Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Boo! Me Hearty

Happy Halloween! If you're in the New Haven, CT vicinity be sure and visit the "Night of the Haunted Schooner" sponsored by Schooner, Inc & held at the Sage American Grill on the waterfront...a private, non-profit marine education organization dedicated to sailing & the conservation of the environment, particularly Long Island Sound and the rivers of Connecticut. For a mere $10.00 the kids get:

  • a tour of the Haunted Schooner
  • plundering for apples
  • hangman’s donuts
  • best costume contest
  • classes in Scalawaggery from real Pirate Professors
  • free pirate’s booty

Monday, October 30, 2006

Rolex Middle Sea Race - October 17-28, 2006
Valletta, Malta (Photo Credit ROLEX/Carlo Borlenghi)

Red Admiral Update

My folks are on their sloop the Red Admiral heading for a winter in the islands...periodically I'll post and update on their progress. I spoke with them briefly via cell this past Saturday where they were hunkered down in Albemarle Sound on the coast of North Carolina waiting out a full force gale. Their GPS had crapped out and they'd had to navigate with a hard copy chart...very good redundancy practice. Today they're making way to Morehead City, NC where they'll pause for an opportune weather window before shoving off for St. Martin. We'll be able to track them via a neat tool called "Winlink Postion Reporter" - a feature of the Winlink radio digital message transfer system.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Tough Start to Velux 5 Oceans

Ward Esaak on About.com paints a good picture of the rocky start competitors have encountered during Leg One of the Velux 5 solo sailing contest. All of the six racing boats promptly hit winds up to 70 knots and seas estimated at 40-feet off Cape Finisterre. Of the eight sailors who started, only two are still en route. Four have limped to port for repairs. Two others are facing measurement challenges and have yet to qualify. The start reminds me somewhat of the infamous carnarge in the 1998 Sydney to Hobart...though the Velux 5 is on a much smaller scale and thankfully, this time, nobody has died.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

First you have to row a little boat (to get to the big boat)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Larry's Sailing Ego @ OOW

I'm at the Oracle Open World Conference in San Francisco, CA for today only and just found a bean bag to sit down and check email via wireless. As I type this, huge flat screen panel TV's are playing a video of Team Oracle/BMW training for the cup...surprise surprise the team uses the Oracle database product for to collect and analyze performance data. Commentary on the video - barring a few bits from Cap'n Chris Dickson - is a rather dull but the footage of the training is spectacular....very well shot by helicopter. Yet another data point on the chart of Larry's colossally huge sailing ego.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Fair winds and following seas

I'm writing from the JetBlue terminal in JFK, outbound to Oakland, CA for a trade show...

Here's excerpt of the goodbye note I sent my parents, who are leaving Tuesday for an offshore voyage and extended cruise of the Carribean aboard their 46' sloop.

Despite a number of occasions where I questioned my sanity in actually
volunteering to crew offshore and swore that, were I to safely reach
land, I'd never, ever be so foolish again...for four or so years I
went back over and over and over. Why? Now I see, with the clarity
of distance, that the experience of being on the ocean gave me
opportunity I very much needed to learn and to grow. The ocean was a
place I sought willingly in order to confront, accept and better
understand the deepest parts of what makes me who I am.

Two thoughts...

You can't buy something like this at the chandlery, stow it in a
lazarette or seal it in a vacuum bag.

And though seeking to "find oneself" is typically associated with
youth...I'm in favor of recognizing and welcoming this type of
opportunity throughout life. Are we ever really completely found?

Fair winds and following seas.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

"You only get one life, so paint it in bright colours."

BBC Sports is running a piece today on 67-year-old British yachtsman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston - who in 1969 became the first person to sail non-stop around the world alone - going to sea again this coming Sunday to compete in the Velux 5 Oceans solo round-the-world yacht race. The article inlcudes a quote from Sir Robin (the title of this post) that speaks to the spirt of this indomitable ocean voyager. The singularity of ones life and the importance of the choices one makes with it are thoughts worth paying attention to when coming from sailors who cross oceans alone.

The three-leg Velux 5 includes stops in Fremantle, Australia, and Norfolk, USA.

"You only get one life, so paint it in bright colours" - Sir Robin Knox-Johnston

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Valencia Sailing

Here's a jump to America's Cup blog "Valencia Sailing." For those who can't get enough of Cup detail...these guys have it in spades. The latest posting is the first in a series called "Inside an America's Cup team" which is intended to offer a perspective on the various departments that make up an America's Cup team. The initial post discusses the competitive advantage of a good meteorologist...given the vagaries of the local Spanish sea breeze. Not something I would have ever considered in-depth but then, I'm not a member of an America's Cup team. In addition to archives extending back to March 2005, the site has links to sailing video and the home pages of each competing team. Look for these sorts of outlets to proliferate as we reach the home stretch to the Cup.

Monday, October 16, 2006

All the comforts of jail, plus the chance to drown...

The Orange County Register has a very good story running in today's issue detailing the passenger experience aboard a Carribean WindJammer cruise...in this case the esteemed 197-foot Yankee Clipper. For anyone considering a WindJammer trip it's good background chock full of detail about the daily routine, accomodations, passenger idiosyncrasies, etc...but the stand out in my mind was the upfront quote from 18th-century English writer Samuel Johnson, who said going to sea has "all the comforts of jail, plus the chance to drown."

Let's face it - the man had a way with words.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Voiles de St Tropez

September 30-October 8, 2006
Saint Tropez, France (Photo Credit: Kos)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Coffee is for Closers

Captain Thomas Motley (of Motley Maritime Productions) has come to land, for awhile, in Deltaville, VA where he's taken a job selling yachts. They say that the best two days in a yacht owners life are the day he (or she) buys the boat and the day that it's sold. If that's so then prospective sailboat owners in the VA Tidewater Region better watch out...Motley will have them in a boat (and paying for it handsomely) in a New York minute.

Tom says check out the Beneteau First 10R. It's a new 32' one design racer/cruiser designed in partnership with Farr and looks like a great ride. Here's a detailed review out of the '05 Paris Boat Show. Good luck on the sales front Tom and remember, coffee is for closers.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Sounds Mighty Fishy Thomas Maimoni

It's not often I see the headline "Sailboat Killer..." so that explains why this article running in yesterday's Boston Globe caught my attention - and reminded me of one of my favorite sailing films, Dead Calm. The killer, who was judged to have killed a woman by tossing her bodily from his boat into the water, pled for leniency in parole hearing...claiming to no longer be a threat because, "...my sailing days are over." According to the former sailor now a convicted killer his crew was washed overboard by a rougue wave. He retrieved the body and, panicked by the situation, tied weights to her and sunk her off Marblehead, MA

Six days after the woman went missing, a lobsterman pulled her nude body from the sea. An anchor was tied to one of her ankles, and a weighted belt was fastened around her waist. An autopsy revealed she suffered three blunt trauma wounds to her head and was missing several teeth, but the cause of death was drowning.

To which I say, this all sounds mighty fishy former Captain Thomas Maimoni. And you're right about the lack of sailing in your future. Back to the jail cell you go.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Getting Ready to Go (and staying ashore)

After all of the hype I did not get to go sailing this past weekend because the boat - see below photo - is spending its days torn apart in preperation for a delivery south. I did help hoist the Captain to the top of the mast in order to facilitate the repair of the foghorn. I did help winch the new Caribe inflatable aboard via a spin halyard and lash it to the foredeck (again, see photo). And I did gaze longingly upon the many colored sails as they raced off the Tred Avon Yacht Club (photo).

I had quite a few chances to reminisce about my past southbound fall deliveries and their various mishaps and close calls. That was fun ;-) And I did have the chance to wish my parents well in their voyage, which I'll be writing about occasionally as the opportunity presents.

It's a strange feeling to be in the postion of staying ashore when for so many years I was the one going to sea. "It all comes around," were the last words I said to my folks as I drove away yesterday with the wife and kids. They just smiled and nodded their heads...

Friday, October 06, 2006

Ego Alley

We made it to the Chesapeake this afternoon driving in the sort of rip snorting fall storm I'd call for late November. Saturday AM may be a washout but it's blowing stink out there and, if the wind holds, tommorow afternoon will be the time for a sail. Glad I'm not hawking Pussers Painkillers on Ego Alley.

848 PM EDT FRI OCT 6 2006


Thursday, October 05, 2006

Ifn the Creek Don't Rise @ Vitters Shipyard

We're on the road to Maryland's Eastern Shore for the weekend. Ifn the creek don't rise I'll have a chance to get on the water...fall is the time on the Chesapeake.

Here's a dreamer jump - you won't see a yacht from these guys being hull thumped on the dock at the Annapolis Boat Show.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

SAIL Magazine Beware

Now well written and topical sailing blogs surface regularly...but when I started writing when baby Claire came along March 2005, there was "whitespace" in the niche world of sailors & writers with something to say. I wrote in a vacuum with notice from Sailing Anarchist bastards who, when someone posted a link back to me on their precious SA message board, became enraged.


Not that anyone of us jellyfish compare to Huffington-type blog politicos - but there is a strong sense that we've got the root of a community. The whitespace is being filled with many colored markers and this fledgling community is more visible than any one individual rant. Given the diversity of sailing blogs and the no end of ways to cover the sport and pastime of locomoting via a breeze, I'd say that, collectively, we make quite a virtual publication. SAIL Magazine beware...

In this spirit I thank Eric Sorensen for his most recent comment on yesterdays post, Eric writes "From the Dock" - the official blog of the S/V Mistral. For an example of a blogger crossing over to dead trees (or maybe vice versa as he's titled "Northwest Weekend boating columnist"), take a glance at this feature story Eric authored for the Seattle Times about the birth of a love affair with a 31' Ben Seaborn-designed sloop named, you guessed it, Mistral.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Farr 40 World Championship

September 6-9, 2006 - Newport, RI
Photo Credit (Stephen Cloutier)

When I Worked on Sailboats...

If you've read this blog for a while you'll know that the refrain, "...when I worked on sailboats in the late 90's..." is oft repeated - not because that was the last time I got on the water (though with two young children it feels like that) but because that five year slice of my life (1994-1999) were my sailing "glory years" - time I took post-college in my mid to late 20's to do nothing but crew, race, voyage and otherwise define myself through all things sailing.

During that time I lived, for a short while, in Annapolis...working aboard the Schooner Woodwind as daysail charter crew and moonlighting as a waiter/bartender dockside at Pussers. I'd hopped a delivery up from the islands in late spring after Antigua Race Week, found an apartment to sublet and the aforementioned jobs.

After a spectacular summer, October rolled around and it was time to let the apartment go, quit the jobs and catch a ride back south. On the way out the door my Annapolis swan song was the annual Sailboat Show where I hawked Pussers Painkillers dockside and made a truckload of cash that just about lasted until I washed up in St. Thomas.

Anyway...the 37th Annual Annapolis Sailboat Show is happening this weekend. If you're in the neighborhood go have a Painkiller and enjoy the nautical pastiche at City Dock. The weather will be fine and there's nothing like catching a buzz and dreaming on all the beautiful boats you can't afford.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Skips Blog - Top Ten Lessons

For all you match racers contemplating a season of, hopefully, many resounding Wednesday night beer can victories...here's a Monday jump to a posting from The Skips Blog titled " Ten Things I Have Learned This Sailing Season" - it's my first time reading Skip but I have to give the guy credit, he may be focused on the J24 but his lessons speak to anyone looking to grab the club trophy. If you have the time read through his archives as well.