Monday, December 28, 2015

Commanche Wins Line Honors

Comanche just completed a masterful race and has won the Sydney to Hobart 70th edition. Almost a third of the fleet dropped out of this incident plagued race of 630 miles down the east coast of Australia.  One of the many retired boats was 8 time winner Wild Oats XI.  The 100 foot super-maxi ripped their main sail during a wind shift gust of 45 knots.  Comanche had her share of issues when something went bump in the night and the rudder and steering were compromised.  They dropped out to make repairs underway, heading 30 miles back towards Sydney, changed their mind about retiring and then regained the lead with big winds in the Bass Strait.  Comanche is owned by Jim and Kristy Clark.  Kristy stated at one point the wind and waves were so high that she was "terrified".  Get all the updates at the source.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Most Popular Post of the Year

I have never in my 10 years of blogging had so many hits on one post.  At last count over 5000 hits.  I think another site must have posted a link and that's why it was so popular.  Here is the post of the year!

Au Naturale

You are out there in the middle of no where and nobody is around.  The boat is sailing by herself and the sun is warm on your skin.  Now is the perfect time to shed your garments and sail naked!  Even though it's not exactly tropical here in San Francisco, there are many days when the wind is lighter and the conditions are perfect for au naturale sailing.  If you have never tried, please be my guest.  One time I headed out for a sunset sail and the weather was nice.  Just out of the channel and off with my clothes.  I see a wind line up ahead and raise the sails.  Getting back to the cockpit its a breeze of about 15 knots.  All the sudden, it shoots up to 30 and I am in trouble.  I can't let go of the wheel, I am stark naked and boats are heading my way.  Usually I just sit down as they pass.  No chance here.  The boat is bucking, water is coming over the bow and I am holding on for dear life as both boats pass.  They must think I am nuts to be out there in those conditions with no clothes on.  OK, I am.  I sail like my life depends on it to the lee of Treasure and get the boat under control and my clothes back on.  Whew.

Good news, I applied for my Naked Sailing License with the State of California and it has arrived.  See below.  I purchased the Topless and Bottomless rating.

Now get out there, be discrete and have some good clean fun!

Top Sports Moments of the Year

Checkout Deadspin's look back on the year of sports.  You will not be disappointed.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A Look Back At Last Year's Sydney - Hobart Race

The 70th annual race is on Boxing Day (day after Christmas).  Get ready, get set...GO!

Why We Love Sailing!

by Matthew Fortune Reid
How does one define a life of adventure, challenge, pleasure and pain? Especially that of a sailor? As JFK so appropriately said, “All of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea – whether it is to sail or to watch it – we are going back from whence we came.”
No truer words have been spoken, especially for those of us who cannot let go of the ocean. Mistress, lover, soul-mate and guidance councilor, etc., the ocean is to many of us the beginning and the end.
For myself, it represents freedom. Freedom from the mundane. The annoying. The box so many people live in. As we all know though, freedom can come with a heavy price. There are certain comforts and securities that are sacrificed. I have never been married. I have no children and have my possessions scattered from Hawaii to Newport RI, literally.
My life aboard the last two years as Captain of Passion 4 C (Bill Tripp 56) has been that typical of any Captain live aboard…2 waterproof duffle bags of sea-worthy clothes, scads of sunscreen and hats. And I still think I am overpacked…
Now let me give you all some background on this whole story. I am a child of northern California, Napa Valley to be exact. I lived the quintessential upper-middle-class childhood. Snow skiing in Tahoe, water skiing on the local lake and swim team from the age of five. My father was a commercial airline pilot, my mom an almost full-time volunteer with the school board, grand jury, etc. Having a dad who worked in the airlines, we got to travel…a lot. Hawaii was our go-to place and as a young boy, I imagined myself living there. I began surfing at about age seven on our holidays and before I knew it, I had moved there at the age of 24.
I ended up at the University of Hawaii, Manoa and graduated with a degree in Finance at the age of 30. The interim years were spent surfing, diving and camping with my friends in ‘da islands’. My assimilation into the Hawaiian Island Culture was over a period of more than five years. I was fortunate enough to have a friend, Eric Phillips, help me along this path. ‘Bad-style’, was slowly weaned from my psyche and replaced with the spirit of Aloha.
I finally achieved kama’aina status and was no longer a haole. Probably the biggest achievement of my life. The Aloha Spirit is an all-encompassing lifestyle based upon the various good things from all the asian-pacific cultures. Politeness, courtesy and a ready smile. Treating all individuals as equals. Paying it forward as a rule, not an exception. Helping those who crossed my path with no expectation. Sharing food, family and music—kanikapila, the old Hawaiian way.
I worked in banks after Uni and then became a modest developer on my own. Having some success, I had free time. Sailing came into my life. Specifically, racing. Oddly enough, I was doing a project in Chicago of all places (another story all-together) and was missing the water. I saw boats on the lake with spinnakers and said to myself, “I am out there.”
In 2002, I found myself on a Sydney 41 as rail meat. I immediately knew I was destine to be a bowman and over the next two years pursued my skill set with a laser-focused passion. Luck and personal dedication brought me over 100 days on the water every year since. I have raced in 23 offshore races (including Transpac, Sydney to Hobart, etc), countless regattas all over the world and just spent the last year crossing the Pacific Ocean from Newport Rhode Island to Sydney Australia. I love one-design racing and have been bowman on four different Farr 40s, a Swan 42, sailed Melges 32s, Etchells, Solings, Shields and the like.
So now, we get to my story of What the Stars Have Taught Me.
I have approximately 1,600 sea-days now and over 60,000 offshore miles. Not a whole lot, but not a little either. As well, I have garnered my miles in a very consistent fashion, having started the process late in life. My favorite time to sail is at night. I don’t like cooking my body in the sun and I love the solitude of night watches. Just me, the stars, and my thoughts. My thoughts. How many hours over the years have I had to sort out life? More than most, that is for sure.
My conclusions are not earth-shattering epiphanies. Nay, they are only the affirmations of those things that we all know to be most important. Family, friends, heath and happiness are all that count. Status, possessions, opinions, etc., are all superfluous to what really matters. At night, during my musings, ego is lost and only the pure soul exists. I know sometimes, alone, out there a thousand miles from nowhere, that I am only the stuff of stars. The atoms of my body are stardust. The blood in my veins is like the water in the ocean. To live or die at that moment, that one instant of self-realization, is of no consequence.
That moment, that clarity and purity of thought is what I have lived for, night after night, mile after mile. I cannot get enough of it. Any offshore sailor will tell you that it is almost impossible to articulate the ‘why’ we do it. ‘Why’ we love it. The discomfort. The exhaustion. The storms. The issues of breakdowns and the ever-constant problems of keeping a boat moving and functional. The nagging worry of hitting a container or whale or reef, etc.
I have now sailed in some amazing venues. From Chicago to Fairhaven, transiting 4 great lakes, the St. Lawrence Seaway, up around Newfoundland and down across the Gulf of Maine, through the Cape Cod Canal to Fairhaven. The adventures include Porto Cervo, Sardegna. Antibes. Season after season in the Caribbean. Manhattan and the Long Island Sound. Maine. Nova Scotia. Key West. Panama Canal. Galapagos. Marquesas. Tuamotus. Society Islands. Tonga. Fiji. Vanuatu. New Caledonia. New Zealand. Australia. Tasmania. Hawaii. Mexico. And more. All in 12 years.
I have seen the aurora borealis, sailed with the big dipper over my right shoulder and the southern cross over my left shoulder and seen the moonrise so bright that it is almost discomfiting. My nighttime companions and beacons of hope. I have made friends and companions on this whole journey of sailing from the first race on that first day in Chicago. Sailors, as a group, are a ready-made set of friends worldwide. I now have friends all over Europe, the south pacific, both coasts of the U.S., Mexico, Caribbean, Canada and beyond.
Whether racing inshore or offshore or passage-making, I am surrounded by the people of like-mindedness. Always ready with a smile and a helping hand, sailors are good people. And sailing is the ultimate equalizer. Billionaires sharing good times with college students and tradesmen. And everything in-between. The boat and the ocean is the one place we can all be ourselves and peel away the veneer of that life which many of us must live on a day to day basis.
Ultimately, this is a diatribe of gratitude. For I am most grateful for the stars, who have taught me that, to be yourself, to live your life as a true spirit with the only expectation of life is not that expectation of what you may think others have of you, but only the expectation of self-fulfillment and to live a life filled everyday with your best effort and best intentions. To greet each new sunrise with a deep breath of appreciation and the desire to live that day to its fullest. Whether in the office or on the ocean, to enjoy the moment and the people around you. To share the gift of life by the giving and sharing of your personal Aloha.
I thank you, the stars, for this incredible insight into life you have taught me. In return, for I have learned that gratitude unexpressed is merely ingratitude, I am learning celestial navigation and continuing my Captain’s education as far as I can go.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Pics Of The Week

My old golden Sierra Nevada.
This is McCovey Cove during Barry Bonds run to 73 homers in one season.  Everyone wanted to catch that $$$ ball.  Year was 2001 in the brand new ballpark that allowed him to hit the long ball over the right field fence and into the bay.  Do you remember who caught the 73rd home run ball and the aftermath?

Half Dome

Go full screen on this one!

What a great time lapse vid!  Yosemite and Half Dome share a special place in my heart and soul.

I discovered the unparalleled beauty of this valley in 1979, during a road trip with two best friends from college (UNLV).  I had just finished my favorite year in college (junior) and we were on a west coast swing.  Our trip went from Vegas to Santa Cruz, SF, Bend, OR, Lincoln City, OR and finally Yosemite.  Our friend Scott had grown up in Yosemite and was keen for a hike up Half Dome.  He said it was a day hike to the top and back.  What he failed to mention was the amazing beauty of the glacier made valley.  Our first highlight on the Muir Trail was the mist and rain from Vernal Falls.  The next was the spectaclar water show at Nevada Falls.  It just keeps getting better!  Little Yosemite Valley was next and then the climb to the base of the backside of the dome.  No not the sheer front wall, just a nice pitch up the backside with the cables.  Back then, not alot of folks did this climb.  Today it is hugely popular and permits are required and checked to summit this monolith.  We started up the cables and scenes from the old TV show Batman came to mind.  Batman and Robin always seemed to be climbing up buildings with a rope and that is kind of what it felt like.  We made it to the top and the view was awesome.  We even stepped out on an outcropping of rock called the "diving board".  I vowed to myself to return to this beautiful location often.  And I did!  I returned many times with a boat load of friends each time.  We had an annual Father's Day trip for many years. Back then we could sleep on top for the night.  What a place to wake up on!  It was a guys weekend in the mountains.  I estimate that I have lead over 75 folks to the top and back.

After climbing back down the Muir Trail and arriving on the valley floor about 6pm, we were pretty tired but totally excited about our journey.  We took off for Vegas and our return home.  I guess I have been to Yosemite 20 or so times.  Even got my future wife to the top, Bridget. 

If you ever find yourself planning a trip to this special place, think about going on this hike.  Permits and being in great shape will help.  The hike is about 8 miles one way.  But the elevation gain is about 4000 feet.  That's what gets you.  Put a trip to Yosemite on the top of your Bucket List!  You can thank me later.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Monday, December 14, 2015

Joke of the Month

My Dear Wife,
You will surely understand that I have certain needs that you, being 54 years old, can no longer satisfy.  I am happy with you and I value you as a good wife. Therefore, after reading this letter, I hope that you will not wrongly interpret the fact that I will be spending the evening with my 18 year old secretary at the Comfort Inn Hotel.
Please don’t be upset—-I shall be home before midnight.

When the man came home late that night, he found the following letter on the dining room table :

My Dear Husband,
I received your letter and thank you for your honesty about my being 54 years old. I would like to take this opportunity to remind you that you are also 54 years old.
As you know, I am a math teacher at our local college.
I would like to inform you that while you read this, I will be at the Hotel Fiesta with Michael, one of my students, who is also the assistant tennis coach. He is young, virile, and like your secretary, is 18 years old.  As a successful businessman who has an excellent knowledge of math, you will understand that we are in the same situation, although with one small difference – 18 goes into 54 a lot more times than 54 goes into 18.

Therefore, I will not be home until sometime tomorrow.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

VESTAS Sailrocket 64.78 knots Peak Speed

Two days after finally smashing the outright world speed sailing record, the Vestas Sailrocket 2 team decide to tackle the 'Nautical Mile' world record which was held by the mighty 'Hydroptere'. It was always going to be an interesting challenge for the VSR2 team as the speed course that they sail on in Walvis Bay, Namibia is defined by a beach which is exactly 1.04 miles long. This requires them to launch the boat out in more exposed waters and try and get up to as high a speed as they dare in rough water before they hit the start of the mile. At the end of the course they also fire out into rough water and have to bring the boat to a stop. It's hard on the boat. The beach is not straight but has a slight curve in it . The mile is measured by TRIMBLE GPS equipment in a straight line so pilot Paul Larsen needs to balance between sailing in close to the beach for the flat water... and sailing the straightest and hence shortest distance between A and B. In this run, with winds that averaged just under 25 knots, The team smashed not only the nautical mile record* by over 5 knots averaging over 55.3 knots... but also raised their own 'Outright speed' record* to 59.38 knots over 500 meters hitting a peak speed of 64.78 knots (74.55 mph, 120 kph). For Larsen it was the perfect payback for 10 years chasing 'the perfect reach'. Speed sailing had paid him back in full and a dream was realised.
VSR2 performed exactly as predicted by the Sailrocket design team of Malcolm Barnsley and Chris Hornzee Jones at AEROTROPE. The spec for the boat was to be able to hit 65 knots in 26 knots of wind in order to average around 60 knots.  Way to go boyz! That's a little over 74mph!

We Have Liftoff

Rainy times here in Norcal.  We need it.  Not much sailing happening although the winds were over 40 at Gate this morning.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

A Pirate Story

When the French luxury cruise ship Le Ponant was captured by a raggedy, hopped-up band of Somali pirates last spring, in the Gulf of Aden, it looked as if the bandits had bitten off more than they could chew. But after a week-long standoff, they got what they had come for—a $2.15 million ransom. Describing the terrifying attack, the ordeal of the ship’s epicurean crew, and the tense negotiations, the author examines the ruthless calculus behind a new age of piracy.  Read the story here.

Monday, December 07, 2015

Sailing Goals 2016

It's been another year of wonderful sails onboard the Addiction (our Newport 30).  Here were my sailing goals from last year:

Here are my goals for 2015:
Sail the Grenadines
Continue the search for the perfect boat to sail to the South Pacific+
Sail to Napa+
Take out more friends and family for day sails+
Baja Ha Ha 2015+
More night sails+
Raft up Clipper Cove
Sail to Tomales Bay with Tex
Be very safe+

+ = done.

Here are my goals for 2016
Sail the Grenadines  (we have chartered a boat for a week in Feb!)
Fix engine issue
Sail in the 2016 Baja Haha (my sixth)
Get ready to purchase boat for 2018 trip to Australia
Learn to kitesurf
Have a boatload of folks join me for more day sails on the bay
Sail the Channel Islands of Socal

It's going to another awesome year!  What are your sailing goals?

Elite Feet

I love this story and wanted to share it with you.

Every year, Australia hosts 543.7-mile (875-kilometer) endurance racing from Sydney to Melbourne. It is considered among the world's most grueling ultra-marathons. The race takes five days to complete and is normally only attempted by world-class athletes who train specially for the event. These athletes are typically less than 30 years old and backed by large companies such as Nike.
In 1983, a man named Cliff Young showed up at the start of this race. Cliff was 61 years old and wore overalls and work boots. To everyone's shock, Cliff wasn't a spectator. He picked up his race number and joined the other runners.
The press and other athletes became curious and questioned Cliff. They told him, "You're crazy, there's no way you can finish this race." To which he replied, "Yes I can. See, I grew up on a farm where we couldn't afford horses or tractors, and the whole time I was growing up, whenever the storms would roll in, I'd have to go out and round up the sheep. We had 2,000 sheep on 2,000 acres. Sometimes I would have to run those sheep for two or three days. It took a long time, but I'd always catch them. I believe I can run this race."
When the race started, the pros quickly left Cliff behind. The crowds and television audience were entertained because Cliff didn't even run properly; he appeared to shuffle. Many even feared for the old farmer's safety.

The Tortoise and the Hare

Cliff Young waving during ultra marathon Cliff Young
All of the professional athletes knew that it took about 5 days to finish the race. In order to compete, one had to run about 18 hours a day and sleep the remaining 6 hours. The thing is, Cliff Young didn't know that!
When the morning of the second day came, everyone was in for another surprise. Not only was Cliff still in the race, he had continued jogging all night.
Eventually Cliff was asked about his tactics for the rest of the race. To everyone's disbelief, he claimed he would run straight through to the finish without sleeping.
Cliff kept running. Each night he came a little closer to the leading pack. By the final night, he had surpassed all of the young, world-class athletes. He was the first competitor to cross the finish line and he set a new course record.
When Cliff was awarded the winning prize of $10,000, he said he didn't know there was a prize and insisted that he did not enter for the money. He ended up giving all of his winnings to several other runners, an act that endeared him to all of Australia.

Continued Inspiration

In the following year, Cliff entered the same race and took 7th place. Not even a displaced hip during the race stopped him.
Cliff came to prominence again in 1997, aged 76, when he attempted to raise money for homeless children by running around Australia's border. He completed 6,520 kilometers of the 16,000-kilometer run before he had to pull out because his only crew member became ill. Cliff Young passed away in 2003 at age 81.
Today, the "Young-shuffle" has been adopted by ultra-marathon runners because it is considered more energy-efficient. At least three champions of the Sydney to Melbourne race have used the shuffle to win the race. Furthermore, during the Sydney to Melbourne race, modern competitors do not sleep. Winning the race requires runners to go all night as well as all day, just like Cliff Young.

Sunday, December 06, 2015


From 1967, the Classics IV, later covered by some of the same band members in Atlanta Rhythm Section, this hit keeps getting better with one of my favorites female vocalists, Joan Osborn.  Turn it up and play on some decent speakers!!