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

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Why I Don't Watch American-Style (Pointy) Football

It's an overly-commercialized, boring and time consuming past-time waste-time. Not to mention a classic bait and switch.

According to a Wall Street Journal study of four recent broadcasts, and similar estimates by researchers, the average amount of time the ball is in play on the field during an NFL game is about 11 minutes.

In other words, if you tally up everything that happens between the time the ball is snapped and the play is whistled dead by the officials, there's barely enough time to prepare a hard-boiled egg. In fact, the average telecast devotes 56% more time to showing replays.

The most surprising finding of The Journal's study—that the average game has just 10 minutes and 43 seconds of actual playing time—has been corroborated by other researchers.

To my mind that's comparable to a geriatric tennis match! Why would I want to watch that? I can't even play tennis any more....

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Other People's Boats. . .
The remnants of my evaporating crew of long-standing has vaporized. New and old recruits, alike, have spread out to opposite corners of the world. A day's race, one-way up-wind, occurs tomorrow. The Good Guys have never done especially well in the light air perennially scheduled for this event. So, it is not exactly with heavy heart that I try to decide which of tthree boats I offer to go on. I'm wanted as crew on a couple of small boats belonging to recent Good Guys' crewmen. However, I am assured there is rail-space saved for me on Slip Neighbor. That would afford learning some sailing from one of the best skippers I know.

So, I am divided equally between rewarding loyalty and observing excellence. How not to give offense? The outcome was not at all certain.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Great Start/Poor Visibility/Abysmal Photography

Confused seas, 20 knots of wind, and (at times) seeming impenetrable fog bank confronted the Fleet today. My personal mantra to avoid contact was in high gear at the start and worked out well for us as the Good Guys got off in clear air about at the 85th percentile to the preferred end of the line. Still, we were captured and prevented from tacking into the beach to avoid current by a boat on our leeward quarter.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sighted: a 44-Foot Laser!

The Wyliecat-44!

My sons took this shot yesterday, from an undisclosed location! (Click to expand!)

The whole (known) world knows I'm a big fan of the Wyliecat-30!

But this 44-foot edition is veeeery interesting! It might be a blue-sky bucket boat: it might have to be sea-trialed in the event I win the lotto.

Add a power winch for the main halyard, and I could single-hand it? Actually, for me to single handing it might require a power winch on the mainsheet! On second thought as a bucket boat for me? Maybe not so much! Smaller is better! But she's a looker. Does it look like the helsman's legs are crossed? Pretty casual, if you ask me! Obviously not too much of a load for a tiller.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race

Tomorrow at 0600hrs PDT, 30 international yachts will begin the 2010 Sevenstar Race Round Britain and Ireland (RBIR). This 1802 nautical mile clockwise circumnavigation will take a little more than seven days, depending on the weather.

There is also a simulated race available on line at Virtual Regatta. Keyboard skippers will have to contend with real time winds and currents.

I will be tracking Boats of Interest on a couple of sites, this included.

Today, I will warm up by racing in my real (wet) local waters!

Updated 24-Aug:

The start went well for Open Container.

So well, in fact that four hours into the race, she had attained perfection. (See the large blue boat skimming the shore of East Sussex.)

At this point it was time to leave for fooking w-o-r-k.

I had to turn the helm over to Otto. I gave him one simple instruction:


He didn't get it.

The rest is history.....

Here is that history:

At first glance, it would appear that high-flying OKDiver1 has abandoned the race.

But that is not the case. 

He's just a sailor who is convinced the weather prediction will pan out. A strong westerly is expected within 3 hours.

He has taken an early starboard tack to set up a long port tack to fetch the Shetland Islands. (See the green dot on the lower lefthand corner of this shot.) 

He's paid a lot in positions to do this, but location is ultimately more important that ranking.

Personally, I would not have taken this approach. But I would never bet against OKDiver1!

Only time will tell!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sevenstar RBIR

Tune-Up Now!
A Quantum Leap in yacht racing simulations: now currents are added and overlay winds! 

It's not as nightmarish as it first seems!

Trust me! You can test it out here before you put so much as a dime down for your boat's sails!

Anyone wishing their boat to be added to our list of Boats of Interest to be tracked for this race, should indicate in comments below.

Let's Hear It for Privatized Prisons!

News Item:
Escaped fugitives (and murder suspects) John McCluskey and his fiancee, Casslyn Welch, arrested at campsite after tip-off from forest ranger

.... McCluskey was among three prisoners who escaped on 30 July from a privately operated state prison in Kingman.....

The arrests came hours after officials discussed a report that outlined a series of embarrassing security breakdowns that allowed the escape.

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Yacht Race Is Not a Demolition Derby

Neither is competitive sailing even a contact sport.

I have sometimes quietly murmured that we are engaged in a contact sport, but those words are just me being ironic, and I don't want to encourage them to be taken out of context. Stuff happens on the water, but the Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS) do not intend boats to derive advantage through their making contact. Quite the contrary.

Last Wednesday's twilight provokes this comment.

The wind was 16 knots for the first 90% of the weather leg. In our large fleet, things had been tight at the starboard pin, and shouts were heard at the start. But the real problems developed on the approach to the weather mark where the wind abruptly dropped by about five knots and boats belatedly realized the extent of the adverse current. The Good Guys (our boat) had to make an agonizing number of what, in retrospect, should have been unnecessary tacks. We rounded well behind our normal group of boats.

La Solitaire du Figaro - Leg 4

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The English Premier League Is Off & Running

So is our rotisserie league.

Since I am heavily into another fantasy, Virtual Regatta, to engage in a second fantasy would be stretching my thinning energies and attention in the real world. However, just to ensure I'm in the swim of things with family and friends, I drafted a team.

The EPL runs 38 weeks and the first week is already history. The problem is, in the early going things turned out rather well for the Latitude 34 Football Club.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Wyliecat-30: A Laser for the Geriatric Set

My illustrated presentation to members of my Club Fleet Thursday Night

We often hear that great boat designs begin with a conversation in a bar and are originally drawn up on a paper napkin with a ball point pin.

A comparable urban myth is associated with the origins of the Wyliecat-30.

Designer Tom Wylie says the idea for the first Wyliecat originated in 1988 when he and his builder, Dave Wahle, were chatting about a fix for the most common problems facing yachtsmen.

One of them (not sure which one) posed the problem facing many of us in this manner:

If we could be in five yacht clubs at the same time anywhere in the world, we'd hear sailors talking about the same three things:

· I can never get enough crew.
· I can't take the boat out for a sail during my lunch hour.
· I never have the right jib up for the weather.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A Summer Sunday

We had an above average Sunday race, despite the fact that Trophy Wife was on the injured list, that the Hard Core was on the family duty list, and the anemometer seemed stuck on 9.99 knots or below (which for the Good Guys means our boat will circumnavigate the same boring four-legged course in the middle of the fleet).

What happened instead was the replacement crew person looked more promising today than on Wednesday, we executed a very creditable spinnaker set, and the breeze kicked up to 15kts. So we ended up decidedly in the hop half of the fleet.

But the really, really high point of the day was that hundreds of miles away, Son #4 and Daughter-in-Law #4 raced their first race ever together -- and trophied! They raced a course twice as long as ours, in winds appreciably larger and in a boat almost half the length of ours. All credit goes to Daughter-in-Law, who put her bod on the line.

The hook is in, hopefully, and son will follow his father and grand father in the financially ruinous tradition of serial yacht owner.

The weekend began with concern about transitions and concluded with a renewed trust in regeneration.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Scandinavian Cruiser-20: A Laser for the 21st Century!

Just had to comment on a brand-new concept boat which I have encountered just about everywhere on the 'Net.

Before I do so, I have to disclose certain prejudices I carry around. Well, one in particular: a preference for free-standing rigs. Trophy Wife and I had a two-decade romance with Lasers. Actually, it was just short of two decades before we sold off the last of five boats. And the two of us directly lapsed into another menage a trois with a much larger and heavier free-standing rig.

The thing of it is, even before I realized that it has a free-standing mast, the Scandinavian Cruiser 20 had caught my eye.

La Solitaire du Figaro: Leg 2