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, December 14, 2014

Closing the Year 2014 with Its Opening Race Today

I didn't venture out for this year's Opening Day. I cancelled crew a day ahead because I didn't want to risk my engine in the Harbor's Sargasso Sea. The next day, the Club cancelled it anyways. But it had to be re-sailed because it figures into our Fleet's championship tally.

Today was the day. 5 knots of wind. 14 boats sailed a 4.7nm course. Biggest challenge in the light winds was keeping under-powered boats moving through post storm chop bouncing off the breakwater.

Had a great start. Immediately luffed a boat up to clear our air, and the race was on.

By the end of the 3rd leg, all of the boats behind us were on the horizon. Finished 6th on corrected time and I think that was our elapsed time finish too. 

Very satisfying.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Progress Report to the Previous Owner

This is the date I wanted to present you Dazz's first 1st-Place glass.

Sadly, I can't do so today. But We came close. In 12 knots and a 14-boat fleet, we were in 2nd place on the second of four legs. Bam! We hit a string of kelp that stopped us cold. Five boats passed us before we were free of its tenticles. The third leg was a spinnaker run and #28259 regained her position, but she could not claim #1.

Here we are fighting off a sister Wyliecat-30 for a 2nd place glass.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sunset Cruises Are Over-Rated

Raced the course assigned to us, to circumnavigate Oil Platform C. Maximum wind was 7 knots and the average was well below that. For this 11.4nm race, Dazz was on the water a little under 5 hours. She was among the ten boats in the 19-boat fleet which did not finish. Yes, we quit at sundown. But only because I was outnumbered 3:1 in a incipient mutiny. So, the Dazz had been worked hard and had to be put away wet.

In the dark.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

To Hell With (Just) Sailing!

I'm going to have to concede that I don't like sailing for the sake of sailing. I haven't wanted to admit that. It's come to me that the logistics are such that it's not worth it to me to go out on the water without the lure of a race.

If I could dial 1-800 how-am-I-sailing from my cell phone, maybe that would make a difference. But without other boats being out there, sailing the same course, I don't really know how I'm doing. And I need that. I need that competitive event. I need that company of boats. Their presence some how validates my efforts and measures my performance.

Otherwise, it's just too much effort. Too much logistics.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Another Confession!

Sailed Dazz in the club's annual Double-Handed/Shorthanded race. I didn't notice that, for this pursuit race, there were two sets of start times for courses with two laps. I had never seen this before. But duh. I had plenty of chance to puruse the start times chart. My mistake.

We were deluded that we were in first place for much of the race. It was a rude awakening during trophy presentation that we had started five minutes early.Those details: they are eluding me.

But we had an enjoyable 6nm sail with my second oldest son, who proved to be the best sailor Dazz has had aboard since her arrival.

Sunday, November 2, 2014


Woulda finished 4th outta 15 boats had we started correctly. We were both short-handed and late (waiting for crew) for the warm up before the start. In 18 knots we started the wrong start line. Not having recorded a start, we were not rewarded a finish. But gawd were we fast!

Lovely sail!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Das Boot Sails Again!

While I spent four hours losing in the first round of my club's annual dominos tournament, my oldest son was racing Das Boot in his club's holiday pursuit race. I had to admit she's a good sight for my sore eyes!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween? Bah Humbug!

Dazz got back in her slip last night before Halloween and a dark and stormy night descended.

As important as it was to get her out on the water again, I must say it was lonely out there without the presence of another racer. Not that much fun for this sailor not to have a pacer to work with (or against).

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Dazz's First Real (Twilight) Race!

Meaning: the first time our regulars put the boat together and got out on the water early enough to scout the wind, water and kelp and get an organized start.

The start itself was conservatively on starboard. We crossed several port tackers, worked to weather well. Tacking to port we went up to the kelp line and tacked away. By the time we reached the port lay line for D-Mark, we might have crossed in front of my neighbor's C&C 40, but decided to duck him. We rounded the weather mark behind him and two or three others. But they had their spin hoists in front of them and we already had ours up, so to speak. So we made up good ground on that first reaching leg and then gibing at H-Mark, we made some killings (so to speak). We reached higher than some to go over the Crown Princes liner on the way to the leeward mark. That turned out to be a good decision: spinnaker boats were not so inclined or favored.

As the day went on we managed to develop snappy weight changes and helm changes on tacks. The sail was flattened incredibly for the 15+ knots (at times). All four aboard had time on the helm at one point or another. We were the 5th boat to cross out of a dozen starters!

I call that a good start!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Guest Skipper

Think we learned that we were basically on the right track. As far as sail trim, anyways. Need to push Dazz into the tactics that Das Boot could do and damn the kelp to the boat hook. Can't be all that bad. Besides, in our venue our fleet is divided between boats who do and boats who don't. Have to go for it.
C&C looked good, especially with an additional ex-crewman from Daz Boot aboard

Sunday, October 5, 2014

If Only This Race Had Been Shortened!

This race was at 2.88nm in length. It took all but one finisher more than two hours of sailing. For the first 90 minutes, there were no wind-ripples on the water. At that point, we had managed an horizon job on the 20 other starters and we had passed through the gate in front of the Race Committee. If they had shortened the race, we would have a Cinderella ending to the day's story.

Then the wind totally quit. I honestly cannot account for what happened after that. Sunstroke? Talk of mutiny. Too much beer and not enough ideas. Boats with electronic wind quides began tacking and we were clueless.

Boats began to pass left and right of us. Finally, wind ripples came to us and we were able to make way & wake, as they say.

We weren't too disappointed. Dazz finish 10th out of 21. Except for skipper's errors, we could have bagged the whole bunch.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

This Learning Curve Will Be a Steep One

Our 2nd race was marred by not getting the Race Committee's signals right. We learned of the reverse course start 40 seconds before the gun. And we learned of the course number 40 seconds before we approached the final leg. If I had remembered to click the VHF on before getting myself shackled to the tiller, that would have helped considerably. And, ship's binoculars are ordered.

Lessons learned! Right? Allow more time for set up, especially in the beginning days. Allow crew more experience on the helm, for another!

But fun! Especially fun sailing back up to the slip without the noisy engine. Took Trophy Wife and me back to our dinghy days in Newport Beach!

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.