Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Setting Sail for the Caribbean!

We just booked a charter to the heart of the Caribbean on a 59' cat called Exodus!  My friend Frank has done very well in the software biz.  You could call him a titan of the industry.  He retired at 55 and is now looking into buying and/or chartering boats around the planet.  I have told him several times that the best way to proceed is to charter wherever you want to go instead of buying a boat and keeping it the Carib.  You have so many exotic places (Tahiti, Croatia, Greece, Palau, Seychelles, etc.) to visit if you keep it simple and rent instead of owning.  For the cost of owning, say a 45 foot yacht in the Lesser Antilles, you could charter once or twice a year, anywhere in the world, and never chatch up to the cost of owning on a long term basis.  So this is his first sail charter on a cat in the sea.  Our wives are joining as well as a few others.  We have a skipper and gourmet chef aboard to round out the crew!   It's going to be a very fun and relaxing adventure.  My hammock will be swaying in the breeze in the foredeck.  Our ports of call include St. Barts, Saba and Anguilla.  Never been to Barts or Saba so looking forward to rubbing elbows with the upper crust and toasting to the superyachts.  Can't wait to hang on our beautiful yacht, Exodus!!  Bon Voyage to us!  More info on the catamaran here.

Here is one of my all time favorite videos featured on this 12 year old blog (out of thousands of videos).  I include this because of the location and over all beauty of this alluring island: St. Barthelemy.  Full screen please!

I like to sync Ride of the Valkyries with this vid.  Spotify is your source.

Orcas Play with Couple off NZ

Last summer, I headed out with Tex and one of his old girlfriends.  It was another beautiful day on the bay!  We sailed up to Raccoon Strait and into Ayala Cove on Angel Island.  Perfect landing!  We headed up to their beautiful picnic grounds.  Step hills filled with pines and eucalyptus surround us.  Deer grazing in the distance.  The glistening bay behind us.  I guess you could say: idyllic.  We pulled out the bag of Bocce Balls and a hot game of skill and luck ensued.  The grounds here are filled with not only picnic tables but bare dirt to nice grass areas.  We sometimes play right under a picnic table or thru it.  It's fun and a little crazy.  We had a great time and then after a few more laughs, we headed for the boat.  Back at the dock, we cast off and sail away.  About 2 nautical miles down the road, I go to put away the balls.  Two are missing...big bummer.  This was a Father's Day gift from my family and a nice set as well.  Two balls was not the end of the world, but if we have 4 folks and only 6 balls, the math does not work (2 balls per person).
Fast forward 6 months later, I am gathering some lines from the bowels of the boat and low and behold, there are the blue balls!!.  I was incredulous!  How did this happen I have no idea, however, I was very happy.  I let my friends know that I found the balls and now everyone (including me) is off the hook.  A full set is now awaiting our next adventure to Angel.

If you have not tried Bocce with your friends, please give it a try.  I have been playing regularly for over 25 years and really enjoy the friendly competition.   You can play at a park, the beach, or maybe jump into an official court with a nice level surface.  On the nicer courts, they use ground shells as the top surface to give the ball a nice steady roll.  Check it out!

This was game for statesmen and rulers of Rome back in ancient times.  It all began in its crudest form about 5000 BC. George Washinton enjoyed the game and had a court at Mt. Vernon.  Many call it the oldest ball game in the world!

Friday, February 24, 2017

The Perfect Sail

My buddy John is visiting from Ashland.  We have done a lot of sailing together, including two Baja Haha's.  We hit the docks about 2:30 on brilliantly sunny day.  The winds were in the low teens as we headed out the harbor.   The sails went up quickly as the wind was from the north.  We sailed out the channel looking good and headed towards Alcatraz.  After we got out about 3 miles, the wind died and then changes direction.  It came up to about 12 knots.  We took off on a perfect tack towards Angel and the conditions could not have been any better.  No other boats. No waves.  Moderate winds. Perfect conditions.  We loved it.  More of the same as we head towards the harbor.  Wow!  It was sublime!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Awesome Music Software/Hardware

It's pretty cool that you can throw music from iTunes to your Apple TV.  But what if you want to share some music from the web or another source on your sound system.  It's not that easy.  Yes, you could run a wire to the system.  But that is so 1998!  I have been using Airfoil and Chromecast (audio only) to cast music all over the house.  It's Sonos without the $2k tax.  I have two Chrome's in different rooms which fills my house with tunes.  Using Wifi, I can get a party rocking.  All for just about $100 bucks.

Picks of the Week

Sunday, February 19, 2017

San Diego Memories

We are in San Diego visiting my son for the holiday weekend.  Staying at the hotel that I normally stay at when participating in the Baja Haha.  In my quest for sea miles and learning all I can about cruising, I have been on six Haha's.  Being here brings back a flood of great memories from those awesome sailing adventures.  Here is the set up: I arrive without a boat for the trip.  I go around the harbors and knock on hulls in hopes of finding the perfect boat.  I get turned down by 99% of the skippers I encounter.  It only takes one.  Last year, a friend from SF got a call and he referred the folks looking for crew to me.  I jumped on a cool tri and we had a blast sailing the 750 miles to Cabo San Lucas.  This fall I will be searching for my boat to take me to Australia.  I will miss not doing the Haha, but my dream for the last 30 years has been to cross the Pacific.  My dream is about to come true!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Thalassophiles Unite

There is a very good chance we will be headed to the Caribbean in April for a crewed yacht charter.  We are looking at the St. Thomas/St. John area on a brand new 58' cat.  I put the idea out to my friend Frank and at first they turned me down.  The more he thought about it the better it sounded.  Now we are moving forward.  Frank will be at the Miami boat show this week and will be able to step aboard this beautiful yacht. I will keep you posted.

The Santa Ana.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Saturday Sail

I posted a Meet Up on Got Wind and Water and took out 4 great sailors on Saturday.  The morning was windy and we took off with hopes high.  As we came out of the harbor, I was able to raise the sails due to the northerly component.  We sailed out the channel in 12 knots and after a few miles it died hard.  We sat there for about 40 mins and then the wind came up again from the north west.  In no time we were hitting 6.5 knots on the speedo on 14 knots of wind speed.  Life was grand on this beautiful sunny, warm day.  We headed to Craig's Cove on Angel for some lunch and dropped the anchor.  Back on the wind, it was still blowing as we headed to the city front.  Soon it started to die again and we did one more tack and then headed home.  We had to motor the last mile or so.  The crew enjoyed the boat and Kona was a big hit!  Good times aboard Addiction!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Pics of the Week

Here is an easy way to pick up crew and share your passion.  Since we have lots of sailing enthusiasts in the Bay Area, there are several Meet Up Groups that have up to 1000 folks looking to go sailing on someone's boat.  I put out an invite on Thursday for a sail on Saturday and within a few hours, I have a full boat going out (the platform sends an invite to each member).  If you have a boat and are looking for crew, or you want to go sailing, check out a meet up group.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

My Bonehead Move of the Year!

One of the editorial caveats I have is I never mention my own bonehead moves.  We all have them once in a while.  And if we learn from our mistakes, we are ahead of the game.  Here is what happened:  My sailing buddy Tex and I were up in the Delta for a 3 day trip.  We had left the boat up there for a month so we could have easy access to the river in the summer.  We were having a great day until we got stuck in the mud (it's easy to do up there). We were trying to back off with the engine but that was not enough to pull us back to the deep water.  I pulled out the kayak and grabbed the anchor to begin the kedge.  I had dropped the anchor about 75 feet behind the boat so we could then attach the line to the winch and pull the boat back to deep water.  As I was coming back to the boat, I noticed the painter was in front of the kayak as the current was faster than the kayak.  As I approached the boat, the propeller grabbed the line and starts to pull me towards the boat.  It gets tight enough that I start spinning 360's in the kayak!  As I come around, I have just enough time to grab a breath of air.  Tex has his back to me and does not see what is transpiring. I need to tell him to turn the engine off.  I have just enough time to yell one word per 360: Turn...It...Off!  My mate gets the message and hits the kill switch.  That was too funny and I was never in any danger as the kayak would protect me from the prop.  These are the kind of bonehead moves that happen so quick you just have to ride them out and have some laughs after.  Hope you enjoyed my bonehead move.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Big Waves: Why does Maverick's Create Monsterous Waves?

Got a question from a reader about the waves of Maverick's.  What is it about that outpost that generates such huge waves?  The folks at KQED, our public TV station in SF, are dedicated to uncovering the secrets of the bay and beyond.  Check the vid for the explanation.  It's very fascinating.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Perfect Mavz

January 26th was an epic day on the San Mateo Coast.  Mav's was breaking with pristine conditions.  Some of the rides were the best ever.  Over 50 riders showed up and the jet ski rescue team was maxed out.  Check the vid here.

Bad Times in the Caribbean

 This letter appeared in Lat38 many years ago.  I ran across it while perusing their archive.

I'm a former researcher in high energy physics who, at age 50, decided to escape the 'civilized world' by spending my life sailing my 46-footer Zao. For the last seven years, I've been cruising around the Western Caribbean, so I've been around the block. Nonetheless, I can't believe what happened to me in January and April of this year. I write to caution your readers.

Starting about 20 months ago, I'd been living in Cartagena, Colombia, for about a year, married to a marvelous women named Adelaida. I didn't have much money, so about once a month I used to transport backpackers between Cartagena and Colon, Panama, making about $1,000 a month. In Colombia, that kind of money makes you rich.

In May of '04, we decided to spend some time in the States, so after a number of stops and 20 days of sailing, we cleared in at Miami. By Christmas, we decided that Adelaida would fly back to Colombia while I would sail the boat back.

While in Fort Pierce, Florida, I met a couple of nice young folks - Tyler Bullock and his wife Julie Allaire - who wanted to sail down to Colombia with me. Fine. So we sailed down the coast of Florida, against the wind to the Bahamas, and then south toward the Windward Passage between Hispaniola and Cuba. Running low on diesel, on January 23 I decided to try and find some fuel at Cayemite, Haiti. While looking for a place to drop the hook, the police and some other officials with guns came by and said we needed to go through the standard clearing procedure. So we welcomed them aboard.

But once aboard, the officials commandeered my boat and wouldn't let me near the wheel. They brought Zao so close to shore that about 75 Haitians came out and climbed aboard! I asked the authorities to suspend the proceedings until the people could be driven off my boat. They sent one policeman on deck, while the others continued their work with me down below. The policeman on deck couldn't or wouldn't deal with them, and our stuff was being stolen right and left. I asked the officials to let me move my boat, but they wouldn't. Before it was all over - and it took five hours - we'd lost the following items:

Liferaft, two solar panels, anchor with 200 feet of rode, a gennaker in a sock, about 15 blocks, all of the running rigging including the halyards and sheets, all of the safety equipment including a GPS and portable VHF, luggage containing $2,000 and Julie Allaire's passport, a water purifier, a digital camera, and many personal effects.

Despite having so much stuff stolen in their presence, the police chief and other officials told me that I now needed to pay them for clearing me in - and for protecting my boat against thieves! This was outrageous, but I asked the officials how much they wanted. With Tyler and Julie as my witnesses, the police chief said their fee was $2,000 U.S.! When I pointed out that he and his men had already allowed people to steal $2,000 of our stuff, he said that they would have taken more if they hadn't been around! Finally, I had to take them to the dock in my boat, during which time we were followed by dozens of little rowboats full of people. After more theft, we managed to sail away in the middle of the night. What a horrible experience!

It gets worse.  Continue reading here.
The name of the article is "Despite Horrors, I Have No Regrets".  It's about 1/3 the way thru the letters.