Thursday, August 30, 2007

Shields US Nationals - August 15-18, 2007
Newport, RI - Photo credit: Amory Ross

Headed Down East

I have the pleasure of leaving for coastal Maine after work today...we'll spend the holiday weekend in Boothbay Harbor (Hahhhbahh) with a close friend and his family. Labor Day marks the beginning of my favorite sailing season in the Northeast U.S. If you're lucky you're still day sailing well into October until, at some inevitable point, the chill winds blow you back down the hatch for another long winter. I know, I know Tillerman...there is always frostbiting but not all of us are cut from that cloth.

But the cold dark winter seems a way off on this bright, late summer morning...with the promise of Maine just past a few more emails in my inbox. Maine and I have a history. It will be, for example, nearly 20 years this August since I participated in a 26-day Outward Bound course out of Hurricane Island in Penobscot Bay. We - the young men and woman of HIOBS August 1988 - didn't spend a whole lot of time on Hurricane...encouraged instead by our instructors to plan and provision several lengthy cruising excursions in classic, Pete Willauer-designed open wooden pulling boats. I grew up sailing on Lasers and the like but I trace the genesis of my passion for cruising and living aboard sailing boats to that challenging, invigorating, Maine-soaked summer month when I was lad of many years ago.

If you have a few minutes click on the Outward Bound link and read about the Hurricane Island program. It's a gem. Have a tremendous holiday all!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Ah yes, The Hedge Fund Regatta

How about that late Saturday night post below...a vintage poster from a far away time when our government took it upon itself to warn its sailors to beware the clap (with which you can't beat the Axis). Ah, those innocent days. And yes Carole Ann...she does look somewhat like the Mona Lisa...which raises all sorts of other questions.

The New Yorker - ever erudite - rarely covers sailing. But in the September 3 issue under the "Capitalism Department" there's a write-up on the "Hedge Fund Regatta." Hedge funds seem to be suffering by the hour these least in the press. But their managers have still found time to show off yacht-style at their own little sailing get together based out of a marina in Battery Park City..convenient, of course, to Wall Street. As for rational...look no further than the below quote. In fact, you may want to look no further than the end of this sentence if you sicken easily.

Dalton, who learned to sail as a boy at the Jersey Shore, said that many of his hedge-fund clients were handy with a mainsheet. “Sailing a boat is very competitive, and obviously managing money is all about competition and performance,” he said. “And it takes a lot of money to have a big boat.”

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Rich, Revving Rednecker & Other Stinkpot Dangers

Lonnie has a heeeeeelarious post up on his blog RE the species of boater affectionately known as the "stinkpotter." He lists several sub-species with a fine degree of accuracy...and even includes "how to deal" guidelines. Kudos made my day!

An Excerpt....
Nothing spoils your day like having one of these fuckbags anchor within 200 yards. The Rich, Revving Rednecker and his loud fiberglass dick will deafen you and your crew and choke your guts out with black exhaust. It's so loud I can almost hear the noise coming out of the above image.

The Rich, Revving Rednecker must have a penis that's so small that it inverts back into itself.

How to Deal with Them: Never wave. Brace yourself because they think the fastest boat has right-of-way (one of them actually told me that once). A middle finger may be necessary during daytime; if at night, consider pooping on their deck.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Way Out of the Mainstream

Naturally I could close out the week with a post about the Fastnet...or any number of stories percolating in the sailing world. But one of the things I really enjoy doing with this space is finding unusual bits that might not make it to mainstream sailing press. True to form I've uncovered such a story (in the Scotsman) but before elaborating...a word about an upcoming story in the very traditional mainstream sailing press, SAIL Magazine. In the October issue SAIL will be covering the sailing scene in Second Life...SL being the three -dimensional online virtual world that - while still in technology infancy - is making a very big impression. No specifics on the October story but I am very excited to see what SAIL does with the topic. There's a large community of sailors from all over the world who congregate, visit with one another and virtually race sailing dinghy's and yachts in the Second Life world..while that may indeed sound strange to many of's my fervent belief that virtual communities will play a very large role in how we connect with one another in the times to come. The sailing enthusiasts who are taking part through the early iterations of the technology are true pioneers...and the editors of SAIL Magazine are smart enough to see the implications.


The Scotsman carries news of a voyage designed to recreate the harsh conditions aboard the marauding Viking ships in the North Sea. The crew set sail from Roskilde on July 1 using oar and sail power, journeying more than 1,000 nautical miles and aiming to shed light on Viking ship-building and travel. Crafted from the wood of 300 oak trees, the 100ft long Sea Stallion is the world's largest reconstructed Viking vessel, its builders say.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A Digression

They say that you are all alone in this world, truly. That before you die images of your life blink past your eyes until there is nothing. Or there is God. Or there is whatever you believe in.

They say that there is someone for everyone. Never go to bed angry. You reap what you sow. We only have one life to live. Rainy days are good for love. There is safety in numbers.

No word on how to learn to smile again. Or how to throw out her toothbrush. What cliché instructs on how not to wake trembling in a cold sweat at 3:00 AM with the sheets in a pile on the floor? Or how to stop at one drink? Nothing about chasing the dog’s ball under the bed and there is her slipper, nested with dust alongside a wadded up ball of tissue paper. He lay for a long time staring and breathing in dust and coughing until his eyes ran. Left the ball and took the slipper. The dog seemed to understand.

They did say that life is for the living. But Keane wondered if that was always so.

Their garden overlooked the Pacific Ocean, a tangled mass of vines and blooms choking and spilling over the cliff, the steady sound of waves breaking on the rocks below. In the center was three hundred square feet of well-trimmed lawn with two weathered Adirondack chairs facing the water. He favored the Alexander Girault ramblers, dark pink ruffled blossoms and a white center. Blush Noisette’s grew unchecked along the border and over the fences, their dusky scent mixing companionably with the ocean air. Shrub-like Rambling Rector’s with semi-double blooms, the apricot and copper blossoms of the Leontine Grevais, the climbing Lemarques wafted tea-lemon when warmed, large, pale clusters of yellow Emily Gray’s, robust La Perle’s, sun-faded Gardenia roses. A few bushes had come with the house but Aimee planted most when they’d first moved in and he kept them up now, not orderly but well tended. She’d carefully taught him their names and peculiarities and how they liked to be cared for.

When the fog came in they often sat for hours in the Adirondack chairs. They liked it when the vast ocean panorama was reduced to the small, windswept rose garden, blossoms flashing and disappearing as mist spun through the bushes like cotton candy. The rhythmic moan of a foghorn.

He was standing along the slatted wooden fence that separated the garden from the cliff and trimming the Alexander Girault when the sprinklers came on with a whir and began the steady whap tack whap tack, spurting water across the garden. He stood as a jet stitched across his chest. It was windy and bright and as the stream swept off the garden to the ocean, the breeze blew back a mist that sparkled in the sun. Moving to avoid the next jet, he tripped over the dog. As he fell he threw his hands up and the right one met the grass first. The weight of his body followed and his left arm hit the rake solidly, driving two of the five spikes deep into his forearm. He yelped and grabbing the handle with his free right hand, wrenched his arm from the rake and swung to his feet almost in one, continuous motion. Without thinking he aimed a kick at the dog’s head and missed, caught him square in the hip. The dog sang out, one hard bark and scrambled away and he lost his footing again and fell, blood from his arm laying a perfect crimson trail across a bed of white Penelope roses.

The sprinkler sent a stream tapping across his face and despite the pain it was good, refreshing and down low on the grass the wind wasn’t blowing but he still felt the heat of the sun. The earth smelled of moisture and rich soil and something flat that must have been the fertilizer. For a moment he felt nothing then his arm began to throb. Stripping off his t-shirt, he wrapped it around the wounds and sat up. He was dizzy from the way it had happened so fast. The ache from his arm shot up through his chest and made him feel a little queasy in his stomach. He used his good arm to pull himself up on his feet and kicking the rake aside, began to walk towards the house to wash and dress the wounds. The sprinkler marched steadily across his bare back and just as he elbowed open the gate he heard far off barking trailing to a whimper.

The dog had gone through the gate that faced the ocean. The gate opened to a narrow strip of land that formed the cliff and gave way to a steep slope that ended in rocks and ocean below. There was no sign of the dog. He heard him barking again and then the roar of a wave sweeping in against the rocks.

“Ah hell,” he said, and walked back across the lawn through the sprinkler and peered over the cliff. The dog had gone over, sure enough. Keane could see him down on the ledge, maybe 60 feet below, body pressed against the rock slope in anticipation of another wave. He appeared unharmed though his situation was precarious.

Friday, August 10, 2007

TP 52 26th Copa del Rey - July 30-August 4, 2007
Palma de Mallorca, Spain (Photo credit: Max Ranchi)

Thursday, August 09, 2007

183 Slabs of Cocaine in the Bilge

Whoaaa you think you have troubles when the Coast Guard boards and fines you for pumping your poop into the drink. Get a load of this poor chap!

Take one down...pass it around...182 slabs of cocaine in the bilge!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Forget the house -- you can live on your boat

Baby boomers in a market for a second vacation home or considering downsizing...take a read here in Sunday's Maine Telegram. "Betsy and Nat Warren-White, both 57, are living a life most of us only dream of or read about in the pages of a glossy travel magazine."

Only it's a lot safer and drier in the pages of a glossy travel magazine. Never mind. Here we have a boomer couple eschewing the golf course in favor of 20-foot swells offshore (and wicked ocean sunsets). Next time you slip off the sail cover for a weekend jaunt consider this itinerary...

"OUR VISION for the 'Voyage of Bahati' is to spend the next three years winding our way from the Caribbean, through the Panama Canal, down to the Galapagos Islands, across the Pacific to the Marquesas, Cook, Tahiti, Vanuatu, Tuamotu and other South Sea islands, then crossing down to New Zealand, Australia and up along the Great Barrier Reef and into Southeast Asia, including Bali and Thailand.

FROM THERE we plan to find our way west and south again across the Indian Ocean and on down to the Cape of Good Hope with a visit to Bahati's port-of-birth in Durban, South Africa. We'll then head for home again, crossing the Atlantic and touching in along the eastern shores of South America, back up through the Caribbean, and, eventually, with an additional measure of luck and good fortune find our way home to Maine again."

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Rockville Regatta Redux ( a pending disaster?)

After more than two years of writing this blog I've noticed that certain posts get picked up nearly on a daily basis. And many of these "repeat offenders" get comented upon months (even years) later. One of the most prominent of these is a series of posts I've done on the annual "Rockville Regatta" held in low country coastal South Carolina. You can go back and read the posts for more detail on the event - billed as NASCAR meets Wimbledon - but the topic of today is not so much the regatta as the tenor of the comment that came in yesterday. Here it is below in light blue this case "Emily" is a woman who commented previously discussing how much she enjoyed the Rockville event and what a fine tradition it was in low country sailing.

I've known Emily since she was a sprout and where ever she would be there would be fun. She is just one of those wonderful, good people. But the Regatta is known also as one of the greatest disasters waiting to happen on the water. The amount of booze consumed is staggering. The number of total idiots, drunk ones, on anything that floats is frightening. The overloaded water craft some with mere inches of free board abound. Amid this flotilla of madness a boat race is attempted. It will all come to an end one day when there is a large disaster and young people are drowned. Perhaps one day it will return to a series of boat races rather than a floating drunk-fest. Its no safer ashore. The small road to Rockville is a death trap on that weekend.
Like so many things that once, when life was simpler, the Regatta was great fun. Now its an excuse for bad behavior, dangerous behavior, drunken behavior buy hoards of people who wouldn't know a Sea Island Scow from the Queen Mary. I won't take my boat near the place.

I have to give this reader credit. Given that many people view this event as a throw down, party to hell and back kind of occasion the note of caution is refreshing...and potentially prescient. It certainly sounds as if there is ample reason to be concerned.

From a larger perspective it's an interesting topic. The number of sailing events that have cascaded in a possibly dangerous way past their original intent are legion, I can think of three or four just off the top of my head!