Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Seven Cs

Some of us are old enough to remember Eight is Enough or With Six You Get Eggroll.  Here is the story of a family of seven on an Ingrid. An Ingrid is not a small boat, but being a double ender, it is not a big 38 footer either.  Where do you put 5 kids?  They seem to be small kids, but that won't last long.  One solution is the cocoon locker pictured above.

Check out the Seven Cs blog to follow their adventures and the interior refit work to fit all those Cs.

The Flying Dutchman

The Flying Dutchman is a legendary ghost ship that is doomed to sail the ocean forever.  She can never go home.  Often, she is spotted in the distance in otherworldly clouds and light. When spotted by another ship, it is a very bad omen.

The Dutchman may be seen floating upside down above the water!

Below, we have Disney's version of the Dutchman.

Happy Halloween!

Jessica's progress

In light of some recent posts about our now officially, newly licensed male captain (some friends were hoping he would have less problems with the crew but in my mind he always was the one and only captain although I do like to speak up at times :-), here's an update on Jessica; she's already 1500 miles out and although she got off on a very rocky start before her trip as there was a collision with a tanker, she seems to have it all pulled off. Her description of the days, particularly how she handles sleeping single handled taking power naps, having three different systems for self steering, two alarm clocks and four different systems detecting other boats are a good read. I'm not a "pink" girl myself but is surely looks cutsie as Jack Nicholson would say :-)
However, please don't get any false impression about the amount of cosmetics on our boat as you see on one of her last pictures. A little spray shower, Costco baby wipes, lavender salt footbaths (I used baby shampoo as that still foams nicely in salt water) and the usual RoC moisturizer with lots of sunscreen.
On the other hand, Los Angeles Times just reported that Abby Sunderland has her boat. She is the sister of Zac who just completed his trip and was the youngest male single-handed circumnavigator for about 2 weeks. Personally I do have somewhat of an issue with these parents pushing their kids for southern Californian fame but who am I?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Whew, I Passed

Now maybe I can drive like Captain Ron.

Guess I'll go with a, Margarita!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Update on Kelpie

We have quite a cast of characters in our Captains class including a commercial fisherman, several sailboat racers, and a tourist Duck driver. One young guy is a career Coast Guardsman.  We call him "Coast Guard John", to keep him straight from "fisherman John".  Coast Guard John comes from a seafaring family and has recently acquired Kelpie an amazing 82 foot racing schooner that we saw in Ventura last year.  John plans on doing a little chartering, as well as putting together a racing team to tear up the bay.

Good luck to John and Kelpie.

Mutiny on the F/V Majestic Blue

Once a Captain, you can deal with this stuff...

This is a story of abuse on the high seas, and mutiny laws that have not been put into use for decades.  Check it out at the Jones Act.

This is another great post from the Bitter End Blog.

This is Me, Tomorrow

The picture above is from the Bitter End Blog.  It shows a group of students taking the "Rules of the Road" test for their captains license.  After two weeks in class in San Rafael, I will be taking 8 or 9 tests tomorrow for a 100 Ton Masters license.

The rules of the road test is the largest and maybe the hardest section.  You get about 60 questions out of a pool of several hundred and you have to get 90% right.  The questions cover things like:
  • How man blasts of the whistle do you give when you want to pass another boat in a narrow channel.  It is different for International and Inland waters.
  • What do the lights look like on a tug boat pushing a barge.  Also different for International, Inland and different again for the Mississippi River.
There are a couple hundred more questions in subjects like fire fighting, weather, federal regulations, lifeboats, navigation, sailing, aids to navigation, etc., etc.

This has all been made a little more interesting by a cracked tooth since a week ago Tuesday.  If you miss a class, you have to make up days or start over.   The dentist was kind enough to see me on Saturday, but did not want to pull it without an assistant.  So I have been taking some antibiotics and pain killers while I sit for 8 or 9 hours a day in class.

Well, I'll be heads down tomorrow after I traverse the lovely Richmond Bridge.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Silent Sound Completes Northwest Passage Transit

The 40 foot yacht, Silent Sound, has completed a west to east transit of the Northwest Passage.  The 8100 mile trip from Victoria, BC to Halifax, Nova Scotia took four months.

Congratulations to the crew and everyone involved with the Open Passage Expedition.

CNN has a series of stories on the trip.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Dial a Buoy

Call 888-701-8992

Here is a great way to pick up coastal weather in real-time.  It has been around since 1997, but I have been slow to learn about it.  You call NOAA at the number: 888-701-8992, enter the code for the buoy or observation station that you are interested in and the computer will read you the latest conditions. The buoy identifiers can be found on this map.  More information about dial-a-buoy at NOAA can be found here.

Cruisers Captured by Pirates

World cruisers, Paul and Rachel Chandler, have let there blog fall silent off of the coast of East Africa.  Based on information from reliable sources, it is feared that they have been captured by Somali pirates.

There are stories at the New York Times and the UK Times.

Thanks to Matt for suggesting this post.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Little Roo

S/V Roo is a sweet little pocket cruiser.  The Allegra 24 was designed by Fred Bingham and built by Scandia Custom Yacht Builders.  The design is reminiscent of the work of Lyle Hess with all of the craftsmanship and attention to detail. Living on a boat this small takes a lot of thought an planning.

Roo's owners have put together a nice little website called Boatyard Pirates.

Here is blog about Puffin, another Allegra.

Thanks to Boat Bits for bringing Roo to my attention.

Where Fishing Gear Goes to Die

New Scientist has a story about research from NOAA about the large and increasing amount of fishing gear trash collecting off the California coastline.  Some of the gear is ideal for snagging even more nets as fishermen pass over.  Abandoned nets and traps keep on catching fish.  The trapped creatures may attract the attention other animals. Around and around we go.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Swiss Tech - WASI Powerball Anchor Swivels

I ran across an interesting site at Swiss Tech America.  They sell all sorts of European marine gear that you normally do not see in the U.S.

They import German WASI anchors and anchor swivels.  The picture above shows the German Lloyd's test report for a WASI Powerball anchor swivel.  The chain clearly broke before the swivel. This may be a good alternative to other swivel types that have been reported to fail in the west-coast sailing press.

It should be noted that the weak link may be the installer.  The proper tightening of those allen screw pins is crucial to success.

Veolia Environment Wildlife Photography

This photo is called Last of the Tuna by Jonathan Clay.  It one an award in the One Earth category of the Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year Contest. The photos are on display at the Natural History Museum in London.  There are some amazing shots of marine and terrestrial wildlife.

This is Big Mouth by Doug Perrine.

Charming Rhodes Ketch

Tidal Wave is an immaculate 1930 Rhodes Ketch.  She is probably a forerunner of the Rhodes Traveler, a similar 32 foot cutter design. This is fairly early work by Philip Rhodes, who went on to design many ocean racers and cruisers.

I hope I look this good when I am 79.

Ingrid, Cheap to a Good Home

The wooden Ingrid, named Ingrid, that washed up on the Sausalito shore in the storm about 10 days back is available for the salvage/towing costs.  If she is not adopted, she will apparently be crushed.  There are details on the Yahoo! Ingrid 38 Group.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Old Man River

Build a boat, sail and row it 4000 kilometres down the Mississippi River, tell the tale. That is the Old Man River Project in a nutshell. There is a crew of six in a 32 foot york boat that is a replica of an 1800s era craft.

I first saw this on the DYI Wood Boat Blog.

It's Your Call, Skipper

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Damn the Controversy , Full Speed Ahead

After much controversy about her attempt and that of Laura Dekker's, Jessica Watson has set sail from Sydney in search of the round-the-world record.  This is likely to take 240 days, largely spent in the treacherous Southern Ocean.   We will try to follow her trials and triumphs.  Good luck to Jessica!

Here is a story at bloomberg,com. A story in describes it as a "Dream Worth Dying For?!?" WTF Balloon boy?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Australian Climate Change

Today is Blog Action Day 2009 for Climate Change. Climate change is showing itself in much more rapid and forceful ways in certain areas of the world. I would like to call your attention a short film on the effects that are taking place in Australia.

The Arctic is another area undergoing a frightening rate of change. The Sea Fever Blog has a great post with a TED Talk by James Balog about the drama of Arctic glacier and ice pack thawing.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Rough Bay Area Storm

This is a photo of a wooden Ingrid 38 that stranded in yesterday's storm in the Bay Area.  The picture was taken by Tim Sell, a local diver who has been working to free damaged yachts.  Latitude 38 claims that this may be the first Ingrid ever built, it is hard to say. There is more about the storm here.

This was the view of the Berkeley Marina's flagpole in heavy rain from our cockpit.

Modern Dutch Cruisers

The picture is of the Tranquilo, which is 56 feet and 22 tons.  This is just one of the many modern cruisers built by K&M Yachtbuilders in Makkum, The Netherlands.  Most of the boats are designed by Gerard Dijkstra & Partners. Holland has become the capital of high end custom builds from sailors like these to super  yachts. 

This is the more traditional interior of the 50 foot De Schouwman.

Oester is a 56 foot Van de Stadt design.

Farwell, Bill Crealock

Bill (W.I.B.) Crealock, who designed for Westsail, Pacific Seacraft and did work on many other boats, passed away last month at age 89.  I had not heard this until I saw a post at Building a Westsail 42, which also points to his obituary in the Los Angeles Times. Bill did the cutter modifications to Atkin's Ingrid ketch, for which we are thankful each day we sail.

Fairwinds, Bill.

Monday, October 12, 2009

H1N1 and Me

The picture above is of a friend I made last weekend.  After all the media hype and speculation about a minor illness in Mexico a few months ago, I finally met the real deal - H1N1.  It was a bit like the foreign policy of the last administration.  I was kept in confined spaces for a couple days. I had a fever of near 102F and was subjected to alternates of freezing and boiling.  There was some sleep deprivation. It felt like somebody had beat all my joints with a heavy pipe.  The occasional violent cough from the bottom on my lungs made it all hurt anew.  It was no fun.  We are hoping that Corine does not get it.   I would suggest a vaccination for you.

Maritime Movie: Longitude

We found the A&E movie Longitude very entertaining and informative.  It chronicles John Harrison's 50 year quest to win the Longitude Prize for a method of accurately calculating longitude at sea.Interwoven with that is the story of  Rupert Gould, a WWI retired Royal Navy man who spent his life restoring Harrison's four sea clocks. This was adapted from Dava Sobel's bestselling book.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Saving The Bay

The local PBS affiliate, KQED, will air the first part of a four part TV series on the history and future of the San Francisco Bay called "Saving The Bay" on Thursday, October 8 at 8pm.  The show was filmed in HD and is narrated by Robert Redford. The site for the show and DVD is at  There is a great collection of links about the Bay can be found here.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Women's Sailing Seminar

It is time again for the 17th annual Northern California Women's Sailing Seminar hosted by the Island Yacht Club in Alameda.  If you are a woman interested in learning about sailing from other women, this event is for you. It will be held October 10th and 11th in Alameda.

Eyewitness Account from American Samoa

 This came to me through a friend of a friend.  It is an account of the earthquake and tidal wave in the harbor at Pago Pago, American Samoa, written by Captain Kirk of S/V Gallivanter:

This morning (six hrs ago) we were shaken awake by an earthquake which seemed to have no end! We were aboard Gallivanter and tied side-to a big concrete dock in the heart of Pago Pago, American Samoa. And after living up & down the California coast, I knew this was no minor tremor.

After the rude awakening, Cath & I walked across the dock and chatted with a few of our fellow sailors, one of whom said that he's just done a Google search on "recent earthquakes" and said that it measured-in at 8.1 and the epicenter was only 120 miles distant.

We returned to Gallivanter and I turned on our laptop and searched the same website. Sure enough there it was... "8.1 earthquake - American Samoa- 20 minutes ago". I clicked on the "Show Map" option and noticed the epicenter was located south west of Pago Pago... which is located on the southern side of the island.

Just as I was considering the ramifications of that little fact... all hell started breaking loose! Our boat was on the move! My first reaction was to start the engine and dash up on deck to see what was going on. I witnessed the water around us was rapidly dropping! Rapidly! In a blink of an eye, we were on the bottom and the boat was falling away from the dock. Three of our big dock lines popped and we fell right over into the mud - the entire basin we had been floating in only moments ago had completely drained! People were screaming!

Next - the water came flooding back in at an even more alarming rate and the next thing I knew we were floating directly above the dock! Over the concrete slab and drifting toward a young lady we knew (from another boat) who was desperately hugging a power pole and up to her chin in swirling water! I told Cath to cut the two remaining dock lines with our serrated bread knife and to be quick about it!

Right as I put the boat into gear, we were somehow washed back off the dock and into the basin as I advance to full throttle and we accelerated through a floating debris field of floating docks, fuel drums, sinking boats, a shipping container and a barnacle encrusted wreck all of which were spinning in the torrent of rapidly dropping sea level. It was absolute mayhem! As we steered out toward the deep water in the center of the harbor I looked over my shoulder and saw what appeared to be a waterfall pouring off the dock and shore beyond.

Not one of the dozen vessels remained at the dock. All were underway in a matter of seconds... with or without crews aboard.

We motored around in the middle of the harbor watching the waves of floods & ebbs while wondering about after-shocks and our fellow cruising sailors. As we passed one of our neighbors she shouted to us that her husband had been washed off the dock as they were trying to get away. She was alone and seriously concerned. Other boats broke free from their moorings and anchors in the initial seismic wavesand many were driven ashore, or driven under by loose tuna boats.

After about three hours, we felt it was finally safe enough to return to the dock. All we had were lengths of old line and we were short a couple fenders.

We were the first to go in and we started un-tangling lines and helping others get back along side the concrete dock. All of the store-fronts along the water are destroyed, roving mobs of kids can be seen looting, the fence around the dock is gone, every boat on stands in a nearby boatyard were washed away.

Big fishing boats are now in parking lots across the street. Absolute destruction is seen everywhere along the shore.

Phones and power are down but we got back online right away and I immediately went back to the recent earthquakes website to see if things have been calming down in the center of the earth. A number of aftershocks as strong as 6.0 have been recorded over the past few hours - but thankfully no more wave action has been noticed. We've been making Skype calls to our families and letting others use the computer as well to phone home.

Online news reports say that the earthquake lasted three minutes and the highest flood rose 25 ft above normal! There are 20 confirmed deaths... including our neighbor who was swept off the dock. Most fatalities occurred in and around the harbor where we live. Boats are battered and nerves are fried. One friend wound-up on his boat nearly 1000 feet away from the water after breaking from his anchor and sailing right down Main St. taking power & telephone wires down with his mast! Some people lost everything... including their lives. We came through remarkably well with only minor damage sustained to our toe rail when the dock lines parted and to our fender basket which was the only point of contact with that drifting wreck. I never felt any
jarring loads while we were hurtling around above & below the concrete dock, so I believe our hull, keel & rudder suffered no damage from the wildest boat ride I've ever been on.

We're all okay... and very lucky.

And we've adopted a tiny kitten.

And that's the way it is.

All the Best - All the Time,

Kirk, Cath & Stuart ~~~_/) ~~~ s/v Gallivanter

We wish all the peoples in Samoa and elsewhere affected by this disaster the best.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

New Citizen On Board

It is somewhat belated news, but we have a new citizen on board.  Corine can finally vote for and against how her taxes are spent if that does any good anymore.  Here she is with the Pres at the swearing in ceremony in San Francisco.  She was one of 1330 new citizens from about 60 nations.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

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