It seems like all of the mainstream media and the blogosphere are making lists. PC World's 100 best products of 2005, somebody's 10 worst toys of 2005, 20 words that should be banished ... So to stay with the spirit of the season, here are some of my favorite stories from other sailing blogs that I have read in 2005.
1. Zephyr has a knack for discovering interesting sailing news. One of the most inspiring was his account in August about quadriplegic Hilary Lister's sailing single-handed across the English channel.
2. I am not usually a fan of cruising logs but I have enjoyed reading Mark and Judy Handley's account of The Voyage of Windbird, a Tayana 42, which they are sailing from Boston to New Zealand (and then back by a route yet to be determined). In the last few days of 2005 they have been exploring three of my favorite islands, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Bequia. And yesterday Judy spotted Martha Stewart in the grocery store. Wow!
3. As a middle of the fleet racer myself (on my good days) it's fascinating and educational to read the blog of one of the top skiff sailors from Australia, Scott Babbage. At a time of the year when we're all thinking of 2006 sailing goals, here's a post from Scott from January 2005 as he weighs up the pros and cons of various challenges. Choices, choices, choices!
4. Five O' Clock Somewhere is an account of the sailing scene in New Mexico and is unique, as far as I know, among sailing blogs in that every Wednesday the author, Carol Anne, publishes another installment of a novel she has written (or is still writing). The novel has a sailing background but with some supernatural twists. Here's some of the sailing action in Chapter 8 of Wizards of Winds and Waves.
5. Another female blogger, Scheherazade in Stay of Execution, doesn't often write about sailing even though (or perhaps because) she is a college sailing coach. The quality of her writing attracts a large following and she has that special ability to make the most mundane of subjects sound interesting. Back in April she was waxing lyrical about sandpaper.
6. The Skip's Blog chronicles the racing year of a J-24 skipper from Toronto. I admire his detailed accounts of each race complete with diagrams such as this write-up of a race in August. After his racing season was over he started compiling a comprehensive series of articles on boat-handling, sail trim and strategy such as this post on The First Two Minutes.
7. Claude Nix writes Seadated, and brings us news of sailing on Chesapeake Bay. One of his innovations this year was the addition of some podcasts. Here is his first podcast.
8. Then we have Antony Clay who updates the blogosphere with vivid stories of Enterprise racing in the UK at Soulsailor. You can almost hear his voice in this stream of consciousness post about winning the Brookvale Open.
9. I'm not sure I can count the horse's mouth as a sailing blog but I enjoy the author's off-beat sense of humor and ability to unearth zany pictures, mostly with a watersports orientation. This post on the Cape Cod Frosty is typical.
10. Last, but not least, one of my favorite sailing blogs is EVK4 Bloglet where Edward writes of day sailing on San Francisco Bay, buying and restoring a boat for his daughter - and even a spot of racing - with much enthusiasm and not a little self-deprecating humor. Here he tells us about a perfect day for a sail.
What a diverse bunch! Racers, day sailors and long distance cruisers. Philosophers and humorists. Masters of the written and spoken word - and of the visual image. News stories, personal musings, travel writing and fiction. World class racers and weekend warriors. Old and young, male and female. Northern and southern hemispheres, old and new worlds, left and right coasts. Sailors on oceans, bays, lakes - and even one from the desert! The only thing they have in common is a love of the sport and a passion to communicate.
Keep blogging guys.