Sunday, December 31, 2017

Download Me!

Here is the latest from L38.  Click here for the mag.  We recommend the PDF version.

Titanic - The ship that never sank!

This video will open your eyes as to what really happened with the Titanic. 

Friday, December 29, 2017

My Favorite Race R2AK

I love the spirit that this race brings out in the competitors.  Also the beauty that they encounter, as well as the reality that this may be one of the toughest races in North America.  Check it out!

2017 - Year in Review

A crazy year was it not?  Let's take a look and some of the highs and lows.

Looking forward to 2018 and our year to cut the cord and go cruising for 7 months!  Happy New Year everyone!

Bonus Vid - 200 boats launched in one minute!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Sail Goals 2018

Every year I write down some goals for the year.  It's fun to look back and see how I did.  Here we go!

Last year:
Sailing goals 2017!
x = completed

x We are departing for Australia in September of 2018.  I plan to begin searching for the perfect boat in September of 2017.  Result: I found her in Sausalito and completed the purchase on Oct. 1
x More night sails
x Finish Itinerary for our trip to OZ
x Research locations for our journey
x Sail on other friends boats  
x Charter BVI's.  Result: We did the West Indies (St. Barts, San Martin and Angullia) on a 60' cat with our best friends!!!
x Find the perfect boat!  Result: Found her, 2001 40' Jeanneau!!

I think that is the first time I completed them all!!

Here are some additional highlights:
My last nine months on Addiction - our 30' Newport that we owned for 17 years
Buying my dream boat in September
My last weekend on Addiction, Tex and I sailed to Sausalito for an overnight that was spectacular
My swimming buddy visiting from Vegas for a weekend on the water
Afternoon sail to Sam's
Sailabration sails aboard Aquarius including Fleet Week

It was another great year!  I left a partnership I had started in 2000 on our boat Addiction.  I purchased Aquarius and have sailed her about 15 times since October. She is sweet!

Here is my list for 2018:

Outfit the boat for offshore sailing
Sail the ocean to Half Moon Bay and Drakes Bay
Get all the equipment I will need for the journey
Stay safe and keep the boat in great shape
Practice man overboard drills
Reefing lessons for the crew
Sail to the Farallones and back
Depart for the Channel Islands in September

It's going to be a spectacular 2018!  Our trip to Mexico and back is on the horizon.  Lots of work to be done in the next 8 months.  The boat is currently in the yard for maintenance, upgrades and cruising gear.  Should be back in the slip mid January.  Looking forward to a smashing bon voyage!

Aja - The Greatest Album of the 70's (an audiophile masterpiece)

Here is a critical review of the album.  One of my favorites!

As Michael Phalen famously comments in the liner notes of Steely Dan’s sixth studio album, “Aja signals the onset of a new maturity and a kind of solid professionalism that is the hallmark of an artist that has arrived.” Phalen, of course, was simply another illusion crafted by the ironic and somewhat bitter imaginations of Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, the two masterminds behind the enigmatic “non-band” who were gaining a reputation as some of the most difficult yet brilliant musicians of the 1970s. In late 1977 the pair had revealed Aja, an album which would come to define their legacy as a stubborn yet accomplished musical powerhouse, as they staked their territory in an increasingly fragmented and contradictory musical landscape. The album was a sumptuous and expansive collection of music; one that has rightly earned it’s reverence as an audiophile masterpiece.

Steely Dan had gotten off to a promising start with their debut album, 1972’s Can’t Buy A Thrill, from which the two hit singles “Do it Again” and “Reelin’ In The Years” Billboard charted at number six and eleven respectively. Guest vocalist David Palmer was often drafted into live performances to compensate for Fagen’s persistent stage fright, but the latter’s voice was clearly preferred by his band-mates, leading to Palmer’s exit during their first tour. This initial boom was followed by a notable downturn, as the group’s second album Countdown To Ecstasy, released a year later, failed to breakthrough commercially, with Becker and Fagen blaming a hectic touring schedule for its rushed and under-baked content.

Bouncing back with their most successful single “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number”, which peaked at Number 4 on the Billboard chart, Becker and Fagen found renewed energy in their eagerness to recruit new and exciting session players. Their 1974 album Pretzel Logic followed a period of touring with keyboard player/vocalist Michael McDonald, vocalist/percussionist Royce Jones and session drummer Jeff Porcaro (who would eventually go on to form Toto with Katy Lied Pianist David Paich.) Porcaro proved a reliable and consistent collaborator over the years, but joined the group as a creative fissure between Becker/Fagen and the rest of the band was widening. Echoing Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys, the pair were disillusioned by the obligations and restrictions of live performance, gravitating towards the creative reclusiveness enabled by the recording studio and it’s increasingly powerful tools. As the band’s creative directors they became harder and harder to please, often demanding that musicians perform around forty takes of the same recording.

Guitarist Jeff Baxter and drummer Jim Hodder, who remained particularly keen to tour, and felt insulted by their increasing redundancy for session players, eventually left the group along with the other core band-members, excluding Denny Dias who remained a member until 1980. Left to their own devices the pair revelled in their ability to assemble a rotating cast of musicians, each of whom they could draft in for minor or major contributions as they saw fit. As such, they began to decentralise the notion of Steely Dan as a solid group of musicians into something amorphous and indefinable, thus commencing the period of uninhibited creativity that birthed Aja.
Having cultivated a reputation as stubborn yet masterful songwriters, the pair now possessed a certain magnetism which allowed them to assemble a dream-team of jazz, r&b and rock virtuosos, who could actualise their sonic fantasies. Included on this list was legendary saxophonist and Miles Davis alumni Wayne Shorter (who rips through a solo on the album’s title track), drummer Bernard Perdie (responsible for the groove of “Home At Last”) and Steve Gadd, amongst many others. Far from assured by the proven talents of these musicians however, Becker and Fagen took their hairsplitting scrutiny to new and extreme levels, famously sifting through dozens of separate recordings of the same guitar solo for “Peg”, before landing on Jay Graydon’s pitch-perfect performance.

Considering the somewhat pressurised atmosphere surrounding these sessions, it’s easy to see how this ethos carried over into the album’s pristine sound quality. A truly lush and all encompassing audio experience, each instrument boasts a rich glossy veneer, penetrating and tessellating with an almost surgical precision. Far from clinical however, this exceptional clarity maintains the minuscule, if calculated, nuances of each musicians contribution, and ultimately serves as testament to their tight and disciplined performances.

Released in 1977, the year that both the lighting force of punk and the carefree abandon of disco were enjoying cultural hegemony, Aja found itself strangely out of time and place; an irregular jigsaw piece in an often polemic commercial environment. It was around this time that predominantly white rock fans where denouncing the perceived superficiality of repetitive black dance music. But Steely Dan had also been the subject of their ire. As Michael Duffy’s review in The Rolling Stone noted: “Aja will continue to fuel the argument by rock purists that Steely Dan’s music is soulless, and by its calculated nature antithetical to what rock should be.” Far from immune to this criticism, Becker and Fagen reportedly remixed the album around 13 times in the months prior to its release.
Listening to Aja, It’s hard not to see the album’s musical complexity as a riposte to the conservative rock sensibility. Becker and Fagen’s deeply intuitive use of chordal changes is central to the record’s shape-shifting character, as the pair eschew pleasantly resolved sequences and modulate to entirely new keys between sections. This imbues the album’s songs with a certain uneasiness which rubs against the polished surface of its smooth instrumentation – even music theory experts were left puzzled as to the direction a chord sequence was taking or why a specific harmony so strangely worked.

Rhythmically the pair had also dove deeper into the locked grooves of American r&b and soul. Their hiring of musicians who had worked with the likes of James Brown, Quincy Jones and Aretha Franklin provide some insight into their desires to maintain pop music’s infectious percussive drive.  It was in-fact the most rhythmically focused songs, such as “Peg”, “Josie” and “I Got The News”, which proved most time-consuming in the recording process, as Becker and Fagen, of course, pursued the perfect backbeat with an almost maniacal attention to detail.

After a long year-and-a-half of production, Aja would become Steely Dan’s definitive commercial success-story, selling over a million copies (their only record to do so) and sustaining its presence in the charts for well over a year after peaking at number 3. It was perhaps a record that could only have existed in 1977 – one of the first platinum albums in a brief period of unbridled sales and incredibly generous recording budgets – which enabled the band’s expenses to run into the hundreds of thousands with no obligation to recoup the costs through live performance. As an audiophile masterpiece, it deservedly picked up a Grammy award for “Best Engineered Recording – Non-Classical.” The group’s subsequent disbandment after 1980’s troubled Gaucho is perhaps testament to the insurmountable heights Becker and Fagen had reached – how could they possibly push further?

Aja is the remarkable product of an uncompromising decade spent by a pair of musical masterminds forging a path both at odds and in love with the pop establishment of 1970s America. To this day, the album’s lasting appeal across cultural and musical barriers serves as the true legacy of a deeply complex yet ultimately irresistible record.

And despite the numerous advances in studio technology of the last forty years, it still stands as one of the finest commercial recordings ever made – a holy grail for audiophile’s around the world. Its inherent and infectious smoothness coupled with its remarkable intricacy transcends the boundaries of taste and trends, shining as an example of uncompromising creative ambition, which nevertheless remains thoroughly grounded in the pleasure principle. Aja is truly Steely Dan’s monument to the joy of listening.

This review comes from

Head to Spotify to listen to this celebrated classic album.

Sydney Hobart Race Start

There has been a protest between Comanche and Wild Oats so we will have to see who takes home the prize.  Racing starts after the 28min mark and the protest is at the 1:21 mark.  Love this amazing race!

Update: Comanche wins after a successful protest.  Wild Oats finished first but was given a 1 hour penalty.  Congrats to the C-team, they had just purchased the boat this month from Jim Clark.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Boneheads on the Boat Ramp!

10 Great Tunes From One Great Year

Hello Music Lovers!

If you have been a reader of this blog, you know I am a music lover, DJ, and music aficionado.  In the 80's, a station called KFOG formed in SF.  It was my go to and I loved their World Class Rock format.  They had a show called 10 at 10, that played 10 great songs from one great year.  It was hosted by Dave Morey and ran for a good 25 years.  The show featured great music from that year as well as numerous samples of political, historical and pop culture happenings.  I ended up recording over 500 shows on tape and then digitally over the internet.  I still listen to those recording today and sometimes all day!  The show continued after his retirement in 2008, but it was never the same.  Fast forward 10 years and I just discovered a new generation of 10@10.  Dave is not at the helm but he has given his blessing to Dennis Willis to produce the new era of 10@10.  Dave provides some sound bites (like Don Pardo did on the original program).  To date they have produced over 250 shows!  I wanted to share my favorite radio program with you and hope you will become a fan.  The music spans from the mid 60's to the early 2000's.  Some of the music played will bring back some memories for you and you may hear a song or two that you have not heard since that very year.  I love the show and hope you will too!  The show below is from 1971.  Here is a link to all the shows that you can listen to anytime.  Click here. There is an app for Mixcloud as well.  Rock on!!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

End of the year pics!

Have a great holiday and a happy new year!

Nightmare on La Vagabond

With their brand new cat almost going on the rocks, this lucky couple dodged a bullet.  Happy they are safe.

Took Aquarius over to the boat yard for some upgrades, paint the bottom and some maintenance work.  She will be in the yard for 3-4 weeks.  We have also made the decision not sail to Australia.  We want to retire in 3 years and if I took off for a year it would set us back a couple years financially.  At this time, I will have 7 months to head down the Cali coast and deep into Mexico.  My hope is that we can get the boat back to Cabo by April 2019.  In July, we hope to sail her back to her home port in SF.  We will save the Australia trip for retirement.  It's a step back but it will allow me to keep the boat and once we return, get some partners involved and reduce our costs dramatically.  It is still going to be an amazing adventure for my crew and I and they are both on board with the new plan.  Merry Christmas everyone.  

Thursday, December 14, 2017

More Pics

Hauling out the new boat to add some cruising gear.  Should be on the hard for a month or so.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

The Big Ugly

Went out on a big wind day on Monday and got caught in some 40 knot gusts.  Pretty scary but we survived.  Our jib furler got jammed and we could not get all of the jib down.  After an hour we tore a bit of the jib and she will need repairs.  The boat did just fine in those conditions.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Charter Boat Caught in 70 knot winds

Pics of the Week

Had an amazing solo sail today.  Winds were 8 or so when I hit the bay.  Had a few tacks to get out in the central bay.  Wind was building to 10 and I thought about going out the Gate if things got better.  Wind changed dirction and more westerly so I head north abit.  The wind speed is hitting 14 as we bash back towards Treasure Island.  Once behind the island the waves calm down and we are on a beam reach.  As I head towards the barn, the wind continues to build and almost hits 20.  We tack and head out once more hitting 7.5 knots on the GPS. Very little pressure on the wheel so I lock it and off she goes.  It's truely amazing how good this boat feels.  We tack one last time for a sunset ride to the channel.  The forecast had been 5 and we got 20!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Trying to Save a Sinking boat

This catamaran couple are in the middle of nowhere in OZ and they have hit a reef.  The rudders went up thru the hull and now she is taking on tons of water.  They put together 3 or 4 vids of their ordeal that you can view.  This is a heartbreaker as the boat is slowly going down.

Best of Burning Man

Wow! My 3rd Burning Man was spectacular.  We had an amazing camp with an art car that was out of this world.  There was a managable 30 burners in our camp at Black Rock (about 2 hours north east of Reno).  We had a shady camp with a couch hangout spot and one long table for the meals.  My friend Chris and I went out every afternoon and hit the bars and music venues.  At night, after a wonderful meal, we took out the "slug" and rambled thru the playa.  All 30 of us, plus a few friends could fit on the art car.  One night, we were in deep playa and one of the other large art cars broke down.  There were 20 kids aboard and 12 adults.  We rescued them and somehow fit an additional 32 more people aboard.  Most went on top of our double-decker.  Here is a collection of pics that will illustrate the wonders of BM.

 This 12' bear is made up entirely of pennies!

 For more in-depth look at the art and people, checkout this sublime slideshow

Bonus photo: here is our vehicle of choice when we attend the week-long festival.  The Bioluminescent Slug is a two story mutant.  Downstairs are bar stools and the DJ set up.  Upstairs is an open deck with a stripper pole!  It also gives you a great vantage point above the crowd.  Good times indeed!!

Here is my favorite vid about going to see the Man burn!

Here is an interesting comment from the web:  Decommodification, Community Participation and Self-Reliance are among leading principles of Burning Man. The idea is to live without separation and alienation and to become more openly involved with each other. This is supposed to be much different from today's society. But, Burning Man wouldn't and couldn't exist without today's high-tension, high-tech environment. Efforts to prepare for, arrive at and participate in Burning Man couldn't happen if not for today's frenetic society. In addition, since it began, more and more millionaires/billionaires are attending who bring their high-tech, wealthy and separated world into Burning Man. The organizers have found a way to justify and rationalize this intrusion though their justification goes against the grain of Burning Man principles. Basically, you can't put the toothpaste back in the tube.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Help Us Save The Internet!!

Hey Gang,

We need your help to keep the internet as it is.  Please go to the website at the end of this text and take a look.  At the very least, scroll down to John Oliver's video on the subject.  We cannot let the FCC monopolize the internet.  You will be very unhappy if this plan goes forward.  And it will be very costly to you as well.  The website will make it very easy to call your congressperson and a script to let them know you donot approve.  Take a few minutes to do this today.  We only have a few more weeks to let them know our feelings.  Thanks.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Big Wednesdays

Had a bunch of rain on Thursday for the first big storm in CA.  The ski resorts opened in the Sierras this weekend to 4'-6' of new pow!  Winter is around the corner.  This weekend has been beautiful with mid 60's during the day.  Going sailing today with a few friends and my wife.  I think she likes the new boat as she never sails.  Gonna be fun!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Haha Blog Post

After 6 Haha's I decided not to attend this years Haha.  I just purchased a new boat and I felt like I had learned a bunch from my previous adventures down the coast of Mexico.  I found a blogger on line who is posting updates and here is one of his posts form the Haha:

Two days of excellent sailing — 14 to 20 knots of breeze on the quarter, the spinnaker up from sunrise to dusk — let us cover the 200-plus miles from Turtle Bay to Bahia Santa Maria in 37 hours.
That’s the good news. Running without engines and with the autopilot doing the heavy lifting left Meriweather’s battery bank fatigued. Over night, we turned off the Seawind 1190’s fridge and freezer, and during the day, we kept the solar panels on the bimini as clear of shadows as possible. Any extras — phones, computers, Iridium Off! — were turned off and stowed. The peace and quite was appreciated by kit and crew alike, but still, the battery bank lost steam. What was needed was a good long day of no work and plenty of sun to recoup lost amps, and it turns out our landfall, literally in the middle of nowhere, was the perfect place to do it.
Bahia Santa Maria is a jewel. The entrance is around a bold head formed by Cabo San Lazaro and Punta Hughes, sometimes called Punta Huge because of its oft impressive surf point break. We arrived at 2030, and after motoring the last mile or so into the anchorage, dropped the hook an hour later.
A good number of boats were ahead of us, and their anchor lights made the broad cove look like a small city. We dropped the hook in near shore, where the high bluff and beach meet. Thankfully we were well off the beach and the impressive breaking waves that immediately caught our attention in the morning.
Arrival day in Santa Maria was dedicated to rest and relaxation. Kurt, Randy and I ventured out in the inflatable with strict orders from Skipper Steve not to flip the tender and soak his Honda outboard. Instead of attempting a landing in the surf, we motored just out of the swell along the beach, where Kurt and Randy jumped into play in the waves. I remained with the boat and watched the pelicans dive for fish, a handful of surfers catching waves and the nail-biting gyrations of the few inflatables that did try and land on the sand.
I will miss the 25th running of the Haha next year as well.  We will be in San Diego on my boat that weekend but my wife and I are celebrating 25 years of marriage that falls right in the middle of the Haha.  The good news is, we will be meeting a ton of the folks before and after the Haha on our way to Australia.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Sunday Rendevous!

Well I have been so blessed to be able to enjoy this lovely body of water with my best friends.  A few times a month, I get to take some old friends and enjoy their company on the San Francisco Bay.  To make this happen, every Sunday or Monday, I send an email blast to folks that haven't been out in a while.  Some respond, some are too busy or not interested.  The ones that do come out, have one of their best days of their month!

Yesterday was a fine example!  We are still in the celebration mode of a new boat!  It been a little over a month since the purchase (2001 40' Jeanneau) and we are having a ball!!  I invited out several of my oldest friends, plus a few new ones.  We hit the end of the channel about noon at 5.5 knots and the 56 hp Yanmar is humming softly.  We had 7 on board plus a canine named Kona.  There was no wind so we motored 2 miles to the end of the Berkeley Pier.  It's 7-8 out of the south.  We raise the sails and go on a slow reach towards Angel, about 4 miles away.  It takes a couple hours of drifting and sailing to get close to the island.  Getting lots of compliments on the new to me boat.  Sure enough, about 2pm, the wind picks up to 12 and we are moving.  We take off on a beautiful 5 knot run towards the city.  You just can't beat the dramatic views of Mt. Tam, the Golden Gate Bridge, the city front and the mountains of Napa in the distance.  Soon after, we started our downwind run to the barn.  It takes a good hour but how sweet it is! We got in shortly after 4pm and savor this amazing moment in time.  Does it get any better??

 We are loving life and the boat!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Flying High

Getting ready for a big sail over the weekend with a bunch of friends.  Full report on Monday.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Monday, November 06, 2017

Our Grand Adventure to OZ!

It's getting closer!  Our departure date for Australia is 10 months away!  Here is a quick checklist:

1) Purchase the boat.  Picked up a 2001 40' Jeanneau with 3 cabins last month.  She is as beautiful as she is fast!

2) Crew for the one year journey.  Tex and Mike will be onboard for our adventure.

3) Add cruising gear to the boat. AIS, solar, spinnaker, life raft, etc. will be added in January.

4) Take the boat up and down the Pacific coast for some trial sails.  Plan to do that once all the safety gear is added.

5) Once we arrive in Brisbane, Australia - sell the boat and fly home.  I have a top broker lined up.

Here is our itinerary:

I have been dreaming about this voyage for over 30 years.  And now the dream is becoming a reality.  We hope to have friends and family join us along the way.  At Burning Man this year, I met a chap who has sailed around the world several times.  He will join us for the first month or so and give us insights into a successful/safe cruise.  It will be great to have him on board.

We plan to document our radical sabbatical on these pages and I hope you will follow us as we hit some of the most beautiful landfalls on the planet.  They call the sail from the eastern Pacific to the western Pacific the Coconut Milk Run.  Here are some highlights of our trip:

6 weeks cruising Cali and the islands off Santa Barbara.  The Channel Islands offer amazing anchorages just off the LA Basin.

3 months in Mexico.  It's a huge country with many beautiful places to anchor.  We will be in Puerto Vallarta for 3 weeks to meet friends for sails, fun and parties.

An 18 -22 day passage from Central America to the Marquesas and over 3000 miles.

3 months in the South Pacific including a 3 week stop in Bora Bora to meet more friends in paradise.

Cook Islands, Niue, Fiji, Tonga and many of the amazing islands on the route.

An October arrival in Australia.

Wish us a bon voyage!!!