Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Orca and The Dog

Orca & Dog from Maria Chantelle Tucker on Vimeo.

I had a scary situation with my dog and a seal at Lover's Point in Pacific Grove. I was out kayaking with my dog and a seal came up right next to us. It was an open kayak so Sierra could have easily jumped overboard. I turned quickly and headed for the beach with the seal in pursuit. My command of "Stay!" to Sierra was working. The seal followed us up to the beach and then swam away. Not sure what would have happened had Sierra jumped in. Glad I didn't have to find out.

Dogs and seals are closely related on the evolutionary chart. Not only are they both members of the order Carnivora, but pinnipeds (seals, sea lions, walruses, etc.) are members of the suborder Caniformia, which literally means "dog-shaped carnivores". This also includes bears ... as well as a superfamily that includes otters, weasels, raccoons, skunks, and red pandas.

Everything You Wanted to About Google (But Were Afraid to Ask)

Google to start selling coffee so we can browse the web and click on ads for longer periods of time.

Cool Camera

I like the concept, but is it real?

Scenes From a Storm in Perth

Monday, March 29, 2010

Abby to Round the Horn on Tuesday

Its been a pretty nice, normal day out here. The wind has been a little lighter. I've had about 25 knots all day occasionally picking up to 30-35. I've been making around 8-9.5 knots with just my little stay sail up! I had been worried that pulling down my whole big main sail would decrease my speed quite a bit, but I was happy to find that it hardly slowed me down at all and is making it a lot easier for my auto pilot to stay on course. I have been gybing at least twice a day as Wild Eyes doesn't sail well DDW (dead down wind). It means that instead of making 200 miles of progress each day, I am sailing a little off course all the time and making more around 150 miles on course. A little frustrating but not much else to be done.

The swells are pretty big - about 20 feet. It makes it pretty uncomfortable crawling around down below in the aft end of the boat. I'm using my back up auto pilot right now and I want to get my main auto pilot fixed so that I can use it as a back up. The problem is that there is a pretty bad transmission fluid leak (the steering is hydraulic). I think the leak is in the ram but I can't find it without the auto pilot turned on.

I should have some pretty calm weather in a few days so I'll be able to turn off the autopilot, lash the tiller and hook up the first auto pilot and get a good look at things working down below.

I've had some problems with my water maker recently. I think it's just that there is air in the tubes and I am really hoping I'll be able to sort it out with the bleeding valves. If that doesn't get the air out, I could have to go through all the hoses back there which really wouldn't be a very fun job.

My cabin stays pretty warm, around 47 degrees during the day, and a little colder during the night. The water temperature is 44 so I don't think I'll be going swimming for a little while! For where I am it's incredibly warm. There have been people who have gone around Cape Horn and had 28 degree water.

I keep trying to get some new pictures for the blog, but everytime I go out and look around all there is is grey! Behind me are gray walls of water that look pretty scary - like they're right about to break on top of little Wild Eyes.

In front, well, lots of water and gray clouds.

Tomorrow should be the big day - rounding Cape Horn. The weather is forecasted to settle down so I hope that I will be able to get outside and enjoy the view!


Visit her website.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Old School


Click the pic to view the vid.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

California Coming Home

Before dawn Monday, 18 sailors aboard the race yacht California were riding 60 mph storm winds, smack mid-Pacific, 2,200 miles from San Francisco.

Spirits were high. They were sailing fast in second place among the race boats on the seventh of nine legs as part of Clipper 09-10 Round the World Yacht Race. The crew looked forward to greeting visitors here by April 1.

Then the wave hit. The kind of big sideways wave that rolls a boat until the top plunges into the ocean.

California's 90-foot mast snapped, the tiny storm foresail ripped away. Dark ocean poured in, flooding the electronics, and Clive Owen tumbled across the cabin, gashing his head and bleeding profusely as the boat popped upright again.

Everyday people sail this "challenge of a lifetime." Owen's a corporate exec from London. Elaine Kirton is a British army physiotherapist. Dennis Flynn is a golf course administrator from Westchester, N.Y. Six Californians are sailing legs, as are some 180 others of diverse ages, professions and nationalities aboard 10 identical region-sponsored boats on a 35,000-mile race around the world.

Why do it? Shana Bagley, a deputy attorney general in Oakland sailing three legs, describes the amazing accomplishment, wonderful port stops and profound feeling of family.

But the nearly 6,000-mile wintry Pacific crossing, begun March 2 from Qindao, has been a cruel successor to tough earlier legs.

Big Pacific conditions damaged Uniquely Singapore and Edinburgh Inspiring Capital. A wave broke the shin of Hull & Humber skipper Piers Dudin, who was airlifted out. An unmarked Java Sea reef destroyed the boat Cork, and Team Finland lost part of its mast near Taiwan.

California is under way again, after getting fuel from four other Clipper boats, and transferring Owen and Flynn to a nearby 180-foot tanker, Nord Nightingale.

Clipper race founder Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first to sail nonstop around the world single-handed, in 1968, commended the amateur crew. "The North Pacific is just as dangerous as the Southern Ocean," he said, and the crew will look forward to a hero's welcome.

Indeed, aboard California, Kirton writes that it will be a momentous moment for her to sail under the Golden Gate Bridge. Though she's from England, she said she feels a sense of homecoming.

They finish at the Farallon Islands. Flotillas may escort them in, spectators can cheer from the bridge or ashore. The first boat is scheduled to arrive around Thursday. Track positions at clipperroundtheworld.com.

They will berth at San Francisco Marina West Harbor; Golden Gate Yacht Club is their host. Dock access requires escort, but the race office can accept cards or care packages for visiting crew.

Open boat tours will be April 5 (10 a.m. to noon, 2 to 4 p.m.); youth tours April 10 (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.); and public presentations at San Francisco Yacht Club April 7 (7 p.m.), South Beach Yacht Club April 8 (6 p.m.), and OCSC in Berkeley April 12 (7 p.m.). VIP tours are available, and watch for the boats sailing the bay.

But first they must get here. A bigger storm is now hitting the fleet.

Via SFgate.com Paul Oliva

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Google Play

Google has introduced a new way to browse the web and named it Google Play. Go here. It's a great way to find new and interesting info on the web. My favorite is still StumbleUpon. With this site, you tell it where your interests are and it takes you to sites along those interests. Either way, it opens up a world of possibilities and FUN! Be sure to give them both a go. You can thank me later!

Pics of the Week

Click any pic to make it bigger.

Living on the Water - A New Trend

Thinking about buying a house? Think again. What if I told you you could own a solar powered home on the water for a little over $100k? Not a huge house, but something functional and cozy and right next to your sailboat. Here are a couple of examples of very cool floating homes. Some are going solar as well. Would you consider moving on the water? I like the Urban House Boat as it would give you some flexibility to move your home around if you like. We have come along way since Tom Hanks made it fashionable to live on the water in "Sleepless in Seattle". Check this slick website here.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Havin' Some Fun on the River

Spring Break is here!

Bonehead Moves on the Water - New Sponser to Surfboating

Sailing for the Galapagos

Here is the latest log entry from Lee Winters as he heads deep into the Pacific with his dog Georgia.

There is a thing about the sea. Just the second you start to believe you have everything under control, she'll knock you down and ensure you know there are more lessons to come. Thankfully, I learn fast and don't usually require a lesson to be taught more than once.

In my eagerness to start the Pacific leg of this journey I failed to take enough time to understand the nature of the waters I'd be crossing. Jimmy Cornell's great book, World Cruising Routes indicated that making a Southerly route first down to as far at 3N before making the turn West would provide the best sailing. I thought I'd shortcut the prevailing thought and use the first 2.5 days of strong North winds to sail a direct course for the Galapagos then turn South once they died out. Bad idea.

The first part of the plan worked great. Jargo turned into a downwind sled and we flew along at 7 - 9 knots. What I failed to understand was that I'd come far enough West after two days to find myself smack in the middle of a North setting 1 - 1.5 knot current. With no wind and a North current I found myself several times pointing South, but making way North, literally sailing backwards!

To correct this I've used every gust of wind along with a little diesel to make may way SSE. Most of the progress came from three storms that gave good sailing winds in the 15 - 20 knot range, but only lasted for an hour or two. An hour ago the jib back winded, a sign I'd finally found a SE wind and could again turn the bow of Jargo towards the Galapagos. Winds are still below 5 knots so, painfully, I am burning more diesel motor-sailing until the breeze fills in.

Other than taking the long route, things are fine aboard. I've had one strike on the fishing line, but the fish was off before I could even begin to bring in the line. On a similar note, I am surprised at how devoid of life it seems here. Going on five days at sea now all I've seed are two pods of dolphins, one sea turtle, and maybe half a dozen sea birds. Oh, and literally maybe three flying fish. Somehow I think I had it in mind that this was area was teeming with sea life? Maybe it is the El Nino effect or maybe it really is a salty, wet, desert. I might feel a bit guilty about pulling one more living creature from these blue depths, but I sure could go for some sushi right about now.

Read more about Lee's adventure here.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Roz Goes Global

Roz was living the good life with a great hubby, a lovely home and career. Something was missing in her life, so she wrote two obits about her life. One was her real life obit and the other was her fantasy. It turned out she was longing for adventure. So she bought a racing row boat and entered an Atlantic rowing race. Even though she ended up in last place, she had found what she was looking for. Read her story here.

Grooveshark - Cool Online Music Service

Click the pic for a bigger view.
So everybody knows - I love music. I have it playing most of the time during my waking hours and some during sleep. Lately I have been listening to Donavan Frankenreiter, Adele, Ben Harper, and Will Bernard. I use Pandora on the iPhone as well as Slacker and LastFM. A cool new service I have been using for a while is Grooveshark. The great thing about Shark is that instead of playing lots of other artists, it plays the one you are searching for. It's the reason Apple did not approve their app. If you have a jailbroken phone you can find it in Cydia under BigBoss ($30/year). Make some playlists and you are good to go on the phone. If you want to listen on your computer make sure you plug into some decent speakers so you can crank it up. You also have the option to upload your music as well as a radio feature. Click here for the music.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Plastiki Sets Sail for Sydney

SAUSALITO, Calif.--At 9:30 a.m. PDT Saturday, precisely on time, the Plastiki, a "boat made of 12,000 plastic bottles" and the brainchild of banking heir David de Rothschild, set sail from a berth here in this town just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.
The Plastiki is not just the world's first boat made buoyant by discarded soda bottles. It's also a statement about the world's garbage problem, and the fact that most plastic bottles are thrown away rather than recycled.
The intent is to sail the boat 11,000 nautical miles from Sausalito to Sydney, Australia. It is carrying about 1,000 liters of water, meaning the crew will have to stop from time to time to resupply. But they have fishing rods onboard, so at least some of their food, in theory, will come from the sea.
Among the inspirations for the project, in addition to bring attention to the way humans are treating our environment, is the Kon-Tiki expedition, Thor Heyerdahl's 1947 trip across the Pacific in a boat that was a reproduction of an Inca raft.
In keeping with tradition, the Plastiki will pay even more homage to Heyerdahl. Among the six crew members is Olav Heyerdahl, Thor's grandson. Follow them to Sydney here.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Cruising the World on an Old Steel Boat

I have been following a fun blog of a sailor from Australia for about 10 years now. His name is Lauri and he is very much a character. Early on in his years of cruising, he would go on and on about the injustices of the world with his rants and raves. He has mellowed out a bit as he has met a fine woman on his travels and is now married. They continue to travel the world on their old steel sloop, Aliisa. Here is one of their updates from the Atlantic:

Our last port in the Canaries deserves a little space here. You see, after a week in San Sebastian (La Gomera) we decided on one more port, Valle Gran Rey. We had been hanging out with Sym and Amy from Sy Quartermoon and with Simon and Lindsey from Sy Doris. All three of us mozied on around the corner, 15 miles to the spectacular cliffs, dark volcanic sand and clear water. There was naked people on the beach and - as our german rasta-friend Hannnes informed us - a yoga/meditation centre plus a few remaining hippies still living under the cliffs. Finally it was socially acceptable for me to jump in naked!

Valle Gran Rey used to be a hippie-haven in the past. Now it seems popular with Germans. Perhaps the old flower-power oldies come here to see their beach-born children who are now approcaching middle-age and live here, managing their small businesses and shops. Tie-dyed clothes, hand-made jewlery, astrology services, organic cafes etc. were dotting the beautiful narrow streets of the sleepy village. In some way, perhaps it was still a hippie-haven. Canaries had not made much of an impression on me, with the nature being almost dead and beaches crowded with sunburnt tourists and highrising hotels. But if I was forced to live in the Canary Islands, It would have to be Valle Gran Rey.

The pressure was on to make a move. We were using up our veggies and water, not knowing what the facilities were like in Cape Verdes. (If I had done my homework, I would have known that Mindelo is a town of 70 000 people and everything is available there) We decided on a 6 December departure, but not before a short ritual for the Finnish independence day. I hoisted the full size flag and assumed my original citizenship for a while. (I am a born-again Australian...) Jean Sibelius provided the emotional straight-to-any-Finns-heart-music. The piece of course is called Finlandia and we blasted it out from the speakers outside, for the whole anchorage. It went straight to my heart and tears welled up. Read more here. You can navigate to their adventures by going to the top left and clicking the Aliisa.net Menu. I hope you will look around as I really enjoy the writers stye and his views of the world and the people they meet during their travels.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wellington Mayhem

A southerly storm hits Owhiro Bay, Wellington, NZ. Fri March 12 2010. Winds of over 140 km per hour (about 90 mph) were recorded. About the time this was shot, the roof of the house down the road would have been flying by. Crazy wind and not something you want to experience on a boat!

Sailing At It's Best

Click the top pic for a bigger view. Here is the Addiction flying her colors during a race to Vallejo a few years back.

Hope you enjoying reading about my sailing adventures on the San Francisco Bay...cuz I luv writing about them! Went out on Sunday with one of my boat partners, Tall Paul, and his buddies, Mario and Pierre. We headed out with thoughts of flying the spinnaker on the way home. As we rounded the last channel maker of Emeryville, the wind was up with a very northerly component to it. This allowed us to hit the cut in the Berkeley Pier under sail. We continued on a nice easy reach towards Richmond. The sun was out, the wind was about 12 knots, and we were hitting 6 on the speedo. After a few tacks we were out near Belvedere and on our way to the Gate. The wind was up towards 18 as we made it under the Golden Gate Bridge. I had checked the tides earlier (always check the tides before you go near the bridge, the best situation is a slack tide, going into an flood) and knew it was going to be an ebb, but only about 2 knots. We can do 6-7 in a good wind so we should be fine. One spring, we had this same situation, however, we had a huge rain right before we took off. There was so much water coming from the mountains, the ebb had been predicted at 2 but the volume of water running to the ocean took it to 6 knots. On that day, the wind died and our motor could not push us forward. We finally made to the north side of the channel and hugged the coast where the effects of the tide are minimized. We are learning more great stuff through our mistakes! Anywho, we flew under the bridge and into the mile long strait that leads to the Pacific Ocean. It's a memorable sight and an impressive one as well as you have big, rolling hills of Marin and chiseled rock formations all around. And then there is the Golden Gate Bridge. What a cool icon of Northern California. We continue on and the ocean swell is picking up and in the 4'-6' range. The "Addiction" is loving it and so is the crew. We make it out to Pt. Bonita and decide its time to head home. We sailed back against the millions of gallons of water sliding across our hull without much problem. Once we were back under the bridge, we made preparations to hoist the chute for the ride home. Paul has been a partner now for 5 years and we have never raised the chute with him. So here's our first go with him. We are set to hoist our beautiful rainbow spinnaker and the command is given, "Hoist away". She is a gorgeous sight to behold and she opens without a hitch. After a few minor adjustments we are flying along at 7-7.5 knots and the envy of the bay! At this point, there are maybe 10 boats in our vicinity. All going in other directions and currently we have a clean shot for port. Mario is at the wheel and doing a fine job of balancing speed, direction and the position of the boat and spinnaker. It's not that easy to do but he is making it look so. In no time, we are back near the pier and looking for our channel makers after a perfect run across the bay. One of the best things you can do when lowering the spinnaker is to position the main so it is blocking the spinnaker from the wind, this lessens the pressure on the chute and make it easier to lower. I failed to mention that to Mario and we got a bit of a wrap on the spinnaker as it came down but got it down shortly there after using the above technique. Back in the bag and in the slip shortly after 6pm. After cleaning up, Pierre gets a bug in his pants about going out for the sunset. We all agree and head out once more for a blazing red, brilliant sunset. All our navigation lights are on and we are under motor. Our trusty diesel is still pushing in the right direction after almost 30 years of service! After the sun has gone down, we head back once more and put her to bed and head home for the night. Another unforgettable day on my favorite bay!!

Maybe the Best Holiday of the Year - Happy St. Pats!

Ten facts about Guinness:
With St. Patrick's Day imminent, it's time to prime yourself with some basic facts and amusing anecdotes about Ireland's most popular pint:

1. It's dark, so it must be heavy!
Guinness on draft contains less alcohol and has fewer calories and carbohydrates than Budweiser. Sure, it's got more flavor than the typical American lager, but it's far from intense. Guinness is a session beer -- one that you can consume over the course of an evening, or in the case of St. Patrick's, all day long.

​2. What makes it black?
The dark color (Guinness officially claims it is very dark ruby, not black) comes from roasted barley. Unlike most of the barley used in making beer, roasted barley isn't malted. Still, this seemingly defining characteristic wasn't a feature of Guinness until the late 1920s or early 1930s -- well after the company had established itself as a brewing titan.

3. Was Guinness always about stout?
"Stout" was originally merely an adjective in brewing parlance and meant nothing more than "strong." It was applied to beers both light and dark in color. Guinness gained fame as a brewer of porter, another style of dark ale, and in the mid-1800s it applied the term "stout" to one of its products to indicate a premium level of alcohol and richness: Guinness Stout Porter. Eventually "porter" was dropped altogether and stout evolved into a style all its own.

4. What's up with the head?
Most beer is dispensed with pressurized carbon dioxide. Guinness popularized a system that uses a mix of nitrogen (75 percent) and carbon dioxide (25 percent). The beer is forced through a special faucet that strips out the gases, leaving it "smooth"-tasting owing to the lack of carbonation, and letting the freed nitrogen work its chemical and physical magic to make the thick head that proudly sits atop your pint to the last sip.

​5. Much is made of Arthur Guinness' business coup in signing a 9,000-year lease on the brewery property for an initial £100 plus an annual rent of £45. But who was the chump on the other side of that deal?
That would be one Mark Rainsford, whose eponymous brewery had, according to what reports exist, sat unused and unsold on a street of empty breweries for a decade before the lease was drawn up. A hundred pounds was a large sum of money in 1759, and the £45 a year nothing to sneeze at. Only the inconceivable magnitude of Guinness' success turned what Rainsford had to have thought was a great fleecing of young Arthur into a pillar of the Guinness legend.

6. Guinness is responsible for starting the Guinness Book of World Records, right?
Yep. In 1954, after getting into an argument with some buddies while out hunting, the head of Guinness at the time, Hugh Beaver (yes, really), commissioned a handy reference book of all sorts of hard-to-prove facts as a means to settle disputes. The first edition of the Book of Records was a promotional item Guinness gave to bars stocking its beer, to be used to settle disputes before they turned into full-blown fights.

7. Stout's pretty much always been the be-all, end-all of Guinness, true or false?
False. Guinness has never feared to innovate, even when it probably should have been very afraid. This often resulted in hilariously unintended consequences, such as Guinness Smooth, Guinness Breó (a wheat beer!), and Guinness Shandy (a mix of lemonade and beer). Though how Guinness Light failed with this sort of powerhouse ad campaign, we don't know...

8. Does Guinness taste better in Ireland?
We're not going to debate the precious memories of your drunken nights in a cozy pub in Ireland, but the fact is that draft Guinness for the U.S. is brewed at St. James' Gate, right alongside draft Guinness for Ireland. Sure, it has to travel farther, so there may be some minimal degradation, but if you're having a subpar pint in the States, it's probably just that your friends aren't as charming or interesting as the Irish, leaving you more time to overanalyze what's in your glass. That, or the bar you're sitting in doesn't keep its beer lines clean enough.

9. What country consumes the most Guinness?
Great Britain still hoists more pints of Guinness than the Irish, who come in second. Rounding out the top 5 are (in order) Nigeria, the United States and Cameroon. Those African nations are even more impressive, as most of their Guinness consumption is in the form of Foreign Export Stout, which checks in at almost twice the alcoholic strength of standard Guinness.

10. How do you pronounce sláinte?
It's the Irish equivalent of "cheers," meaning more or less "to your health." Depending on where one is from in Ireland, the pronunciation varies, but anything from SLAN-cheh to SLAWN-chuh and you're in the ballpark. Especially if all concerned are in an advanced state of refreshment.

via Riverfront Times.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Youngest Rower Crosses the Atlantic

GEORGETOWN, Guyana - After 70 days adrift in the Atlantic Ocean, up to 10 hours a day spent rowing and the rest of the time alone with her thoughts and endless water, Katie Spotz faced her greatest challenge at the last moment of her record-breaking journey.
As the 22-year-old Mentor native pulled her specially designed solo rowboat up to the pier in Georgetown, Guyana, about 2,817 miles from her starting point in Dakar, Senegal, she had to do something entirely new. She had to climb a ladder.

Seventy days without using her legs for anything other than rowing movements, and suddenly, Spotz wondered if this might be the first in more than two months that she would fail.
"It was a bit nerve-wracking," Spotz said via phone Sunday night.
She successfully navigated the ladder, hugged her father and brother who were waiting for her, gobbled up fresh watermelon and finally reveled in her accomplishment: Spotz became become the youngest person and first American to row across the Atlantic Ocean, mainland to mainland. She began her journey Jan. 3 and reached land at about 12:20 p.m. Cleveland time Sunday, completing the row faster than the 90 days she anticipated the voyage might take.
That quickened pace came despite opting two weeks ago to add 400 miles to her journey to land in Georgetown, Guyana. She made the decision to bypass her original ending point in Cayenne, French Guiana, because she wanted to reach land unassisted and avoid rougher seas. Continue reading here.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Doing the Ha Ha in 2010!!

I have been dreaming of an adventure down the coast for so long it makes my eyes red just thinking about it. I had hoped to go in 2008 but it was not to be. This year, if all goes well, I will be on a boat to Cabo on the 25th of October! For those not familiar, the Baja Ha Ha is in it's 17th year. It's a cruisers rally from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas. This is a 750 mile "race" down the West coast of Baja with 150 boats and 500-600 folks. There are two stops that break up the trip and allow everyone to catch their breath as they cruise down the coast. The first stop is Turtle Bay and gives folks about 48 hours to party, rest, and kick back. Then it's off to Bahia Santa Maria for another stop with a band, lobsters and a ton of fun on the beach. Last stop is Cabo and one last party. If luck would have it, maybe one of my readers is preparing to go and needs a hand. Let me know as I would be happy to send my sailing resume that includes 25 years of sailing. Heck, I may have forgotten more about sailing that you'll ever know! And you can bet we will be sending reports via satphone and keeping our readers abreast of the current happenings! It's gonna be out of this world!! Check out the Ha Ha site here.

Ultimate Ride

Would you brave number 9?

Something Wild

M26 in 40 Knots

We all think this boat is a joke but here she is doing what well built boats do. She also has some damn fine sailors at the helm.

Want One!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sunday Sail

It's been a rainy winter here in Northern California. So when I put out some invites to go sailing last Sunday, I wasn't sure I would have any takers as the weather looked questionable. Come Sunday however, it was bright and beautiful. I headed to the boat with a skip in my step. Everyone showed up on time at 11am and we were off with a full boat of 7 plus Kona (my Golden). Motoring out, there was no wind. Looking past the 2 mile long Berkeley Pier, I could see wind ahead. We finally pulled up the sails and we were off for a beautiful sail towards the Gate. The wind was 12-15 and the sun was bright in the cockpit. Lots of great conversation and the stories were fun. We got around Angel and decided to head for Sam's for a lunch break. No need to belly up to the bar as we has plenty of food and drink on board. Kona got a walk and as per usual, we were stopped several times so folks could get a better look at this beautiful dog. A family wandered out to the boat and a little boy wanted to see the boat. I took him aboard and he looked around down below and was impressed by what he saw as he had never been on a boat before. We took off and the wind was up even more. A couple short tacks and we were off towards the bridge. The wind was in the low 20's by now and there were some big gusts. We shortened the jib up and had a beautiful view of the Golden Gate and the ocean beyond. What a sight. It doesn't get much better than this! I let Dan take the wheel and enjoyed this wonderful view of our home waters. Heading home we had a nice run back to the barn for a quick cleanup and back on the road. What a great way to kick off the season with friends aboard our humble little sloop! I received an email from a fellow sailor out that day and he saw a whale near Angel Island frolicking about. We don't get many in the bay and usually they don't stay very long.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

David Crosby's Yacht for Sale

Classic rocker David Crosby of Crosby, Stills & Nash fame has put his beloved wooden sailing yacht on the market after 40 years. Crosby is asking $1 million for the classic 59-ft. Alden 356-B Centerboard Schooner, named Mayan. Crosby, who had an affluent upbringing in California and learned to sail at age 11, composed several songs aboard the yacht which he lived on for long spells. The Mayan is pictured on the cover of the 1977 Crosby, Stills & Nash album CSN, and references to her can be found in songs such as "Wooden Ships," "The Lee Shore" and "Through My Sails."

Crosby originally purchased the yacht in 1968 and spent over $600,000 on a refit in 2005, including new electronics, and she has been upgraded annually. The Mayan, which is located in Santa Barbara, is described as "a very powerful design that takes the weather very well." The cabin layout is very traditional but easily sleeps eight in three staterooms plus a large saloon double berth. Stars like Neil Young and Joni Mitchell have sailed on her. If you have a cool mil sitting around, you should buy

Swimming Across the Atlantic

In May, Dan Martin will attempt to swim the Atlantic. You heard it here first. He just made a decision to move up the coast to Nova Scotia for his departure. This will save him about 900 miles of swimming. People are doing some crazy stunts these days. Youg girls sailing the planet, rowers rowing from Japan to SF, and a swimmer who swam the Amazon River.

There are few people in the world of endurance sports who dream as big as Dan Martin does.

In May 2010, the 28-year-old intrepid British adventurer will attempt the 5,800K (3,603-mile) ocean swim leg of an unprecedented solo Global Triathlon where he will literally swim, bike and run around the world.

According to credible swimmers, Dan has been training hard in the English Channel, Jersey, Ireland, the North Sea and Tenerife in the Canary Islands in all kinds of conditions. Dan says, "I am now feeling pretty comfortable in even quite big swells." He better feel comfortable because the Atlantic will thrown everything at him during his time at sea.

Dan plans to swim from Nova Scotia to Brest in northwestern France in an estimated 3-4 months. After his swim leg, Dan will cycle from Paris to Alaska and then finish his Global Triathlon by running from Alaska back to New York where he will finishing with the New York Marathon.

"Recently I’ve found the ideal ship to support me while I’m swimming the Atlantic. She’s an expedition ship called Ice Maiden, she sleeps ten and can hold all the food and fuel we’ll need for the crossing. My route planning is going well for the cycle and run, with most of it set in stone now. The Bering Straits [on his cycle leg] is still a huge stumbling block but I’m working on various ways of crossing it," Dan explains.

In an understatement of the year, Dan said, "I’ve done some pretty tough stuff in the past, but this will undoubtedly be my biggest challenge. It scares me just thinking about it."

Despite the estimated 8-20°C (46-68°F) water of the north Atlantic from May to August, Dan says that he will not use a wetsuit.

Dan plans to swim eight hours a day, but we are confirming how he will define his stage swim across the Atlantic Ocean. Will he use the currents to float across the ocean as did Guy Delage from Cape Verde Islands off of Africa to Barbados in 1991, Benoit Lecomte from Cape Cod (USA) to Brittany, France in 1998 and Jennifer Figge from Cape Verde Islands to Tobago in the Caribbean Sea in 2009? Or will he mark his progress each day with GPS technology so the world can track his program? Will he start the next day at the precise location where he finished the previous day? However way he swims, floats or traverses his way across the Atlantic, it is an epic feat that are within the physical, mental, emotional, logistical and financial capabilities of only the most trepid adventurers.

Assuming Dan takes 4 months swimming 8 hours per day at an average rate of 3 miles per hour (4.8K per hour) - which is an extremely fast clip for even the world's best marathon swimmers swimming for only 8 hours for one day - Dan will cover a total of 4,608K (2,880) over the 120 days. Which means that he will have to work in another 1,092K (723 miles) somehow during his time in the Atlantic. He would either have to swim faster, which would not be possible without fins, take longer, which is always a possibility, or go along with the currents, which is probably the easiest and most logical means to make up the distance deficit.

But what separates Dan from the average person is that he has planned, prepared for and mentally broken down his epic adventure into manageable, human-size proportions. Incredibly and admirably, the 5,800K distance seems to be less of a concern than others. "The biggest hazards I’ll face day in and day out will be chaffing and cold. The temperature will vary from 8-20°C on my route with the early days being by far the coldest. I’ve trained a lot in cold water and am gaining lots of weight to help with the cold and buoyancy."

Distance seems to be Dan's forte after having cycled from Korea to South Africa and then from London to Cape Town the year before - covering over 55,000K between the two trips. We will update you on his progress and wish him a safe swim! Visit his website here.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Too Much Fun!

Embracing the extreme, that's what we do here.

“If you are not living on the edge, you are taking up too much room.”

Saturday, March 06, 2010

How Rogue Waves Form

An extra-tall wave struck a cruise ship off the Mediterranean coast of Spain this week, claiming two lives and injuring one person on board. Though the wave may not qualify as a “rogue wave,” it could have been created by the same forces.

To officially be rogue, the wave’s height must be more than double the “significant wave height” of the area, which is calculated by averaging the height of the tallest third of all the nearby waves.

The wave measured 26 feet tall and shattered plate-glass windows at the bow of the vessel. Still, it wasn’t very tall compared to some of the waves oceanographer Libe Washburn of UC Santa Barbara has seen.

“I was surprised it was really that damaged by a 26-foot-high wave,” Washburn said. “Twenty-six feet isn’t that big.”

Until recently, scientists were skeptical that rogue waves even exist, because evidence of them was mostly anecdotal. More often called “freak waves,” these monsters of the sea were confirmed only six years ago by satellite images and extensive studies carried out by MaxWave, a research group funded by the European Commission.

Waves over 100 feet tall have been spotted by oceanographers, scientists and vessel passengers. The highest wave ever recorded was 112 feet tall, spotted in the Pacific by a U.S. Navy tanker in the 1920s. Now, whenever large ships get lost at sea and never return, many are quick to speculate they were victims of rogue waves.

Rogue waves occur in the open ocean in a number of ways. One common cause is when two smaller waves coalesce to produce a very large wave for a short time.

wave_crest“You get waves that add up — smaller waves that constructively interfere and for a short time produce a very large wave,” Washburn said. “When they add up, they can make an extra high crest and an extra deep trough.”

Another way rogue waves propagate is when an ocean wave encounters a very strong current that’s running counter to the direction of the wave, according to Washburn. The Agulhas Current, which flows down the eastern coast of South Africa, is notorious for producing rogue waves.

“It’s very dangerous at the Agulhas,” Washburn said. “Even if you’re on a big ship, that doesn’t mean you’re any safer.”

Storm-related wind is a factor as well. Strong winds transfer energy into the waves, creating interactions between them. Large waves take energy from smaller ones, creating a bigger and bigger wave, said oceanographer Peter Challenor of the National Oceanography Centre in the United Kingdom, in an interview with Agence France-Presse.

Via Wired.com

Friday, March 05, 2010

Lost and Found After a Month at Sea

You just can't keep a good sailor down.

A yacht with a solo sailor on board missing for over a month in the Caribbean, and given up for lost, has been found.

His extraordinary story has been spread among cruisers in the area and reported to Cruisers Network Online.

Many long and short-term cruisers knew 80-year-old Lon Matlock on his 32 ft yacht Liberation, and he had spent many seasons in the southern Caribbean and in Venezuela. They also knew that he was a good sailor, a veteran cruisers with more than 30 years experience.

However hope was fading after he had failed to make rendezvous with another boat and had been missing since 3rd February. Health and Welfare alerts were sent out, and cruisers asked to keep a lookout, but there was nothing to indicate what might have been his fate. Had his vessel sunk? Had he fallen prey to ruthless pirates? It seemed the mystery might never be solved.

But then, the Port Captain in Bocas del Toro heard a story of some local people who had in their care the skipper of a yacht that had foundered.

He told his story, which, in the confined waters of the Caribbean, is extraordinary.

He left Colon on February 3, bound for a reunion in Bocas with his good friend and fellow cruiser John, on Mermaid. At some point his motor failed, and then his mainsail ripped. He then drifted around the area for 29 days, before running aground on a reef near the Panama mainland, Playa Rojo, south of Escudo de Veraguas.

After spending the night on the reef, in the morning the local people noticed him and came out to the reef. They rescued him, took him to the chief's home, and then returned to the stranded yacht to salvage his solar panels, the dinghy, jerry jugs and any other valuable gear they could find, and brought it all to the chief's house where Lon was resting.

Upon receiving the news of the strange rescue, the Port Captain in Bocas del Toro personally manned a launch and to fetch him from the village, and brought Lon back to Bocas to receive medical attention.

Here is another story of man lost at sea and his survival story.

Pics of the Week

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Tsunami Hitting Ventura on Saturday

Discover Boating

With so many opportunities for boating fun available today, there’s no reason why anyone can’t take advantage of the benefits that recreational boating has to offer. Read our personal list of Top Reasons for Boating below:

Boating Improves Quality of Life
It’s a proven fact that recreational boating goes a long ways towards improving your quality of life. The minute you start to move forward on a boat, you’ll notice how easy it is to leave your troubles behind. Recreational boating fun provides a constructive outlet for entertainment that reduces stress and provides enriching opportunities for self discovery, whether it’s learning how to water ski or simply enjoying the warm glow of an evening sunset.

Boating is an Affordable Recreation Alternative
Are you under the impression that recreational boating is too expensive for your current budget? Think again. Many boats can be financed for under $200 a month. Dedicated boating lenders will work with you to help you save money and get you the best financing package available. For help determining if you can afford to buy a boat, including boat loan basics, an NMBA Member Directory, a boat loan calculator, and more, please visit our section on Buying a Boat.

Water Access is Closer than you Think
Did you know that about ninety percent of Americans live less than an hour from a navigable body of water? This means that water access is a lot closer and more convenient than you might think. To find a recreation boating marinas near you, please visit our boat marinas and ramps page.

Boating Fun Helps you Bond with Friends and Family
Fifty four percent of all households, in a study by the National Marine Manufacturers Association, listed fishing as their favorite boating activity (followed by cruising and relaxing with family and friends). In other words, to many people the best part about boating doesn’t revolve around the latest waterskiing tricks or the number of fish caught- the best part of boating is simply the opportunities it provides for boating fun with friends and family. Recreational boating is quality time spent away from the television set and the video games, creating an atmosphere that brings people together and creates fond memories to last a lifetime.

Boating Helps Reduce Stress
We can’t stress the statistics enough - numerous studies have shown that a little bit of boating fun each day can go a long way towards reducing stress. In fact, a National Marine Manufacturers Association survey of over 1,000 American households listed boating in the top-three of all stress-relieving activities.

Boating is Convenient
As we pointed out above, since over ninety percent of Americans live less than an hour's drive from an accessible body of water, you can be enjoying the fresh air and water in no time.

In fact, the convenience of boating makes it possible to hop on your boat for a mini-vacation whenever you feel like it, as an alternative to other family recreation activities which can quickly add up to become even more expensive and time-consuming.

Boating is an Engaging and Rewarding Activity
Recreational boating offers lots of opportunities for personal growth. Whether you’re instilling your child with extra confidence as they learn how to properly secure a line, or you’re enjoying the delicate taste of fresh fish that you caught yourself, boating recreation provides many different rewards for all ages.

Boating is Good Exercise
From a rigorous sailing excursion to an invigorating run on waterskis, boating provides sporting enthusiasts with many active endeavors to choose from. In fact, we’d argue that simply breathing in the brisk wind coming off the water in itself can go a long ways towards strengthening one’s constitution- not to mention the additional physical and psychological benefits in terms of relaxation and stress relief.

Recreational Boating is Easy to Learn
If you’re new to boating, take heart. With so many available boating classes and courses to choose from, you’ll be out on the water before you know it. Whether you’ve always wanted to learn how to sail, or you’re just interested in new ways to spend quality time with your family, a wealth of available boater education courses make boating easier to learn than ever. To learn more about finding boating instruction near you, please visit our boating courses page.

Boating is FUN
Last but definitely not least, one of the top reasons for boating is simply because it’s so much fun. There are so many activities to explore when it comes to boating, whether you like to fish, waterski, snorkel, or simply enjoy relaxing on the water. Be sure to check out our boating activities page to learn more about all the different ways that you too can experience boating fun.

SF Sailing Bloggers Sailebration

Recently the east coast blogging contingent got together for a blogging party. I am hoping to do one better to celebrate my 5th anniversary of blogging. I propose a sail on the Addiction with our San Francisco bloggers. I'm thinking EVK4, Horses Mouth, O Docker, Zen, and maybe frogma could fly out! What do you guys think?? It would be a ton of fun to meet you all and I can't think of a better way to celebrate. I am thinking about a day sail out of Emeryville on our Newport 30. Any other sail bloggers of note from the bay area that I missed? Let's party!