Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Amazing Rescue Outside the Gate

Last year we lost two sailors in this race. We almost lost two more in Saturdays race. Amazing story and rescue! Please read. From Latitude 38.

When longtime Sausalito resident and friend of Latitude Dave Wilhite was diagnosed with leukemia in 2004, he moved to Bellingham, WA, to be close to his parents while he waited to die. Thankfully chemo did its job and Wilhite, 51, is in full remission. "Three months ago, my doctor told me I'd die from getting hit by a bus before I died from leukemia," he told us last night. "I can't wait to tell him I almost died in a yacht race."

Wilhite says he'd been planning to do BAMA's Doublehanded Farallones Race since January. Since he doesn't own a boat on the Bay, he asked his old friend Peter Truce of San Rafael if he could borrow his 1994 J/80 Heat Wave. Truce readily agreed and Wilhite began preparing for the race. "This is a tough race," he said of the nearly 60-mile course around the Farallones and back, "and I never took it lightly." Indeed, he was meticulous in his preparation of Heat Wave and himself, putting together safety gear, working on the boat and recruiting an excellent crewmember.

Wilhite met Dave Servais, 24, while racing on Puget Sound. After Servais moved to San Diego to pursue his goal of being a professional sailor — he's a professional rigger and has taught at J/World — the two kept in touch. When it came time to choose crew for the race, Wilhite immediately contacted Servais, who immediately said yes. "We've only known each other a couple of years," he notes, "but we have really great communication and sail well together."

As noted in the lead story, for most racers, the DHF was a total bust. But a handful held on, including Wilhite and Servais. "I'd spent too much time and money on this race just to bail out," Wilhite said. So the pair stuck it out with a group of five or six other boats until the wind filled in. On the way back from the rocks, Wilhite reports wind in the low-20s with gusts to 30. A little higher than forecast but not dangerous.

"By a little after 8 p.m., we were beam reaching under jib and a reefed main," Wilhite recalls. He noted the waves were 12-14 feet with a fairly long period between, a fact the Coast Guard confirmed, though they put the wind speed closer to 40 knots. "Dave (Servais) was setting us up on a wave, reaching across it, when we heard a whuump," said Wilhite. "The helm turned to slush, the boat slowed and the wave we were shooting broke over us. Then we heard a cracking sound like a tree falling over — that was the sound of the keel ripping off."

The boat immediately turned turtle, submerging the pair, who were tethered to the boat and wearing PFDs. Wilhite had a short tether while Servais was attached with a long tether. Once the boat settled and they popped up, Wilhite realized his tether was keeping him too close to the water so he pulled out the knife he had stowed in his pocket and cut himself free. "It was weird not to be attached to the boat," he said. "Dave was holding onto the rudder and there was nothing else to grab, so I held onto the lifelines underwater. My hands are really cramped and cut up today."

It was then that they noticed why they had flipped — nothing at all was left of the keel. "It ripped off at the root," Wilhite said. "The only thing sticking out of the bottom of the boat was the bilge pump." He says he has no idea why the keel fell off — "It's not something you're prepared for" — saying there was no evidence they'd hit anything. Some wonder if it's possible they hit a large sea mammal that was moving in the same direction, but the question quickly becomes irrelevant when you're holding on for your life in the North Pacific.

Just moments after getting their bearings, the duo realized a Moore 24 — they have no idea which one — was screaming by about 100 yards away. They yelled but went unheard. "My first thought was, 'Oh my God, we're going to die.'" Instead of panicking, the two experienced sailors discussed their options. They had a knife and a compact but powerful waterproof LED flashlight that Wilhite had stowed in his pocket. But without a way to communicate, things would turn ugly fast.

Wilhite knew there was a waterproof handheld VHF in a sheet bag in the submerged cockpit. "I was presented with a choice," Wilhite said. "I remembered a line from Shawshank Redemption: 'Get busy living or get busy dying.'" So he took a deep breath, let go of the lifeline and swam back under the boat!

Let's pause for a moment to let that sink in. In 12- to 14-ft seas with 40-knot winds, this man with a pair of cojones the size of Texas and Alaska combined, let go of a perfectly good boat to swim back under it. If you're looking for a modern-day hero, look no farther than Dave Wilhite.

Miraculously, the VHF didn't fall out of the sheet bag when the boat flipped. Once Wilhite resurfaced, Servais, who'd managed to pull himself mostly out of the water, took over communications with the Coast Guard, calling a mayday around 8:23 p.m. Servais told the Coast Guard their approximate location — eight miles from the Gate — and that they were near a couple of Moore 24s. The pilot boat California was near the scene and began searching. Two USCG rescue boats and a helo were dispatched as well.

The crew of California were first to spot Heat Wave, guiding the rescue boats to them. "I was watching the helo work a grid with a spotlight coming right at us," Wilhite recalls. "I turned around and the pilot boat was right there. I wasn't going to wait, so I swam over to them." It took a couple throws of the LifeSling but Wilhite was ultimately pulled aboard California "like a wet seal." One of the Coast Guard rescue boats plucked Servais from the water a minute later. The time was 9:15 p.m.

"When I taught sailing on the Bay years ago," Wilhite recalls, "I told my students they had 45 minutes to live if they fell overboard. I was in the water for more than an hour." He credits wearing high-tech gear and calming himself down for saving his life. "After I realized I wasn't going to get on top of the boat, I just hung out and conserved energy."

Wilhite also commends the Coast Guard and crew of California for their amazing rescue efforts — finding a capsized, keel-less, dark blue, 26-ft hull in big seas eight miles offshore on an ebb tide in the pitch dark. Both Wilhite and Servais suffered hypothermia — Wilhite's being more serious — but were treated and released from the hospital the same night. Both are back at their respective homes, no doubt telling their story to many relieved friends and family. There is no word on Heat Wave's whereabouts, though Wilhite reports it was insured.

"This was the second toughest contest of my life," Wilhite says. "What's ironic is that I wanted to do this race to prove to myself that I was alive. It would have been sad if I'd died, but I've lived a damn good life. It wouldn't have been a stupid way to go." For those of us listening to the radio on Saturday night, and for those who know Dave Wilhite and Dave Servais, we can say that we're beyond thrilled that it turned out the way it did.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Breaking 50 Knots

Sandy Point, Australia - Last year, the 50 knot (average over 500m) barrier was broken by a sailing craft, but not a boat. This week, an Australian team was able to break the 50 knot barrier aboard Macquarie Innovation, to become the fastest sailing boat in history*. In only 24 knot winds at Sandy Point, Macquarie Innovation averaged 50.43 knots over the 500 meter speed sailing course, and reached a top speed of 54.23 knots. After some fact-checking with both the WSSRC and the team, it looks like the 50.43 number is high, and that once adjustments are made for tidal movement, the official speed will be in the neighborhood of 50.08 knots (we won't have the true number for some weeks to come). So the 50 knot barrier seems to have been broken, finally, by a boat, but some are posing the question as to weather this, SailRocket, Wot Rocket and similar designs are actually "boats" at all. Well, yes they are.

Generally speaking, you get ON a watercraft, but you get IN a boat. So, a kite-board is not a boat, but it is a watercraft, and a sailing craft. Lasers? Sunfish? If it's got a footwell or a cockpit, it's a boat. Common wisdom also lends itself to the definition of a yacht: A yacht is a private boat with in-cabin accommodations for sleeping and cooking, however spartan. Thus, a Flicka is a yacht, and despite its larger size, an Extreme 40 is a boat. That's pretty much the accepted definition (though it sometimes blurs a bit), and nobody really cares to nitpick, until it comes time for record-making.

So, to end the confusion: Since it has a cockpit, Macquarie Innovation is a boat - the fastest sailing boat there is*. The fastest man under sail is Alexandre Caizergues, whose sailing craft was not a boat, but made 50.57 knots over 500 meters. The fastest yacht in the world is the hydrofoil trimaran l'Hydroptere, which averaged 46.88 knots over 500m. Thus, there are three different records: Fastest boat, fastest yacht, and fastest person under sail. Got it? Good, now if someone were to waterski barefoot behind a kite at 60 knots, what would that mean?

Weekend Adventure

Took off after dinner on Thursday night. The wind was near perfect for a night sail. All alone at night in the bay is a wonderful thing. Lots of stars and nobody but me on the bay. The Berkeley Pier is my biggest worry but with charts loaded and my GPS on, I have alot of confidence. Sailed for about three hours and loved it.

The next morning was gourgous and I met up with my friend Andy who came down from Tahoe. We hooked up around 11am and took off for Sausalitlo. The wind was in the low 20's and we wanted to take it easy so we went with the jib up. Very few boats out on this Friday so we just took our time and enjoyed the scene. At one point Andy mentioned that to tell someone you were sailing on the bay who had never seen it before would have little meaning to them. To actually be sailing the bay in one of the most beautiful places in the world, was breath taking. Well said my friend! We had an amazing sail and time flew as we tacked closer to our destination. We arrived about 4:30 and took off on kayacks for a houseboat tour. Had a nice dinner in the cockpit with some famous portobello mushrooms off the grill. We jumped on our bikes about 9pm and headed out for some music. Someone directed us to a neat little itailian bar and some local studio musicians were sittin' in for a jam. They were great with some fun music from 4 Non Blondes. We headed back and hit the hay. Slept in a bit and then hit the water about 8:30am for the sail home. Had some wind so we sailed and had a nice omlet in the cockpit. Home about 11 and what a great trip it was!!


The Human JetCat - video powered by Metacafe

Glacier Surfing

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Enjoy this Spring Weekend with a Sail

Click the pic for a much larger view.

I am off for a sailing adventure to Sausalito. Now get out there and have some fun!

50 Day Sails a Year

As I walked about the Yacht Basin Marina in Holland, Michigan, last summer, I noticed that there were just a few sailboats that actually got out on the weekend and even fewer that made it to some of the Wednesday night races.

Most of the boats, especially the larger cruising boats, sat there week after week, patiently waiting for their owners to rescue them from terminal boredom. It kind of reminded me of horses I have seen in stables that never got exercised. I felt bad for the horses and for the boats, not to mention the owners who have invested a sizeable amount of time and money in them.

On the other hand, there were a few fortunate guys like me who did get out on Lake Michigan a lot, probably more than we deserved. I kept a ship’s log with the details of each trip: miles traveled, fastest observed wind, highest speed reached, specific hours of the day out on the water and any other noteworthy happening. At season’s end I was reviewing miles traveled and found it was 1,120 nautical miles, which is in line with the miles traveled in each of the previous two years. Those miles were accumulated in part on 20 Wednesday night races and in the Anchorage Cup that runs from Grand Haven to Holland, a distance of about 20 miles. Most of the Wednesday night races put about 15 miles on the boat, accounting for about 300 of the 1,100 miles. So where did the other 800 miles come from?

Daysailing. I’m of the opinion that the essence of the pure sailing experience is that two- to four-hour daysail that takes place in the early afternoon for those of us lucky enough to be retired or just after work (or maybe on a long lunch) for the gainfully employed. You slip your lines, in my case usually alone, or with a few friends and you’re away. You can hoist sails 100 yards away from your berth or wait until you’re out on Lake Michigan, but in either case you’re away and moving on the water.

In Holland we have a choice of lakes, so I can sail on Lake Macatawa, a six-mile-long lake that connects to the big lake, or I can get out to Lake Michigan and enjoy all that it offers. Often the smaller lake has better wind, particularly late in the day.

Imagine being out on the big lake in a pretty daysailer, winds out of the southwest at about 10 to 12 knots, with just the beginning of whitecaps here and there. The English liked to describe those first whitecaps as “seeing a few sheep in the meadow.” You’re close-hauled, hearing the thup, thup of waves against the sides and notice that your boat speed is about half the apparent wind, confirming your opinion that the sail trim is pretty good at the moment. Of all the places on the planet you could be, this has to be one of the best. No, this is the best. I have often wished that anyone who ever wondered what it would be like to be sailing were on board right then. The experience is just too sweet. You’re drinking from the golden cup of daysailing and you can never get enough.

So, how many times would you think I could do that in a summer’s season? Ninety-four times. You went sailing 94 times in one season? Eleven hundred miles of sailing from mid-April through mid-October, mostly daysailing? Isn’t that overdoing it a bit? I plead guilty, your honor, guilty as charged.

On the other hand, the actuarial tables don’t offer much comfort once you reach retirement age. If you live 20 years past your last day at work, you’ve only got 7,300 days to go. Take about half of those away because of the cold weather seasons and the frailties of old age, and you might have 3,650 days or 10 years of sailing left, if you’re lucky. I’m going to try and do more next season because the more I think about it, I’m probably not overdoing it at all.

When I was thinking about ordering this boat back in late 2005, my better half objected to my selling my 4-year-old Colgate 26 in favor of the new boat. She called an old friend, Alan Ware, hoping to get his support to talk me out of a new Alerion Express 28. He thought about it for a few minutes, then said, “Nancy, we are dead a long time. Let him have his boat.”

This year, when you’re fitting out your boat with the best of intentions for a summer of sailing, promise yourself you’ll do it this year. Say after me, “In 2009, I resolve to sail my boat at least 50 times.”

Try to overdo it.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Science of Sailing

joost.com has some great sailing videos for you to enjoy. Do a search and you will find a bunch. Here is a great example of just such a search.
<a href="http://www.joost.com/105000d/t/The-Science-of-Sport-Sailing">The Science of Sport: Sailing</a>

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Sailing to Sausalito

This weekend I am meeting up with my childhood best friend for an overnight to Sausalito. The best marina to stay in over there is Schoonmaker Point. Close to town, nice beach and some way cool boats. Last time I was there, I met a gal from one of the mega yachts and I asked her who she crewed for. Turns out it was the owners of one of our favorite wineries in Napa, Silver Oak. I would have loved to do a sampling of the wines onboard but she was not allowed to invite onboard. I digress, the reason for the story is that I was celebrating my birthday a few years back and wanted to do something out of the norm. I decided to head up to Tamales Bay and do some boat camping with my best sailing buddy, Sierra Nevada (my golden retriever). We headed up there with the Hunky Dory (my 16' wooden sailing dory with an old 505 rig) in tow. As we got up towards the Golden Gate, the coast was locked in with fog, however the bay was clear and sunny. I decided to head to Sausalito. I dropped the boat in the water at a local ramp and off we went. As I was sailing across Richardson Bay I hear some one screaming and a dog barking. There are lots of live-aboards in the bay and I did not pay much attention to it. As I tacked around the boats, I see the source of the commotion. It's a lady rowing her boat towards me and as she yells obscenities at her dog the dog barks at her. She is obviously out of her mind. I sail past her and she glares me down and yells, "You can take that 505 and shove it up your ass!". I was shaken but not stirred as I sailed by. I did not look her way and continued to sail by. The next morning in the paper, I read that this same lady had rowed to shore and promptly beat a man to a pulp with her paddle and was in jail on assault charges and the guy was in the hospital but would recover. Can you believe it? That could have been me! As it turned out, Sierra and I had a great time sailing and hanging out in this famous maritime town at the base of Mount Tamalpias. Despite a near assault and no flattery.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Pics of the Day

Google Moon

We have all heard about and checked out Google Earth. Why just last week I strolled down the street I grew up on back in Newark, Delaware and went down to the pool I spent much of my youth at. Did you also know there is a Google Moon? Check out the surface of the moon and see where the moon walks have been. You can even see vids of the famous first walk on the moon and the flag (its still there as there is no atmosphere to destroy it). Find all you favorite spots by clicking here.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Round the Horn with 35 Knots of Wind

The gal is 34 year old Sam Davies who singlehanded to 4th place in the Vendee Globe Race after 95 days on a lap around the planet. She is one stud muffin!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Husband Wants To Sail With Other Woman

DEAR ABBY: My husband, "Mike," and I have been married for 18 years, but for the last few we have been growing apart. Mike has recently expressed a desire to quit work and sail around the world. He bought an expensive sailboat, took lessons, and is teaching our kids to sail. I tried it, but I'm afraid of the water. I have, however, been supportive of my husband's dream.

I knew Mike was looking for a "crew" for the boat because he couldn't sail with just the kids. Today he told me he has found someone. This crew consists of a married woman and her two kids. Mike invited her to crew after she first asked her husband. He did not ask ME first. He simply announced he had found a competent sailor.

I expressed vehemently that I am against this. I have never met the woman or her kids, and I'm hurt that I wasn't consulted. Mike says he is hurt because I "don't trust him."

By the way, the sailboat is only 37 feet long, and they're planning their first two-week trip this fall. What do you think? -- LANDLOCKED IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

DEAR LANDLOCKED: I think you should start taking sailing lessons immediately. For the sake of your marriage, I advise you to remember that YOU are first mate, so haul anchor and get moving. If you think you and Mike are drifting apart now, it will be nothing compared to when he starts living his dream and sets sail without you.

H2uh0'S advice:

You obviously have missed the boat. It's time to fish or cut bait. We highly recommend you learn the ropes as soon a possible and throw that wench overboard. The sooner you learn to trim the sails the faster you will not fail. So haul anchor and jump on board Mike's ship.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

You Build It, They Will Come

A few years ago I was on a road trip with my best friend from my early childhood, Steve Peterson. We had been playing in a championship Ultimate tourney down in San Diego. We were heading back up the coast and we stopped by Zuma Beach in Malibu. It was a gray, dreary morning but we made the best of it with a Frisbee toss and some laughs. After a while, I mentioned we should set up the volleyball net. Steve questioned me because there was no one around to play with. And then I said those famous words in the title. So we set it up and just as we finished, three white vans pulled up in the parking lot. A smile lit our faces when we saw the Playboy logo on each of the vans. Playmates! Turns out they were filming a segment for Playboy TV right next to our volleyball net! Maybe we can get an invite as extras! After a while some of the girls came over and asked if we wanted to play some volleyball. Of course! Maybe we could get an invite to the mansion for an after party! Turned out these gals were the make up crew. They were great and we had a blast finding out more about them. During the breaks the cast and crew would come over for a game or two and we had a ton of fun as the day turned sunny and warm. We continued up the coast later in the day and had more adventures in Big Sur. Hey Steve, love you man!

Classic Concert Screw Ups

Check this list of screw ups from some of the biggest touring acts. From passing out on stage to wardrobe malfunctions. Check it here.

Classic SF Photo from 1906 (BTQ)

Check out this amazing pic of the SF waterfront from right before the famous earthquake of 1906. Be sure to click on the pic below as it will fill your screen and beyond. May take a few seconds to load. Enjoy.


If you love water like me and you have a Mac, you should get this free screensaver. It turns your screen into a pond of water with rain hitting the surface. You can control lots of variables and make it yours. To see the effect, watch the vid below.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sailing Blog Heaven

So by now you have determined that you like reading about sailing and want to keep updated about the sailing world. You have a few favorite sailing blogs that you check out from time to time and you enjoy their content. Looks like we are in the same boat! Recently I found a great way to catch up on all the sailing news. Follow the link and there is a one stop shop of many of the major blogs all in one place brought to you by Google Reader.

Free Sailing Lessons

I was over at Oracle Headquarters in Belmont yesterday and low and behold the America's Cup boat from Larry Ellison's fleet is in the lagoon in front of the companies offices. Apparently since the Cup has been put on the shelf until 2020?? due to legal wranglings over how the race is managed, Larry is giving free sailing lessons to the executive team and VIP's. It does not seem like there is very much room to maneuver but Larry is one determined man. Go Larry!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Sydney-Hobart Race Drama

The TV show X-Force takes a compelling look back at the 2001 Bluewater Classic. Grundig has a radical boat that could win the race if the conditions are right. Follow them as they hit their stride on this 630 mile race through the always dangerous Bass Strait. This is a 48 minute flick so a laptop and sofa might be the call. Also, be sure to watch in full screen mode as this is a classic! To do that, go to the source.

Sunday Sailing

Rainy and overcast is how my Sunday started. Lots of dark clouds to the north where the boat sits. Went for a nice run in the hills with Kona and then made some calls to see if my crew was in or out. Three dropped out but two were game even if it was raining. My wipers were on full as I approached the boat. Maybe I made the wrong call. The good news: it was blowing hard from the south. Took off around noon and in less than 5 minutes were were on a port tack across the bay. Randy, Dave, Kona and I had a fresh breeze and cruising effortlessly at 7+ knots and the boat was flat. Randy was very comfortable behind the wheel so we let him charge towards the Gate. Had a nice lunch as we sailed with no one around us. Reefed the jib to about 75% and started hitting 8+ on the speedo. With no tacks and 2 hours later we were at the Golden Gate Bridge. It was misting pretty good so we headed down wind and back towards the Bay Bridge. It seemed we had an invisible shield on as no one was around us all day. We had a few periods of nice sun and blue skies as well as lots of south wind. We made it back around 4pm and happy we made the trip. It was another awesome day on the bay!!

Billabong XXL 2009

Bilbong will present awards for Best Ride, Biggest Wave and more in April. For the biggest wave they pay out $1000 per foot. So a 60 footer makes for a nice pay day! You can see the vids and pics here. Here is some great footage from last year.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

SoCal Surf Extreme: The Wedge

Burning Down the House - Social DJ on iTunes

With the latest iTunes update, Apple has made a nice jump into the social DJ arena. What used to be called Party Shuffle and is now called iTunes DJ, when you have a party, your guests with iPhones can hook into your WIFI and request the next song to be played from your library. Of course, they must have the latest Remote app on their device but how cool is that?? You can also put a password on your lib so that only a select few can pick the next song. The real fun begins when you allow your guests to vote on the next song so no one can pick a lame song by Manilow (tell me you don't have any Barry in your lib...please). We have come along very long way since the intro of iTunes in Jan. 2001 and it just keeps getting better. Keep it going Cupertino!

Balls of Steel

Close to the Edge

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Amazing Storm Footage

The Sheer Beauty of California

When I moved to the Bay Area (from Delaware via Las Vegas) in the early 80's my first residence was in a bungalow one block from the beach in Carmel. I was blown away with all the beauty that surrounded me from Point Lobos, Big Sur and the coast. Then I started taking my friends to Yosemite and to the top of Half Dome for an overnight stay. I took over 100 folks to the top. I love Yosemite and if you have not been, please go soon. My nephew Dan was here a few years ago and I took him to Yosemite for his first trip. He was a film student at the time and he decided to do a little film on me and use Yosemite as a backdrop to the film. Let me know what you think of the film.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Quote of the Day

Click the pic for a larger view.


Saturn is in view this month and sets in the early morning hours. Can you name the other planets that have visible rings? Not as visible as Saturn, however. Look UP!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Sail on Sailor

Remember that old Beach Boys tune? My weekend was kind of like the song. Headed up to the boat with Kona for a Friday evening sunset sail. The winds were 15-18 and we had a perfect sail out towards Alcatraz with the sun going down behind the Marin headlands. As it got dark I put on some classic Pink Floyd. On of the songs, Seamus, which features a dog barking, really got Kona going and he was barking right along with it. Had a nice night on the boat and then took care of some chores in the morning. On Sunday, I took out the Hunky Dory to a local lake in Fremont. The Hunky is a 16' wooden dory with a 505 rig that I have owned for 10 years. She was built by a local high school and I am the third owner. I have done some work on her this winter and she was sailing smartly on a perfect wind day. Kona came along again and he enjoyed the breeze and the water. Sailed for about three hours and it was one of the best sails on the Hunk! Looking forward to another awesome year sailing into the wild blue yonder.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Bathing Suits Are Optional

Back in college I was the lifeguard at the UNLV pool. One day, two lovely ladies stopped by and asked if the pool was open. I said yes and for the next half hour, bathing suits are optional. Well, I had used this line before and received a smile or laugh but never had I had any takers, until that day. Before I could say, Do you prefer mouth to mouth resuscitation or back pressure arm lift?, they were skinny dipping in my pool! The pool is a 50 meter and the lap swimmers at the other end had no idea what was going down in the deep end. Next thing I know, they are going off the diving boards and I am doing some of the best life guarding of my life! And these girls were hot! So they come swimming over and ask if there is a place for some sun bathing. I tell them we happen to have a private sundeck and for the next half hour....

So the pool closes and the lap swimmers file out. Next, the mens swim team assembles on the deck with the assistant coach. The head coach was out of town and the assistant coach is a former teammate. I tell my teammates that I have a wonderful surprise for them. We have some sliding doors that lead out to the sundeck behind us and I slide them open to reveal two naked ladies glistening in the sun. You should have seen their eyes light up! The coach looks me right in the the eyes and says, Craig, practice is cancelled! We proceed out to the deck and the girls don't even flinch when 10 guys waltz out and put down their towels. Turns out they were quite comfy being naked as they were high priced ladies of the night that catered to the high rollers that came into town. We talked and they told us stories of their escapades in the nicest hotels Las Vegas had to offer. Next thing you know we are in the pool having chicken fights with the girls on top and the team loving it! We had a great afternoon and Cheryl and Renee (not their real names) loved all the attention. I have used that line many times, but never with the outcome of that day in Vegas!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Funny Story

After reading the sailing story that was recently posted to r.h.funny,
I was reminded of this true story from my (recent) youth: Several years ago, I spent two weeks at Mobjack Sailing Camp. We campers tried to learn how to sail by going out on the Chesapeake Bay to sail twice a day under the somewhat inept instruction of the counselors. Anyone who knows how to sail is sure to know the terms "head up" and "fall
off" -- "head up" means to point the boat closer to the direction where
the wind is coming from, and "fall off" means to point the boat in the
other direction (further away from the source of the wind).
If you point the boat too far up in to the wind (i.e., if you "head up"
too far), the sail will get back-winded and start to luff (i.e., flap
around wildly.) One day, 4 fellow campers, a counselor and I were out on one of the boats in a stiff breeze. Ann, a camper who had a reputation for being a little bit of an airhead, was at the helm.
Ann wasn't very good at sailing, and at one point she pointed the boat way too far into the wind, causing the sail to start luffing wildly. She had no idea which sheet (rope) to pull or which direction to point
the boat to get the sail to fill again, so she started getting frantic.

Exasperated, the counselor finally yelled "Fall off! Fall off!".

Ann immediately jumped off the back of the boat.

Planning to Set Sail This Year??

Here it is just a few more days until we turn the clocks ahead and spring is on the horizon. Let's say you have always dreamed of sailing your local lake or nearby body of water. Let's make it happen this year! The cheapest way to go is getting involved with a local racing group and joining them for a race or two. If you have a lake or bay nearby, call your cities recreation department and sign up for some sailing lessons. Here in San Francisco, we have the Latitude 38 Crew List Party next Wednesday. Skippers are looking for crew so jump on the boat. Thinking about buying your own boat but money is tight? Think partnership! I have a Newport 30 that I partner with four other friends for over 8 years now. We each pay $100/month ($3 per day!) for a terrific bay boat that can handle anything the bay has thrown at her. It's a buyers market and a fine 29-31' vessel can be picked up for under $5000. Lastly, you could do some shopping, kick a few tires and buy your own boat. I just helped a friend buy his fist boat and he purchased an Ericson 27 for $8000 and loves his new to him boat. So now is the time to set the wheels in motion and get out on the water for some fun and stress relief. To me, sailing recharges the soul and puts a smile on my face every time I hit the water!!

PS. If you need info on how to start a partnership, feel free to contact me.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Condition Black

I finally got a chance to watch Condition Black and it was well worth it. The beaches had all closed due to the 40 foot swells. Only a handful of surfers decide to give it a go and make it out at Log Cabins on the North Shore of Oahu. An IMAX film crew is on hand to record some of the biggest waves ever surfed. It's a great story and a great filck. Check it here.

Chaos in the Pacific

A family of six buys a cat in FLA and then cruises west for 2 years. Things are not going too well for the family. Two of the teens are fed up with cruising and the father has started drinking agian after 12 sober years. There is tension on the boat. And then they hit a reef. Their story has been turned into a book and now you can watch it unfold here. I you are interested and the vid is not working, go to hulu.com and search 48 Hours Mystery and "Live to Tell".