Sunday, December 28, 2008

A year in sailing.

Since I started this thing as a sailing blog, and then pretty much stopped sailing, I figured I would do a year in review kind of thing. This in no way covers all of the sailing I did, but it covers most of the cool stuff.

In January I did the Corinthian mid-winters on the Mull IOR Maxi Sorcery. Sorcery is an80ft, 83,000lbs aluminium maxi boat built in the early eighties. I hooked up with these guys through a email posting at school and thought it would be cool to go for a ride. The reality was I was pretty much scared shitless most of the time I was on the boat. HUGE loads on everything and a crew and owner who really were in over there head. It became apparent pretty quickly that I pretty much had the most experience of anybody on the boat. Which was a problem, because I have very little experience on boats like this. The first race we did thankfully the wind never filled in and we never raced. However the second day we got a decent breeze and things got interesting real fast. Over about twelve knots of breeze the thing just loads up and we basically just tried to hang on and get the thing back in one piece. We did finish first, something about 78ft of waterline, with a torn Genoa, but it just wasn't that much fun.

My next fun ride was the on the Vallejo race which I did on the Formula 40 catamaran TUKI. We left Richmond with just two of us on-board, and instantly flew a full before we even got out of the harbor. We had another crew jump onboard on the way out to the race course, and then the owner and one of his friends jumped on after we had started, and were on our way to the weather mark. Once around the weather mark it was kite up and off we went. We had started late, but we worked our way up through the fleet without any real drama. We passed the TP 52 Flash in the middle of San Pablo Bay without any real drama. We didn't blow by them, just sailed up from behind, passed them, and then carried on to the finish. As soon as we finished the owner and his buddies jumped off leaving me and one other guy to sail the boat back to Pt Richmond. I got to drive a lot of the way back which was really f***ing cool, but a little nerve racking when we got into some good breeze towards the end of the delivery. Still we did the Vallejo race and delivered the boat back to Richmond by 215pm, which has to be some kind of record.

Next up was a couple of Southern California regatta's on the schools One Design 48. Not great results, but a lot of fun. The crew was a lot of the same guys that I had sailed with on Sorcery earlier in the year. What this meant was a lot of youthful enthusiasm, and a generally good time. I also got to catch up with a bunch of SoCal friends, so that was fun.

A month later was the Aldo Alessio regatta on the Akela. Akela is a Reichel/Pugh 78 that is a fully professional program. I was one of three sewer peeps that was responsible for packing kites. We had a great ride in from the lightship on the first day hitting 22kts a couple of times, but other than working my ass off packing big-ass spinnakers on short upwind legs the whole thing wasn't that much fun. The whole "pro" thing made the whole scene a little weird for me and I never got to comfortable with the whole set up. I wasn't really too bummed when they didn't invite me back for Big Boats.

The other fun ride for the year was my day out on an 18ft skiff with my old buddy Brett Van Munster. I had won a ride on the skiff through sailinganarchy and I have to say it was pretty cool. Even though I was pretty much a passenger for the ride, Brett and Mozzie made it a real fun day out. The write up I did for Sailinganarchy went over pretty well as well. At least all the local skiff guys seemed to like it.

Those are just a few of the highlights of the year in sailing. Dominating the first half of the Oakland Yacht Club Sweet Sixteen series and finishing second overall in the nationals, and on the ditch run on Steve's Columbia 5.5 were a lot of fun. Also the run back under the Golden Gate Bridge on the big red boat was one that we will talk about for long time.

I can hardly wait to see what next year will bring.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

On the move

A lot has happened in the last week since school finished. I survived a 185 question chemistry final and am now in the midst of the winter break. I got my grades for the semester, and sadly no Presidents, or Deans list for me this time around. A little too casual about the chemistry class and lab I am afraid. Still not a bad semester all in all.

Since I don't have lot of pictures to post this time around, here is a random shot of our dog Ajax, and my folks dog Tonki, horsing around on our boat.

After school finished it was full speed ahead into the holiday party circuit. Dinner at Trader Vic's with some friends, and then the next night was Dina's office holiday party at the Oakland Yacht Club. Both events went very well and a good time was had by all. Also just last night I hit two more parties. One was my friend Sabrina's birthday party in the city at a place called Absinthe. Sadly it was just a quick visit for me as I had to return to the east bay to attend a double birthday party back in Alameda for Campbell and Whitey. This was good time as I got to catch up with Jenny and Katie, a couple of friends that I had not seen in a while.

While all this was going on Steve has finally pulled up anchor had taken his boat down to Los Angeles. I kind of felt bad that I didn't have the time to help him on the delivery, but he took a couple of my classmates down with him and it sounds like it all worked out for him. I did however get to drive Steve's BMW M5 (this car) down to L.A. for him. I have to say driving the M5 down I-5 was a lot of fun. This is a car that was designed for howling down the autobahn at speeds that will get you thrown in jail in this country. This might have been the most effortless drive down to L.A. that I have ever done. Want to pass a row of cars, just slightly press down on the accelerator peddle. No down-shifting, no drama, just a smooth increase in speed and away you go. I hit triple digits a couple of times, almost by accident, it was that easy. I never really opened it up as I didn't want to be "that" asshole, and the car was a hell of a lot more capable than I am at those speeds. Anyway, it was a lot of fun.

After getting back for L.A. Dina and I then moved the LT into Steve's vacated slip. I guess that is one of the really cool things about living on a boat. Want a change of scenery? Move your house. Anyway we are now end tied with a much better view and a better slip in general. I will put a picture up soon enough just to show everyone what I mean.

Anyway for Christmas we have driven up to my folks place in the mountains. The plan is for me to do some work for them while they are off visiting in England. Dina meanwhile will use the time to catch up on her reading, and to just relax. I am not sure how long we will stay up here, a few days at least. Tomorrow, Christmas day the weather forecast is for snow. I don't remember the last time I had a Christmas with snow. Should be interesting. Anyway just for fun here is a picture of our docks one morning last week. it is not snow, but as you can see it cold enough over night.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Schools out....

I should be working on a take home final for my leadership class right now, but for some reason I just can't be bothered. The last day of school was last Friday, and except for a chemistry final on Thursday, that is it for the year. That went by fast didn't it?

A couple of fun things happened the last couple of weeks at school. I got my third, or maybe fourth, good conduct award in my school mailbox. Ironically, the same day I also got a notice to appear before the cadet mast because I had missed a formation earlier in the year, and had also been given a grooming violation for having hair on the back of my neck. In the end they let me off with a warning, although I did end up having to get my hair cut.

The last week of school was kind of painful. First off I had weekend watch over the weekend, which meant that I was supposed to stay on campus the whole weekend. I had a couple of end of term projects due. So in some ways the the time at school was a blessing, as it allowed me to get a lot of work done on those. But as Dina has posted I did miss the boat ride for the lighted boat parade, on which it sounds like they had a lot of fun. I did sneak off campus for the after party though. I also left campus on Friday night for my friend Nick's going away party. Nick is moving back to Australia, and a lot of the old City lights crew met up at Trader Vic's for a going away dinner.

During the week I had two presentations, a final, and another test to get through. The leadership and strategic management presentations went really well. I was especially worried about the strategic management presentation because it was a group one that we had to make to people in the industry, not just to our classmates and teachers. Of course our group had all semester to get ready for this, but only put the whole thing together in the last couple of days. The presentation surprisingly went really well. As part of this presentation we are eligible for a cash prize. I am not sure our group will get it, some of the other groups actually took it a lot more seriously, but you nether know?

The final I took in supply chain management I really didn't to well on. We were allowed to bring in notes, but I went heavy on theory and not a whole lot of formulas. Of course the test was mostly on formulas... In yet another one of those wonderfully ironic school coincidences, I also received a letter from the school saying that I had made the Presidents List the previous semester that day. Needless to say, after my supply chain final, I won't be getting a similar letter this semester.

This last weekend has been one of rest and relaxation. Friday night was a big slab of ribs at Everett and Jones in Oakland. Saturday was spent running around Alameda going shopping, and doing other chores, and Sunday was spent around the boat early, until the rain finally drove us out to the New Zealander, and then to the Forbidden Island Tiki bar.

So now I am back to being a full time sail maker. There is not a lot on this time of year, but I do have one really fun project to do. We have a customer who has hand built a seven foot model of the clipper ship Cutty Sark. My job is to build two sets of sails for the thing. I am building one out of canvas, and another out of sailcloth. For some reason the guy wants a set of each. Today was building a couple of prototypes out of each cloth. This will be a cool thing to see once they are all on the thing. Hopfully the guy will get us some pictures when it is done.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Lighted Boat Parade

OMG....we had so much fun doing the Lighted Yacht Parade this was a complete bummer that Dominic was trapped at school supervising young nubile 19 year old girls, alas it was his "duty."

Photos, courtesy of The Hudnut, can be found here.

We had a great cast of characters on board...Steve the Viking drove the boat, Sylvia, Rich, Tom and Barb-star Sanborn; Dave, Lora and the every-adorable Gwyneth Lewis; RT and Kirsten; Cecca and John; Jeff Tsuda; and Joe with his new lady-friend, Anna, were all along for the ride.

The boats were spectacular and it was so much fun to be part of the festivities.

When we got back to the dock the party expanded to include Dave Sallows and Jac, and I think, in my hostess haze that I even can say that Cathy and Keith stopped by?

Dom showed up in full uniform at the end of the evening and picked up the host duties as my hostess-ness was starting to wane.

We didn't place in the overall contest, but we did clean up in the Marina Village Yacht Harbor competition and won a free month's worth of slip fees. WooooooooHoooooo indeed!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Long Time Coming...

Where do the days go? We have had a couple of busy weeks around here and I keep meaning to get it all down, but stuff just keeps coming up. You know how it is. I will try to keep things in chronological order, but no promises here.

A couple of Saturday's ago Jeff, Steve, and I bought Steve's boat Terrapin back down from the Delta. It was kind of a boring trip but it was made somewhat noteworthy by the very dense fog that had engulfed the Delta that morning. We had our GPS track for the trip up, and Steve had set up a route on the auto-pilot, but it was still an interesting experience. The thing I remember most was that visibility would be down to twenty or so yards and a Bass fishing boat would just come howling out of the fog at fifty or so and then just disappear into the murk behind you, all in about four seconds. It's amazing that more of those guys, and it seems to always be guys, don't kill themselves out there chasing those really fast Bass.

The next day Dina and I took Ajax, and Tom and Barbara's dog Archie out to Half Moon Bay for a hike on the beach. We figured Archie would teach Ajax about chasing balls and swimming and such, but Ajax never really did figure the water out. He tore into it once chasing a ball, but kind of pulled up quickly and then never went back in after that. The two dogs though did have a great time running, and digging, and smelling, and doing all of that other doggie stuff. So we can consider the day a success. The beach that we walked them on is nearby the sight where they do the Mavericks surf competition. This picture was taken over this weekend. I ripped it from some guy who posted it on the San Francisco Chronicles website, needless to say it wasn't like that when we where there. Yes, those are surfers on the top of that wave.

Last week was a good one for school, because of thanksgiving I only had class on Monday and managed to get some work in at the loft on Tuesday. Wednesday we gathered up my cousin Sam, and a friend of his, Missy, and headed up to my folks place up in the Sierra foothills. Thanksgiving up in the hills was very nice. The days where not too cold and the evenings are usually spent indoors playing games and reading, and of course my mom does the best Thanksgiving meals of anyone, ever. I guess it has been a while since I have been up to my folks place, as there is all kinds of new stuff going on up there. A new building and pool, and all kinds of projects going on.

The best part, other than the food, though was watching Ajax and my folks dog Tonki go at it. After a slow start they finally got it worked out and spent a few sessions running around outside that left us who where just watching them exhausted. The speed and agility of these two dogs as they ran around the place was amazing. How they don't crash into things and each other more is impressive. These dogs would literally run themselves into a lather as they careened about the place. Dina has some great picture which I will place a link to when I remember to ask her for it.

We came back for the weekend in order to get some things done around the various boats we have spread out through Marina Village. Dina got the dinghy back from the Big Red Boat as we still hadn't done that since our trip to Drakes Bay in October. Steve, Rich, Tom, and I did some re-rigging on the 525. I was hoping to just pull some new halyards through using the old ones, but I had gotten impatient and snapped the old halyard at the splice. this meant that we had to drop the mast at the dock in order to re-run the new one. Of course the new halyards I had made up didn't fit, but luckily Rich had some line on board his boat that worked. This means that I have to re-splice and cover the new halyards again, but at least the hard part is done.

We also got the Lobster T prepared for the lighted boat parade this year. This meant putting on many strands of lights to the point where the Lobster T begins to look like the Achille Lauro. We also put gas in the boat. This is the first time we have put fuel in the boat since we got it almost two years ago. Luckily I think that this also may be the cheapest that gas has been since we have bought the boat. I think we paid $2.29 a gallon at a marine fuel dock. Can't argue with that.

Sadly however I will not be out on the boat for the lighted boat parade. This weekend I have watch at school so I will have to spend most of my time up in Vallejo this weekend. Having said that, this is probably not a bad thing as next week is the last week of school and have a couple of projects that need to be completed. Maybe a weekend in the school library will be what I need to make sure that they get done? Who knows though? Maybe I can get Dina to do a write up on the lighted boat parade and we can all read about it here next week.