Thursday, July 30, 2015

Napa River Sojourn

Just back from a great sail up and down the Napa River.  We had some big winds to push our 41 foot cruiser up the river to arrive in downtown Napa.  We rode bikes to 4 local wineries.  Met up with some friends for dinner.  And had a great time.  The sail home was in huge winds from the wrong direction.  And we made it back to the slip with out any mishaps.  Good times as usual up in wine country.  Kona had a wonderful time meeting other boaters and dogs near the dock.  He may have had the most fun of the 4 of us. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Carnage on the Glacier

Went up to see the boat the other day.  She has been in insurance limbo for the last 6 weeks.  Thankfully our claim was paid by BoatUS.  One of our partners hit something in the water back in mid June.  It caused the casting at the top of the mast to fail and the furler came down.  With our insurance claim, we are getting a new furler and the ding on the bow fixed.  Along with that we got the bottom painted and then with the mast off the boat, we elected to do a bunch of upgrades.  We will have a new goose neck, halyards and shrouds.  If all goes according to plan, she is going to be back in the slip this weekend.

This is the second summer in a row we have missed a chunk of summer sailing.  Last summer, she was offline due to a dead engine.  It took us good 10 weeks to decide on a plan, remove the old Yanmar and install a new electric engine.  With most of the mast work almost complete, we will have a brand new boat!  Well, kind of.  The $20k in improvements over the last year are huge.  We just gave this boat 20 more years (she is 34 years young at the moment) of amazing sailing on the bay.  It was a great feeling receiving a check from BoatUS for almost $10k!  I can't wait to throw off the lines and take her for a spin.  I am busy with events and a little vacation, so I expect my next sail on Addiction won't be until the first week of August.

On Sunday, we will be sailing up the Napa River for a few days on my buddy John's boat.  She is a 40' Islander from the mid 70's.  John picked her up a few years ago to get into the charter trade.  He would like to do some charters from the bay up to Napa and this is a test run.  We went up in September of 2012 on my boat and he was so impressed with the fun we had (as well as the fantastic sailing), he decided it might be a great trip to sell to clients.  We sail to downtown Napa and head off to wineries on our bikes for some tasting and fun.  We will be hooking up with friends along the way.  It's difficult to beat the Napa Valley if you love food, vino and natural beauty.  And being able to sail there is just icing on the cake!  Wish us a bon voyage.

Check back next week to read about our trip.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Surfer Attacked During Finals in J-Bay

Mick Fanning is lucky to still be getting tubed after a shark attack as he waited for a wave during the final heat at J-Bay in South Africa.  He was so stoked to still be alive, he was quoted as saying he may never compete again. 

Fanning has won the world championship several times and is one hell of a rider.  Check out his highlight reel below. 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Rowing to Hawaii

 From the blog of 4 women who are rowing to Australia from SF.  They are about to arrive for a stop in Hawaii. 

For the 60 good days there has to be at least a couple not so good. The last few hours have been among my most frustrating so far and I made a deal with myself to share the real journey, with its ups and its downs, so I will write about this dip instead.

We are now 287 nm from Honolulu and mentally and physically, I think we’re all very ready to make landfall.

The last 24 hours have been challenging. We’ve had big swell and high winds in the right direction but a counter current that has halted our progress dramatically and meant we have been travelling at a very dishearteningly low speed.

This close to Hawaii, with the end now in sight, everything seems a little more urgent.
We’re ready to arrive.

All the clothes we own are filthy and always damp, we’re tired and to be honest, a little sea weary. Everything smells of fish, feet and sweat! Our electrical devices are dying and we’ve run out of snack packs. We’re all feeling a little bruised and battered.
It’s time…

The sea state was uncomfortable to row in during the day and even more so at night. I lost count of the number of times I bashed my own knees, shins, thighs, groin and stomach with the oars as they got submerged by a wave and then released with force.

With no moon for most of the night shifts, we were engulfed in an impenetrable black darkness that disguised the arrival of waves. We rowed with an expectant alertness and quiet resignation of the incessant pitch and roll of the boat.
It’s exhausting and not very pleasant but we all took it in our stride.

Inside the airless cabin the situation was also trying. We lay in a pool of sweat and rocked back and forth knocking against one another, every time Doris moved.

This was also, without a doubt my worst 24 hour’s day’s sleep so far. with an average of about 3 hours.

On my awake after my second night shift I was preparing for the 2 hour row and putting sudocrem on my behind when a huge wave lurched me forward head first into the switch panel. As both my hands were being used at the time to apply said cream, I had nothing to break my fall except for my…head. It was quite a thump and I swear I actually saw tweetie birds/stars like the cartoons.

Must have been quite amusing to witness but let me tell you – it was really quite horrendous at the time!

We all know how quickly things change – so here’s hoping that by the time you are all reading this blog the current is finally with us.

Read more here.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Pics of the Week

                                                 An old ship found under the streets of SF.
The boat has been on the hard going thru an insurance claim.  We are nearing completion of the claim and the work is getting done.  We hope to be back in the water next week.  Can't wait.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Letter from Columbus

After Columbus arrived in the Indies (his first of four trips there) and started exploring the islands, he sent a letter back to Spain to tell his superiors about these new lands:
"This island and all the others are very fertile to a limitless degree, and this island is extremely so. In it there are many harbours on the coast of the sea, beyond comparison with others that I know in Christendom, and many rivers, good and large, which is marvellous. Its lands are high; there are in it many sierras and very lofty mountains, beyond comparison with that of Teneriffe. All are most beautiful, of a thousand shapes; all are accessible and are filled with trees of a thousand kinds and tall, so that they seem to touch the sky. I am told that they never lose their foliage, and this I can believe, for I saw them as green and lovely as they are in Spain in May, and some of them were flowering, some bearing fruit, and some on another stage, according to their nature. The nightingale was singing and other birds of a thousand kinds, in the month of November, there where I went. There are six or eight kinds of palm, which are a wonder to behold on account of their beautiful variety, but so are the other trees and fruits and plants. In it are marvellous pine groves; there are very wide and smiling plains, and there is honey; and there are birds of many kinds and fruits in great diversity. In the interior, there are mines of metals, and the population is without number. EspaƱola is a marvel".

You can read the entire letter here.

Time Warp

Adventure Is Calling from Shane Black on Vimeo.

Let's stop for a minute and think about what an amazing rock we dwell on.  This planet has been rotating around our spectacular sun for 4.5 billion years.  By way of the extremest of luck, our distance from this star (91 million miles) creates a perfect environment for the many plant, insect, reptile, fish, and animal species that inhabit it.  Add the fact that over 71% of our earth is covered with H20, and you have one amazing spinning ball.  And to think you can get in a sail boat and sail these waters and circle the globe, it just makes the knees shake.  And finally, that you can harness an awesome thing called wind to push you all the way around, it begins to boggle the mind.

The point of all this is that we live in an amazing place and time.  The time is now to make the most of our time here and live our dreams.  You can thank me later.  

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

My Green Flash

A few years ago in mid February, I was out with my boy Sierra (our first Golden Retriever and sailing buddy) for a day sail.  It was late afternoon on a cool, crisp day.  We were out near Alcatraz when I noticed that the conditions were ripe for a green flash!  I started tacking back and forth so that the sun would be setting right in the middle of the Golden Gate Bridge.  As it hit the horizon, a huge green flash struck and shot up into the sky!  I let out a loud yelp and it was my first flash on my boat.  What a treat.  As luck would have it, someone in Berkeley (about 3 miles away) happened to have a nice lens on a good camera and caught the flash as I was passing by!  I happened to see the photo online and as there were very few boats out on this Monday afternoon, there we were in the photo!  Our lucky day indeed!

Explanation of the phenomenon called the Green Flash:

As the sun slips below the horizon the top edge of it briefly 'flashes' green. You quickly look at your drink - you don't remember ordering absinthe - but rest assured, the chances are you have been lucky enough to see the elusive 'green flash'

What causes it?
As light passes from the vacuum of space into the atmosphere, which acts like a prism, it slows down by 0.03%. This causes the light to bend or refract towards the surface of the earth. The white from the sun is made up of many different colours of light, all of which have a different wavelength. The wavelength (or colour) of light affects how much it is refracted on entering the atmosphere, with red light refracted the most and blue least (as in rainbows).

Imagine the image of the sun as being made up of red, green and blue images. Light from the 'red image' will be refracted more than that from the green and blue. So, the 'red image' will appear lower than the green, which will similarly appear lower than the blue. At sunset, or sunrise, this effect is intensified as light travels through a slightly thicker atmosphere. As the sun disappears below the horizon, the 'red image' will disappear first and the blue last.
The atmosphere causes blue light to be scattered more than red or green - the reason why the sky appears blue - so light from the 'green image' - the 'green flash' - will normally be the last thing you see as the sun disappears below the horizon.

On very rare occasions, the atmosphere may be clear enough to allow some of the blue light to reach us and cause a 'blue flash' as the sun sets.

Why don't you see a green flash every time the sun sets?
The phenomenon lasts only a fraction of a second, so unless you know where to look and when, the chances of seeing one are very slim indeed. Viewing conditions need to be just right too.

Optimal viewing conditions
Watching the sun set over an ocean horizon on a clear evening will be a good start, as you will have an uninterrupted view through clear unpolluted air. Your line of sight should be almost parallel to the horizon and you need to really concentrate at the top edge of the sun as it is about 98% set. If you are lucky, you will see the top edge of the sun turn green for a brief moment, before disappearing below the horizon.

Former BBC Broadcast Meteorologist Byron Chalcraft said "I have looked for it during quite a few sunsets but have only seen it once! The sun was setting over the sea on a nice clear evening in Cornwall and immediately after the top of the sun's disc went below the horizon there was a brief, bright green flash." Colleague Peter Gibbs hasn't been so lucky "I've looked long and hard at many a sunset, but never caught a glimpse!".  If you blink your eye at the wrong time, you may miss it.  That's how fast it can happen.

Take Care!
Even with the sun low in the sky, concentrated observation with the naked eye can still cause damage to your eyesight, be careful not to look at the sun directly until it is almost over the horizon.  Good luck and keep looking for a clear night over the ocean to catch this amazing spectacle.  And if your friends don't believe you when you mention the green flash...keep up the faith as I have seen about a dozen in my lifetime.