"One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time." -Andre Gide

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Novel Sunday

Watching the video of the whale crashing on the sailboat made me want to read Moby Dick!  I've never read this classic novel!  I am ashamed to admit it.  Well, I looked in my bookshelf and confirmed what I suspected to be true: I don't own Moby Dick.  But, I do own Mutiny on the Bounty!

So, I started reading this seft-proclaimed "greatest sea story of all time" after making the pate yesterday.  I am only on page 33 and it has pulled me in!  I am enthralled!  It is the story of a young man from Wales who is recruited on a 90 foot boat with 40 other men to travel to Tahiti and collect breadfruit and write a Tahitian-English dictionary.  The story takes place only a couple years after Captain Cook has made his famous journey to the South Seas. 

I'm rivetted!  This is a whole other level of poetry and depth to the sailor's life....well, to the First Mate's life more precisely!  What book will be next?  Old Man and the SeaRobinson Crusoe?  There are so many sailing themed classics worth reading!

It is time to make a pot of coffee on this gloomy Sunday morning and hunker down with my book and the Captain's Star Trek Snuggie!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Pâté Saturday!

I wish that life should not be cheap, but sacred,
I wish the days to be as centuries, loaded, fragrant.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

There is probably nothing better than a glass of red wine and a slice of French bread with homemade Pâté! This may be one of the most romantic combinations of food available on the face of Estero Bay! Fodder for poetry, just begging for a breathtaking sunset accompaniment . . . Hemingway would be jealous!

Red wine contains many wonderful antioxidants. For women, one glass a day is all that you need. More than one glass a day increases your risk for heart attack, stroke, and breast cancer, and any number of horrible ailments. For healthy wine drinking, I refer to a culturally appropriate book, French Women Never Get Fat. The author describes the French effort of conscious consumption, taste awareness, and sensual appreciation.  And French bread is not hard to celebrate! There is some wonderful bread available locally: La Parisienne, Carlock’s Bakery, and the Old Cayucos Bakery and Deli to name a few!

Pâté may be harder to find, harder to understand the celebration if you’ve never tried it, but certainly worth the effort. Pâté usually includes chicken liver cooked with mushrooms and herbs then pureed and chilled into a sliceable and spreadable constitution. Liver, an organ meat, is extremely rich in fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E & K, essential fatty acids, and trace minerals, copper, zinc, and iron. Clearly, it is best to buy organic, free range, grass fed liver as to avoid any stored toxic substances that the liver may harbor.

Unfortunately, pâté is not sold in any store around here. Trader Joe’s carries it on the winter season only. So, I made my own today!

Not a bad snack! Bring a notepad and pen because this meal is sure to have you hearing La Vie En Rose, smelling three different varieties of fresh ocean air, and falling in love with your taste buds all over again!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A curious whale

I just commented how disappointed I am that after all this sailing I have yet to see a whale. I am not that eager now. A CNN video about a whale landing on a boat.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Whichever Way the Wind Blows

“I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.”

Apparent Wind vs. True Wind Direction

During a sailing race last week we made a couple of bad tacks to the first mark that put us back a bit in the pack. After thinking for a bit, the problem was too much steering correction to "apparent" wind changes nstead of sail tension correction. On the 40 ft Choey Lee, we couldn't adjust the sails as constantly as on a 4 meter daysailor, but we were being really lazy sailors and paid for it.

What is true-wind and apparent-wind?

The true-wind is the apparent wind which you feel when you are not moving, for example at anchor.  The apparent-wind is the wind direction and speed which you feel while the boat is moving. As you speed up the wind on your face seems to come more forward on the the boat and this is really true during gusts as the picture below shows. The best overview I have found is a http://www.answers.com/topic/apparent-wind

We were racing in light wind conditions with frequent gusts. During the gusts instead of pulling in the sails we would "fall off" (steer away from the wind). This would put us farther and farther off our desired point of sail (direction we wanted to go). We were basically making 180 degree tacks, resulting in us just going back and forth making minimal forward progress.

Proof once again that being lazy as usual only serves to create more work.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Foggy Weather Sailing Strategy

What if we did go sailing in July Gloom?  The Captain has memorized the path out of the bay so it is possible that we might try to take the boat out.  But, what if we get out there and can't see anything?

Normally, visibility is reported by the weather service and/or NOAA at various weather stations.  They would report at the airport tower visibility is currently 1 mile.  But, what does that have to do with anything?  So, you're out there and you can't see two boat lengths ahead of you, or in all directions for that matter? How do you get home?

Do you blow your fog horn?  In the harbor, there is enough water lapping on hulls and slapping halyards so you're not really going to run into a boat.  It doesn't help you from running aground.  If it was really foggy, you'd call the Harbor Master and they would bring you in.  The Harbor Master is part of the local Harbor Patrol, part of the local police.  The Coast Guard is part of Homeland Security (not a branch of the Navy).  If there was rough conditions or you were farther out in the ocean, then the Coast Guard would come to the rescue with their military stealth GPS that's accurate to within a couple inches.

Now, where does GPS fit in?  Well, we only have iphones with nautical GPS application.  We do not have any chart plotter on the boat.  What is the range of the iphone GPS app?  Hmmm?  Satellite range will cover us all the way out to Catalina! 

Our Old School Foggy Weather Tactical Approach:
1.  Go really slow.  Consider dropping Anchor.
2.  The Captain will steer. 
3.  The First Mate will look out from the bow.

Modern Fog Navigation Strategy:
1.  Use GPS.  Prevents getting lost.
2.  Use Depth Sounder.  Alarms when you get shallow.  Prevents running aground.
3.  Use Marine AIS (automatic identification system).  Tells you where other boats are around you.  Tells other boats that you are there.  Prevents getting run over.

The Million Dollar Question: When do you use a fog horn? 
Fog horns were invented so stationary objects, like lighthouses, could sound their presence.  The low tone travels farther in the fog than a high tone.  Nowadays, these horns are automated.  There is a fog horn on the buoy at the harbor entrance that is turned on for foggy days.  I think I would sound our horn until the can ran out of air!  An air horn is required safety equipment on an ocean going vessel and the Coast Guard probably has some guidelines for using it.  Any suggestions?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

July Gloom

We drove inland this morning for errands and work stuff.  We drove 30 miles from the beach, due East.  It was 97 degrees!  97' F.

At approximately 13:00, we drove back to the ocean front.  It was a gloomy 62' F!  Over a 30 degree difference!  JULY GLOOM!  Arrrgh!  Socked in.

If there is one thing that we've had to make peace with it is this.  Living by the beach means living through May Gray, or June Gloom, or July, or whatever.  I've written about this in past posts with respect to the Vitamin D deficiency and lack of sunlight.  It is no joke, but I think I've made my peace with it.  I think. . . .

I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it's not the answer. ~Jim Carrey

Enjoy when you can, and endure when you must. ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

If you surrender to the wind, you can ride it. ~Toni Morrison

Monday, July 12, 2010

Why join the Yacht Club

The idea of actually joining the yacht club has come up several times lately and it is still a bit strange. I never thought I would be a member of a yacht club, mainly because of the stereotypes associated with it. Basically the same reason I will never own a Porsche (except the old ones).

Since our journey into sailing began, I have come to see the yacht club in a different light. The local yacht club offers many things:
1. The learning opportunities, the first item that I took advantage of, sailing classes!
2. The social aspect is nice.
3. Cheap drinks.
4. Organized racing for day sailors and blue ocean sailors.
5. Yacht club garage sail!
6. Harbor hospitality, a role that was unknown to me until recently.

Yacht clubs are responsible for taking care of visiting boaters and sailors. In other words, boaters from out of town just passing through. They are called "transient boats".

The yacht clubs of Santa Barbara, King's Harbor Redondo Beach, and Catalina will all be invaluable to me when I make the passage to Catalina later this summer. I will enjoy a place to anchor or dock, a clean bathroom, definitely a shower, and of course some advice on the cuisine. Most of this costs money. And herein lies the need to join the local yacht club. It is one of those things that a sailor needs must do to do his part for sailing as a whole.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Give a Little Piece of Yourself Away

I was watching a tribute E Hollywood Story to Michael Jackson, on the anniversary of his death, and one of the dancers from his last tour said that MJ taught them "to conserve their energy".  He said, "Don't give anything away for free." 

When I heard this it reminded me of something one of my friends said.  She said about facebook, "Everytime you get on there you give a little bit of yourself away." 

I think there is something to this.  There are things that we long to share, human being to human being.  Sharing our thoughts and feelings is a cheap way to learn from other people's mistakes.  It is a fundamental part of relationships.  But, what about powerful, famous people...getting to hear their thoughts is pricey entertainment, right?

Blogging walks the fence on this one.  It is my choice what to share.  It is also a statement of worth; ie. I think this information is valuable, therefore I will charge you money for it.  Or, I think this information is cheap, so I will give it to you for free.  It is an interesting debate, is it not?  Where do you stand?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Fourth of July Regalia and Lil' Wheels Debut Voyage

We finished the work on Lil' Wheels just in time for the Fourth!  The wheel project came out perfect!

The wheel project was born out of an article from Good Old Boat Magazine.  This was really the first time I worked with resin and I discovered the value of using molds.  As the picture in a previous post shows, working with the resin to shape the keel's wheelwell required a lot of filler and was still very bumpy.

I had to do a lot of sanding, shaping, repeated reapplications of resin in order to get an "acceptable" outcome.  In hindsight, I think that making a resin mold would have produced a far superior end result. 
 I do have a couple of things to fix on Lil Wheels already. There is a small leak somewhere in the centerboard slot that will need to sealed. We also ripped out one of the oar locks on a bathroom run to shore during the BBQ. The work is never done. The fireworks barge!  LOVE IT!The starboard side oarlock broke off!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Lil' Wheels Rehab Project

Lil' Wheels is coming into her own!