis, MD paper about New Zealanders Dilys and Deyal McKenzie. According to the article the couple retired, sold everything and headed off to sail around their corner of the Pacific. Bravo, you say. But how did they end up in Maryland? After 48 months cruising the Pacific they headed west and haven’t stopped for nearly 12 years. The United States is the 40th country they've visited aboard their 25-year-old sailboat, Ravangi since May 14, 1994. They have, of course, a list of ideal destinations. Annapolis was on the list, as was sailing down the East River in New York, past the Statue of Liberty. Mount Desert Island, in Maine was another recent item they checked off. Venice was on the list, as were the Aegean Islands, Crete, Athens and the Corinth Canal. Israel, Sudan, Egypt, Cyprus and Turkey have been checked off, too. People like this send faint rays of hope filtering through to my air-conditioned cubicle hell hole (it’s all not that bad really but you know what I mean).
Posted by Zephyr (Sail) at 10:07 AM
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
It’s not often that sailing makes it into a publication like Popular Science but when we’re talking about breaking the speed sailing barrier of 50 knots, it makes very good sense. One of the tremendous things about writing this weblog – a labor of love essentially – is that I learn more about my sailing passion every day. In this case I was not aware that the record for speed of any wind-powered craft on water was 46.52 knots as set by the Australian trimaran Yellow Pages over ten years ago. Hell, I get excited when we break 7 knots on a reach….I shudder to think what would happen if I was on a craft making nearly 55 miles per hour by sail alone. Certainly a change of underwear would be appreciated. Anyway read on. According to the article the most promising record seeker are small single-pilot craft that are propelled with solid wingsails. Many take advantage of hyperlightweight composite materials; some are as much airplane as traditional sailboat. They will vie for the record at Speed Week, held off the coast of
Posted by Zephyr (Sail) at 10:41 AM
Monday, September 26, 2005
The BBC has news of the 53 foot ketch Gipsy Moth IV – the boat used by Sir Francis Chichester on his record-breaking journey around the globe. After a nearly $600,000 refit the boat is getting ready to repeat the 29,630 mile passage courtesy of the United Kingdom Sailing Academy (UKSA). According to the article the UKSA bought the vessel, which has been in dry dock since the completion of
Posted by Zephyr (Sail) at 11:23 AM
Friday, September 23, 2005
Posted by Zephyr (Sail) at 4:13 AM
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Savvy bareboat charter sailors have known for quite some time that the summer season in the
Posted by Zephyr (Sail) at 1:39 PM
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Posted by Zephyr (Sail) at 11:36 AM
The Museum of Yachting recently held it’s 26th annual Classic Yacht Regatta…according to this first hand account, “…a boating version of a classic auto "Concours d'elegance," The event was held off Fort Adams in Newport, RI over Labor Day weekend September 2 - 4. According to the official results sheet, the 1935 Herreshoff ,”Osprey" dominated the contest. Though I was not fortunate enough to attend I agree with the reporter, there’s absolutely nothing like witnessing a fleet of these classic boats competing under sail. We owe a debt to organizations like the Museum of Yachting for promoting and driving classic regattas.
Posted by Zephyr (Sail) at 11:27 AM
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Monday, September 19, 2005
Posted by Zephyr (Sail) at 9:23 AM
A good read here in the Portsmouth Herald on the recent dismasting of the Pride of Baltimore II on September 5. I wrote about the Pride II last spring – she’s a 108-foot topsail schooner owned by the state of
On another note...does anyone doubt the existence of giant squids? Have a gander at Wingsail's blog.
Posted by Zephyr (Sail) at 9:18 AM
Friday, September 16, 2005
Sailing World reviewed a new cat yesterday, the Reynolds 33 – pinning it as a multihull version of the current market trend towards fast, classy monohull daysailors (Morris M36, J/105, etc). According to the review the builder, California-based Rand Reynolds, worked with Morrelli & Melvin Design over a couple of years developing prototypes before finally settling on a 48-foot aluminum rig and a 14-foot beam. Reading through the review the Reynolds 33 sounds like a truly exciting boat to sail, “…speed is what makes this former windsurfing sailmaker's blood move…” but I have to admit a purist dislike for Cat’s and Tri’s. Yes, I know they’re quick, the center saloon layout with berths in the pontoons can be nice, love hanging in the trap upwind or lounging in the netting in the bow while ripping along at 14 plus knots. But I have never, ever, seen one and had the same longing to possess that, say, the Friendship 40 elicits. It's just not there. Like that hot 24-year old I spy on the streets of midtown
Posted by Zephyr (Sail) at 2:28 PM
Thursday, September 15, 2005
Posted by Zephyr (Sail) at 10:10 AM
I was driving to work today and despite the humid air from the hurricane, the trees are turning on the edges, a pile of yellow and russet colored leaves stirred as I took a turn on a country road. I love the fall and when we lived out in
Posted by Zephyr (Sail) at 9:53 AM
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
At sunset the light succumbed gradually to a churning darkness - a malignant cloud swallowing the horizon. The wind continued to build and patchy squalls swept through before turing to steady rain. The air was heavy and humid, steeped in thick brine. Christopher sat in the cockpit and kept a wary eye on the surrounding boats, tried to fix their location in his mind. If any of them broke loose they’d smash through the lagoon like deadly pinballs. As he turned to find the boat anchored behind him the half-light was suddenly cut off, no dusk, just an abrupt passage into a violent night. He pulled his hood over and cinched it tight, checked to be sure the safety tether attached to his harness was clipped to the rail.
A blast of cool air hit his face, scent of ozone and then the rain became a sheeting downpour. The boat swung broadside in the face of a shrieking gust then steadied as his anchors bit. He caught a flash of a cabin light to starboard and then it was all darkness, raging wind, the dim red glow of his instrument lights reporting eighty-knots. A dull rumble of thunder and lightening lit the besieged lagoon for an instant, a glimpse of the other boats straining against their anchors, a haze of rain and mist and ocean whipped by the wind melting instantly into darkness. The wind strengthened, howling with a renewed ferocity. Christopher tucked his chin in his collar and stood, his head scraping the canvas bimini. He reached up and touched it gingerly. A corner had ripped loose and was snapping against the metal frame. No way it would hold. He was considering cutting it free with his knife when with a roar an invisible hand landed on his chest, knocked him flat in the cockpit.
The canvas disappeared with a loud bang and the boat heeled steeply, water spilling over the rail and washing through the cockpit. Christopher hauled himself to his feet, legs braced as the boat shuddered and plunged like a wounded animal. He watched in disbelief as the wind indicator read one hundred and then slowly bled away to seventy.
Posted by Zephyr (Sail) at 11:38 AM
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
The sailing world seems to be picking up steam heading into the fall – here’s brief but interesting blurb from SF-based KRON on Egyptian researchers who constructed a 40 foot sailboat from reeds, date-palm fibers and bitumen tar and tried to sail it from the Arabian peninsula to India in order to prove that sailors plying the trade route over four thousand years ago made the trip safely in similar vessels. The boat sank on the first day so it’s back to the drawing board. The 35th annual Newport Boat Show is set to open this weekend in my favorite sailing town. More than 800 exhibitors will show about 600 boats, which will be displayed on the waterfront running along
Posted by Zephyr (Sail) at 9:18 AM
Monday, September 12, 2005
Posted by Zephyr (Sail) at 10:45 AM
Back in the office Monday morning after a spectacular weekend for my niece’s baptism in
Some nice feedback from Zephyr reader “Jarrett” over the weekend. He suggested I add my email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) to the site. As well he pointed me to a Wooden Boat magazine-featured design for a sea chest – a possible baptismal gift for my niece. Finally he clued us in to the Sag Harbor Charity Cup Challenge out on
Posted by Zephyr (Sail) at 10:27 AM
Friday, September 09, 2005
Posted by Zephyr (Sail) at 10:45 AM
Heading up to
Posted by Zephyr (Sail) at 10:28 AM
Thursday, September 08, 2005
Sorry I missed a post today. Just back from the U.S. Open where I watched Lleyton Hewitt smack down Jarkko Nieminen this afternoon on center court. We'll see if Federer can pull it out tonight...what does this have to do with sailing? Nothing. Back to that tommorow but if you're interested here's a great article about 35-year old Andre Agassi's dramatic victory last night. Nice to know someone my age can still hold their own against the youngsters!
Posted by Zephyr (Sail) at 8:19 PM
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
Posted by Zephyr (Sail) at 11:17 AM
I had a comment from Jarrett in my email this morning - see his sailing weblog here - about my recent post on the Laser...and why I loved the sense that the Laser gives you of being one with the wind and water. Thank you Jarrett for taking the time to remind us that "You can sail a small keelboat and be plenty close to the water." He continues, "...I have South Coast 23, Alberg-designed. It heels in a nice breeze, and when it's not heeling you can put your hand over and dip it in the water. And you can anchor, go below and get out of the sun, and actually use the head."
On the heels of that I have a confession to make. After I wrote that post I went back out to sail some more and was shocked to see that the boat (I'd pulled her up on the beach) had blown over and was drifting on her side. Luckily I was able to recover her without much trouble but the (unsecured) centerboard had floated about 15 yards offshore. I confidently climbed aboard the Laser and pointed the bow in the direction of the centerboard, reached to grab it and somehow let it slip through my fingers - shortly I found myself in the middle of the Tred Avon in a gusty 10 knots with no real ability to make way upwind...which was, unfortunately, the direction I needed to go to get back to shore. To put it bluntly I was very challenged for quite some time...and as I considered my recent post, found myself a bit too much "one with the wind & water" ;-)
Posted by Zephyr (Sail) at 10:35 AM
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
We saw our 3 ½ year old off to his first day of Montessori school this morning so it seems appropriate to focus on education. Here’s a story from the AP published in the Asbury Park Press about the "Sailor for a Day Camp" aboard the A.J. Meerwald, a restored oyster schooner used as a floating classroom to promote ecology, conservation and appreciation for marine habitats. According to the article the program is operated by the nonprofit Bayshore Discovery Project. The 115-foot ship offers more than 250 public cruises, educational outings and private charters annually from ports in and around
A dying art, eh? Give me 10 minutes with Ms. Orr aboard a Swan in 20 knots…sure it’s an “art” honey but it ain’t dying.
Posted by Zephyr (Sail) at 10:19 AM
Monday, September 05, 2005
Posted by Zephyr (Sail) at 3:53 PM
Just in off the water from a Labor Day sail on our Laser. It's a beautiful afternoon on the Chesapeake Bay...sunny and cool with just the right amount of air to get the boat nicely making way. Though I love bit boat racing there is something about being so close to the water, an ability to feel a oneness with the boat that you just don't get with a keel. My mind is gelled from the sail so nothing to point you to today...we'll be back in the swing of it tommorow.
Posted by Zephyr (Sail) at 3:14 PM
Friday, September 02, 2005
Thursday, September 01, 2005
Posted by Zephyr (Sail) at 8:00 AM
Happy September all - today marks the start of the best sailing on the east coast of the
Also worth a look is this review on a new nonfiction narrative history titled "
Posted by Zephyr (Sail) at 7:36 AM