Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Awesome Waves & Brilliant Soundtrack

The misic is Kevin MacLeod, Drone in D from the album Tranquillity 5. It works for me! Happy Nude Year!

Monday, December 28, 2020

Time to Change your Underwear!

I had a great year of sailing the bay! Usually we travel about 6 weeks out of the year. This year there was no travel. I must have sailed well over 100 days. Twice a week was the norm. I loved it. Our Jeanneau 40 performed flawlessly and sailed fast. I fixed a bunch of items and checked off many of the boxes on our list. A gift of $5k help bring the boat up to almost bristol and I am one happy sailor. We head into 2021 with high hopes and sailing dreams! Happy New Year...Its only going to get better!!

Monday, December 21, 2020

One Dramatic Pic!

Click the pic for an even more icredible view! Way back in 2008, Tom Perkins and his awesome 289 foot yacht, the Maltese Falcon, came to San Francisco. The masts were so tall that they had to wait for low tide to get under the 224 foot tall Golden Gate Bridge! They were here for a few weeks via Hawaii to support the Leukimea Cup. During their stay, a camper on Angel Island started a fire the ripped thru 3/4 of the island. The pic was taken from the Golden Gate Bridge. They also had a hit and run when a private sail boat ran right into this massive boat. The boat was built as a homage to the great Clipper Ships of the 1800's. The sails would drop from the yard arms with the push of a button. When the boat tacked, the masts would rotate with another button push. Too cool!

Friday, December 18, 2020

Day 2 from NZ - Highlights from the America's Cup World Series

The wind speed is 12 knots and the boats are sometimes going over 40 knots!!

Sea Floor Flyover: SF Bay

I started sailing the bay in 2000 when we purchased our 30 foot sloop, Addiction. Since then I have sailed more than twice a week on the bay. About 2000 times I estimate. That is alot. I know the bay like the back of my hand! What I know nothing about is what is underneath me. This video gives me a better idea. The bay has been carved by the rivers that flow into from the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the east. It's fasinating to see what's down there!

Rain Song w Plant & Page MTV Unplugged

Wow! That was beautiful. The strings and bass are amazing. What a moment.

Friday, December 11, 2020

Best Waves in 10 Years at Mav's!

“Today is probably the best and the biggest day in recent memory,” Oliver Henrikson, a resident of the Outer Sunset neighborhood in San Francisco and local surf reporter for Surfline, wrote in an email. “The waves are 25 to 30 feet (40- to 50-foot faces), but the winds are light offshore (blowing from the land to sea) making for surface conditions that have been clean and buttery smooth all day. This combination of big swell and clean conditions gives surfers the best, most inviting chance to get a wave that could be the pinnacle of their winter season, if not entire surf career.”

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Wave of the Year!

Twiggy at Mav's on 12-8. They say these were the best waves in 10 years. Temp: 75, Wind Offshore: 8 knots, Excitement Factor in the Line Up: 10!!! More to come from this epic day in Half Moon Bay, CA! Click the pic to make it even more impressive.

Tuesday, December 08, 2020

Year in Review

2020 stared off with some great days on the bay! Then the pandemic hit. Did some solo sailing with very few boats out. Summer was windy as usual with 20-25 almost eveytime I went out (38 knots was the highest). We lost our golden Kona in mid Febuary and it was a sad period. But in May, a new crew member arrived: Hana. She was 10 weeks old and we started heading to the boat a few weeks later. It took her a while to get used to the water but now she loves it. We headed to the beach almost every sail for a romp in the sand and a bathroom break. We both had a ball. She has been amazing and is almost 10 months now. Here are some of the high lights of my sailing year: Fixed abunch of stuff: stove, kill switch for engine, navigation light, steering noise, and a bunch of little stuff. Over night in a new location: Aquatic Park. You need a $10 permit from online but what a lovely spot. Tons of swimmers in the morning. Overnights at Clipper Cove and Angel Island. Added 2 partners in July to reduce costs. Last overnight at Angel with my favorite crewmate Tex. He is moving back home to Tennessee. We sailed together for 20 years and had many an adventure. He was also my 1st mate on our 7 month voyage to Mexico and back to SF. I will miss him greatly. Replaced broken inverter in Feb. Thanks Tex! Awesome NYE in SF with the boat parked next to the Dead and Co. concert with a fab dinner and show at the Chase. 5 day trip to the Delta with Tex and puppy Hana. Nice to finally have a chartplotter onboard! Bringing the boat back to bristol. Waxed, buffed and varnished. She looks terrific. Long weekend with my buds and dogs joining in on the fun. We sailed one day and hit the beach the next. Looking forward to 2021! Baja Haha (my 7th), a month in Monterey, head to the Channel Islands for a month, BVI's, and much more. I have realized with that the pandemic that life is short. I hope to increase my days chartering with Croatia and Greece on the radar. I know next year will be a whole lot better and hope it happens sooner rather than later.

Holiday Greetings to All

Departing Tomales at the wrong time!

A dozen or so folks die here every year. The best time to enter or exit is a flood near high tide. Or never go there would be the safeest.

Waking Life Scene

Cool movie on youtube.

Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Perfect Wave!

I fell in love with surfing back east when I was about 10. I continued into my 30's and have surfed all over Northern California. Hence, all the surf vids. If you have never tried it, its not too late to start. Check out this amazing wave from Uluwatu, Bali.

How The SF Bay Was Formed

Many times out sailing the bay with friends, I will get asked about the geology of the Bay. Many of our hills and valleys are formed by the massive tectonic plates the surround the Bay Area. However, a large portion of the area was influenced by the waters of the Pacific Ocean and the rivers flowing from the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Here is a video that explains many of the influences that formed one of the greatest and most beautiful estuaries in the world.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

From the Archives: Why we love sailing!

by Matthew Fortune Reid How does one define a life of adventure, challenge, pleasure and pain? Especially that of a sailor? As JFK so appropriately said, “All of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea – whether it is to sail or to watch it – we are going back from whence we came.” No truer words have been spoken, especially for those of us who cannot let go of the ocean. Mistress, lover, soul-mate and guidance councilor, etc., the ocean is to many of us the beginning and the end. For myself, it represents freedom. Freedom from the mundane. The annoying. The box so many people live in. As we all know though, freedom can come with a heavy price. There are certain comforts and securities that are sacrificed. I have never been married. I have no children and have my possessions scattered from Hawaii to Newport RI, literally. My life aboard the last two years as Captain of Passion 4 C (Bill Tripp 56) has been that typical of any Captain live aboard…2 waterproof duffle bags of sea-worthy clothes, scads of sunscreen and hats. And I still think I am overpacked… Now let me give you all some background on this whole story. I am a child of northern California, Napa Valley to be exact. I lived the quintessential upper-middle-class childhood. Snow skiing in Tahoe, water skiing on the local lake and swim team from the age of five. My father was a commercial airline pilot, my mom an almost full-time volunteer with the school board, grand jury, etc. Having a dad who worked in the airlines, we got to travel…a lot. Hawaii was our go-to place and as a young boy, I imagined myself living there. I began surfing at about age seven on our holidays and before I knew it, I had moved there at the age of 24. I ended up at the University of Hawaii, Manoa and graduated with a degree in Finance at the age of 30. The interim years were spent surfing, diving and camping with my friends in ‘da islands’. My assimilation into the Hawaiian Island Culture was over a period of more than five years. I was fortunate enough to have a friend, Eric Phillips, help me along this path. ‘Bad-style’, was slowly weaned from my psyche and replaced with the spirit of Aloha. I finally achieved kama’aina status and was no longer a haole. Probably the biggest achievement of my life. The Aloha Spirit is an all-encompassing lifestyle based upon the various good things from all the asian-pacific cultures. Politeness, courtesy and a ready smile. Treating all individuals as equals. Paying it forward as a rule, not an exception. Helping those who crossed my path with no expectation. Sharing food, family and music—kanikapila, the old Hawaiian way. I worked in banks after Uni and then became a modest developer on my own. Having some success, I had free time. Sailing came into my life. Specifically, racing. Oddly enough, I was doing a project in Chicago of all places (another story all-together) and was missing the water. I saw boats on the lake with spinnakers and said to myself, “I am out there.” In 2002, I found myself on a Sydney 41 as rail meat. I immediately knew I was destine to be a bowman and over the next two years pursued my skill set with a laser-focused passion. Luck and personal dedication brought me over 100 days on the water every year since. I have raced in 23 offshore races (including Transpac, Sydney to Hobart, etc), countless regattas all over the world and just spent the last year crossing the Pacific Ocean from Newport Rhode Island to Sydney Australia. I love one-design racing and have been bowman on four different Farr 40s, a Swan 42, sailed Melges 32s, Etchells, Solings, Shields and the like. So now, we get to my story of What the Stars Have Taught Me. I have approximately 1,600 sea-days now and over 60,000 offshore miles. Not a whole lot, but not a little either. As well, I have garnered my miles in a very consistent fashion, having started the process late in life. My favorite time to sail is at night. I don’t like cooking my body in the sun and I love the solitude of night watches. Just me, the stars, and my thoughts. My thoughts. How many hours over the years have I had to sort out life? More than most, that is for sure. My conclusions are not earth-shattering epiphanies. Nay, they are only the affirmations of those things that we all know to be most important. Family, friends, heath and happiness are all that count. Status, possessions, opinions, etc., are all superfluous to what really matters. At night, during my musings, ego is lost and only the pure soul exists. I know sometimes, alone, out there a thousand miles from nowhere, that I am only the stuff of stars. The atoms of my body are stardust. The blood in my veins is like the water in the ocean. To live or die at that moment, that one instant of self-realization, is of no consequence. That moment, that clarity and purity of thought is what I have lived for, night after night, mile after mile. I cannot get enough of it. Any offshore sailor will tell you that it is almost impossible to articulate the ‘why’ we do it. ‘Why’ we love it. The discomfort. The exhaustion. The storms. The issues of breakdowns and the ever-constant problems of keeping a boat moving and functional. The nagging worry of hitting a container or whale or reef, etc. I have now sailed in some amazing venues. From Chicago to Fairhaven, transiting 4 great lakes, the St. Lawrence Seaway, up around Newfoundland and down across the Gulf of Maine, through the Cape Cod Canal to Fairhaven. The adventures include Porto Cervo, Sardegna. Antibes. Season after season in the Caribbean. Manhattan and the Long Island Sound. Maine. Nova Scotia. Key West. Panama Canal. Galapagos. Marquesas. Tuamotus. Society Islands. Tonga. Fiji. Vanuatu. New Caledonia. New Zealand. Australia. Tasmania. Hawaii. Mexico. And more. All in 12 years. I have seen the aurora borealis, sailed with the big dipper over my right shoulder and the southern cross over my left shoulder and seen the moonrise so bright that it is almost discomfiting. My nighttime companions and beacons of hope. I have made friends and companions on this whole journey of sailing from the first race on that first day in Chicago. Sailors, as a group, are a ready-made set of friends worldwide. I now have friends all over Europe, the south pacific, both coasts of the U.S., Mexico, Caribbean, Canada and beyond. Whether racing inshore or offshore or passage-making, I am surrounded by the people of like-mindedness. Always ready with a smile and a helping hand, sailors are good people. And sailing is the ultimate equalizer. Billionaires sharing good times with college students and tradesmen. And everything in-between. The boat and the ocean is the one place we can all be ourselves and peel away the veneer of that life which many of us must live on a day to day basis. Ultimately, this is a diatribe of gratitude. For I am most grateful for the stars, who have taught me that, to be yourself, to live your life as a true spirit with the only expectation of life is not that expectation of what you may think others have of you, but only the expectation of self-fulfillment and to live a life filled everyday with your best effort and best intentions. To greet each new sunrise with a deep breath of appreciation and the desire to live that day to its fullest. Whether in the office or on the ocean, to enjoy the moment and the people around you. To share the gift of life by the giving and sharing of your personal Aloha. I thank you, the stars, for this incredible insight into life you have taught me. In return, for I have learned that gratitude unexpressed is merely ingratitude, I am learning celestial navigation and continuing my Captain’s education as far as I can go.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Life of Kai

Red Bull has put together a video series about Kai Lenny and his plan to be the best big wave surfer on the planet. The episodes are about 15 minutes each and trace his quest to win big wave surf contests at Jaws and Nazere. It's great stuff and if you are into surfing at all you should check it out. Copy and paste this into your browser: https://www.redbull.com/int-en/episodes/life-of-kai-s1-e1

Monday, November 09, 2020

Amazing Day Sail

My college swimming buddy and best friend Dave and his wife joined me for a sail on Sunday. We had a cold front moving thru and the winds were forcast 20-25 with gusts to 30. We headed out and in the channel ran into my old boat Addiction heading into the bay. We gave them a shout and Theo recognized me and our boat. We put out a full genoa and took off towards the Golden Gate Bridge. The wind picked up near the city front and we needed to duck behind some piers to take in some sail. We headed towards our lunch spot at Angel Island. We made it in and set the anchor with 75' of chain just off Quarry Beach at Angel. Lunch and great convo about some of the best music and albums of the last 50 years. I looked across the bay and it seemed it was raining in the east bay. Soon there was a bit of a rainbow confirming my suspicion. As we looked further we could see it streaching across the sky. We hardly ever see rainbows on the bay! After lunch, we picked up the anchor with our trusty windlass and took off with a small jib rolled out. As we came out of the lee of the island the tempest hit! Winds in the 30's and it was raining hard. If I steered towards our harbor there was too much wind and the boat was broaching. I steered more downwind and towards the the west side of Yerba Buena. After hitting a high of 37 knots, the wind started to die off. We had been hit by an amazingly powerful squall! The boat did fine and I was lucky I only put out a small bit of the jib. We made back under motor as the wind was soon under 10. What a day! The wind and rainbow, as well as the crew, made the day unforgettable. Cowabunga my friend!
Check out those white caps!

Saturday, November 07, 2020

On Stand By

Currently waiting for the weather window in France for a lap around the planet. Gitania's goal is to win the Jules Verne Trophy and get under the current record of 40 days and change. Also on Sunday, the Vendee will begin their own solo non stop challenge around the globe. Alex Thomson hopes to win after trying for the last 20 years. Expect records to fall as these flying boats are hella fast. 33 skippers will be on the starting line.

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

Kissed by God

Watched a very insightful surf flick about the late Andy Irons.   He is the only surfer to win king of the surfing world 3 times in a row.  He had some mental issues as well as drug issues that eventually killed him 10 years ago at 32.  His bipolar disorder gave him a laser focus and brought him many big wins.  It also tore him down into deep depression.  Pretty sad story but amazing as well.  It's free on Amazon with Prime.

Sunday, November 01, 2020

California Summer Comes to an End

With our time and season changing, I thought I would jot down some highlights of the summer.  We are blessed with great weather into early November here in the SF Bay Area and this year has been spectacular.  The smoke has cleared, the days are bright and the wind continues to blow.  

Closing out the partnership of the boat with 2 new partners to make it a 4 partner boat.  July.

Getting my guy friends out for a sail over a long weekend along with the pups.

Getting our pup up to speed on being on the water.  Hana has been grreat and is turning into a good swimmer.

Saw a high wind speed of 38 knots near Angel in July with Andy and Tom.

A 5 day sojourn up to the Delta for the Delta Doo Dah.  We had a free slip for 3 nights and spent the days at Potato Slough.  I believe this was my 6th trip up there and it was great to have a chartplotter.

With the Bay Area on lock down, solo sailing was spectacular as many days I was the only boat on the bay.

A weekend trip with Andy to Aquatic Park and Angel.  We biked around the island for some amazing views of the Bay and the Mathew Turner schooner. 

Getting beach time with Hana every time we go out.

Bocce with Olivier and John at Angel.

Fixing the stove/oven!

Getting the boat varnished, waxed and buffed was huge.  Thanks Glenn!

Being the only boat at Clipper last week and romping on the beach with our new pup. 

A small Delaware reunion over Labor Day with a perfect sail.

An overnight on John's boat to China Camp with beach time and Hana.


The low point of the summer was getting some water in the fuel tank.  It was expensive and time consuming to clear the tank and get the engine running again. I sure learned alot about our fuel system.

The winds die off in the winter, however, we still have some nice 10-15 knot winds from time to time.  And the bay is always crisp and clear.  I really enjoy the lighter winds as 20-30 knot winds every day in the summer gets to be a bit much...but we love it anyway!


Monday, October 26, 2020

Just in Time for Halloween

 So fun!

Greatest Baseball Comeback Ever!

If you missed the World Series game on Saturday, you missed a doozy! This is the last half of the bottom of the 9th.  Full screen baby!


Thursday, October 15, 2020

Kekoa - An amazing story of a homebuilt boat lost twice!


Hana at Montara

 About 7 months old here.  She has been a treat and a nice addition to our family.  Love you girl!

Heading out for a weekend of summer sailing!

I recently put about $5k into the interior and exterior of the boat with the experts buffing, waxing, sanding and varnishing our 2001 Jeanneau.  She looks exceptional!   Heading out this weekend for a sojourn with my best childhood friend Andy.  Not a whole lot of wind but some fine weather is forecast.  Hana will be joining.  She turns 8 months this weekend.  She has been an excellent addition to our boat.

Checkout the legs in the air on the white boat.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

A Row Across the Pond - Lia's Story SF - HI

 On Wednesday, June 17, I rowed out under the Golden Gate Bridge after midnight. Almost three months later, I made landfall in Hawaii before sunrise. In between, I found myself in every nightmarish situation you can imagine, including sharks circling my boat and capsizes that nearly drowned me.

A licensed captain, I have sailed the equivalent of eight laps around the globe. In 2010 I became the 53rd woman to row the Atlantic.

The row from San Francisco to Hawaii — alone in a 21-foot fiberglass craft with no support boat — was supposed to be training. I thought of it as a 2,500-mile “half marathon” before the “full marathon” I’m planning to do next year: rowing 5,500 miles from Japan to San Francisco.

Nineteen attempts have been made to row from Japan to San Francisco solo. Only two were successful — both men, both towed the last 20 and 50 miles to land, respectively. I am on a mission to claim this last great first, not as a woman but as the first person to row land to land across the North Pacific.

My reasons are complex, but the bottom line is I set out to empower myself. I wanted to rebuild my body, my mind and my self-esteem. “If I don’t meet someone and have a baby by 2015,” I told my friends, “I am going to row the North Pacific.”

Over time I realized that I wasn’t going to meet someone and have a baby because I needed to row the North Pacific.

I set out for Hawaii in June without any fanfare. The voyage was supposed to be a fast-blast sunshine cruise once I passed the continental shelf. But the wind pushed me south and made turning west extremely difficult for weeks.
Rower Lia Ditton sits by the shoreline on October 1, 2020 at her current residence in Lanikai, HI.

Then 300 miles west of Ensenada, Mexico, on day 21, I capsized. A 40-foot wave broke into a rumbling avalanche of white water. I was thrown into the sea and my boat rolled upside down.

The water was cold, the waves huge and the boat began to settle upside down. My chances of survival were slim. I knew I needed to act immediately to maintain the inertia of the boat and threw my body on the hull. Miraculously the boat started to move and I was plunged back underwater. When I resurfaced, I tried to haul myself on deck, but there was no strength left in my upper body. I was, again, a beat from drowning. A refusal to accept this end drew every core muscle to force my body up and onto that boat.

I rowed on.

My second capsize was 1,000 miles east of Hawaii on day 52. I was sleeping inside when a wave caught the stern and turtled the boat once again. The cabin hatch was ajar and water gushed in. “GET OUT! GET OUT!” screamed the voice in my head.

The boat did self-right, but I struggled to fall asleep during the remainder of the trip, 34 days.

“Right here, right now,” I would tell myself in moments when anxiety about the capsizes threatened to overwhelm me. I couldn’t control the future, and I couldn’t escape the environment of the past. I rowed 10 hours each day and wrote a blog for a growing audience of online followers every night. My writing became raw and vulnerable, but I never felt self-conscious. If I could verbalize what was going on in my head, I could purge some of the pressure.

I found comfort in the beauty of the ocean. On some of my toughest days, the sun shone through sheets of squally rain to draw rainbows so vivid and spectacular it was hard not to believe in something greater than myself. A troupe of 3- and 4-foot yellowtail tuna swam alongside my boat for days, while flying fish dive-bombed my boat’s deck at night.

I was alone but rarely lonely. My bird, fish and even shark visitors kept me fascinated, and I found joy in bringing these encounters alive for my followers through my blogs and videos. I travel somewhere most people will never go and see things most people will never see, and I take seriously my responsibility to share these wonders.

Having said that, I had no idea my journey was drawing an audience of tens of thousands across social media.

After 84 days, I saw land: first a Chernobyl-like mushroom cloud over the mountains, then the faint outline of a flattened potato. In the video of this moment, my voice cracks with emotion. My world had, quite literally, been turned upside down — twice — and the strain was there to see. But the voyage wasn’t over yet.

Twenty-three hours out from arriving, I realized I was going to have to row nonstop for land. As night fell, I entered the Molokai Channel a.k.a. the “Channel of Bones.” The waves were invisible in the dark and the current was driving me south, away from the island.


For my team, my Believers and above all for myself, I drove through my legs and whaled on my right oar until my muscles were on fire. This was the final showdown, a battle of Lia versus the elements in the 11th hour.

At 6:08 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 12, I touched the dock of the Waikiki Yacht Club. I had smashed the world record by 13 days.

I wanted to arrive wearing a bikini top — attire befitting a Pacific island. Plus I had tanned completely through my clothes. But I knew if I raised my arms in celebration, my underarm hair would become the story.
Rower Lia Ditton gets into the water on October 1, 2020 in Lanikai Beach, Kailua, HI.

It is perfectly acceptable for men to emerge from these long-distance adventures with giant beards and scraggly hair, looking like they have been marooned on an island for a year. We might be disappointed if they didn’t.

But women with body hair? The horror of it!

Ultimately, I decided to arrive in a long-sleeved shirt. But I haven’t shaved my underarms to this day.

I still have a lot to process about my adventure, but one thing I am sure of: After three months battling the sea, I care less what people think of me.

Here next voyage will be Japan to SF, a sojourn of 5000 miles!  This was just a little shake down cruise.

Friday, October 02, 2020

Never Sail During a Hurricane (or Bonehead move of the week!)

 The sailors on Yes Dear were rescued twice in one week.  Hurricane Sally in the Gulf finally put an end to their ill fated odyssey with a container ship rescue.   Yes Dear is now for sale, to the lowest bidder.  Ripped sails and all.  Bene 423.

Coyote: The Mike Plant Story

I was always intrigued by this sailing legend and now I know why.  Here was a guy with very little resources who made a huge splash in the round the planet races.  He was always working by the seat of his pants but he made it happen.  He won some races and was becoming a rock star in the sailing world.  In his quest to get to a race start in France in his radical new boat, he failed to take care of some paperwork and it had disastrous results.  Check it out on Amazon.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Friday, September 25, 2020

New Movie: The Race to Alaska

The brain trust that started the R2AK has now released their own documentary on the 700 mile race.  I just watched it from the Port Townsend Film Festival online.  It was a great film and one I highly recommend.  I love this race because of the challenge, danger and ingenuity that must be employed just to finish this race.  The first rule is no motors.  The second rule is that you are on your own if you get in trouble.  We have everything from Hobie 16's, paddle boards, rowers, cats, tris, and many others.  The race starts in Port Townsend, WA and finishes in Ketchikan, AK.  The racers can encounter currents of 15 knots in some areas, gale force winds, huge logs, and no wind at all.  I have no interest in doing a race like this, however, I love the spirit and the courage it takes to complete a race such as the R2AK.  This years race did not happen but hope is high for 2021.  Trailer below.

Go to the Port Townsend Film Festival website to watch, $12.  Worth every penny!


Poerty in Motion

Full Screen Please!

The Maxi is preparing to challenge the Jules Verne Around the Planet record of 40 days (23 hours and 30 minutes), is the exact time to beat if the crew
of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild is to topple Francis Joyon and IDEC
Sport, the current record holders. It’s also the time that Gitana Team
has left before it officially commences stand-by for its first attempt
at the Jules Verne Trophy. Indeed, from 1 November, it will be all
systems go to take on the challenge of the round the world record under
sail, which the skippers of the latest addition to the Gitana fleet
describe simply as the outright round the world! However, this same date
will herald the start of a new ‘race’ to pinpoint the optimum weather
window to extract themselves as quickly as possible from the Breton
coast and, on a larger scale, the North Atlantic.

“A round the world is no mean feat and there’s a very strong human
dimension in this exercise. The fact that we’re one of the first of this
generation of flying boats to take on this record inevitably adds a
sense of adventure to our story”, admits Charles Caudrelier.

Well-versed in crewed round the worlds, notably with two victories to
his credit in the Volvo Ocean Race, the skipper will however be setting
sail on his very first Jules Verne Trophy, as is the case for Morgan
Lagravière and David Boileau. The first is known and acknowledged for
his incredible feel for the helm and his acumen with regards getting a
boat making fast headway. The second is one of the mainstays of the
Gitana Team, of which he has been a part for over ten years. The boat’s
strongman, crew and an extraordinary technician, David Boileau is the
boat captain on the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild. Though they hail from
very different backgrounds, the two sailors have a number of things in
common: they both share a passion for anything that flies, they’ll both
be on watch together in the round the world and they’ll be contesting
their very first Jules Verne Trophy. So here we have the boat’s rookies
presented to you via this quick profile comparison!  Good luck and God's speed to the crew!  

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Lia Arrives in HI after Rowing for 86 Days!

She departed SF in June and after several almost fatal capsizes, she has finally arrived in Honolulu.   This is an amazing accomplishment.  Some may ask Why?  Why put your life in danger for such a self indulgent act?  As a mater of fact, another rower died trying the same thing during her voyage.  Humans are born to experience hardship and isolation.  We have an unbelievable tolerance to endure.  I was just reading about 3 boys who tried to escape boring island life so they stole a boat and were found drifting and barely alive after 51 days at sea.   Wow!  Check out Lia's site for more updates.  Currently, she is asleep at a luxury beach front hotel.  After 86 days at sea, they did not require her to go in quarantine.  


Friday, September 11, 2020

2020 Baja Ha Ha Canceled

They just announced the cancellation of this years Haha.  I had hoped to help a boat get safely down the peninsula and complete my 7th Haha.  My first Haha was in 2010 aboard a quick cat.  I have had nothing but wonderful adventures sailing the coast on other folks boats.  The sojorn is 750 miles and takes 10 days with stops in Turtle Bay and Santa Maria.  The destination is Cabo San Lucas.  150 boats and 500 folks.  What fun.  You can still safely sail to Mexico and with that in mind, one of the long time participants is organizing the Nada Haha.  40 boats have already signed up!  Cruising in Mexico is permitted at this time and the folks that doing it are enjoying their time.  I will look forward to next November and hope the Haha tradition continues.  

Tuesday, September 01, 2020

Download the Mag!


Head to latitude38.com for a free download of the West Coast's favorite sailing mag.  Hot off the press today.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

WSL Big Wave Rides of the Year...the nominees

 I grew up surfing back east in southern Delaware.  When I moved to Nor Cal in '81, I found my home with 8-10 foot waves in Carmel and Santa Cruz.  My first tube ride was in Zuma on shrooms.  What a ride.  They say that getting tubed is like returning to the womb.  However, this is a womb with a view!  Sorry, old joke.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Another fun voyage to the Delta

Tex and I took off Monday for 40 mile run to the Delta.  Hana's first big sailing adventure and she did great.  We were up near Benicia and I knew we needed to get her on land for some relief.  As we entered a close by marina, the depth went from 30' to 4' in a second or two.  Stuck pretty bad, I was able to use the engine to turn us into the wind and move us back to deep water.  We continued onto Pittsburgh where we got in barely and docked.  Hana was very happy to see grass and a park nearby.  Off the next morning we had some wind but decided to motor as the river bends so much making it difficult to fill the sails.  We had a reservation at Delta Bay Marina and came in slowly as we did not want to get stuck as we draw 6.5'.  We made it in and hailed the owner who showed us a nice 40' slip.  With a park across the street, Hana was a happy sailor.  Normally we would anchor up here but with a puppy, being able to access the land is important.  Next two days it was off to Potato Slough for some swimming in fresh water and relaxing.  We would leave early and then return to the slip at night.  Meet some folks there that were from the Richmond Yacht Club.  The kayak rides thru the tules with Hana were fun.  We found a patch of grass for her on a small island and that worked well.  Headed back on Friday with a 12 hour motor back home.  The trip was bittersweet as Tex and I have been cruising together for the last 20 years, including our now famous voyage to Ztown, Mexico and back.  Tex has decided to move back home to Tennessee for his retirement.  He says he will be back to visit and go sailing sometime in the future.  We hope so!! 

Potato Slough with Mt. Diablo in the distance.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Back in the Partnership Game!

Signed up a 4th partner to the good ship Aquarius this weekend.  Everyone has a 1/4 equity share buy in at $20k and then $150 a month for slip fees, insurance, property taxes, etc.  When you leave the partnership, you sell your share to the next partner.  I was in another partnership for 17 years on the Newport 30 Addiction.  Instead of paying almost $10k a year, we each pay $2500.  Much better!  And we still get to sail as much as we want.  At $150 a month, that's $5 per day to own a 40 footer in great shape that sails as fast as she is sexy!  If you want to sail on a budget, partnerships are the way to go.

Aquarius outside La Paz during our 7 month voyage to Mexico and back to SF in 18/19.  She was flawless and the motor was the hero.  She is a 2001 40' Jeanneau built in La Harve, FR.  The key element I wanted was 3 cabins for the crew.  We got that and so much more

Monday, July 13, 2020

Wind - One of the best sailing movies of all time!

Wind is available to watch for free on Amazon Prime.  I can stream it from my phone via Wifi using Airplay to my old Apple TV and it looks great on the big screen.  The movie is a sailor's delight as the USA Team loses the Cup and then tries to win it back.  Jenifer Gray is looking great and Modine really looks like a sailor.  The sailing action is real and fun to watch...even if you are not a racer.  Check it out and have the popcorn ready!

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Another Rower in Trouble

Rower Lia Ditton set off for Hawaii several weeks ago.  She was hit by a huge wave and her boat capsized.  She was able to send out a few notes via her website and described the chaos.  You will have to go to her website to read about the ordeal.  https://rowliarow.com/
Good luck girl, you are gonna need it!

Here is her position.  She is having a tuff time getting into the trades which will take her west to the islands.  We lost another rower last week attempting the same.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Bad News from Brick House

Sailing far away lands during the pandemic has left many cruisers in limbo.  No swimming, snorkeling, visiting other boats are all forbidden.  But what if you catch the virus while cruising and sheltering in place?  Here is the saddest story I have run across so far.  It shows how serious and sad this new reality is.  I hope Rebecca recovers from this and finds whatever she is hoping for.  My heart goes out to her.  They were getting close to closing the loop of their decade plus circumnavigation.

Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Laurel Canyon

Just watched this 2 part documentary with a huge smile on my face (and a few tears of joy!).  These are some of my favorite bands and performers that lived within 10 minutes from each other near LA in the 60's & 70's.  Joni, CSN&Y, Moma's and the Papa's, Doors, Eagles, Jackson Brown and many more.  I love this film and if you remember the 60's, you weren't really there!

Monday, June 08, 2020

Go Fast Go North

I watched a great documentary about some young guys with an Olson 30 who sailed the 2016 R2AK.  They were in it to place near the top.  Their competitors were on fast cats and trimarans that did well in light as well as heavy air.  The key to the race is having a way to move the boat when there is no wind.  And here is where innovation plays a big role.  The team that was the focus of the film was called Hot Mess.  They missed getting in the top 10 because of their lack of an efficient way to move the boat when the wind dies.  It's a beautiful movie and you get a feel for how difficult this 750 mile race is.  They finished the race in 6 days and change.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

100% Virus Free Post

R2AK 2015

Team Freeburd's 1st attempt at the 750 mile race to Alaska.  They got 4th in 2015, did not finish in 16 and won in 17.  Amazing!  This may be the most demanding race in the Americas!  Love this vid!

Sir Peter

Watched a great film on the history of Peter Blake's sailing career.  It takes an in-depth look at his victories and his family.  And also the tragedy of his death.  You can rent the doc online for a couple bucks.  Enjoy!

Blakey from JachtFilm on Vimeo.</

Thursday, May 07, 2020

Funny Story About Knots

A few years ago, we were on a boys trip to Puerto Vallarta.  We chartered a sailboat for a sunset sail on a private boat.  We board and are welcomed with Pacifico's all around.  Once on the water, the captain starts bragging about his sailing knowledge.  So I ask him where the term knots originated?  He exclaimed that back in the day when the slaves were down below rowing the warships, those in charge would whip the slaves to make the ship go faster.  To do this, they would tie more knots on their whips to make it more painful and get them to work harder.  I laughed and asked him if he was crazy?  I then told everyone where the term actually came from. 

It goes something like this:
Ancient mariners used to gauge how fast their ship was moving by throwing a piece of wood or other floatable object over the vessel’s bow then counting the amount of time that elapsed before its stern passed the object. This method was known as a Dutchman’s log. By the late 16th century, sailors had begun using a chip log to measure speed. In this method, knots were tied at uniform intervals in a length of rope (48 ft or 8 fathoms between knots) and then one end of the rope, with a pie-slice-shape piece of wood (or “chip”) attached to it, was tossed behind the ship. As the vessel moved forward, the line of rope was allowed to roll out freely for a specific amount of time, which was typically tabulated with a sandglass (30 seconds). Afterward, the number of knots that had gone over the ship’s stern was counted and used in calculating the vessel’s speed. A knot came to mean one nautical mile per hour. Therefore, a ship traveling at 15 knots could go 15 nautical miles per hour.

For a number of years, there was disagreement among various nations about the exact measurement of a nautical mile, which is based on the Earth’s circumference. In 1929, the international nautical mile was standardized at 6,076 feet; it was adopted by the United States in 1954. A nautical mile is different from a mile on land, which is based on walking distance. The Romans first defined a land mile as 1,000 paces or pairs of steps; it was set at its current measurement of 5,280 feet by Queen Elizabeth I in 1593.

We all had a good laugh and enjoyed the sail and the humpbacks.

Wednesday, May 06, 2020


I love the story lines of this race.  How tough it is and how wild it can get.  Plus the innovation needed to propel your boat when the wind dies.  It will not happen this year due to you know what.  Check the vid below for a cool look at what some brothers put together.  You need some big cajones to finish this amazing race!

Tuesday, May 05, 2020

15 Years of H2uhO!!

This is kind of a big deal.  There are not many bloggers that last a year!  They say a blogger's year is equal to a dog year so in this case we are turning 105!  Feels like it.  Other sailing bloggers that have been going this long include the Tillerman at Proper Course and the Horse's Mouth, Joe.  Congrats to them!  Heck, they gave me some motivation to get started.  What really inspired me was a couple accidents on the bay.  The most famous of the two was the Santana 22 that got caught at the south tower of the GGB.  Their boat got caught in a huge breaking wave and they were rescued but the boat was at the bottom.  It was all caught on film by a surf photo guy.  I thought, why not do a blog about people making mistakes on the water so we can learn from them.  Bonehead Moves on the Water was born.  The site has evolved over the years, but we still are running with the main theme.

To recognize this momentous occasion, here is a look back at our voyage to Mexico and back to SF on my Jeanneau 40.  We returned about a year ago and I have very fond memories of the adventure.  I was looking thru an old journal of mine from 1986 and the seeds of this journey were born over 30 years ago!

I grew up boating on the Chesapeake Bay with my family and always enjoyed our time on a small boat.  After college at UNLV, I moved west to the Bay Area and started windsurfing on the SF Bay.  I loved the freedom and challenge as well as the speed.  As I hit my mid 30’s, I stated a family and so my time on the water slowed down.  As my son turned 4, I purchased a small sailing dory of 16 feet.  I sailed in the lakes, sloughs and eventually the bay.  As I got more confidence, I moved up to a 30 foot boat that I owned for 17 years.  I started dreaming of the possibilities of where could a small boat take me?  In this case, just about everywhere in the bay and delta. 

About a year and a half ago, I purchased a sexy 40 foot Jeanneau with the intention of sailing to Mexico and back with a few friends.  The boat was in great shape but needed some upgrades, and new electronics.  I also purchased a new, larger jib for the light airs in the south. 

In September of  2018, we departed San Francisco for a 4,000 mile voyage deep into Mexico.  Our first week was amazing as we harbor hopped down the coast in beautiful sailing conditions.  With stops in Half Moon Bay, Santa Cruz and Monterey, we were living the sailing dream. 

Our first overnight run was from Monterey to Morro Bay, a distance of 90 miles.  We had 4 hour watches set up and my watch was from 2-6, am and pm.  At the age of 60, its important to have some down time and having 3 aboard gives you 8 hours off after your watch is complete.  Sleeping, eating, hanging out in the cockpit, reading or watching a movie was all part of our day and night on the water.  We made it down the coast without a hitch and arrived at sunrise.  We rested for a day and then took off mid morning for our most dangerous part of the adventure.  The rounding of Point Conception, the Cape Horn of California.  Many ships have met their fate here as the currents and waves of the north and south meet violently at times and many a sailor has perished here.  We had read many strategies about this stretch of ocean.  We chose the midnight run and it worked!  The wind was in the high teens and we were 10 miles off the Point.  We got slammed by one big wave but that was about it.  We arrived safely in Santa Barbara the next morning.

We had several sets of friends heading our way for 2 night trips to Santa Cruz Island, 20 miles to the west.  We experienced one of the trip highlights here, Painted Cave.  One of the largest sea caves in the world.  We kayaked in and even with a 120 foot high entrance, it got dark and scary quickly.  The noise the waves would make as they filled the air pockets of the cave was very eerie.  All of our guests got a chance to head in and they loved it.

We wandered our way to San Diego and finally entered Mexico in mid November.  Ensenada was our first port of entry and only 60 miles south of the US border.  We met with the customs folks and successfully checked into the country.  Breweries are very popular in this town and we visited several. 

In early December, we departed for our longest passage of the journey.  700 miles down the Baja peninsula to Cabo San Lucas.  Our hope was to complete the run in 8-10 days.  A sailboat can average 100-120 miles in a 24 hour period.  Our first stop was a small island called Cedros for fuel and an overnight rest.  We departed at daylight and made it to Cabo in 7 days.  We had great wind south of Cedros and sailed smartly over the last 250 miles.

After a quick flight home for the holidays, we were on our way to Mazatlan and the mainland of Mexico.  As we departed, the winds were up and thoughts of heading back to the harbor crossed my mind.  Instead, we cracked off a few degrees for a more comfortable ride.  We decide to skip Maz and head to Puerto Vallarta.  A longer sail of about 300 miles, but a much safer choice based on the wind conditions.  We had 3 weeks to explore this beautiful bay and have a few friends and my son visit us.  We sailed, toured the city and made new friends along the way.  My favorite anchorage was Yelapa.  A deep valley with rich tropical forests surrounding us, this is an exotic paradise. 

From PV, we headed to our southern most destination of Zihuantenejo another 300 miles to the south.  Some of the loveliest stops are along this coast.  Pariso, Cureyees, Tenicatita and Las Hadas were all amazing stopovers.  Our goal was attend a music fest in Ztown, so we continued south. 

Several sets of friends joined us here and we had a ton of fun taking them out to the islands and sailing on soft breezes in 80 degree temps.  It was sublime.  The last week of our stay here was the International Guitarfest.  We attended the first night and got a chance to hear all of the guitarists that would be performing during the rest of the week.  We feel in love with several and went back to see them over the course of the fest.  The concerts took place right on the beach and we had a table reserved and enjoyed the shows immensely. 

We departed on March 8th for San Francisco.  This would be the most difficult part of the trip.  They call this portion of the voyage, the Bash.  1800 miles into the wind and seas and the only logical option is to motor into it. Luckily, we have a very trusty Yanmar engine to get us uphill to our destination. 

On our way back, we revisited our favorite anchorages and found some new ones as well.  Our guide books were very helpful and helped us avoid any dangers.  We also had a GPS chart plotter that kept us safe and guided the way.  One of the great inventions over the last few years is AIS.  This feature allows you to see any ship or boat around you on the chart screen.  It will also tell you if you are in danger of colliding with said ship.  Great for our over night passages as the dark is really dark out on the ocean.

We eventually made to Cabo again after a fast sail across the Sea of Cortez.  The winds on the west coast come from the north.  Since we were sailing east to west, the winds were on our beam and we could set the auto pilot and enjoy the ride.  We did very little steering during the entire trip and let our auto pilot do all the heavy lifting.  She did an amazing job with only a few hiccups. 

Our next 1200 miles would be the hardest.  Winds of 30 or more knots on the nose, seas up to 14 feeet and an unforgiving, lonely coast.  We took off from Cabo expecting to motor the next 400 miles to the next fuel stop.  We made it to Turtle Bay and refueled and headed on our way to San Diego.  After a short stop there, we took off for Santa Barbara.  A large wind storm was headed our way with 40 knot winds.  We tucked in just before the winds hit and were “stuck” in SB for 4 days.  We made the most of it with wine tasting, bike rides and great meals out.

Our final leg was upon us.  After 5 weeks of motoring north, I was ready to get back home.  Once again, we had to round Pt. Conception, however, we hit it with low wind and waves and moved on to Monterey, 200 hundred miles north.  These were hard earned miles as it was cold and windy all the way up the coast.  

We harbor hopped up the coast again stopping in Monterey, Santa Cruz and Half Moon Bay for quick overnights with departures at day break.  On April 17th, we sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge and back into our home waters.  The conditions were perfect with a flooding tide, light winds, and temps in the 70’s.  A rare day indeed on this windy bay we love.

The people of Mexico were very kind and helpful.  The crew was fantastic and made the trip.  The biggest hero was the boat!  She kept us safe and the mechanical side as well as the rigging were perfect.  I could not have asked for a greater 7 month voyage with awesome weather, great friends and family to share it with.  We love Mexico! (and California too!).  Thanks to my crewmates, Tex and Sean!!

We had over 25 friends and family join us during our voyage.  Thanks gang, for making our adventure so memorable.

 Somewhere near La Paz.

 San Francisco is near the top and Ztown is at the bottom.  We traveled about 4000 miles over 7 months.

Highlights of the voyage:

Departing SF and heading to port outside the Gate was amazing.  The wind was up as were the waves.  We sailed the 20 miles to safe harbor in Half Moon Bay.  Our very first landfall.

Sailing the Cali coast was a dream come true.  I have been up and down Hwy 1 so many times dreaming about being on a boat and here I was heading to Monterey and next, Santa Barbara!

Santa Barbara was delightful.  We spent 3 weeks in and around the harbor as well as extended stays at Santa Cruz Island with friends visiting from the Bay.

We pulled into a tiny anchorage on Santa Cruz and challenged a boat load of other dudes to a game of bocce.  We kicked their butts and laughed so hard for hours.  These guys were a ton of fun.

Painted Cave on Santa Cruz was a huge hit for us and our friends.  The largest sea cave on the planet!

Newport Beach with my friend Barry and his wife took us out for an amazing evening of cruising the waterways and seeing some beautiful waterside homes.

I had never been to Catalina and that was a blast.  We played bocce near the plaza.

San Diego - we could not find a slip due to the Haha.  I ended up calling all the marinas and one got back to me saying they had plenty of space and we could stay for 2 weeks!  We arrive at Fiddler's Cove and it turns out they thought we were military folks and this was a military harbor.  They realized our predicament and their mistake and allowed us to stay a week.  We had a ton of fun and they were all very kind.

My friend from Delaware, Steve, came out for a week and we had an amazing time.   Swimming, Frisbee, 420, bocce, hanging with my son and meeting his cousin for a dinner party.

We had a pretty good sail down the coast of Baja.  The best was from Santa Maria to Cabo with 20 knots of wind.

San Jose del Cabo was a very cool stop.  We hitchhiked back and forth and folks were happy to give us a ride.  What a cool art district with great bars and restaurants.

My sisters and family came down to Cabo for NYE and I took them all for a very relaxing sail along the coast.

Our first real cruising anchorage was off La Pax at an island anchorage.  There were several other boats around and we invited them all to join us for a drink.  We had 2 couples join us for a fun evening of stories and lies!  I am kidding about the stories.  : )

Yelapa in Puerto Vallarta was one of my favorite spots.  In a deep valley and surrounded by green lush hills, it is idyllic.  My son and nephew also visited PV along with John.  We had great sails with them and saw lots of whales breaching.

The trip from PV to Ztown was spectacular.  There were a couple anchorages that really stood out.  One of my favs was Pariso.  Secluded and a small bay inside a bay with a pristine beach right off the boat.  Gorgeous.  We were the only boat there!

Would I do this trip again?  A resounding no.  The bash home was against Mother Nature for 5 weeks.  30 knot winds and 15 foot seas were the norm.  The boat and crew took a beating and it was not fun.  I am so happy I did this trip on my boat, but the trip home was very uncomfortable.  However, the other 6 months were delightful!!  A bon voyage indeed!


Monday, May 04, 2020

Sailing to Surf and Surfing to Live

John John Florance is a pro surfer who loves to sail.  He recently purchased one of my favorite boats: a Gunboat 48 for a surfing safari to the South Pacific.

Here is the first in a series of four shorts about the adventure.  The production is well done and as a sailor with a passion for surfing (me), I had to share this amazing video series.

Welcome Aboard Hana!

We lost Kona 2 months ago to cancer.  It happened very fast and we were dogless.  It was depressing.  My wife looked around for a new pup (another golden) since we will be home for the foreseeable future.  She found one!  We picked up Hana (named after the small town on Maui near the Seven Sacred Pools) about a week ago and she has been a treat so far.  And a nice distraction from sheltering in place.  She is almost 12 weeks old and very cute.  She is slowly getting the hang of doing her duty outside and makes a game out of everything.  I looked back at when I took Kona on his first sailing trip and it was at about 4 months.  I will most likely take her up to the boat a few times before we go sailing.  Looking forward to that day!  Say hello to Hana!

Sunday, May 03, 2020

A sailor's worst nightmare!

Via Sail Mag:
Five days before Christmas, I booked my ticket home. It was evening, at the end of a long day in my marine repair shop, BoatRx. After being in Miami a month, it was already starting to feel like home. I reviewed my to-do lists, grateful to be returning to a steady routine as I drove back to the marina where Eclipse, my Tayana 42 and my home, had been moored since I’d arrived from Boston.

The wind was blowing hard when I got there. I went for a run to ease my mind and donned my foulweather jacket before taking off into the darkness. In no time, I was getting soaked by the spray blowing off the tops of the waves with the northeast gale. Luckily, the trip to the boat was both short and a fairly straightforward one—straight out the channel, then left at the red marker toward mooring #91, where I’d see the blue hull of Eclipse.

As soon as I made the left, I knew something was wrong. Mooring #91 was right where it should be, but there was no boat. I raced to the ball and grabbed the plastic thimble. It was intact, but there was no sign of the two lines I’d run through it earlier. Adrenaline shot through my veins as a wave nearly swamped me. I sprang into action.

There was a Catalina nearby. I headed over, shouting for anybody aboard. A kind man named Vernon came out on deck. He called a few friends of his who salvaged boats, but got nothing. We swapped numbers, and I headed downwind, knowing the wind was blowing onshore. Had Eclipse been stolen? In these conditions? How had she managed to break free and then make it through the mooring field without hitting any of the other boats?

I got the skiff up to full speed, pulling the drain plug to empty the water now coming in with the crashing waves. There was soon not a dry spot anywhere. The laptop in my backpack was likely destroyed. Moving downwind, past the mansions in Coconut Grove, I scanned the anchorages and shallows. Keep breathing, use your head, I told myself. You’re OK, even if the boat is gone. I had no light, no life jacket, no paddle, no radio. I had no choice but to return to the marina.

Arriving at the van, I immediately called the Coast Guard and filed a report. Moments later someone called back. “This is U.S. Coast Guard Sector Miami Beach. You said it was a 42ft blue-hulled sailboat, correct? Yeah, well, we just got a report of one dragging its anchor.” They also sent me a set of coordinates, which I entered into the Navionics app on my phone. The position was upwind of where I’d left Eclipse, but maybe someone had found her adrift and anchored her on the north side of the channel. I stripped down to the basics, grabbed a headlamp and took off again with the skiff into the darkness.

It was late when I arrived at the coordinates. It wasn’t Eclipse, but another blue 40-footer that had dragged anchor and was now sitting off Dinner Key. The boat seemed to be holding steady, so I went back to the van, feeling hopeless and totally discouraged as I climbed into the driver’s seat.

A short while later I phoned my friend Mat, who I’d been renting my shop space from. He and his wife, Lucia, said they’d have the couch ready with fresh sheets when I got there, and after taking another shower at the marina I drove over in the van and settled in for the night.

The next morning, Mat and I headed out again in the skiff. The wind was as bad or worse than ever, but now we had daylight on our side, and I figured we’d see Eclipse right away, probably sitting on her side in the shallows. We buzzed the mooring field, the anchorage and the entire shoreline from Dinner Key to Matheson Hammock Park. Some areas we checked twice. Nothing. I couldn’t believe it.

Returning to the dock, I called the authorities again—the Coast Guard, the sheriff’s department—as thoughts of Eclipse being bashed up against a line of rocks or a sea wall raced through my imagination. I spoke to some Sea Tow captains who warned me that a search would cost as much as $400 an hour given the conditions.

At the marina, I met Jenson, a captain who ran a watersports rental company. With his tactical-style center console RIB and 150hp engine, we were able to move quickly and stay a bit drier than I had aboard the skiff. But again, it was no use. He, too, was billing by the hour. With the wind and waves, it was just too difficult to make any kind of meaningful progress.

Next, I called Paul Columna, a cousin of my business partner, who is a firefighter and retired Air Force pararescue specialist. He had a plane in Fort Lauderdale and was on the runway when we spoke. He said he’d be willing to continue the search by air, but that it would be pointless. The cloud ceiling was too low, the winds too high.

Later that same day, I called off the search. Sitting slumped in the seat of my van at the Dinner Key Marina, I began to feel truly hopeless. Now that the initial shock had worn off, I started wondering whether my continuing to search for Eclipse didn’t represent a kind of denial—denial that the sailboat that had served as my home for the past five years was now either stolen or destroyed. Grief crept in as I thought of all the people I’d had aboard, the over 10,000 miles we’d sailed together, how I’d lost of all my possessions. I found myself wondering what it was going to be like having to start all over again; thinking to myself I should’ve done a better job of securing the boat; that I should’ve insured her again after being dropped by my previous insurance company; how if I’d thought to leave the AIS turned on and my Iridium tracker enabled, they would have led me right to her.

Luckily, my grieving proved to be only temporary, thanks in large part to my friends, my family and my girlfriend, Lisa, whose invariably positive outlook kept me from utter despair. “You’ll find her,” she kept saying, even though it had now been almost 24 hours since Eclipse had gone missing.

Mat also helped me keep things in perspective. “Phil,” he said. “You owe it to this boat to keep searching. Think of all that boat has done for you. Stop feeling shame about mistakes you might have made. These are the types of things that happen to people who are constantly pushing their limits.”

Back at Mat and Lucia’s, I retreated to their couch to write a couple of Facebook and Instagram posts to help get the word out. In the following days, these two posts would be shared over 1,000 times. Little did I know managing the communications stemming from this initial outreach effort would end up becoming one of the more challenging parts of that weekend.

By nightfall little had changed. The winds were still blowing relentlessly out of the northeast, as I fielded calls and texts of support from the many people who had seen my posts. Finally, a total stranger, Michael Harding, wrote to me saying, “I have an airplane in Orlando and would be willing to fly search patterns.” We connected by phone afterward, and he told me a little about the search and rescue work he’d done in the Caribbean. We agreed to stay in touch and keep an eye on weather, as the conditions still made any kind of search impossible. It felt great having someone like Mike, someone I’d never even met before, in my corner.

Another connection I made was with an old friend, Jason Barron, owner of Barron’s Boatyard in City Island New York who put me in touch with a local pilot-boat captain named Bill Rychlicki. Bill and I connected by phone. He seemed to know everyone on the water and contacted every single professional captain he knew currently working on Biscayne Bay to ask them to be on the lookout.

By the following morning, a Sunday, my phone was full of replies, but Eclipse still hadn’t been located. The northeasterly was also still in full effect. I was eager to get back out on the water, but knew it would be impossible—and Bill and Mike agreed. The forecast called for rain overnight with the wind shutting down on Monday. I called my family to let them know I wouldn’t be home for Christmas. With my ever-evolving team helping out, I planned my next steps.

Another friend connected me with Tony Anderson, a seaplane pilot who flies tours in the Miami area. Mike, Bill and Tony all agreed that when the weather broke a seaplane would be my best bet. Tony and I agreed to talk again the following day.

Monday morning, December 23, I woke to find the wind was finally settling down for the first time in five days and learned the rain was supposed to stop in the afternoon. Tony was at the airport fueling up the seaplane. I had another boat and captain at ready as well, if needed.

Mat and Lucia met me at the marina during their lunch break. I jumped in their Jeep, and we went to meet the seaplane. Tony confirmed we’d be good to go around 1230. On the way, I noticed the weather was already clearing. Julio, who worked at the seaplane office downtown, led us to a dock where we jumped in a small runabout. It felt strange having him give us an abbreviated tour of Biscayne bay, pointing out dolphins and manatees as we motored out to meet the plane. I tried my best to enjoy myself, but it was an expensive trip and my boat was still gone. This whole thing could be a waste. Moments later, a single-engine seaplane dropped out of the sky and came to a landing. We pulled alongside. Tony stepped out with a gleaming smile.

Seated in the aircraft, Tony told us where the life jackets were and then asked where I wanted to go. Opening up my Navionics app again, I pointed to an area south of Deering Bay Channel. Tony piped some cool island music through the headsets, which got a good laugh, throttled up the engine, and we took off.

Flying low, we passed over Dinner Key. The skies had finally cleared, and the view was incredible. Barely 15 minutes into our search, I tapped Tony on the shoulder and pointed to a spec a couple miles in front of us. We nodded to each other. I could already tell it was a sailboat, and we all knew a sailboat didn’t belong in the shallow waters off Biscayne National Park. Seconds passed. It was agonizing waiting for the speck to come into focus, but there she was. It was Eclipse.

She was perfectly upright, balanced on her keel and rudder, high above the water, resting in the mud only a short distance from shore. Even my inflatable dinghy was there. Tony set the seaplane down just behind her. We’d barely come to a stop before I was jumping into the water and grabbing the mooring line from the plane to tie us alongside.

Shimmying my hands along the edge of the toerail, I hoisted myself on deck, where I swung open the companionway and took a quick inventory. The hatches were all shut and dogged tight. The battery voltage was still a good 12.6 volts. The fridge was running with the food inside fresh. The bilge was nearly dry. I waved to Tony one last time as he took off.

Surrounded by clear blue water and mangroves, I stood on deck and took a few deep breaths. After that, I walked up to the bow where I knelt to inspect the shredded mooring pendants. Returning to the cabin, I started making a mental list of all the people I needed to call, at the same time putting together a plan to get the boat out of the muck. I also called Lisa. I could hardly believe how lucky I’d been.

At 1900 that same day, a pair of SeaTow Boats arrived at high tide and pulled Eclipse free. The operation involved dragging her on her side nearly a mile across sand and rock, until she was in deep enough water to float on her own. Finally, when I was alone again at the helm, I picked up the phone and booked another flight home. I’d be there for at least a part of the holidays after all.

What I Did Right

• Never gave up trying or gave in to despair

• Enlisted the help of the local sailing community

• Suspended the search when conditions made it impossible to continue doing so safely

• Didn’t compound the situation but getting myself hurt or putting myself in unnecessary danger

What I Did wrong

• Didn’t make absolutely sure the boat was safely moored

• Failed to have Eclipse properly insured