Monday, September 30, 2013

Dock Talk - A Cup

The word from the docks of SF is that the Oracle Team used an automatic stabilizer on their foil that pushed the limits of the rules.  This may have proved to be the difference in the outcome.  NZ knew that if the wind was up on the last day, they had no chance of taking the race without Oracle making a huge mistake.  NZ did not have the technology to stabilize in auto and had to do it manually which led to their tearful post sail back to the base.  That was a very sad moment for some awesome Kiwi sailors.  For a nation that lives and breaths sailing, (at 6 years of age, most children in NZ get a boat instead of a bike) this was a heart breaking moment.  I sure did enjoy the race for the Cup.  I was lucky enough to head out for 6 of the races with friends and family.  There is already talk of the next Cup and SF has 30 days to throw their hat in the ring (they surely will!).  I am not sure we will ever see a finals like we saw for the 34th Cup, but I have high hopes for the 35th!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Something Beautiful

Remember that amazing meteor that cruised thru Russia back in Feb?  Here is an amazing vid of this once in a lifetime sight.  Watch it here.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Swollowing the Anchor

I have a good sailing buddy that has been looking at buying a nice boat as a part time live aboard and charter boat.  He put an offer down and is on his way to buying an Islander Freeport 41 built in 77.  The boat happens to be docked a few down from my boat.  I was able to get onboard the other day and she is a beaut.  I can't wait to get her out in some wind as she is stoutly built and ready to go.  Check out her details here.

Monday, September 23, 2013

pics of the day

 Click the pic for a bigger view.

Another day at the races.  Third Sunday in a row at the a-cup finals.  This time we headed out to the start and skipped the city front.  Beautiful day and mellow winds.  John, Sue, Geoff, Sue, Elsa, Mike and Mike as well as Kona.  Really fun sail after and a great birthday weekend!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Birthday Weekend

Had a nice full moon sail with Tex and a swim too.  Beach party on Saturday with a few friends at Montara.  And Sunday another sail with Geoff and company.  Hoping for a dry Saturday as there are sprinkles in the forecast.   Aloha!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

tonight on HBO

Bernard Goldberg meets Alex Thomson, a brash 39-year-old Brit who is one of the best solo sailors in the world to find out what drives someone to risk it all on the open waters. Real Sports debuts Tues, Sept. 17 at 10pm ET/PT on HBO.  If you like, watch it anytime on

Monday, September 16, 2013

this is so cool (sonic boom vs. sun dog)

Sonic Boom Meets Sun Dog from barbara tomlinson on Vimeo.

Video from Kennedy Space Center Apollo Center February 11, 2010. Launch of Solar Dynamics Observatory on an Atlas V rocket. About 1 minute 14 seconds after liftoff the vehicle went supersonic. Keep watching to the 2 minute mark. The shock wave obliterated a sun dog. It was really beautiful, and poetic for this mission. A sun dog or parhelion is a bright rainbow effect in the sky caused by refraction of sunlight through ice crystals.

Bridge to Bridge Drag Race (vid)

The running of the 15th annual Bridge to Bridge happened last week and it was won by a foiling kite board.  All types of craft are permitted so it's kind of crazy out there.  Kites, windsurfers, cats, tris, 49ers, and more.  It's about a 5 mile run to the Bay Bridge.  Check the vid and be prepared for shock and ahhh!

A Day at the Races!

Off to the boat about 0630 to meet the crew and head to the races.  My best bud Dave showed up at 9 and off we went to SF to pick up our all star crew.  We made it there by 1130 and everyone showed up in a timely manner.  Dave, Dan and Arnie rounded out the guest list.  All these guys I have known for 30 years or more!  We headed off towards Angel to get set up for the race.  The winds were in the low 20's and a small amount of jib worked perfect.  We laughed, and told stories of the last year or so.  We were near the starting line as the gun sounded.  Great to see these boats so close.  Everyone was on their feet for the start and as they shot down the course away from us.  They passed by on the next leg with Oracle out to a commanding lead and the victory!  Watching it on TV, the start by Oracle was masterful and proved to be the difference.  We head down to the leeward mark for the second race.  I was at the wheel and it was busy with boats.  The crew said I did a masterful job of not hitting any other boats.  It was nuts.  We made it and as the last leg was coming up, I placed the boat right next to the last gate as the boats roared by.  The crew loved it.  We had a lovely day on the water with some old friends and made the most of it.  Kona had some fun too!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

sobering look at the race for the cup

Great article on the Artimus America's Cup Team and the passing of Andy Simpson.  Did the need for speed and attracting a bigger audience come before safety of the crew?  Changes have been made but as we saw during the race on Saturday, the boats are riding a fine line between crashing and safety.  Read the article here.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Heading to the America's Cup on Sunday

We have an all star crew for the race on Sunday (possibly 7).  We will hit the boat early, head over to SF to pick up crew and then onto the races.  Lots of chatter about the calling of the 2nd race on Saturday.  Have not watched it yet but...really?  Half way thru and they stop the race???  Sailing is such a controversial sport.  Or should I say, this America's Cup!  Should be a great day on the water and I am looking forward to seeing some very old friends (not that they are old, just our frienship).  Look for the blow by blow on Monday.  Go wind!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Breaking the 100 Knot Barrier

For the last 10 years, the holy grail of speed sailing has been to break the 50 knot barrier on a sailing vessel.  First broken by a windsurfer and then later by l'Hydroptere, we have now seen the Vestas Sail Rocket break 55 knots and almost hit 60!  On the horizon is another campaign from Alain Thebault and l'Hydroptere team to build a boat that is capable of breaking the 100 knot threshold.  Over the next 3 years, they will build and fly their machine into the record books.  Can they do it?  Not sure but it will be interesting to watch.  Check out their website here.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Snafu U.

BVI Tour

One of my favorite sailing trips of all time.  A week in the BVI refreshes the soul and you get to enjoy one of the most beautiful places in the world.


The best kite boarder in the land with a very cool foil in light winds somewhere in lala land.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Monday, September 09, 2013

A Cup Race 3 & 4

We made it to the race and found a spot near the Marina Green aboard our sailboat.  We had full view of the race course and man was it great!  Many of my family members were aboard and it was a nice celebration!  We finished the day with a nice dinner at the Waterfront Restaurant.  Here is a pic my bro in law took as the teams raced by.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Sailing Sojourn to Napa

Just returned from a wonderful trip to Napa with my friends John and Tex.  Sailing up the Napa River has got to be one of the great trips from the bay.  We started with a loading of the boat on Sunday evening.  I had arrived early to fix a connection on the radio/mp3 player.  I traced the lines and found a corroded piece that needed replacement.  Success!  I was up at 5am to take Kona for a walk.  By 6, we were on our way.  We motored for several hours towards Vallejo.  By noon we were passing under the Mare Island Bridge.  Shortly after the bridge tender raised the bridge, we were sailing the river.   The wind was a mellow 12 knots and pushing us nicely towards our destination.  We meandered past vineyards and beautiful landscapes under full sail.  Soon, we could see parts of Napa that we recognized.  We rounded the last marker and completed the 12 mile sail up river and tied up at the Napa Valley Yacht Club.  The club sits at the edge of downtown Napa and features a full size bocce court which we played 2-3 times each day.  Plus, we have the place all to ourselves.  $30 per night and it nice and peaceful as well.  After a nice salmon dinner, Tex told us about his recent experiences at Burning Man.  He had a great burn.  In the morning, we had some great omelets and then up to the bocce court.  I surprised the gang with a limo pick up and off we went to hit some wineries in Calistoga.  My niece Julie rounded out the crew and we had a great time.  Our first visit was with Travis, a friend from the Baja Haha, and his winery, Bennett Lane.  He gave us a nice tour and we used a fractometer to determine if the grapes were ready to harvest.  Not yet ready was the result.  Next we were off to Chateau Montelena.  We had a nice taste and some laughs.  After a quick lunch in Calistoga, we hit Clos Pegase.  This is the winery my wife Bridget and I got married at 20 years ago November.  Tex was the best man.  We enjoyed the wines and then took off for home base.  At the boat, Kona was waiting for us and ready to run around the club meeting other dogs and some fishermen.  We played some more bocce and then my nephew and his partner joined us for dinner.  We had a nice pasta dinner and great conversation in the cockpit.  And then some midnight bocce!  I was rolling well and we had some fun.  On Wednesday, we jumped on our bikes and headed out to the Coombsville Region.  This is a little known area east of Napa and it dotted with tiny wineries producing some very nice wines.  We met with Curtis who was very informative at Ancien winery.
Some great wines too.  Then off to Black Cat .  We met Tracy at the designated time and sat on her lovely patio surrounded by grape vines.  She is a one person show and produces some lovely reds.  We were all charmed by her and had a lovely time visiting and talking wine and sailing in New Zealand.  Then it was off to Tolucay.  Bill greeted us at his front door and invited us in to his dinning room for tasting.  That is the cool thing about these wineries, they are unpretentious and you are welcomed into homes with the wine maker.  How fun!  Back to the boat with a great bike ride thru town and the river.  Travis and his girlfriend would be joining us for dinner and....bocce.  I think by now you have gathered our theme for the week, bocce, wine, food!  We had a great time with Agusta and Travis in the saloon.  Travis brought plenty of wine and we started the night with some soup and wine on the patio of the club.  Next was dinner with some Thai chicken from the BBQ.  Then back to the bocce court for another showdown.  We are having some fun.  On Thursday, we had plans to head down river on the boat to the Carneros region.  The tide was not in our favor and we were stuck at the dock in the mud.  We decided to play some bocce and then head to town for some fun.  We ended up at the Oxbow Market for some crepes.  Back to the boat and she was floating.  We motored to the Napa Valley Marina and headed off to Bouchaine Winery for a tasting.  Rosie remembered us and we were having a great time.  We purchased a bottle of white and headed to the patio for some conversation.  The weather all week had been perfect and today was no different.
Back to the boat for our last visitor, Ralph. He brought a vertical tasting of some Shiraz that was out of this world.  On Friday morning we headed back down the river towards home.  It was all motoring until we hit San Pablo Bay.  Winds were light but enough to have a terrific sail down to Pt Pinole.  From there we motored some more and once under the Richmond bridge we were able to sail home in some nice winds coming thru the Gate.   All in all another great trip up the Napa and one that I would recommend to anyone.