Thursday, April 26, 2007

Happy Birthday Hubble (17!)


In honor of another birthday, NASA has realeased one of the most dramtic pictures ever taken by the space telescope. It is a 50-light-year-wide view of the central region of the Carina Nebula where a maelstrom of star birth - and death - is taking place. The fantasy-like landscape of the nebula is sculpted by the action of outflowing winds and scorching ultraviolet radiation from the monster stars that inhabit this inferno. In the process, these stars are shredding the surrounding material that is the last vestige of the giant cloud from which the stars were born. The immense nebula contains at least a dozen brilliant stars that are estimated to be 50 to 100 times the mass of our sun. The most unique and opulent inhabitant is the star Eta Carinae, which is in the final stages of its brief and eruptive lifespan, as evidenced by two billowing lobes of gas and dust that presage its upcoming explosion as a titanic supernova.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Roz to Attempt to Row the Pacific


By the time Roz Savage reached the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on her 3,000-mile quest to row across it alone, all four of her oars had broken. Adrift in her 23-foot-long boat, she thought quickly. Using duct tape, she splinted the oars and a wheel axle that she hack-sawed off of a spare rowing seat. The fix got her through the grueling 103-day journey that only six other women have ever completed solo. By the end of the trek she had lost 30 pounds, missed her birthday and Christmas, got tendinitis in her shoulders and had gone nearly a month without talking to another living soul after her satellite phone broke.
Thirteen months later, those trials can't dissuade the 39-year-old from another extreme journey that will give her an even greater distinction: The first woman to cross the Pacific Ocean alone. Savage, who is living in Woodside while she trains for the 7,600-mile adventure, will launch her craft from the San Francisco Bay shore in July. She will spend more than six months at sea, navigating the vast body of water with a GPS tracking device and stopping in Hawaii and a South Pacific island before landing in Australia. Only two other women have rowed across the Pacific, both with men: Sylvia Cook in 1972 and Kathleen Saville in 1984, according to the International Ocean Rowing Society's Web site. Five male rowers have made the solo voyage between 1983 and 2005. Fewer than 300 people have ever rowed across an ocean. Read on.

The Difference Between Man and Woman

Sunday, April 22, 2007

1000 Days at Sea


After years working on the project, Reid Stowe is finally weighing anchor and sailing away, and he's decided not to step back on firm ground again until 2010. The challenge is not so different, he says, from a space trip to Mars. Reid will set off on his 70 foot gaff-rigged Schooner Anne from North Hoboken, New Jersey, on April 21, hoping to remain for 1,000 days on the ocean, out of sight of land and without stopping or resupplying. Should he make it, he would break the current continuous sailing record of 657 days held by Australian Jon Sanders, who circumnavigated the globe three times from 1986 to 1988.
The challenge seems ambitious enough for a solo sailor. But Reid won't be alone actually. At his side will be Soanya Ahmad, the Queens-born daughter of inmigrants from Guyana. She first knew of Reid's plans three years ago, while photographing the piers where the "Anne" is anchored. One year ago she moved to the boat. During the trip she will focus on photographing, videotaping, organizing, and inventorying as well as operating all of the computers and communications equipment.
Continue reading here.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Biggest Waves of the Year

Mother nature has topped herself again with humongous waves from around the planet. Each year Billabong gives out 50 Grand to the winners in 4 cats: Best Paddle, Best Tube, Biggest Wave, and Ride of the Year. Be sure to go to the xxl.Billabong.com site to view all the nominees and winners. Local boy Ken Skindog Collins took top honors this year for his monster tube ride at Puerto Escondido. MX.

Bouncing Magic

Monday, April 16, 2007

Costa Rica Recap


What a beautiful country! The trip was wonderful and very fun. We spent the first few days in the volcano region of Arenal. This is a post card of a place with tons of breathtaking views. We spent one morning on some amazing zip lines. One of the lines was over half a mile long. While we were there, the volcano erupted with a very loud grumble from the mountain top. Pretty neat! We then went off to the National Park of Manuel Antonio on the Pacific side. This little treasure is filled with tons of wildlife. Monkeys, iguanas and sloths are all over the place. My son Connor is an animal lover and he was in heaven! The people we met we are all extremely friendly and warm. We really had a grand time and we highly reccomend a vacation there!

Dogtown Video

Check out this nostalgic look back at some famous shateboarders of the the 70's. Great music and some cool tricks from the old school.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Spring Break - Part II


We are off to Costa Rica for a little family vacation. My friend and boat partner Arnie is turning 50 and he wanted to celebrate in high fashion so off we go. We are headed to the volcano/hot spring/waterfall area of Arenal and then to the Pacific side for some surfing. We won't be taking any computers with us as internet access is a little rough down there. Should be very cool and I will have some stories to tell uon my retun in 10 days. In the meantime, go out there and make some bonehead moves of your own!!

Two Years!!

It was two years ago this month that two accidents on the bay occured on the same weekend and inspired me to start this blog. The first was an accident that took place at the Golden Gate. Two guys were out on their Santana 22 and heading in towards the south tower. There was a nice swell that day and they got too close to shore when a huge set came in. The boat got caught in the wave and tumbled in towards shore. The sailors were ok but the boat demasted and sank. The amazing part of the story was there was a photographer on the shore with a high speed camera and he captured the whole thing on film. Once he posted the pics, it exploded over the internet and he had to hook up to a new server to handle the millions of hits he was getting. I still have the highlights of his photos on my original blog on the rightside and down abit. See the pics here.

The other accident happened a mile away during the singlehanded Farallones Race. One of the sailors was headed in towards the Gate with his spinnaker up. He broached in a gust and the spinnaker pinned him down on the water and he was unable to release it. Try to imagine his horror. His hot racing machine is headed towards a rocky shore and there is nothing he can do. He jumped and was rescued, while his boat ended up on the rocks.

When I saw these two accidents in the news the next day, I thought about creating this blog. I had been reading Horses Mouth and Wetass for a few months and it all just came together. It has been a very fun project for me and I am still enjoying sharing some of the cool stuff I read about and find on the internet. I encourge my readers to start your own blog! It's free, it's easy and very cool.

Here is my all time favorite bonehead move on the water. This kiter gets lifted off the beach and flies 100 feet in the air and hangs on for dear life! Hope you guys have enjoyed some of my posts!!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Sailing Surfer Girl


For anyone who has ever felt slightly jealous of this trip at one point or another, now is your time to take solace. Swell and I have now been in polluted Panama City for over two weeks without a ridable wave in sight after a nearly flat February, an ear infection prior to that…and, okay, I'm sorry…I'll stop whining. It's amazing, though, how much the lack of wave-riding opportunities affects me. On a quest to constantly quench my surf-greedy thirst, I find myself comparing my wave tallies to those of other surfers I know. As soon as my quotas drop to dangerously low numbers, even a small setback on the way to the waves seems much more severe than it might at another time. Lately, I have found myself wondering whether my idea to 'sailing around the world to surf' has actually afforded me higher 'wave-riding' to 'the rest of life' ratios than I would have encountered had I chosen another strategy. Yes, I know this all sounds dramatic, and no, I don't regret a single second I have spent out of the surf to keep my dream floating…literally...but I would consider my last two weeks as being in 'the trenches' of the trip. When I step back, though, I can see that in the bigger picture it's just a small hurdle and I will go on believing that the harder I work to make this all happen, the more I will eventually be rewarded!

Continue reading here.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Radical Wave Action at Teahupoo


Cowabunga! Click on the pic for an awesome site to behold!

Addiction


It's not an easy thing to get a picture of your boat under sail. You have to set the wheel, jump overboard with your camera and then snap the photo and then swim back. Anyway what do you think? Here is our boat under sail near Angel Island on the SF bay on a splendid day sail. Looking good!! Click on the photo for the full size pic.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Wild Wind


Checkout this very cool windsurf vid

Let's Go Cruising

"So, there you are. The map of the oceans unfolded before you at the kitchen table, distant deserted islands scattered everywhere, whispering promises of adventure, solitude and freedom. Now what? You love the idea of cruising, yet you´ve perhaps never even set a foot aboard a large sailboat, less even set your own sails.

Watching the vagabonds of the oceans, one understands that there is one thing that they all have in common. At some point they made the decision, gave up some of the ordinary and went out to find what was calling to them at the horizon.

Many, many acquired their sailing experience right on the ocean. One summer season at home perhaps, then learning the rest on the way to the big one. Not millionaires, often not even sailors.

Just ordinary people, longing - not necessarily for the sailing itself - but for the freedom, the adventure and the awes of doing just what you want, when you want to do it, while exploring some of the most distant and enchanting parts of our world.

This site is not about the Americas Cup or the Whitbread or even the round the world small boat races. It is about you. If you are one of those souls searching for the freedom of the waters. It is to encourage you to do it. To go. Fill that void in your heart. It´s easier than you think. Here is how.

There is beginnings to everything and you don´t have to be a proven sailor to make your dream come true. It takes practice to learn the winds and that practice is best acquired on the water. Get a small sailboat; put her in your nearest lake or coastal water and go. Large sails are different to handle but what you need to get to know first is the wind. Play with the boat, recognize the wind, and adjust your sails for all best angles. A couple of month's spare time sailing in the summer should do it.

Get a friend with a sailboat to teach you the tricks if you can. Next, trade in the small sailboat for your real boat. You´ll probably want another season on that one to make her ready for the voyage. That will give you ample time to practice your sailing skills close to the shore.

The route down to the point of crossing finally, whether that is the Canary Islands from Europe or Bermuda from the US, will give you the last hand on sailing education aboard your boat before the crossing. It usually takes around 2-3 months and will gradually bring you out on bigger waters.

The crossing itself will probably be pretty mainstream, with tailwinds and easy sail setups, most often just a Genua. Sudden squalls make it too many hassles working mainsails anyway.

Your first boat

Almost all of the world’s great sailors started out dinghy sailing. And so should you. There are a number of strong arguments for this.

First, you learn to make mistakes. Flipping over, running into a pier or another boat, blowing out a sail and falling into the water. With a dinghy you can get bold and do all this stuff without getting hurt.
The experience you will gain will be invaluable when
you get your blue water cruiser. Even though you most probably will not fall in the water or flip over on the Atlantic - it will be very comforting to know what it actually feels like doing it.

Secondly, you need to get a true feeling for the wind, the sea, the boat and the forces that makes all this interact into a nice voyage. In a dinghy you will instantly get an intuitive felling for it, while on a larger boat you could sail for years and still not really understand what´s going on.

And thirdly dinghy sailing is fun!

Almost any dinghy is OK, but here are some guidelines:
She should be plastic and unsinkable (double bottom)

She should have two sails or more jib, main and perhaps a spinnaker

She should have a centerboard

She should probably be between 400 and 500 cm long

She can be very old and cheap ($400 to $1000)

A great way to find your dinghy is to visit the local dinghy-racing club. The young competitors have to get new boats every other year to stay competitive. Thus, the second hand market is all buyers. Get a boat that have been used for competition, skip the bargaining (the kids need the money anyway) and ask for free sailing lessons instead!

Check if you can join some local sailing competitions. You will most probably finish last,but you will learn more in a weekend than most sailors learn in a summer. You might feel somewhat embarrassed being twice the age of the other competitors, but tell them that you are training for an Atlantic crossing and they will cheer you on.Your competitors are also great material for your Atlantic crew in a couple of years.

The next section of this article is about raising the funds to make your dream come true. The article continues with all the info you need to get out there to the land of adventure. Read it here.