Friday, March 31, 2006

Boating Blog Roundup

It's almost three months since I posted the Top Ten Sailing Blogs of 2005. Since then a lot has changed in the boatie blogosphere. (By the way if a law blog is a blawg, is a sailing blog a slog? No, that doesn't seem right. Or is a boating blog a bloat? No?)

Anyway, as I was saying, things have changed. Most of the top ten are still active though some have posted less frequently in recent months, perhaps a symptom of the northern hemisphere winter and less sailing activity. But there are also some new contenders for top ten ratings out there.

Foremost among the newer sailing blogs, in my mind, is Live Sail Die. LSD is written by a couple of sailing instructors from the sailing school at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron and has a clean, attractive website design and an always interesting mix of breaking boating news and personal sailing anecdotes. Plus if you're nice to them they will even send you Live Sail Die stickers!

Another frequent poster is Dan Kim from Adrift at Sea. Dan is fitting out a brand new Telstar trimaran and is telling us all the details from the electrical system to
the safety gear and even the lettering. It's a fascinating account by a guy who has clearly thought out all the details for his dream boat. I look forward to reading about all the voyages he is planning -- all over New England, to the Chesapeake, and to Key West.

Then we have Peter Huston at Buffalo Niagara Sailing who is doing a sterling job of stimulating sailing activity in his region with posts on such diverse subjects as high school sailing, stupid rules that discourage participation and youth sailing opportunities in other parts of the country. Always thoughtful, always opiniated. You may not always agree with him but he does make you think.

Eli Boat
has some strong opinions too. He has recently ranted about kay-whackers as he calls them, asking "how many morons are actually into kayaking?" and the Mac 26x which he calls a "floating ass-box". He also educated us on subjects such as electronics and carbon fiber, but my favorite posts on his blog are when he tells us about sailing in Cape Cod Frosties and his attempts at ice-boating. Eli Boat is just like a box of chocolates -- you never know what you're gonna get.

Talking of kay-whackers, I mean kayakers, I've also been following a couple of kayaking blogs lately. Partly because I have a yen to try out kayaking one day; and partly because there are some great kayaking bloggers out there. Bonnie at frogma has kept me entertained the last few months with her tales of paddling at various sites around New York City in the winter along with occasional other accounts of NYC life. By the way is there anywhere in the USA other than Manhattan where kayakers take a break for sushi? (Trick question - the answer is yes - Bonnie paddles over to New Jersey for her sushi. Go figure.) And she even gets to go sailing sometimes. One thing I have discovered is that kayakers are really into "rolling" - which as far as I can gather is a variation on underwater power yoga. Here is how Bonnie celebrated New Year's Day.

H2uho started life as a blog of "bonehead moves on the water" but has lately branched out in a more general watery blog with musing on such diverse topics as waves, long-distance kayaking and the green flash.

I've been trying to expand the geographical coverage of my boating blog viewing. My blogroll currently includes blogs from USA, Canada, UK, Australia, Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Spain, France, Switzerland and Italy. Ah yes, Italy -- the home of sNIPEOUT. I wish I could read Italian because it looks like an amazing mixture of great pics, amusing notes and sailing news. I occasionally try and translate some of his stuff into English using Google Translate but the result loses something in the translation, I am sure.

On the other hand, I'm not at all sure I can classify About Sailing at about.com as a blog at all, but Ward Esaak continues to produce fascinating news and stories and advice about sailing that are as compulsive reading as the best blogs. He also keeps giving me the occasional plug so I owe him one.

Also check out the blog of one of my most frequent commenters Litoralis. He ranges from drawing our attention to a cute legal joke about sea sponges, ranting on about the relative health of dinghy sailing in the UK as compared to the US, and doing some shameless name-dropping about the summer he worked for an America's Cup syndicate. Apparently he sailed a Star last year but plans to move up to a Laser this year. Smart move. If you read his blog carefully you will find that at least as of today (31 March 2006) he hasn't actually done any sailing since he started his blog. But he talks a good talk.
Finally we have one of the most original sailing blogs to hit the scene, The Captain Humphreys Project. Actually a vlog, not a blog, a humorous daily video blog about a former bartender planning to sail around the world in an 11 foot boat. A very professional production. But I haven't quite worked out yet whether it is about a real sail-round-the-world project or just a theme around which to develop some hilarious comedy sketches. Time will tell. In any case, compelling viewing. Check him out.

So there you have it. Just ten of the blogs that would be strong contenders for the top ten list if I were drawing it up now. So you writers of the original top ten, look to your laurels. The competition is snapping at your heels.

Enjoy.

12 comments:

Adrift At Sea said...

Thanks Tillerman, I'm honored. :D

Litoralis said...

Tillerman is right...I have not done any sailing yet but I have been busy.

I don't think I was really shamelessly name dropping in my post. This is what shameless name dropping looks like:

I also had the opportunity to sail on USA-36 (the Roy Lichenstein "Mermaid" boat) with Ed Baird, whose office was across the hall from mine at the NYYC/Young America Challenge team's Rhode Island Training Center at Quonset Point.

Joe "I spit in the face of competition" rouse said...

Oh F&%ck, competition!

Ward Esaak said...

Thanks for the nod, Tillerman. An honor coming from you. Next time you find yourself in the northern Great Lakes region, all beers are on me.

Good observation, by the way. About, Inc. defines what its writers do on their respective front pages as blogging, and we use WordPress software to do it but, yes, it's just one part of a larger gig.

Ant said...

Crap... and the sailing season has only just started to creap into view...

You'd have though that a trip to Sri Lanka for the worlds a ton of fantastic photo's and a recent Laser "scoop" would keep me in the top 10.. question is which way is the tide going?
www.Soulsailor.co.uk

EVK4 said...

If it's a competition, these Johnny come latelies are in for a tough summer...I can probably milk 3 posts out of my new sails (coming next week), I easily have 5 complaint posts about too much freaking wind in San Francisco, I'll have my son's first sail for some real emotionally charged posts, and my cousin and I are planning video days (can you say Smoke on the Water II?)

Of course, my blog theme is "me" which tends to limit my readership, I've made many enemies in the sailing world you see, but my loyal 10-12 readers daily are in for a treat this summer.

Dwayne Clark said...

Tillerman,

Thanks for the comment on my blog. That is a tragic case. Thanks for adding us to your blog roll. PS I am a grandpa too.

Dwayne

OG said...

WOW!!!

Thanks Tillerman - The Team at Live Sail Die is having some rumbos in your honour tonight!

(It's also our last Sunday of sailing school for two weeks because of the Easter Break, so we are going to celebrate that too - Johnsee is hitting the big city, and I am travelling to the Gold Coast to do a wrap-up report from the Sydney to Gold Coast Yacht Race)

Thanks again for plugging the little Aussie website known as LSD.

bonnie said...

Aaah, laurels...they never do last, do they - but they are so nice when they're all fresh and green.

I have to confess I nearly had to go over & pick a fight with Eli Boat (just for starters, paddling in chop with a 15-kt headwind can actually be fun under the right conditions & I'd never particularly think of it as "a big deal". Tedious, after a certain amount of time, yes, but not a big deal. Of course my friends & I usually check the forecasts when we're thinking of doing a trip, so we generally know what to expect & plan something appropriate for the conditions - generally that keeps it well within the definition of "fun".) Only problem is that I've seen plenty of the kind of paddlers he's talking about & heck yeah, they can be kind of scary.

Unfortunately the kayakers everyone else on the water notices are the ones who don't get that there are rules out there just as much as there are on land - moreso, even, and the consequences of not knowing them can be way worse than just getting a ticket.

Actually one of my least favorite local "kay-whackers" used to preach (no, really) that us folks who were into learning skills (rolling's just one, probably the most entertaining plus it has the great appeal, in the winter, of being something you can learn & practice in a nice warm pool) were just being elitist snobs & all anybody really needed was an idiot-proof boat.

Is that an oxymoron or what? I could not STAND that guy.

Still - much though I hate being tarred with the same brush as those sorts, I do understand why it happens - somebody popping up right under your bow & giving you a cheerful wave without realizing that they just about gave you a heart attack isn't something that would make anyone kindly disposed towards people in that kind of boat in general.

All kayak-curmudgeon-in-training sputtering aside, though - thanks, I'm honored to be on this list!

And btw thanks to all the folks who posted about the physics of sails - you all gave me a ton of grist that went into my physics of paddles posts, some directly, some indirectly...it amazes me how interrelated all of these things are.

the skip said...

Congrats to the new kids on the block. Have been trying to get in shape for the up and coming season. Turning my attention away from the blog for a bit and onto the large spare tire that seems to have crept up on me this winter. Things will start up on the skips blog shortly.

Thanks for keeping staying the proper course and posting with consistency!

Eliboat said...

Thank you Tillerman for thinking of me as one of your top sailing blogs. Kaywhacking (I think I've coined a good term here) aside, I have found blogging about boats to be a tremendous amount of fun.

classicyachting.net said...

Laser sailors are not anymore just young sailors, today it is almost like your title says! Old guys are starting to sail Lasers just to get some sailing done! It is easier to maintain, takes less time to get sail ready in the spring and yeah, you could have on onbord that big motor boat too.. I just love lasers!