Saturday, November 23, 2013

Perfect Storm: The Rescue

Had a very windy solo sail on Thursday.  Made it out about 4pm and the wind was in the low twenties from the north.  This allowed me to sail straight towards Sausalito.  Got around Angel and it got lighter but gusty.  Tacked near Stown and then headed back towards Alcatraz.  Could not make it due to tide and wind so I gyped around and headed around the other side.  As I was nearing the channel to the harbor it picked up to 35 or so. It seemed I was racing down the channel.  Got the sail down once in the harbor and motor on.  As I entered the slip the motor died and the wind pulled me into the fairway.  I am now in a pickle.  Drifting in the dark, I look for an open slip.  One only and the wind pushes me right in and I tie off.  I contacted the harbor master and she said no one is using the slip so I am OK. What a night to remember. 

Yesterday saw very little wind so Kona and I headed to Clipper Cove for a swim to the beach.  Lots of dogs and people.  Also a bit of a raft up.  Headed home for a hammock sail and then the wind did pick up a little and had a nice end of the day sail.  Good times on the Addiction!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Monday Awesomeness

Had a great sail out towards the Gate on Sunday.  Forecast was for 10 knots and low 60's.  We headed out about 11:30 on a beautiful day.  No wind for the first couple miles of motoring.  As we got to the end of the pier, there was some wind ahead.  By 1:15 we had 15 knots.  A bit later as we approached Blunt Point, it was almost 20.  We got a little too close to the Gate and the ebb of 4.7 knots started pulling us.  We set up the spinnaker and hoped it would get us out of there.  Sure enough, we had enough pressure to slowly pull us towards home.  At Angel, we did a gybe and reset the chute for a run towards Treasure Island.  Once there, the wind died and we motored home to an amazing sunset that was brilliant.  To top it all off, we had a very nice full moon rise as we approached the harbor.  What a day!  Dave and Alajandro had a blast!  And so did I!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Partnerships: Cost effective yacht ownership

We started our sailing partnership 13 years ago when 3 of us purchased a 1981 Newport 30.  Our initial purchase price was $15k.  We got lucky and bought a boat that has brought us great times and pleasure.  It is also some what of a second home on the water.  Fast forward to 2013 and we now have 6 partners each paying $100 per month or $3 a day to own this great boat.  That covers all of our expenses for the year.  We paint the bottom every 3 years and we will kick in a few hundred each to cover what our kitty cannot.  Each partner has a week where the boat is "his".  He can sail any time during that week.  If someone else want to go sailing, they just contact that person and he either joins or goes out on his own.  It works.  I have been the lead partner taking care of the administrative side as well as doing a lion share of the maintenance on the engine and boat.  We do have an annual work day where everyone comes out and we work on the boat.  This year I have sailed her about 70 times so getting access is not a problem.  Several of the partners have sailed less than 5 days.  The good news is, even if you don't sail that much, it's not costing an arm and a leg.

One of the keys in setting this up is to get like minded partners.  Our theme is day sails with a trip or two a year that might last 5 days.  If you want a racing boat, it would be best to get all racers to join.  We also ask for a one year commitment as it could be painful if you have folks coming and going all the time.  DMV, insurance, getting them up to speed all go into the equation.

If you love sailing and have enough for a latte a day, you can't afford not to join or get a partnership going.  If you need a push or info, drop me a line.  It's time to cast off the dock lines and get ready for the time of your life!!

Our 1981 Newport 30 - Addiction

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Cool Pics and a Peek out the Gate

Had a very mellow sail with John and Marc out the Gate on Sunday.  Temps in the 60's and nice as we left the dock. Checked the tides and it was slack going to a flood.  Perfect for a sail out the Gate!  We reached the bridge in brilliant sunshine.  Marc's first time out the Gate so we told him of the rites of passage.  Go to the bow in the buff and scream at the top of your lungs while making an offering to Neptune.  He did not go for it.  We had a nice sail without any large ships and it was delightful.  I put on Into the Mystic by Van Morrison and it was awe inspiring to be out there.  We had a nice sail back and then the 10-12 knot wind died as we approached the channel.  After, we headed over to check out John's new to him Islander Freeport 41.  Very nice live aboard/charter if John can get her up to code.  More sails soon!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Another Huge Storm Hits Clipper Race Fleet

 Derry~Londonderry~Doire, one of the 12 boats in the 2013-14 Clipper Race, has been forced to divert to Port Elizabeth for crewmember Michelle Porter to receive emergency hospital treatment after the boat was knocked down in a violent storm in the Indian Ocean.

Porter, from London, sustained a broken arm when the boat was struck by a large rogue wave in conditions described by crew as "wild" and "epic". She was one of two crew working on deck who were injured when they were flattened by the force of the wave.

Skipper Sean McCarter reported: "I got on deck to see two crew obviously in pain. Unfortunately one was our medic, round the world crew member Susie Redhouse, thus making me the new medic.

"We quickly got Susie down below with what we feared may be a broken arm. Next was our chief of staff, another round the world crew, Michelle Porter, who swore she was OK but couldn't move her arm.

"We eventually got them both down below and out of their lifejackets and dry suits to begin the examination. Susie's arm turned out to be a bad bang but Michelle is still in her bunk and we suspect it could be broken.”

Continue reading here.

This is an around the planet race of rookies who buy onto a leg or three and race many 1000's of miles from port to port.  Here is the race website.

Get your game on!

Atlantic Sailing Rally Hits Intense Storm

Two rival sailing organizations, each planning to travel from Hampton Roads to the Caribbean: One group shipped out ahead of schedule last weekend in a single pack to get out ahead of bad weather. The other group waited.

Most of the boats in the second group, sailing in the Salty Dawg Rally out of Hampton, left Tuesday and Wednesday after the first of two forecasted cold fronts had passed. They hoped to cross through the volatile Gulf Stream off Cape Hatteras before the second cold front moved into the area Thursday.

Many of the Salty Dawgs, though, didn't make it across the strong ocean current before conditions got rough, resulting in an unusually busy night for Coast Guard rescue teams in North Carolina - and prompting some in the sailing community to question the safety of the event.

Roughly 115 boats participated in the third-annual Salty Dawg Rally. Several experienced serious problems late Thursday as they sailed into strong crosswinds and choppy seas some 200 miles off the coast of North Carolina.

Two boats lost their masts; four others had serious rudder problems. One sailor lost his footing and broke an arm. Crew members from other boats reported intense seasickness.

Here is an update from the USCG on the resues:

Here’s a breakdown of each incident provided by the U.S. Coast Guard:
Rescue #1:
Crewmembers aboard the 41-foot sailboat, Ahimsa, sent out a distress signal via a satellite tracking device, stating that they were taking on water approximately 230 miles east of Virginia Beach and were in need of assistance.
5th District watchstanders launched crews aboard a Hercules airplane to search and a Jayhawk helicopter to perform the rescue. Watchstanders also contacted the Navy, who diverted the USS Vella Gulf to assist.
At approximately 11 p.m., the Jayhawk crew arrived at the Vella Gulf’s location and refuled aboard the ship. Proceeding from the Vella Gulf, the Jayhawk hoisted four people from the Ahimsa at approximately 1:30 a.m., and took the boaters back to Air Station Elizabeth City, where they declined medical treatment.
Rescue #2:
In a second case, crewmembers aboard the 38-foot sailboat Nyapa, sent out a distress signal via a satellite tracking device stating that they had lost their mast and were taking on water approximately 275 miles east of Virginia Beach and were in need of assistance.
5th District Watchstanders diverted the first Hercules crew from the Ahimsa case to search for the Nyapa, but were unable to locate the boat. A HC-130 crew from the air station launched at approximately 10 p.m., and utilizing new information recieved from the coordinator of the Salty Dawg Rally, located the Nyapa and established communications.
A crewmember aboard the Nyapa stated they had 4 people aboard and confirmed they lost their mast, but no one was injured and they were continuing south via motors and no longer needed assistance.
Rescue #3:
In a third case, 5th District watchstanders received an alert from an emergency position indicating radio beacon registered the sailboat Aurora. The alert positioned the Aurora 230 miles east of Elizabeth City, N.C.
Both Hercules crews searched the area but were unable to locate the boat. The crew of a nearby sailboat, the Dreamreach, responded to the Coast Guard’s radio broadcasts inquiring the after Aurora, stating that they had been in contact with the vessel and that the Aurora was not in distress and were heading to Bermuda.
Rescue #4:
In a fourth case, crewmembers aboard the sailboat Brave Heart, located approximately 50 miles southeast of Ocracoke Inlet, N.C., contacted Sector North Carolina watchstanders, reporting a 67-year-old man aboard had a arm injury.
Watchstanders launched a Coast Guard Station Hatteras Inlet crew aboard a 47-foot Motor Life Boat to attempt a medevac. Once on scene, the MLB was unable to conduct the medevac due to adverse weather conditions.
The Coast Guard Cutter Block Island was dispatched to escort the Brave Heart into Beaufort, N.C., but was diverted to assist with another case with a disabled sailboat. Watchstanders established a communication schedule with the Brave Heart and planned to send a crew from Coast Guard Station Fort Macon to escort the Brave Heart in, but crewmembers aboard the Brave Heart stated they no longer needed Coast Guard assistance.
Rescue #5:
In a fifth case, crewmembers aboard the 54-foot sailboat, Zulu, located approximately 100 miles east of Oregon Inlet, N.C., contacted Sector North Carolina watchstanders via satellite phone, reporting that they were disabled and adrift. The Cutter Block Island crew arrived on scene and is preparing to set up a tow to bring the Zulu back to shore.

Be careful out there!

Read the full story here.

A Week in the Bahamas

My wife and I celebrated a week in the Bahamas this last week.  We flew all night and some of the next day to get there from San Francisco.  We were celebrating 20 years of marriage and we have also worked together for 22 years.  We own a company called Too Much Fun and work with companies in the Silicon Valley and assist them with their celebrations.  It has been another fantastic year!  How you say, can I work with my wife and not gone crazy?  Sailing has been a huge pressure relief for me.  It's something that she does not enjoy, so it gives me an opportunity to get out and do my own thing with my friends and gets me out of the house.  To live together, work together, and be side by side for that much time, you need something that provides a chance to be apart as well.   And I do alot of sailing which she encourages me to to do...or I would most likely drive her crazy!  Here's to you, Bridget!

Getting back to the islands, we stayed at a lovely resort on New Providence (Nassau) called Sandals.  We have been to the easy vacations on the west coast (Mexico, Hawaii) many times and wanted something different. We had an oceanside room with our very own butler.  Pretty cool.  The highlight for me was the (beside having a great week with my wife) sailing!  Can you believe it?  They had a bunch of Hobie 14's that you could jump on during the day.  3 of the 7 days, they closed the beach due to too much wind.  Above 20 knots and it could be dangerous for those not used to that much wind.  One day it was blowing a perfect 25 and I pleaded with them to let me go out but they would not budge.  The last day was beautiful and I had a nice two hour morning sail off of Cable Beach.  After lunch, I hit it again about 2pm.  It really started building and eventually it hit 25 and I was ripping.  These boats are main sail only so it's tough to get into too much trouble. However, if you are not careful, you can pitch pole at higher speeds.  I was loving sailing up to 10 knots over the azure blue waters of this bay.  I enjoy sailing naked so I would head away from the other few boats and relax as the boat sailed herself out to the reefs about a mile off the beach.  We had a lovely time and the all inclusive did a nice job of supplying us with great food, lots of G&T's and nice wine.  Here's to many more great vacations with my wife and family!!

Awesome Pics

The computer tip works great if you are in the sun.  Click any and all to enlarge.

For Sale: A look inside MJ's House

Monday, November 04, 2013

John Lennon Sails to Bermuda 1980

Sailboats have a protective covering called a dodger to shield the helmsman from the elements when at sea. Typically, a dodger has stainless steel support arms and zip out windows. “During the storm the stainless steel dodger surrounding the hatch was flattened by a wave,” he says. “It was the only time I had ever seen it happen.”

Exhaustion finally got the better of him. With no one left to pilot the sailboat, Halsted was forced to recruit the inexperienced Lennon. Why, in so severe a storm, would he put the lives of everyone at risk by leaving the responsibility to such a novice sailor?

“I never intended for John to sail the boat alone,” Halsted says. “He would only sail with one of the experienced crew beside him, never alone. His duties were in the galley, where he was responsible for preparing all of the food. He came aboard knowing he would only be learning, an observer. He never wrote anything down, just saying that he would remember the experience.”

“But I had been up for nearly three days. I had a situation where I felt it was necessary that someone else take the helm. The others couldn’t do it; they were too ill. The Megan Jaye didn’t have an autopilot on board at that time. The captain’s station and bunk below are only a few feet away. I could have been at his side in seconds had anything gone wrong. Being on the boat, you sleep lightly.”

Halsted spent an hour keeping a watchful eye over his frightened protege, then went below to sleep, leaving Lennon alone at the helm. 

As Lennon told Playboy a few months later: “So, I was there driving the boat for six hours, keeping it on course. I was buried under water. I was smashed in the face by waves for six solid hours. It won’t go away. You can’t change your mind. It’s like being on stage; once you’re on there’s no gettin’ off. A couple of the waves had me on my knees. I was just hanging on with my hands on the wheel — it’s very powerful weather — and I was having the time of my life. I was screaming sea chanteys and shoutin’ at the gods! I felt like the Viking, you know, Jason and the Golden Fleece. I arrived in Bermuda. Once I got there, I was so centered after the experience at sea that I was tuned in, or whatever, to the cosmos. And all these songs came! The time there was amazing. Fred [Seaman] and Sean and I were there on the beach taping songs with this big machine and 
me just playing guitar and singing. We were just in the sun and these songs were coming out.”

Read the article here.

Great Sailing Book: The Billionaire and the Mechanic

I am reading a great book about the last 15 years of Larry Ellison's campaign towards winning the Americas Cup in SF.  It a fascinating look at how the marriage of the Golden Gate Yacht Club and Team Oracle came to be.  One of the things that strikes me about sail racing is the amount of jerks that are top dogs in the racing circuit.  Over inflated egos, a-holes and dicks abound.  It makes for a very good read, however.  This is an awesome book and one that any sailor interested in the A-Cup should read.  Download it to your  phone, tablet or Kindle and enjoy!

Friday, November 01, 2013

JP Aloha Classic from Maui (vid)

The final was run as a four-man battle over the duration of 22 minutes to give Kauli Seadi, Morgan Noireaux, Bernd Roediger and Levi Siver the maximum chance to really exercise their prowess.
The American delivered one of his stunning trademark aerials and a couple of turns, which sent the spray flying by the bucket load.
Roediger and Noireaux were also going for broke, as they attempted air takas and frontside wave 360s respectively, but ultimately it was Siver who stepped up to the plate.
On his final wave of the heat, Siver lined up the critical section to launch into a frontside 360, which he claimed, before delivering another gouging turn.
With no time remaining Seadi tacked onto the final wave of the heat and rotated through a perfectly executed goiter, but it wasn't a counting wave for him, which left for a nail biting finale.
The result proved to be almost inseparable with just 0.02 of a point in it, much to the delight of Siver it was soon revealed that he had clinched the single elimination victory.
"I just told myself that I want to enjoy it. At the end of the day we’re all friends who love this sport and I think we should keep that spirit of Aloha, and just keep encouraging each other", said Siver.

Baja Ha Ha Fleet in Trouble as Depression Approaches

I attended the last 3 Haha's and we could not have had nicer weather for the 750 mile rally from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas.  Today the fleet (130 boats and 500 friendly folks) has it's beach party in Turtle Bay and on Saturday they would normally be departing for their next destination, Santa Maria, about 150 miles north of Cabo.  However, there is a storm brewing south of Cabo that will hit the southern tip of Baja on Monday or Tuesday.  The fleet arrives in Santa Maria on those same days.

As you can see below, winds are currently at 30 and gusting to 40 knots.  Sounds like a typical summer day on the SF Bay!  However, the ocean will develop much larger waves and lousy conditions.  In addition, there could be a headwind which will make for slow going.  Latitude 38 will be releasing a statement later today on their plans and I will update this post.  If memory serves, this is the first depression to hit the fleet in it's entire 20 year history.  And hurricane season officially ends today in this region of the planet.  Best of luck to the fleet and Cabo.

Update: the weather gurus say the storm will Peter out so the fleet will depart as usual on Saturday for Santa Maria. Bon voyage!