Thursday, August 29, 2013

Heading to Napa

We are departing Monday for another trip up the Napa River.  This is sailing at its best!  The 12 mile reach up this narrow river is as amazing as it is beautiful.  The river narrows as you get closer to town.  With the wind at a perfect angle with the river, there is no need for tacking - just a straight shot with full sails up.  We dock in downtown Napa at the south edge of town.  We will have our bikes ready to take us off to some of the top wineries in the valley.  We have friends meeting us along the way for tastings and dinner aboard.  Should be one of the highlights of the summer.  My sailing buddies Tex and John will join Kona and I for a five day trip!  Bon voyage, indeed!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Not Good!

Had an amazing late afternoon solo sail yesterday!  Out about 3pm and the wind was in the 20's.  Hit the end of the Berkeley Pier and it was a solid 25 so just had a bit of jib out to keep it safe.  Heading into the slot the waves were big and I was questioning my decision to sail to Angel Island.  Kept going and as soon as I hit the shadow of Angel it mellowed out.  The sun was out and 80 degrees.  Hove to and got out on deck with Kona for some sun.  Thought about a swim but decided to set sail towards home for a great run to the barn.  Wow what a nice afternoon.  Thanks Addiction for keeping it safe!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Oldy But Goody

Cruising the California Coast

I have considered several times a cruise up the coast to Tomales Bay.  Without radar and with a boat not really up to par for ocean sailing, I have used my better judgement and not made the leap.  You can make a lot of mistakes and be fine on the bay.  On the ocean, it's a whole different ballgame and a boat failure could be the end.  But that does not mean you can't get out there if you have the time and the boat to do it.  One skipper did it recently and took his family on big portions of the trip up and down the coast for a 1400 mile adventure.  He basically bought a boat, took some lessons, fixed her up and went sailing.   And loved it!  The website he put together is impressive.  If you ever needed a push out the door on your way to the cruising lifestyle, this is it.  Please head over to the site, be  warned, you may end up way past your bedtime reading this wonderful account of making your sailing dreams come true.  Go here.

America's Cup...Bust?

I have been following the America's Cup thru the local media here in SF as well as on the water.  I have seen several races and had the 72' monsters scream by my boat within 75 feet.  I also watched the race on TV the other night.  So far, the results are mixed as there have not been any races that were really competitive.  The city has spent millions, donors have spent millions and the competitors have spent over $100M just to be in this race of 2 boats at a time.  And with a total of four boats in the entire competition, it seems all is lost and that this Cup will go down in flames.  However, I am an optimist and when you see these amazing boats come at you at 30 knots, it is an incredible site and one that can make your heart stop!  Watching them duel it out on TV was impressive as well.  The one thing that most non sailing folks don't realize is that the quantum shift in speed is incredible.  My 30 year old sloop was built as a racer/cruiser back in the early 80's.  It's average speed is under 6 knots with a high speed of 8.5 when she is really cooking along.  On the race course, the AC boats are hitting speeds in the high 30's and higher  In the old America's Cup, 14 to 15 knots was impressive.  So times have changed.  In hindsight, the 45' cats should have been the boat to bring to the dance.  Much more affordable means more teams and more excitement from other countries.  However, watching them on tv the other night i was giddy with pride.  The shots of the boat against the cityscape was impressive.  The bottom line is yes this America's is a bust so far.  Not one race has been closer than a difference of 2-5 minutes.  My hope is that we see an amazing finish with nz and oracle fighting it out in the finals.  Take a look at a local sailor and his awesome camera handywork.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Awesome Sail Out the Gate

Over the weekend, I went for a sail on my friend John's Ranger 33 out of Sausalito.  And what a sail it was.  We took off around 11am.  As soon as we hit the end of the channel, there was Team NZ out on the bay in practice mode.  There she goes foiling across the bay.  Soon another AC boat comes into view.  No graphics on this one but I soon realize it is the brand new Artimus boat from the Swedish team.  We are out in the middle of the bay near the Gate and the 72' foot NZ monster is heading near us just off our port bow.  Wow!  She flies by us foiling and less than 50' away.  So cool.

A couple more runs and we check the tides and it is a perfect time to head out towards the Pacific.  We pass under the Gate and the wind is in the high teens with very little swell.  There are only 2 other boats out here and we are excited.  A few more tacks and we pass Point Bonita and the end of the strait and out on the Pacific.  Because of the distance to this location, tides and many other factors, I only sail out here once or twice a year, so this is a big deal.  The conditions are perfect and we let the boat steer herself for a bit while we grab a bite.  Soon we are a mile offshore and enjoying the north south looks up and down the coast.  Time to head in.  We take a few tacks in and soon we find ourselves back in the marina and celebrate our safe return.  What a great day.  Thank-You John!

Mutiny on the Transpac

Trapped on a boat with a skipper that is in need of some anger management during a race across the Pacific.  Here is a small excerpt:

Day 0, Monday, July 8: Race Day.
An unexpected and totally unnecessary event. Harry blew up over the coffee filter left on the coffee maker by Jake. It was a half hour rage and total shut down all operation. My goodness, the man needs an anger management course badly. He threw things all over and around him. He was insulting Jake and everyone else claiming this is his house,….. blah, bah.
I don’t think it was a big deal. The filter was still warm and he should have given Jake a chance to clean up. After all, we were being pulled all different directions for the last two days by two bosses. Well…. I didn’t care, I just want to sail the Pacific and nothing can stop me know.
{Edited: Never knew this was just the beginning of an ordeal that I have never expected}.

When my daughter was in her second grade, I think she had a better organization skills than that of Harry and Jane. We rushed and rushed in a totally disorganized way, I didn’t really have time to think. Somehow, I thought we would have plenty of time to work out the details once the rush is over when on route to Hawaii. Jake reminded Harry to top off the water tanks but he left the dock anyway to head to the starting point. Both Harry and Jane were equally controlling.

We were 20 min late to the start of the race, but I was happy to see that we were underway; at least I was thinking we will have time to learn or adapt Harry’s style. As I often said to other on the net. It is his boat, his house/castle, his rules unless my life is endangered.

You can read the rest here.

Be sure to hit the "continue" on the bottom of that page to read the second part.  Some are calling the story bs but I am not so sure.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Download the West Coast's Top Sail Rag for Free

Latitude 38 has printed their latest issue.  My favorites are the Letters section and Changes in Latitude.  Download the mag to any device and enjoy.

Click here to go to the download page.