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

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Tale of Two Cities

Henan, China and Sandy Hook, USA

Yesterday, a man with a knife slashed 22 children and one adult outside an elementary school in Henan province Friday morning, China's worst such incident in more than a year. But these kids were wounded.

Today, in Sandy Hook some guy killed 20 kids and 7 adults using three guns.

It's hard to identify crazy people and keep them medicated. But I think the Chinese have a better idea on gun control than we do.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sparhawk-36: The One Who Got Away

More than 20 years ago, when I was ignorant of keel boats, I was entranced with this Laser-36. I call it a Laser because of its un-stayed, carbon fiber masts. I had been a dinghy racer. I was a chicken of the seas, then, as well as too chicken to hoist myself up a mast to check shrouds. These carbon fiber poles were indestructible. That sold me on the boat.

At that time, I didn't know about Wyliecat-30's. I knew about Nonsuch's but they were too heavy and sluggish. We looked at Freedom's and liked what we saw. For myself, I guess I liked the price.

We bought the Sparhawk, owning it for about 40 hours after we had it surveyed. A major doubt developed during the survey. Trophy wife insisted that we turn it back to the broker before our "buyers' remorse time" expired.

Given that we turned right around and bought Das Boot, our beloved 'Laser-38', I have always been grateful and respectful of T.W.'s judgment in boats. (And in other areas, too!)

But I have always liked the lines of this 36-footer. To be fair, modern sails for this craft are cut with a great deal more generous roach than these puny triangles pictured. A Sparhawk-36, Andiamo II, is currently listed in the Bay area at a very attractive price.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Weekend Spent on the Hard

Today's race was a make-up race that I didn't intend to do. Because it was a make-up, it would have been more attractive with a more reasonable course. (If careful readers squint, they can see my reduced fleet on the horizon.) But crew was distracted into night-time boat parades and such and I didn't care enough to recruit replacements. Far more responsible to do some honey-doos. Far better to relieve Ballou's cabin fever. She's been restricted indefinitely from off-leash running and fetching because of her sprained knee.

(Careful readers please note leash in photos?)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Crew Letter

Hey Team!

The most important news is that we will not be sailing the make-up race on December 9th. This has been an agonizing decision for me, because I hate to pass up an event whenever the stars are in alignment. But in this case, they are in slight misalignment. Holidays are upon us, and a critical mass of our elite crew is already into celebrations. Additionally, this is a make-up for a race we never intended to sail whenever it was originally (miss-) scheduled. A one-way trip to Goleta Beach Pier? Thirdly, we are not in contention for the fleet's High-Point Trophy for 2012. Finally, in 2012 we have already had too much good stuff (AM/PM!) to spoil it with a lack-luster finish.

The best part of this year is that Trophy Wife and I have been able to entice some new and talented sailors onto Das Boot. (You know who you are!) I have never had someone new aboard without learning something new about sailing! And at times we have been able to blend in some veteran Das Boot sailors who have gotten off their current boats to lend us a hand when we needed it. (And you know who you are!) So, for all those reasons, 2012 has been a GR8 year for Das Boot.

We have to arrange a party sometime, somewhere. And there will be a Fleet Trophy night sometime in January. (Don't have the date, because Light-Wind Specialist has not had her coffee yet.) Our next race will be around Valentine's Day, Mid-February.

In the meantime, in response to several inquiries, here are some photos illustrating our past enjoyment of time on the water together.(Just click on this private album.) If we don't get to see you before Christmas & the New Year, Best Wishes!

 ~DH & TW

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Have a Galaxy Day!

I had a firm invitation to crew on a winning boat for a two day regatta this weekend. But the starts were not in alignment. My # son has his 49th birthday. So, I wanted to be with him. But he's off with two of his brothers to watch the Galaxy win the Major League Championship in Los Angeles. (If you can score tickets, you have to go!) That starts a minute from when I post this.

The Regatta? not worth a photograph: about 15 or more boats bobbing up and down by the committee boat. The electronic masthead wind indicator on my Das Boot is not moving a lick. This Yachting scene does not measure up to today's soccer event.

This will be Los Angeles Galaxy's finest hour: after today's game, these three veterans of the English Premier League will hang up their spikes. As far as Los Angeles is concerned, anyway.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Holiday Classic

The ideal sailing venue for me would be one which offered an above average variety in wind and sea conditions. In terms of wind, I'm speaking of both directions and strengths. I have never played golf. (I have always been either too young to take it up or too old to learn.) But the ideal sailing location would be comparable to always playing golf on a different course, I would think.

Today's race was a 5nm race in winds that never rose over 9 knots. But the key was it was from the east. Because the Race Committee (hope they're not reading this) was unimaginative, they didn't adjust the course accordingly. Consequently, we spinnakered to what is usually the weather mark. Following that we had an extremely interesting beat to our usual reaching mark, and then spinnakerer the last two legs.

It turned out to be an extremely interesting chess match. I enjoyed it mainly on the rail, since Trophy Wife did most of the driving. Das Boot did much better (8th out of 14) than she deserved to in these light conditions, mainly because of her off-wind performance and the fact that all of our brainy crew members are always thinking, and talking (don't say 'arguing') about what to do next.

I have come to value the process more than the results.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Sunday, November 18, 2012

(Oil) Platform C Race

Today's race was a 11 mile circumnavigation of Platform C, featuring a long broad reach and a long close reach sandwiched between two short beats. I expected heavy/wooly weather the day after our first rain storm left town. Instead we were gifted with warm temperatures and a steady breeze which moderated around 15 knots at an angle which favored Das Boot. Crew was composed of experienced hands used to working together. After rounding the Platform, I was happy to relinquish the helm. Everyone aboard grasps the tactical concepts Das Boot forces upon us. I was gratified that while I was below, unhurriedly munching my delicious sandwich, we held off the hungry flotilla behind us. We finished 5th out of 16 and corrected to the same.

The day was beautiful. Unbelievably, as ever.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Morning (an Hour Ago)

On one cup of joe. What makes an ordinary morning worth photographing? No morning is ordinary. Every one of them is extraordinary. Especially at my age.

My high school alumni bulletin arrived yesterday and included the news that one of my very small class had passed on. (I'll call him 'Rob'.) Rob was a good sort. Not an athlete, so not of my circle. So maybe I feel closer to him now than ever before. But he was a high-attainer and industrious in his chosen and worthy field. Of great service to his school and community. My hope is that he passed quickly and painlessly, in his sleep perhaps.

For me? Why do I feel impelled to photograph? Maybe because any one of trips down those 84 steps to the beach and back might prove to be my last. And I want to enjoy it forever.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Low Tides

Ballou loves low tides. It means she can run the length of the breakwater in front, on the seaward side. No friggin' leash.

I like this low tide especially, because the pre-storm reconstructive maintenance has blocked off all foot traffic on the breakwater.

That means the two of us are alone, unobserved. That means is that should Ballou do a poop and should I fail to observe it, no self-anointed naturalist would come after me shaking his/her fists, getting after me to bag it up.

Not sayin' Ballou pooped, not sayin' she didn't. I'm just sayin' if she had there would be no witnesses and, by this time, no trace.

As evidenced by the tractors' treads, the beach is also being re-modeled into a giant berm to protect our clubhouse and parking lot from the seas that are expected this winter.

Which is one more reason why there would be no evidence of illegal pooping, had it occurred.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Vendée Globe

The course for the Vendée Globe illustrates the straightforward nature and simplicity of the idea behind this major event. You sail around the world from west to east via the three major capes of Good Hope, Leeuwin and the Horn. There is a long slide down the Atlantic, the perilous voyage across the Southern Ocean with firstly the Indian Ocean and its crossed seas, then the Pacific Ocean, the world’s biggest ocean. Finally, there is the climb back up the Atlantic to head back to Les Sables d’Olonne, which marks the start and finish of the Everest of the seas.

Watching the real thing, readers should go to Vendée Globe.
To play the simulation,
readers should go to Many Players.

No Going Back (green), a sans options boat, is crossing my Open Container III, 4 miles ahead!

25-Nov 11:25 UTC+1:
Open Container is 67th. No Going Back is in the lead in the central fleet. Contigous and Belladonna are deep in the leading Options yachts.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Bikini Weather!

Cloudless Sky. Steady 15-knot wind in 85 degree temperature. No wonder I was so mellow at the helm. I let the crew to decide on the strategy. In the short windward leg they wanted to stay outside the kelp. With the swim buoys yanked by the Harbor authorities, I wasn't trusted to keep Das Boot off the rocks. That's the only rationale I could extract from this decision. However, I will recall that no other boat went up, through Kelp Straits. In this pursuit race, we caught & passed two boats on the first reach and were not passed. They tell me we took a 6th place. Hard for me to believe we deserved it. Didn't matter to me. All I cared about was being out on the water and partying ashore afterwards.