Sunday, June 21, 2015

Too fun to call work... Sailing with Club Nautique

It's too fun to call 'work'.  Dave is spending lots of time of the water as a sailing instructor at Club Nautique.

Sailing on San Francisco Bay with Golden Gate in the background.

 Olga, Mike and Sebastian.

 Mattia, Ali and Massimo aboard a Beneteau 33 for Basic Cruising Class.   Mattia owns and runs 'Italian Homemade company' an Italian restaurant and deli at 716 Columbus in San Francisco, Ali is a brit who lives in Peru and Massimois an Italian baker in the city.
 Steve Saul (Club Nautique instructor) and students Matia and Ali having fun during day 2 of Basic cruising 2.  June 17, 2015.
 John, Carol, John and Rich after a full day of sailing aboard a Colgate 26 for Basic Keelboat day 1.  June 20, 2015

 Mike, Carol and Rich looking good on their second day with Basic Keelboat 1.  June 20, 2015

Basic Crusing with instructor Aki and students Lil, Dana and Carl.  June 22, 23, 2015.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Future of pad eyes?

Pad eyes by Solo Sails look pretty nice with simplicity of design and install and hyper light weight.   Perhaps too much reliance on sealant to keep out the water that's going to accumulate in the base of the fitting.  Salt build up in the base is a certainty in hot climates, freezing could also be a issue in high latitudes.


Advantages of Soft Padeyes

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Reversing winches: Easing sheets at the touch of a button.

Reversing winches:  Easing sheets at the touch of a button.

Selden, Lewmar and Harken which is the best?  Check out the videos below.

I like the Selden design as the winch incorporates reversing with no apparent compromise and no reliance on electrical motors.

Lewmar looks pretty good if you want to go down the road of a heavy dependence on electricity.

Harken incorporates the maximum amount of features, but the requirement to flip the red switch on the base of the winch seems cumbersome.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Sailing aboard 65' Brigadoon

Had a great day today on the bay aboard the 65' schooner Brigadoon designed by L. Francis Hereshoff and built in 1924.  A huge thanks to Lindsey for having us aboard!

Schooner 'Brigadoon' Charging Across the Bay

 Dave at the helm.

 Kathy and Dave with Angel Island in the back ground.

Brigadoon was built as Joann in 1924 by the Britt Brothers in Lynn, MA. She is the first design by L. Francis Herreshoff, son of Nat Herreschoff. She sailed on the East Coast under various owners during the 1920s,1930s and 1940s. 
Sterling Hayden, sailor, actor, and writer renamed the boat Brigadoon of Booth Bay and sailed her to the West Coast in the 1940s. He sold her in the 1950s to a Southern California sailor who took her on the 1959 Transpac, and then to Tahiti for 6 months.

Brigadoon came to the Bay Area in 1960. She was owned by land developer Gary Reese for 15 years, and he sold her to Dino Valenti of the Quicksilver Messenger Service.

Patti and Terry Klaus purchased the boat in 1976, rebuilt her over the years, and have been successfully racing and sailing her for the past 30 years.

Brigadoon has been the flagship of the St. Francis Yacht Club, the Master Mariners, and has been a consistent winner in MMBA, Jessica Cup Races, and has been a winner at the MMBA/Corinthian Wooden Boat Show held each June in Tiburon.

Brigadoon has been sailed by two generations of family and friends over the last 30 years, with the third generation starting to come aboard. The Klaus Family still owns Brigadoon. She is berthed at the family home in Alameda.


Providing some Weather info to s/v Celestial as they sail direct from New Zealand to Hawaii.  They has a tough go through the ITCZ which as you can see in the image is very activated.  At the moment they are 14N and 152W and making good time to Hawaii.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Bay to Breakers 12K

Today marked the 104th running of San Francisco's rowdy Bay to Breakers 12K. After a hard day of sailing the Knarr on Saturday, soaking wet and pretty well frozen, I met Kathy in San Francisco.  Kathy cashed in some hotel points and we stayed at the Marriott in the city overnight, quite luxurious for Dave who has mostly been sleeping on boats for nearly 10 years.

It was kind of lame, seeing how we could have a big Saturday night out in the city, but we were both exhausted, Kathy had just wrapped up 2 weeks on the road and walked 5 miles in the city, and Dave 7 hours as wet foredeck guy on the bay.  So after dinner we headed to our room for an early evening in preparation for Sunday's big foot race. 

Sunday morning it was off to the races with about 50,000 other runners, walkers and rowdy revelers.   It's a 12K run from the bay, up and through the city, Golden Gate park and eventually to the surf pounded shores of the Pacific Ocean.  Flamboyant costumes abound and sometimes participants bare all, for it is San Francisco after all.  

 Near the start of the race we're in 29,000th place.
We had a strong finish with these super men at just under 3 hours.  For comparison, the ultra runners top man finished in 35 minutes and super woman in 40 minutes.

 Yep, 50,000 participants.
 This guy looks like a lot of cruisers we know.   Did he teleport here from the South Pacific? Or get ship wrecked here?
Girls in front of us get a snap with some boys with only gold glitter and angle wings for a costume.  You may not want to zoom in here��

On the water in San Francisco

Dave raced aboard an iconic one design Knarr on Saturday.  Three races at the Berkley circle then a wet beat back to Golden Gate Yacht club with westerly wind blasting through the slot.  Borrowed this photo from the internet of the Krarr fleet sailing in San Francisco Bay.

Plenty of sailing on other peoples boats now that I broke down and bought some foul weather gear... we've never needed any aboard our Chris White pilot house catamaran 'LightSpeed'... including last summers sail through Alaska.   A few outings on a J105, a test sail on a Colgate 26 and a Wednesday race aboard a one design Folk boat.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Cruising sailors have the best friends in the world.

Mothers Day, 2015

As continuous travelers we meet the most amazing people... and then, far too soon, we move on tacking in different directions.     The only constant is change, friends and family always in our wake, new adventures on the horizon.

After 9+ years on the go, we were ready to drop anchor and reconnect with family, become active in a local community, plant a garden and recharge the cruising kitty.  At first we thought we'd sell the boat and build something, the mere idea of a grand change was seductive, lots of ideas, but nothing that stuck.  More reflection revealed that we're probably acutely infected with wanderlust and boat people for life, so why sell what we love?

Living in Alameda (East San Francisco Bay) is really nice, similar to Seattle in summer. Lots of sun, not too much heat.  Alameda is an island, so that a natural fit.  The community is really just one big neighborhood and bike friendly.  We've joined an outdoor community pool, so between living on the boat, on a island, and swimming several times a week, it sort of like cruising.  A few miles down the beach from our Marina is one of the better kite boarding beaches, the island of Alameda pretty much has it all.   We feel lucky to be here.

Last week I really put down roots.  Our marina offers garden plots to live-aboards, so we're fulfilling a long held desire to get some dirt under our finger nails and grow some amazing organic vegetables.

We're in transition, but keeping close to our new roots at least until fall harvest...


Garden plot had gone fallow for 3+ years.

 I excavated down 16" then screened all the soil to remove roots and rocks.  Then with laid chicken wire horizontally to prevent moles and ground squires from burrowing under the fence and feasting on all the organic goodness.

Next was some drip irrigation tubing burred in the sub soil.  The idea was to water the plants at their roots to save water from evaporation.   California has huge water problems, so were doing our part.

Perimeter fence is in and I'm now adding the third round of soil amendments to the silty sandy fill dredged from the bay, soil amendments were added to increase water retention and provide plant nutrients. 

 Just a few minutes from the garden is Ploughshares Nursery and the the manager Eric provided lots helpful advice.

 Picking out the plants was the equivalent of shopping for boat bling, but way cheaper.  I think I already need a 3' bigger garden!
 Plants are in!  Strawberries on the left, garlic, onions, lettuce, broccoli and cucumber on the top.  kale and spaghetti squash in the middle, Beets on the bottom.  To the right are tomatoes.  Not pictured, Rhubarb, pole beans and hot peppers. Wish I had more room!

First taste of the fruits of my labors.  To promote root growth and more abundant harvest later in the year, I pinched off  (most) all the flowers, so my plants can focus on root growth over fruit growth... 

Roots are down.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Happy Birthday Kathy!

 Chocolate cover strawberry cake.
 I think she was surprised.
Halfway through a 20+ mile bike ride to the Golden Gate Park.  We took our bikes on the ferry from Alameda and rode out to the Golden gate, then to Golden gate park, then to a Greek place for lunch then down Market street to the ferry building for afternoon coffee.  A great day exploring the city and getting lots exercise.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Vanuatu needs your help

March 17, 2015

This past week the tiny island nation of Vanuatu was devastated by Cyclone 'Pam'.   
Thanks to fellow sailor Dianna Denny for leading the charge to get the word out and finding a reputable aid organization where 100% of donations will go directly to the communities whom need them most.

As you can see in the links below, Vanuatu really needs some help.

Want to donate now?  Follow this link to the Butterfly trust:

or this one to Sea Mercy as recommended by long time South Pacific Sailors Jeff and Jose

100% of your contribution will go directly to help these people in a time of great need.

We visited Vanuatu for 3 months in 2007 and count Vanuatu as our all time favorite destination.   Most of the inhabitants of Vanuatu have absolutely nothing from our western perspective, they live in grass huts, they have no shoes or knives and forks and certainly no cell phones.   What they have in abundance is genuine happiness and huge welcoming smiles.  

However in the aftermath of one of the most severe cyclones in the history of Vanuatu, nearly all the crops will be destroyed, homes will be literally blown away.  Torrential rain will have caused mud slides killing many and contaminating water supplies.  These are desperate times for the people of Vanuatu.

Please give a little.

Thank you!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Marshal Island Tropical weather

We're happy to see that tropical storm '03W.THREE' did not intensify over the Marshall Islands. For all those cruising friends in the area we bet this was a scary one.

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Baja Road Trip 2015 continued...

Alameda to La Paz via Palm Desert and San Diego.

 Fresa stand.  We picked up a 5kg (11 pound) flat of delicous strawberries and somehow managed to eat all these in only three days.
 Dusty town typical of Baja.

 Lots of rain created some sizable puddles on side roads.
 This one was pretty deep.  Luckily no water leaked in the doors.
 Broccoli farm?
 Google Maps suggested this short cut to Molino Viejo resturant on Bahia de San Quintin.  It seemed pretty rough at first.
 And then it turned to single track.
 And then some nearly impassable water hazards

 But in the end it was worth the drive to check out Bahia de San Quintin as we wondered about the feasibility of bringing our boat into this bay on previous Baja sailing trips.  It looks like a case of calm weather and local knowledge are absolutely required
 Molina Viejo Resturant is unexpected at the end of this muddy road.

 Sea Bass lunch was delicous
 Further down the coast we're stoked our car still runs and drives strait after all the rough and wet roads.
 Our $2600 CraigsList Honda Accord has 175,000 miles and everything still works.

NOTE:  El Rosario is the last Pemex gas station until you get to Guerrero Negro some 224 miles  or 361 km distant.  This is the only stretch on the Baja with any shortage of Pemex stations.  If you miss that last gas station you,  could buy gas from road side vendors with jugs in Catavina.

 Hotel Mision Catavina is pretty nice, book in advance as the alternate hotels looked to be a major downgrade.
 Dinner and Margaritas at the Hotel Catavina resturant... the only game in town.
 Shrimp Coctail was a great value at 85 pesos or $5.81USD at the exchange rate of nearly 15:1
 The next morning we set out to find the some nearby cave paintings.  Going with no directions or local knowledge we made a few wrong turns like the one by this big Saguaro catcus.
 Eventually we found the cave and it was well worth the effort.
 Just a few of the many drawings on the ceiling of this tiny cave.    Be sure to turn off your flash to avoid damaging these ancient paintings.
 This photo really does not do justice to the narrowness of the road.  But if you look closely you can see the white line missing as it has fallen off the edge.  Most of the road abutments are a steep drop and a moment of inattention and you are pretty much dead if you drop a tire off the edge.  The incredible number of crosses along the road remind one to be 100% focused.
 Curious abandon Fontar Marina complex on the Pacific side of the Baja near Santa Rosalita, yes the spelling is correct and near these Google style coordiantes 28.665, -114.24.  Marina basin is filled with sand... Opps didn't design that one too well.  All the infrastructure is there including 16kms of nice new road, a power station, marina basin, hardstand, port captina office, fuel tanks and even a huge and unused travel lift.   Looks like there is a nice surf break at the point.  This could be an interesting anchorage in calm conditions.
Taco stand in Guerrero Negro has some superb shrimp tacos.