Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Monday, September 28, 2009

Sail of the Summer


Boy we had fun on the bay yesterday! My friend Dan invited some friends out as did I and we ended up with a crew of 5 for a day sail. We headed over to a nice cove near Tiburon. Had lunch and then jumped in for a swim. Headed over to the beach and met the owner of the house on the beach as he swam in his pool. He even invited us for a swim. We declined but asked if he minded if we swam over from time to time and he said he loved having folks in the cove and on the beach. We swam out and a big power boat anchored and a bunch of folks were swimming so we headed over to meet our neighbors. Nice international group and we hit it off with the captain Hans. More swimming to the beach and lots of fun. Got back on the water and the wind was in the high 20's. Had a marvellous sail home and laughed and told stories the whole way. It doesn't get much better than this!!

Jessica Watson on ESPN

Friday, September 25, 2009

Avalanche!

Watch the beginning of the vid until this poor guy gets buried. His video cam shows nothing but darkness so skip to the 6 min. mark to see what happens. It's good news!

Avalanche Skier POV Helmet Cam Burial & Rescue in Haines, Alaska from Chappy on Vimeo.

Wheatly's World

Head over Sailing Anarchy for an interesting take on Sailing. In today's edition and about half way down the page. I really like the way this guy writes and it's pretty funny too. Wheatly used to have a blog called Rule69 but he pissed so many people off he had to shut it down in order to shut him up. He certainly expresses his opinions in a frank manner. Check him out here.

Zac Interviewed






Thursday, September 24, 2009

Weekend Sherpa


After living in the Bay Area for almost 30 years, I have had my share of weekend adventures up and down the state. Sometimes, it's nice to get a fresh perspective on new places and things to do. Here is a very neat site that gives you new ideas every week. This week happens to be The Beach! I have been to most of the spots listed but never to Cowell Ranch Beach in Half Moon Bay. Check out this wealth of information and great spots to visit here.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Newport Sailboat Raft Up - Bay Area

There will be a raft up of Newport sailboats here in the bay area on October 24th and 25th in Clipper Cove. All Newport owners and crew are welcome to raft up overnight or just come over during the day on Saturday or Sunday. If you know of anyone out there who has a Newport or you own one yourself, feel free to contact me for more info. I can be reached at fungod@gmail.com

Over the years, Newport owners have put together a wealth of information on these boats at the Newport website. The Newport 30 (I own the 1981 version) was designed by Gary Mull for sailing on the San Francisco Bay as an affordable family weekender. There are alot of N30's out there on the bay and we hope to see a bunch at the raft up!

Boat Loses Rudder 1400 Miles Out - Makes it to Port OK

This is an amazing story of determination and teamwork. The boat loses their rudder and they try several methods to control their direction without much luck. They finally are able to get the boat heading for home with some strange sail configurations. Read the full story here.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Surf Show

Skip to the two min. mark for the action.

PWA Pozo Wave 2009 from umi pictures on Vimeo.

Anti Photo Shield is Up and Running


Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich has a rather curious new addition built in to his latest oversized yacht. The 557-foot boat Eclipse, the price tag of which has almost doubled since original plans were drawn to almost $1.2 billion, set sail this week with a slew of show-off features, from two helipads, two swimming pools and six-foot movie screens in all guest cabins, to a mini-submarine and missile-proof windows to combat piracy.

It might not seem like somebody with such ostentatious tastes would crave privacy, but along with these expensive toys, Ambramovich has installed an anti-paparazzi “shield”. Lasers sweep the surroundings and when they detect a CCD, they fire a bolt of light right at the camera to obliterate any photograph. According to the Times, these don’t run all the time, so friends and guests should still be able to grab snaps. Instead, they will be activated when guards spot the scourge of professional photography, paparazzi, loitering nearby.

We dig it, although the British courts might not be so pleased. UK photo magazine Amateur Photographer asked a London lawyer about the legalities of destroying photos from afar. Here’s what he said: “intermeddling with goods belonging to someone else, or altering their condition, is a trespass to goods and will entitle the photographer to claim compensation without having to prove loss.”

Any sentence containing the word “intermeddling” is of course wonderful. The lawyer spoils it somewhat by (inevitably) mentioning James Bond and mixing up lasers with laser guns: “I would also be worried that lasers cause collateral damage, both to the camera and/or the claimant’s health.”

Rides of the Year - 2008


2008 Billabong Xxl Global Big Wave Awards Nominees - Watch more funny videos here

We Have a Problem

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Most Unusual Sea Creatures


Check out some very strange creatures of the deep. The Mola Mola is one of my favs.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Friday, September 11, 2009

Listen to Your Music From Anywhere

I have all my music on my hard drive at home. Much more than I could ever put on 120 gig iPod. I want to have access to my music when I am on my boat, in my car, or back east visiting friends and family. Now there is a way to do that that is so easy and free you would be nuts not to try it. It's called Simplify. and it is a cross platform application that you can share with all your friends as well. They recently added an app for the iPhone ($5) so you don't need to be in front of a computer to enjoy your music. All my playlists are there as well as the ability to create a playlist on the fly. Very cool indeed. If you love your music, this is a free app for you!

Pic of the Day


Somewhere in northern Israel. Click the pic to see a bigger view.

Teen Run Down by Ship

Local Australian news media have been full of solo sailor Jessica Watson's collision with the 63,000 tonne Japanese cargo vessel Silver Yang on her first night at sea.

The 34-foot Pink Lady, the boat in which Jessica hopes to become the youngest sailor to circumnavigate the world non-stop and unassisted, was escorted through the Southport Seaway by Water Police and marine rescue boats and will now undergo repairs after the collision snapped its mast and damaged the deck.

Jessica, after requesting vainly by radio that the ship change course to avoid her, and realising a collision was about to happen, had gone below and braced herself in her bunk. She was therefore not injured.

'I guess the good thing is that all considered, the boat did come up well and I suppose the big thing for me is that I came through the whole thing feeling confident,' Jessica told waiting press.

Scott Young, CEO of the Watson family's PR company, said it was 'fair to say it probably wasn't a fair fight.'

Ian Kiernan, founder of the world-wide 'Clean Up' campaign after successfully completed a solo around the world voyage in 1987, says he has had his own close call with an international tanker, which he avoided by taking evasive action.

Jessica's father says the schoolgirl was the victim of a 'hit and run', and described the encounter as 'David versus Goliath' and blamed the crew of the larger boat.

Mr Watson said his daughter’s communication equipment, including AIS transponder, radar enhancer and navigational equipment that inform other ships and ocean vehicles of her presence, were all operational.

Of her attempts to contact the ship by radio he said, 'When you can’t get someone to speak English it’s pretty poor when you are in Australian Waters.'

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) is investigating and AMSA spokesman Mick Spinks says it is still unclear who was at fault in the accident.

Jessica told waiting media at the Gold Coast that she planned to get back on track with her plans to be the youngest person to sail solo, non-stop and unassisted around the world, as soon as possible.

Repairs will first have to be made on the yacht’s mast and bow which were substantially damaged.

The collision comes just weeks after a Dutch court put a 13-year-old girl under state care for two months to prevent her attempting a similar voyage.

The detractors were out in force as well, taking the opportunity to damn Jessica's attempt.

The chief executive of the Australian Childhood Foundation, Joe Tucci, said an age limit should be imposed on children undertaking high-risk efforts.

'The level of risk inherent in sailing around the world is very high, and I am not sure that at 16 you are able to completely understand the risks involved,' Mr Tucci said.

Phil Jones, chief executive of Yachting Australia, said he was concerned about the trend towards trying to set new milestones in sailing.

'One of those is to be the youngest to sail around the world,' he said. 'Now there's clearly a point where it will become an issue, because at some point there is an age where it's not safe or not possible to make this attempt.'

Footnote:
Jesse Martin holds the current record as the youngest solo sailor to circumnavigat the world non-stop and unassisted. 17-year-old Michael Perham did NOT break that record, as his circumnavigation was neither non-stop nor unassisted. He is however, the youngest to ever solo circumnavigate with stops and assistance. Jesse's record is the one that Jessica Watson has set her sights on.

The Best of Jaws, Maui


Over half a million views on utube.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Bonehead Move on the Petaluma River

On one of the sailing boards I monitor, a sailor asked about sailing up river on the Petaluma without an engine (turns out he had one but was considering not using it). He got two responses that said it was a bad idea. He went anyway and this is what he reported back with:

> I would not include Petaluma in your list. It's a long, twisting,
> narrow river, with some barge traffic. You'll be beating against the
> wind in places, in a narrow channel, possibly against the current,
> dodging tugs and barges and hoping to stay out of the mud... it sounds
> like a nightmare to me.
>
It was a nightmare! I am quite an experienced SF sailor who got humbled at the Petaluma River Entrance. My boat is a great old seaworthy, wooden hulled, full keeled, 28 foot sloop which is rigged for single handled sailing. I had a good morning engineless sail from Alameda. I carried plenty of fresh water, a box of wheat thins, 3 cheese sticks, popcorn and a snickers bar. I thought I didn't need much as I was heading to a party in downtown Petaluma. At 2 pm as I entered the Petaluma Channel, I realized I needed to motor. I when foreward to drop the mailsail. As I popped to the mast to drop the main... She ran aground when a shear gust over 30 knots caught me standing forward to put me hard on the mud. The tidal zone there has such muck that makes for glue and quick mud. I spent a full 24 hours 30 yards outside the channel. I had aboard a hand held VHF radio, a fully charged iPhone (with great sailing apps), and a GPS. I diligently tried numerous ways to slip off including digging out of the mud, using the listing and power effects of my boom & sails and with the assistance of two power boats I budged only 10 feet. With my ego and body bruised, I called vessel assist who came on the afternoon high tide . Within 10 minutes of was off the mud and heading home - abet poorer but relived to be going home.

I must say before I take any more grief, I want to thank again the Coast Guard who check on me physically, offered to remove me from my vessel if I wanted, and gave me radio and cell phone checks ever hour or two. And numerous other sailors who slowed down and checked on me.

What I did wrong was three things: I did not drop my sails soon enough (I would drop them possibly in the main San Pablo channel instead of waiting till I got close to the narrowing channel). Two other points would be to be more provisioned with propper long term food items to be stored aboard and most importantly not to put off vessel assist insurance rather than pay a huge fee for service for the blue moon event.

I don't think he will be trying this again!

From the Archives - Bonehead Extra

Hydroptere Record - 04 Sep 2009


France - With peak speeds reaching an amazing 55.7 knots, l’Hydroptère has shattered the world speed sailing record with an average speed of 51.36 knots over 500 meters. This not only trounces the Macquarie Innovation speed of 50.07 kts (the fastest boat), but in the ongoing battle between big and small, the giant hydrofoil has become the fastest watercraft under sail, besting the 50.57 kts recorded by Alexandre Caizergues on his kite-board last year. With record-making season just beginning, the bar has been set high by the mighty Hydroptère and her crew. Amazingly, they only needed a westerly wind of 28 kts for the records.




l’Hydroptère is a trimaran that rides on hydrofoils, reducing the drag on the vessel and allowing it to reach amazing speeds. However, the outright speed sailing record, while theoretically possible in the giant craft, had eluded the team. Last December, a burst in speed of over 60 knots flipped the giant multihull, and many wondered whether the craft would be capable of the sustained speed needed to break the record. Wonder no more! Paraphrasing Yoda from Star Wars, an elated Alain Thebault said with a wink: "'There is no try ... It's do or do not!'. Today, we did it!"



Not only did the Hydroptère team beat the 500m record, but the mile record as well, and they are already making big plans for next year, as they intend to start testing a design that is intended to go after the non-stop around the world record (the Jules Verne Trophy). If all goes well, there will be a hydrofoil rocketing along Lake Geneva next spring, and with Groupama 3 and Banque Populaire V both scheduled for Jules Verne Trophy attempts this winter, there will likely be quite a high benchmark set by the time the new l’Hydroptère Maxi hits salt water.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Tour and Sail on a Volvo Ocean Sailboat


Take a look at what the sailors on the Volvo Ocean Race have to deal with when sailing around the world.

8 Days Adrift

They were fishermen, not sailors, but once disaster happens, it matters not your method of propulsion, merely how well prepared you are, how determined you are to survive, and the common sense you display.

The story of the three fishermen who survived for eight days in the Gulf of Mexico, unaware that the search for them had been called off, is a heart-warming tale of cool common sense, determination to survive - and lessons learned.

They fought depression and hallucinations, were spooked by schools of sharks and kept up their flagging strength by eating a noxious diet of gasoline-soaked crackers, hot beer and tainted water.

Work colleagues James Phillips, 30, Curt Hall, 28, and Tressell Hawkins, 42, set out from Matagorda on Aug. 21 for an overnight trip in their 23ft catamaran, Blessing. After they were reported missing on August 22, the Coast Guard scoured 86,000 square miles of water until Friday August 28, without finding them. They had then called off the search.

“I knew we were coming home; I never had a doubt,” survivor and father of five James Phillips told the Houston and Texas News.

At around midnight on 21st, Hawkins woke Phillips and told him the rear of the boat was awash.

“He said, ‘Jim, we got water in the boat and my beanbag's floating,' ” Phillips recounted. “Within about a minute the boat had flipped over. We didn't have time to do nothing but watch it roll. We couldn't do nothing.”

Hall said he ran to the VHF radio and began to transmit an emergency call to the Coast Guard. It was cut short 15 seconds later when the boat flipped, slamming his face against the water.

“Once we were awake and saw what happened, it flipped over in one minute,“ said Phillips, who recalled leaping to a canopy to try and counter-balance the listing boat. “Then us country boys went into survival mode. That's all we could do.”'

Phillips suspects that the bilge pump on the port side of the catamaran failed or shorted out, allowing seawater to fill the interior hull. He estimated that he and Hall made more than 30 dives underneath the boat, trying to secure whatever supplies they could find. The only food they found was a box of crackers with peanut butter, a bag of potato chips, sunflower seeds and pack of chewing gum.

They eventually found a hose connected to a 30-gallon fresh-water tank. The men were able to cut a hose to sip gasoline-flavored water from it. They cut the blue tarp from the top of the canopy, using it as a shield against the merciless Gulf sun in the day and for warmth at night.

Hall dove under the boat, removed the radio, and was able to disconnect the boat's heavy batteries and hoist them atop the hull. They were able to make a brief radio transmission before the batteries died.

They also found a case of beer.

“We'd eat crackers one day, and then a handful of chips. Everything tasted like gasoline and saltwater,” said Phillips. “It doesn't sound that bad right now, but let me tell you, it was rough.”

‘They weren't there'
Hall said he twice saw U.S. Coast Guard rescue planes fly over their capsized vessel, and a helicopter as well. The Coast Guard, which gave up the search last Friday after the three had been missing a week, never saw them.

“They did drift quite a bit,” said Chief Warrant Officer Lionel Bryant, Coast Guard spokesman.

Phillips said the roughest time for the men was during the heat of the day, when they would try to endure the sun's rays and keep up their spirits.

“About the fourth or fifth day we started hallucinating about people dropping off food and water. And we were talking to them, but they weren't there,” said Phillips.

One evening, Phillips got up and starting walking on the hull, convinced he was going to the convenience store near his home. “I got up to go to get some water and Copenhagen (smokeless tobacco) at the store, and I walked into the water,” Phillips recalled.

Their survival was even more miraculous, as they not only battled waves that washed over the boat, but sharks.

“We had a bunch of black-tipped sharks schooling up under the boat,” Phillips said. “One of them jumped across the back of the boat. So when we dived under the boat, we looked for sharks.”

On the last day of their ordeal, they were frustratingly close to a oil rig that they could tell was manned by a crew. Hall said he kept trying to move the engines as a rudder, in hopes it would steer the boat toward the rig. It seemed so close, he and the other were tempted to make a swim for it.

“It wasn't that far; I was thinking about swimming many times, many times,” said Hall .

The men knew their overturned vessel would eventually sink, since the port pontoon was steadily filling with water.

They tried to get the attention of boaters and the Coast Guard by building distress flags out of their T-shirts and tying them to the boat's metal railing that they kicked out and used as flagpoles.

It was the T-shirts that caught the eye of Eddie Yaklin, who was out on his own 75-foot yacht, Affordable Fantasy, fishing for blue marlin. Yaklin saw something in the distance, flapping. By this time, they were 180 miles southeast of Matagorda.

As Yaklin and his boating party got closer, they found all three men sitting on top of their capsized craft.

“I was trying to help them in the boat,” said Yaklin, laughing. “They jumped in the boat.”

Once aboard, Yaklin treated them to steaks, their first real food in eight days. “They were hungry,” Yaklin said.

The Coast Guard spokesman, Bryant, said the case highlights the importance of carrying an electronic positioning indicator radio beacon, or EPIRB, aboard. Such a device, which starts at about $200, could have signaled for help more quickly and pinpointed to rescuers exactly where the men were.

“We didn't have an EPIRB. I had everything else on there but that,” Phillips said. “But you can bet your butt I'll have one on the next one.”

Get Out There and Enjoy the Holiday!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

How to get an 80' rig under a 60' Bridge - Boat Balls


Filler with water for ballast.

Cruising the Napa River

We had one of the nicest cruises to date. My friend Tex and I met up on Saturday and took off for our boat. Two other partners had sailed the boat from Emeryville to Vallejo which is at the mouth of the Napa River. We met at Murray's house for dinner and hot tubing. We had a nice night and made it over to the boat about midnight. Slept in a little and then we woke up to coffee and an egg and veggie scramble. Murray came down at about 10am and we took off for a delightful flat run up the river in about 15 knots of wind. We sailed up river with a good chart and a GPS to keep us in the channel. It was 12:30 and we were already at the Napa Valley Marina. I had made another reservation at the Napa Valley Yacht Club just for fun so we decided to continue and get closer to downtown. We arrived about 4pm and checked in. There was no one there but my contact at the club swung by with keys and to tell us we had the place to ourselves. They had a nice big bocce court right next to the water and we commenced to play a rousing game before dinner. Tex and I have played many games over the years and after he took a big lead, I was able to get in the groove and win the game. Afterwards, Murray's wife Linda showed up for a nice kabob dinner. She was celebrating her 60th birthday so we had a very nice dinner on board and then some more bocce as the sun went down.

On Monday, it was just Tex and I for an hour motor back to Napa Valley Marina for our wine tour. I cooked breakfast while Tex enjoyed all the bird life. He counted almost 30 species of birds. Along with lots of Great Blue Herons on the banks. After banana blueberry pancakes, we jumped on our bikes to our first appointment at Ceja Winery. The winery is about 2 miles from the boat. This is a gourgous family owned winery with great wines to boot. We met Dailia and she gave us a wonderful tasting of their wines and shared their history with us. She was a gracious hostess and invited us to stay for lunch and ....bocce. They too had a court that was beckoning us. I took Tex to the cleaners and we had a nice lunch in the vineyard with a glass of wine. Very nice spot on this sunny breezy day! Then it was off to our 1pm appointment at Adastra. We arrived on time and Chris the owner was there to greet us. His winery was a little different for sure. He moved from Michigan to the Carneros Region to start a cattle ranch. He got tired of cashing cows and decided to plant grapes. He has done a fabulous job. After a tour we sat down at his dinning room table and he pulled out about 8 wines to taste. The Pinots were amazing as was the rest of wines. How cool is it to sit down with the winemaker in his house and taste and discuss these great wines. He also had a baseball diamond with bleachers and a classic croquet course on his property. Our last visit was to Bouchane Vineyards. This nice spot had some great wines and we enjoyed talking with Shantal and hearing about their wines and tasting them right down to the dessert wine which we had to have a bottle for later. What a great way to do wine country! There are many more wineries in the area, we only wish we had more time. Back on bikes for a short trip back to the boat. We could see the masts from the last winery, they are that close! Had a very nice sail that afternoon and into the evening back on the river. Dinner was pasta and tamales with some more wine! Then after some guitar and singing in the cockpit, it was off to bed. Up at 7:30 to head back. We motored down to Vallejo and then we were able to raise the sails for the trip home. Not much wind out there and San Pablo is a big bay. It picked up to about 12 knots and we had a dream sail down to the Richmond Bridge. Flat water and very few boats out. Sunny and warm too. Near the bridge I went up on deck to enjoy the view and in no time was dreaming on the deck. I woke up to Tex telling me it was time to tack. Once under the bridge, Paradise Cove was straight ahead and we anchored for a swim. We had a fast sail home in 25 knots and a nice way to end the day. We made it back about 6pm and reflected on an awesome trip up the Napa River. It was too much fun!