Friday, December 30, 2016

Year End Pics

 Jupiter with an aurora at the top.

Happy new year~~!

Chromecast Part 2

Late last month I purchased a couple Chromecasts for audio playback thru the house.  Worked great with Spotify.  I could throw a group together and have music everywhere I had a unit and speakers.  I was a little disappointed because I have a ton of recordings from the internet and the radio that I would love to cast but there was no way to play my iTunes lib thru Chromcast.  I went back to an old program I had called Airfoil.  When my old Airports were working, I could stream anything to my speakers, not just iTunes.  So I downloaded the latest version of Airfoil and voila, I can now cast anything that plays on my computer to my Chromecasts.  For many this is not a big deal, for me it is everything!  I listen to a bunch of music on the web and this allows me to cast it anywhere I have one of these inexpensive units ($35).

I hope this helps someone out there.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Christmas Winds

Had a nice couple days in Sausalito.  Sailed out Monday with Mike along with Kona and his sister Carmen.  No wind at first but it built up to 20 as the day went on.  The tide was ebbing hard when we hit Raccoon Strait.  The wind was a bit lighter but with the strong tide we made it through quickly.  Then a nice sail up the city front of S-town and to the reserved slip.  Mike took off and I hit the hay for a nap.  My friend Dave came over for a bit and we swapped tales.

Up early Tuesday for a walk to the store and check in at the harbor office.  After some pancakes and tea, we were off.  No one out but me and a Coast Guard cutter.  Wind was light at first but built to a strong 20.  Did a bunch of tacks up towards the city and between Treasure and E-ville.  Headed in at three for some rest and cleaning up the boat.  Headed home for a nice hot tub and reflected on two great sails to end the year.  It just keeps getting better and better!

Vid bonus:  A look back at sports highlights for the year.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas to All Sailors!

I have a sailing sojourn to Sausalito just after Christmas.  Enjoy your families and friends this holiday and here's to a cool yule for all!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Partnerships: An inexpensive way to get out on the water!

I stumbled upon an article that I wrote for Latitude 38 a long time ago.  Here it is:

What if I told you that you could own a 30 foot sailboat on the San Francisco Bay for as little as $3 per day or $100 per month (after the initial purchase price)? Well you can and I do! If you thought owning a sailboat was too expensive, then you should read on. Partnerships are a way to meet great folks, sail economically and have a boat of your own. And you can do it for just a few dollars a day!

The first step is to find your partners and pool your resources. Your partners could be close friends or even other family members. They could be coworkers or folks you meet through the classified ads on Latitude 38. Choosing the right partners is a very important aspect of building a successful partnership. You want to make sure they have the resources, have a steady job and they are not likely to be leaving the area for a while. Another plus would be to have a sailing background or be willing to take some sailing courses. Also, they should have similar goals as far as sailing goes. If you want to cruise with all the toys and your partners are serious racers who want to "strip" the boat, you could have problems. Whoever you choose, make sure that you are like minded and you get along with them. Be forewarned that compromise will play a big part in building your partnership.

How many partners do you need? You could do this with two folks and it would work great. We started with three, went to four and now have five (update: we currently have six). Four works well as you can each have one week a month when the boat is "yours". The nice thing about our partnership is we all get to sail as much or as little as we want. We assign one week to each partner starting on Thursday. This way if someone wants to take the boat for a long weekend, you don't have to worry about trading days with the other partners. If one of the other partners wants to go sailing they just email the partner who's week it is and work out the details. When it's "your" week you can just head out. With a partnership, you also have a built in crew who want to go sailing with you. Just let them know and off you go for a day sail or what ever.

Setting a budget. Figure out what your needs are and set a budget. Are you looking for a racer/cruiser, a day sailor or maybe a coastal cruiser. We wanted a safe day sailor that could do weekend trips on the bay and week long trips up to the delta. We needed a boat that could sleep 5-6 and had a legal private head along with a galley. Our partners were keen on a used 30 foot boat in the $15k range. That meant about $5000 a piece as an initial investment. In the April edition of Latitude you could have your pick of a Hunter 30, a Pearson 31, a Catalina 30 or a Islander 30 in that price range. And you can certainly negotiate with these folks and get a better price. We started the hunt and after looking through the Classy Classifides in Latitude, we found a few to look at. The third boat we looked at turned out to be a great one. A Gary Mull designed Newport 30 from 1981. We met with the owners and coincidentally it was three partners about our age who showed us the boat. They had had it for six years and we moving on. We had a surveyor come out and look at her. His conclusion was " Buy this boat!".
We did some sea trials and the boat sailed great. We signed on the dotted line, paid the negotiated price and we had ourselves a beauty.

The Financial Side. Once we had done the deed, we still had some work to do. We needed to go to the DMV and transfer the title and pay the sales tax. Even though the sales tax had been paid by the original owners when they bought the boat, our local government wants us to pay it again. Then we needed insurance. We found it through Boat US at a very reasonable price. Lastly, we needed a place to put the boat. We decided to stay put in Alameda and just rented the slip that it was in. This worked out well as we could practice in the estuary and not get into too much trouble.

We each pay $100 a month and that covers all our expenses and leaves us enough to cover little things that come up. Insurance, property taxes, bottom cleaning, canvas work, etc. We split all the costs evenly. Once every 2 years, we have the boat hauled out and have the bottom painted and do some minor repairs. Some of this is covered by the kitty, but most is paid out of pocket. Usually between $300 and $350 per person.

In order to tie all this together, we put together a simple contract that each partner signed. It stated the purchase price and who the partners are. It also listed the basics of the partnership. When the week starts and ends, keeping the boat clean for others, if something breaks during your sail, you need to make repairs in a timely fashion, minimum one year participation (you don't want partners coming and going every few months), and that sailing is a dangerous sport and no one will sue the other partners unless there is gross negligence.

If a partner decides to leave, it is on them to place the ad and do the sea trials. Then each of the current partners meets the prospective partner and determines if this person is a fit. If for whatever reason they don't feel comfortable with this person, they can revoke this person and the process starts again. This has never happened to us but it could come in handy if the person is questionable to any of the other partners. If you would like to see a sample of our contract, please contact me at

We have had a wonderful experience with partnerships over the last six years (update: we are now in our 16th year of the partnership). If you do your homework and pick the right people to get involved, you can make it work. Having a great boat that can keep you safe on the water helps too. Take your time and make sure you manage all the details along the way and you too can be sailing the bay for just a few dollars a day!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Spin Run Sunday

Very light winds on a bright and somewhat warm day on the bay.  Rich from the Haha joined as did Mike and his brother Dan.  For the first hour there was no wind, however, it was great to just hang and talk in the cockpit  Then we could see the wind moving towards us from the north.  Maybe 4-5 knots, but it was enough to get us moving.  We inched our way towards Angel and then pulled up the kite for a mellow ride home.  Great day!

After the holidays, I am planning a two day sail up to Sausalito.  We will need wind to get there as the range on our electric motor does not allow us to motor that far (a little over 8 miles away).  We will see how it goes.  Have a great holiday!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Top Three Vids of the Year

Aloha Everyone!

Our distinguished panel of judges have reflected on the vids presented in this blog over the past 12 months and has picked the top 3.  It was not easy but here they are in random order.  Enjoy!

This is on the Amstel River near Amsterdam during last year’s SAIL Amsterdam.  Founded in 2000 to celebrate big classic sailing ships, SAIL Amsterdam is held every five years and — as you can see — has been a wild success. In last year’s event well over 100 classic sailing vessels in excess of 100 feet — schooners, barkentines, Dutch tjalks, clippers, cutters, brigs, fully-rigged ships, kits, luggers, cogs, frigates — participated. A number were more than 100 years old, and many were more than 40 years old. As you can tell, they attracted a lot of spectator boats.  They love sailing in the Netherlands!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

December Pics Part Deux

King Tides Hit SF

This week's King Tides hit SF and oh what a mess.  The combination of a very full moon, high tides and rain caused the problem.  Is this a view of our future?   I guess the Giants will need goggles to play now.  The good news is we will be able to sail right up to the game!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

What goes SUP, must come down!

LairdFoilDec from Joel Guy on Vimeo.
Foiling SUP with Laird Hamilton.

Many folks don't realize that it was Laird who started this whole SUP craze.  He was looking back on how the early Hawaiians got around.  He discovered that using paddles with their big heavy surfboards was a mode of transportation way back when.  He applied newer and lighter materials and now we have millions of folks paddling on the water.  Aloha.

Faster than the Wind

Such a cool tri that I had to feature it again.  If you have a couple mil sitting around, operators are standing by!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Calm Before the Storm

This amazing vid was shot just 4 days before a 7.8 earthquake destroyed 80% of San Francisco in April of 1906.  Over 3000 peole we killed.  The quake did major damage, but what did the most damage was the fires that roared thru the city due to gas mains busting. 

For this vid, they put a camera on the front of a street car as she headed east down Market Street.  You can see the Ferry Building tower at the top of the screen way in the distance.  Enjoy!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Sailig is a Metaphor for Life

From somewhere on the web:

Whenever you're going sailing, regardless of whether you're racing or just going cruising, a great amount of preparation has gone into it. Your boat needs constant care and maintenance, you need to buy supplies and see that everything is in shipshape. In that context, there's the typical satisfaction in getting a job well done. When you're finally done with that and head underway, there's the anticipation of adventure, at least the possibility of one.

When you're done with the preparations, you leave the harbor and hoist up the sails. You turn off the noisy, vibrating engine, after which there's no sound except for the wailing of the wind and the sound of the sea. I always start smiling at that point. The boat speeds up, starts to list and everything comes to life. At that point, the boat doesn't feel like a clump of glass fiber or wood with lines, metal wires, and sailcloth stacked on top of it, but instead like something truly alive and with a personality of its own. Sometimes it's is in a good mood, providing a laid-back experience, whereas sometimes it feels more excited and slightly frightening, going up to the point where it feels like you're trying to rein in a blood-crazed stallion on some really bad acid.

You're constantly barraged by an abundance of information, from wave shapes and currents, wind vectors and sail trim, to the feel of the rudder and helm and keeping the boat on the desired course, along with a myriad of other variables. All of these things change constantly, and you learn to internalize them to the point where reacting to them isn't a conscious process. It would be impossible to react to them otherwise, as there are literally thousands of variables at play and going through them logically is too time consuming; by the time you've gone through any check-list, the conditions will have changed again. Instead, things might just somehow feel or look a bit wrong, and oftentimes you react to such stimuli without even thinking. When you manage to hit that sweet spot, where everything just aligns perfectly, you feel a strong sense of elation. At it's best, it's like being in a constant flow-state of mind, where you lose your sense of self, and the lines between you, the boat and the prevailing elements get blurred. You feel connected to something outside yourself, namely the boat and the sea, both of which have their own will. At that point of realization, you stop wondering why sailors throughout the ages have anthropomorphized both boats and the sea.

When you're on the water, you have an unbridled sense of freedom and opportunity, as you can always continue to see what lies on the other side of the horizon. Not only do you feel a strong connection to the elements and nature, but to the entire world. I suppose one could say that about walking in the forest as well, but it just isn't the same, as practically every time you're out sailing, someone suggests (mostly in jest) that "you do realize that we could just point the bow ten degrees westwards and continue on to the other side of the Atlantic" or something equivalent. That sense of freedom just doesn't exist on land.

In addition to all of that, somewhat oxymoronically you feel isolated from everything else. The rules and routines of everyday life just don't apply in the same way anymore. One example of this is that as most vessels are small enough to be called cramped, you're in constant contact with the other people on board. You learn to know those people well, as being on a boat will inevitably reveal the true nature of your shipmates. I've seen fights erupt due to absolutely trivial matters, but more often than that, I've seen everlasting friendships forged through working together in order to fulfill a common purpose. If you sail long enough with someone, you internalize their thought-processes as well, to the point of almost being able to having a telepathic link. The only time I've experienced something similar is while playing music with other people.

All in all, to me, it's about being removed from a mundane environment, feeling fully mentally connected with something else, be it the sea, the boat or the crew, with a constant state of shared Flow going on and realizing that everything stated above can take you most of the way to anywhere on this planet of ours.

December Pics

Great sailing quote: There is something magical about the dance that occurs between the ocean and the sky - with the wind as your partner. Whether it is under a bright blazing sun, or a star filled sky - the rhythm of the ocean, the surge of the vessel, the sound of the wind, and the splash of the waves. In all my wanderings and adventures, I have found no tonic stronger to restore my soul, replenish my spirit, and brighten my outlook on life.

Friday, December 09, 2016

2016 Was Fantastic!

A year in my life.  I have been so blessed over the last 58 years.  And 2016 was no different.  Our family is healthy, our business of 25 years continues to grow and thrive (Too Much Fun Club).  Sailing continues to be my passion and I am on the boat a couple times per week for day sails with friends as well as solo on the San Francisco Bay.  The highlights this year were many, here are a few:  A 7 day charter in one of the world's most beautiful cruising grounds, the Grenadines, a ski trip with my wife Bridget to Whistler/Blackcomb, a spring break ski trip with my son and wife to Mammoth, a wonderful trip to Maui with my sister and her husband, a 4 day visit to the Bohemian Grove with 2500 men, a very nice 4th of July in New Hampshire on Lake Sunapee with my whole family, a couple days of wine tasting and fine meals in Santa Barbara, Burning Man with a great camp of 50 friends and an art car to take us around the playa, 40th high school reunion in Delaware, my 6th Baja Haha on a cool trimaran with big winds and tons of fun, a week-long family trip to Puerto Vallarta with our friends Frank and Leslie, and a trip home in a few days to Delaware for the holidays.  I think I had something like 16 weeks of vacation this year!  I am semi retired so that helps.  Have been for the last 25 years!  So here we are in December and I am feeling very thankful for my wife, my son Connor, my extended family and our dog Kona.  We have been so very fortunate.  I hope your holidays are grand!
This is why I love our Newport 30!  The wind is in the high teens, we head to the bow close hauled and the boat just sails herself.  Many boats do this and many do not.  I love the fact that ours does.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

50 Pics That Changed the World

If you have never been to Imgur you are in for a treat.  It's all user generated and there are many different themes to explore.  It took me a while to figure out how to navigate to them, but if you hit the Imgur button on the page it will take to the front page.  You will see "Most Viral" at the top.  Click just below the "l" in viral and the other topics are there.

Click here for the pics.  Some of these images are pretty haunting.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Bonehead Move of the Week

Turns out the skipper was solo.  He had engaged the auto pilot so he could hit the head.  I really think the ferry should have tried to blast a horn or taken evasive action. No one was hurt and the vessels suffered no major damage.  Lucky, it could have been much worse.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Sailing Goals 2017

Here is a list of this year's goals:

+  = completed

Sail the Grenadines +  Had a wonderful 7 days on a 42' Bene
Fix engine issue +  We replaced our battery pack for our electric engine and she is working fine.
Sail in the 2016 Baja Haha (my sixth) + What a great adventure and too much fun!
Get ready to purchase boat for 2018 trip to Australia +
Learn to kitesurf  Too busy!
Have a boatload of folks join me for more day sails on the bay+
Sail the Channel Islands of Socal  Almost sailed them but ended up on the Haha instead.

Sailing goals 2017!

We are departing for Australia in September of 2018.  I plan to begin searching for the perfect boat in September of 2017.
More night sails
Finish Itinerary for our trip to OZ
Research locations for our journey
Update Passport
Sail on other friends boats
Charter BVI's  (need to convince my friend Frank!)
Find the perfect boat and prepare her for our 7000-mile/one whole year adventure to Australia!!!!!
We are calling it our Radical Sabbatical.  Wish us luck and fair winds.

Bon Voyage to us!!  The crew is made up of two great sailing buddies.  They are joining me for the entire voyage!  I will be blogging about Tex and Mike on future posts.  Stand by.

Klay for 60!

I treated 3 friends to the game last night and what a game it was.  Klay scored 40 in the first half.  By the end of the third, he had 60 and sat for the rest of the game.  He was on track for 87 had he kept playing.  That would have been second only to Wilt!

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Don't Buy a Sailboat!

 Found this somewhere on the Web:

If you like having money in your bank account, don't own a sailboat!

This is countered by the following...

    “Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”

    ― Kenneth Grahame
    , The Wind in the Willows

Owning a sailboat is not the choice of the sane. From a pure logic and economic perspective, a sailboat is packaged insanity.  It will cost you more than you can possibly imagine, it will never give back any value close to what you put into it and it will demand more from you than the worst spouse imaginable.

But treated well and she will be your most loyal friend and take you to places where dreams are made of and stories are told from.  And where others will long with envy at the tales that trail in the water leaves behind.

If I was sane and rational, and I usually am, I wouldn't own a sailboat.  The pure financial aspect doesn't make sense.  It would be cheaper for me to charter a boat for the times I've sailed on my boat and even then, the costs of doing so work out to the hundreds of dollars per hour.  Why do I do it?

For the convenience of having my boat when I want it, where I want and on my schedule.  And for the fact that she is "mine".   Sharing a boat with someone else or using the one bought and paid for by others is like having a turn with the town prostitute.  Eventually, everyone will know her good points and bad points and the locals know who's been out dallying with her.

Boats are best when they are monogamous.  Just you and them.  It's ok to bring friends out with them to play and socialize but she goes home with you.

I love watching starry-eyed people at the sailboat show, giddy about the dream and talking about all the things they will do with a boat.  Good boat brokers don't sell boats; they sell dreams.  They are weavers of fantasy, beguiling liars telling tales of faraway lands.  And it works!  I'm on my fourth boat.  But I shake my head and smile at the dreamers.  They'll learn soon enough...

...that there are worse things to do with your money than buy a sailboat.  In the end, you may come to regret the purchase and may eventually get rid of her.  We all eventually do.  The two best days of a sailor's life are the day you buy her and the day you sell her.

But the days in between count too.  And those are the ones you will remember fondly long after the money is gone and the boat has found a new home.  And you won't begrudge them a bit.  Years and memories will fade but the brightest will always be those days among the waves.

Don't allow a sailboat into your life!  Because once that bug bites hard enough it won't let you go.  You'll be a slave to wind and the water.  Addicted, entranced, enraptured.  And you will be taken as far as you'll allow your soul to wander and your dreams will carry you.

It is most definitely not worth it to own a sailboat!

You have been warned.

This is all very true!  However, one thing to be considered is partnerships.  On our 30' sailboat, the 6 of us pay $3 per day to own a very nice little yacht.  I did not want to spend an average of $10k per year to maintain and own a boat.  Plus my wife would not support me on spending that much $$$.  When I told her it would be about $1500 a year, she said OK.  We all sail as much as we want and it works out great.  If you want more info on our partnership, do a search in the top port search bar.  I have written about the virtues of partnerships many times in this blog.  So get out there and pick your partners wisely and start sailing.  It will change your life...for the better!

Our Newport 30 with all the sails up!  We have owned this lovely girl for 16+ years!  If you are looking for a great bay 30' boat that can handle anything the winds can blow at you, look at some Newport 30's...and be sure to test sail them.  I think you will be impressed with the bang for your buck that you get with these Gary Mull designed monohulls.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

A Palapa in Yelapa...Is Better than a Condo in Redondo!

What a great moment in time.  My life has been filled with amazing connections and coincidences!  Here is a wonderful example.  Last week, my family (Bridget and Connor), headed down to Puerto Vallarta, MX.   This is a special part of Mexico in that they get plenty of rain here and it is tropical as well as very much a jungle.  We were invited to one of the largest resorts in MX by our friends, Frank and Leslie (who, by the way, introduced me to my blushing bride over 25 years ago).  I had finished a sail down the coast on the Baja Haha just two weeks before and my crew/boat was heading to PV for the holiday.  They had plans to stay at a marina right next to our resort.  I told them that I would be in touch so we could get together.  If you are a reader of this blog, you will know that they invited me to join them on the Haha on their 40' trimaran.  We had a blast on the 750 mile adventure from San Diego to Cabo. 

After texting them a few times during our stay, with no response, I figured they must not have arrived in PV yet.

One of my goals this trip was to visit Yelapa.  It's a very small fishing village 15 miles up the coast.  There are no roads and the only way to get there is by boat.  I had asked our group of 15 at the resort, if anyone wanted to join me.  I got a bunch of "yes, I'll go" but when I told them the boat departs at 8am, everyone declined...except for my son Connor.  He is a junior down at SDSU and a very cool kid.  We hit the docks at the appointed hour and off we went into the bay.  The boat was a large motor cat, that could accommodate over 100 passengers.  The morning was clear with a bit of haze as we streaked across the bay at 15 knots.  I mentioned we might see some aquatic life in one of the largest bays in the Americas.  Sure enough, a familiar spout of water was off our starboard bow.  A humpback was chilling at the surface.  We were very close to this ancient sea creature.  Connor loved it.  Next, we hit a small cove for some snorkeling.  An hour later we were off to Yelapa.  What a stunning little bay.  Mountains surround this tiny village and there is a beautiful beach with a waterfall nearby.  We depart the boat for a hike and I look around the bay at the other boats.  On the far side, I see a trimaran.  Could it be Doggone from the Haha?  I look closer and I can see the kayak I used in Santa Maria.  Greg and Leslie were either on the boat or on the beach.  I scanned the beach for a dingy but no luck.  From below the dock, I see two people walking by and it's my crew from the Haha!  How amazing is that?  Timing in life is everything.  We said our hellos and they said they had a great sail to PV, from Cabo (400 miles).  They had sailed out to Yelapa to spend Thanksgiving in one of their favorite towns.  By the time we returned from our short hike to the waterfall, they had already departed to catch the afternoon winds back to PV.  It was great to capture that moment in time where everything came together and I could see these guys once more.  If you missed reading about our Haha adventure.  Head back to November on the starboard sidebar and you can read about our  sail down Baja.  Adios!