Liberty is being free from the things we don't like in order to be slaves of the things we do like.--Ernest Benn

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Don't Fence Me In!

Why I moved to Santa Barbara: No Fences!

Two decades or so ago, I stole this cartoon of Tom Hachtman off the bulletin board at the old hamburger joint across from the current Harbor Post Office. I didn't live in Santa Barbara then, but this image hung around long enough in my head until I got myself up here!

All four of my dobies got to sample beach life; two of them got to live here!

The alternative was Newport Beach. I could have moved there and retained my job for another five years. But it had fences. It was full of commerce. High rises. Its docks were inundated with huge excursion boats and noisy cigarette boats. Republicans ruled there and erected fences.

No place where a varsity-sized canine could live with dignity.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Mark Noble, Eight Bells

In different Fleets, we raced against each other just a very few times.

On the same finger in the harbor: we will miss Escapade's famous post-twilight race dock parties.

And I regret never getting to play dominoes with you.

But I will remember our talks together.


Saturday, August 23, 2014

A 45th Anniversary Celebrated

A two-day hard-driving trip to San Francisco and back.

Arrival in the Bay area followed by a visit to my late father-in-law's yacht.

Followed by toasts and photo-op aboard said yacht.

Followed by Friday night dinner at St. Francis Yacht Club 
hosted by yacht's current owners.

Followed by a dazzling sail on the Bay!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Eight Bells for Nick Bown

South Devon, U.K.
Nick helped me start a local Laser Fleet in Southern California in the early 1970's. He was lighter, faster, smarter, (and better looking!) sailor than I was. Until the wind came up I couldn't get close to him on the water.

But on land, he was a close, close friend. Loyal. Cheerful. Amusing. Honest. We were always trying to figure out a way he could obtain dual citizenship. We almost bought a boat together. That J-24 from Steve Curren.

I am cheered only in that Nick enjoyed a good and long life and passed in the arms of his loved ones.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Friday, August 1, 2014

Past, Present & Future

What? I am no longer a sailor. Just a spectator and sponsor? A face in the crowd?

And Das Boot's slip empty? This is the way it shall be?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

All Is (Not) Lost!

Wednesday, July 23rd
We were tracking the King Harbor Race and Das Boot's progress with every Internet app available. Ironically, we were able to get Das Boot's position and only three or four others on SailTrack. But, just after sundown, we picked up this message on the SB-KH Facebook page:
Got a message from our friends on Celebrity.
Apparently they were involved in a crash with Green Dragon.
Their boat is badly damaged, no one got hurt.
They're motoring home.
More info as it becomes available.
That was surprising: in my limited experience, wind drops dramatically in this race right after sundown. Everything begins to evolve in slo-motion. If this collision was evidence of woolly conditions out there, it was worrisome. But it turns out, this collision happened in daylight. Not only that, but it was recorded:

Clearly Green Dragon  violated Rule #12 of the RRS's. Pretty basic stuff. I don't buy the Byzantine symmetry theory that both boats are to blame. The burdened boat is the over-taking boat when boats are on the same tack as they appear to be. Secondly, one has to question why Captain Crunch, skipper of Green Dragon 2, felt it necessary to maneuver so close when he was in the middle of a 82nm race. (There was plenty of water to go around.) Finally, these two boats were entered in different classes; they weren't even racing against each other.

This video of Captain Crunch has gone viral on the 'Net. And his real name is known and he is well on his way of becoming a poster-boy idiot of yacht racing.

But why am I posting this? 

Clearly this goes to the point as to why I relinquished the helm of Das Boot. I was at the top of my game. I had compleat crew, complete mastery of my boat's performance capability. I did not want my boat's name to be remembered because of a complete blunder I might have made years from now when I might be performing well below my current standard. Maybe after my sailing had become anosognosiac? I wanted to quit sailing my Laser-38 well before the nick of time.

Monday, July 28, 2014


Wednesday, July 23rd
When we returned to our slip from our last Wet Wednesday Race on Das Boot, we were gifted with a surprise dock party thrown by past and present crew members. It was a joy, full of tears and cheers, toasts and roasts. What an incredible group of strong, smart, supportive and beautiful people. For Trophy Wife and me this was an unforgettable, priceless moment in our life.

Back in March, Trophy Wife and I had proposed to our eldest son that he relieve us of command to this Freedom-38 which we had sailed and loved for one year short of a quarter of a century. We proposed that he select his own crew of experienced and younger sailing buddies and sail Das Boot in the annual 82nm Santa Barbara to King Harbor (Redondo Beach) race. Thence, the plan was that he continue the voyage to his home port in San Pedro. He would find a slip for Das Boot's future home.

JMR, exercised due diligence and consulted with my daughter-in-law and my two grandchildren and accepted our proposal two days later.

Friday, July 25th
Hours before JMR and his crew left Santa Barbara for the race, his prescription sun glasses disappeared off the stern in 16 feet of harbor water. JMR was about to dive for them, but Rick Sanchez and his Salty Dog Dive Service crew responded in the nick of time to rescue the skipper's specs from the murk. Not only that, but Salty Dog also gave our ex-boat their once-over hull cleaning that--no doubt--contributed to Das Boot's wonderful race performance!

Das Boot's 5th and finest King Harbor Race almost didn't happen.

After leaving the slip for the start line, my brand new radar reflector (required by SI's) blew up and sent the spare halyard to the top of the mast.

I got word of this in my car on the way to the club. Raced across town with Sean to the 'other' West Marine which still had the old fashioned ones in stock. Sean assembled the device on the way back.

JMR had already retrieved the halyard from the top of the mast and off they went to the start line.

They made it with five minutes to spare!

And Das Boot got off to a great start. Got some photos of her racing along in soft breezes and flat seas.

And the best part of the story is that they finished at 0546hrs on Saturday morning after 17 plus hours of sailing. That gave them 2nd place out their 8-boat fleet!

This was Das Boot's best performance in five King Harbor races. Even though it was achieved under new management, I am both proud and humbled.