Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Long Island Sound Summer Anchorages

During my inagural summer sail on Long Island Sound last weekend the topic of favorite LIS destination anchorages came up. Shelter Island is always top of the list in conversations with Sound sailors...I'm relatively new to the scene and aside from crewing a few Stamford/Vineyard offshore races and doing the NOODS out of Larchmont in 2005, my LIS cruising experience is limited to the types of excursions I took this past Saturday - four or five hour jaunts under sunny skies, no anchoring required. But I've long been interested in the Thimble Islands which are - as wikipedia will tell you - an archipelago of small islands in Long Island Sound, in and near the harbor of Stony Creek, Connecticut in the southeast corner of Branford, Connecticut, 41°15′52″N, 72°45′11″W. For some reason I've had many a LIS weekend warrior either profess to have never hear of the Thimbles (I'm sure a welcome trend if you enjoy them) or otherwise flat out slander the destination. Regardless, I know they offer sheltered deep water anchorage and their history is fascinating. What am I missing?

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Summer Begins

It happened. I've emerged from the desert and slaked my thirst. I've come down from the mountain. I've risen through the ashes and been reborn.

Hyberbole yes, but it's the way it felt when I actually got out on the water this past Saturday. Though drifting on Long Island Sound (see above red nun 32 off Stamford, CT) in barely ten knots of light and fluky wind is nothing to crow about...but for a guy with two young children, a beleaguered stay-at-home wife and a corporate job, well, it was bliss. Through the long northeast winter it's easy to forget how the smell of the water and the sounds of winches clicking, sails snapping, the water rushing by the lee rail - transports me to that place where the day-to-day hassles drop away, the mind clears and time slows before gathering itself in a rush of wind, water and sunshine. The summer begins.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Rolex Antigua Sailing Week - April 30-May 5, 2006
Antigua, W.I. (Photo Credit: Daniel Forster/Rolex)


Lyrics to a "Heart" song came in from Fred @ Wingsail the other day. I was never a big "Heart" fan but these words are great. Thanks Fred...Happy Memorial Day all.

No wind when I took the watch
My ship was still and waitin'
I lay on that mirrored sky
A restless sailor, waitin'
I closed my eyes said the
Words of will for the gentle
Breathin' that moves the seas
Make my sails fill

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Mea Culpa

Guess I need a history lesson...Tillerman quite rightly offers a correction to my previous post.

Surely Moitessier did not win the 1969 Golden Globe Race. He was in position to win but, on entering the South Atlantic, chose to continue sailing rather than head for the finish line in England. He kept sailing east and finished his one-and-a-half times-round-the-world journey in Tahiti. Robin Knox-Johnston won the race, I believe.

Tillerman believes correctly. Instead of finishing Moitessier changed course, headed eastward along the Roaring Forties (after having already crossed his outbound track) on a second nonstop circumnavigation, automatically dropping out of the Times race.

My apologies for the factual error (and thank you Tillerman!)

Bernard Moitessier, Sea Tramp

The crew of ABN AMRO TWO are making public statements about the tragedy. If you haven't caught up on it there's a good recap in Sailing World.

I'm doing research on nautical verse/quotes to post in the margin of my new template and I came across a once iconic sea gypsy - Bernard Moitessier - a brand new additon to my nautical Pantheon. Bernard, as you can read here, single-handedly circumnavigated around the world in a 39 foot steel ketch to finish first and fastest in the 1969 Sunday Times Golden Globe Race. Not only have I had the pleasure of learning about this prolific writer and stalwart sailor - but as well I've increased my knowledge (and thus yours) on the origin of offshore racing.

The Sunday Times Golden Globe Race was a non-stop, single-handed, round-the-world yacht race, held in 1968–1969. It was the first round-the-world yacht race in any format. The race was controversial due to the failure by most competitors to finish the race and because of the suicide of one entrant; however, the race ultimately led to the founding of the BOC Challenge and Vendée Globe round-the-world races, both of which continue to be successful and popular.

Rolex Antigua Sailing Week - April 30-May 5, 2006
Antigua, W.I. (Photo Credit: Daniel Forster/Rolex)

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Swimming With the Sharks

Way back in the early months of Zephyr (March 2005) I wrote a scathing post on windsurfing magnate Neil Pryde. The title - Sailor Neil Pryde’s swollen ego gobbles China, beats down the working man - was designed to elicit a response...and it did! I just had a comment come in (defending Neil over a year later) from a reader who worked for Pryde running his Windsurfing North America division from 1992-96. Though I stand by an admittedly incendiary post, if anyone would know about Neil-as-a-person rather than's not me.

So I have to take this recent leap to defend Neil at face value and, though I can't vouch for every sentiment expressed by an anonymous defender who, "...spent many weekends with Neil putting to practice both his and my work ethics," I'm also not going to take issue with the claim that, "...he was the best mentor a lower class kid could ask for." Maybe he was.

Looking back to March '05, I'd also responded to "Jerry" - yet another defender of Neil Pryde - in a subsequent post that made some good counter points but failed to advance the discussion much (in my humble opinion).

So I wonder aloud and invite comment, why does trashing Neil evoke such strong emotion? Could I have picked the wrong target for my anti-capitalist bluster? Or am I hitting too close to home?

Monday, May 22, 2006

Three Cheers for Dee!

I last wrote about Dee Caffari some months ago on Valentines Day (see post: Valentine Wishes to Dee Caffari) - at that point she was on the verge of passing the halfway mark of her attempt to become the first woman to circumnavigate the world solo non-stop against the prevailing winds and currents.

The tragic news from the Volvo has dominated sailing suprise that last week it overshadowed the glory of Dee's accomplishment...but I think it's the right way to start anew this Monday despite the lingering sadness of Hans Horrevoets' death.

Last Thursday, May 18, the 33-year-old from Portsmouth, England completed a passage which ensures her a place in maritime history. After numerous setbacks, countless emotional and physical highs and lows...not to mention 29,100 ocean miles left astern, Dee's 178 day, 3 hour, 6 minute and 15 second journey ended off Lizard Point.

"It was a voyage of absolute extremes, and it pushed my limits further than I had imagined. There were times when I couldn’t see an end to it and I questioned whether I could do it. One of the hardest things was the mental challenge of dealing with it all on my own, but the support from my shore team and the outstanding performance of the yacht helped me bounce back when it got really tough. Now I’m physically and mentally exhausted but I don’t think I’ve ever been happier and I can’t wait to celebrate the achievement surrounded by family and friends!"
- Dee Caffari, May 18, 2006

Friday, May 19, 2006

Rolex Antigua Sailing Week - April 30-May 5, 2006
Antigua, W.I. (Photo Credit: Daniel Forster/Rolex)

Send Condolences to ABN Amro Two

If you wish to send condolences to the crew of ABN Amro Two, please send your messages to

New Template for Zephyr

If you've read Zephyr for any length of time then you'll notice I recently shifted the site to a new template. Along the side of the postings in the left margin there is room to pull in favorite nautical verse, quotes, etc. If you have any to suggest please point me to them. I'm specifically looking for any good bits from Joseph Conrad and Patrick O'Brian.

The Volvo tragedy will be the last real post for the week. Have a good weekend...see you Monday.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

For the Volvo Sailors

Eternal Father, strong to save
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave.
Who bidd'st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep
Oh hear us when we cry to thee
For those in peril on the sea.

- William Whiting

Sad News from the Volvo Ocean Race

By now most have read about the sad news from the Volvo - Abn Amro Two lost a crewman - 32-year-old helmsman and sail trimmer Hans Horrevoets - overboard early Thursday. According to coverage the yacht was sailing downwind in 16-foot waves and 28-35-mph winds roughly 1,300 miles from Portsmouth, England in the Atlantic ocean. Crewmembers enacted a "man overboard" drill and recovered Hans but were unable to resuscitate him.

Anyone who has been offshore understands this nightmare intimately...even if they've never pulled a dead mate from the ocean, or been the unfortunate person over the side. In the same way a mountain climber accepts the inherent danger of sudden blizzards or rock slides and backcountry skiers dread yet brave avalanches - offshore sailors live with the very real threat of going over.

I came close years ago on the foredeck of the Maxi Yacht Javelin during a big blow in the Gulfstream. I was helping to reef the mainsail on the dawn watch and we shipped a big crossing wave over the deck from the windward side. It hit my chest, swept me off my feet and washed me to the leeward rail...being clipped to the jackline kept me on board. It was about a full minute or so before I could unclench my hands from the stanchion and steady myself...more than enough time to contemplate the dark, rushing water and the almost certain oblivion it promised. I'll never forget that feeling.

God speed the crew of Abn Amro Two and God bless the soul of Hans Horrevoets. He died with his boots on.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Another Chesapeake Volvo Start Shot

Stanley Kunitz, Poet Laureate, Dies at 100

Kunitz spent his summers in Provincetown, MA and his love of the water and boating was evident in his of my favorite poems in the world is "The Long Boat," full text below.

From the NYT Obit..."Stanley Kunitz, who was one of the most acclaimed and durable American poets of the last century and who, at age 95, was named poet laureate of the United States, died on Sunday at his home in Manhattan. He was 100 and also had a home in Provincetown, Mass."

The Long Boat
When his boat snapped loose
from its mooring, under
the screaking of the gulls,
he tried at first to wave
to his dear ones on shore,
but in the rolling fog
they had already lost their faces.
Too tired even to choose
between jumping and calling,
somehow he felt absolved and free
of his burdens, those mottoes
stamped on his name-tag:
conscience, ambition, and all
that caring.
He was content to lie down
with the family ghosts
in the slop of his cradle,
buffeted by the storm,
endlessly drifting.

Peace! Peace!
To be rocked by the Infinite!
As if it didn't matter
which way was home;
as if he didn't know
he loved the earth so much
he wanted to stay forever.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Is Your Sailing Club on MapMuse?

As you plan your summer cruising, check out this Internet resource I found in a recent Scuttlebutt's a sort of marina/sailing club map version of Wikipedia..., an Internet mapping website, has recently added marinas and sailing clubs to its interactive mapping services. There presently are over 8,000 marinas, and 70 sailing clubs included on the MapMuse maps. A typical entry provides the name of a marina or club, descriptive text, a photo, contact information, and a link to a website. Visitors an easily add places, edit existing information, or remove places through links located on the site. When a visitor suggests a change to a map, MapMuse reviews the suggestion for appropriateness, and then posts it within a few hours.

Spectator swirl at the Volvo Ocean Race Start
On the Chesapeake Bay just off Annapolis, MD
(Photo Credit: Gugy Irving)

Monday, May 15, 2006

National Sailing Hall of Fame Opens

Article here in the Baltimore Sun that details the National Sailing Hall of Fame( and Museum)...which opened last Thursday at City Dock in Annapolis where it will remain until the end of the boat shows in October.

I wrote on this a while back when the hall of fame/museum was funded - nice to see that it's finally open. I'll look forward to a visit this summer.

From the Sun article, the 1,200-square-foot space is divided into three galleries. In the center of the first gallery is a new Optimist - a tiny single-sail boat favored among junior sailors on the East Coast.

The sides of each gallery include images of boats under sail and photos of sailors who have been honored by the sport over the years, including those named the Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year and those named to the America's Cup Hall of Fame and the Sailing World Hall of Fame.

Friday, May 12, 2006

The Black Pearl at dock in New York City
May 9, 2006 (Photo Credit: Jarrett)

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Consider the BN

A reader commented the other day on a Captain Ron quote - saying that whomever wrote the movie script knew a lot about sailing from the "BN" perspective. He was right.

I'm going to proceed with the assumption all of you know what a "BN" is, or at least what it stands for. If not, ask your closest boat bum friend.

The term "BN" - despite its coarseness - delineates a very specific and useful class of sailor...those who, in somewhat blue collar fashion, work with and often live on sailboats. If you consider highly paid rockstars like Dennis Conner and Gary Jobson the tip of an iceberg, the supporting mass of "BN's" are the bulk that lies beneath the surface. Often unrecognized and certainly unsung, BN's earn their living as deck sanders and scrubbers, bottom painters, plumbers, electricians, mates, riggers, etc. Every offshore voyager has (luckily) a bit of the BN in them...but most weekend warriors on the beer can course do not (especially the wealthier ones). I'm proud to say that I was once a BN through and through and still carry the blood with me...despite breathing canned air and piloting a desk nine hours a day.

A BN, above all, is authentic. Given that they must co-exist with society of hull thumping poseurs and Mount Gay cap-wearing sock jockey misfits...this authenticity is rare and estimable.

I'm going to write more about the BN archetype - and what it embodies - in the near future...interested in your thoughts.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Thank You Mr. Esaak

Thanks Ward for the kind words. There is no better place on as far as I'm concerned...I visit regularly.

Your patience, please, as I tweak this new template.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Pirates of the Caribbean sailing to New York Harbor to the finish line of leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race from Annapolis, Maryland to NYC. (Photo Credit: Andrew Gombert for the NYT)

NYT: Nothing's Easy in Volvo Ocean Race

You may have to register for but it's worth the read - great recap story on the Volvo finish in New York by journalist Chris Museler...detailing the short but punishing 400 mile leg.

The last time I pointed to a NYT article (back in December 2005) was not so complimentary - oh those blue blazered Britons ;-)


The short sprint from Baltimore to New York is keeping the Volvo Ocean Race crews on deck and lacking in sleep. With only 75 miles to go before reaching the Ambrose lighthouse, leading yacht ABN Amro One has had a tough time in the last 36 hours. They are currently 25 miles offshore, just north of Delaware heading towards Barnegat Bay, with wind speeds varying wildly from between 23 and 32 knots, but wind now dropping significantly in the last six hours indicating a slow crawl towards the bright lights of New York. It's now a dead beat up the coast.

It was a bumpy first night last night, and skipper Mike Sanderson has not slept yet, such is his desire to wrack up maximum points for this leg. Sanderson reported gusts of over 40 knots and the crew shortened sail last night to a mainsail with three reefs and a number four jib.

Even that combination was a little too much at times. “Driving the boat was just a nightmare,” says Sanderson. “There was this icy sleet that was hitting the bare skin of your face like small sharp rocks, the boat was getting thrown around like clothes in a washing machine as the waves got bigger and bigger.”

Monday night, with just 93 miles to go before crossing the finish line in the Hudson River, speeds are dropping as the wind goes light, giving the chasing Farr Yacht Design boats a chance to show their true colors.

SOURCE: Scuttlebutt

Monday, May 08, 2006

Heading to the course - Newport, RI
Summer 2005

Oh, Atlanta

I was down in landlocked Atlanta this past weekend for a wedding but my folks, who are cruising on the Chesapeake on a 46' sloop, called me Sunday to say that they had witnessed the (re) start of the Volvo...which apparently kicked off with a stately procession of tall ships. They promised that they'll send photos when they dock. As well over the weekend I had a comment from Blue Barney responding to this post on a mystery cat boat photo I shot last Thanksgiving on the Tred Avon near Oxford...Barney says that it looks like a Hintenhoeller Nonsuch. He notes that, "...these wonderful boats were marketed by several companies in Maine." After doing a Google compare I'd have to say that it's a pretty good guess. Way to go Blue Barney!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Such a Feeling

I worked and lived for a while in the San Francisco Bay area - moved out in 2000 for the dot com denouement. One of my favorite chroniclers of the dot com debacle was Wired Magazine... happily they've survived and become, I think, one of the best written feature-driven technology publications on the market. And they even write about sailing! In the May 2006 issue Carl Hoffman covers carbon-fiber trimarans...detailing how they are using cutting edge technology to overtake every record in the books. Like any speed machine these boats need speed demons and sailors like Damian Foxall and Thomas Coville fit the bill.

What we do with these boats is amazing," says Thomas Coville, who was at the helm of Sodebo. "To be flying on the foils at 35 knots with the sail at the perfect angle is such a feeling." - Wired Magazine, May 2006

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Seeking Other Countries

Seeking countries other than our own. One of the foundational elements of well rooted voyaging and cruising...well rooted in the sense of travel on a sailing boat for the express purpose of discovery. One of my all time favorites - Waters did not mention him in her SAIL article - is Wingsail..the adventures of Fred Roswold and the missus who reside for the moment in Borneo, in KK (Kota Kinabalu), the booming capital of the Malaysian state of Sabah. They last wrote to us from Kudat, also in Sabah.

The above is a traffic snapshot over several days. Makes sense that the U.S. at nearly 80% is the longest bar but the list stretches...thanks to the Fred Roswold's of the world (and their ilk) who log on to remind me/us/we that sailors are seekers of other this world and beyond.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Rebecca Waters on Blogging in SAIL Magazine

On page 29 of the May 2006 edition of SAIL Magazine you will find a brief written by Rebecca Waters titled "Captain's Blog" - appropriately placed in the "Sailing the Web" section. Rebecca has written a report on the state of blogging in the sailing world. In the piece she cites The Voyage of Windbird, NorthernMagic (loud music), the estimable Propercourse and the one and only Zephyr.

She notes that interaction is the element that distinguishes weblogs from other forms of mass communication...and suggests that this interaction is missing from the sailing space. In a year plus of Zephyr I've recieved hundreds and hundreds of comments from all corners of the world (grateful for each one) but I have to agree...I expected more interaction from a community of storytellers (see post: Sailors are intrinsically storytellers - from a year ago this Friday).

She says sailing blogs are too new to elicit the type of response that other weblogs (such as those on politics and gadgets) might expect. I think that's true...but I also believe that sailors are over served on the Internet by resources like Scuttlebutt and forums like Anarchy, not to mention dozens of hard copy publications. Sailing blogs have yet to provide a unique channel with differentiated value for sailors. We're getting there, but it's new effort with a few kinks to be worked through (comments are certainly welcome ;-)

Kudos to Rebecca Waters ( for writing what has to be the very first old media article on this new media channel. It's a significant step in the still novel world of those who write and read sailing blogs.

Monday, May 01, 2006

2nd in Overall Race, Movistar Takes 1st on the Chesapeake

Volvo "In Port" Race - Saturday, April 29, 2006
(Photo Credit: Amory Ross)

As I mentioned on Friday, the Chesapeake Bay Volvo "In Port" race took place over the weekend. I couldn't make it out to the course and so don't have a lot of first hand info to add... but a reader emailed me these photos (thanks NovelistEye) and you can read a summary of the event here on the Volvo site. Apparently Movistar, second place in overall rankings, was victorious under light air and brilliant sunshine - rounding the buoys in just under 2 hours 22 minutes.

Baltimore In Port Results
1 Movistar 2h 21m 32 secs 3.5pts
2 Brasil 1 2h 26m 07 secs 3.0pts
3 Pirates of the Caribbean 2h 26m 07 s 2.5pts
4 Ericsson Racing Team 2h 29m 17s 2.0pts
5 ABN AMRO TWO 2h 29m 49s 1.5pts
6 ABN AMRO ONE 2h 35m 18s 1.0pts
7 Brunel 2h 35m 50s 0.5pts