Friday, February 28, 2014

Cool Rescue

Getting a bit of rain in NorCal this week.  Couple feet of snow in the mountains.  Going skiing next week!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Friday, February 21, 2014

A great story...

A few years back we were heading towards Tiburon and came upon a lovely cove with a beach.  On the beach was a beautiful Spanish style home with a pool right on the beach.  Kona needed a swim and so we headed to the beach.  Someone was swimming in the pool so we headed over for intros.  I introduced myself and the gentleman said hello and introed me to his small son, also in the pool.  He said, Would you like to join us in the pool? No thanks I am pretty sandy.  Well can I fix you a drink?  No we have plenty on the boat.  Then he says, well why don't you head upstairs and make love to my wife?  Man this guy is
awesome.  I declined but what a nice guy.  We still sail to this cove and I am still swimming to this beach.  I stopped by last summer and the guy and his son came out to the beach to see Kona.  I asked him if anyone else swims over to the beach?  Nope, you are the only one!  Ha!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Dolphin vs. Porpoise

We see many sea creatures while sailing the SF Bay.  One that we see more and more of are porpoises.  My crew is always asking me the difference between them and dolphins.  Here is a short answer:
People use the terms dolphins, porpoises, and whales to describe marine mammals belonging to the order Cetacea (from the Greek work ketos, “large sea creature”), and often use them interchangeably. The orca, or killer whale, for example, is actually the largest member of the dolphin family.
Dolphins are by far more prevalent than porpoises. Most scientists agree that there are 32 dolphin species (plus five closely related species of river dolphin) and only six porpoise species.
So what’s the difference? It essentially comes down to their faces (who can forget Flipper’s famous “grin”?), their fins, and their figures. Dolphins tend to have prominent, elongated “beaks” and cone-shaped teeth, while porpoises have smaller mouths and spade-shaped teeth. The dolphin’s hooked or curved dorsal fin (the one in the middle of the animal’s back) also differs from the porpoise’s triangular dorsal fin. Generally speaking, dolphin bodies are leaner, and porpoises’ are portly.
Dolphins are also more talkative than porpoises. Dolphins make whistling sounds through their blowholes to communicate with one another underwater. Scientists are pretty sure that porpoises do not do this, and some think this may be due to structural differences in the porpoise’s blowhole.
Dolphins and porpoises have many similarities, one of which is their extreme intelligence. Both have large, complex brains and a structure in their foreheads, called the melon, with which they generate sonar (sound waves) to navigate their underwater world.  Dolphins are one of the few species that have sex for fun!  Can you name the other two?
It is likely that more (or fewer) differences between dolphins and porpoises will be revealed as researchers continue to investigate these intriguing sentinels of the sea.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

NTSB Report - The Sinking of the Tall Ship Bounty

The captain of the the Tall Ship Bounty decides to set sail in to the eye of the hurricane.  However this is no ordinary hurricane, this is Super Storm Sandy!  1000 miles wide with winds approaching well over 90 mph and the biggest storm to hit the east coast in a very long time.  Ultimately, the ship sank at the height of the storm off Cape Hatteras.   After well more than a year, the NTSB has released their report on the incident.  Click here to read the report. Atlanta

New Theory on Titanic Sinking

It amazing to me how many times conspiracy theories pop up in big stories.  The sinking of the Titanic is no different.  Three ships were built for White Star: Olympic, Titanic and Gigantic.  The Olympic had a unfortunate run and hit several boats over the years.  The last accident was so bad that they would need to scrap the boat and take a huge loss that would put them out of biz.  Instead, the boss, J. P. Morgan, decides to make some minor repairs and switch nameplates with the Titanic and such and send the Olympic to a watery grave 2.5 miles below the ocean surface.  Instead of losing the investment, they receive the insurance money and all is well... for them.  Their plan was to have another boat in the vicinity to pick up the the crew and passengers once the ship started sinking.  Due to a bonehead move, the skipper of the rescue boat got the coordinates wrong and was too far away to make the rescue.  I am not making this up folks!  This is a fascinating story and I want you to click here and read the full account.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

America's Cup 2017 - St. Somewhere

Via SF Chronicle

San Francisco's red ink from the 34th America's Cup doubled Monday, with updated figures showing the city lost $11.5 million hosting the event.
Preliminary figures released in December showed the regatta had cost taxpayers at least $5.5 million, but that number did not include expenses for the Port of San Francisco, a city department with its own budget funded by rent revenue from its property, not taxes.
The Cup and two related exhibition matches in 2012 had a net cost to the port of $5.5 million, and their cost to the general fund, the city's main spending account, was revised upward to $6 million, according to a new report by the Board of Supervisors budget and legislative analyst. That meant the event cost the city a total of $11.5 million.
The latest analysis, requested by Supervisor John Avalos, a critic of the regatta, also presented a mixed picture on the economic benefits for San Franciscans, finding that officials failed to track local hiring and the inclusion of small businesses during the 2012 events. During the 2013 competitions, however, more than half of the 953 people hired under contracts with race organizers were San Franciscans.
The new findings come as Mayor Ed Lee's administration has reached an impasse in negotiations with software billionaire Larry Ellison's Oracle Team USA sailing club about hosting the next Cup in 2017.

5 race sites on table

Russell Coutts, the CEO of Ellison's sailing team, recently said the organization is looking at five U.S. locations as possible host sites, including San Francisco, San Diego and Hawaii. The winning race syndicate gets to determine the location and boat type for the next Cup, and Ellison's team, sponsored by San Francisco's Golden Gate Yacht Club, has won back-to-back contests.
Hosting sailing's oldest competition, though, did not turn into the financial windfall that organizers and city officials had hoped for. Buffeted by the global economic crisis, few teams were willing to spend the $100 million or more needed to field a competitive team in new, 72-foot, high-tech catamarans used last year.
Projections in 2010 that the races would create $1.4 billion in economic impact for San Francisco fell well short. Instead the figure was $364 million, according to a wrap-up economic impact study by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute released in December. That figure rises to more than $550 million if the long-planned construction of a new cruise ship terminal, which the regatta served as a catalyst to finally get built, is factored in. This new report does not include the impact of the cruise ship terminal because it assumes that it would have been built anyway.
The $1.4 billion figure was based on 15 teams competing, but only four did.
Fundraising also came up short. A committee of civic leaders led by Recreation and Park Commission President Mark Buell sought to raise up to $32 million to cover city costs but ended up with only $12 million. About $8.7 million went to city coffers, according to the latest report. The rest went to cover other obligations under the hosting agreement or was paid elsewhere at the city's direction, including to benefit a nonprofit youth sailing center on Treasure Island for public school children, said Kyri McClellan, CEO of the committee.

Venue rent debated

In total, the city spent $20.5 million out of its general fund. That was reduced by the $8.7 million from Buell's committee and $5.8 million in new tax revenue from the events.
In the negotiations to hold the Cup in San Francisco a second time, the Oracle team has objected to paying rent for venue space that was provided for free last time and being compelled to pay union rates for labor, people involved in the negotiations said.
The new report from Budget and Legislative Analyst Harvey Rose's office, though, specifically calls for the city to charge rent and to ensure the event authority complies "with local hire and prevailing wage requirements for all events covered by the agreement."
"The mayor is looking to come to an agreement with the event authority that is rooted in lessons learned from these past few years," said Lee's spokeswoman, Christine Falvey. "That means a tighter race schedule, more teams, a significant economic impact to San Francisco and an agreement that protects the city's bottom line."
Coutts and others point to the economic benefits, saying the regatta creates thousands of jobs, brings business to local companies and showcases the host city on TV to viewers around the world.
The report found that 517 San Francisco residents were employed in 2013 through contracts with race organizers, known as the America's Cup Event Authority.

Hiring goals, union rates

The event authority met the goal of having 50 percent of the new hires on its contracts be San Francisco residents in 2013, but not in the area of temporary installation work, where only 87 of the 252 people hired to set up grandstands and other structures were from the city, the report found. No information was available for two preliminary races in 2012.
The issue became a political flash point for the Local 22 Carpenters Union, which picketed for weeks outside City Hall and race organizers' offices.
The event authority also failed to pay union-level wages as it had agreed to do, a city audit showed, and was assessed more than $400,000 in back wages. The city also is still trying to verify the number of local small businesses that got some of the 328 event authority contracts. So far, it has found six with a special certification from the city verifying their status as small businesses, according to the report, but there may be more.
That wasn't good enough, said Avalos, the progressive supervisor who commissioned the report.
"Harvey's report shows that the event authority and the Lee administration are really committed to the 'trickle' in 'trickle-down economics,' " Avalos said. "Given the cost to the city and failure on commitments to small businesses and local workers, I'd say it wasn't worth it."

Friday, February 07, 2014

Pics Of the Week


Northern California is receiving some much needed rain this weekend.  The storm door is open!

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Amazing Sail Out The Gate

Saturday was sunny and beautiful with light winds.  The crew (Hillary and his sons, Dave, John and Alajandro) were all jacked for a great sail.  We hit the bay and there was no wind.  We motored out towards Angel.  As soon as I made the call to head to the beach, we saw wind ahead.  How can you see wind the crew asks?  Looking at the water, it appears darker than the water with no wind.  The reason it appears darker is pretty cool.  The wind moves across the water creating small waves.  These stepper the waves (i.e. the more wind) the less light reflected and the darker the water.  The more wind the darker the water which is very easy to see in gusty conditions.  We are sailing towards Sausalito chatting and loving the 12 knot breeze.  One of Hilary's sons is at the stern and mentions there is a boat coming at us.  I see a shadow and order the helmsman to fall off.  We barely miss an older lady who was going to keep her course until we hit her!  She was politely saying "Starboard" as we almost hit her.  John had not seen her as the sails were blocking his vision.  It would have been a mess if we had hit her 25' Hunter.  Yes she had the right of way, however, she needed to adjust her course if there was any chance of a collision.  That was close!  As it turned out, we barley missed her and had one of the best sails ever!   We made it out the Gate in about 14 knots of wind.  The wind angle was perfect so we sailed straight out to the Pacific.  What a feeling to be in the ocean.  Everyone loved it. It just keeps getting better and better!