Friday, February 29, 2008


I found a website from that looks at weather extremes from an athlete's perspective. It features great video from the land, sea and air. There are some awesome videos from Maverick's, kiting, paddling, sky surfing just to name a few. These are short clips from a show called "Epic" that you can find at the weather channel on your TV. Check the vids here.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

100 Movies Every Guy Should See

Here is a great list that includes many of my favs, including Dumb and Dumber, Pulp Fiction and Matrix. See the whole list here.

You will be able to see some of these movies for free here.

Gitana Sets Record

Gitana 13 crossed the finish line of La Route de l’Or, situated just off the infamous island of Alcatraz in San Francisco Bay, at 1707 (UT). After over 43 days 38 minutes at sea, including a forced five and a half day stand-by at Cape Horn, Lionel Lemonchois and his nine crew improved on the reference time held since 1998 by Yves Parlier and his men by 14 days 2 hours and 43 minutes. The maxi-catamaran in the colors of the LCF Rothschild Group covered the 14,000 miles, which separate New York from San Francisco at an average speed of 15.88 knots and thus set their first record time in their 2008 record campaign.

Setting out from New York on 16th January 2008, Lionel Lemonchois and his crew made San Francisco this Thursday 28th February shortly after sunrise on the Golden Gate Bridge. After over six weeks’ navigation, their names will be listed as the new titleholders of this legendary record, created in honor of the ‘Gold’ seekers of the 19th century.

Read more.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Time for a New Boat

Some days, you just shouldn't get out of bed in the morning. What began as a leisurely ocean cruise Wednesday afternoon ended with Jim Dobson's 54-foot yacht running aground at Poka'i Bay, on the big island of Oahu, Hawaii, and the destruction of the very expensive craft after yesterday's wave surge left it sitting on the beach at the Wai'anae.

Trouble began for Dobson and his three female companions around 3 p.m. Wednesday after the blue and white yacht lost its anchor. Nothing daunted, Dobson kept going. However, then, as it neared Poka'i Bay, the yacht lost its motor after the props got snarled in the line of a kayak the boat was towing. So now, he couldn't motor and he couldn't anchor. Adrift, the boat was also unable to turn around by hoisting a sail, and began moving toward the bay's reef.

He no doubt thought he was saved when a passing fishing boat attached a line to the yacht and attempted to pull it out to sea.

But when that line snapped, and then another, the yacht finally ran aground. By then, Ocean Safety and Honolulu Fire Department rescue personnel had been alerted, so they quickly moved in to safely get Dobson and the three passengers to shore.

Area resident Patricia Haller, 60, who had watched the drama unfold at the bay on Wednesday, stood by the beach yesterday and shook her head.

'I've never seen anything like it,' she said. 'And we've lived at Poka'i Bay since 1959.'

However, it was not to end there.

Bad as matters were for the yacht, it was still in one piece. William Aila, harbormaster at the Wai'anae Boat Harbor, said yesterday's high surf shoved the yacht across the reef and into the bay, leaving it stranded with multiple holes in its bottom and a hull filled with water.

Dobson, 60, owns a car dealership in Oregon and has lived weekends in the yacht where it has been moored at the Ko Olina Marina. Yesterday he said he had no alternative but to have the yacht cut to pieces and hauled to the dump.

'Well,' he said, looking toward the mountains, 'no one got hurt. All my kids are healthy. And I've still got a few years ahead of me.'

Stoic words, Jim but we're sure you just wish you had gone golfing that day.

Global Cooling

Over the past year, anecdotal evidence for a cooling planet has exploded. China has its coldest winter in 100 years. Baghdad sees its first snow in all recorded history. North America has the most snowcover in 50 years, with places like Wisconsin the highest since record-keeping began. Record levels of Antarctic sea ice, record cold in Minnesota, Texas, Florida, Mexico, Australia, Iran, Greece, South Africa, Greenland, Argentina, Chile -- the list goes on and on.
No more than anecdotal evidence, to be sure. But now, that evidence has been supplanted by hard scientific fact. All four major global temperature tracking outlets (Hadley, NASA's GISS, UAH, RSS) have released updated data. All show that over the past year, global temperatures have dropped precipitously. Read more here.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Over the Top!

I woke up on Sunday morning about 5:30 and took a look at the wind online. It was over 30 and gusting to almost 50 at Angel. I headed up to the boat and fixed a nice french toast breakfast. At around 8am, I headed out with all my foulies on after taking a good look at the south wind. It looked like an above average summer day as far as wind speed. As I entered the channel, I put out a little bit of jib to help me out. As I hit the end of the channel it was already at 30 knots. We (me and the boat) blasted straight out and the speedo was hitting 6.5 to 7 with just a sliver of a jib. Gusts were in the 40 range easy. About half way out, I noticed that with the wind direction and the current, we were in a lee shore with the Berkeley Pier. I needed to keep an eye on that. I let out a little more jib to give me a little more power. As I reached the end of the pier, the winds were easily topping 50 in the gusts. The boat was handling it well. It was only getting wilder so it was time to tack. Getting the boat to turn into the wind is no easy task with this much pressure on the boat. I got her around and needed to trim in the sheets and make sure the boat got going back into the wind. No easy task and I was huffing and puffing as I finished the tack. This was the windiest day I have ever been out on!! And I was loving it. Knowing that we had recently refreshed all the standing rigging gave me confidence that the rig could take the pounding. Going back in, I didn't have to worry about the pier as I was headed away from it on this tack. Hey what's this, blue sky to the south and the rain is letting up a little. The wind keep building with each tack and each tack became more difficult. I did about eight tacks out and back to the end of the pier and then to the channel makers. About 1.5 miles each way. At 9:30 I felt as if I had accomplished my mission and headed back to the slip. I was motoring into the wind and just praying our little 14 horse diesel would get me back in. She did of course and I am happy to say it was a great feeling to know our little boat could handle the monster winds of this storm! I would say the winds were 30-40 with gusts to 50 in the area I was sailing. It was an awesome feeling to be out there in that weather!

Friday, February 22, 2008


Nice Sailing Footage

In this vid you will see some shots of the famous Playstation boat that Steve Fossett used to break many sailing records with. Sadly, Steve died in a plane crash and Playstation is sitting all alone in Alameda without a mast. Very sad for a boat that once held the record for the fastest sail around the globe. Disney bought her and used her for the filming of the upcoming movie "Morning Light". The movie tracks the youngest crew ever to sail in the Transpac. Enjoy the video.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Day 300 - Mainsail Shredded

Reid and Sonya have made it to 300 days at sea but have lost their mainsail. They are slowly working their way around the world in an attempt to make 1000 days at sea. They do have another main at the bottom of the cargo hold but it will take a day or so to move all the stuff to get to it. How long will this 7-8 year old sail last? Maybe less time than this newer sail? Catch up with their journey here.

Also David Vann has had to abandon his trip around the world just 60 miles after he started. Seems he had a welding failure on one of his cross beams. The boat was towed to Santa Cruz and he will try again next year. Check Sailing Anarchy for more info.

Flying High

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Train Station Prank

Max Cornelisse is a young IT pro from the Netherlands. He has hacked in to many a public system and posted the results on Youtube. Do a Youtube search with his name and watch the 6 other pranks he has pulled off.

Go Back in Time - Rio

Remember how cool it was when MTV got its start back in August of 1981 ("Video Killed the Radio Star" was the first vid played) and music vids became all the rage. One of my favs had a neat nautical/sailing theme. Duran Duran's "Rio" was a huge hit and a great video. The video was filmed in Antigua, West Indies.

Pic of the Day

Click the pic.

I am off for a little camping and skiing adventure. Camping and hiking in Big Sur with my son. Will be visiting Esalen ( for their amazing natural hot springs on the cliff overlooking the ocean. Then up to Tahoe for some skiing with my best friends! Should be outta sight!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The People's Boat - Newport 30

One of SF Bay's best known N-30's owned by Dick Arnoff.

We purchased our Newport 30 "Addiction" seven years ago and I have really come to appreciate the build, it's sailing capabilities and bang for the buck you get from these boats. Famed naval architect Gary Mull was hired by Capital Yachts to design a family cruiser for the San Francisco Bay and beyond. He came up with a classic! He was charged with designing a boat that would be able to accommodate a family of four or five for a weekend, be able to handle the chop and waves of the bay and be economical enough for the average Joe to afford. These boats are perfect for that and much more. The layout sleeps five although 3-4 is best. We have had her out on the bay in 40 knot winds and felt pretty comfortable on her. She does best in winds about 15-18 but we push her in the summer when most days are 25-30. A few years ago we added a nice furling jib and it has made our sailing on the bay much more enjoyable. There is lots of room for storage, galley and a full head are standard as are lots of sail controls for racing and fine tuning the rig. We have wheel steering on our boat along with the rigging for a spinnaker. We cruise at 6.5 knots and have seen many 7-8's on the speedo. This is not a blue water boat by any means but does well in the bay/delta and with the right equipment and weather, would be fine for coastal cruising. If you are looking for a used boat that is easy on the pocket book and the eyes, consider a Newport 30. For more info on Newports, please check out the Newport Owners page here.

Kayak Free Fall

It's been a while since we featured some extreme kayaking. Enjoy.

The vid is not working very well. Click on the pic and it should take you to the video. It will be worth it.

Monday, February 11, 2008

SF Bay Bliss

Click the pic for a much larger view. Our 1981 Newport 30 "Addiction".

My boat partner Dan and I took out two friends, Dave and Dennis, for a day on the bay on Sunday. And what a gorgeous day it was. Winds were nice upon our departure at 12-14 and temps in the low 60's. After leaving the Emeryville channel, we were able to hoist the sails and had a fine run straight for Treasure Island. Spirits were high as we tacked away from TI and hit our stride with the speedo hovering in the 6.5 range. As we tacked again and approached Alcatraz, we could see the water was flat and there was very little wind on the other-side of the historic prison grounds. We tacked again and headed towards Richmond on a beautiful run. After one more tack we set our sights on Angel Island. We dropped the hook just off Quarry Beach and got comfortable on the bow as the brilliant sun warmed us. Dennis pulled out his guitar and harp and did a great rendition of the Dylan classic, "Tangled Up in Blue" as well as my favorite Dead tune, "Uncle John's Band". We talked for a while and watched the sail boat next to us almost drop an outboard in the bay. For the trip back we rigged the spinnaker for an excellent 7 knot run home. Very nice to set the spinnaker after not having it out for well over a year. It was a perfect wind to push us across the bay and into our slip. Thanks guys for a memorable sail and for sharing another day in paradise with me.

Friday, February 08, 2008

That Sinking Feeling

Gunnar & Grethe are a truly adorable, funny, fun couple. Teachers from Norway, they took a year sabbatical. They bought Sailabout in January in the Rio Dulce River in Guatemala and their goal was to sail to New Zealand. Greta insisted that they install a Single Sideband High Frequency Radio or better known as an SSB. She finally got her radio when they were in Jonesville, Roatan. Several boaters finally convinced Gunnar that he had to have the radio for safety, since they were planning such a long crossing. Doug, from Kristiana, and Bob, from Shamal, helped Gunner install the radio and they both taught them how to use it.

After exploring Guatemala, they left Monkey Bay Marina for their sailing adventure. They worked their way down thru Honduras, Columbia ... all the way thru to the Panama Canal and started their trek across the Pacific.

Early in the morning on May 4, 2007, friends on sailing Valentina were listening to their SSB and picked up a Mayday on the net frequency cruiser's in the NW Caribbean listen to every morning. It was friends Gunnar & Grethe from Sailabout and they reported that they were taking on water and do not think they can get it under control. They were alone, in a storm and their fore stay had broken loose from the fitting down on the dolphin striker at the water line. Water was coming in the fitting. The bow sprit was torn loose and the anchors were banging against the hull. They were in 12 -14 foot seas with 20+ wind and squalls. They set off their EPIRB. Gene and Brenda from sailing vessel Queen Mary called the 14300 Ham net to let them know that a Mayday had been received from Sailabout and they are 700 miles west of the Galapagos Islands in the Pacific Ocean. Read more about s/v Sailabout here.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Duran Duran Singer Le Bon Back in the Saddle

Simon Le Bon, the Duran Duran singer, took the helm of his old yacht yesterday declaring that he had no fear of sailing again in the race that almost cost him his life 20 years ago.

The 1980s pop singer said he was just "excited" to be back on his former boat Drum with his original crew and taking part in the Rolex Fastnet Race again.

Not even the prospect of passing along the same stretch of water where he capsized and spent 40 minutes trapped inside the upturned boat was going to distract him from the main object of the race, namely having fun.

Yesterday, as he eased the £7 million boat out of Cowes harbour, on the Isle of Wight, the 46-year-old was in a bullish mood.

He said: "I just feel relieved to be on the boat and all the preparation over. I'm not nervous, I'm more like excited. It is just the same kind of feeling I get when I am going on stage. Just pumped up and looking forward to having some fun."

His confident air is a long way from how he felt after the accident when he admitted that he was "terrified" to get back in the water.

Le Bon had been asleep when high seas ripped the keel off the boat just off the Cornish coast on the first day of the challenging 600-mile race, which six years earlier had claimed 15 lives when a storm hit competitors. Read more here.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Losing the Mast

It was the moment every sailor dreads. Paul Bayfield, an experienced crew member aboard Purple X, a 49ft Oyster yacht on passage from the Philippines to Hong Kong, had just settled into his berth after a spell on watch when there was a horrible noise above followed by a sharp change in the boat’s motion.

“I was just getting comfortable in the bunk,” Bayfield recounted after recovering from his injuries during a dramatic New Year’s eve rescue operation in the South China Sea. “I hear this sound like someone ripping open a cardboard box. That was carbon fibre ripping. I realised what had happened and seconds later the deck crew said, ‘All hands! The mast has gone.’”

Purple X was in trouble but not yet in distress. The dismasting of the £1m yacht had certainly brought an abrupt end to an idyllic cruising holiday for owner-skipper and Citigroup investment banker Raymond Lee, his wife Carolyn, sons Aaron and Joe, aged 18 and 16, and three crew, including Bayfield.

The waves were large and there was a near-gale blowing – they had been sailing under a double-reefed main and staysail – but the crew were strong, the engine was working and the boat was well-equipped. They donned safety gear and cut away the rigging to release the mast and prevent it from damaging the hull. Instead of continuing upwind towards Hong Kong and home, 350 miles away, they turned back towards the Philippines, which was less than half the distance.

Lee and the others were not without worries, however. The electric bilge pump was working constantly and it seemed that water was coming into the boat, perhaps where one of the mast spreaders had pierced the hull. There was a brief fire in the fuse box when the ripped electric wiring from the mast short-circuited in the sea water.

But it was during the subsequent rescue that life became really dangerous for the crew of Purple X. Carolyn Lee had put out a “Pan Pan” message on the radio – a call for help or a notification of an urgent problem that falls one step short of a Mayday distress call – and the crew were also in touch with the Hong Kong Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre by satellite phone. The yacht was located by a spotter plane and a ship, the 110,000-tonne tanker Maersk Princess en route from Taiwan to Thailand, was diverted to assist. After some discussion, they made the fateful decision to abandon ship.

It is difficult at the best of times to board a large tanker at sea from a small boat, and it was made harder on this occasion by high winds and waves and the loss of communications after the battery of the yacht’s handheld VHF radio finally died. Raymond Lee, Bayfield and Martin Franks, following the last available instructions from their rescuers, jumped into the sea to be picked up by a small boat lowered from the tanker.

After a failed attempt to transfer the yacht’s crew via a flailing rope ladder lowered from the tanker’s deck, the boat was hoisted back up with the rescuers and the three yacht crew inside. But as the ship rolled, the plastic boat slammed into the hull. Lee was knocked unconscious and suffered a broken collar-bone and deep gash in his leg, Bayfield injured his back and one of the ship’s crew was also hurt.

Worse was to come. The remaining four people aboard were to put on life rings attached by lines to the ship and jump in the sea so that they could be pulled to the ladder. The two boys made it safely but Carolyn Lee and Victor Gordoncillo, a Filipino crew member, had to swim away with only their life jackets when it seemed the yacht would crush them against the tanker.

Twice they drifted back, had a close brush with the ship’s propeller and ended up far behind the ship in the stormy sea as evening approached. Twice they were found again as the Maersk Princess laboriously turned around and conducted a search. They were finally pulled aboard in a cargo net and the yacht’s crew were all safe.

“It is a horrible, helpless feeling floating away from rescue,” Carolyn Lee told the South China Morning Post. “We were just starting to lose the light when I got on the ship. Another 10 minutes in the water for me, and it would have been all over.”

The crew of Purple X are full of praise for the courage and perseverance of their rescuers from the Maersk Princess, although with the benefit of hindsight they must be asking themselves whether it would not have been wiser to try to make it under their own steam back to the Philippines.

Novice sailors are warned never to step down into a frail life raft from a solid if damaged yacht. Yachts abandoned at sea have on many occasions been found afloat weeks after their crew have died in the open ocean.

In the case of Purple X, however, a ship was at hand to conduct a rescue and everyone who was on the yacht is now alive and well. For a skipper, there can be no tougher decision than the one to abandon ship.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Frozen in Time

GOOG 411

When I am on the road, I rack up alot of charges calling 411 on my cell phone. I discovered a neat service from Google that does the same thing - for free! If you need a biz listing just call 1-800-GOOG-411. Say the city and state and it will give you the info you need and connect you at no charge! Give it a try!

EOS - Largest Sailing Yacht in the World

Media mogel Barry Diller has been enjoying the largest privately owned sailboat in the world. Eos is a marvel of technology and opulence. With three masts and a triple cutter rig this boat is as fast as she is expensive. Here is a short interview with a weathly man who loves boats.

B.D. I’ve been lucky that I’ve had, coursing through my life—I started with really great people, and how they developed and what’s happened to them continues to make me smile.

L.G. Explain to someone who doesn’t own a car by choice the attraction for you of yachts?

B.D. [Laughs] Well, it really has to do with water, which is either a pull for you or it isn’t. And for me it’s always been something that I can’t intellectualize, and since I’ve been in and around boats all my life, I have an inexplicable love for anything that moves through the water.

L.G. So it starts there.

B.D. Yeah, it starts and ends there. In other words, there’s no more to it than that.

L.G. But you’re purported to own the largest sailing vessel in the world now [the 300-foot-long Eos, for which Diller paid an estimated $200 million to build last year]. What’s that about? I mean, people have all kinds of theories on why rich guys buy big yachts.

B.D. I promise you, it’s not about size, it really isn’t. I mean, it’s not for me. I’ve had sailboats, and when I started to think about building a boat, I wanted to have a boat that had really good sailing characteristics and at the same time I wanted a boat that could hold my family and friends and be as comfortable as I could conceive it. And when we put those things together, it just dictated the length of the boat. It wasn’t backwards, like I said “I want the biggest boat.” It’s inconceivable that I’d say that. And I’m sure that at some point fairly soon I won’t have the biggest boat.

L.G: [Laughs] That's for sure!

B.D.: But I wanted a three-masted schooner. By definition it had three sticks in the air, it's going to be a little large, because that was the kind of sailing craft I wanted. It's not huge, Eos, and as a matter of fact one of the great things about it is its profile is not imposing, certainly not from some big white refrigerator. [Laughs] Big motor boats are usually white, and they're big, they're very imposing. That's not bad, but that's not my sailboat.

L.G.: If you like big white refrigerators!

B.D.: Whatever. Some of them are beautiful. But, you know, in this thing of boats, it's like planes. There's no justification for this, it's just I'm lucky enough that I got to build something that I had more fun than anyone deserves in building it, and now I'm having even more so in me and my family enjoying it.

L.G: Is that it for you, you think, in terms of being happy with this one for a while?

B.D.: No. I'm sure I'll get hungry for doing another boat as well at some point, another stripe of another kind. Once you're in boats, you either go bankrupt or you keep going.

Hello Febuary!

January has been a rainy, cold, soggy month here in the bay area. The good news is our rainfall totals have pushed above the normal rainfall for the year and our water managers are happy. The Sierra snowpack is also well above 100% year to date and that bodes well for our states water supply. Everyone has been fearing drought conditions as we were well behind last year and there is a slight La Nina in the equatorial waters. I guess we can all share a huge sigh of relief and thank the power of prayer for our good fortune. Speaking of religion, here is a great sign that spells things out for you.

Click the pic for a better view.