Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Monday, January 24, 2011
Sunday was amazing. My swim buddy, best friend Dave came out from Stockton to join me and Kona. We hoped to meet up with several other boats at Angel. No wind for the start so we motor towards Angel for 30 minutes. Then the wind comes up and it's 8-10 and we are making way under sail. The sun is bright and warm, it's about 60 and I mention to Dave that many times it's warmer in the winter when sailing the bay, and much cooler in the summer. He agrees. Our friends are both on the west side of Angel asking about the wind on the east side where we are. It's building to 12 and perfect, come on over. We continue north on a beautiful tack towards San Quentin. I start to set up the spinnaker for the run home. We tack and bring down the jib. I have Dave raise the sock and we are heading home. Really nice sail home in these better than summer conditions. We gybe the spinnaker once and then it's time to bring her down. After a small wrap, we get her down for a fast run home. As we locked up the boat, we both agreed it's going to be tuff to top this sail!!!
Not the best vid but you get the idea. Glorious!
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Friday, January 21, 2011
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Around the Americas is a 25,000 mile sailing circumnavigation of the American continents with the mission of inspiring, educating, and engaging citizens of the Americas to protect our fragile oceans. Follow them as they sail from Seattle northward to the Artic Circle and all the way around the Horn and back home. You won't believe what you will see!
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
A geological eccentricity nestled in the middle of the Indian Ocean, the Maldives are a series of ancient coral reefs that grew up around the sides of towering prehistoric volcanoes. These immense structures have long since sunk into the ocean, leaving behind coral islands of incredible natural beauty, now themselves being colonised by travellers seeking unbridled pampering and romance, from the modernity of Male’ to the idyllic paradise of the Southern Atolls. The Maldives demands the attention of anyone looking for a uniquely indulgent break, breathtaking nature and sheer beauty that stays with you long after your tan has faded.
You get blown up in the war and luckily recover. After some ups and downs, you decide to sail around the world. You buy a boat and lose it in a storm off the coast of California. A passing freighter plucks you off the boat and continues on its way to china. You land in a strange place with nothing and no way to get home. You work and sail for a bit and then decide to ride a bike across the Continent and to the Atlantic. You make 7000+ mile journey only to have your bike stolen. You make it back to Cali and decide to race in Pacific Cup as a singlehander. On your way home, you lose your keel 800 miles from the Gate and still make it home safely. I wish I could spin a yarn this fantastic but truth is sometimes stranger than a yarn about a mythical sailor. Outside Mag and Tim Zimmerman have just printed an article about Ronnie Simpson who did all those crazy things above and more. I have been following his story since he landed in China. You can read the amazing facts about his life and times here. His next big goal is to sail the Vendee Globe in 2020! Good luck Ronnie but I don't think you need it.
Friday, January 14, 2011
Our Newport 30 "Addiction" will turn 30 this year!
Is the summer of 2011 your time for a new to you boat? If it is, this is the time to start formulating a plan of action. Maybe you think that boat ownership is too expensive (I pay $3 a day to own my 30' sailboat on the San Francisco Bay), too time consuming (yes it does take time, however it can be rewarding if you love it), or maybe too much trouble to consider (depends). It can be all those things, but if you get a great boat that brings you good times and fun, it will all be worth it. When I decided it was time to make the leap ten years ago, I spoke to friends who owned boats to determine all the costs involved (about $5k per year ($400/month)for our boat). I then went out and found three like minded friends and we purchased a $15k sailboat that was going on 20 years young. We got lucky and found a boat with a great engine, was a reputable bay boat from a respected company and it was ready to sail. Over the years, we have upgraded a few key components like adding a roller furler, upgrading the stereo and adding awesome cockpit speakers, and a used main sail for $100 from a racing boat. The costs I have mentioned do not include the biannual haulouts to paint the bottom and light maintenance on the boat (about $1500 every 2 years). We now have 5 partners and each pay $100 per month. This more than covers our monthly costs and the extra goes into the kitty for anything that might come up. I manage the financial side and have become the project and maintenance manager as well as I sail the boat the most and I enjoy doing it. I have also learned a great deal over the years. So there you have it. The cost of ownership is high if you never use your boat. But if you head out two-three times a month, you have a great way to get you out on the water and share your time with good friends. For a detailed account of the boat buying experience, the folks at Messing About in Sailboats have put together a terrific boat buying guide that will make your job that much easier. Click here for a downloadable guide. Also click here for one man's opinion on buying a first boat and a breakdown of some good first boats.
Lastly, here was my criteria for buying our boat:
Stand up head room below
30' minimum (good for groups up to 6 folks but also easy to single hand)
2500 lbs. in keel for stability
inboard diesel engine
sloop with spinnaker (if the spinnaker has a sock, all the better)
sleep four comfortably for week long trips
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Chugging across the glassy blue Sea of Cortez, several questions come to mind when you realize "a couple of dolphins" on the distant horizon are actually a bochinche, an organized, roiling feeding frenzy with untold hundreds of the playful mammals with the evil grin.
First, who came up with the Spanish word for a "dolphin feeding orgy"? And, more importantly: Are we gonna need a bigger boat?
Nearly seventy years after novelist John Steinbeck and marine biologist Ed Ricketts published their book about a wild and compelling expedition on the Western Flyer into this 700-mile slice up Mexico's left flank, the best way to experience the gulf and its Galapagos-like islands still is the way they did it: in a small ship.
It's clear from the book "Log from the Sea of Cortez" that this remote region only really reveals its secrets to travelers willing to make close contact, which explains how I came to be on a 70-passenger Lindblad Expeditions ship, the National Geographic Sea Bird, exploring stunning and forbidding land and sea - including some that hasn't changed since Ricketts and Steinbeck sailed through.
Continue reading here.
Monday, January 10, 2011
Paul, Mario and I went out on Sunday for one of those classic winter sails on the bay. The wind was about 10 knots from the north when we started. My goal was to teach Paul how to rig the spinnaker with our new sock. We had a beautiful run even though the wind died just as we hoisted. It was still a wonderful day on the bay!!
Friday, January 07, 2011
Thursday, January 06, 2011
The Americas Cup had it's coming out party yesterday at City Hall and the sailing elite were there along with many of the City's top brass. Mr. Ellison was there as well to talk about the cup. Although it may be optimistic, he said there may be as many as 14 teams on the water for the racing. It can easily cost $100M to run one of these campaigns. That's a lot of coin my friend. One of my favorite sailing writers was at the celebration and files this report.
One of my favorite boats on the bay is the Santana. A wood schooner built back in the 30's, her lines are as impressive as her history. She had many owners over the years, however, her most famous was Humphrey Bogart. He hosted the elite of Hollywood on his yacht and won many races. She is now in the hands of one of the partners of the boatyard KKMI here in the bay area. She has been painstakingly restored to her original glory and now sails the bay. Here is a great vid on the history of this storied vessel.
Thanks Tim at Wetass
Wednesday, January 05, 2011
In my quest to keep in shape for our journey to New Zealand in a few years, I purchased a new bike to replace my 10 year old mountain bike. There has been a huge shift in bike production over the last few years that I was not aware of. Gary Fisher decided to increase the size of the rims from 26" to 29". At first, folks thought he was nuts. Soon it took off an now everyone in the biz is putting out a 29er. They go faster and climb easier. I purchased a Rock Hopper Expert with hydralic brakes and front suspension and am very impressed with this bike. Currently, I am riding about 2500 miles a year and have a great 10 mile hilly loop thru Coyote hills Park. It's an awesome ride with huge climbs and fast downhills. Along with my running and swimming, I hope to be in fine shape for the 2 year trip I am planning once my son graduates from college in 2018.
In March, we will be heading to La Paz for some more cruising in Mexico. The boat is a 41 foot Morgan that will take us into some very nice anchorages over a weeks time. 4 out of 5 of our boat partners will be heading out along with another sailing friend. We plan to do alot of relaxing along with snorkeling, hiking, kayaking and some great food and drink. The cost of the charter is down right reasonable and La Paz is pretty easy to get to from the bay Area. If you have an need for adventure, take a look at the charter website.
Google Earth is an amazing tool you can use when sailing in your home waters or anywhere else in the world. Using the Ruler function, click here and then pull the cursor to the spot you want to go and it will show the distance in nautical miles. If there is a land mass to go around, just change the setting and plot your course. Currently a sailor from Google is sailing around the world on his cat. He has been blogging about the virtues of this awesome tool on his popular blog. One aspect most folks don't realize, you can use many of the features without the need for an internet connection as long you preload the info before you go offline. You can read his tips and insights here.
Sunday, January 02, 2011
We celebrated New Years in Tahoe at a beautiful cabin in Truckee with friends. There were six teens with us and I needed an idea to engage them on New Years Eve. My son Connor and I came up with an idea: all the kids could submit on paper their two favorite Youtube vids and the parents would pick their favorite with a vote. The video below won hands down and was also the favorite of all the kids. We were all ROTFL!!! You will love it too and the surprise was no one had seen it yet. Connor was the winner. Enjoy!
Saturday, January 01, 2011
Sailors from around the world rejoiced at the news the the America's Cup is coming to San Francisco in 2013. This is the biggest sailing event in the world and now it will be in our home waters. This will not be your fathers America's Cup as the boats are 72' cats that can race at speeds up to 30 knots. This will be the Grand Prix of sailing. With the natural amphitheater the bay provides, it will open up the races to thousands of spectators on land. Our waterfront will become the destination it was meant to be. And sailing will benefit with the amount of interest that only these races can create. Never in the nautical history of SF has their been bigger news than this. Thank-you Golden Gate Yacht Club and thank-you Mr. Ellison! We can't wait for the races to begin!!
The tentative dates for an America’s Cup in 2013 are July 13-September 1 for the Louis Vuitton Challenger Selection and the Defender Selection (if we have multiple defense candidates). Match dates are September 7-22, 2013. The racing area, loosely defined, lies between the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay Bridge. It's going to be HUGE!