Reefing, by and large

15 Mar

1 ocean sunset

When do you reef? How should you reef? What are some excellent ways to screw it up? A few thoughts from Jamie (filtered through fun with salty sayings and his fondness for puns).

Pinterest reefing sails sunset 2Many witty phrases stem from seafaring and sailing ships of yore. It’s a wonder that so few truly help while sailing. Three sheets to the wind , hard and fast, batten down the hatches, give a wide berth, know the ropes, mal de mer, hand over fist, the bitter end, and go by the board, are all brilliant, concise ...

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Imprinted on the Sea

24 Feb

By Kimball Livingston
Posted February 23, 2016
Adapted from “The Old Man and the Old Man and the Sea” published in SAIL, December, 2001
Lead photo of Wander Bird by Ben Mendlowitz

Eighty-three years ago, aboard one of the storied schooners of the age, a father was performing chores on the topmast rigging, up where the seabirds fly. Suddenly he discovered he was not alone there, with 60 feet of air between his feet and the hard.

It was a heart-stopping moment.

Then Warwick M. Tompkins, Sr. said something like, “Well, hi there son. I didn’t know you were coming ...

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Love Letter to Sailing, Again

12 Feb

By Kimball Livingston

It’s such a common phrase that we take it for granted. The romance of the sea. Even those who dwell far from the sea are not immune to it. Red sails in the sunset. The very notion of sailing away to paradise. Those who heed the call, those who love the sea and sailing, will not find it strange that a sailor would choose to send a Valentine to the sport.

Once upon a time there lived a young man so enamored of sailboat racing that he couldn’t look out from the deck of one raceboat to ...

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That Sinking Feeling off the Baja Coast

3 Feb

3 on deck
It was 1991, and we were three fools fresh out of San Diego State. Brian had bought an old Catalina 30, and we spent six months fitting her out. Against my protests, Brian changed her name to Break‘n Wind, a boat name I’ve encountered several times over the years, and never liked any better.

Brian’s artist buddy painted the new name and hailing port on the transom, along with some sorry-ass blue palm trees. I asked the artist, “Isn’t break spelled B-R-E-A-K?” He’d spelled it Brake’n Wind. The paint had already semi-dried, so we ended up with one E ...

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Pearl of the Pacific

23 Sep

Story and Photos by Kimball Livingston

Published September 23, 2015

At our shoreside celebration on Huahine, one bright gazelle of a female child dashed to and fro, to and fro, leaping to the beat of the drums, infectious joy trailing in her wake. Was she a French local, in from Papeete for Tahiti’s annual gathering of the sailing tribes, the Pearl Regatta? Did she come by way of a long distance cruiser, with parents not satisfied to merely pass through but seizing the opportunity to play sailing games along the way? Did she come from one of the boats ...

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9 Sep

From the nice folks at DORADE.ORG

Defying critics who said it couldn’t be done, Dorade has completed a four-year campaign to repeat all of the major ocean races she won in the 1930s, finishing up on the podium at the 2015 Rolex Fastnet Race, where she took second in IRC Class 4 and seventh overall out of 356 boats. A 52’ wooden yawl built in 1930 by Olin and Rod Stephens, Dorade was the oldest boat to compete in this year’s Fastnet and took home three of the event’s most prestigious trophies: the Sparkman & Stephens Trophy, the Iolaire Block, ...

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Well Shucks, Hydroptere

29 Jun

Posted June 29, 2015 by KL

Most boats making 12+ knots down the Transpac course to Diamond Head would be making good time.

But when it’s Hydroptere, doing the zig-zag thing, it’s not a good look.

For two years, Alain Thébault has been chasing his dream of a Transpac course record. Chasing, that is, the sponsorship to take a shot at what could almost have been a slam dunk, had the tradewinds of the Pacific provided the horsepower.

Alain’s enthusiasm is infectious, and he has a great group aboard. I can’t help feeling disappointed for them and for Alain, ...

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A Tender Spot

22 Jun

By Kimball Livingston Posted June 22, 2015

Care to crack a guess at what resides at 33.698825 – 118.291682 ?

If you said Point Fermin Lighted Whistle Buoy 6PF you’d be spot on, and you’d be right in tune with the folks from Transpac Yacht Club who set up a station today, ashore, at the Point Fermin Lighthouse planning to draw a bead on the buoy and thereby establish a starting line for Hydroptere’s run at the course record, Los Angeles to Honolulu, Point Fermin to Diamond Head.

Imasgine their surprise when –

Out of the breakwater and past Angel’s ...

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