We could consider it the good news that I started out watching Monday Night Football during Tuesday lunch, live on the Tongan side of the International Date Line. The scene was the Aquarium Caf, Neiafu, Vava’u with a brace of new friends.
We could consider it the bad news that the score was 14-7 in favor of I-don’t-remember-who when the signal dorked out.
Or we could consider it the bad news that I wasn’t on a boat, sailing idyllically along in Regatta Vava’u and not caring a fig about American football. But I’ve had a shot at that. The ... Read More
Name a regatta that became the biggest festival in its island state in just three years.
Where pigs range free.
Where the King banned all whaling in 1979.
Where a Catholic schoolboy’s uniform mandates the long, wraparound skirt called a tupenu.
Where protected sailing waters know nothing of the sea state in (another hint) Oceana beyond.
If you said Regatta Vava’u & Festival, you’re spot on, and if you even know about Regatta Vava’u you’re ahead of most. This island chain in the north of Tonga is celebrated among those who know for its diving, whale watching and ... Read More
As nicknames go, “Chubby” wouldn”t sign affection
Unless applied to the S&S yawl Chubasco that helped shape the face of yachting as we know it on the California coast. South. North. Yonder to Honolulu. Chubasco was launched in 1939 and honored on Wednesday night with a modelbegun nearly half a century ago, completed at lastdonated to the Newport Harbor Yacht Club. The full-sized version has carried NHYC’s burgee, very well, since 1958.
Chubasco at Catalina. Photo by John Fuller
Along with one other vintage yacht, Odyssey, Chubasco reigns over Newport Harbor by dint of time, accomplishment, and, shall we ... Read More
My dad called me at 7AM: “Have you been watching the news?”
I was up, but hadn’t heard a thing. After a briefing I was in the car and off to Condesa at T minus 30 minutes. Condesa and I have been through four deadly tsunamis in the last six years, and we know the drill: Head for deep water!
Bobbing between Alcatraz and the Golden Gate at 8AM, waiting for a tsunami to blow into the Bay, I noticed the other like-minded mariners were those who make their livings from their boats–the fishermen, the excursion boats, and all the ... Read More
I have remained silent about these troubling events because there were legal issues pending, but it looks like nothing is going to happen legally, so here goes:
A few months ago I was in the middle of repainting Condesa’s decks and superstructure, re-varnishing everything, and getting myself in over my head.
I finished work one night, locked things up, then came back the next day to see that I’d had visitors. There were beer cans, full and empty, all over the place, the stereo was on, and my personal belongings were scattered on deck. Condesa had been robbed and vandalized.... Read More
This is Lola. Here I am forty, and this is my first dog. There was a time in the not too distant past when I might have said disparaging things about pet dogs like, “They’re just hanging around for the free food. Stop feeding them and see how long they’re man’s best friend.”
I have been attacked by dogs twice. The first time, when I was too young to remember, I needed two stitches in my face for a bite from a family friend’s golden retriever named Happy. The other time, about ten years ago, I needed 35 stitches in ... Read More
The saga began when I took friends out for the day on Condesa for a sort of bachelor party for John Caron. We anchored behind Angel Island, right off the ruins of the old quarantine station, and had a barbeque.
When it was time to go I went to pull up the anchor and it was fouled. I pulled in all directions with Condesa and tried every trick in the book. After forty-five minutes we had an additional hundred and fifty feet of chain hopelessly fouled and it was getting dark. I dumped all 300-feet of chain and marked it ... Read More
It’s been almost a year since Condesa sailed outside the Golden Gate. About a month ago we made a short trip to Point Bonita, which is just outside, but we were swarmed by flies and beat a hasty retreat, so that doesn’t really count.
This week we planned to properly get out on the high seas, with harnesses and jacklines, and make a lap around the South Farallon, which lies 28 miles west of San Francisco. It is known for being steep-sided and inhospitable, smelling of guano, and being home to lots of great white sharks.
Earlier in the week ... Read More
I’m scheduled to give three talks at the Strictly Sail boat show at Jack London Square in Oakland next week. You can click here for complete information.
My gigs are Wednesday, April 15th at 6:00PM in Tent C; Friday, April 17th at 3:15 in Tent A; and Sunday, April 19th at 11:45 in Tent E.
I’ll be doing a slide show and regaling the crowd with fascinating anecdotes and invaluable information.
Hope to see you there… ... Read More
Everything I read these days seems to be either about great hope (Obama as messiah) or apocalyptic despair (the financial crisis). When I read about the former I think about my new life on shore and the good things it may bring once I move beyond underemployment. San Francisco seems a prosperous place, and my girlfriend just bought a house. Let’s call this the optimistic plan.
When I read about the latter I’m glad I’ve still got Condesa.
There’s been a lot of mention of sailboats as liferafts to escape the death spiral, and not just from the lunatic fringe. ... Read More