Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Duran Duran Rio Yacht Back in Action

Panerai CEO Angelo Bonati first spotted the ketch Eilean in Antigua in 2006, poking out of the mangroves in the island’s English Harbour.
The 72-foot boat was rotting, rusted and worm-ridden; termites had polished off its two masts. The ship had, he admits, “clearly seen better days.”
A keen sailor, Bonati noticed an unusual emblem carved onto the Eilean’s hull: a dragon. He immediately recognized it as the crest of William Fife Jr., the Scottish luxury yacht builder who is legendary among sailing connoisseurs for the caliber of his vessels.
“When I saw the well-defined dragon, I realized this was a Fife,” Bonati tells Alexa. “It was still recognizable, despite the boat’s poor general condition.”
Smitten, Bonati grew even more intrigued as he began negotiating to buy the foundering craft. He learned it was built in 1936 — the same year Panerai undertook its first oceangoing endeavors, creating special prototype watches for the Italian navy on the eve of WWII.
The boat was also featured in Duran Duran’s video for “Rio,” which was shot in Antigua in 1982.
Yet after a ferry collision in 1984 and a string of bad luck, the Eilean barely resembled the slick craft from the “Rio” shoot. Rehabilitating it, Bonati knew, would be an arduous, expensive task.
“The vessel was undoubtedly in poor condition,” he recalls. “But [I realized] it would be possible to restore her while preserving a substantial part of the original materials.”

He entrusted the project to one of the world’s foremost shipyards, in Viareggio, Italy, on the coast of Tuscany. There, master craftsmen at the Francesco del Carlo boatyard worked painstakingly on the ship’s composite Burmese teak planking and zinc-plated metal skeleton, using a single tree from Alaska to bolster the bowsprit, boom and mizzenmast.
It took 40,000 hours, but they were able to return the Eilean to its former glory as a handsome ketch that had easily made 36 Atlantic crossings.
After an official rededication ceremony and relaunch at the Italian navy’s facility at La Spezia — Fife’s descendants were on hand to cheer it on — the ship miraculously returned to the racing circuit in 2009.
These days, the Eilean serves as the anchor of Panerai’s 12-year-old Classic Yachts Challenge and is sometimes used by nonprofit groups for sea-related therapeutic initiatives. Bonati most recently raced it last month, in the Régates Royales, once again putting wind in its sails.

via NYPost

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

More Pics

Had some light wind sails over the weekend with a boatload of friends.  Swimming with Kona to two different islands.  And more Champagne aboard our new to us yacht!  She is a beauty!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

PIcs of the Week - Sail Only

Heading out today with a big crew on the new boat!  10-20 and a bit smokey from the fires.  Hope you are hitting the water as well.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017


I have had three sails on Aquarius and all have been amazing!  Yesterday we took out our best friends, Frank and Leslie.  Hit the water in a strong 18 knots and we were flying.  French Champagne was consumed on our French yacht!  I am one happy sailor!  We will sail her for the next few months and then get her to the yard and add some cruising gear.  10 months and 28 days until we depart for OZ!!!

Pirates Begone

Just before the Haha a few years ago, I attended a seminar on cruising in Mexico.  The topic of pirates came up and the folks putting on the seminar said piracy was very rare in Mexico.   However, the conversation continued and the subject of guns was discussed briefly.  Everyone agreed that this was not they way to go as there are so many problems with checking in and out of countries and declaring that you have a gun.  Alternatives where discussed and this is where it got interesting.  The lecturer brought up an idea I had never heard of.  He said the best non lethal defense was wasp spray.  What?  Yes, wasp spray.  The cans are highly pressurized and can shoot 20 -30 feet in a long precise spray.  Legal, non lethal and very disabling when you get someone in the face.  They will immediately jump in the water.  Hopefully, you will never need to use this tactic, but I wanted to share this idea and see if there are any other thoughts from other cruisers.  Send me a note!

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Biggest Weekend of the Year on the Bay!

This week is Fleet Week in SF.  The Navy is putting on a show and everyone is invited.  All sorts of aircraft will fly over the bay from 12-4 for the next 3 days.  The highlight is always the Blue Angels team.  It's going to be beautiful 80 degree weather and sunny skies.  I have a boat load of friends joining me for the festivities on Friday.  Couple of friends from the Baja Haha as well.  This will be my first group sail on our new boat and one of many.  Over the next 2 weekends, we will take out close to 30 folks.  It's going to be amazing.  Be careful out there!

Monday, October 02, 2017

The Girl Next Door

Big weekend!  I finished up my events (I am an event planner) for the week and the new boat was waiting for me in Sausalito.  I headed up about 8pm on a beautiful evening.  Loaded the boat and introduced Kona to the boat.  We hung out in the cockpit and enjoyed the moon and some great tunes.  In the morning, I met up with Tex and off we went by 11am.  The wind was building as we sailed across the slot with the Golden Gate Bridge gleaming in the sunlight.  We headed down the city front towards the ballpark.  We docked for a few minutes so Kona could have a walk.  As we returned to the boat, I had a fall as I was boarding.  Luckily I only scraped my elbow.  This boat is alot higher than the Addiction.  As we turned around to head out, Kona fell off the boat!  In over 500 sails he has never done this.  We got him on board quickly with no harm done. 

We continued down the coast in an 18 knot breeze.  Full sails up and we are hitting 8-9 knots consistently.  We are loving this boat!  We head up thru Racoon and all the way around Angel.  Now it's time to head to our old marina and Aquarius' new home.  We pull in to the slip with no issues.  I look across the fairway and their is my other favorite boat: Addiction!  What a great day and one of many we will have over the next year on the bay.  In September 2018, we head to Australia! The dream is beginning to unfold!

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Laird Being Laird

Heading up to the new to me boat tonight for the first time as owner.  We will sail her to her new home port on Sunday.  Winds look strong and will top 25 during the afternoon.  Should be an awesome day to be on the water with Aquarius!  Full report on Monday!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Pics of the Week

My Playboy Story

Hef had an amazing life.  He passed yesterday at 91.  He helped spur the sexual revolution in the 60's and 70's.  I was introduced to the magazine when I found some copies that my dad owned.  I was about 14 at the time (1972 and the zenith of the mag).  Mostly read the articles...

A bunch of years ago, I was on a road trip with my best friend from my early childhood, Steve Peterson. We had been playing in a championship Ultimate tourney down in San Diego. We were heading back up the coast and we stopped by Zuma Beach in Malibu. It was a gray, dreary morning but we made the best of it with a Frisbee toss and some laughs. After a while, I mentioned we should set up the volleyball net. Steve questioned me because there was no one around to play with. And then I said those famous words, "If we build it, they will come!". So we set it up and just as we finished, three white vans pulled up in the parking lot. A smile lit our faces when we saw the Playboy logo on each of the vans. Playmates! Turns out they were filming a segment for Playboy TV right next to our volleyball net! Maybe we can get an invite as extras! After a while, some of the girls came over and asked if we wanted to play some volleyball. Of course! Maybe we could get an invite to the mansion for an after party! Turned out these gals were the make up crew. They were great and we had a blast finding out more about them. During the breaks the cast and crew would come over for a game or two and we had a ton of fun as the day turned sunny and warm. We continued up the coast later in the day and had more adventures in Big Sur. Hey Steve, love you man!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Boat Buying Timeline

Aquarius was the third boat I looked at.  I had visited a Beneteau 423 that was out of my price range.  I also sailed a Catalina 42 that was way over priced for the condition it was in.  Aquarius was at a broker in Sausalito and looking good. I found their website on Latitude 38 and looked them up on the web.  The boat had been put up for sale less than 30 days earlier.  She has a new set of sails, roller furler, all lines led aft, windlass, auto pilot, radar, 2 heads, 3 berths, dodger, bimini, full galley, and she shows like new.

Here was the timeline:
September 5 - Discover boat online.  She is in Sausalito!
September 7 - Visit boat with the broker
September 11 - Put an offer on the boat
September 12 - Let the negotiations begin!
September 15 - Agree on price with seller
September 19 - Sea Trial and Survey with Tex
September 22 - Wire $$$ to Trust Account
September 25 - Agree on insurance
October 1 - Pick up new to me boat and sail her to Emery Cove


Sailing Metaphors

There are a ton of sayings that we use in every day life that relate to sailing.  Sometimes we don't even recognize that their origins are from the nautical world.  Here is one you can use, walk up to a beautiful young lass and proclaim, "I like the cut of your jib".  You should get an amazing reaction from your crush.  See below.

Taken aback, on a square-sail ship the sails were 'taken aback' when the wind was blowing on the wrong side of the sails causing a dangerous situation. Later used to indicate a difficult or unexpected situation.
Batten down the hatches
Clear the decks, to get everything out of the way as a warship went into action.
Show someone the ropes, to show or explain to someone how to do a task or operation. Taken from the use of ropes to orient and adjust the sails.
Sail close to the wind, is to operate hazardously on very slim margins, usually applied in a financial sense. Derived from the technique of sailing close to the direction of the oncoming wind.
Loaded to the gunwales
Back and fill
On one's beam ends
A shot across the bow
By and Large
Slush Fund
My fav: I like the cut of your jib
A strong hand on the tiller
Staying Afloat
Loose Cannon
A Wide Berth
Ship Shape
In the doldrums
All hands on deck
Weathering a storm
A different tack
Nail one's colours to the mast
Flying the flag
Left high and dry
Plain sailing
With flying colors - the colors was the national flag flown at sea during battle, a ship would surrender by lowering the colors and the term is now used to indicate a triumphant victory or win.
Swinging the lead, is to avoid duty by feigning illness or injury, original a confusion between Swing the leg which related to the way dogs can run on three legs to gain sympathy and the sailor's term heaving the lead which was to take soundings.
Three sheets to the wind, meaning "staggering drunk," refers to a ship whose sheets have come loose, causing the sails to flap uncontrolled and the ship to meander at the mercy of the elements. Also, "Three sheets in the wind, unsteady from drink.
Sun over the yardarm: This phrase is widely used, both afloat and ashore, to indicate that the time of day has been reached at which it is acceptable to have lunch or (more commonly) to have an alcoholic beverage.
"Take soundings": In suspected shallow waters, a crew member may have the task of repeatedly throwing into the water a lead line, or piece of lead tied to a string knotted every fathom, for the purpose of estimating the depth of the sea. This saying the nautical equivalent of "Take the lay of the land": see how things are going, or see what people think about a proposed course of action."By and large" comes from a term for sailing a ship slightly off of the wind
"To the bitter end" may have originally referred to a rope fastened to the bitt, a post attached on the deck of a ship, although this etymology has been disputed by many.

Hookipa, Maui

What an amazing surf break on Maui.  Lots of windsurfing competitions are held here.  All of the top windsurfers have sailed this epic break.  I had the chance to surf it one time and loved the long break.  Check it out!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Have you ever wanted to cruise the Cali coast?

We are getting ready for our grand adventure.  One of the focal points of the trip is to hang out and immerse ourselves in to the culture as well as getting a feel for the land.  For that reason, we will be spending 7 weeks exploring the California coast.  There are two difficult portions of a southern run to LA.  The first is around Big Sur with a 100+ mile run from Monterey to Moro Bay.  Big winds and seas are common in this area.  The second is around Pt. Conception.  Anything can happen here with sudden storms and big currents.  AKA the Cape Horn of California. We plan to sail thru at midnight when it should be calm.

About 10 years ago, a sailor headed south from the Bay Area and documented his adventure in fine form.  If you have a desire to head south, start here for a comprehensive look at all the anchorages as well as travel tips that will keep you safe.  It's a fascinating look at how cool the cruising scene is in Cali.  For more info, go here.

Signing on the Dotted Line Today!!

Wow!  Hard to believe we are buying such a beautiful boat.  We will wire the $$ today.  Hope to sail her away next week.  So excited.  I will have 11 months to prepare her for the trip to Australia.  She needs some additions.  Will make those over the winter.  Can't wait to sail her a bunch on the bay and then out on the ocean.  Going to be a ton of fun!  Her name is Aquarius.  2001 40' Jeanneau.

These are pictures from the web and not our actual boat. Two heads, three cabins, and brand new sails.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

We are getting closer!

Tex and I went for a test sail on Tuesday.  We had just finished a successful survey of the 40' Jeanneau and then we hit the water.  The winds were 10-12 on a nice sunny afternoon.   We headed south from Richmond towards Treasure Island.  The boat was nice and steady and the helm as light as a feather in these conditions.  Had a great sail!  We have a few minor issues to iron out and we will buy the boat.  At the dock, we ran into the original owner and he said he would buy this boat again if he was in the market.  I will let you know when the deal is done!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Talk Like a Pirate Day

Ahoy Me Hearties, it's Talk Like a Pirate Day!  First a little history lesson:  Way back in 1995, John Baur and Mark Summers were playing raquetball.  As they were flailing towards a ball, one of them yelled "Aarrgh" and soon they were firing pirate phrases as fast as the ball, around the court. They found it fun to throw out pirate phrases once in a while and decided to do it once a year. They determined that September 19th would be the big day (based on Mark's ex-wife's birthday).  They kept it up for a few years with friends and were having some fun with it.  Some how, they got a hold of famous newspaper columnist,  Dave Barry.  He wrote a story about it and became their spokesperson for the holiday.  From there it has become an international holiday of sorts.

Handy phrases and vocab:

Ahoy: Hey!
Avast: Stop!
Aye: Yes
Black spot: to be 'placin' the black spot' be markin' someone for death.
Booty: treasure
Buccanneer: a pirate who be answerin' to no man or blasted government.
By the Powers!: an exclamation, uttered by Long John Silver in Treasure Island!
Cat o' nine tails: whip for floggin' mutineers
Corsair: a pirate who be makin' his berth in the Med-...Medi-...that sea 'tween Spain and Africa, aye!
Davy Jones' Locker: the bottom o' the sea, where the souls of dead men lie
Doubloons: pieces of gold...
Fiddlers Green: the private heaven where pirates be goin' when they die.
Furner: a ship which be yer own, not one ye steal an' plunder.
Gentlemen o' fortune: a slightly more positive term fer pirates!
Go on the account: to embark on a piratical cruise
Grog: A pirate's favorite drink.
Jack: a flag or a sailor
Jolly Roger: the skull and crossbones, the pirate flag!
Keelhaul: a truly vicious punishment where a scurvy dog be tied to a rope and dragged along the barnacle-encrusted bottom of a ship. They not be survivin' this.
Landlubber: "Land-lover," someone not used to life onboard a ship.
Lass: A woman.
Lily-livered: faint o' heart
Loaded to the Gunwales (pron. gunnels): drunk
Matey: A shipmate or a friend.
Me hearty: a friend or shipmate.
Me: My.
Pieces o' eight: pieces o' silver which can be cut into eights to be givin' small change.
Privateer: a pirate officially sanctioned by a national power
Scallywag: A bad person. A scoundrel.
Scurvy dog!: a fine insult!
Shiver me timbers!: an exclamation of surprise, to be shouted most loud.
Son of a Biscuit Eater: a derogatory term indicating a bastard son of a sailor
Sprogs: raw, untrained recruits
Squadron: a group of ten or less warships
Squiffy: a buffoon
Swaggy: a scurvy cur's ship what ye be intendin' to loot!
Swashbucklin': fightin' and carousin' on the high seas!
Sweet trade: the career of piracy
Thar: The opposite of "here."
Walk the plank: this one be bloody obvious.
Wench: a lady, although ye gents not be wantin' to use this around a lady who be stronger than ye.
Wi' a wannion: wi' a curse, or wi' a vengeance. Bol

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Price Agreed Upon...We are Buying a Yacht!

We are into the survey and sea trial phase. That will happen on Tuesday.  I have hired one of the top naval architects for the job.  The boat in this vid is a sistership (not our boat).  The elements that I have been looking for in a modern day cruiser are: no inmast furling (I believe this to be a very dangerous feature), 3 cabins, and lucky for me, they just put $20k into rigging and sails.  Folks, I think we have a winner!

Our plan is to depart for Australia in next September!  My friends Mike and Tex are joining me for the one year adventure to Brisbane.  I am so #@^*^# excited!!!  I can't wait to tell you about my adventures!  If there are any followers in the Bay Area, let me know and let's go for a sail on my new to me boat!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Believe in Yourself

I am working all weekend so go enjoy the water if you can ( in other words, I won't be out there to run into your boat!).

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Pushing the Limits

Put an offer in on a 40' Jeanneau.  I will let you know how it goes.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Departing for Australia in 365 Days

In the process of looking at boats for the adventure.  Our plan for our departure is to have our friends and family join us for a send off at the dock.  We will sail off towards Sausalito and spend the night in Richardson Bay.  During the ebb in the morning, we will hoist anchor and head to Half Moon Bay for our first leg of the 7500 mile journey.  It's going to be epic!  For the next year, we will sail south and west to Brisbane.  We will sell the boat there and fly back home to California.  Bon voyage!