Monday, June 23, 2008

Sinking Ship

FLIP Research Vessel - The funniest videos are a click away

Slip Sliding Away

The Perfect Water

The Green Room

Chasing Waves

Humpback Rescued Near Faralons

A female humpback whale had become entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines. She was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat. She also had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her body, her tail, her torso and a line tugging in her mouth.

A fisherman spotted her just east of the Faralon Islands (outside the Golden Gate ) and radioed for help. Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so bad off, the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her...a very dangerous proposition. One slap of the tail could kill a rescuer.

They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her. When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles. She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, nudged them, and pushed gently, thanking them.

Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives. The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth says her eye was following him the whole time, and he will never be the same.

May you, and all those you love, be so be surrounded by people who will help you get untangled from the things that are binding you. And, may you always know the joy of giving and receiving gratitude.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The World's First Submersible Car

Remember that great scene in the Bond flick where Roger Moore drives his car into the water to allude his enemy. "The Spy Who Loved Me" inspired a Swiss man to develop just such a vehicle. It is equally at home on land, sea and underwater. When diving, you pull out a regulator, don a mask, and dive under water. Can you imagine you can do all this with zero emissions?? Where do I sign up? Enjoy this fun Bond like advert for the car.
So you've purchased the car, now you need some Bond gadgets like a credit card that doubles as a lock pick.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sailor in the Spotlight

One of the top sailors in the world, Sam Davies is infectiously buoyant, remarkably skilled, and well on her way to achieving rock-star status. She's become a darling of the press, the sponsors, and even her competitors. She looks like a swimsuit model, sure, but that doesn't change the fact that she's a solid, world-class competitor. And maybe more than anything else, her exuberance shows that she clearly loves every minute on the water, and truly enjoys racing.
Sam proved she's more than a pretty face again last week, by being the first Brit across the line in the Artemis Transat race. She sustained damage to her older Open 60 after hitting something which may or may not have been whale-ish, slowed down for a while, and then got right back to racing all-out, despite the damage. Hey, what are the chances of hitting TWO whales?
With that truly unsinkable drive, Sam Davies is our latest Sailor in the Spotlight. We caught up to Sam in Marblehead, MA, US.

YP: First of all Sam, congratulations. We're proud of you here at YachtPals.
Sam: Thank you, thank you. That's really kind of you. I was proud of me too [laughing].

YP: I hear you were a cruising kid, is that true?
Sam: Yeah, my Mum and Dad had a cruising boat when I was born, so... I wasn't an excuse for them to stop going sailing. I used to get tagged along with the cushions and my toys. They taught me everything I know. To enjoy it. To make roast beef and yorkshire pudding, while in a force 7 gale blow [laughing].
They had a Contessa 28 at the time. Now my Mum and Dad are living their dream. They sold everything, and now they live on a classic yacht, a 1928 racing schooner. Um, so they're more crazy than I am.
Read more here.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Increasing Winds on the Bay

I have a theory that the average wind speeds on the San Francisco Bay are on the rise. I have been sailing the bay for the past 24 years and over the last two years it has been much windier than usual. Could it be just the ebb and flo of water temps that are causing this? Could it be in a small part due to global warming? Our winds are created by a very cold ocean and a very hot Central Valley. As the wind travels down from the northwest it causes an upwelling of cold water from the deep. As the sun shines hot on the valley the hot air rises. Think of wind like a stream of water. As the hot air rises, the cold air rushes in to take its place. The bigger the difference in temperature between the two, the higher the wind speed on the bay. Then you have this big funnel as the headlands meet near the Golden Gate Bridge and this causes the wind to be even greater. If you have ever sailed thru the "slot" on a typical summer day, you know about funnels. So my theory is that because we have had higher temps in the valley over the last few years, this increases the wind speed on the bay. Usually we have wind between 20-25 knots every day from about May to September. Lately the wind has been 30-35 knots everyday. Yesterday at Angel Island it topped out at 36. Now I am just a sailor and I don't have any data to back this up but I would love to hear from any other Bay Area sailors who have noticed this. Happy sailing and tuck in another reef!

Your Turn

Sailor Survies a Night of Terror

He had no life jacket and no safety line. The boom knocked the solo sailor overboard, stunning him. Automatically he trod water in the 66deg F (18deg Celsius) Lake Erie and went on treading all night long. Twelve hours later, he was rescued - his number just wasn't up.

47 year old Paul Epp Jr., of Welland, Ontario, somehow managed to stay afloat in the lake from Saturday night until 11:45 a.m. Sunday morning when he was rescued by Canadian and U.S. authorities who had spent the entire night searching for him.

When rescuers plucked Epp from the waters, he was alert, talking, and suffering from mild hypothermia. The lake temperature off of Buffalo is 66 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. Epp was being treated today in Port Colborne General Hospital where he is expected to survive.

'He's very lucky and he was very determined to keep his head above the water and keep treading water,' said James Cox, an operational controller for the U.S. Coast Guard in Buffalo. 'His father said he was hit by the boom,' said Cox. 'He was stunned. He didn't know that he hit the water at first and he tread water all night long.'

A Good Samaritan spotted Epp clinging to a breakwall off of Port Colborne about 11:45 a.m. today and tried to reach him, but when he was unable to pull him out of the water, he notified officials.

Two helicopters, one from U.S. Coast Guard and the other from the Canadian Coast Guard, that had been in the area searching for him all night, rushed to the scene.

The U.S. helicopter arrived first, hovered over the man, and a rescue swimmer inside the aircraft tried to reach him -- but to no avail. Minutes later, the Canadian helicopter landed on the breakwall and pulled Epp out of the water. He was flown to the hospital for treatment.

'He was alert enough to give us his name and tell us the name of his boat,' said Cox. 'We were lucky that the Good Samaritan spotted him closer to land.'

The massive search, which had spanned 11 and a half hours, covered about 400 square miles of Lake Erie in the air and on the water. Epp's unoccupied sail boat was found drifting near Sunset Bay in Chautauqua County on the American side of the border at about 11:45 p.m. Saturday, but authorities now believe that Epp spent the entire night in Canadian waters.

Authorities believe Epp set sail from the Welland Canal in Port Colborne, Ont., just before 6:30 p.m. Saturday and headed south. But when he fell overboard about six-and-a-half miles from the coast, somewhere between 6:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m., he swam back to the coast, according to Cox.

Chautauqua County sheriff's deputies said their boat was patrolling Lake Erie when they found the sailboat traveling south from the Canadian waters towards the U.S.

Cox said he believes that the search team likely flew over Epp during the search, but did not see him in the darkness.

'It's a fantastic outcome,' said Cox. 'We're very lucky that he was able to stay afloat that long.'

Alinghi Wins IShares Cup

Being a cruiser at heart, I don't cover a lot of racing on my site but this is compelling stuff. In a preview of the next America's Cup, these 40' cats are capable of 40 knots in prime conditions. That's screaming! Over the past 15 years, I have enjoyed watching the AC on TV and appreciated what is took to sail these 75 foot sleds. However, when I think of the difference between the traditional AC boat and the new AC boat it's like comparing a soap box derby to a speed trial on the Bonneville Salt Flats (rocket cars travel in excess of 600 miles an hour there) in Utah. This is going to be a different world the next time the AC rolls around - hopefully 2009. Here is a nice clip of the action and if you want to get more info, go to the source.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Floyd

Click the pic for a much larger view of Pink Floyd's "back" catalog of album covers.

Someone asked me the other day, how did Pink Floyd come up with their name? My version goes something like this: The band was trying to come up with a new name for the band (they were originally called Tea Set). They were having a tough time so Sid Barrett took the first names of two old blues artists and put them together - Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. These guys are really obscure. They started with the name The Pink Floyd Sound but that was quickly changed to Pink Floyd. Back in the late 60's they were at a news conference and one of the reporters asked, "Which one is Pink?" which you will hear a reference to on the album "Wish You Were Here". And going just a little further, the album title was a reference to Sid Barrett and his departure from the band due to erratic behavior. So there is your history lesson for the day! Bonus blog points if you can name the six albums from the picture above. I can get five but can anyone tell me about the second one from the left? If you would like to find out how your favorite band got their name, click here.


Some of my favorite pictures are of sunsets. As a matter of fact, I have this cool screensaver that searches flickr for sunset pictures and displays them when the computer goes into sleep mode. You just type in whatever it is you want and viola! This free Mac software is available here.

IShares Cup

As you may know, the 33rd running of the America's Cup will feature multi hulls. They still have not determined when it will happen but the major players are all training on them. It ill be exciting to see these speedsters on the course. And the capsizes will be amazing. Here's a clip from the iShares cup and I can tell you that it can be very dangerous when you fall and hit the mast and shrouds. Good luck fellas!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Charts Online

This is cool. Some French guy did a mash up of Google maps and the NOAA charts for navigation. I was just checking out some future destinations for our Delta trip later this summer. Very easy to use. Check the site here.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Sailing To Hawaii...on Plastic Bottles

I am off for a boyz weekend in Cabo San Lucas. My friend Frank has a nice villa reserved for us. Should be way too much fun. There is a fast Cat called Spin Doctor we plan to jump on for a sunset sail on Saturday. Good times ahead! See you next week.

Monday, June 02, 2008

From the Archives - Watch more free videos

Ball Park Sail

McCovey Cove on a "busy" day.

I had plans to meet some friends at the Giants game on Friday night. Got up to the boat around 2:30 and it was blowing 20-25kts. Had a great run to Angel with the boat steering herself and me enjoying this fine day on the bay. As I tacked towards the city the wind was over 30 and I had a very small jib up along with the full main. I usually I like to have a slip at South Beach for the game but tonight they were booked up with a visiting boat club in town for the weekend. So instead, I planned to anchor in McCovey Cove (right where the homers hit the water) and then paddle to the game. I arrived about 5:30 and cleaned things up and then relaxed a little before my friends arrived. At 6:45 I paddled over and stowed the kayak and headed over to the game. The Giants ended up losing in the 13th but we were there to witness the first triple play by the Giants at home in 28 years! I said goodnight to my friends and headed back to the boat. Just as I got settled the fireworks show began just off the stern of the boat. I was able to stand at the bottom of the stairs and watch the show out of the wind. It was really spectacular! At that point I decided to spend the night in McCovey Cove. Put on some music and relaxed in the salon. Slept like a baby and then went for a sunrise sail with tea and blueberry pancakes in the cockpit as I sailed up the city front. Finished that up just as I hit the big wind line just past Pier 39 at 7am. Had a great sail home and then took a nap on the boat before I headed home at 11am. What a nice little adventure to start the weekend!