Friday, July 31, 2009

Morning Light For Rent on iTunes

iTunes has released the sailing movie "Morning Light" in their "Rentals" section for $3.99. I plan to watch it tonight! This movie was released last fall in a few theaters but many folks missed it. Now is your chance to watch this great film about a group of novice sailors racing from LA to HI on a classic rocket ship across the Pacific. Aloha!

Pics of the Week

Everything is Possible 2

Across the Atlantic in Two Minutes

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Top Adventure Towns

Labor Day is just around the corner and your summer is slipping by. Have you had any epic adventures yet? Well now's the time to get out there and have some fun! Here are some great adventure towns to visit for heli skiing, mountain biking, hiking, river runs, kiting, surfing, and SCUBA to name but a few. And if you can't make to these cities, never fear, adventure can be found almost anywhere, just get out there and explore. The list of adventure cities can be found here.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Savage Beauty on the Rocks

Savage Beauty was competing in the YRA Second Half Opener, which is generally a pleasant jaunt out to the Golden Gate to Point Bonita and then down hill all the way back to the Oakland/Alameda Estuary and finish at the Encinal Yacht Club. On the day of the incident, there was very large flood tide, and many of the boats took well over an hour to get from the start area just to the Golden Gate bridge.

Seeking relief, many boats utilize the north sides rocky shoreline, dancing within inches of the massive basalt wall on the Marine side. Savage Beauty was with a group of other boats in a tacking duel and got a tad closer than they should have or wanted to. ( I did not see the incident's onset, just the general current events)

There was a large underlying 10ft south swell from and expired tropical storm near Tahiti a week or so ago which was mostly hidden under its 18-20 interval length. I believe Savage Beauty bumped an under water snag, lost momentum and was then picked up by the swell and placed closer to shore than they wanted. Apparently they attempted to start the engine and rescue themselves, but the prop got fouled leaving them helpless.

A nearby recreational fishing boat called the US Coastguard almost immediately, and their response was quick. The Horseshoe Cove HQ for Station Golden Gate is less than half a nautical mile away.

Attempts to dislodge the boat initially failed, and when the Marine County Sheriff Dept arrived with USCG, they quickly accessed the situation and ordered the crew off. Between sets of swells they dashed in and grabbed crew members and hauled them into their RIB. When all were unloaded and the owner finally rescued, they hung out a bit waiting for a salvage crew to arrive and attempt saving the Flying Tiger. I'm not sure if they even got a line on her, but within an hour, the boat was reduced to large pieces of flotsam and jetsam - which littered the area just west of the Golden Gate bridge between Point Diablo.

Restoration of a Classic

Just recently restored, a William Fife designed, 6 meter, called Nada. It was found rotting on the beach by Woodstock Boat Builders who painstakingly restored her to her former glory.

Mirabella V

The largest single masted yacht in the world became a reality in May 2004. Mirabella V was launched in November of 2003 and her mast was stepped six weeks later. She proceeded to the Mediterranean in June and completed five weeks charter in her first season.

This revolutionary composite super yacht presented unique challenges to the leading designers and engineers involved in her creation.

Performance was a key demand of this pioneering vessel, with special emphasis on windward capability, and her brief had called for a speed exceeding 20 knots under sail.

Mirabella V is available for charter summers in the Mediterranean, and winters in the Caribbean. If you have a cool half mill sitting around, she's yours for a week!

The mast is almost 300' tall. There is a cool story about one of the crew that had to climb the mast during a sail. They went into a fog bank and he was so high that he was above the clouds and looking at the sun while the yacht was shrouded in fog. That's one tall mast!

LOA: 75.22m (247 ft)

Beam: 14.80m (48.5 ft)

Draught (Keel Up): 4.0m (13 ft)

Draught (Keel Fully Down):
10.0m (33 ft)

765 tons

More pics and vid here.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Big Day at the Wedge

Would You Do This?

This racer sets his autopilot and goes for a surf behind his boat. Crazy?

Wave of the Year 2008

Sail On Sunday

We sailed from Emeryville to Tiburon.

Satellite view of Paradise Cove.

Went for a great sail yesterday with 6 other folks. We headed out in a fair breeze from the southwest of about 12 knots. We were headed towards Tiburon when the winds started to build to about 20 knots. Got behind the lee of Angel and had to motor for a bit. Picked up again and we dropped anchor at Paradise Cove for lunch. The cove was fantastic as the water surface was calm and the sun was hot. We opened a bottle of Champagne and sat down for a nice lunch in the cockpit. Soon we were swimming in the cold waters of the bay and it felt great. I scrubbed the bottom a bit and enjoyed the water. After the swim, had a nice chat on the deck and everyone was enjoying themselves. Time to head back and as soon as we left the lee of Angel the full force of the 30-35 knot wind hit us. We reefed the jib a bit and made our way back to Emeryville with some fairly large swells pushing us along. The Addiction did just fine and I was confident. We passed only one other boat on the way across...who else would be crazy enough to be out in this tempest?? Pulled into the slip and relished the fact that we have the perfect boat for conditions of the San Francisco Bay!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Ellison's New Toy

Today in the SF Chronicle Newspaper they had a front page spread on the new tri from BMW/Oracle. Once they finish up all the courtroom battles, maybe we will see some of the most exciting sail races ever! Here is the article.

They call it "Dogzilla" - a towering beast of a high-tech sailing machine whose mast soars into the clouds. It is billionaire Larry Ellison's best shot yet in his quest to capture the America's Cup.

"It's awesome," said Russell Coutts, the Kiwi skipper and chief executive of Ellison's San Francisco-based BMW Oracle Racing. "Something that goes three times wind speed when you're going downwind is incredible. If I was a kid, I'd say, 'How is that possible?' The acceleration is just dramatic."

"It's an incredibly unique boat," said tactician John Kostecki, a world-renowned pro sailor who began racing as a kid on San Francisco Bay. "At times, there's a lump in your throat because of the danger of it all. There are moments when you're on edge."

Dogzilla - the nickname Ellison's sailors have given their monstrous machine - has an archrival, of course. It is the Alinghi 5, a giant catamaran launched Monday in Switzerland on Lake Geneva by Ellison's nemesis, Swiss billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli. Bertarelli's team won the America's Cup in 2003 in Auckland, New Zealand, and defended it successfully in 2007 in Valencia, Spain.

The teams are preparing for a showdown in February - a two-out-of-three America's Cup series on a 40-mile-long racecourse to determine who will win the oldest trophy in professional sport. The venue has not yet been decided. Leading possibilities are Valencia, Abu Dhabi of the United Arab Emirates, and Auckland.

Ellison's team, sponsored by the Golden Gate Yacht Club, is training in the ocean waters off San Diego, conducting speed tests and making design modifications.

"This boat goes so fast that you can actually generate a lot of lift like a hydrofoil," said Ian "Fresh" Burns, the team's head of racing design. "We regularly sail two or three times the wind speed. ... It's a big advantage to have a boat that you can push pretty hard. The guys like to sail it to the limits."

In just a breeze, two of Dogzilla's three hulls are lifted out of the water.

"There's incredible danger from capsizing, but the bigger the boat, the slower the motion happens," Burns said. "It doesn't happen in a fraction of a second."

If the boat doesn't flip over, it might collapse. Because of the tremendous pressure on its carbon-fiber hulls, mast and rigging, there's a threat of sudden breakage. Oceangoing multi-hulls have been known to lose their masts and crack like eggshells.

Ellison's sailors often wear crash helmets.

On Monday, Dogzilla (officially named BOR-90) and several chase boats dodged an outbound Navy warship and an inbound submarine while running tests. An emergency medical technician and a diver stood by. A sailmaker snapped photos to study the effectiveness of the sail shape.

"I think it's actually quite beautiful," said Burns. "It's kind of insectlike. There's a natural form to it. You can't help but be awed by the power and scale of the thing."

Others have compared Ellison's yacht to a spaceship. Its beam, or width, is, like its length, 90 feet - which makes the vessel's footprint the size of a baseball infield.

Its 15 crew members wear electronic earpieces to hear the skipper's orders. It's an international team, with sailors from Italy, France, New Zealand and other nations.

Ellison, the founder and CEO of the Oracle software company, spent about $200 million on his 2007 America's Cup campaign, but failed to reach the challenger finals, and therefore didn't get a chance to race the champion Alinghi team. He had spent $85 million on his 2003 campaign before losing 5-1 to Alinghi in the challenger finals. He has invested untold tens of millions of dollars in his latest campaign.

"It's obviously not cheap. It's a brand-new piece of technology," said Coutts, adding that nearly 60 percent of the campaign's cost is labor. The team has about 75 full-time employees in San Diego, Valencia, and its boat-building facility at Anacortes, Wash.

Dogzilla's black, carbon-composite hull is a 1- to 2-inch-thick honeycomb. Its mast is supported by 1-inch-diameter stays that are made of PBO - an exotic, lightweight material that can handle a pressure load of more than 50 tons. It has a far greater breaking strength than stainless steel.

The boat's machine-laid fiber mainsail is 5,000 square feet, and its gennaker - or largest headsail - is 7,000 square feet.

At times, Dogzilla issues piercing groans as a line wrapped around its huge winches is eased to trim a sail.

From his perch on a sportfishing boat stuffed with gadgetry, Burns eyes the race boat's real-time digital and visual data.

More than 500 sensors have been placed on various parts of the race boat, including its mast, rudder and hull - providing data on about 2,500 variables - to measure the stresses on its components and rigging.

Computer screens at Dogzilla's two steering stations provide digital readouts on everything from boat speed to pressure loads. An alarm sounds if a component is overloaded.

Digital video cameras are mounted on the mast to monitor the sails.

Burns said that Ellison's race boat has reached speeds of "somewhere between 40 and 50 knots." For a sailboat, that's screaming fast - more than twice the speed of traditional, America's Cup yachts with a single hull.

Ellison's design team was assisted by French naval architects who've designed blue water trimarans that have set transoceanic speed records.

"This boat is designed to be pushed flat out pretty much all the time without any slowdowns," said sailing coach Glenn Ashby, an Olympic silver medalist in Tornado catamarans.

Its rotating, aerodynamic mast can be pointed toward the wind, and hydraulic rams - essentially a super-strength water pump - keep the mast vertical even when the boat is leaning over.

"It's a pretty cool machine, that's for sure," said helmsman Jimmy Spithill. "It's probably some of the best, most exciting sailing I've done in my life. There's no way of really relaxing in this boat. You always have to think ahead. If you make a mistake, you'll know all about it."

High-speed catamarans and trimarans are able to sail faster than the wind because these light boats with huge sails create their own wind.

The boats minimize their frictional resistance by using aerodynamically designed foils - wings that are lowered into the water - to help lift one or two of their submerged hulls above the water.

The boat's own velocity creates an "apparent wind" that allows acceleration to speeds that are two or three times the true atmospheric wind speed - or the wind that can be measured when the boat is at rest. The faster the boat speed, the greater the force on its sails - driving the boat forward.

Or, to put it briefly, if unhelpfully: It's physics.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

New Jupiter Scar Bigger than the Pacific

Astronomers in the Bay Area and around the world are all agog over an immense scar larger than the Pacific Ocean that has suddenly appeared on the surface of Jupiter.

For only the second time in the 400 years since Galileo trained his primitive telescope on Jupiter, professionals and amateurs alike are observing how the planet has been blasted by a cosmic collision, and excitement is mounting about the mystery.

The only similar impact occurred 15 years ago, when chunks of Comet Shoemaker-Levy rained down on the planet at interplanetary speeds for five days and pitted the gaseous surface with clusters of huge black spots.

That crash has intrigued astronomers ever since, and they have been hard at work analyzing its effects on the planet in scientific paper after paper.

The new scar was first detected Sunday by Anthony Wesley, an amateur astronomer in Australia, who promptly posted on a blog for other astronomers.

Franck Marchis of the SETI Institute in Mountain View soon posted on his own blog about a huge black spot detected near Jupiter's south pole. He followed it with more blog posts about its nature after colleagues using the powerful Keck telescope in Hawaii saw it as "an anomalous bright spot" shining in the infrared region of the spectrum.

If the object that hit Jupiter was an asteroid rather than a comet, it might well have been one of those millions of objects that normally fly around the sun in the "asteroid belt" between Mars and Jupiter. But so far, no one knows.

"We really have no idea what it was, and our observations so far have only confirmed that the scar did indeed come from an impact," Marchis said in a phone interview Tuesday. "If more observations in the infrared show water in the scar, then the impactor was most probably a comet, as comets do hold water; but if not, then it was most probably an asteroid."

After Marchis alerted many colleagues Sunday night, astronomers Mike Wong from UC Berkeley and Michael Fitzgerald of UCLA and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory used the Keck telescope to make detailed observations of the impact site.

"Whatever hit Jupiter this time," Marchis wrote on his blog, "it was not disrupted with multiple fragments like Shoemaker-Levy."

Wong said the scar covers 73 million square miles in an irregular shape. By comparison, most geographic maps set the Pacific Ocean's size as about 60 million to 69 million square miles.

The scar's complex, blotchy shape indicates that the mysterious object must have exploded into fragments before it hit Jupiter, Marchis said, and was probably too small to be detected by any Earth-bound telescopes aimed at the planet before the crash.

Marchis hoped to make new observations of the scar Tuesday night from the Lick Observatory atop Mount Hamilton above San Jose. Other professional and amateur astronomers are also training telescopes on Jupiter's clouded surface, trying to analyze the scar and determine what caused it.

Not the best way to start your day!

Blue Hole

Sixty miles off Belize in the Lighthouse Reef is this natural wonder known as The Great Blue Hole and it is believed to be the largest of its kind. The Great Blue Hole was formed when a limestone cave created during the last Ice Age collapsed leaving a hole 1000 feet across and 400 feet deep. Now it's a haven for divers including the late Jacques Cousteau who charted its depths in 1971.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Alinghi Sails Lake Geneva

The Swiss America’s Cup Defender, Alinghi, hoisted the sails on its giant new catamaran Alinghi 5 for the first time today on Lake Geneva, Switzerland. The 90ft multihull was cheered off the dock at midday by hundreds of spectators watching the maiden sail out of Le Bouveret.

Murray Jones, who is running the initial trials of the giant multihull that represents a first step in the development process towards the 33rd America’s Cup, gave his comments on a good first day on the water: “We went out this morning with a list of objectives to work through: testing the boat, checking the structure, doing some manoeuvres and seeing if the sails would all sheet and it went pretty well; we ticked off just about everything. There are a lot of systems on the boat that are complicated and new, but it was fantastic. To fly the boat upwind and downwind with gennaker was awesome for the first day of sailing. The boat is a tribute to the designers and the boat builders. To deliver a boat of this complexity that works straight out of the box on the first day is impressive; really impressive.”

Grant Simmer, design team coordinator, was observing the trials from a RIB: “It’s been a good day, we had a list of things we wanted to do and we took it slowly and carefully and have finished the day achieving all those things. It was exciting to see the boat sailing for the first time after so much time designing, boat building, sail making and spar making; seeing all those bits come together and seeing the machine working is great! We’re looking forward to tomorrow.”

Zac is Back

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Cali Surfing - Malibu

Malibu may not have the biggest waves but it does have a colorful history in surfing lore. Check out the cool photo essay of Socal's favorite surf spot.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Uncle Walt

Watch CBS Videos Online

Strike One

The retired chief biomedical scientist, whose home overlooks the Tresillian River, said he took the opportunity to get some shots as he heard the storm approach around midnight on July 1.

'When it got louder and closer I became aware of the flashes,' he said. 'I thought, well I'll set up my camera and have a go. Of course, I didn't know when the flash would come.'

After an hour, Mr Evan's patience was rewarded when his 10mm wide-angled lens captured the milliseconds of the moment the bolt tore through the night sky - and hit the mast of his neighbour's yacht Red Fox.

'The end of the lightning stopped just where it touched the mast,' he said. You can see the green navigational light was on. I think it was because electricity from the flash went through the circuits.'

Red Fox's owner, Jason Goodden, said he heard a loud bang but had no idea it was his yacht that had been hit until Mr Evans showed him the picture the following day.

The renewable energy engineer and father-of-three said: 'I heard the crack, I heard it outside my window. I thought, that's a loud one. I wish I had been looking.

'I didn't know anything about it until I was shown this photo the next day, so I went out with some trepidation. I didn't know what I would find.'

Mr Goodden, 59, said he thinks the damage, which appears to be limited to a radio aerial and a light, was minimal because the mast acted as a lightning conductor for his family's sailing boat.

'It just discharged it like a lightning conductor - straight through the boat. If someone had been in there touching that I don't like to think what could have happened.'

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Quote of the Day

Pics of the Week

Zac Arrives Home On Thursday

THERE'S NOTHING THAT CAN STOP HIM NOW. Barring almost impossible-to-imagine events, Californian 17-year-old Zac Sunderland is about to become the youngest sailor on earth to circumnavigate the world solo. He will break the record held since November 1996 by Australian David Dicks who completed his eight month trip when he was 18 years and 41 days old.
Zac pulled out of San Diego yesterday after clearing customs, and is due in Marina del Rey, on the central Los Angeles coastline tomorrow Thursday(16th July), just 13 months and two days after he began his epic journey. With only about 100 miles to go from San Diego, Sunderland is making a big tack to Catalina Island and back in, to time his arrival at 10.00 local time. Read the whole story here.

iPhone Apps for Sailors

The iPhone does so many things well and now it can help you on the water with many free and inexpensive apps. I own several of the apps described in this article and will also mention several that I do not own but you may want to try. If you have the new 3GS you have a head start with the Compass app. If you don't have the latest phone, you could download a compass app called MotionX. There is a lite version as well as a full blown one with many more options The lite version (free) works fine and will also allow you to create waypoints and give you all the info you would have on a handheld GPS. You can even set the compass to true and magnetic bearings. The one weakness here is that it does not show you where you are on a chart.

I was almost ready to buy a handheld GPS when the new iPhones came out last year. With GPS built in, I decided to upgrade and am very happy using the navigation software from iNavX. This a $50 app but it bets the heck out of buying a Garmin. Download the free NOAA raster charts and off you go. It can do waypoints as well as show your track on the charts. It's easy to zoom in and out by pinching the screen and I have found it to be a great help at night when sailing near the Berkeley Pier. It could come in very handy in the fog as well. This hand held chart plotter is constantly being updated and is an amazing app.

Next up is a tide and current app that is very helpful called Tides. There are several tide apps but this one is great because it also gives you current predictions. Easy to use and very straight forward. Wind Meter will give you good idea how fast the wind is blowing and is a steal at one buck. Wind Speed is one I do not own but it looks promising. If you would like to check the buoys in your area for weather data you may want to try Windbuoy.

There has been alot of chatter about Anchor Alarm. If you anchor alot, this is an app you want to have on your phone. The $10 app will give you piece of mind while you drift off in to a sound slumber. Be sure to set it past 20 meters so you donot have a false alarm.

For current wind conditions in your area checkout and dial it into you favorite waters. In the SF area, I use for a quick wind check and forecast before I go out.

Here is a list of apps you may also want to check out at your local app store:
Sailmaster (for the racer)
NOAA National Weather Service
Harry's GPS Sailor
Marine Rules and Navigation
Sailor Knots
Points of Sail
Marine Rules and Signals

Users assume all risk when using these apps at sea. If you have a favorite app that you want folks to know about, please leave a comment. Sail on!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Cool World

Click the link below for a very cool look at our world in pictures. Make sure to give it plenty of time to load. Then keep clicking on any part of the picture. Who woulda thunk it?? Click here.

My Hero: Capn' Ron

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Apollo 11 - 40 Years!

July 20, 1969. Where were you when Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon for the very first time? I was 10 and watching TV at a friends house on a street called Mercury. Some say it was a hoax. If you talk to the second man who touched down on that dusty disc, it was no joke. Here is a recent interview with Buzz Aldrin and the affects that his moon walk had on his life.

You Are Nobody Till You Have Pie In Your Face

Americas Cup Preview

The next Americas Cup is going to be awesome. Think NASCAR on the water. 90' x 90' rockets racing at speeds close to 40 knots with amazing wipeouts and pitchpoles. Major carnage and lots of hoopla! The races will occur before the end of February somewhere on the planet that boosts light airs for these light and fragile craft. With immense sail area, the loads on the boats could exceed 100 tons according to local experts. The boats are shrouded in secrecy but L38 spoke to a duck that wandered into the compound of BMW/Oracle in San Diego. Here is what the mallard said:

"Last year they had the tri sailing at more than 40 knots, which would be fast enough to get my feathers ruffled. Given the speeds and loads, somebody could really get hurt. No wonder that principle helmsman James Spitall and the rest of the crew wear helmets and body armor. And that there are EMTs on the support boats that chase the big tri. There have been rumors around the nest that Larry Ellison, owner of the campaign, sailed on the tri once, and that was enough for him. What's even more telling is that Russell Coutts, the America's Cup legend, is rumored to be afraid of the boat, too. But I think that's just gossip, don't you?

"You probably want to know what they've been doing inside that building since they stopped sailing operations in February," said the loquacious duck without giving us time to answer his question. "I'd probably end up as Peking duck on the BMW Oracle crew menu if they knew that I told you, but they've been making a hard sail for the trimaran. Sort of like the one Dennis Conner used when his catamaran beat the Kiwi 'big boat' monohull in the funky America's Cup in San Diego many years ago. I also heard that something like $5 million was spent on either modifying or replacing the two outer hulls. If anyone is feeling sorry for syndicate owner Larry Ellison, they don't have to. My 401K for ducks has taken a beating in the last year, but not from Oracle. They had an operating income of almost $8 billion in the last quarter, and if I'm not mistaken, Ellison still owns something like 20% of the company. So he's not having to chase the America's Cup with a cup in his hand."

"But when is the big tri going to be test-sailing again?" we asked.

"I'm glad you asked," said the duck, "because the big news is that they'll be sailing shortly. If you're in San Diego, you won't be able to miss her. But at the speed she travels, you won't be able to see her for long — unless you're in one of those F-18s flying out of North Island."

Since the duck seemed to be such a know-it-all, we asked him who he was picking to win the next Cup. "Some chicks and I were discussing the America's Cup the other day, and figure BMW Oracle has their work cut out for them. I'm just a duck, but I figure this is going to be — because of the extreme speeds and risk of personal injury and boat destruction — the most NASCAR-like America's Cup ever."

Bonehead Move of the Month

"No problem honey, I'll just drop the boat in the water and then come pick you up. Oh, the boat goes in first? Sorry about that."


I was traveling to see my family on the east coast last week and new I would be off line during the plane ride and at other times during the week. I downloaded the July issue of Latitude 38 to my computer and had plenty to read during my trip. You get the entire mag in PDF format so it makes for easy navigation and reading. Known as the west coast's top sailing rag, isn't it time you downloaded this free mag to your computer?.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

CG Plucks Man From Ocean

A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter has rescued a French kayaker who became fatigued in the Bering Sea during his quest to circumnavigate the world.

Jean-Gabriel Chelala contacted authorities from his kayak Saturday after he encountered several days of rough waters and became too weak to paddle through the currents.

A Jayhawk helicopter airlifted Chelala from his specialized kayak about 40 miles off the coast of Alaska's St. Lawrence Island and flew him to Nome, where he was treated for mild hypothermia, the Coast Guard said. The kayak was abandoned.

The 28-year-old has been attempting to circle the globe through human power — bicycling and kayaking. He left France by bike in January 2008, kayaked across the Atlantic Ocean to Florida and then pedaled from Florida to Alaska, according to his Web site.

Chelala left Emmonak on Alaska's western coast on June 27 with the goal of reaching Gambell on St. Lawrence Island — a journey of 250 miles, the Coast Guard said. But rough seas threw him off course.


On the Net:

— 48 North Expedition,

New Yacht Gets Wet

Click to watch video

More videos at

Click the pic to see the video.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Push the Tempo

Tube Vision

I am in New England at my sister's new pad on Lake Sunapee. We are really struggling here with a redwood hot tub, beautiful lake house that sits on its own peninsula, a wine cellar stocked with awesome wines from around the world, a boat house with an upper deck overlooking the bay and all my family. My sis has a very nice sculling boat I really like for low impact, aerobic workouts. Also running the local ski slope. The weather has been unsettled and rainy for 8 weeks they say. Raining right now. But who cares, we are having a great time! Happy 4th to you!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Cool New App - Wind Meter

I am working on an article about apps for sailors that own an iPhone. One neat app I recently ran across is Wind Meter. Activate it and hold it into the wind and the microphone senses the pressure of the wind and gives you a read out in knots or mph. Check it out at your local iTunes store! For .99 cents it does an amazing job.