April 17th

Coast Guard Boardings: My Number Was Up

Posted by // April 17, 2014 // COMMENT (3 Comments)

After writing the posts about Coast Guard Boardings, I was wondering when my number would come up again. It came up last weekend.

The boarding and paper-checking were routine, but some of the things the boarding officer told me were not.

To backtrack a bit, from some of the comments from my posts, some think I’m taking a crack at the Coast Guard, but this is NOT the case. I’m taking a crack at Title 14 section 89 of the United States Code, which I think should be repealed or revised, especially with regard to recreational craft in domestic waters.…

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April 7th

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There’s been an ongoing rescue of a one-year-old baby from the cruising boat Rebel Heart, which is about 900 miles west of Cabo San Lucas. They haven’t clarified what the illness is, but it’s been an elaborate rescue, complete with mid-air refuelings, medics dropped from air and landed aboard, extraction of the infant, and a happy ending.

The whole episode is tweeted on the California Air National Guard Twitter feed, with photos, links to relevant articles, and updates.…

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March 6th

The Hurricane of 1939, Newport Beach

Posted by // March 6, 2014 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Miscellany, ,

This video, a gift to our local nautical museum, just got posted to YouTube.

The carnage begins about 3 minutes in, if you’re just into carnage.

It’s bizarre to watch this on the harbor I grew up on, which is usually a very mellow place, and hasn’t had a hurricane since, well, 1939. I’ve only seen waves break inside the harbor a few times in my life, namely the Swell of 1983, when The Wedge was breaking at well over twenty feet.

My dad was six years old in 1939, and he remembers it well.

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about it:

“The 1939 California tropical storm, also called the 1939 Long Beach tropical storm, El Cordonazo, The Lash of St.…

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February 26th

Sail Covers Redux

Posted by // February 26, 2014 // COMMENT (3 Comments)



I can’t explain it, but my sail covers have become too small over the years. Either they shrunk, or sails have become bulkier. (Do I sound like an aging man talking about his waistline?) It’s been a real stretch lately, and a ten minute job, to get the sail covers on, especially over my new-ish main, which is still stiff. They were also generally battered and had lots of rips to repair. I’ll say this much though: That Sunbrella is some tough stuff. Those sail covers date from long before I owned the boat, meaning they’ve stood up to at least twenty years in the sun.…

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January 31st

ushuaia 009

Tbone has asked a salient question after watching the Skip Novak Storm Sailing videos.

It is a lamb. Tierra del Fuego has plentiful, succulent lamb, which is charcoal spit roasted and served in all the restaurants in Ushuaia. When you’re sailing in the cold of the deep south, your body craves heavy, greasy meals, like spit-roasted lamb, at least four times a day.

The done thing down there is to tie a lamb carcass to your backstay for any voyage through the Fuegian channels or down to Antarctica. It’s always cold, so the meat stays refrigerated, and there are few flies or creepy-crawlies down there to spoil the meat.…

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January 28th

Skip Novak’s Storm Sailing Videos

Posted by // January 28, 2014 // COMMENT (2 Comments)

People, Techniques, , ,

If a picture is worth a thousand words, videos are worth millions. Skip Novak’s series of storm sailing videos are great for learning technique and outfitting. Skip Novak crewed and skippered multiple Whitbreads, and was among the first generation of yachtsmen to cruise and explore Antarctica. I’ve never met Skip, but I got friendly with his crews while down in Tierra del Fuego and Antarctica, and enjoyed a few meals aboard Pelagic Australis, his 74-foot expedition beast (Thanks, Skip). I also got a tour of Pelagic, his original, 54-foot steel cutter. Both vessels embody the ethos of simplicity and robustness.…

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January 10th

The Longest, Worst Boat Project Ever (with Blood)

Posted by // January 10, 2014 // COMMENT (5 Comments)

Maintenance, ,

I realize that interminable, frustrating boat projects are the low country of boating conversation, but bear with me.

My electric windlass stopped working four months ago. It would power down, but not up. Sure it was the windlass control box, I tore into the anchor locker, removed the control box, then tested the windlass directly by touching the live power cable to each of the leads on the windlass. Again, power down but no power up, and this showed it was something in the guts of the windlass.

If this were a job for a customer, I’d like to think I would have had the good sense to say, “Let me remove and disassemble the windlass, then we’ll talk about how much this is going to cost.” But I probably would have said, “This has gotta be something simple since the motor still works.…

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