Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Heading up The Petaluma River

My good buddy Tex and I have had many sailing adventures on the bay and delta over the last 10 years. This weekend we will be heading up river on the Petaluma for the first time. It about a 30 mile sail to get there. We end up in downtown Petaluma which has turned into a bustling theater, dinning and watering hole district. We will be on the water for three days. Be on the lookout for updates from the boat. Should be an awesome trip!

Flynnstone Flip

Flynn Novak - Flynnstone Flip from Matuse Inc. on Vimeo.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

45 Moments in NASA History

Here is a great multimedia presentation of some of great and not so great moments in NASA's history. From the first moon landing to the first monkey in space, it's all here. Click this link to see the site.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Ronnie Makes it Back

(See the post below for the back info on Ronnie)

Here is the latest:
This thread is entertaining.

First off, i've got to make it very much publicly known that I probably could not (and would not) have done this without Ed McCoy. There is not a better bperson that I could have been on the boat with in such a shitty situation. He is one of my best friends, and we got along better during and now after the ordeal than even before. He is a delivery skipper/ skilled racer/ general sailboat bad ass. I've been sailing for 2.5 years. That's it. Whenever you're new to a sport, you have to have a mentor and a role model and for me, it's Ed. He was the first and only person I ever approached about doing this delivery with. If not him, I probably would have returned solo as well. So thanks dude.

Having said that, there were a few things in this thread I would address:

Water ballast was disabled for race, and was not able to be used.

Boat is stable like a motherfucker. Scot Jutson designed a good boat in my opinion. Something on the boat failed. Was it corroded keel bolts? Shitty welds? Bad construction? Previous groundings? Hell if I know. It broke, but the boat itself is in my opinion a good boat and a well built one at that. I put 5,000 ocean miles on that boat this summer, mostly solo, and I usually pounded the shit out of it. Never felt anything less than rock solid until last Wednesday night. We will haul out tomorrow and maybe learn something from it. Boat is getting a new keel, designed by another respected Mount Gay 30 designer and *should* be back in action for next year's Bermuda 1-2. If not, SHTP 2012.

Major, major props and gratitude to everyone who showed up to greet us at the gate. Garrett Greenhalgh and Drew Harper (my employers at Spinnaker Sailing) greeted us in the SC 50 with thai food and booze. Ladonna and Rob fro Latitude are great friends, and Adam, Ben, Lucy, Gary and all the SHTP community was just awesome in coming to greet us. That really meant a lot to me. And like someone else said about Don, the boat's owner. Yeah, he's one of the good guys. I was pissed off for some reason about the keel falling off, but we sat down and talked in private today and I feel a lot better about things. The guy is a great guy and afforded me a great life experience this summer. So thanks to everyone.

As you can see, on this day i'm happy to be alive and I just love everything and everyone. That shit was traumatic (in my mind), but we pulled through. The stress alone made me drop 10 pounds in the last week.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

More Bad Luck For Ronnie

Poor Ronnie. Here's a guy who gets seriously injured in the Iraq War. Because of his injuries he is sent home. He gets a job and tries to find his way. But something is missing and he needs to find it. He decides to buy a boat and sail to Hawaii. He does the minimum to get the boat ready. He has some crew but decides he has to go and leaves for his first ocean passage alone on an untested boat. He also departs at the tail end of hurricane season here on the west coast. A few days after his departure from San Diego, he gets hit with the remnants of a Cat 4 hurricane and loses his rudder in terrible conditions. Rescued by a freighter heading for China, he ends up there with nothing and no way to get back home. But Ronnie never gives up! He sails and races in China and makes the most of it. He finally makes a plan to bike across the continent to the UK. Not just any continent, but the biggest continent of all...8,700 miles later he pedals to a pub to make another plan. He wants to sail in the Single Handed Transpac. He gets some sponsors, finds a boat that is lent to him for the race. Prepares the boat hopefully with more diligence than the one he lost off San Diego and sails out the Gate. Waves are steep and the wind is in the 30's as he reaches the Farallones. He does well in the race and ends up 2nd in his division and 6th overall. He celebrates and makes some amazing friends as he finally reaches his goal of sailing to Hawaii. Now he is headed back to SF and guess what?? No, not the rudder this time. He loses his friggin KEEL! Some how, some way, Ronnie is prevailing and headed our way. They lost the keel 800 miles out, a freighter dropped some fuel for them and they have a little bit of jib out as they cruise at 5.5 knots. Here is the latest report from Ronnie that I received this morning:
August 16, 2010- 228 miles to San Fran
1 more night down, and *hopefully* only two more nights to go. As you can tell, the nights freak me out a bit more than the days. Things are still more or less going okay aboard Warrior's Wish. We've had to bleed the motor several times. We checked all of our work regarding fuel filter swap, previous bleeding, etc. Everything seems tight, but due to constant vibration, (or something), it seems there is a very small air leak. Motor sounds very starved and loses power for several minutes. Definitely seems like a fuel issue. Motor itself is fine. The starvation/ power loss either works itself out naturally in 5 minutes, as it did once yesterday, or requires bleeding, as we've done 3 times in the past 2 days. The motor generally stays running throughout the entire ordeal. Either way, she's purring right along right now and we're making a steady 5.5 knots with the jib up. Definitely looking forward to getting back to San Francisco. I think we both want showers, thai curry chicken, and beer. Everything after that is just in the details.
Our ETA is beginning to become more defined. Looking at Wednesday morning's flood tide. Slack is at 0349, max flood is 0706 and slack is 1011. Fortunately, the ebb tide after that is a mild one, so we have some leeway (no pun intended, hahaha). We would like to have a boat on the scene to meet us outside the gate and escort us in if that is possible. With the gnarly currents at the Golden Gate, if the motor craps out, we're done. Either into the South Tower or the lee shore. Too much leeward drift with no keel. I think we can do it ourselves, I just want a power boat as back up in case we need a tow. Please contact RJ if you know of someone who can help with this. I would prefer to not have Coast Guard on scene as I don't feel it's an emergency. Good luck Ronnie! We will keep a light on for you! Here's a link to his website.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Pics From the Archives

Sail to the Farallones

On Sunday our Baja Haha crew boarded Rainbow for my first ever trip to the Gulf of the Farallones. The islands sit over 20 miles outside the Gate. One of our crew stated that the islands sits on a plate that over the last billion or so years, has crept all the way from Baja. That is amazing! We practiced our man overboard drills along the way. The skipper Cliff, told us about a rescue he made during a race. A freak wave threw two sailors into the water as they headed back from the the islands. Cliff saw what happened and was able to rescue them without mishap. The boat kept sailing and was lost. Cliff received a medal of honor and lots of recognition. Anyway, we made to the islands and it was very cool to be out there. Not much to see but lo an behold, as we tacked to head back, a huge gray whale surfaced just in front of the boat. What a sight! He surfaced a few more time before disappearing behind us. We put up the spinnaker for the ride home and as we approached the Gate, the winds peaked at 23 knots and we were flying aboard our 36 Crowther cat. Speeds in the double digits were the norm for a good part of the ride home. The sun came out and it was beautiful inside the bay. It was a 12 hour sail and a great one at that. Our next adventure on Rainbow is a overnight training sail outside the Gate again over Labor Day weekend. More fun on the high seas!!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Buying My Ticket to the HaHa!!

Looks like I will be going on the Baja HaHa! We are making plans for provisioning the boat and the schedule down the coast. I am super excited as this will be my first ocean passage. It will take about 12 days to get down the coast from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas. We have several stops to rest, relax and have a beach party if the waves cooperate. We head out the Gate this weekend for a training sail. I will be updating this blog as we go. Read all about the HaHa here.

Gales, Whales and the Baja Ha-Ha (Movie Trailer) from Sailing Guy on Vimeo.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Why is it called a Head?

Marine toilets are known as the head, this being the name given to them on the old wooden sailing ships, as they were located in the ships head right at the bow. They were placed each side of the bowsprit and used by the officers and crew, with only the captain having his own toilet.

I first heard this term used whilst serving my time as a marine fitter in Harland and Wolff Belfast. Since then I have been to sea as a Ships Engineer and we all called the marine toilet the head or heads, the name deriving from the days of the wooden sailing ships, when the heads were placed up for’d.

This is a marine article regarding the origin of the marine toilet being known as the head; here we will have a light-hearted look at its history. However, in the middle of a dark night, on a rough sea I am sure going to the loo, and having your nether regions splashed by cold seawater was anything but lighthearted.

We begin then with a brief look at the history of the ship's head.

In the days of sailing ships, the forerunner of today’s marine toilet was known as the head or heads as there were normally two of them, some of them being enclosed in a shelter like our old outhouse toilets.

They were located on each side of the bowsprit, which was an integral part of the ship’s bow, overlooked only by the figurehead at the head of the ship, and this is how the marine toilets become known as the head. Incidentally, the word head came from a Roman galley, where the prow with the armor and battering ram was sometimes referred to as the beak’s head.

The heads on the sailing ships were used only by the crew and officers, with the Captain having his own private head below the "poop deck" (no pun intended) near his stern cabin.

Reasons for the Location of the Head

The reasons for locating the heads so far for’d are listed below:

* Smells

Smells emanating from the heads would be blown away from the deck of the ship by the following winds; that were normally from aft, as the ship sailed before the wind.

* Keeping the Heads' Outflows Clean

Because the heads were right at the bow slanting inwards, the waves constantly splashing seawater upwards would wash any accumulation of waste from the port and starboard planking, whilst also keeping the gratings used as a toilet seat and the surrounding deck area well washed.

* Using the Lee or Windward Head

The sailors were encouraged to use the lee side head in rough seas or windy conditions as this also stopped the accumulation of waste sticking to the sides of the bow.

* Fo’c’sle Head

Later on as the ships were developed, a fo'c' sle head was built under the fo'c' sle deck. It was originally a sail and rope store, but some of the sailors preferred to sleep and mess here rather than down below. So the heads were kept in their location being handy for them to use.

Now you know!


Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Great Article: Plastiki

The world needs men and women who do great things: lead nations, invent new devices, discover miracle cures - all those things that make our lives better. But we also need adventurers, people who do things for the hell of it, who sail off beyond the far horizon to prove some point or other.

David de Rothschild, a tall, rangy man with a plummy English accent, scion of the famous British banking family, is one of those people. He and a crew of five others have just completed an amazing voyage, sailing a strange-looking craft made of 12,500 plastic bottles from the Golden Gate to Sydney. The 8,000-mile trip took four months.

The point, he said, was to show the world that the "shocking and unnecessary use" of disposable plastic harms the oceans' health.

De Rothschild believed that by building a boat of tough plastic, with floatation supplied by liter-size bottles filled with carbon dioxide, he could call attention to plastic waste in the ocean. He called it "a message in a bottle".

Continue reading here.

Monday, August 02, 2010

August Sailing

We had a busy week last week with sailing and many events with the Too Much Fun Club. Wine tasting in Napa and lots of groovy folks! Had some maintenance on the boat too. I changed the impeller and had some issues getting the pump to prime. Saturday morning it was still not priming and for the first time in 10 years, I had to cancel a day trip with friends. I did some research on the web and found an interesting solution that may help others. The impeller moves water from the bay into the engine to keep it cool. It spins and spins and it had made some indentations on the cover. In my research, a few of the suggestions were to turn the cover over so it can use the smooth surface to create a seal and start moving the water. I did that and it worked like a charm. Sometimes it as simple as that.

The weather in Northern California has been nothing short of spectacular. Fog in the morn, Sunny by 11am and then 70's every day. They say this has been the mildest summer in 40 years! Perfect temps at night. My theory is that as the valley heats up, it is bringing in more cool air and keeping it mild near the bay. Great for sailing too!

My August looks great for more sailing adventures and working towards the Baja Ha Ha. On the 14th, I will be sailing out the Gate on Rainbow (36' cat) and hopefully the boat I will join for the rally. On Labor Day weekend we will do an overnight on the ocean and go way out past the Farallones. I also hope to head up the Petaluma River for a couple day trip with my friend Tex. Lots of day sails and a trip to the ballgame. Should be a great month of sails on both the Addiction and Rainbow!