Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Sailing is a metaphor for life!

Whenever you're going sailing, regardless of whether you're racing or just going cruising, a great amount of preparation has gone into it. Your boat needs constant care and maintenance, you need to buy supplies and see that everything is in shipshape. In that context, there's the typical satisfaction in getting a job well done. When you're finally done with that and head underway, there's the anticipation of adventure, at least the possibility of one.

When you're done with the preparations, you leave the harbor and hoist up the sails. You turn off the noisy, vibrating engine, after which there's no sound except for the wailing of the wind and the sound of the sea. I always start smiling at that point. The boat speeds up, starts to list and everything comes to life. At that point, the boat doesn't feel like a clump of glass fiber or wood with lines, metal wires, and sailcloth stacked on top of it, but instead like something truly alive and with a personality of its own. Sometimes it's is in a good mood, providing a laid-back experience, whereas sometimes it feels more excited and slightly frightening, going up to the point where it feels like you're trying to rein in a blood-crazed stallion on some really bad acid.

You're constantly barraged by an abundance of information, from wave shapes and currents, wind vectors and sail trim, to the feel of the rudder and helm and keeping the boat on the desired course, along with a myriad of other variables. All of these things change constantly, and you learn to internalize them to the point where reacting to them isn't a conscious process. It would be impossible to react to them otherwise, as there are literally thousands of variables at play and going through them logically is too time consuming; by the time you've gone through any check-list, the conditions will have changed again. Instead, things might just somehow feel or look a bit wrong, and oftentimes you react to such stimuli without even thinking. When you manage to hit that sweet spot, where everything just aligns perfectly, you feel a strong sense of elation. At it's best, it's like being in a constant flow-state of mind, where you lose your sense of self, and the lines between you, the boat and the prevailing elements get blurred. You feel connected to something outside yourself, namely the boat and the sea, both of which have their own will. At that point of realization, you stop wondering why sailors throughout the ages have anthropomorphized both boats and the sea.

When you're on the water, you have an unbridled sense of freedom and opportunity, as you can always continue to see what lies on the other side of the horizon. Not only do you feel a strong connection to the elements and nature, but to the entire world. I suppose one could say that about walking in the forest as well, but it just isn't the same, as practically every time you're out sailing, someone suggests (mostly in jest) that "you do realize that we could just point the bow ten degrees westwards and continue on to the other side of the Atlantic" or something equivalent. That sense of freedom just doesn't exist on land.

In addition to all of that, somewhat oxymoronically you feel isolated from everything else. The rules and routines of everyday life just don't apply in the same way anymore. One example of this is that as most vessels are small enough to be called cramped, you're in constant contact with the other people on board. You learn to know those people well, as being on a boat will inevitably reveal the true nature of your shipmates. I've seen fights erupt due to absolutely trivial matters, but more often than that, I've seen everlasting friendships forged through working together in order to fulfill a common purpose. If you sail long enough with someone, you internalize their thought-processes as well, to the point of almost being able to having a telepathic link. The only time I've experienced something similar is while playing music with other people.

All in all, to me, it's about being removed from a mundane environment, feeling fully mentally connected with something else, be it the sea, the boat or the crew, with a constant state of shared Flow going on and realizing that everything stated above can take you most of the way to anywhere on this planet of ours.

Burning Man Departure

We are setting sail for BM in a few weeks.  My bud Chris and I will be heading up to our camp of 30 burners.  Our art car is ready and so are we.  We will be there for a week of music, art and fun.  It's going to be metamorphisizing!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Fair Winds, Addiction - 17 years of pure Joy!

Last weekend was my last sail as a partner on the good ship Addiction, our 1981 Newport 30.  Here is the note I wrote to my partners:

Tex and I had a terrific sail to Sausalito on Saturday.  We stayed at our favorite marina, Schoonmaker.  It's got a great beach for bocce and a restaurant right in the marina.  We worked on the bilge for a bunch of hours and by 2pm we were ready to sail from Emeryville.  It had been cloudy all day.  By the time we reached Raccoon, it was sunny and lovely.  Best part of the day. 

Sunday was my last sail on the boat as a partner.  We headed out the Gate for a bit and I realized it had been a while since going out there.  Maybe a couple years.  Down past the city front, we gybed for home.  We had a nice run back to the barn in a warm wind.  Joked about raising the spinnaker one more time but there was too much wind.
It has been a fantastic ride!  The Addiction has brought so much fun and joy into my life.  I am one happy sailor!   And a lucky one at that!  Thanks to all of you for joining me on a fantastic chapter of my life!
And now for something completely different...a 7000 mile sail to OZ!!!

Over the last month, I have been doing the best of the bay while sailing to my favorite spots:
1 Sail to Sam's for lunch
2 Sail to Angel Island for bocce and live music (Bobby McGee)
3 Sail to Scott's Cove with John
4 Sail to Sausalito and overnight with Tex at Schoonmaker.  Great dinner! And a great way to end my time with this amazing boat.On to a bigger and better boat!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Last Sojourn on the Addiction

Tex and I are heading to Sausalito for the night on Saturday.  Kona and Carmen (dogs) will join us as well.  We are heading to a harbor we have been to many times, Schoonmaker.  It's been 5 years since we have been to this cute little beach marina.  It has been so full over the years that we have not been able to get in.  We will have a nice meal at a local restaurant and then close the boat up one last time.  17 years of memories will flood my brain.  You see, I have loved this boat from the day we got her.  She sails great, has taken care of us in some big winds and seas and hosted so many friends and family aboard.  If figure I sail about 80 times a year.  That means I have sailed this boat over 1200 times!!  That's alot folks.  Most active boats go out once a month or less.  I am nuts about sailing.

And now I am moving up to a much larger boat for our trip to Australia in 2018.  I have about 6 boats to look at in the coming month.  This is very exciting.  I will keep you posted on the hunt.  Wish me luck.

Pics of the Week

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Pics of the Week

Kona on the dodger.

Heading out with my sailing buddy John for our last sail on Addiction together.  We have had many!  20-25 knot winds should get us where we want to go.  My last weekend on the boat will be next weekend with an overnight to Sausalito with Tex.  Bittersweet.

By the way, 8-1 was World Naked Sailing Day.  I missed it but i will endeavor  to make it happen in the future.  Now why didn't I think about starting this famous day?

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

The End is Near

Happy August everyone.  My boat partnership of 17 years is in it's last month.  I took out the new partner for a sail on Sunday and it was bittersweet.  I am getting ready to purchase a larger boat for a trip to Australia in 12 months.  I have had so many excellent sailing days on this Newport 30.  Trips up the delta, Napa, ballgames and all the friends and family I have taken for a sail.  Right now I have about 3-4 sail left this month.  I am attempting to hit all my favorite spots on the boat I love.  Last Monday was Sam's Restaurant in Tiburon.  On Sunday, it was a trip to Angel Island and some bocce.  I am hoping to head to Sausalito for a weekend in a few weeks.  And then it will end.  I have a very busy next few weeks including Burning Man.  It will be a sad day when I turn over the keys.  Here's to the 1000+ days I spent sailing her around the bay.  I depart with hopes that this 1981 edition has another 30 years or more of sailing days ahead of her.  Bon voyage my friend!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Two Girls on a Boat

The last time I featured these lovely young lasses, they were sailing the great loop from Lake Michigan.  The loop takes them out of the Great Lakes, down the East Coast, around Florida and then up the Mississippi back to the lakes.  On their adventure, they did a side trip to the Bahamas.

Jess meets a guy from the UK upon returning home.  They decide to sail to his home...across the Atlantic and dodging icebergs.  By now, Kate is becoming a prolific writer.  Book worthy.  Here is an example from the first day of their crossing.

I can’t add up the glories of one single day one. It doesn't feel right to be gifted so many things in less than 24 hours. I feel a very subtle shift in my gut. I know how these things tend to balance out. As my first grave yard shift begins the subtle shift takes a sharp turn. Upwards. Outwards. Stuck in between the back of my throat, threatening to come out of my nostrils. I am sick. Again. Again. And again. I put water in. It comes back up. I put a cracker in. It comes back up. Ginger ale. Comes back up. What does it want, quarters? I prevent myself from trying this. Someone has hooked up a macerator pump to my mouth and is pressing the button. Over 4 hours I drain my body of everything that is not securely attached to the walls of my stomach. I move onto dry heaving and count down the minutes till I can wake Luke up.

Read more here.

Which one do you like better?

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Have you ever sailed at night?

You should try it sometime! When sailing more that 80–90 miles, you will be sailing at night. A 35 foot sailboat can cover about 125 miles in a 24 hour period if there is wind for the entire time (or you motor to keep the the boat at an average of 5 knots).

I have done many passages at night in Mexico on the 750 mile trip between San Diego and Cabo. We are about 40 miles off shore and it can be pitch black out there. The auto pilot is on and you are watching out for other boats and making sure the boat stays on course. If there is something in the water ahead of you, you will not be able to see it and if it is say a stray container from a ship, it could sink your boat. You try not to think about that. You gaze up at the heavens and the stars and planets are glowing brighter than you could ever imagine. Then a shooting star arcs across the sky. Wow! To the east, a full moon rises over the Mexican/Baja desert. Everyone else is asleep on the boat and you have your thoughts to yourself. I carefully head to the bow and feel the boat surging thru the waves as we move south silently thru the night. Out of the corner of my eye, bright lights are streaming towards the bow underwater and moving fast. Oh my, it’s a small school of dolphins lit up with blue green bioluminescence. Double wow! I can hear their squeaks as they use the energy of the boat pushing the water to save their energy. My watch lasts to the sunrise. I head to the bow once more and dream of landfall in Cabo and all the fun we are about to have. I see some flying fish near the boat. Suddenly, one flies right into my crotch! Ouch! He is flopping on deck and I quickly push him back into the water. My watch ends and I head to my bunk. I dream very vividly due to the rocking action of the boat. They say sleeping on a boat is like returning to the womb. However, this is a womb with a view!

I really love sailing at night on the SF Bay as well. We take off at sunset and the bay is quiet. The wind is blowing 20–25 and we raise the sails. With the moon light reflecting off the water and your friends smiling faces in the cockpit, life is good. We are moving quickly and the boat is heeling to port. We can see Angel Island in the distance as well as the SF skyline and the wind continues to build. At night, all your senses come alive. I go below and hit the head. As I am pumping the head to flush it, raw water from the bay is pumped thru. As I look in the bowl, what do I see? Bioluminescence inside the bowl! These are microorganisms (a certain type of plankton) that when they are agitated, they glow in beautiful colors. I head back on deck as we sail into the night.

Sailing at night is one of my passions and I will be doing a ton more of it. We depart in 12 months for a 7000-mile adventure to Australia. We are taking our time and it will be a 12-month journey. Bon Voyage to me!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

It Just Keeps Getting Better!

After working all weekend, it was time to head out for a sail to recharge.  Kona and I took off about 9am.  Winds were up and down to start the day.  We had a fine sail once they kicked in about 10am.  I had been wanting to sail Raccoon Straits for a while and the winds cooperated.  We made it to Sam's in Tiburon and prepared to dock.  I secured the bow line and since it was calm, I decided to grab the fender off the dodger.  It got tangled in another line and did not come off easily.  At that moment, the boat starts drifting and I am about to go in the drink.  I jumped and my knee landed on the deck while I grabbed a stantion.  I was able to get onboard as two helpful busboys from the restaurant ran down to catch the lines.  As I was jumping on to the boat, my first thought was, is my phone in my pocket?  It was, but it did not get wet.  Got lucky.  Went down below to reflect on my entrance and recover from my bonehead move.

As I was relaxing, another boat came in and tied up.  It looked similar to a Jeanneau I had been looking at online.  I called over to the skipper and he said it was the boat, would I like to take a look?  Kona and I headed over.  She is a 2003, 43', with 3 cabins.  They are asking $120k.  She was looking good.  This is one of the few 3 cabin boats on the bay and one that I would consider.

Then Kona and I headed to our favorite cove on Angel Island.  On the way over under jib, somehow the shackle on the main halyard disconnected and was flying in the 20-knot winds.  Once anchored, I was able to bring her in.  We had a nice time swaying in the breeze.  Soon it was time to head to the barn and call it a day.

Jeanneau 43

Friday, July 21, 2017

Foils Are Everywhere

Foils are changing our sport, I think for the better.

Pics of the Week

 I am at the dentist and the drugs are kicking in when I spy my spirit animal!

That's me with a green flash and the Golden Gate Bridge!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Making Your Dreams Come True!

I have had several dreams/goals in my life that I have accomplished and the biggest one is about to happen!

Here are some of the big ones that I have pursued and accomplished.
  1. Get a swimming scholarship and graduate from college. In 1976, my best friend and I received scholarships to UNLV. I had an amazing 4 years there. My swimming/water polo experience was the best. We traveled all over the west coast to meets. We also spent a week in Hawaii. I graduated with a degree in Hospitality Management.
  2. Move to California! I grew up in Delaware and I was an east coaster trapped in a west coast body. I surfed, skateboarded, swam and loved the water. I wanted to live on the west coast. In 1980, I got my chance. I interviewed with Hyatt Hotels and they offered me a job after college. Where would you like to work? Cali! I was offered a position in Monterey, CA. I moved into a bungalow 1 block from the beach in Carmel. I could not believe my luck. I surfed everyday, worked hard, and rode my bike up and down that beautiful peninsula. I eventually moved to the Bay Area where I have made my home for 36 years.
  3. Start my own business. I had worked for Hyatt and Marriott for many years and I was going nowhere financially. I met some folks in the event planning business and loved what they did. I joined them for a couple years and then started my own company called: Too Much Fun Club. We work with large companies in the Silicon Valley and plan their celebrations. We are in our 25th year! My wife and I run the biz out of our home. It has been an amazing ride!
  4. Get married, have a kid, buy a home. I met Bridget through some friends. We have had an great life together and she has been awesome. And a great biz partner as well. Our son Connor was a blessing. He is going to be a senior at San Diego St. This fall he will travel to Ireland for a semester abroad. In 1997, we purchased a beautiful, brand new home in the east bay. The street is very quiet as are our neighbors.
  5. Sail across the Pacific! I have been sailing the very windy SF bay for the last 33 years. I have also sailed the coast of Mexico many times. Chartered boats all over the Caribbean as well. In one year, 2 friends and I will depart for a sail to Australia. It will take 12 months to get there! We will sail the west coast of Mexico, Central America and then across the Pacific. Bridget will join us at some of the islands along the way. Bon voyage indeed.
  6. To sum things up: I have been blessed in my life in so many ways. My family growing up was very wonderful and I had a great childhood. I have worked hard all my life to make these dreams happen. I have stumbled several times and doors closed. However, through a positive attitude and being the optimistic person that I am, I have been able to shake it off and make my life better. I have been able to travel the world and enjoy the fruits of my labor. So start your own dreams! If I can do it, anybody can!!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

How to Buy a Boat

Found this on the web...

Most boats can be bought for 1/3 less than their asking price, at the end of negotiations.
Step 1. Every boat on the Market is not worth the asking price. Typically when making an offer bid 1/3 less, that’s right 33% less then the asking price.
Example: if a boat asking price is $100,000. I recommend writing your offer bid price for $67,000.
You may or may not insult the owner, but no worries, its business. I recommend to use a yacht broker, if you are emotionally involved person.
Step 2. THE COUNTER OFFER. The owner will counter offer with a higher price and go from there.
Example: Say they owner counter offers $85,000 on the $100,000 asking price. At least you know where here stands.
Come up half and meet the owner in the middle.
Example: Owner counter offered at $85,000, your offer was $67,000. So raise your offer back to $76,000. He make come back at $80,000, then accept.
Step 4. THE SURVEY (inspection) and SEA TRIAL
All vessel purchases are allowed a Survey and Sea Trial. This is the beauty of buying a boat and the advantage falls in favor of the buyer, not the seller.
I have never seen a boat that is perfect, they always have some issues.
Keep in mind, anything on a boat can be repaired. Just what is the cost? And that is precisely the point in this Art of Boat negotiations.
A. Sea Trial - Make sure you note the amount of fuel. Make sure both tanks are the same level. Many times the boat may list to starboard or Port because the owner added something and the boat is not level.
Take the ride. Notice the speed. You can always say the boat does not go fast enough for your desires. On your Notes knock off $5k. If the boat lists to one side, knock off another $3k.
B. Survey- The boat will be hauled out at the expense of the owner. His cost for this is $2k to $5k. Your cost will be getting the person to survey your boat. A list can be found online. It will cost you $500 to $1,500. Money well spent.
On the Survey Report you will get a list of about 50 items for repairs. They will be prioritized. (1) Sea Worthy required, Bildge alarms/pumps, (2) definitely needing repair, engine-generator etc. (3) recommended repaired, Risers, Impellers and Air conditions and (4) maintenance repairs -oil change and light bulbs and (5)cosmetic repairs cushions upholstery.
This is the big negotiable part and is your advantage in price. This can be anywhere from $10k to $30k survey + $5k Sea Trial (slow engines and uneven list)= $15k to $35k reduction in price more.
Step 5. Final negotiations will give you an advantage of knocking off another $15k to $35k.
You see, once the owner has spent this money on the haul out, by then he is emotionally committed in selling the boat. You might say he has already divorced himself from it.
Example: Counter Offer again based on the Survey and Sea Trial another $15k if you are nice and $20k if you drive a hard bargain.
Final Sales price: $65k. Like I said, most boats can be bought for 1/3 less of the asking price.
When is a boat owner the happiest? The day he buys his boat and the day he sells his boat. Ha!

Titanic - The Ship that Never Sank

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 if you would like more detail, click here. 

When the Titanic was built, she had 14 portholes.  On the day she set sail, she had 16, same as the Olympic.

The Perfect Wave

My perfect wave happened at Zuma Beach in Malibu.  I had been surfing for about 14 years and never been tubed.  I dropped in on a nice right and made a clean bottom turn.  Next thing I know, the wave is tubing and I am in a perfect position inside the green room.  What an awesome feeling!  They say it's like returning to the womb...but this is a womb with a view!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

One of My Favorite Vids

If you have ever wondered how a sail boat uses the wind to move forward, this vid is for you.  Check it out! 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Pics of the Week

Couple of great sails coming up on the SF Bay!

Comanche - A Closer Look

The fastest 100 footer on the planet just smashed the Transpac mono hull record.  Here is a look at their campaign to break the prestigious trans Atlantic record.  Jim Clark is the money man and has assembled a team of sailing rock stars to break records.  This boat is capable of speeds over 40 knots.  Take a look at the vid and hold on to your hats!

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Unforgiving Ocean

The Volvo Ocean Race will test even the strongest of sailors.  Eight months of grueling ocean miles in the toughest oceans in the world.  This vid shows some of the extremes these sailors face.  Go full screen on this one.  Enjoy!

Friday, July 07, 2017