Thursday, March 31, 2016

Fool'em All

Here's a quick and fun prank to play on your co-workers or friends for Fool's Day. When they go off to lunch, download this desktop photo and install it on their computer. When they return, apologize for the accident and say you have ordered them another.  Let me know if it works!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Green Flash Explained

I have been fortunate to see the GF about a dozen times.  Many sailors I have met have no idea what it is.  However, being on the water gives you ample opportunity to see it.  Here is a great explanation of the phenomenon: "The green flash is a type of mirage that occurs at sunrise or sunset only. And the best circumstances to view it are as you described: on the water or flat horizon, no fog, no clouds, no pollutants. The first ray of sunrise or last ray of sunset can be a brilliant green band. This is caused by refraction or bending of the rays of sunlight. At the horizon, sunlight - which is comprised of all colors - has to pass through a thicker atmosphere than if it were high in the sky. The sun is actually already below the horizon, but the refracted rays make it appear the sun has not yet set. The atmosphere prism bends blue wavelengths of sunlight the most, but since our atmosphere scatters blue light, the green appears visible in the sky. Close to the equator, the green flash is quick, lasting only a second or so. Near the poles, it can last longer."

So get out there and keep your eyes open!

That's me out for a very special flash with my boy Sierra.  Golden Gate in the background.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

St. Barth's Bucket Race

Last weekend, many of the super yachts from around the planet gathered on this tiny paradise in the Caribbean.  These 100'+ beauties raced around the island, some in excess of 20 knots.  Here is a vid from a few years ago to wet your whistle.  Go full screen!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Epic Self Rescue

AGUADILLA, Puerto Rico (AP) — David Thompson felt the smack of a wave and found himself hanging by a tether off the back of his sailboat in the Atlantic Ocean, the northern coast of Puerto Rico off in the distance.

No problem, Thompson thought. He was still tied to his boat, wearing his life jacket. All he had to do was hoist himself back onto his boat.

But conditions were rough: 20-knot winds and 10-foot swells. As he climbed back on board, another wave tossed him off. Then the surging water stripped away his life jacket, which had linked him to the boat, and he watched as the boat moved farther away by the second.

"My arms were so tired, I couldn't grab ahold of anything anymore," the 68-year-old said Wednesday from a hospital in Puerto Rico, where he is recovering from his ordeal. "So I was watching my boat sail away. I was thinking that was it."

Yet he kept himself going. He swam and floated on his back and swam — on and on for seven hours, finally crawling onto a Puerto Rico beach after dark, half naked and exhausted.

Thompson, a retired engineer from Kalamazoo, Michigan, who was sailing solo when he went overboard, is being treated for dehydration and expects to be hospitalized for at least four days.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Thompson said he had been with his wife, Donna, in St. Maarten. She flew home and he was taking their 49-foot boat, the Enthalpy II, to South Florida. It was about 1 p.m. Sunday when he was knocked overboard.

He recalled that the wave that took his life jacket also stripped off his clothes except for his shirt, leaving him almost naked as he floated in the water and considered his options.

Thompson made his way toward land, about 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) away. He alternated between floating and swimming, thinking about his 2 1/2-year-old granddaughter to keep himself going.

"I wanted to see her and hug her again. And I have a wife and a nice life. I didn't want to die."

Thompson kept swimming. A sharp reef cut into his legs as he scrambled onto land. Aware that he was naked, Thompson took off his shirt, stepped into the arm holes to fashioned makeshift shorts before looking for help. He knocked on the door of several homes and called out for help, but none came.

"When they saw me, I was walking like I was drunk because I didn't have any strength left in my legs," which were bleeding. "I didn't look like someone you wanted to invite to dinner."

Finally, he arrived at Villas del Mar Hau, a seaside hotel in the north coastal town of Isabela. He stumbled into the restaurant and asked waiters for help. They gave him food, water and clothes that a previous guest had left behind.

"That man ate so much rice and beans that it seemed like he had not eaten for three days," said Sandra Villanueva, the hotel owner's assistant. "I truly admire him. He was so beat up. He had lost all his clothes. His head, his hands, his feet were all beat up."

The hotel called police and the U.S. Coast Guard, and Thompson was taken to the nearby hospital in Aguadilla. Officials at the private hospital would not allow an AP journalist inside, but Thompson said by phone that he was awaiting dialysis to get rid of the tremendous amount of protein built up in his body. He was too weak to hold a cup of coffee.

His wife said in a phone interview from Michigan that she was not surprised her husband survived.

"He is stubborn. He is determined. He is like one of the strongest people I've ever known. Once he sets his mind to something, you are not going to change him, which can be aggravating from a wife's point of view," she said with a laugh.

The Thompsons had planned to vacation in the Florida Keys or possibly the Bahamas next year in their sailboat, which the U.S. Coast Guard recovered, but those plans are on hold.

"Knowing that your husband is on a boat by himself, and getting a call from the Coast Guard is the worst call you can get," she said, choking up. "The fact that the boat came through and that he was able to come through, it's a miracle."

Monday, March 14, 2016

I can see Uranus from here!

Have you ever wondered where the the name Uranus comes from. Will I did and found a very cool article about the man who discovered the eighth planet and why the unusual name finally stuck.  The butt of many a joke, I give you our second largest (behind Jupiter) planet.

Happy Pi Day - 3-14.  One of the cool things about living in the Silicon Valley is how nerdy it can be.  I was out sailing a few Pi days ago on a sunny, blue sky afternoon.  As we approached the Golden Gate Bridge we noticed five planes flying high above us in perfect wing to wing formation.  They let out streams of white and created a string of numbers across the sky in a very large format.
They kept going from horizon to horizon. Here were some of the numbers:

These are a fraction of the numbers of Pi which has no decimal ending due to being an irrational number.  As we know, Pi is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. 3.14 to infinity.  How cool.  Well they happen to call this display of numbers in the sky, "Pi in the Sky Day".  

Check it out. 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

An Extraordinary Adventure - Drum

I was looking around for a sailing documentary when I found a very cool look back on the 1985-6 Whitbread Around the World Race.  One of the entrants was a 70' boat called Drum, owned by Simon le Bon of Duran Duran fame.  The boat was skippered by Skip Novak.  As a warm up to the lap around the planet, they entered the Fastnet Race.  Five hours into the race, tragedy struck when the entire keel fell of the boat and she went turtle, trapping most of the crew inside the boat.  Eventually, they were all rescued and the boat was quickly repaired for the Whitbread.   One of the crew members was a young Magnus Olsson.  He went on to Volvo Ocean racing fame and won the 97-8 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race (formerly the Whitbread).  He was everybody's favorite sailor and an amazing skipper with his "happy boat" philosophy.  Sadly, he passed away at 64 due to a stroke.  It's a great flick and I hope you enjoy it!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Super Yachts in the BVI

There are two types of people in the world, the have's and the have yachts!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Pics You Like

Lots of rain and lack of free time have stopped my time on the water.  I did sneak out for a night sail after the Crew Party the other night. A south wind took me near the Bay Bridge for a great night ride in the dark.  I love night sailing as your senses go into overdrive.  Off to BC for some skiing and fun with my sweetheart.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

March Issue of Latitude 38

They call it the best sail rag on the west coast.  Download or read online.  Check it here.

What a ride!

We completed the changes to our battery pack and we are back in action and on the water once more with our super quiet electric engine.  I went for a 3 hour sail today and the engine was run for about an hour and it worked flawlessly.  It's been a long 3 month process but we are good to go with the help of our old partner Murray.  I am very happy at the moment!  Thanks Murray!

Here's a bonehead move for ya!  Click here.