Thursday, October 30, 2008

Diver Swims 12 Hours in Strong Currents

FIJI - A tourist battled an all-night ordeal swimming 10 kilometres in shark-infested waters near Vanua Levu for about 12 hours before reaching land in Taveuni.

Thomas Holz, 40, of Berlin in Germany, said he was a lucky man to have survived the strong currents of Somosomo Strait between Taveuni and Vanua Levu.

"I felt alone and couldn't stop thinking of my family back in Germany, my wife and children and how they would be devastated if I didn't make it. That gave me the strength to keep on swimming," Mr Holz said.

Mr Holz and three other tourists holidaying on Taveuni were part of a diving outing organised by Bubble Divers at the Rainbow Reef near Viani Bay in Vanua Levu at 5pm.

Twenty-five minutes into the dive, he surfaced for air after exhausting his oxygen supply.

"The dive master told me to hold on where I was while he dived for the remaining three who had also run out of oxygen," Mr Holz said.

"The boat was about 100 feet away and I could see it on the horizon but couldn't swim for it because the currents were too strong."

Police spokesman Atunaisa Sokomuri said when the dive master resurfaced a few minutes later with the other tourists, Mr Holz was nowhere to be found.

"They searched until 9pm and called it off and started again at 5am yesterday," Mr Sokomuri said.

Mr Holz said he could hear the sound of the boat engine but it was far away and he could hardly see through the dark.

"I could see lights at a place in Vanua Levu but was worried if I swam for it I would wash up in an isolated place with no one around to help so I swam for Taveuni which, although further off, was more populated," he said.

"I felt alone so I decided to swim slowly to balance my energy so that I could last.

"The currents were strong and my main fear was for my family in Germany. Even though I was tired, I hung on to the oxygen cylinder and kept swimming. Then early this morning (yesterday), I felt the seabed and just screamed out for help before I collapsed on the shore."

A woman from a nearby settlement at Wairiki heard Mr Holz's shout for help and rushed to the shore.

She helped him to the safety of a home where he recounted his ordeal.

When The Fiji Times called Mr Holz at about midday, he was revived and on an eco tour.

"I am feeling tired and although the experience was scary, it is something I won't forget," he said.

iPod Jacket for Sailors

Sailing is Better Than Sex

THOSE WHO participate in it regularly know that sailing is wonderful, even better than sex. If you’re not a sailor, you might find that hard to believe, but it’s true. Here’s the proof:
• You never have to hide your Sailing magazines.
• It’s perfectly acceptable to Sail with a professional.
• There’s nothing in the Ten Commandments that discourages Sailing.
• When your partner videotapes you Sailing, you don’t have to worry that it will show up on the Internet.
• Your Sailing partner won’t quiz you about people you Sailed with before you were married. Or after.
• It’s quite OK to Sail with a perfect stranger.
• When you meet a really good Sailor in a bar, you needn’t feel guilty about imagining the two of you Sailing together.
• There’s no danger whatsoever that if you Sail by yourself you’ll grow hair on your palms or go blind.
• You can have a Sailing calendar at work without precipitating a sexual harassment suit.
• There are no known Sailing-transmitted diseases.
• When your Sailing partner insists you bring protection, any old anorak will do.
• Nobody expects you to Sail with one partner for the rest of your life.
• You never have to wonder next morning if your Sailing partner still loves you after a one-night Sail.
• Nobody slaps your face if you ask: “Do you Sail?”
• Your Sailing partner will never say, “Not again! We just Sailed last week, for goodness’ sake! Is that all you ever think about?”

Monday, October 27, 2008

If it Swells, Ride it!

Sail Power

In recent months we had Erden Eurc and Roz Savage row across the Pacific. The next person has a bit different take on the jump across the pond. Anne Quemere will attempt to use a sail to power her small craft across. She has been attempting to depart from SF but the winds have been light due to summer like weather that has dominated the area for the last two weeks. Today we have some fog so this may be her chance. It seems kind of late in the year from my perspective as storms will start marching down from the north shortly. We here at H2uh0 wish her a safe and speedy crossing!. Visit her website for more info.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


My new pup Kona was out on the boat a few days ago and I think he liked it. He is about 16 weeks old and a handful. He is a golden retriever from a famous line up north. Both mom and dad are champions so he is a smart one. We have many adventures in the future but this was a nice start for him. Welcome aboard, Kona!

Branson Bails

Virgin Money put on the brakes on their attempt to cross the Atlantic after a 40 foot wave slammed the boat and tore things up, including the mainsail. No one was hurt as everyone was harnessed in. Can you imagine how fast this 100' rocket must have been going with winds in the 50's and waves 40' and higher? Here is what the skipper had to say. "We’ve just experienced a night from hell when Virgin Money was struck by a massive wave from behind – washing one of our life rafts over board, damaging the spinnaker and devastatingly tearing a massive hole in our mainsail. Luckily all of the crew were harnessed in and no one was swept overboard, which is all that matters at the end of the day." They were really pushing the upper limits with this attempt as they waited three months for the right weather window. The low pressure systems they were trying to skirt were massive and too much for the boat. Plus he did this with his two 20 something kids aboard. The whole thing was a very large crap shoot and mother nature wins again!

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Evoluton of the Wipeout

Take some of the best surf movies of the last 40 years and put their best wipeouts on one video. From Pipeline to Teahupoo, these are some classic wipeouts. Notice the waves get bigger as the film moves towards the later flicks. Enjoy.

One More:

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Do Dream in B&W or Color?

Seems those of us who grew up with B&W TV's dream in monochrome and those that grew up with color TV's dream in color. How about you? Read the article here.


Sir Richard Branson is attempting to break the trans Atlantic record of 6 days and change on the mighty Virginmoney (ex Speedboat) 100 foot monohull. This isn't a boat, it's a rocketship! Capable of over 45 knots in a breeze, she is trying to skirt major low pressure systems and with some luck they may just do it. Check the vid if you have a need for speed!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Kite Foil

Got Luck?

I can see my house from here!

Amazing Shot

Click the pic for a much larger view of this unbelievable shot of the Maltese Falcon near the southern tip of Angel Island - pic taken by George Dapsevicius via Sailing Anarchy!

Last week we had a major fire on Angel Island that burned a good portion of the most beautiful island on the bay. The worlds largest sailboat was near by and this spectacular shot was taken. We sailed around the island yesterday and from our view point most of the island was spared and the portions that were burned should come back quickly. The island opened today with limited access. Judging by my wind speed gauge on the right of the page, they are still having power issues. Sailing to the island for an afternoon bocce game is a favorite event of some of our crews on the Addiction.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Very Wonderful

Looks like Live, Sail, Die has their own billboard?

New Lifesaving Gizmo

World Wide Telescope

The final frontier got a bit closer today as Microsoft Corp. officially launched the public beta of its WorldWide Telescope, which is now available at WorldWide Telescope is a rich Web application that brings together imagery from the best ground- and space-based observatories across the world to allow people to easily explore the night sky through their computers. WorldWide Telescope has been eagerly anticipated by the astronomical and educational communities as a compelling astronomical resource for students and lifelong learners, and as a way to make science fun for children.

“The WorldWide Telescope is a powerful tool for science and education that makes it possible for everyone to explore the universe,” said Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft. “By combining terabytes of incredible imagery and data with easy-to-use software for viewing and moving through all that information, the WorldWide Telescope opens the door to new ways to see and experience the wonders of space. Our hope is that it will inspire young people to explore astronomy and science, and help researchers in their quest to better understand the universe.”

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Southern Ocean

Christmas Day in the raging waters of the Southern Ocean, and Raphael Dinelli is hunkered alone in his cabin, hanging on against what will be either baptism or last rites in these cold, violent seas. It's not up to him anymore. He is somewhere near the midpoint of a single-handed around-the-world yacht race called the Vendïe Globe: a 26,000-mile run from Les Sables d'Olonne, France, and back, no stops allowed, you and your boat for more than three months against the worst the open ocean can roil up. And this is the worst. Out of 15 boats in this unlucky race, four will sink in these empty latitudes. Dinelli's will be the first. He is 1,200 miles southwest of Australia, barely a thousand miles north of Antarctica, in the midst of a trashing that his 60-foot sloop, Algimouss, will not survive.

Fifty-knot winds (about 58 miles per hour) have rolled him twice, laid his sails in the water for minutes at a time while 50-foot breakers collapse, burying him again and again in an avalanche of ice water. In a last telex to race headquarters in France he says that the seas are "smoking" as the wind tears the breaking wave tops into driving clouds of mist, that he has all sails down and two sea anchors astern in a vain attempt to slow the terrifying speeds at which he is hurtling down the sheer wave faces. Finally, in the cold, early dark of Christmas night, 1996, a huge breaker sends the 28-year-old Frenchman surfing for the last time. He watches helplessly as his speed reaches 26 knots, braces himself, and then crashes to the ceiling of his cabin as Algimouss slams into the wave trough, somersaults, and settles upside down in the torrent.

Frigid water rushes into the turtled boat through a hole torn in the deck by the shattered mast, which is levering around in the wash. Trapped, with water up to his waist, Dinelli pulls on his immersion suit, gathers survival supplies, and waits as waves roar and crash overhead and fuel from a ruptured tank fills the cabin with a stink that gets him puking. Three hours later, the mast breaks away, the boat comes right, and he scrambles onto the swamped deck. Under pitch-black skies, he sets off his distress beacons, inflates his life raft, and loads it with food and water, only to see the surge tear it loose of its tether and dance it away on the waves. Then, as Algimouss sinks slowly out from under him, he lashes himself to the stub of the mast, faces into the bitter wind to keep himself awake, and thinks about dying, as so many others have died, in the lonely furies of the most treacherous ocean on earth.

Continue reading here.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Dolphin Comes Aboard

Norman Howard came out of the hospital cut up, bandaged and bruised, but otherwise in remarkably good shape considering that his morning outing on a small 17-foot boat ended with a 9-foot, 400-pound dolphin in his lap.

"It was slapping me pretty, hard. It was throwing some good punches," Howard said.

The group of four had just picked up bait for fishing and was cruising in the Intracoastal Waterway when the dolphin jumped, with no warning, and there was nothing they could do to avoid it. The mammal landed across the bow, right on top of the couple sitting in the front of the boat.

"I was just trying to get it off my wife. I knew she was underneath all of it," Howard said.

Montie Henderson saw the dolphin jump, tried to stop the boat, but then had to run to get the 400-pound animal off his girlfriend's parents.

"Adrenaline was going pretty good. Just got to it and rolled it out," Henderson said.

"I turned immediately to my wife, took my shirt off, tucked it under her head, and there was blood everywhere. I didn't even notice that I was bleeding," Howard said.

The group tried to continue their cruise down the Intracoastal Waterway, but when Howard's wife Barbara started having blurred vision, they cut the trip short and met up with the Coast Guard.

"We go out on the boat all the time and I love to watch the dolphins, but to have one jump on the boat, we've just never seen it," said boater Laura Hall.

Eyewitness News asked all the agencies that work on the water, Fish and Wildlife, Beach Patrol and Coast Guard, and no one can ever remember a report of a dolphin doing this.

Sailing News Reader - Tip of the Month

I have been using Google Reader for some time now. I subscribed to a few boat blogs and it is handy to read a bunch of sailing info and blogs without having to go to multiple sites. Last night I subscribed to a bunch more and had everything at my fingertips under one heading: sailing. In other words all the latest entries from the most popular blogs and resources come up on the same "blog" if you will. To give it a try, go to and on the top you will see "Reader". Sign in or up and search sailing. You should see the most popular blogs. Subscribe to the ones you want. Click on one and on the bottom right you will see "see more from sailing", click and everything you subscribed to will open up. It's a great way to get all the news and updates in one spot! Give it a try, it's free and there is much to explore!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Wally 118 - Oh My!

What Happened to Zac?

Zac Sunderland is the brave 16 year old Californian who is currently on a solo world circumnavigation, with the aim of becoming the youngest circumnavigator. Last week he left Darwin, and all was well as he made his slow way across the Indian Ocean - until 'something' happened.

The wind stayed steady all through the night and I was making good progress. The swell picked up to about 8 feet and I was back to the climbing up and surfing down motion. Around 11:30am I was sitting in the cockpit when I saw a boat about 4 miles away.

I took a look at my radar screen and didn't see anything. I took another look at the boat. We were heading parallel to each other and would pass well clear of each other. I went down below and switched on the VHF radio and tried to hail them on Channel 16 with no luck.

I went below and got my camera and got some footage of them but it was still hard to make out who or what they were because they were still about 3 miles off. I was sitting in the cockpit watching them and suddenly they changed course. At this new angle we would hit.

I moved the autopilot over a few degrees to get out of their path. As I did they changed course dead for me again. So I'm thinking, 'I've got a ship that doesn't show up on radar with no flags and no radio response, deliberately heading straight for me 150 miles off the coast of Indonesia, a place notorious for piracy.'

I went down below and called them on the radio again and again, finally hailing them using the words 'Securite' which is the word used to alert another boat that there is possible danger. Maritime law says boats are required to respond to this call. Still no answer.

I went up to the cockpit and saw the boat was closing in fast. I turned on the engine and slammed it into gear and altered course again so as to avoid a collision and get on a faster tack. I watched the boat which I could now see was a 60-70' long wooden fishing boat that looked about ready to break up it was so old. They altered course straight for me. Read on.

Monday, October 06, 2008

T-Bonehead Move

As most of you know the Maltse Falcon is here on the SF Bay for a few weeks. Over the weekend a Nordic 40 t-boned the largest sailing vessel in the world. No this shot has not been altered. How do you miss a boat that big?? The was a maritime photographer near by and he caught the whole sequence. Amazing photos, incredible boat! Click here for the pics.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Speed Barrier of 50 Finally Broken!

Unverified reports coming from Namibia suggest that professional kite surfer Sebastien Cattelan (FRA) has finally broken the magical 50 knots barrier, the holy grail of speed sailing.

Coming into today’s event, he was struggling with an unrelated small injury, requiring him to reduce his activity. “I’ve been in bed the last three days, concentrating on what I would do today. Then I just did it,” he says. According to Cattelan, his record breaking run of today saw a maximum speed of 58 knots – 107kph – on the GPS, with an average of 54.5 knots over 200m.

The Lüderitz Speed Challenge 2008 is being held in Lüderitz, Namibia, from 15 September 2008 to 13 October 2008. This is the second edition of the event, which is running on the wind blasted coast just a few hours from Capetown.

Accompanied by several high 49 knots runs from himself, Alexandre Caizergues and Jerome Bila (all France), Cattelan was the only sailor finally getting to 50.26 knots.

Special attendance was paid to the required water depth, and the organizer in co-operation with the WSSRC commissioner present, clearly ensured that the rule was strictly applied.

Fossett's Secret Project

RICHMOND, CA (KGO) -- Millionaire Steve Fossett left behind a secret vessel that was being built right here in the Bay Area. He funded a deep sea submersible -- which, its builders say, was capable of "flying" to the bottom of the ocean.

"We were his big secret project this was to make a record dive to bottom of the planet," says Graham Hawkes, from Hawkes Ocean Technologies.

The Deep Space Challenger looks like a plane, but is actually a winged submersible - capable of diving to the lowest spot on Earth, The Mariana Trench. It is 37,000 feet below the surface and until now, the ship has been kept under wraps in a Richmond warehouse.

"It would have dramatically, dramatically opened the oceans for exploration. It would have been a game changer," said Hawkes.

Hawkes says the craft would have "flown" to the bottom of the ocean in an hour and 40 minutes and then rocketed back up. He wouldn't say what it cost to build, but it was almost ready to launch when Fossett disappeared.

"We finished testing all of the systems have been tested under pressure at the Department of Defense facilities. We were four weeks away from splashing it in," said Hawkes.

But now that Fossett has died, the project is on hold.

"Deep Flight Challenger is, I think, in my eyes, an extraordinary beautiful machine in my eyes, not like any else seen on this planet before," said Hawkes.

Hawkes owns the design, but the craft itself is owned by the Fossett estate, which has not yet decided what to do with it.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Pic of the Day

Julia Pfiefer-Burns State Park, Big Sur California
Click the pic to see the waterfall into the ocean.

I used to live in Carmel and when I found Big Sur, I found the California I had been dreaming about. Rugged mountains surround by dramatic coastline. Towering redwoods with mossy streams flowing by. Waterfalls and hot springs side by side. Amazing beaches that stretch for miles with no one in sight. Friendly people that care about nature. I was there in January and visited Esalon for a soak in their tubs overlooking the coast. Since then there have been some major fires that have burned many 1000's of acres. There is still much beauty to be seen and the forest will return as it has done hundreds of times before. If you get a chance, go see this amazing place.

Travel Photographer

Here is a great site for water photos from an accomplished, self taught photographer. Be sure to look around. The song playing on the site is one of my fav's. "Angels Flight" from Chuck Greenberg and Shadowfax. Click here to get to the site.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Man Rides Out Ike on a Sailboat

I was talking to a fellow sailor yesterday and he recommends I make a post to share my experience riding out Ike on anchor in Galveston (Offets Bayou) so here it goes:

I decided to leave my floating dock marina in Kemah and sail south, yes, south to Galveston. Many reasons for my decision but the main one was that we were supposed to get 20+ feet of storm surge and my marina can only handle 12'. I picked Offets because the max fetch was half a mile.

I decided to try the anchoring from the stern which the designer of the Jordan Series Drogue website claims is the way to ride out a hurricane as the boat will not swing so chafe is not an issue. A friend told me it wasn't a good idea as he saw a Benny sink in doing so because the stern was pulled down and the open transom sunk the boat. I though he was just talking trash but just in case he was right, I rigged a safety release so it would swing around to the bow if needed.

Mr Jordan was right, the boat doesn't swing when anchored from the stern when using a bridal. My friend was right in that when at anchor like that, the stern is pulled down a little. In my case (Hunter 376 in 110 knots) it wasn't enough to pull it down that much, BUT it was not a good idea. The boat took way too much pounding from the waves which were a lot bigger then I thought they would be with just a third of a mile fetch (8'). Water came in through the lazarette and the companionway doors. Everything got wet down below.

I had pump problems but was very very glad I had that rule 3700 in the bildge....yes I took on a lot of water when stern to the wind but only a little as the drain of the anchor locker started to leak when bow to the wind.
I tried to turn the boat around but the lines jammed because I didn't release the bridal right. Once the eye came over, the wind dropped to 10 knots and no waves, so I turned the boat around and ran two bridals off the bow. This is the important part: half of the bridal chafe through so I was on only half of the first bridal. I didn't think shaft was going to be a problem but I forgot about the swing and the bridal rubbing on the hull (at the edge of the bow on the hull) as it swung. They say that's the reason boats don't make it on anchor or mooring because people forget about the chafe from the bow, they normally put the shaft on the toerail.

The boat did ride much more wildly when anchored from the bow but it was a much smoother pounding. HOWEVER, I now know why those people who use sea anchors loose their rudder sometimes. As you swing, it puts a ton of pressure on the rudder and keel. You can feel the pressure and maybe a little vibration. I guess with that additional backwards drift while on the sea anchor, it's just too much pressure but most comes from the swing.

I do believe I know exactly the prefect way to deal with the chafe problem as another boat near me had this setup. He had about 3' of dock lines spliced with a proper anchor splice and sleeve inside for each cleat. He cleated off the loose end and then shackled the other end to about 10' of aircraft cable which went over the anchor rollers. The other end of the cables was shackled to the rode which of course had proper spliced anchor eyes and metal sleeves. I didn't see what anchors he used but he ran them straight out like I did. He didn't budge. I did a little.

I used a Bullwagga with 200' of 5/8th rode and 50' feet of chain as the primary. The secondary anchor was 300' of 3/4 rode and 20' of chain on a fortress. Both anchors were for a 50' boat so you could say I was under two storm anchors. I think it was a good combination as the bullwagga always resets with wind direction changes. The Fortress wouldn't reset but just twist in it's spot but only because the bullwagga took a lot of strain off it so it was jerked out. The bullwagga, as always, digs in deeper as the pull on it, but for it to dig in, it "drags" so I made sure to leave lots of room. I think I dragged the first half of the storm when I was stern to the wind, about 25-50 yards. Didn't drag at all the second half with it bow to the wind.

Now the addition to his setup I would make is a very big snubber connected to the cable on the rode end and the other end connected to the hook on the bow midway up the hull from the waterline. That should take a lot of pressure off the anchor rollers and hopefully take all the load. If not, you are still protected from the shafe.

One thing I learned in this storm is that the more back systems you have, the better. Take my bridal off the bow. If I rode out the whole storm with my two bridals off the bow, I bet I would have chafed both and endded up on the rocks. The fact that I did half the storm stern to, it compensated for my lack of chafe protection in an odd place. The heavy storm winds last about 6-8 hours so anything you can do to buy time, the better.
A few more advice...clean the inside of your boat, especially the bildge. Do let dirt and other little junk get washed down into the bildge where it clogs the pumps. Also, nothing is better then a full shield motorcycle helmet in a storm. Without it, I wouldn't have been able to do anything outside. With it on, it wasn't a big deal being on deck. It muffles the sound. It keeps the saltwater out of your eyes as it's blowing sideways off the top of the waves. It blocks the wind so breathing is normal. It also protects the head just in case you get thrown. As for wet weather gear, all it does is protect the skin from the pelts. You will get soaked so have a swimsuit on under it because it dries better and you can get dry quicker when you go down below. Last advice, have lots of seasickness medicine. Sturdegen worked for me. Got that when I did the race to Mexico earlier this year. These suggestions aren't just for anchoring out during a hurricane, but for anytime you are on a boat in very rough weather.

Sorry so long but I didn't want to leave any details out so you all don't make the same mistakes I did.

BTW: Yes, I know I'm nuts to ride out a hurricane on my boat so no need to say that.