Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Oh, How Times Have Changed

Continuing in the AC vein - if not this week then when? - here is a link to a terrific June 23 NYT article about the Cup in historical context. The story notes quite accurately that the battle being fought in Spain this week bears little resemblance to the inaugural race contested off the Isle of Wight in 1851...the "America" he refers to was the Schooner America, the campaign yacht for a syndicate headed by American John Cox Stevens...and the winner of the One Hundred Guinea Cup, August 22nd 1851, defeating 14 British yachts in a fleet race organized by the Royal Yacht Squadron.

"That regatta, known as the Hundred Guinea Cup, was a fleet race around the island in sturdy yachts made of hardwoods, iron and copper that often featured staterooms below decks and carried plenty of wine and provisions. It took nearly 11 hours for America to complete the 50-mile journey and win. Other yachts in the fleet did not finish until the next morning or did not finish at all."
After all this was well over a 100 years ago and the AC ain't the only victim of the times. In the next graph the journalist gives us the modern day synopsis.
"The America’s Cup in Valencia is a best-of-nine match-racing series around buoys in carbon-fiber yachts where lightness is king everywhere except for the bottom of the keel and where the wine remains on shore unless it is being poured on someone’s head in celebration. Winning a race can take less than two hours, but winning the Cup has become a four-year process or more, complete with regattas, sponsorship obligations and television cameras on board."

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Storm Trysail Club's Block Island Race Week XXII
June 17-22, 2007 - Block Island, RI
(Photo credit Amory Ross)


I haven't written much about the AC...having decided to leave that to more luminous pundits. But I do recommend that you follow the advice posted below...courtesy of Scuttlebutt.

(Valencia, Spain) Race 3 on Tuesday, June 26, 2007 of the 32nd America’s Cup
between defender Alinghi and challenger Emirates Team New Zealand will be
much discussed for years, and was one heck of a ride to watch. We won’t say
who won, but we strongly suggest you find a way to watch either the Versus
replay (in the US at 6-8pm ET), or access some of the online options. Here
are your choices:

Typed play-by-play (free):
Animation (subscription):
Television (Versus):

Complete story distributed tonight in the Wednesday issue of Scuttlebutt.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Ocean Wanderers

Sailing and the broadcast medium haven't had the best track record - not to say that big events like the America's Cup aren't covered...they are. And not to say there haven’t been movies about sailing (Captain Ron). There have. But there is dearth of good, solid broadcast programming…and I’m not talking about the fringe element of the sport but about general public access. If you agree with me then take note of this program on the “Fine Living” television network – an example of an exception to the general rule. Called “Ocean Wanderers” it documents Tony and Arien Knight who kick off the eight episode series by selling all their belongings, buying a boat (the Ocean Wanderer), grabbing their two young children and spending the next five years circumnavigating the globe.

Unfortunately the series ran in 2006 and has not been re-aired…proving my original point (also Fine Living TV isn’t exactly mainstream).

Ocean Wanderers
Ocean Wanderer on FINE LIVING is the chronicle of the Knight family's amazing voyage of exploration of the planet and themselves. Come along for the journey of a lifetime as Tony, Arien and their two children set out to realize a rare personal dream by taking five years out of their lives to sail around the world. Watch as the Knight family grows, both in size and in spirit, and weathers self-doubt, squalls, storms, pirates, injury, and everything else the Seven Seas can throw at them.

Monday, June 18, 2007

A Morning Light Update

I wrote about Roy Disney's Tranpac program Morning Light some time ago - but to recap it's an effort to field "the youngest crew ever to sail the Transpac..." with plans to chronicle the recruitment, training and performance of sailors as young as 18 throughout the 2007 race for the eventual release of a full-length feature documentary film.

The SoCal Boating Log ran an article the other day on the teams practice run at the Hoag Regatta - held at the Balboa Yacht Club in Newport, CA. The Transpac begins shortly (July 9) and the Morning Light crew, coming off many months of hardcore training, are airing race their youthful moves around the buoys.

Morning Light's Transpac crewmembers are: Wilmot; Van Os; Chris Branning, 21, Saratosa, FL; Graham Brant-Zawadzki, 22, Newport Beach, CA; Charlie Enright, 22, Bristol, RI; Jesse Fielding, 20, North Kingston, RI; Robbie Kane, 22, Fairfield, CT; Chris Schubert, 22, Rye, NY; Mark Towill, 18, Kahalu'u, HI; Genny Tulloch, 22, Houston TX; and Chris Welch, 19, Grosse Pointe, MI.

Saturday, June 16, 2007


News on the Zephyr family soon as we can sell our house we're moving south to Richmond, VA from the NYC tristate area. A number of reasons, including being closer to extended family, the reduced cost of living and the opportunity to work "remotely" for the same NY salary...have made the timing right. The question is, where to sail? Richmond is a lovely town and blessed with many beautiful neighborhoods of distinction and grace. But it's on a "rivah" not an ocean or a bay. Luckily a sixty minute drive to the west takes you to the "Tidewater" and access to the Virginia side of the Chesapeake Bay. Clubs like the Fishing Bay YC in Deltaville and assorted outposts in Urbanna (home of Virginia's official oyster festival) run active fleets. Zephyr...which is less a regional blog and more a catch all for sailing culture will continue true to this focus...albeit authored from more southern latitudes.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

If Wanderlust Strikes, Their House Goes, Too

If you didn't pick this up there was a very interesting article in the New York Times that ran in the "Habitats" section a few weeks back about a young 20-something couple and their experiences living aboard a 44-foot sloop, the Sarabande, docked at a marina in New Jersey. They both commute to jobs in Manhattan, crossing the river by PATH train or water taxi.

It has to mark a milestone of sorts...the NYT Real Estate section is mostly concerned with the ever rising cost of homes in the area, neighborhood profiling and general housing trends. I've never seen coverage of something as esoteric as boaties...but the price of shelter is very dear here. I suppose it was just a matter of time before the paper recognized that live aboard communities are a part of the landscape. Most New Yorkers who might occasionally find themselves near a marina might be peripherally aware of a sort of an upscale floating mobile home park...populated by would be voyagers and dreamers. But Brian Nisbett and Alicia Collins of the good yacht Sarabande are decidedly in the minority. Good for them and kudos to the Times for uncovering and giving strong treatment to a terrific story.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Good Sleeping Weather

We had a solid camping trip this past weekend in Rhode Island...arriving on Conanicut Island after a two and a half hour drive up 95 through dismal rain storms we found the camp site damp and cloudy...but the showers passing to the north. We pitched the tents and the kids had a blast exploring the rocky beaches, uncovering starfish and crabs while the grown-ups caught up over fireside Dark n Stormy's. By the time we turned in around midnight, stars were peeking through the clouds and a cool, steady easterly had developed. Good sleeping weather!

The following morning (Sunday) we struck camp and took the bridge into Newport. Attractions included taking the kids to see one of my favorite places, the I.Y.R.S., and then a romp around Ft. Adams with a stop at the Museum of Yachting and a scenic drive for good measure (my five year-old, "...what's scenic mean Dad?" me, "look out the window, kid") around Brenton Point.

Unfortunately the NYYC moved the Sunday start way out to the ocean for the race so we didn't get the chance to view up close but thank you Tillerman, we pointed the kids to the Optis battling under the Pell Bridge (see above photos).

Friday, June 08, 2007

Conanicut Bound...

I'm taking my five-year-old son up to Newport, RI tomorrow for an early summer camping trip...we'll set the tent up on nearby Conanicut island at Fort Getty - overlooking the West Passage of Narragansett Bay. On Sunday we'll be at Fort Adams early to watch the day three start of the annual Rolex-sponsored NYYC Regatta. I'll bring my camera so stay tuned for the shots. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Star of India

I spent about an hour the other day wandering above and below decks on the Star of India - the world's oldest active ship docked in downtown San Diego at the San Diego Maritime Museum. It was a near religious experience...the weight of her history whispered to me from every corner and I came away deeply gratified that the Museum and its generous benefactors had seen fit to restore and maintain such a seafaring legend.

A bit of her background can find much more here.

She began her life on the stocks at Ramsey Shipyard in the Isle of Man in 1863. Iron ships were experiments of sorts then, with most vessels still being built of wood. Within five months of laying her keel, the ship was launched into her element. She bore the name Euterpe - after the Greek goddess of music - and was renamed the Star of India by her owners int he early 1900's.

Euterpe was a full-rigged ship and would remain so until 1901, when the Alaska Packers Association rigged her down to a barque, her present rig. She began her sailing life with two near-disastrous voyages to India. On her first trip she suffered a collision and a mutiny. On her second trip, a cyclone caught Euterpe in the Bay of Bengal, and with her topmasts cut away, she barely made port. Shortly afterward, her first captain died on board and was buried at sea.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Maritime Museum of San Diego (Week)

I am declaring annual Maritime Museum of San Diego week on Zephyr (Sail). I never made it to the world famous SDYC but I did spend two hours this afternoon wandering over the five or so classic yachts that comprise the museum...and I'll be writing about them all through the week. First on the list is the (above photo) Californian...built from the ground up in 1984 at Spanish Landing in San Diego Bay. She was launched with great fanfare for the 1984 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles. In July 2003, the governor signed a bill into law designating the Californian as the official tall ship of the State of California. She is the only ship to carry this title.

The Californian is a replica of the 1847 Revenue Cutter C.W. Lawrence, that patrolled the coast of California enforcing federal law during the gold rush. The Revenue Cutter Service, along with four other federal maritime agencies, was consolidated into the United States
Coast Guard in 1915.

Designed for speed, Californian has nine sails, carries 7,000 square feet of canvas, measures 145 feet in length, weighs 130 tons and is armed with four six-pound deck guns. She casts a distinctive and instantly recognizable silhouette and has become one of the most well known tall ships in America.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

San Diego

Heading out to San Diego for business tomorrow Let's see if I can get the chance to slip away to the SDYC.