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, March 28, 2012

Close Calls

Got the boat together. Skeleton crew. That's including my personal skeleton of my former self. I asked my right knee to spring and all it could do is demonstrate that it was already sprung so I started the race with some bleeding deck rash. GPS was dodgey after weeks in the boat yard, but we were able to tease out of it some bearings. The only speed reading came from our Speed Puck. A good GPS was critical on this day when we had low marine layers of pea soup visibility alternating with sunlight through out the racing.

Crew, what we had, was in the 'training mode'. Because we needed as many eyes peeled into the fog as we could muster, I elected not to deploy the spinnaker. With the wind close to 17 knots for most of the race, a spinnaker may have helped us pick up a place. As it was, thanks to a balls-out, freakingly lucky hairline-panic start at the pin, we corrected out to 2nd in a ten-boat class. My legs and hands were cramping for most of the sail. I'm living and sailing on leased time. I have to be selling. Until then I have to recruit younger knees to keep me sailing.

What have I learned today? In reverse order of importance:

  • Not to hand a camera to a guest on board without turning off "movies" first.
  • Don't try sailing in your new topsiders again.
  • Not to aim for the perfect start (like I scored today). That gets you into serious trouble. Aim for a good enough start, and accept the luck that follows. That's what I was about today.
  • I Need to recruit more crew with younger knees.
  • I gotta sell this sailboat until it sells.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Time to Show Up for My Night Job

Yesterday's race had a little bit of everything in it. My boat didn't show, but the Princess Sapphire sure did, right in the middle of the course. Talk about stadium yacht racing!

Nine out of nine boats finished. I'm told that the Beneteau was laid over
by a 30 knot gust early in the two hours, 6nm race. In fact the wind varied from 2 to 18 knots, along with rain and sunlight. I walked the breakwater & docks with Doberwoman and could experience some of their pain. Last year I would have loved to have been involved; this year, not so much. Also, I've been sick for the last three weeks. But, the Good Guys' boat is in her slip with a fresh coat of topsides paint. All I have to do is recruit 1-2+ crew for Wednesday's evening race. This year, more than ever, this funning feels like work. We have to sail until we sell.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Trouble in Virtual Regatta (City)

I've been out of the picture for a about 30 hours. This morning I was looking for news of my expected weather change, and it didn't arrive. That's not a novelty in real sailing at all, is it? So, I can't really in good conscience complain about that. Not at all what this column is all about.

What I can complain about is the shut down by Many Players' of their Virtual Regatta's Forum. There must have been some outrageous behavior in those board for MP to have taken those steps. Since I wasn't a party to that, I can't complain about that.

But shutting down the Forum also involved or included shutting down informative news of the game, which also involved instituting a blackout on the rules interpretation which cover changes in times of weather changes. I'll complain about that.

But disputes apparently involve alleged 'cheating' by use of weather-routing software??? I think that discussion could really be interesting, stimulating, not to mention useful. And I think that's a bloody shame to suppress.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Three of us served as Race Committee last night. It's been so long since I pulled that duty, I felt like a third thumb. But my other two cohorts came with their brains attached to their hands, so we got by. And the Shaws are beautiful as they work together. They have it down. Flags and placards up and down with the regular cadence of the audibles. More to it than I had thought.

More important to the racers, too. Our Fleet is always the first to go, so our attention is not so much riveted on the RC Deck, looking for flags. See placard. See watch. Hear horn. Go. But, of course, it was critical that other boats knew it was not their turn to clog the traffic on the start line. Elementary.

Last night's racers had a good breeze, but it was more than brisk. Down right chilly. Even the racers felt that way, even if they were moving a bit more than we.

I took time to glance down at our empty slip. Boat's still on the hard because the weather is dictating the painting schedule. I need to spend more time starring at that empty slip to experience what's it going to feel like in the future. We'll race her again before she's done with us, because TW will not accept the first offers she attracts. But it's not going to be the same: she's got her orders.

I also took time to watch the magic of the one design classes, imagining being aboard, learning something new, moment by moment. I'm thinking, also, that racing OPB won't be the same.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Fukushima 3-11-11

I cannot find myself racing (even if it's just a virtual race) around Japan in March of 2012, without pausing to remember thousands of innocent lives lost there, one year ago today.

Don't Forget!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Clipper Round the World Race

The Clipper Round the World Race has resumed. It's the Nth leg, meaning I have no idea how they're are numbering them. After my embarrassing crash the previous leg, I was almost ashamed to publish on it this time. But the proper yacht Belladonna in the Virtual Race as prompted me to do it. And I am gratified that he is still hailing me over the virtual ocean to do so.

06-Mar-2012 03:03:04 GMT:
So, I'm sitting here trying to figure out how I have lost 1,000 places in the last 12 hours. It dawns on me, some people are taking another, perhaps better course than I? And I check it out?

Yes, there are some cheaters who have elected not to follow the course of the real boats, but are going to sneak through these straits in the middle of Japan. And Fukitol is showing them how to do it.

Will it pay off?

Thursday, March 8, 2012


I've been very silent as a blogger recently. It's not that I have run out of things to say. I feel I have much to say on OPB (other peoples' blogs). It's just that I have been majorly put-off recently.

I've been blogging on assorted sites for almost a decade, ever since Bush stampeded the USA into Iraq. So this has been an old gripe for me, about which I have occasionally blogged. But recently my old nemesis, spam phobia, is back in my face. This phobia expresses itself in the form of word-verification and comment moderation.

What has caused this to happen? One guess is that there are a lot of new people doing blogs, and they just think this is the way to protect their sites as well as their own sense of propriety. Maybe a newly-released Google template offers word verification and comment moderation as a default. I think maybe the second is true for the sites I visit.

My vast experience in blogging is that both features are deterrents to the enjoyment of spontaneous, lively and creative discussions.

When I mention word verification, everyone knows what I'm talking about. Sometimes it's called "Captcha". Blogger calls it "automatic spam detection for comments" requiring "people leaving comments on your blog to complete a word verification step".

I am so fed up with this I could just puke. I wish I throw brown ink on every blog which obligates me to decipher two words of randomly spaced consonants and vowels printed in messy, illegible and irregular fonts and transcribe them into plain arial print. My eyes are bad enough with one cup of coffee in the wee hours without being subjected to this unnecessary stress test. Add in my aged fingers and age-appropriate impatience. All conspire to make any first draft of mine appear to have been written in shorthand. Sometimes I leave entire syllables, even words, missing. Thus handicapped, whenever I manage to complete an intelligible comment, I then have to contend with a Captcha drill? Come on, already!

Gripe number two is comment moderation: after I get a blog to accept my comment along with my verified Captcha, it's published. Except that I can't see it because it's not going to be published until the blogmeister approves it.

My complaint against this prior restraint of expression is that it suppresses the spontaneity of the conversation: no one can read my comment until the blog host reads and publishes it. In the meantime, who knows how many other soulful comments are held captive in the Internet's version of purgatory along with mine? This process also means that when comments are eventually posted, they cannot appear in any logical or meaningful context, one with another, because each was composed oblivious to the others. Some moderators will even publish them in inverse chronological order! WTF is the point? I want to ask ...

Both of these anti-span devices are patently unnecessary. In the first place, Blogger employs a very thorough behind-the-scenes spam filter. Very little has gotten through into my various unprotected blog sites in the last decade.

Whenever objectionable material appears, and on my political blogs it occasionally has, it's a snap to remedy. You can delete it without a trace, or you can vindictively leave a trace with the author's blogging user name attached. In particular cases where someone has written a page of particularly abusive stuff, I have relished in leaving just his name there so he gets the message that he's putting out much more energy and time trying to be abusive than I am deleting him.

There may be a role for comment moderation as pertains to dated posts where comments are no longer current. And it is usually here that my blogs have encountered spam. But in this instance, Google's Blogger's comment moderation feature can be tweaked to cover only comments that are submitted two or more weeks or any other specified time period after the initial posting of a column.

Another caveat I'll entertain are special categories of blogs which might attract Rush Limbaugh think-a-like misogynists. I give them a pass.

For the rest of you spam phobic offenders, here are your directions for liberating your blogs from the tentacles of paranoia.

My time is limited. And so is my patience. I'm mad as hell & I'm not going to take it any more.