Friday, March 31, 2006

J Class Yacht Ranger at Antigua Classic 2005
(Photo Credit: Carlo Borlenghi)

Spring Fever

The mercury pushed 70 degrees today in Connecticut and as I walked back from the parking lot today after lunch, I felt the breeze ruffle my hair and took a deep breath through my nose, inhaling the rich scent of earth awakening after the long winter’s night. Daylight savings arrives this weekend, bringing with it the promise of lazy summer sails deep into cocktail hour and plenty of time to leave the office a bit early to make the dock for Wednesday night beer can races. I realize I’ve been a bit brief this week...but here’s wishing all of you a touch of spring fever. It will be time to get out on the water soon and I, for one, can not wait.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Best Places to Park Your Yacht

For those of you who have the luxury of pondering where to park your yacht, well the LUXIST has a wish list of ports for you. Not hard to guess that the Carribean, the Med, Spanish Virgins, etc made the cut but they called out a new one on me, the Canadian Maritimes.

Anyone parked their yacht there lately?

Monday, March 27, 2006

Ted Fontaine on the Friendship 40

In early March I addressed a question from a reader about the seaworthiness of the Friendship 40, a gorgeous sloop designed by Ted Fontaine in the catagory of luxury daysailer. The question centered on whether the Friendship 40 was a good vessel for offshore passagemaking - to which I replied "no." This past weekend Ted responded in the comments field and made several clear points in disagreement with my's a terrific response and thanks to Ted for taking the time to clarify.

You can read it for yourself but in short, with a few modifications, you could probably be quite comfortable and safe in the Friendship 40 offshore.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Key West Race Week 2006
(Photo Credit: Onne Van Der Wal)

SAIL Announces New Publisher

Blogs are ostensibly new media and so - though they aren't paying much attention to us - it makes sense that we'd take note of a major announce in the old media the case of Zephyr as such news might pertain to sailing.

The umbrella company responsible for such delights as SAIL, BoatWorks and SAIL's Sailboat Buyers Guide recently announced that Josh Adams has been named publisher, replacing Christopher Kobran who will apparently be pursuing "other ventures." We hope they involve being on the water more and in the office less.

According to a press release, Adams has been with the company for ten years, most recently serving as deputy editor with responsibilities for feature and technical writing, editing SAIL's performance sailing content and directing editorial content for and the Sailboat Buyers Guide. Adams was a three-time collegiate all-American at Tufts University, a member of the U.S. sailing team, a team racing world champion and a trimmer/coach for the 1999 America's Cup challenger Young America. In addition to his racing background, Adams has chartered and cruised in many areas throughout the United States and the Caribbean.

Good luck Josh. I hope you really like your fancy new corner office (I mean really).

Thursday, March 23, 2006

An Old School Marine Chandlary

To continue in the Annapolis vein - don't know what's gotten into me - my favorite marine chandlary is Fawcett Boat Supplies on the City Dock. It's been around since 1948 and was, until recently, family owned. The Kaufman family sold in '05 to a guy my brother met during a stint in the U.S. Marines, Tom Ripley...glad to report the outfit is shipshape, the staff friendly and, if they don't have it, they can get it ASAP. It's nice to see that in this age of corporate hegemony stores like Fawcett still exist. I'm sure folks have other examples...but IMHO they are, increasingly, the exception to the rule.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Photo Credit: Jens Fischer

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Annual Annapolis Sock Burning

Speaking of Eastport (see 3/17) they recently burned the socks in the maritime republic...for those of you scratching your heads, this is an anticipatory rite of passage for winter weary sailors more than ready for the spring season. The forecast calls for highs of 30 it won't be warm enough to wear boat shoes sockless just yet.

Still, this bodes well for those of us who last hoisted a jib in October 2005...

"It's a good idea to stand upwind," warned John Morgan, 77, who joked that stinking sock fires signify warmer weather ahead. Celebrants sipped red wine, ate oysters and speculated how long until they could go barefoot without their toes reddening from the cold." - Forbes 3/20/06

Monday, March 20, 2006

Motley Maritime Productions

Finally settled back at his home in Virginia, Tom Motley has written on the St Maarten Heineken Regatta for his weblog - Motley Maritime Productions - the first of three or four updates he promised to post when we caught up via phone over the weekend. At the Heineken he crewed onboard Trey Fizgibbons' yacht Mischievous. Next stop for the itinerant Captain Motley...the St. Barths Bucket Regatta March 30. Tom has made his living on the water as a fisherman and yacht captain for decades...and lived to tell the tale. Believe me when I say that the writing on his blog is the tip of a very large iceberg.

"The realm of megayacht sailboats is a small and exclusive one: Paparazzi are shunned, privacy is paramount and owners rarely come together to race. But every April, against the backdrop of the red-tiled rooftops and lavish villas of Saint Barthélemy--the Saint-Tropez of the Caribbean--those same megayachts gather, the Champagne flows and the steroidal sailing known as the St. Barth's Bucket commences." - Forbes 12/12/05

Friday, March 17, 2006

The Maritime Republic of Eastport

A reader wished Zephyr a happy one year anniversary today from the "Maritime Republic of Eastport." It's a great opportunity to comment on one of my favorite sailing "towns." In the shadow of better known Annapolis, Eastport is the working brother of the Newport and Southwest Harbour-type sailing villages. It's the home of many a fine sailmaker, boatbuilder and marina. It's the cradle of the superb Eastport Yacht Club. And it was the birthplace of the once world reknown Marmadukes. I wrote about this bit of local lore in a post last March titled, "We miss Marmadukes (and homeless in Annapolis)."

From the MRE website, "...the Maritime Republic of Eastport was founded on Super Bowl Sunday, 1998, when patriots residing on the Horn Point peninsula rose up in revolt against the snobbish suppression of "Annapolis Proper" across the harbor."


Thursday, March 16, 2006

S/Y Chippewa
2006 Heineken St Maarten Regatta
(Photo Credit: Tom Motley)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Happy One Year Anniversary Zephyr!

Today is the one year anniversary of the Zephyr weblog! That's 368 postings since the first post in March 2005 and, according to statcounter, over 30,000 page views. It's a modest accomplishment in today's blog frenzied world...but I've learned an amazing amount about my passion for sailing and continue to be extremely grateful for all of the readers who have taken the time to comment.

When I reread that first March 15 post it still seems spot on - if a bit idealistic. I'm not certain that I've entirely lived up the the grand vision sketched out in that post a year ago, but I intend to keep trying...again, thank you for clicking through.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Faster than a speeding bullet

Popular Science is not the first publication that comes to mind when one wants to read about sailing, but be sure to check out this article. It details and discusses the push to break the 50 knot barrier. According to the article, the record for the speed of any wind-powered craft on water—46.52 knots, was set by the Australian trimaran Yellow Pages Endeavor a decade ago and finally broken in 2004 at Speed Week, held off the coast of Weymouth in the south of England. At the moment boardsailor Finian Maynard holds the World Record, set April 10, 2005 - 48.70 knots.

The battle is broadly pitched between windsurfers and sailors and it's even money on who will take it over 50.

And you thought your Laser was fast off the wind...

Friday, March 10, 2006

UPDATE: Heineken St Maarten

Captain Tom wrote today – he’s back from the Heineken St Maarten Regatta after racing aboard S/Y Mischievous. He’s going to send some photos he took of the overall winner in his class, S/Y Chippawa – which I’ll post – as well he'll be writing about the experience on his weblog when he gets settled.

The Heineken St Maarten is, in my opinion, the most singular Caribbean Spring Regatta being held today. I’ve done it three times – all in the late 1990’s and all aboard the maxi Javelin – and it’s always a tremendous bit of jubilation complemented by a program that reflects the dedication to sailing that the organizers at the Sint Maarten Yacht Club brings to the occasion. There are more famous regattas, namely Antigua Race week, but the Heineken is hard to beat.

Stay tuned for more detail…

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Rolex Trophy - Sydney, Australia
December 10-18, 2005
(Photo Credit: Carlo BorlenghiPosted by Picasa

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Dame Ellen All Worn Out (but not washed up)

Ellen MacArthur is tired. And who in their right mind can blame her? So at the ripe old age of 29, she is giving up on solo sailing in order to concentrate on crewed or two-handed racing with her Offshore Challenges team. Ellen was made a Dame Commander of the Civil Division of the Most Excellent Order after she solo-circumnavigated the globe in 2005 - the youngest woman to recieve this title from the Queen. She is a heroine of our sport and an inspiration to countless sailors...both men and women. Not to mention she's tough as nails and if she's going to step down from solo sailing it makes one not even want to start up. Not that I'm in danger of that from my cube ;-)

Monday, March 06, 2006

Friendship 40 Redux

Over the weekend a reader named Jason Parrott wrote to ask about one of my favorite designs, Ted Fontaine's Friendship 40. I met Ted onboard his sales model at the dock of the Newport Bucket last summer and had the pleasure of poking around his beautiful craft...and got the inside scoop.

Apparently Ted (who worked for for Ted Hood at Little Harbor for 22 years) sought to make the Friendship 40 the "picnic boat" of sailing yachts...a reference to the hugely sucessful Hinckley designed and manufactured motor craft of the same name. He brought the design to Hinckley and they passed. He ended up taking the boat to a New Zealand outfit and, despite the cost of entry, it has been a huge success.

Jason, the answer to your question, "Is the Friendship 40, as a daysailer, ill-equipped for long voyages?" is "yes." The reason lies in Ted Fontaine's strategy...he designed the vessel for 45- to 60-year-olds as a way to keep them interested in sailing and cruising rather than scaling back to, well, a Hinckley Picnic Boat. It would be the perfect sailing craft for a week or so of cruising Down East Maine with a close friend. Not the ideal choice for an offshore voyage to Bermuda. The spoon bow, elevated counter, heart shaped transom and springy sheerline give the design a vintage look...but it doesn't get high marks for "practicality." Here's a good editorial in Sailing Magazine on the trend toward these types of boats.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Ssangyong 2006 JJ Giltinan World Trophy Championship
Sydney Harbor, Australia - February 17-26
(Photos credit: Thierry MartinezPosted by Picasa

Thursday, March 02, 2006

The World's Toughest Small Boat Race

So some of them are not actually sailing...but I still think we need to give the wingnuts that plan on participating in the brand new "Ultimate Florida Challenge" kudos in advance of any real accomplishment. The "Everglades Challenge" begins on Saturday and ends 300 miles to the south. Ten or so contestants will continue on - extending the Everglades Challenge - until they either navigate around Florida in kayaks, canoes, catamarans, and other light sailing craft...or die trying. Here is the article - in the Christian Science Monitor no less. And here is, of course, the official blog.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

In Like a Lion

Here we are - March - a month that, though it still falls technically in "winter" does make the case for the approach of spring. Which is good news considering I've been in a winter-induced, sailing dry spell that is beginning to stink like desperation. Of course, I could always go "frostbiting," a custom that may be unfamiliar to those not from northern climes. It is appealing in a rugged "I brook no discomfort" sort of way but I'd prefer to live in a place where one can sail year round. Or at least hop a plane to St. Maarten for the annual Heineken Regatta, though having two small children makes that unlikely. In a nutshell this is why you see me (pitifully) excited for spring on March 1 - despite it being 18 degrees when I got in the car to go to work this AM...