Thursday, March 27, 2014

Great Sail

Had a very nice cruise on Sunday with my friend Rich.  Headed over to Raccoon Strait in some 20 knot winds.  Lovely day and ran into an old friend Cliff.  He is setting sail next Tuesday for a 6 month tour of the South Pacific...alone.  He tried to find crew but no luck.  He was in a single handed race to Hawaii a year ago and has been sailing since the mid 60's.  If anyone can make the trip, it's Cliff.  Fair seas my friend.  He is heading out on a very well out fitted 36' racing cat.  Here is a pic of me and Kona from Sunday.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Netflix For Free

Last night I watched Captain Phillips from a cool new site called time4popcorn.  Great movie and if you have not seen it download the app and enjoy it at no charge.  The app takes torrent streams to a new level. Instead of waiting for the movie to download, it comes up instantly and elegantly on your computer.  I use an old MacBook Pro and hook it up to the big screen and start popping!  "All is Lost" is also there as well as 100's of other recent releases.  The sharing economy is alive and well.  Download the app here.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Solo Sailor Tacks For Home

I was reading an old Lat38 Mag and ran across a story about a guy who was looking forward to his round the planet cruise aboard his Westsail 32.  I looked him up on the web and found his blog.  He picked a difficult time of year (fall/winter) to head south down the east coast and ran into his share of 25 to 35 knot winds and 10' to 15' breaking seas.  Not to mention a unusual trade wind situation once he reached the Bahamas.  He got burned out and being a solo sailor was very difficult for him.   Here is his story:

Back in '99, Latitude 38 did a little story on me when I was an active duty Coast Guardsman on Yerba Buena Island. In the article, I indicated that I was just treading water for my last seven years of service so I could take my pension, retire, and go sailing. Well, it's happening this month — although I did have a bit of a bump in the road when, in July of '05, the Coast Guard decided to ship me back to Woods Hole on Cape Cod. If only the service had the patience to let me sail Christa, my 1975 Westsail 32 and home for the past nine years, to the East Coast via the Panama Canal. Of course, I probably would have failed to report for duty, as I would have already been out sailing, and that's all I really give a crap about.
It was also in July of '05 that, with a heavy heart and waves of jealousy, I watched my true amigo and fellow Coast Guardsman Tom Larson retire after 20 years. He and his lovely wife, First Mate Amy, bugged out on the '05 Baja Ha-Ha aboard their Yorktown 35 Sandpiper, and now are in Indonesia. I've had the mental struggle of checking in on their blog for the past couple of years. I was very excited for them, but it made my daily rising and heading to work that much more challenging. I'm not sure which was more traumatizing: knowing I was two years behind Tom and Amy, or watching my much-loved Westsail leave KKMI shipyard on the bed of a tractor trailer. Like a nervous Nelly I called the driver daily for position and GPS reports. The thought of my boat transiting Donner Pass was almost too much.
Christa safely 'sailed' across our beautiful country, and landed safely at Silver Springs Marina in Wakefield, Rhode Island. Since then, I've sailed her up to Woods Hole, lived aboard her, and worked on her while biding my time until retirement. I endured two New England winters aboard at Woods Hole, but who am I to complain? And this summer I had the privilege of living aboard at the Navy Base in Newport, Rhode Island, making last minute preparations for my upcoming circumnavigation.
This summer I took some leave and sailed Christa from Newport to the Rappahannock River in the Chesapeake Bay, via New York City, Delaware Bay, and the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. Now I'm back in New England for my last 10 days in the Coast Guard. My retirement ceremony will have been on October 10, and October 11 will find me on Christa making tracks south toward the tropical latitudes. Man, am I jacked! I'm 40 years old, healthy as can be, my boat is paid off, I have money in the bank, and a life-long pension to boot. Now all I need is a first mate in a flowery sundress. But I couldn't be more grateful to the American public — and especially our troops in combat, past and present — for giving me this freedom. I certainly got the better end of this deal.
On the horizon, I see myself sailing (motoring actually) the ICW until Charleston, where I'll make the jump to Florida. Hopefully, I'll be celebrating Christmas in the Bahamas. I intend to spend the winter of '07/'08 in the Caribbean, and lay up in Cartagena for the '08 Atlantic hurricane season. Then it's onward to the western Caribbean for another season of bliss before transiting the Canal into the South Pacific. Sounds nice, doesn't it?
My connections to San Francisco Bay remain strong. I was stationed in the Bay at the Command Center on YBI, aboard the Cutters Morgenthau and Point Brower, both of which are homeported in the Bay. I even endured a tour at Lake Tahoe, where I purchased my first sailboat. Let's not forget that I lived aboard Christa in Horseshoe Cove and at the Sausalito Yacht Harbor for several years. I used to sail to work, anchor up in Clipper Cove, and take the dink the rest of the way in. What a life I have led thus far, and I'm just getting started. To solidify my Northern California connections, I even own a home in Sonoma that I intend to return to someday.
Christian Allaire
Christa, Westsail 32
Formerly of Sausalito / Heading to the Caribbean

Continue reading here.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Bioluminescense in SoCal

One of the coolest things that I experienced on our sailing adventure from San Diego to Cabo was the bioluminescent plankton in the water.  The plankton gets stressed when you move thru the water and lights up like a million fire flys.  Even though these are microscopic creatures, because there are so many, it lights up the night.  I took a midnight dip and was completely blown away at how beautiful it was.  My entire body was glowing in the dark as I swam.  With my goggles on, I could see the eerie lights clearly.  Here is a further explanation of why this is happening off the SoCal beaches.  Read it here.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Kona @ 5 and a half

Kona has been sailing with me since he was 10 weeks old.  He has sailed about 400 days.  His favorite thing is swimming to the beaches we sail to.  Here he is at Craig's Cove at Angel Island.

Pics of the week

Had a nice midnight sail on Friday to celebrate Tex's b-day.  On Sunday had a full boat with John, Ileene, Chris, Mike, and Roger. Out to Angel Island and Craig's Cove.  Winds in the 20's.  Beautiful day.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Look, Up in the Sky!

Drones and GoPro are the latest craze on water and land.  They are changing our world faster than we know.  I recently read a story about a sub $500 pocket drone that should be hitting the market soon.  Some folks love these things (owners) and others hate them (invasion of privacy).  I think they are pretty cool.  But say you are in an anchorage in the tropics and there are a few boats there.  Someone puts up his drone to come over and check you out.  Not cool.

 Here is a new toy to take with you on your cruise.

Stopped by the Lat38 crew party last night and met some nice folks.  One character I met had sailed the world twice and had his boat there.  He told me stories of his travels and that he advocated carrying a shotgun on his boats.  He had used it several times when intruders came on board.  The results were not pretty.  Anyway, had a great time and ran into some old and new friends.

Monday, March 10, 2014

America's Cup 2017 - Honolulu?

The SF Chron released an interview with Larry Ellison about the direction of the next cup.  Boat info, prerace info and the location of the next competition.  Nothing is set in stone yet, but we are getting closer.   Read the full story here.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

So Cool - Mast Walk

The famous keel walk below.

These canting keels make this possible.  With the weight of the keel that can be moved to leeward and windward, the boat can be heeled over like no other boat and allow these amazing stunts to happen.

Sailing Movies

Sure, you've seen Captain Ron, All is Lost and maybe Water World twice.  However, there are a ton of movies from the 40's, 50's and 60's you have never heard of.  Here is a list of all movies that feature sailing.  From the buccaneers to racing, you will be glued to the TV for hours!

My top three:

Wind, Dead Calm, Water World

Check the complete list here.

Bonehead Move of the Week.

 A 45-year-old San Diego woman launched the raft from Monterey Harbor Tuesday afternoon with the intent of catching a tranquil sunset.
Things went wrong, however, when strong winds picked up and blew the small boat into the open ocean, where the engine fell off and punctured the boat, according to CBS.
The woman reportedly fired flares into the air, but heavy fog likely masked them from any would-be rescuers, leaving the woman to cling to the partially submerged raft for 15 hours.
She was spotted by a fishing boat Wednesday morning and eventually rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard about two miles off Lover’s Point Park.
“She maintained the will to survive,” said Capt. Barry Perkins of the Monterey Fire Department. “The fact that she had a life jacket on ensured her survival.”
The woman was taken to a local hospital with hypothermia, but is expected to be released within 48 hours, CBS reported.