Sunday, September 30, 2007

That's Larry!

In a modern day twist on the "Prince and the Pauper" the Marin Independent Journal ran a story recently on..."the gold collar-blue collar partnership of Larry Ellison and Norbert Bajurin - the billionaire and the mechanic..."

Says the journalist...."
At first glance, the two men seem to have little in common."

Um, well yes. How many of us truly have something in common with the
fourth-richest person in 2007, a man who Forbes reports as having a net worth of $26 billion? Well there is the "common" interest in sailing...only with Larry its not so common.

Reminds me of my Ellison sighting story. I was crewing for John Sweeney in a vintage America's Cup regatta on the SF Bay circa 2003. I had the mast position on US-11 Stars & Stripes. At first I was taken with the glamor of it all but I have to say, honestly, that vintage AC boats not only require a lot of $$ to keep up but they also begin to make scary noises in wind above 15 knots. Luckily during my brief tenure only one block blew up with no lasting harm done.

Anywhoo...we were reliving the race at the yacht club bar in Sausalito. I was on the deck overlooking the harbor and glanced over to the bar to see if the time was right for another drink run...people three deep stood chattering around a skinny man obscured save for his pale, hairless legs shod in old school topsiders, black dress socks pulled to mid-calf. He may have been out of sight but his voice wasn't. We could clearly hear him bellowing at his entourage, all of them to a one wagging their heads in unison.

"Who in the hell is that?" I asked, guessing at some local dignitary or sailing legend gone to seed.

"Ah c'mon dude," my new found mate sneered in disgust at my lack of savvy. "That's Larry."

Friday, September 28, 2007

A Caucus on the Potomac

We all know that marinas are where the action is...the flotsam and jetsam of the boating life mingling with shore side nonsense - and if folks want to call them "floating trailer parks" well that's just fine. A good marina is an appropriate mix of seamy, comforting, exclusive (even if it's not gated), gossipy and glamorous. Some lean heavier on certain aspect of the mix than others but they all are, for the most part, interesting places. And unlike a trailer park, all one has to do is cast off the dock lines to be free of one. Much more appealing.

There's a terrific story in the New York Times today about a Washington DC marina that is, as you might imagine, a political place chock a block with political people and their (well paid) flunkies. It's a good reminder that even in a less than ordinary place like the nations capital, a marina is just a marina after all...with all the accompanying features any experienced marina-dweller would certainly recognize.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Tuesday, September 18, 2007



I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.

By John Masefield (1878-1967).
(English Poet Laureate, 1930-1967.)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Rolex Big Boat Series - September 12-16, 2007
San Francisco, CA (Photo credit Rolex/Daniel Forster)

The Original "Slogger"

WIRED Magazine is really on a roll lately in regard to the intersection of sailing & Blogging (with a capital "B"). Only now there's a new term for us folk (who blog about sailing or blog while sailing or...) - get this we're "sloggers." Love it!

Read about slogger Peter Jensen (and wife Sally) who have lived on a 39-foot sailboat (a Freedom cat-rigged ketch) for nine years in Mexico. They sold their house in Sacramento, California, along with her florist shop, her white 1990 Toyota 4-Runner and his yellow 1974 VW Thing. They abandoned the dirt life (life on land) and moved onto Hopalong, named after Sally's childhood TV hero, Hopalong Cassidy.

Chief among his complaints? Unreliable wireless access ;-)

"Writing and reporting the blog has been wrapped around maritime matters, such as rebuilding the devilishly unreliable marine toilet on our boat (call me the "prince of potties") and climbing the five-story mast to replace light bulbs. But like some cyber dope fiend, making my connection to the internet consumes me. When you move from place to place in a foreign land, the ease of fast broadband connections found in the Old Country (the U.S.) begins to appear a fantasy."

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup - September 2-8, 2007
Porto Cervo, Sardinia, Italy (Photo credit Carlo Borlenghi)

1,000 Days

There is a small contingent of hardcore offshore sailors always willing to endure the latest and greatest extreme sailing challenge...but 55-year-old Reid Stowe is breaking new ground by taking on a voyage with a commitment to stay out of sight of land for one thousand days. It's a challenge so extreme that he plans to use the results of the journey - should he survive - to prepare astronauts for the grueling trip to Mars...a space flight that would, given current technologies, take two to three years. The "1000 days at sea" project has its own blog...where you can get daily updates on Reid and his girlfriends most recent oceangoing deprivations. And if you want to go in-depth then have a look at the recent WIRED Magazine feature. It will make you mighty glad for an anchorage.

From the WIRED story...Stowe has made a number of long, grueling sails, including a trip to Antarctica in 1986. But if he succeeds in this mission, it will not only be the longest trip of his career, he'll also shatter the 1988 record world record for the longest continuous sail -- held by Australian Jon Sanders, who was at sea for 657 days.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

It Helps to be Able to Visualize

If you've scoffed at my posts on Second Life & sailing I don't blame you...after all the idea of sailing in a virtual world seems to defeat many of the things we love about the experience. Namely being out-of-doors and enjoying the wind in our hair (and sails) the sun on our face, etc. But if you have to be on a computer...then why not participate in an extension of your passion. Not perfect by any means but, as I've attested to in previous posts, certainly intriguing. Have a glance at this video, footage of a Second Life Sailing Regatta in the Hollywood region. It helps to be able to visualize.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Back from Boothbay, Maine

Back in the office after a few glorious late summer days up in East Boothbay, Maine. The weather in the Northeast U.S. could not be more perfect...though the strong breeze on Saturday necessitated a double reef due to a number of two, four and five-year old crew members!