The last few days have been the sort of picture perfect, late fall sailing weather in the northeast
Monday, October 31, 2005
The last few days have been the sort of picture perfect, late fall sailing weather in the northeast
Friday, October 28, 2005
The British Independent Online has a story today that revisits the idea of spinnaker-type kites for freighters – pegging the interest to the rise in fuel costs. The idea, as promulgated by Hamburg-based firm Skysails, is to turn the ocean going freighter fleet into hybrid (part wind, part nasty old fossil fuel powered) vessels, thus cutting fuel costs by an estimated 50%. I’m more than willing to support anyone using wind power…using the breeze to stay in motion is my passion. But (again) I have to question if this rather faddish sounding solution is truly practical. According to the article the Skysails system is very simple. Kites between 750 and 5,000 square meters are launched from a ship, flying between 100m and 300m above sea level, where wind power can be twice as strong as that which propels conventional sails – and are operated with a computer autopilot and can be retracted by a winch during poor weather. I’m no maritime shipping expert but I do know that reliability and consistency are the markers of profit for such a business. As anyone who has been offshore depending on the wind understands, sailing is neither. Would the cost to outfit freighters with kites, the potential risks of equipment failure and other wind powered dangers and the need to train crew to do more than sip coffee and stare at the radar be outweighed by the benefits?
Posted by Zephyr (Sail) at 2:51 PM
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Interesting footnote to the tale of 20 year old Asher Woods – the sole crewmember rescued off the Northeast coast aboard the 41-foot ketch, Niobe. The crew of the lobster boat that rescued Asher (Amy Philbrick) has claimed salvage rights on the vessel and apparently is considering negotiating a sale with the widow of Asher’s father (who reportedly fell off the boat and is presumed drowned) and splitting the profits. Salvage law can be summed up as “if you find it, it’s yours” but there are, of course, many nuances to the ancient creed. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.
Posted by Zephyr (Sail) at 5:17 PM
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Headed out to catch a plane back east...nothing to report right this moment save a Zephyr milestone. In seven months of writing this blog we've just surpassed 20,000 total page views. Thanks to everyone for contributing to this modest success. See you tomorrow ;-)
Posted by Zephyr (Sail) at 12:32 PM
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Very helpful info in this piece from Ocean Navigator on the care & feeding of rigging. Most of us recognize that rigging needs periodic tuning and in older or heavily used boats, sometimes a complete refit, but nothing will drive that point home more than having something go wrong with a spar under a blow. The expense and hassle of rigging makes it a prime choice to ignore - as the article points out, a quality cruising rig for a 40-foot vessel may well cost $20,000 to $25,000...but consider both your standing and running rigging to be akin to the struts on an airplane wing. You don't want to find something isn't well cared for at 30,000 feet. I've always enjoyed Ocean Navigator for their pragmatic look at some of the unsexy but necesssary aspects of sailboats but hadn't known that their content was online. The whole site is chock-a-block with good stuff.
Posted by Zephyr (Sail) at 4:39 PM
Monday, October 24, 2005
Posted by Zephyr (Sail) at 1:18 PM
I'm out west in Northern Califonia on biz - so a weekend story in the San Francisco Chronicle caught my eye. New evidence has surfaced of 65 previously undocumented, West-Coast-built ships of sail, including a clipper ship that set world speed records...demonstrating that west coast shipbuilders played central role in the commercial sailing industry from 1859 to 1920...big news in maritime history circles where most of the Clipper Ship credit has been handed to builders in New York and Boston. According to the article, many historians assumed that the West Coast had no shipyards capable of building clipper ships. The thinking has been that frontier-style shipyards of early California and the Northwest produced one or two ships at the mouth of a river, using the wood available, before moving to the next location to build another ship or two.
Posted by Zephyr (Sail) at 1:01 PM
Friday, October 21, 2005
At the beginning of the week I wrote about the sailing yacht Naobi - a father/son delivery gone missing off the U.S. eastern seaboard. Today brings news - relayed in the Boston Globe - of her sad and harrowing tale. According to the article, "After six days at sea the boat turned up yesterday wildly off course, 133 miles east of Provincetown. Rescuers, alerted by two bright flares shot into the sky, found just one passenger aboard the Naobi, a weary 20-year-old Asher Woods, who apparently had been adrift alone amid high winds and white-capped waves." While the details have not been released, Asher has told rescuers that his father fell overboard without a lifejacket somewhere off of Boothbay, ME. I'll follow the story as we learn more...but thoughts and prayers to Asher and his family in the wake of this sailing tragedy. For all of us who sail offshore with our family (or anyone for that matter) this is our worst nightmare.
Posted by Zephyr (Sail) at 1:20 PM
Thursday, October 20, 2005
The search is still on for the sailing vessel Naobi, reported to have left Rockland, ME this past Saturday. According to the article the U.S. Coast Guard First District Office in Boston has taken over the case. The First District covers the coastline from Maine to northern New Jersey plus Lake Champlain.
Here's a good piece from the Newport Beach Daily Pilot about saving fuel while boating - his advice applies to sailors as well a stinkpotters. Tips like tuning your engine, checking your prop and not filling holding tanks unless you absolutely need too make a lot of sense.
Finally, the AP reports that Dee Caffari will try to become the first woman to sail solo around the globe - against the prevailing winds and currents - in next month's Aviva Challenge. Caffari, 32, will begin her journey on Nov. 20 from Portsmouth, England. A former teacher, Caffari will sail a 72-foot yacht, with the circumnavigation expected to take between 120 and 170 days.
All of these open the door for comment, but I'll go with the second item as the valuable jump for the day, Rising fuel costs, and their impact, are all over the news and as winter approached in the Northeast, on everyone's mind. What I find interesting is that simple tweaks can make a huge difference in fuel economy on boats. Not something you're likely to consider unless you're feeling the squeeze...
Posted by Zephyr (Sail) at 11:15 AM
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Back to the boat show one more time – here’s an article in the
Posted by Zephyr (Sail) at 3:47 PM
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Yesterday was the first weekday I’ve missed (without posting) since I began Zephyr last March. Details of my personal life that don’t pertain to sailing are not topical...but if anyone has experienced a sleepless night with a seven month old baby spiking a fever of 103 (and even if you haven’t) then I hope you’ll forgive.
Alocal paper in
Posted by Zephyr (Sail) at 9:28 AM
Friday, October 14, 2005
Check out some of the photos on the homepage of Kiteship, Inc. According to the corporate-speak on the site the company is, "...a group of forward-thinking sailors, designers and visionaries...exploiting the fundamental advantages of traction kites for decades."
Scuttlebutt readers will recognize this topic from today's David Culp piece that declaims "...for the first time in three decades, major industry is looking at - seriously contemplating - putting
sail power onto the world's cargo ships."
I want to know what happens when a freighter broaches. Seriously...who goes forward in a blow to douse the chute? And what if there's a wind shift? A squall? Are these guys for real?
Posted by Zephyr (Sail) at 9:32 PM
Busy day...I'll post this weekend. In the meanwhile...here is some good, detailed feedback from a reader on an earlier post that mentioned my parents plan to sail the North Carolina coast.
They might also check out Wrightsville Beach, N.C.
Beautiful anchorage in Banks channel, easy ocean access thru the inlet(Lees cut?) south of the island, between Wrightsville and Masonboro Island, and a very short dingy row to Roberts Market(food),King Neptune (Fantastic!!! restaurant) Wrightsville Beach Museum (great displays of nautical and beach related memorabilia), beautiful family beach (old style east coast). There are also quite a few top class marinas(Seapath on the cut and several more on the ICW and marine stores galore. Try it, I think you'll like it!
Posted by Zephyr (Sail) at 4:01 PM
Thursday, October 13, 2005
I know I seem geographically stuck on the
Posted by Zephyr (Sail) at 3:28 PM
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
The two hapless
Posted by Zephyr (Sail) at 1:52 PM
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
In brief (busy day here) there’s a wrap-up of last weekend’s
Posted by Zephyr (Sail) at 2:02 PM
Monday, October 10, 2005
My parents, recently retired, were planning a cruise on their 46’ sloop to the islands this fall. They’ve had the boat for some years and sailed her up and down the northeastern seaboard…as far north as Nova Scotia and as far south as their home sailing grounds on the Chesapeake Bay. But this was to be their first true long distance voyage…an itinerary that would take them down the coast to
Posted by Zephyr (Sail) at 10:17 AM
Friday, October 07, 2005
Posted by Zephyr (Sail) at 5:15 PM
As the powers of mass consumerism surely intended when they flooded the shelves with plastic pumpkins in early September…Halloween is on my mind. So it is that the namesake in a story from the Chesapeake Bay Weekly caught my eye this afternoon. It tells the tale of Witchcraft, a 102-year old former gaff rigged yacht, now turned sloop designed by the late B.B. Crowninshield and built by the Lawley boat yard in
Posted by Zephyr (Sail) at 4:10 PM
Thursday, October 06, 2005
When I lived in San Francisco one of my favorite times of year (as it is back here on the east coast) was fall – particularly because the fierce winds of summer caused by thermal warming and cooling of the scorching interior (the same reason for the summer fog in the city) subsided and, with a prevailing high pressure in place – near perfect sailing condition ensued. Reminding me of this today is an article in the San Francisco Chronicle on a sailing school cruise to the
Posted by Zephyr (Sail) at 11:13 AM
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Posted by Zephyr (Sail) at 11:34 AM
News out of
Posted by Zephyr (Sail) at 11:25 AM
Monday, October 03, 2005
Anyone who goes to sea is well aware that there are elements of the ocean environment that can be related to everyday life. No need for me to sermonize on this…but here’s a brief piece from, of all places, the Galveston Daily News, relating the experience of Hurricane Rita to certain aspects of ocean voyaging. In my opinion the analogy holds quite well. Experiencing a hurricane is as close as a land dweller will get to knowing what any passage-making sailor intrinsically understands…namely:
• The sea teaches forehandedness
• The sea teaches accountability
• The sea teaches decision making
• The sea teaches self-sufficiency
• The sea teaches reality
Posted by Zephyr (Sail) at 11:31 AM