Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Frederick S. Cozzens, Marine Illustrator

Here's a left field pitch. Who's your favorite yachting artist? Not, as most of us might first think, a favorite yachting photographer (that's for another post) but actual true blue, get yer paintbrushes artist. Mine vote goes to Frederick S. Cozzens, considered by many to be one of the best American nineteenth century marine illustrators. He has a classicist eye for the beauty of sailing craft and the tones he uses are muted and refined...some might say a bit stodgy but hey, the guy lived from 1856 to 1928.

Some more background from the Philadelphia Print Shop...

Cozzens first publication was American Yachts, Their Clubs and Races, which contained 27 chromolithographs. These views are considered to be Cozzens' finest work, vividly conveying the atmosphere and thrill of the yacht races they depict. The portfolio of full color chromolithographs was released in a limited edition of signed "artist's proofs" and later in a second printing as "color prints" The set included twenty-five scenes of yachting activity, a signal chart featuring the flags of sixty-six yacht clubs, and an extra plate (which must have been included at the last possible moment) of the 1885 America's Cup race between Puritan and Genesta. Cozzens' work was so well received that he produced four other series of prints: Typical American Yachts (1886); Yachts and Yachting (1887); Our Navy, Its Growth and Achievements (1892); and Old Naval Prints (1892). By the turn of the century, Cozzens turned to drawing more beach scenes, seascapes and European vessels than he did yachting scenes, but it is for the latter which he is most famous.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Pamela Habek and Scott Duncan

Busy day...a quick jump to a story about two "visually impaired" sailors circumnavigating the globe. Ocean Navigator also detailed the story in back their July/August 2005 issue...with the available technology I can see (no pun intended) how Pamela and Scott could make the bid...also note that Scott is "legally blind" meaning he has a degree of limited vision. Check out this page here to understand what this means exactly. The couple set sail from San Francisco in 2004.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Newport Bucket 2005, Newport, RI Posted by Picasa

Thursday, January 26, 2006

August, 1988

As a teenager I did an Outward Bound sailing course - 26 days - out of the Hurricane Island base site located in the Fox Islands archipelago in Penobscot Bay, Maine. Though I had grown up sailing, this experience, more than any other, was the genesis of a life long passion for voyaging on the ocean. For most of the time we (five guys and five girls plus two instructors) sailed and lived aboard a 30-foot, ketch-rigged "pulling" boat modeled after a 19th century whaling vessel. I remember an instructor named "Pokey" who ate raw garlic and exhorted us to follow suit. I remember one of our fellow crew having to be helicoptered to the hospital with an impacted bowel...there were no heads on the open boat and the only source of privacy was forward of the headsail hanging ass on the leeward rail...not everyone could adjust. I remember camping on some deserted island one night - we lashed oars and draped tarps for a makeshift shelter - and waking in the morning to a buzzing sound and the slow realization that every exposed bit of flesh was crawling with black flies. We climbed to the top of Cadillac Mountain in the darkness of pre-dawn to be in place for sunrise. We helped build a schoolhouse on a remote island where the inhabitants all looked suspiciously alike. There were nights of intense conversation by firelight and candlelight and failing that, starlight. The scent of pine, sea air and mildew blended and soaked through everything. We had sunshine and thick fog, stiff breezes in the afternoon and high white summer clouds pacing Eggemoggin Reach. We made our beds at anchor by laying the oars along the benches to create a platform, spead a tarp over the boom and lashed it to the gunnels. In the morning we woke to a cannon shot from a neighboring windjammer and leapt over the side together for a very brief "dip." Pokey made coffee by swinging the grounds in a pot of boiling water. I heard, for the first time, Natalie Merchant and her Maniacs on the radio washing the dishes after dinner in the dining hall. On my three day "solo" I read The Stand by Stephen King cover to cover, contemplated the clouds and birds and consumed nothing but my daily ration of liquid, a gallon of fresh water per day. This was during the month of August in 1988. I was eighteen.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

J/24 World Championship - Victoria, Australia
Photo Credit: (Andrea FrancoliniPosted by Picasa

Semper Paratus

The winter season in the Atlantic Ocean in well on us and, fortunately for wayward voyagers, the Coast Guard (motto above) is on the scene. Here's a jump to the 5th District press release page...you can see that they've been busy searching for missing crewmen, rescuing tugs, locating overdue boaters and so on. Despite a penchant for enforcing rules and regs (what a drag) we really should be grateful for the Coast Guard...speaking from experience, if you ever need them you certainly will be. In my case we welcomed CG assistance to keep the S/Y Javelin from sinking to the grim depths of the Puerto Rican trench. For more on that read the Zephyr-exclusive sea tale "Eluding Davey Jones" in four parts here and here and here (and here).

Monday, January 23, 2006

Nick Scandone, Champion

Somehow I missed this...the 2005 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Award has gone to Nick Scandone. Nick is 39-year-old who grew up in Fountain Valley and Huntington Beach, CA. In 1988, he led UC Irvine to an Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association title. Nearly four years ago Scandone discovered he was suffering from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. As you can read in this article, he has lost 40 pounds and now walks only with the aid of leg braces and a cane but has continued to sail and last year won the 2.4-Metre World Championships in Italy. Kudos for Rolex for choosing someone besides a typical "rock star" and for giving him the recognition he surely deserves.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Bandwagon

When I began this blog last spring there was - with a few notable exceptions - a great deal of what we could call "whitespace" in the sailing blog arena. Now, in the latest example of bandwagon mentality we have a commercial yachting company - Sabre Yachts - offering us their corporate musings on sailors and sailing in blog format. I wouldn't credit Zephyr with anything more than a peripheral role in addressing sailing culture and community, but it is worth noting that the independent voice (meaning one constrained not by temporal practicalities like, say, profits) should be...I humbly suggest...regarded as a source of greater authenticity. And thus more representative of how sailors generally like to consider themselves, namely, independent. Before anyone over at Sabre erupts in self-rightous fury I'd like to qualify by noting that the truth, as outlined above, doesn't mean that the folks at Sabre aren't nice people. It doesn't mean that they aren't good sailors. It doesn't mean that they can't write. It certainly doesn't mean that they (or whomever they've hired to write for them) don't have something to add and shouldn't be welcomed. It just means that we need to keep in mind that they, ultimately, would like to sell you a yacht...preferably a Sabre Yacht. No surprise there.

In a similar vein, I want to publicly thank Proper Course, an independent voice if there ever was one, for naming Zephyr on his "Top Ten Sailing Blogs of 2005." It's an honor to be listed and I hope I'm still there at the end of this year.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Key West Race Week, January 18, 2006
(Photo Credit: Tim Wilkes) Posted by Picasa

Key West Race Midweek

The annual Key West 2006 sailing regatta is well underway and coverage is spilling over the transom. Have a look here at a report on the Swan Goombay Smash, skippered by William Douglass. The yacht maintained its lead in the Swan 45 World Championship on Tuesday. Here's a jump to a good overview of the week and more coverage with great photos from today's races. I attended the Race Week in the late 1990's and had an absolute blast. Key West may be over run with tourists...but it's still a tremendous venue and always will be (until a hurricane wipes it).

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Volvo Ocean Race on Google Earth

I don't know how many of you have downloaded the free Google Earth software...but if you have then you can follow the Volvo Ocean Race with the program...a very, very cool application of technology in the sailing realm. I'm obviously on a Web technology meets sailing kick this week...apologies to the luddites. Detailed info on the Google Earth Blog.

Monday, January 16, 2006


I’m down in Maryland on the Chesapeake for a visit – reading through the Baltimore Sun and came across this article on T2P.tv. According to the article the Annapolis-based firm broadcasts regattas in cyberspace…an example of Web technology rising to fill a void in the ratings-driven world of network television. We can watch football until we’re sick (go Steelers) but try and find a regatta – aside from the America’s Cup once every four years – on ESPN. As one of the principals in the company notes, “sailing is a very hard sport to convey to a general audience."

All of this aside, it’s hard not to cheer for these two sailing entrepreneurs. Who among us (meaning those who don’t get paid to race) wouldn’t want a job filming regattas from a fast boat?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2005
Sydney, Australia
At the Start, December 26
Photo credit: Carlo Borlenghi Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Call out the dogs. Scuttlebutt is blogging. Is nothing sacred...

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Dark and Stormy

Windjammer enthusiasts take a look here at a first person account in the Orlando Sentinel of four dark and stormy nights aboard the 82-foot schooner Nathaniel Bowditch in early October on Penobscot Bay (off the coast of Maine.) Speaking of Dark & Stormy it's high time for a rum-based winter cocktail party to chase away the winter blues. Who has a favorite Dark & Stormy cocktail recipe to share. Yes, we all know Goslings is the genesis of any good D&S and ginger beer is a key component (but what brand?). I always add a wedge of lime...

Monday, January 09, 2006

Dee Caffari Update

I wrote about Dee Caffari, the "wrong way" sailor a while back - here's a bone chilling update from the UK Sunday Times titled, "It’s so lonely fighting the seven seas." In reading the account, most of it taken from satellite phone conversations with the reporter (who admits to taking her call in his "jim jams") one gets a real sense for the emotional roller coaster a solo sailor faces in extreme conditions. At one point, discussing exhaustion, she says, “I have only had two sleeps of over an hour since I’ve been on board. You listen for danger in your sleep; the sail starts flapping and I am wide awake. The first week I was so frightened I slept with my eyes open.”

She says that the support she gets from fans keeps her going so for God's sake, log on to the web site and send her a message. As the article reminds us, over the next
80 days she battles through the stormy, treacherous southern seas.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Naval Academy Midshipman adjusts chute
aboard S/V Lively, U.S. Naval Academy
Offshore Sailing Team, Annapolis, MD. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Lee Van Gemert

The Marblehead Reporter has an article on the passing of sailing legend Lee Van Gemert. One of the great things about writing this weblog is the near daily education I recieve. Until today, I hadn't been aware of the Gemert legend but, as the reporter details, he was indeed a sailing champion, part of the America’s Cup victory in 1964 and the author of an important technical book still used today, “Stability and Trim for the Ship’s Officer.” Aside from his accomplishments...what struck me about this piece was the tone of fondness and regard, the very real sense that this was a man who lived his passion and lived it well. We could all hope to be the subject of such a kind and well written posthumous reckoning.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

2005 Sailing Stories

OK - back in the office after a week at the beach. Joy. Before we put our collective shoulders to the wheel of 2006, pause for a moment. What were the biggest and best sailing stories in 2005? Obviously AC coverage was most prominent - at least in terms of the various "Acts" that played out in Europe. My favorite "human interest" story was Hatashita's Voyage, most dramatic maybe the sinking of the Pride II (correction: dismasting...thanks Willie Waw), most historic maybe the Rolex Transatlantic...

My favorite post (of my own ;-) is this one.

What do you all think?

Sunday, January 01, 2006


I'm online via pilfered bandwidth so not much time. Back in force about midweek. Happy New Year to everyone and fair winds in 2006.