Friday, January 29, 2016

Bon Voyage to Me!

Departing today for an epic sailing adventure to the Grenadines in the West Indies.  We have chartered a 43' monohull and depart from St. Lucia on Sunday.  We will scuba, snorkel, float, swim and laugh our way to the 140 mile distant Grenada.  I tried to make this trip happen in 2015 but could not get enough folks.  So I am really looking forward to this one!  Weather looks fine with 70-85 degrees, winds in the low 20's and lots of turquoise water.  I will have a full report upon my return.  Time to rock and roll!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Pics for your weekend


Have a great weekend.  If you are back east, you may have some time on your hands so check out the archives on this site!  And bundle up!
I am hosting a tequila tasting at a friends house on Sunday for the NFC Championship.  Weather conditions at both football fields could make things interesting.

Summer Olympics are around the corner!

Being a competitive swimmer thru college, I have a strong bond with the summer Olympics.  From Mark Spitz 7 golds in 72 to Phelps 8 golds in 08, my sport has been in the spotlight for many years.  Here is a list of the most iconic moments of the modern era.

Michael Phelps wins eight gold medals (Beijing 2008)
Phelps laid out a program that on paper looked nearly impossible: eight swimming events in nine days. By winning eight gold medals, Phelps became the most decorated athlete at a single Olympic Games. And more than one of his races came down to the last possible instant. Just ask Milorad Cavic.
Kerri Strug vaults with injured ankle (Atlanta 1996)
Believing the U.S. needed her vault to clinch the team gold, Strug limped to the runway on a left ankle she'd injured moments earlier. Running with one good ankle, she completed the vault, stood on one leg, then fell to the ground. Turns out the U.S. didn't need Strug's score, but we all remember the effort much more than the particulars of the score.
Muhammad Ali lights cauldron (Atlanta 1996)

It's always a mystery: Who will light the Olympic cauldron? On July 19, 1996, Janet Evans made the final pass of the flame to a man that will never need an introduction. With his left hand shaking from the effects of Parkinson's disease, Muhammad Ali clutched the torch with his right hand, raised it, then lit a flame that slowly made its way to ignite the cauldron. Unforgettable.
The Dream Team (Barcelona 1992)
For the first time, NBA players were allowed into the Olympic Games. The result: The Dream Team, a roster that included 11 eventual Hall of Famers and a team whose closest game was a 32-point blowout.
Carl Lewis wins four golds (Los Angeles 1984)
Lewis entered the 1984 Games with one thing in mind: becoming the second person ever to win four track and field golds in a single Olympics. Jesse Owens did it in 1938; Lewis matched him 48 years later.
Nadia Comăneci scored perfect 10s (Montreal 1976)
No gymnast had ever earned a perfect score of 10 until Comăneci turned in a performance on the uneven bars at the 1976 Games that left judges with no choice. Comăneci would earn six more perfect scores and the gold medal.
Bruce Jenner wins the decathlon (Montreal 1976)
Jenner dedicated four years to winning gold in the decathlon in Montreal. The work paid off. Not only did he earn the title as the world's greatest athlete, but he parlayed his two-day performance into a lifetime of celebrity that eventually landed him a seat at the head of the Kardashian's dinner table.
Sugar Ray Leonard leads dominating U.S. boxing performance (Montreal 1976) 
Sugar Ray Leonard launched his Hall of Fame boxing career with a spectacular performance at the 1976 Games in Montreal. En route to winning one of five golds for the Americans, Leonard marched through the '76 Olympic tournament, winning each fight 5-0.
USA-Russia basketball controversial final (Munich 1972)
Since basketball became an Olympic sport in 1936, the USA hadn't lost – until the '72 final against Russia, a game that remains steeped in controversy to this day. Forty years later, members of the U.S. team have still not accepted their silver medals, contending they were cheated out of gold.

Israeli athletes killed by Palestinians (Munich 1972)
On Sept. 5, 1972, a Palestinian terrorist group took members of the Israeli Olympic team hostage in an apartment in the Olympic village. The terrorist group, known as Black September, called for the release of prisoners held in Israeli and German jails. The standoff lasted 21 hours and ended with the death of 10 Israeli athletes and coaches and one German police officer.
Tommie Smith/John Carlos medal stand protest (Mexico City 1968)

Tommie Smith (center) and John Carlos (AP)In arguably the most iconic image ever produced from an Olympic Games, Americans Tommie Smith and John Carlos thrust their black-gloved fists in the air while standing on the medal podium after having won gold and bronze, respectively, in the 200-meter dash. The purpose of the salute was to represent black unity and power during the civil rights movement in America.
Jesse Owens wins four golds in front of Hitler (Berlin 1936)
It was a moment when sport and politics collided on the world stage – the great American athlete, who happened to be black, performing in front of a man trying to lead a resurgence of Nazi Germany where the superiority of an Arian race was propagandized. Jesse Owens sprinted through Hitler's house and won.
Usain Bolt shatters world records in 100m and 200m (Beijing 2008)
The sprinter with the name to fit ran into the record books, becoming the first since Carl Lewis in 1984 to win Olympic gold in the 100 and 200. In the process, Bolt established world records at both distances and sparked a curiosity as to how much faster he could really go.
The greatest Opening Ceremony show ever (Beijing 2008)
Lasting more than four hours and at a cost of around $100 million, the Opening Ceremony at the Beijing Games featured light shows, fireworks, dancing and some 15,000 participants. It ended with Li Ning, suspended in the air, "running" horizontally around the cornice of the stadium, where he eventually lit the Olympic cauldron.
Marion Jones wins five medals, then forfeits them all (Sydney 2000)
The darling of the 2000 Games after winning five medals, including three golds, Marion Jones became a symbol of all that was wrong in sport after it was revealed she used performance-enhancing drugs.
Michael Johnson's unprecedented double gold (Atlanta 1996)
Sporting a pair of custom-made gold Nikes, Johnson entered the '96 Games in Atlanta with a goal of becoming the first man to win the 200 and 400 meters in the same Olympics. He won the 400 by more than one second, then shattered his own world record by more than 0.3 to win the 200 and complete the unprecedented double.
Florence Griffith-Joyner's double world records (Seoul 1988)
How good was FloJo in 1988? The world records she set en route to winning gold in the 100 and 200 meters still stand today, 24 years later. In a sport where men tend to get most of the attention, FloJo grabbed the spotlight, becoming a role model for women wanting to compete in track and field.
Mary Lou Retton wins gymnastics gold (Los Angeles 1984)
Before 1984, no female gymnast outside of Eastern Europe had won all-around gold. Mary Lou Retton changed that with a perfect vault. And when she hit it and flashed that million-dollar smile, a star was born.
Mary Decker collides with Zola Budd (Los Angeles 1984)
The 3,000 meters played up to its billing as Mary Decker Slaney vs. barefooted Zola Budd. They were running 1-2 just past the halfway point when Budd appeared to step in front of Slaney, who stumbled, fell to the ground in a heap and lay on the infield in agony as the race went on without her. Who was at fault depended on who you were rooting for.
Mark Spitz wins seven golds (Munich 1972)
Michael Phelps' eight-gold medal effort in 2008 was fathomable only because of what Mark Spitz had done 36 years earlier, when he won seven at the '72 Games. It was a redemptive performance from Spitz, who'd predicted he'd win six in the '68 Mexico City Games and came away with two.

Click on one of the hyperlinks and it will take you to a page with more details and video.  You can even vote for your top three most memorable moments.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Never Seen This Many Before

Have you?

It's been cloudy and rainy for about the last 3 weeks here in the Bay Area.  Not sailing weather.  All the wet weather is coming from the west and is a sign of El Nino weather.  Hopefully we will get some nice weather in February for sailing.  We still need lots more rain.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Kitesurf + Jaws = Wipeout

Getting excited about our trip to the Grenadines at the end of the month.  I received the digital and paper charts this week along with a cruising guidebook for the Windward Islands.  We will be sailing about 130 miles in 7 days from St. Lucia to Grenada.  Some of the anchorages look spectacular.  The pic below is our first stop: Grand Pitons.  We have chartered a 43' sloop for the adventure (thru Mooring).  I will be doing a blog write up of our trip which ends on 2-7.  Cowabunga!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

A Whale of a Tale

A humpback whale freed by divers from a tangle of crab trap lines near the Farallon Islands nudged its rescuers and flapped around in what marine experts said was a rare and remarkable encounter.
"It felt to me like it was thanking us, knowing that it was free and that we had helped it," James Moskito, one of the rescue divers, said Tuesday. "It stopped about a foot away from me, pushed me around a little bit and had some fun."
Sunday's daring rescue was the first successful attempt on the West Coast to free an entangled humpback, said Shelbi Stoudt, stranding manager for the Marine Mammal Center in Marin County.
The 45- to 50-foot female humpback, estimated to weigh 50 tons, was on the humpbacks' usual migratory route between the Northern California coast and Baja California when it became entangled in the nylon ropes that link crab pots.
It was spotted by a crab fisherman at 8:30 a.m. Sunday in the open water east of the Farallones, about 18 miles off the coast of San Francisco.
Mick Menigoz of Novato, who organizes whale watching and shark diving expeditions on his boat the New Superfish, got a call for help Sunday morning, alerted the Marine Mammal Center and gathered a team of divers.
By 2:30 p.m., the rescuers had reached the whale and evaluated the situation. Team members realized the only way to save the endangered leviathan was to dive into the water and cut the ropes.
It was a very risky maneuver, Stoudt said, because the mere flip of a humpback's massive tail can kill a man.
"I was the first diver in the water, and my heart sank when I saw all the lines wrapped around it," said Moskito, a 40-year-old Pleasanton resident who works with "Great White Adventures," a cage-diving outfit that contracts with Menigoz. "I really didn't think we were going to be able to save it."
Moskito said about 20 crab-pot ropes, which are 240 feet long with weights every 60 feet, were wrapped around the animal. Rope was wrapped at least four times around the tail, the back and the left front flipper, and there was a line in the whale's mouth.
The crab pot lines were cinched so tight, Moskito said, that the rope was digging into the animal's blubber and leaving visible cuts.
At least 12 crab traps, weighing 90 pounds each, hung off the whale, the divers said. The combined weight was pulling the whale downward, forcing it to struggle mightily to keep its blow- hole out of the water.
Moskito and three other divers spent about an hour cutting the ropes with a special curved knife. The whale floated passively in the water the whole time, he said, giving off a strange kind of vibration.
"When I was cutting the line going through the mouth, its eye was there winking at me, watching me," Moskito said. "It was an epic moment of my life."
When the whale realized it was free, it began swimming around in circles, according to the rescuers. Moskito said it swam to each diver, nuzzled him and then swam to the next one.
"It seemed kind of affectionate, like a dog that's happy to see you," Moskito said. "I never felt threatened. It was an amazing, unbelievable experience."
Humpback whales are known for their complex vocalizations that sound like singing and for their acrobatic breaching, an apparently playful activity in which they lift almost their entire bodies out of the water and splash down.
Before 1900, an estimated 15,000 humpbacks lived in the North Pacific, but the population was severely reduced by commercial whaling. In the 20th century, their numbers dwindled to fewer than 1,000. An international ban on commercial whaling was instituted in 1964, but humpbacks are still endangered. Between 5,000 and 7,500 humpbacks are left in the world's oceans, and many of those survivors migrate through the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary.
Whale experts say it's nice to think that the whale was thanking its rescuers, but nobody really knows what was on its mind.
"You hate to anthropomorphize too much, but the whale was doing little dives and the guys were rubbing shoulders with it," Menigoz said. "I don't know for sure what it was thinking, but it's something that I will always remember. It was just too cool."
Humpback whales hold a special place in the hearts of Bay Area residents ever since one that came to be known as Humphrey journeyed up the Sacramento River in 1985. The wayward creature swam into a slough in Rio Vista, attracting 10,000 people a day as whale experts tried desperately to turn it around. Humphrey went back to sea after 25 days of near-pandemonium and worldwide media attention.
In the fall of 1990, Humphrey turned up again inside the bay in shallow water near the Bayshore Freeway, finally beaching on mud flats near Double Rock, just off the Candlestick parking lot. He remained stuck for 25 hours, until volunteers, helped by a 41-foot Coast Guard boat, pulled him free and sent him back to the ocean. He has not been seen since.
Humpbacks like Humphrey do seem to relate to people more than other whales, according to Stoudt.
"You do hear reports of friendly humpbacks, whales approaching boaters, especially in Baja California," Stoudt said, "but, for the most part, they don't like to be interacted with."

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Picture Portal: SF Glory Days 1920's

These pics are from the western edge of the City in an area called Ocean Beach.

RIP Mr. Jones

His original name was Davey Jones but he changed it due to confusion with Davey Jones of the Monkees.  Named himself after a hunting knife.  It worked rather well.

This song was released in 1969, just 5 days before man walked on the moon on Apollo 11 and became an instant classic.

Friday, January 08, 2016

Wipe Out Of The Month - Mavericks (NorCal)

The surfer suffered major shoulder and arm injuries.  He was rescued quickly and taken to the hospital.  This may have been the largest wave ever paddled into.  They say the face was close to 50 feet!


I have dreamed of doing this for about 30 years...maybe some day!

Thursday, January 07, 2016


One of my worst nightmares is to have found a beautiful anchorage in a remote location.  You go ashore for a bit and return and the boat has drifted where to be found.  All your gear, boat and dream is gone.  This just happened to a French cruiser in the Bahamas.  I found his story over at Cruiser Forums which you should check out. 

I checked in this afternoon at West-End. Since I could not start my engine I anchored off the beach a mile South of the channel. Everything was seemingly fine, forty feet of chain and maybe fifteen of nylon rode, shallow water. Out of the customs office I checked on the boat, I could see the mast over the jetty. I had a late lunch, checked again, no problem. At six or six thirty after using my computer to get on the Internet it was time to head out to the boat on my dinghy. Dagny wasn't there! I found a guy on his boat with a radar. He could see nothing, not a blimp. Hard to spot a sailboat. Three guys on a motorboat offered to go look with me. We spent three hours looking around in the direction of the drift, nothing. I am stranded in West-End with nothing but the clothes on my back and my computer bag. They're letting me sleep in the gym tonight, no idea about tomorrow. Needless to say I am devastated, numb, incredulous.

More chain, a heavier anchor and a good back down to set the anchor may have helped.  I hope he can locate the boat!  Good luck Gil.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Pics of the Week

Lots of wet weather headed our way this week and next.  With the ground saturated, we may have mud slides, flooding and avalanches heading our way.  It's one extreme or the other here in Cali!

Monday, January 04, 2016

Why do we love sailing? Part 2

I Googled that question and found this site that I was unfamilier with.  Quora is a site where folks can ask a question and get responses from folks with info on the subject.  I also answered the above querry and my response is near the bottom.  Check out the many reasons we all love sailing here.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

The Year in Sailing - 2015

Pressure Drop takes a look back on the sailing year just passed.  Be sure to click on the links for the full story.  Click here.