Saturday, December 27, 2008

10 Weird Aspects of Our Universe

There are so many cool things about our universe that scientists are just beginning to understand. From dark matter to the formation of planets, to the origin of our solar system, we are just scratching the surface. The Discovery Channel has put together a list of amazing discoveries that boggle the mind.

From the Archives: CG Rescue


Last Sail of the Year

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

We are heading up to the snow in few days and alas my last sail of the year took place today. And what a fine day it was in the Bay Area. Blue skies, light winds and in the low 50's. A perfect, crisp, clear winter day. My father in law loves boats and so I took him up to the boat along with my old college friend Dave ( he sailed with me over 15 times this year). The wind was 12-14 when we started heading out towards Treasure Island. Dave was at the helm and I was talking story. The breeze was down a bit so after our tack, I suggested we lock the wheel and let the boat do the driving. We have such a well balanced boat that she can be set and she will do the rest if the sails are set correctly. Sure enough, we made only one or two adjustments on the helm for the next 30 minutes. We sailed a bit more and the wind really died just as it was time to head in. I contemplate throwing up the kite but thought better of it. After further review and the wind was down to about 6-8 knots, I decided what the hell lets put her up. We rigged her up and she is a beautiful sail. Once we hoisted her, we were off on a broad reach and the boat quickly shot up to 6 knots on the meter. It was an hour of terrific sailing down the bay and we were cooking! Once around the pier we headed toward the channel and had a perfect take down and the end of our sailing year was near. We have had the Addiction for eight years now and this 27 year old boat continues to amaze me with her speed, balance and forgiveness. And I need alot of forgiving! We look forward to another great season in 2009!!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

2008 Darwin Awards (aka: Biggest Bonehead Moves on the Planet)

The Darwin Awards are given out to those individuals who are helping the gene pool by removing themselves from it. This years awards have been awarded and you can see them here.

Happy Holidays from Outer Space

Hope you'all have a cool yule and a very happy 2009! Been a while since we did a post from the new frontier so here are the top 10 space photos of 2008 according to National Geographic.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Amazing Sail!

Went out yesterday with my buddy Kona and had a fantastic sail in a 16-18k breeze. Rain was to the south of us and then to the north near Mt. Tam. Then we got a little rain, but the sun poked thru and from where I was (between Angel and Treasure) there was an brilliant double rainbow over the bay. I could see the full 180 and it was such a cool sight. It gave me a chill and hope for the New Year! The boat was sailing very flat so my buddy Kona went up and spread out on the dodger. He was loving the breeze and so was I. It has been a fantastic year of sailing and enjoying friends on the bay and in the delta. From my sail in February with gusts over 50 knots, to 5 days in the delta, sailing on a 58 foot cat in the BVI's for a week, fireworks on the boat after a Giants game, KABOOM on the bay, a few spinnaker runs, taking Kona out on his first sail, spreading Sierra's (our former Golden) ashes out near the Golden Gate Bridge, and tons of solo sails that recharged the soul. 2008 has been another awesome year on the bay!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Dolphin Stampede

Dolphins Clip - video powered by Metacafe

Stolen from Mr Boat.

Sven Travels the World on a 19' Sailboat

Sven Lundin started cruising before cruising was cool. He has been fascinated by boats since he was a small child in the 40's. He would design and build a boat at the drop of a hat. He would pull into port, meet a fine lady and sail away to Cape Horn or wherever he liked. Keeping it simple allowed him to travel the world without a care. In 1980, he was awarded the Seamanship Award from the Royal Cruising Club on their 100th anniversary. Check out his pics page and then read his journal for a amazing story of a man who lived life to the fullest by living simply and as one with his boat.

l'Hydroptere Hits 61 Knots, Then Capsizes!

We have been following this boat for a long time and they finally hit the big time. Only a little too big! After a spectacular run well past the 50 knot barrier, the boat capsized in spectacular fashion and will be towed in for repairs. Luckily no one was hurt seriously and they should be back at it in January. No video of the massive wipeout yet but this will wet your appetite.

172 Foot Dive

That Sinking Feeling

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Robin Williams on the Election

We don't do much on politics on this blog, but this was too funny. Enjoy!

Bonehead Move of the Year (and maybe the decade!)

Click the pic for a better view.

This award is not given out without a lot of thought and attention to detail. We do not give it out on an annual basis, but only when an act that is deserving and truly bonehead in nature. The 2008 Bonehead of the Year goes to: The sailors on the boat "Stand-By" who ran into one of the largest sailing yachts in the world, the Maltese Falcon (at 289 feet) in the San Francisco Bay in October. The Falcon was cruising the bay one glorious afternoon when Stand-by inexplicably rammed the Falcon. Here is what the owner, Tom Perkins, and others had to say about the incident, "A few minutes before this photo sequence was taken, the Falcon had turned to port, to give the right of way to the smaller yacht, which was to leeward on the starboard tack. The Stand-By was originally on a roughly reciprocal course to that of the Falcon. Prior to the photos shown here, Stand-By was bearing away, and the two yachts were on safe courses to pass roughly with a distance of 200 feet separation. After Stand-By had sailed past the Falcon's bow, the smaller vessel suddenly rounded up, possibly to tack in order to follow the Falcon, when she lost control. With her main sheeted hard in, the smaller boat was unable to bear away to avoid a collision. A San Francisco Bay Pilot was on the Falcon's bridge overseeing the Falcon's course at all times. The pilot is also an experienced sailor and sailboat owner. Because of the Falcon's tonnage, a licensed pilot is required whenever the yacht is underway, approaching, or inside the Bay. The Stand-By did not stop after the collision. The Falcon furled her sails and pursued the 40-footer under power, in order to determine her name and registration number. The pilot radioed the U.S. Coast Guard, which intercepted Stand-By and boarded her. The accident was caused by Stand-By's sudden change of course, which was much too quick to permit the Falcon to respond. The Falcon sustained damage to hull, capping rail, superstructure and main lower topsail, but fortunately there were no injuries to persons aboard either vessel."

We spoke to others who were aboard Falcon, such as Tad Lacey, who has been sailing and racing the Bay for more than 50 years, and they were dumbfounded at what happened. Lacey and the others said the boats were passing with no problem until Stand-By suddenly luffed up.

To add to this bonehead move, the folks on Stand-By tried to run and were tracked down by the Coast Guard and arrested. They were seen being taken away in handcuffs. Amazing! To my knowledge the folks on Stand-By never came forward to tell their side of the story. If anyone heard it, please pass it along.

If you are interested in seeing some interior pics of the Falcon, click here.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Head is in Cali, Heart is in BVI

Still thinking about our amazing trip to the BVI's last spring. The warm azure waters, the cold beverages and the sailing on a beautiful cat with my wife and family. This vid takes me back to the times we shared and loved!! Let's go back soon!

Linux Based Sailboat to Cross the Atlantic

Few types of transport require as much thinking per mile as sailing. The sailor has to measure the speed and direction of both the water and the wind, which can constantly change, and then manage an array of sails and underwater hydrofoils at the correct angles to create motion in the desired direction. Navigation is its own challenge too, as it's impossible to sail directly into the wind and boats must 'tack' forward in zigzag patterns to make progress. All of which makes it quite remarkable that a group of European enthusiasts have created a Linux-brained autonomous sailboat bristling with sensors and capable of working its way around pre-set race courses or sailing to pretty much any nautical destination without any human intervention. Earlier this year, the ASV 'Roboat' became the first world robotic sailing champion at an event in Austria.

The ASV Roboat is a 3.75m Laerling - a beginner's sailboat that has been adapted to become a completely autonomous sailing vessel Boats-for-Busy-Sailors . The Laerling design was chosen because of its 60kg keel ballast and large, buoyant foam-filled body, which combine to make it very difficult to tip over and virtually unsinkable.

The 800MHz/512 MB Mini-ITX computer controlling the Roboat runs a Linux operating system and a control software suite using Java and C++. Onboard sensors bring in GPS Global Positioning System data for position and speed over ground, speed through water, ultrasonic wind speed and direction data, tilt-compensated compass , humidity, air and water temperature and water depth.

Solar panels make the Roboat largely energy-independent, although there's a direct methanol Charging-Ahead fuel cell to top up the batteries as a backup.

Once destination parameters are entered, the Roboat calculates and recalculates its route depending on the constant stream of data it receives. Chain-drive motors operate the mainsail, jib, rudder and boom to sail the boat to its destination.

The device has already proven itself able to take on short course race circuits effectively, winning the first World Robotic Sailing Championship against entries from Britain, Canada and Portugal earlier this year in Austria. The ASV team are planning a more ambitious voyage in the near future, looking to set the fastest time between Europe and the Caribbean, an eight-week journey of around 4,000 miles.

Competitive sailing is a highly intellectual sport that requires competitors to take all the available information and make solid decisions and calculated risks against what the opposition is doing. It's almost like a game of chess on water - and now that computer-controlled boats are proving themselves able to navigate the seas, it's only a matter of software and hardware upgrading until we see the first 'Deep Blue' of the deep blue sea, a boat capable of autonomously defeating the world's best sailors in an ancient battle of wits and wills. Could the America's Cup one day be taken by a robot entry? It seems an outrageous idea, but perhaps it's only a matter of good coding.

Loz Blain

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Winter Cruise

I just returned from a wonderful three day sojourn on the bay with my 5 month old puppy, Kona. The weather was due to get rainy and cold but we managed to stay dry and out of the wet stuff for the most part. We arrived up at the boat on Sunday evening and I turned on our little heater and it was cozy in no time. Watched the movie Wall E but soon was drifting off to sleep. It rained very hard a few times during the night. Kona was up and ready at 7am so we went for a walk in Emeryville. I could see the rain coming in and soon a big bolt of lighting greeted us and with it crashing thunder. We headed back to the warmth of the boat as it started to rain. After breakfast, another walk to get Kona tired. The wind was up and we cast off our lines bound for Sausalito. The wind was from the north so we were able to raise the sails quickly and head out. Once around the 2 mile long Berkeley Pier, we really took off and headed towards Racoon Strait. There was some big dark clouds headed our way so we headed north to avoid them. As I looked back, I could see the rain falling on the central bay but not on us. We headed towards Sams in Tiburon so Kona could take a little walk. As soon as we were back on board, it rained very hard. I had a little lunch and then the rain passed and we headed out again. We were able to sail right into the channel and very close to the slip I had on hold for the night. As soon as we tied up...rain again. We dodged the bullet twice in the last hour. After the rain ended, I took Kona to the beach and he loved it. Fetching his favorite ball was a treat. We headed back to the boat before more rain came and settled in for the night. I was tired and so after dinner took a nap that lasted to midnight. I need to get Kona out so we went for a little midnight stroll. Up in the morning, we took a nice walk to the next marina. It was blowing so we headed back to the boat to take off. Got out in the channel and put up the sails for a very nice sail towards the Gate. The wind direction changed and we bore off towards the city. I had been wanting to check out a new pier near the Ferry Building. We found Pier 1.5 and tied up. The wind was coming from the north east so it was very bouncy inside. We took a short walk and then returned. I was to meet with my sail buddy Dave at 5:30 so I needed to head back to Emeryville. The wind was blowing 25-30 and the waves were big. Had to tack many times but finally worked my way back. Kona was so good. Got back in and rested before Dave arrived. We talked and had some wine and then headed off to dinner at Chevy's. Had a very good time and was back in bed by 10pm.
It was crystal clear and the wind was blowing when we went for our morning walk. I had thought I would have a restful morning getting the boat back in shape. With such a beautiful day and wind, let's go sailing. We headed out in a light breeze at sunrise and soon we were doing over six knots in 10-12knot winds. We made it to Racoon in no time and set the hook just of Tiburon Point. Had a nice blueberry pancake breakfast and then headed back. Not much wind at first but then we were hitting 7 knots on the speedo. So glad we went out as it was so nice to be on the boat in such nice winds. Got back around noon and cleaned up and then headed home. This was my fourth winter cruise and one of the best! Kona you were awesome except when you got spooked by a bird and almost tripped me to the ground!

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Evolution of Tow-in Surfing According to Laird

There are extreme athletes and then there is Laird Hamilton. The king of tow in surfing, he has circled the world in search of the biggest, wildest waves on the planet. Turns out they were in his back yard on Maui at Jaws. Laird is an icon of surfing and is thriving in big wave surf. He goal is to successfully ride a 100 foot wave...or two.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Mav's Goes Off

As most of you know, Maverick's (about 30 miles south of San Francisco) is the home of some of the heaviest, meanest waves on the planet. A pacific storm brought an immense swell to the region the last weekend of November. It was a great day for all and you can watch it here. Mav's is also the site of the big wave contest "Men Who Ride Mountains". The contest is in jeopardy due to lack of sponsors. I'm sure they will pull something together but there may not be a paycheck at the end of the day. Anywho, enjoy the waves and here is your tip of the day: Never turn your back on the ocean! We lost a few that weekend on the coast as the waves were very dangerous.

The Gate

The Greatest Sailing Stories Ever Told

Google is archiving thousands of great books for your reading pleasure. Many of them are still in copyright mode so you won't see the whole book. You can get a taste with some great stories from the sea in the above titled book. With authors such as Tristan Jones, Joshua Slocum, William F. Buckley and many more.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

How Titanic was Filmed

King Of The World - Titanic - Watch more amazing videos here

She is the Lifeboat of my Mind, Body and Spirit

As I watch the value of my investments wither, lament my diminishing net worth, and listen to news of worse to come, I am gladdened to remind myself that, among my many ventures, I deigned to own a little boat. Though her value tallies poorly on my accountant’s balance sheet, whenever I cast off from the dock under a press of sail, the dividends come tumbling in. The follies of greed, avarice and envy vanish in her wake. I am lifted free of all petty concerns. She is the lifeboat for my body, mind and spirit. As for the accountants, financial advisors and other bean counters, I say damn their eyes! She is my one truly recession-proof investment.

Marc Hersch
Songline, J/42
Santa Cruz / Ventura

From: Latitude 38

King of the World.....Not


Monday, December 08, 2008

America's Cup 1977

Watch CBS Videos Online

100 Goals in 100 Weeks

What if you wanted to change your life and completely start over. Sell everything you own, move from where ever you live, leave the people you love. He is one man's attempt. So instead of doing nothing he decided on 100 Goals in 100 Weeks. From visiting famous places to learning the harmonica, he has an impressive list. See it here.

Top Ten List of Everything - 2008

Time Mag has put together and amazing array of top ten lists for this year. From pictures to videos, photos, you name it they have the list Check it here.


Saturday, December 06, 2008

Shreddin' St. Mark's in Venice

If you have ever been to Venice, you know St. Marks is the place for some music, a gelato and an espresso. This week, the town was hit by high tides that took the water up to knee high levels. Check out this vid of a wakeboarder taking advantage of the high tides.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Classic Plastic - Catalina 30

Designer and builder Frank Butler is in many ways a contradiction in terms. On the one hand he ís an innovator and a risk taker. On the other, he takes those risks and uses those innovations to build boats for the common man; good solid boats that combine performance and comfort without costing an arm and a leg.

This design philosophy is perhaps best expressed in the Catalina 30, a racer-cruiser that set the trend for many of today's most successful lines and is itself still going strong after a production run of 25 years and more than 6,500 boats.

Introduced in 1975, the Catalina 30 was intended to "offer more for less" in a way that had never been done before. Butler gave the boat extra beam and freeboard for accommodations as well the option of a standard or tall rig, and deep and shoal-draft keels for different performance characteristics.

Inside, he used the then cutting-edge practice of installing hull liners with premolded berths and seats to create even more space, and moved the engine compartment closer to amidships to open up room for a large double quarterberth on the starboard side.

Compared to today's performance cruisers, the dimensions of the Catalina are fairly conservative. But at the time, Butler was venturing into unknown territory, and in doing so pulled off a real coup, creating a boat that was new and different but still "yare."

He also created, in many ways a dark-horse speedster, a boat that, while comfortable, is winning races in both one-design and handicapped fleets to this very day.

Within months of its introduction, one of the very first Catalina 30s sailed to back-to-back victories at the Newport-Ensenada and Marina Del Ray-to-San Diego races, under the old LOR rule. The Catalina National Regatta regularly draws up to three dozen boats. The Catalina 30 La Maria won its division at the 2000 Southern California PHRF Championship regatta held by the Southern California Yachting Association (SCYA).

"The boat has probably been out designed with new materials on newer boats, but we're still pleased with its performance," said Catalina's long-time production chief Gerry Douglas. Thousands of Catalina 30 owners couldnít agree more.

Todays Catalina 30 Mark III comes equipped with a walk-through transom, a redesigned rudder, and 1-shaped cockpit; the earlier shoal-draft fin has been replaced with a shallow winged keel. Beyond that, however, the 21st- century version of the Catalina 30 is essentially the same as the boat that rolled off the production line a quarter century ago, with an identical canoe body, deep keel and rig that makes it class compliant for one-design racing against other boats that are more than two decades old.

Catalina Yachts has a policy of never discontinuing a model as long as there's a demand for it, which means this milestone in yacht design is far from a museum piece.

"As long as people keep buying them, weíll keep building them," Douglas said, of Catalinaís attitude toward the venerable 30. Butler himself said he never likes to "kill" a design unless absolutely necessary."The boat has always been one of my favorites," he said. "You can make a lot of mistakes on her and she'll forgive you. She loves heavy air."

Clearly, it's a good thing the practical and affordable Catalina 30 will be introducing sailors to both cruising and racing for years to come.

-Adam Cart, SAILING Magazine

Thursday, December 04, 2008

50 Thousand Hits

My Golden Retriever Kona at four months in the hills near my house at sunset. Click the pic for a better view.

Looks like the old counter will hit 50k in the next week or so. Thanks to my many readers for checking out the site and for all the comments and encouragement over the years. I have had a ton of fun putting together this blog and have learned alot too. Sailing (and blogging).... has been berry berry good to me! Keep the bonehead moves coming!

It's a Bird, it's a Plane....

No it's the Vestas Sailrocket just after they had set the world speed record for a sailboat of 47.4 knots over the 500 meter course. Their high speed was 51.7.

“As soon as the whole nose lifted I thought ‘oh s**t... we had discussed the possibility of this and here we are’. The nose just kept coming up and I was pure and simply flying. No noise, no spray... she just kept going up until I was vertical. I waited for an impact but there was none. When she went fully inverted and there was still no impact I knew I was a long way least the height of the rig. At this stage I thought ‘when she hits upside down... get out as soon as you can’. She slammed down hard and despite a few bruises and a smashed helmet... I was out of that cockpit in a flash. It was pretty gutting but then it comes with the turf. We are sailing prototype craft to new extremes here. The team will gather round and we will be back in action as soon as possible. I have no doubt that with a few tweaks to the geometry we could have absolutely smashed the outright and nautical mile records(having done 1000 meters at 46.4 knots). The dream is real!”

For more info including pictures and vids, click here.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Gettin' Some Air

Click here for an amazing video of a snow kiter getting some airtime in the mountains.

Sign of the Day

Click the pic to read the sign.

Edmund Fitzgerald, November, 1975 - A Dedication

Airplane Hits Sailboat!

They say good seamanship means good preparation - but there are just some things a sailor can't prepare for! 'It was a really strange experience,' said the Skipper in a masterpiece of understatement. An aircraft had just hit the mast of Edward Allen's 37ft yacht Windseeker, as he sailed it south to the David Island Yacht Club in Tampa, Florida yesterday.

A local plastic surgeon and his nineteen year old companion were injured when their aircraft crash landed on the Peter O. Knight airport on the islands. After hitting the sailing boat, the aircraft hit the seawall and flipped, landing on grassy airport property, shy of the runway, according to local fire rescuers.

'The first thing I knew anything was wrong was when the rig started coming down,' Allen said. 'At 5 or 6 knots of boat speed, you can't do a lot of maneuvering.'

He said the plane struck the mast of the the 1984 built Windseeker about 10 feet down. No one aboard the boat was hurt, but the crash caused significant damage to the mast, the sail and other equipment.

Allen said he often sees planes fly overhead when passing the airport, but 'they're normally a couple hundred feet higher.' Allen said it appeared the plane's nose or wheels hit the seawall. 'It flipped upside-down and just slammed into the grass,' he said.

A crowd gathered as the two occupants of the aircraft crawled out of the wreckage, one with an injured hand, the other with a broken leg. 'They were very lucky,' observed one of the onlookers who came to their assistance.

Editor's note: I don't make these stories up...I just report them!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Fish Story

Bill Driver, who lives in Wichita, KS, saw a ball bouncing around kind of strange in the lake and went to investigate.

It turned out to be a flathead catfish who had obviously tried to swallow a basketball which became stuck in its mouth!!

The fish was totally exhausted from trying to dive, but unable to because the ball would always bring him back up to the surface.

Bill tried numerous times to get the ball out, but was unsuccessful. He finally had his wife, Pam, cut the ball in order to deflate it and release the hungry catfish.

You probably wouldn't have believed this, if you hadn't seen the following picture...

Simpsons Poke Fun at Apple

How Many Do You Count?