Friday, October 31, 2008

Sam Went Sailing?

I'm still looking for Joe the Plumber.

But Joe (Green Eggs) Rouse says
Joe (The Plumber) Wurzelbacher is not Joe.

Joe says Joe is Sam.

Maybe I'm looking for the wrong person.

Here is a video of Sam sailing.

Is this Joe the Plumber?

No wait. Sam is a girl.

Now I'm really confused.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Joe Went Sailing?

Where is Joe the Plumber?

Did he really stand up John the Maverick to go sailing?

Is this Joe the Plumber?

No, that is Pete the Plumber.

Anybody seen Joe?

Where is Joe the Plumber?

Oh no. We've lost Joe the Plumber.

We can't have the election until we find him.

Perhaps he went sailing?


When I returned home from sailing on Monday my wife asked me if I had seen any other boats out sailing. Hmmm. No, I didn't. There are still plenty of boats on their moorings around here, but not many people out sailing during the week. Especially in the middle part of the Sakonnet River near Fogland Beach which was where I was out that day.

There's something very relaxing about sailing on a stretch of water a dozen miles long and not seeing another sail. Something a bit worrying too; nobody around to help me if I get into trouble. But there was not much chance of that on Monday. It was a sunny, light wind day. A day to practice roll tacks and roll gybes. It's strange that almost every time I spend a session mainly focused on tacks and gybes I discover how to change my technique slightly to improve the effectiveness of these moves. And Monday was no exception.

October has been a good month on my journey to 100 days of Laser sailing in 2008. This was the twelfth sail of the month, already the most sails in any single month. At the beginning of the year I would not have predicted that October would be the month when I sailed the most. But it has been a great month of relatively mild weather and fair winds.

Who knows what November will bring? Will it snow? Will Tillerman wimp out and abandon his quest as the water gets colder? Will Tillerman acquire the support of any more outlandish sponsors? Will Tillerman find something new and interesting to say about each of the remaining 19 sailing days or will he write posts full of lots of questions? Will Tillerman stop referring to himself in the third person?

Only time will tell...

Is this of any interest, or should I blog about the shocking story making the political news in America today, all about how a certain professor went to a colleague's leaving party five years ago? Terrifying! What would Joe Sam the Plumber Country Music Artist say?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fat Boy and Little Man

The original plan for last Saturday was for my son and I to sail our Lasers in the Fat Boys Regatta in Bristol. For different reasons, I suspect, each of us lost enthusiasm for this plan over the week and an alternative sailing plan was hatched. In my case, I decided I wanted to go for a shorter sail that would not consume the whole day as a regatta would, because my grandkids would only be staying with us one day (Saturday) and I wanted to have some time with them as well as sailing with their Dad. Hey, it says over there >>> in my profile that I'm a grandfather first and a Laser sailor second.

My son's reasons for wanting to bag the regatta must remain a mystery to you dear readers. Far be it from me to suggest that he didn't feel fit enough to sail all day in a decent breeze or that he didn't want to sail in the rain forecast for the afternoon. I would never say such things.

I had been telling the little dude for some time about the awesome sailing conditions to be enjoyed off Third Beach Newport, home of the New England Laser Masters Championship for the past few years, especially in a southerly wind when the waves are rolling in from Rhode Island Sound. So that was the decision. A blast in the morning at Third Beach and back home in time to play with the grandkids.

Third Beach did not disappoint. The parking lot was empty and bleak but once we had launched and reached out to the middle of the Sakonnet River, the conditions were as excellent as I have know them there. 15-20 knots out of the south-east with waves several feet high, better than I've found at any other location around here. The leeward sides of the waves seemed exceptionally steep and I experimented with various violent torquing movements to try and find a way to work the boat through the waves more efficiently. Eventually I found a rhythm that seemed to work but my body paid the price for my efforts the next day. (Or perhaps it was the combination of sailing the waves on Saturday and my ten mile run on Friday.)

Little dude was fast upwind. Faster and higher than me. Truth is he really isn't so little a dude any more and his weight advantage over me really showed upwind.

After about half an hour of solid upwind work in the general direction of Bermuda I conceded defeat and signalled that we should head downwind. Aaaaaaah. Is there any better feeling than catching a loooooong ride on a big wave? I was so focused on keeping the sharp end of the boat pointing downhill and the stick thingie pointing at the sky that I could only occasionally check over my shoulder to see if little dude was still upright behind me.

We reached around a bit, back and forth between Little Compton and Middletown, and then set off upwind again (not quite as far as Bermuda this time) before another wild downwind ride in which the little dude did manage to death roll once. I went back and hovered around his capsized boat until I was sure he was OK.

Once we had had enough, we returned to the beach and derigged. As it was lunchtime, I suggested we head into town and check out Flo's Clam Shack. A pitcher of beer, bowls of chowder, fried oysters and clams.... Mmmm. Little dude expressed the opinion that Flo's was not as good as Evelyn's in Tiverton where we went after our sail two weeks before. But hey, you can't expect Newport to be able to compete with my new home town, and it was still a pretty damn good way to round off my 80th day of Laser sailing in 2008.

Only 20 more to go to the big 100!

Goose Poop Beach Sailing Club Revisited

I made fun here of a sailing club I used to belong to, calling it Goose Poop Beach Sailing Club. Truth is that the years I spent there, with good friends and my own kids, were some of the happiest sailing experiences of my life.

It's strange how those little lake sailing clubs like GPBSC often develop some of the best racing sailors in the country. It also dawned on me this week that four of the kids who dominated the racing at GPBSC when I was there have, as adults, all gone on to make interesting contributions to the sailing world in quite different ways.

In the late 80's and early 90's these four kids from GPBSC, in turn, all won the junior sailing championship for all the lake sailing clubs in our region. I think I'm right in saying that, between them, the four youngsters from our club won the regional junior championship in eight out of nine consecutive years. (And it would probably have been all nine years if I hadn't taken two of the four on a trip to see their grandparents in the UK one summer.)

But what's more amazing is what those four kids have achieved since...

One is the President of the US class of one of the most popular sailing dinghies in the world.

Another is the North American Marketing Manager for one of the largest manufacturers of small sailing boats in the world.

The third was part of the design team for a US America's Cup syndicate.

And the fourth worked as an engineer for one of the leading nautical rigging and hydraulics companies in the world.

It's amazing where the journey leads when you start from Goose Poop Beach.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

David Atlas, J.S. Marshall, R.H. Douglas, Walter Palmer 79th Sail

My David Atlas, J.S. Marshall, R.H. Douglas, Walter Palmer 79th sail of 2008 was last Tuesday, on a dark, dismal, cloudy day. Right after breakfast I checked the regional weather radar map on and saw a huge band of rain coming in from the west, likely to arrive around lunch time. I hate the prospect of sailing in the rain, even though it is true that racing in the rain can be the Best of Times.

So I set off right away for Fogland Beach aiming to fit in
my David Atlas, J.S. Marshall, R.H. Douglas, Walter Palmer 79th sail before the rain arrived. At the beach there was a brisk southerly whipping up some waves that were crashing into the southern side of the beach where I usually launch, so I drove around to the more sheltered northerly side of the Fogland peninsula for a more controllable Laser launching and recovery experience.

Had a good session doing the usual stuff. Reached across to investigate the bridge connecting the Sakonnet River to the Seapowet Marsh. Then a few circuits up and down wind to work on boatspeed; some mark rounding practice around mooring buoys; then off upwind again to the middle of the river to play in bigger waves. Towards the end of the session a few rain showers came through so I called it a day and headed for the beach.

On the narrow pebbly strip of land north of Fogland there was an RV with a large trailer behind it. Hmmm. Might be a windsurfer. I've seen them here before with rigs like that. I give the driver a cheery wave but he shows no inclination to leave the warmth and shelter of his cab. Maybe he's one of those hard-core windsurfers waiting for the storm to come before he goes sailing?

Wait. Didn't Peconic Puffin put on his bucket list that he wanted to come and windsurf at Fogland to see "Sir Tillermeister"? Maybe it's the Puffin. The guy gets out of his RV and wanders around a bit. Hmmm. He does look a bit like a puffin. Maybe it is The Puffin.

Should I go over and introduce myself? Nah. If he is Peconic Puffin and he's come here to find Sir Tillermeister he will make the first move. He will know it's me. Apart from being the only Laser sailor in sight there's also my bumper sticker "Cheat the nursing home. Die on your LASER". It's pretty easy to know who I am. And I can hardly approach a perfect stranger and say, "Hi. I am Sir Tillermeister. Are you The Puffin?" He would think I am nuts.

So I do the cool reserved Brit thing and don't introduce myself.

And so ended my David Atlas, J.S. Marshall, R.H. Douglas, Walter Palmer 79th sail.

"Who are
David Atlas, J.S. Marshall, R.H. Douglas and Walter Palmer?" I hear you ask. Well, according to Wikipedia, which is renowned for its truthiness, they are some of the scientists responsible for the early development of weather radar just after the Second World War. So, as I used weather radar to plan the time of my 79th sail, I named it in honor of them.

Contrary to what it says at Askville, I'm pretty sure that it is not true that "Christina Andreas Doppler was the one who invented the Doppler radar in 1842." Quite apart from the fact that Professor Doppler's first name was Christian not Christina, and that he was a guy not a girl, his seminal work on how the observed frequency of waves depends on the relative movement of the observer and the source of the waves,
Über das farbige Licht der Doppelsterne und einiger anderer Gestirne des Himmels, was published about a century before the invention of radar.

You can't believe everything you find on The Google.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sea Lawyer

Sea lawyer

An argumentative and contentious seaman.

2. In sailboat racing, one who argues for the losing side of a protest using convoluted arguments that don't comport with the conventional wisdom of how the rules apply.

3. Someone who appears to know all the angles and methods to escape punishment or who provides legal advice while not a lawyer.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Diana and Joe's House of Only Orange Shirts 78th Sail

Orange is my favorite color.

My favorite regatta T-shirt is orange. It is from CORK 2001. The CORK in Kingston Ontario, not Cork in Ireland. It has a pretty picture of two sailboats on the front and a list of all the classes and events that are part of CORK on the back. Nary a sponsor's name in sight. Putting sponsors' names on T-shirts is so tacky. A classy shirt, if a T-shirt can be classy. Anyway it's much more classy than Edward's tangerine shirt.

Regular readers of this blog, all three of you, may also recall a post from a couple of years ago, You're So Vain, about a sailor and his orange hat. I wonder if you recognized the sailor that I was writing about? You're so vain, I bet you think this blog is about you, don't you, don't you?

Yeah, I love orange. I think it is a very yachtie color. And it harmonizes perfectly with my yellow PFD.

So I was thrilled when Mr. J. Bushkey won first prize in the Where Is This Sea? competition, said prize being name sponsor rights to my 75th sail of 2008, and he chose to name the 75th sail after the famous
Diana and Joe's House of Only Orange Shirts.

Yes, yes, yes. I know that the 75th sail was actually named after the
Bottleport Patent Pending Hydration Solution for Small Sailboats and Other Watercraft. That was a screw-up in the Proper Course Marketing Department. I tell you, those guys down on the 63rd floor are so inundated these days with requests to sponsor my sails that the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing. I fired the Director of Digital Relationship Marketing and two of the Senior E-Commerce Affiliate Marketing Coordinators for failing to handle Mr. Bushkey's prize correctly, so I hope that will serve as a message to the rest of them.

Where was I? Where am I? Oh yes. Orange shirts.

So it was actually my 78th sail of 2008 that was named in honor of the one and only
Diana and Joe's House of Only Orange Shirts. Last weekend my son was staying with us, so on Saturday we headed out for a repeat of my 77th sail, Bristol Harbor to Mount Hope Bridge into Mount Hope Bay, and back. Except this time the wind was stronger, 15 knots gusting to 20, and from the opposite direction, the north. Otherwise, the conditions were identical.

As we sailed south into the mouth of the harbor we escaped the lee of the land and enjoyed the relatively unusual experience of planing near dead downwind in flat water. After catching our breath we reached back and forth for a while in the wide part of the harbor throwing up plumes of spray and the occasional whoop.

"So where shall we go?" I asked the little dude.

After some discussion we decided to go under the bridge and into My Bay. Wow. What an experience. The wind was blowing straight down the full length of the bay, seven miles of interrupted water. It was like some of the sailing I've done on the open ocean at major regattas. Big rolling waves, strong winds, hike your socks off weather. What a workout!

Once we had had enough upwind work we broad reached our way from one side of the bay to the other, over and over, riding those waves, until we reached the bridge. One of the best sailing experiences of the year.

By contrast, the beat back to the top of Bristol Harbor was pretty shitty. Wind coming off the land, all chopped up and shifty and variable. Slam dunk headers. Unpredictable gusts. It was impossible to get in a groove as the wind was changing strength and direction every few seconds. Ah well, you can't have everything.

So a good day out with my son. Congratulations to Mr. J. Bushkey for winning the competition. I never knew that any of my readers were experts in Titan geography. And a big shout-out for my sponsors,
the renowned Diana and Joe's House of Only Orange Shirts.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Tillerman... "Important Enough"

Do you know who I am?

I discovered today that I made the Sailing Hall of Fame. Well, not exactly.

But I did make the "who is who" page which is only for "people who are important enough". Wow. Apparently I am important "enough". (Sailx is the online multi-player tactical sailing simulator that I wrote about last year when it was known as Tacticat.)

But wait. Am I getting the recognition I deserve? I see that some of the other sailors are described in such terms as "one of the strongest sailors on Sailx", "really top quality sailor", and "top team racer, top match racer, sexy". Whereas my entry just says, "You have to read his blog".

Hmmm. Who writes this crap? Don't they know who I am? How come I'm not described as "sexy"?

Actually Sailx is not as much fun as it used to be. In the old days if two boats collided the program would decide which boat it thought was at fault and impose a penalty. Of course it wasn't perfect but, hey, it's only a game and when did you ever meet a perfect protest committee in real life?

But somebody decided to "improve" the game so, now, if you think that another sailor broke a rule and the game didn't apply the rules correctly you can "protest" him. There's a whole forum for these protests where the sea lawyers spend hours arguing the toss back and forth about whose pixels were in the right and whose pixels were in the wrong. Here's an example of one dude pressing his case in favor of his pixels being right ...

So, you are suggesting that R11 and R17 conflict with R18? I disagree and find the opposing arguments insufficient. Rules 11, 17 and 18.2(a) do not conflict and can be applied simultaneously.

The applicable part of R18 required me to give X room to round the mark. I did so. The requirements of R11 that X keep clear of a leeward boat DO NOT conflict with the requirements of R18 that I give room to round. "Room" and "keeping clear" are two DIFFERENT requirements imposed on two DIFFERENT boats and both can (and must) be simultaneously met without conflict.

Likewise, the proper course required by R17.2 is not in conflict with the requirements of room to round under R18. X's proper course around the mark and his proper course after gybing in no way conflicted with my requirement to give him room to do so. In fact, I did give X room to round the mark and to gybe. Contact only occurred because X was sailing below his proper course (R17.2) and failed to keep clear of a leeward boat (R11).

Oh geeze. It's only a game dude. Chill out.

Another example of how bad it has become... Regular readers of this blog, all three of you, will know that I am quite a vocal sailor in real life. Sometimes I like to sing while sailing. Sometimes I hail a magic spell that makes my competitor capsize. I'm much the same in Sailx. One day I was having a free and frank exchange of views with a fellow sailor during a Sailx race and I accidentally typed "u geard" instead of "you heard". This dude then "protested" me for making a derogatory remark and went on the protest forum to recommend that, among other things, I should be banned from the game. Apparently he thought I had called him a "geard"! In what language is "geard" an insult? What does it mean in any case? What a hoot!

Wait a minute. This "who is who" page is part of a wiki. Hmmm. Let's see. Quick edit. Save. That's better.

It now reads: Tillerman. Handsome, sexy and wicked. Thinks Sailx used to be more fun before the sea lawyers ruined it. You have to read his blog.

Truthiness rules.

Take that. You Geard.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Intensity Sails Tyvek Regatta Deck Cover for Laser Sailboats 77th Sail

My Intensity Sails Tyvek Regatta Deck Cover for Laser Sailboats 77th Sail of 2008 was another one of those perfect days for sailing. 10-15 knots out of the south-east. Finger-licking good. Being able to go sailing on days like this is the main reason I retired early from my former existence of driving a desk in a glass box.

I launched out of Independence Park in Bristol, gave the old leg and back muscles a good workout beating out of Bristol Harbor, and then cracked off the wind to sail under Mount Hope Bridge and into Mount Hope Bay, a.k.a. My Bay. There were some real nice swells running under the bridge. I know even less about waves than I do about Laser sailing, but I assume that the waves coming up the Eastern Passage of Narragansett Bay in a southerly are somehow focused into the narrower channel through the bridge and that's why they are bigger there?

I blasted around in My Bay for a while. Did a bit of reconnaissance of the NW shore of Aquidneck leading up to Common Fence Point to see if I could find a decent Laser launching site on My Bay closer to home. I did spot one likely looking beach with some dinghies on it, but a later reconnaissance from the land with son #1 on Saturday morning when we were out for a run confirmed my suspicion that it was a private beach belonging to the local community association.

And then it was time to beat back through the bridge and ride the waves, such as they were, back into Bristol Harbor. And that was it. No fascinating conversations with local fishermen. No bizarre geometrical shapes sailed. Just an old geezer having fun in a Laser on a perfect day for sailing. 77 down. 23 to go.

Is this of any interest or should I write about something earth-shattering that is capturing the attentions of the US voter such as NiemanMarcusGate?

Anyway, thanks to my sponsor
Intensity Sails Tyvek Regatta Deck Cover for Laser Sailboats. Without my sponsor I would haven't interesting things to write about like marsupial poo and would just have to write about sailing. Think how boring that would be...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Intensity Sails Tyvek Regatta Deck Cover for Laser Sailboats

Laser sailors are good people. You can lend a Laser sailor your boat, your car, or even your wife, and expect to get them back in hardly any worse condition than they were before.

But even so... I wouldn't just leave all my Laser gear on my boat overnight at a regatta in plain view. Someone might decide that they just had to take my mast top section to replace the one they broke today. Someone might think that some of my lines needed to be transferred to a more deserving home. Someone might forget to bring their buoyancy aid the next day and assume that it would be OK to "borrow" mine for the day. Etc. Etc.

Of course Laser sailors are good people. But there's no point in putting temptation in their way.

So if I'm at a multi-day regatta I have two choices. Take everything off my boat every night and pack it away in my car or the hotel room; or put a top cover on the boat to cover all my goodies from prying eyes and hope that this will persuade those "good people" Laser sailors to look for easier pickings elsewhere.

In general I prefer the option of putting the cover on. I'm too lazy for the other method.

If I've driven the boat to the regatta on my trailer this is no problem. I have my super heavy duty durable trailable road resistant top cover that I normally use. But if I've flown to the regatta and chartered a boat there is a problem. My usual top cover is way too bulky and way too heavy to pack in my luggage to carry on an airplane.

(I could write a whole post on the shenanigans I go through every time I fly to a regatta to pare my gear down to the airline's weight limits for baggage. But that's for another day.)

So what to do?

Riding to the rescue once again here comes Jim Myers of Intensity sails and his Tyvek Regatta Deck Cover for Laser Sailboats.

Yes Tyvek. That stuff they put on buildings (at least in the USA.) It's water resistant. It's breathable. It's tough. Most important of all it hardly weighs anything at all and you can roll up the Tyvek Regatta Deck Cover for Laser Sailboats into a very small volume and put it on your checked baggage. As with all of Jim's stuff the Tyvek Regatta Deck Cover for Laser Sailboats is very well made with a bungie cord around the edge and reinforcement patches in all the right places.

Jim sent me a Tyvek Regatta Deck Cover for Laser Sailboats to review last year and I took it to the Laser Masters Worlds in Spain in September. Oops. The charter boats in Roses all came with boat top covers provided so I didn't get a chance to try my Tyvek Regatta Deck Cover for Laser Sailboats that I had transported all the way across the Atlantic Ocean.

So a few months later I took my Tyvek Regatta Deck Cover for Laser Sailboats to Australia for this year's Laser Masters Worlds in February. The weather was very rainy at the beginning of the week so the cover got a good test. It passed with flying colors. It kept my boat and gear dry, and nothing got nicked all week.

Yeah, Laser sailors are good people but I felt it only made sense to be careful in a country where many of the citizens celebrate the fact that their ancestors were convicts. Oh, I think that was a gaffe. I just accused all Australians of being potential thieves. Are the press here? OK. Just shoot me.

Where was I? Where am I? Oh yes. The Tyvek Regatta Deck Cover for Laser Sailboats.

I found one slight problem with the cover. I came back to the boat one morning and took off the cover and found the cockpit of my boat full of tiny little shreds of shiny paper and some little brown balls that looked awfully like mouse droppings.

Hmmm. How did that happen? By the way do the they have mice in Australia or is there a marsupial that fills that ecological niche?

The next day... same problem. I investigated a bit further. Why is a mouse/marsupial/random rodent visiting my boat at night? What's the attraction? Then it dawned on me. I had left my PFD in the boat and in the pocket there was a used packet or two of the energy gels that I had been consuming on the water between races.

Obviously the nocturnally-boat-visiting mouse/marsupial/random rodent had been nibbling on the remains of my GU Gel and had been using my Laser cockpit as a toilet. Nice.

So I would give the Tyvek Regatta Deck Cover for Laser Sailboats 99 points out of a possible 100. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who needs a light, durable cover that folds to a compact size. And if Jim would just treat the cover with a marsupial repellent I would give it 100 out of 100.

Intensity Sails Laser Clew Strap 76th Sail

Don't you just love light wind days?

The day after my
Bottleport Patent Pending Hydration Solution for Small Sailboats and Other Watercraft 75th Sail of 2008 I went to the same spot for my Intensity Sails Laser Clew Strap 76th Sail of 2008.

What a difference a day makes! When I arrived at the launch area at Weaver's Cove the winds were light and patchy. Indeed there was very little wind at all close to the shore.

"Is it worth all the effort to take the boat off the trailer and unpack it and rig it, not to mention tying my supertight Intensity Sails Laser Clew Strap, just to drift around aimlessly, and then have to spend all that time derigging etc. etc. ?" asked that little voice in my head.

"Of course it is," said the other little voice in my head. "You're a man on a mission. 100 days or bust. Every day counts, even if the sailing sucks."

So I set up the boat, not forgetting to tie my
supertight Intensity Sails Laser Clew Strap.

I launched in a light northerly so I beat up past the marina for a few minutes.

The wind died.

The wind filled in from the west so I beat over to Prudence Island for a while.

The wind died.

The wind filled in from the south so I beat back towards Dyer Island very very slowly, wondering if I would ever make it back to the boat ramp.

The wind died.

The wind came back from the east so I beat back to the launch area.

I had sailed four sides of a rectangle and every side was a beat.


Oh well. 76 down. 24 to go.

Is this of any interest? Bet you are glad I didn't write about some totally trivial topic like Sarah Palin's clothes instead.

Anyway, thanks to my sponsor Intensity Sails Laser Clew Strap. Without sponsors I would just be some old geezer with a beat-up Laser and an incredibly boring blog.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Intensity Sails Laser Clew Strap

One of the fun things about rigging a Laser is attaching the clew of the sail to the boom. In the good old days of Laser sailing when Gary Jobson was a lad and Anna Tunnicliffe wasn't even a twinkle in her daddy's eye, we used to tie the clew to the boom with a piece of line inventively known as the "clew tie-down".

One thing you need to know is that it's always been part of Laser legend and folklore that you have to have the clew tie-down tied as tightly as possible. This is something to do with leech tension but as I never really understood how sails work in the first place please don't ask me what a tight leech has to do with going fast or pointing high or both. But all the top guys believe it does, so that's good enough for me.

It could be quite a challenge to tie the silly bit of string, oops I mean "clew tie-down line", through the clew and around the boom a couple of times and then finish it off with a square knot (or reef knot as it's known in the civilized world) with the sail flapping around in 30 knots of breeze and the end of the boom trying to knock your nose sideways. Good news was that if you tied it tight you knew you had a tight leech and that was goodness. Bad news was that if you tied it tight the friction between the silly bit of string, oops I mean "clew tie-down line", and the boom was so great that it would be almost impossible to adjust the outhaul but you can't have everything. Actually in the original version of the Laser rigging, before Mr. Tunnicliffe got the twinkle in his eye, it was pretty well impossible to adjust the outhaul while sailing anyway, so it was a moot point.

Anyway all the trouble that we used to take to tie our clew tie-downs tight, tighter, tightest was, in reality, a total waste of time and effort. Because, even though you had used super low-stretch line for the clew tie-down, and even though you had used a double keeper stopper triple overhand square knot to tie down the tie-down, after the first beat you would look at the end of the boom and see that something must have slipped and there was now a quarter of an inch of daylight between the clew of the sail and the boom. This was devastating psychologically because you just knew that you couldn't hold a lane upwind without a tight leech and once the tightness of a man's leech was in question he lost all confidence and was soon being flushed out of the back of the fleet on every start.

But them some bright spark invented the clew tie-down strap. This was a major step forward in naval architecture, up there with the triangular sail, roller furling and spinach. It revolutionized Laser sailing. It's just a little nylon strap that goes through the clew with some velcro patches and a D-ring on it, and you poke one end through the ring and wrap one end over the other and then another flap over the first bit, and hey presto it's fixed.

Yeah right, we all thought. A couple of pieces of velcro are going to stay stuck all day and hold the clew tight to the boom better than my
double keeper stopper triple overhand square knot? We really laughed at the first guy who didn't read the instructions correctly when his velcro came undone halfway through the race and he was left with his clew dangling in the breeze. Ha ha.

But we were wrong. The clew tie-down strap does work (if you read the instructions). The velcro stays stuck all day. It's now pretty well standard equipment for all Laser sailors who understand the value of a tight leech. (And it even works for Laser sailors like me who have no idea of the reason for a tight leech but are just sheep and follow the crowd.)

So in the fullness of time along comes Jim Myers of Intensity Sails and he starts offering a Laser Clew Strap at a ridiculously low price. Really I don't know how he does it. He sent me one of his clew straps in July of last year and I've used it in all the sailing I've done since then. It has worked perfectly every time, and the amazing thing is that it isn't showing any signs of wear after 15 months of hard sailing.

You don't even have to read any instructions. Just watch the video below instead. What could be more cool?

So go and buy a Laser Clew Strap from Jim. His are half the price of the others and twice as good. Well, just as good as far as I can tell. Buy one for yourself. Buy some more as Xmas stocking fillers for all your Lasering friends. Buy some just in case you make some more Lasering friends. Buy one so that the girls at the yacht club will see your tight leech and think you are cute.
Buy one so that the boys at the yacht club will see your tight leech and think you are cute. Be one of the in-crowd. Buy an Intensity Sails Laser Clew Strap. Do it now.

Bottleport Patent Pending Hydration Solution for Small Sailboats and Other Watercraft 75th Sail

My Bottleport Patent Pending Hydration Solution for Small Sailboats and Other Watercraft 75th sail of the year was... was...

Hmmm. How was my 75th sail? It was a week ago. You see, not only am I falling behind the pace to achieve my target of 100 Laser sailing days in 2008, I am also leaving it so long to write a post about each of my Laser sailing days that I am forgetting what happened.

Geeze. Let's see...

Oh yes. It was out of Weaver's Cove in Portsmouth in a 10-15 knot southerly. A bit like the conditions for my Sunshine Desserts 72nd Sail except
it was on the Eastern Passage of Narragansett Bay not the Sakonnet River, and without the dessert. And this part of the bay has steep chop instead of those juicy rolling waves you get on the Sakonnet in a southerly. But apart from being in a different place in different conditions it was identical.

It's getting less busy on the bay on weekday afternoons these days. There was only one other trailer in the boat park when I arrived and a couple of guys unlaunching (is that a word?) a motor boat at the ramp after a fishing expedition. As I rigged, they tried to make conversation with me with comments like...

"If you had a third wheel on that dolly you could sail around the parking lot,"


"How fast does that thing go?"

I dunno. How fast does a Laser go? I don't have a speedo on it, so I have no idea.

"Oh, not fast really," I replied looking at the 200hp outboard on the back of their boat and calibrating what their idea of "fast" was.

"10-15 knots?" one of them asked.

"Maybe, on a reach, when it's planing," I said, having no idea whether that was true or not, but it seemed to satisfy them.

So I went for a blast and enjoyed playing in the Narragansett Bay chop on a sunny afternoon. The tide was low and I could see that the shoal to the south of Dyer island extended a lot further than I had realized before. Hmmm. Last time I was here I probably sailed right across those rocks. Lucky I didn't break my centerboard. I suppose I should look at a chart occasionally before sailing in a new area. Oh well, I will know next time.

So I did the usual circumnavigation of the island and back in time for tea. Finished off with a screaming starboard tack reach from the southern tip of Prudence Island back to Weaver's Cove.

15 knots on a reach? I have no idea. Maybe I'll have to buy one of those nifty Velocitek GPS speedo thingies that the Moth sailors use, then I could write about my scary-fast Lasering speed here. "Actually broke the 4 knot barrier on a beat today" and stuff like that.

Or maybe, with the weather rapidly getting colder I should get a thermometer and record the water temperature on each sail and blog about that?

Is this of any interest whatsoever or should I write about Joe the Plumber instead?

Anyway, thanks to my sponsor
Bottleport Patent Pending Hydration Solution for Small Sailboats and Other Watercraft. Without sponsors I would just be some old geezer with a beat-up old Laser and a boring blog.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Last Bucket

Thanks to everyone who participated in our Sailing Bucket List Group Writing Project. I really appreciate the efforts of all of you who put your minds to the question of what sailing ambitions and dreams you want to achieve in the rest of your lives.

I particularly enjoyed both the similarities of and the differences between all your lists. Many people had goals involving their relationships with family and friends (or in one case an unknown husband-to-be) and their part in your future sailing lives. Several of you had ambitious cruising plans to far-flung destinations. But there were also aspirations for other kinds of sailing challenges that could be realized closer to home.

I decided to select one item from each of your lists to create a grand "sailing bloggers' bucket list of bucket lists" representative of the combination of all of your original lists. So here it is... along with links to the posts with the original submissions.

  1. Live in a place where the water is warm all year long and the winds are fair - Joe Rouse. (And thanks to Joe for the bucket full of beer.)

  2. Trace a historical route such as that from the Odyssey that takes me through the Mediterranean and Northern Africa and Greece - Gregory Little.

  3. Get my wife to actually like sailing and spend much of our retirement together on a sailboat - O docker.

  4. Help my friend qualify for the US Men's Sailing Championship (the Mallory Cup) - Carol Anne.

  5. Spend a Northern Hemisphere winter in Kribati and surf deserted reef passesevery day, while living off the hook - Greg and Kris.

  6. Sail high latitudes - Captain JP.

  7. Sail offshore with my daughter - Edward.

  8. Sail to Osaka, Japan, the sister city of San Francisco via Hawaii, the Marshall Islands, Guam and Okinawa - Zen.

  9. Windsurf with an old friend who I haven't seen in ages who sails out of Fogland, and catch Sir Tillermeister on the water - Peconic Puffin (fifth comment on this post.)

  10. Write "Cruising Guide to the Southwest" - Pat (first comment on this post.)

  11. Sail in a boat my husband built - some_day_soling.

  12. Sail a catamaran on one hull - Dean Fulton.

  13. Honeymoon in Bermuda and sail a dinghy across the Great Sound - Christy.

  14. Sail with the most beautiful girl in the world - Tillerman.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Greg Little, the author of today's Bucket List post, is the inventor of the Bottleport a "patent pending hydration solution for small sailboats and other watercraft." It's one of those devices that is so well suited for its purpose that once you've seen it you wonder why nobody has ever thought of it before. Essentially it is a bottle holder that screws into one of the standard 5" inspection ports often fitted to small sailboats. It has the same watertight seal as the original lid for the port and provides a way to hold a drink container that is totally secure, and easily accessible with one hand.

Having experimented for 25 years with various other homemade solutions for carrying a water bottle on a Laser I was immediately attracted to the elegance of this solution. Greg sent me a prototype, and my son and I tested it out on our sails on the last couple of weekends. What can I say? It works exactly as advertised. No problems whatsoever.

We actually tested it on my son's boat which already has an inspection port. I'm now planning to fit a port to my boat so I can use the Bottleport myself every time I go sailing. I think I'm probably going to fit it in the rear deck so that it's out of the way and so there's no chance that my control lines could get tangled in it. (Regular readers of my blog, all three of you, will know that every line on my boat has the amazing ability to tie itself in knots and to tangle itself around any other object in the vicinity.)

Check out the Bottleport website which has more photos, videos, FAQ, everything you would want to know. The Bottleport goes on sale tomorrow, October 20. It's the perfect present for the Laser sailor in your life.

Update: An alternative way to mount the Bottleport on a Laser, in the cockpit sidewall.

Gregory Little's Bucket List

1. Sail alone across an ocean where I am out of sight of land for at least two weeks.

2. Do #1 with these people here:

3. Do #1 alone without a motor.

4. Do #1 alone without a motor, relying on celestial navigation and dead reckoning, not GPS. And avoid becoming one of those awful classic stories of starvation and despair that I can't get enough of.

5. Trace a historical route such as that from the Odyssey that takes me through the Mediterranean and Northern Africa and Greece.

6. Do #5 and not have stolen out of my car immediately afterwards the address book that contains every single person I met for a year and a half of travel around the world, as happened after I spent a year and a half surfing around the world in my early 20s.

7. Own a wooden boat that looks something like this...

...and have the knowledge and patience to rebuild any part of her that might require it.

8. Take that feeling that comes when a critical situation arises on the water and my heart is racing but I know exactly what needs to be done and I do it competently...and apply it more often to life in general.

9. Do #2 and not have young Henry feel that his dad is an autocrat because sometimes things need to be done in a certain way and at a specific time so that he rebels by hating to sail. To flip that around to the positive side...find a way to build a relationship with my son as he grows older so that he feels he can rely on me for counsel, love and trust without feeling that he's giving up his own individuality in order to do so.

10. Have empathy for all those who don't feel the same magic from being on the water and not try TOO HARD to change them.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Why I Don't Have a Bucket List

My frequent commenter Mr O'Docker sent me these thoughts on bucket lists...

Reading Tillerman's post, and Edward's, I saw many familiar thoughts about compiling a 'bucket list'.

I didn't think I had enough 'must-do's' to make a decent list, either.

I've never crossed an Ocean, but that's fine with me. I have sailed in some cool places and don't feel like I need to add many more to the list. (OK, I've got to sail St. Barts, but that's it - really.)

If I have one 'great quest' it's to sail down the California coast, from San Francisco to Catalina, taking my time and stopping in as many harbors as possible. But even that is no heroic feat. There's not much risk in it and hundreds of people do it every year.

But I think I may have already achieved one of the most elusive accomplishments any sailor can - one that both Tillerman and Edward mention. I've gotten my spouse to actually like sailing.

This is a subject that almost deserves its own blog (the next writing project?). Since man first went down to the sea in ships, he's been trying to get woman to go along. Sometimes, the roles are reversed, but not often. My own struggle has lasted almost 25 years (and began on one of those confounded Lasers). But finally, this summer, we did our first long trip out the Gate and my wife returned eager to go again. There's a good chance now that we may spend much of our retirement afloat - together, on a sailboat, of all things.

How cool is that? I'm a very lucky man.

I may need a bucket, but not a list.

More Bucket Lists

In the last few days there has been a flurry of last minute entries for our group writing project on Sailing Bucket Lists...

Carol Anne's son recently left for college and as she contemplates what to do with her new-found "empty nest freedom" she asks Bucket... what bucket?

Edward feels that he has done all the big stuff worth doing... crossed oceans, survived gales, swung from the hook in beautiful places, seen the QE2... so in Two Buckets of Sound Construction he writes about spending time on the water with his kids and how he wants to spend his golden years.

Peconic Puffin told us about his bucket list in the comments to my Apathy Index post. His list is mainly about some ideas for meeting up with some of his blogging friends. I'll look out for you Puffin.

And Pat wrote his bucket list in the comments to this post. His ideas on the things he absolutely must do before he dies range from completing some ocean races to mounting the replacement rear light on his Sunfish trailer. Hmmm. Whatever floats your boat.

You can still participate in this writing project. Full details at Bucket List Group Writing Project. I'll post a summary of all the entries early next week.

Update: another bucket list just in from someone who has only been lurking on this blog up to now. Some_day_soling has a sailing bucket list which includes some ambitious cruises, sailing in a boat her husband has built, and a mysterious final goal.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Tillerman's Bucket List

A couple of weeks ago I challenged readers to this blog to tell us their "sailing bucket lists", the sailing ambitions and dreams that they wanted to achieve in the rest of their lives. Apparently it was not an easy question to answer for some folk. Perhaps that is natural. People who expect to live for many decades probably do find it hard to focus on drawing up one of those "must do before I die" lists. We are all caught up so much in day-to-day living and don't often plan our sailing activities more than a year or so ahead at best.

When I turned myself to the question I found it a difficult assignment too. I really don't have many of those "must do" sailing ambitions. Apparently my mind doesn't work that way. When thinking about what sailing dreams I would want to pursue, I found myself thinking in generalities rather than specifics; and I discovered that the ideas that came to me were more about what to include in every year in my sailing life. Stuff like: "Every year sail somewhere I've never sailed before."

At first I felt like I had failed at the challenge I had thrown out to others. But then I realized that a list of "Every year do ...." items might not be a bad "bucket list" after all. Because as my old buddy Marcus Aurelius said, "Live not one's life as though one had a thousand years, but live each day as the last." Not everyone (thankfully) is put in the position of the two main characters in the movie "Bucket List" of being told how long they had left to live. So the only sensible thing to do is to live every day -- and by extension every year -- as if it will be your last. Because one day it will be.

So with no more apologies here is my sailing bucket list.

  1. Every year sail somewhere new.
    This is as specific as I want to be about the ideas I was bouncing around last week of whether I should set goals like "sail in all 50 states" or "sail a world championship on every continent". I find the 50 state thing to be way too artificial. On the other hand I do want to explore other parts of North America and other countries in the world that I haven't visited before. And sailing in those places is, for me, often the best excuse to make such trips. It would be fun to sail in California or in the southwestern US, to mention a couple of suggestions posted in the comments here during this project. I've never been to Africa and it would be cool to sail a major regatta as part of a trip there. Nearer to home I really do want to sail Laser regattas in Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire, beautiful states in which I've never Lasered before. Maybe those three (plus Nova Scotia) will be enough for 2009.

  2. Every year learn at least one new skill.
    Contrary to the impressions I may sometimes give here I am not a totally fanatical blinkered rabid Laser sailor. I do enjoy other ways of having fun on the water. But I do need to push myself to explore new opportunities and learn new skills. I am going to learn to kayak one year soon. I'm tempted to take some coastal cruising courses. One day I am going to master sailing with a spinnaker and trapezing, maybe both at once. Celestial navigation sounds like a really cool subject. The possibilities are endless.

  3. Every year give something back to the sport.
    In the first few years of my retirement I did a lot of things that supported the sailing of others (as well as sailing a lot myself). I was a class association regional coordinator, a sailing instructor, the organizer of a junior regatta series, a sailing club newsletter editor, a fleet captain, a race officer... all sorts of stuff. When we moved from New Jersey I gave up all those jobs and haven't yet picked up any similar responsibilities where I live now. That's not good enough. It's up to all of us who enjoy sailing to do something to support the sport. Especially retired folk like me with plenty of time on our hands.

  4. Every year introduce at least one new person to the sport. Same kind of rationale as number 3. Actually one of the most rewarding things you can do in sailing is pass on your enthusiasm and knowledge to newcomers to the sport. In my years as an instructor I'm sure I must have brought in more people to sailing than years I am old. I should keep up my average. I don't think I motivated one single person to sail this year. Not good enough again. On the other hand I did apparently inspire Polyphony to buy a Laser and I did go out with her for her first Laser sail.

  5. Introduce my grandchildren (born and as yet unborn) to the joys of having fun on the water. I'm looking forward to boating with my grandkids. I hope there's some sailing involved. And I hope they like it. But I also hope that I will have the wisdom to understand if they don't end up sharing my passion for sailing. After all, they have Tillerwoman's genes as well as mine, and sailing just ain't her thing.

  6. Every year scare myself sailing at least once.

  7. Sail with the most beautiful girl in the world.

Radials Rule

The Laser Radial is a version of the Laser with a shorter bottom mast section and a radial cut sail (duh) which has a smaller sail area than the standard rig sail. As such, the Radial is a perfect option for people who aren't heavy enough to manage a standard rig Laser in a real blow.

Depending on who you believe, the Radial is the right option for sailors under 170 lbs (Ryan Minth), 165 lbs (RYA) or 155 lbs (International Laser Class). Whatever. I guess it all depends on what kind of wind conditions you are talking about and how advanced your skills are.

The real point is that the Laser Radial is a better option than the standard rig for smaller sailors. As such it has become popular among women (it is the women's Olympic singlehanded class) and for junior sailing. It ought to be more popular among smaller adult men who fall in the target weight range but, at least in the USA, there is some reluctance among that group to sail Radials. It's a bit of a macho thing; some of them don't want to sail a boat that they perceive as more suited for kids and women.

There are major international championships for Radials. And at some of the larger Laser regattas there are often large Laser fleets that have separate starts from the full rig fleets.

But there's a problem at the club level and at smaller regattas. One of those classic chicken and egg problems. Usually at this level there are only a small number of Radial sailors so they typically start and race with the standard rig fleets. Of course, with a smaller sail area, Radials are generally slower than standard rigs. Although it is interesting to see how a skilled Radial sailor can usually beat a less skilled full rig sailor, especially in heavier winds and when the full rig guy doesn't have the ability to sail the boat flat in those conditions.

So, at these events the Radial sailors usually finish somewhere down the fleet. Sure, there is often a cup or a plaque for First Radial. But everyone knows that this doesn't count as much as the "real" First Place trophy. It's a bit like those consolation prizes for "Second Old Geezer Between 55 and 65" that (on my better days) I sometimes win.

And here's the chicken and egg problem. More Laser Radial sailors would probably show up to these club and local events if there were a separate start and the Radials could race in a fleet of their own. But the race committee doesn't usually want to bother with the hassle of another fleet if there are only two or three Radials racing.

So I was pleased to see that my old frostbite fleet at Cedar Point Yacht Club has "bitten the bullet" on this one and has decided to offer a separate start for Laser Radials in their racing this winter.

Here is their press release...

Cedar Point Yacht Club in Westport, CT, already home to one of the largest Laser fleets in the country, is pleased to announce that they are expanding their successful frostbite program to include a separate Radial Fleet start. Seeking to capitalize on the enormous popularity of the Radial rig in junior sailing and also to provide a competitive outlet for juniors deeper into the season, the Radials will start several minutes behind the full rigs.

Fleet Captain Steve Fisk pointed out
that Radials aren’t just for juniors and that many adults who aren’t big enough or physically able to hang onto a full rig on a breezy day should also find the option attractive. “With over 100 boats in our fleet, we have the critical mass and organizational skills to make this a huge success. The club is behind it 100%."

10 weeks of racing begins October 12, 2008. NOR.

Good for them.

Of course Cedar Point is not the only frostbite fleet in New England. I wrote a couple of years ago about other fleets in Something Special Happening in New England. I think the information in that post is still correct. I certainly plan to be sailing this winter with the Newport Laser Fleet, assuming I don't pull some risky and dangerous move to injure myself again as I did last year this month.

By they way, a lot of the people who sail in these Laser frostbite fleets in the winter are folk who sail other classes in the summer, and who want to keep their skills sharp during the winter for when they return to their "other boat" next summer. I've seen sailors of other single-handed classes, two-man dinghies, keelboats, even serious ocean going racers in these frostbite fleets. So even if you're not a Laser sailor, you should give it a shot.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Captain JP's Bucket and a Latter Day Viking

My rant of the week, accusing all my readers of apathy, has provoked at least one person to write an entry in our Bucket List Group Writing Project. Captain JP has definitely entered into the spirit of the challenge in his Sailing Bucket List which includes some ambitious ocean journeys he has in mind to complete before he kicks the bucket.

Among other things, the good captain has a yen to "sail high latitudes". Which reminds me of a former colleague of mine who had a similar ambition. In 1997 he and his wife retraced the paths of the Vikings by crossing the Atlantic in a 37-foot sailboat via Iceland, Greenland and Newfoundland. Along the way they visited Viking settlements, as well as having various other high latitude adventures such as an encounter with a polar bear. After the voyage my friend wrote a book about his voyage, which is sort of a combination of a cruising log and Viking history. If sailing high latitudes is your thing, check out the book To the Lands of the Vikings by Trevor Hodgson.

There are still a couple of days left if anyone else is inspired to enter the Bucket List Group Writing Project.


Check out a new sailing video site

Here's how the creator of the site Chris Love describes his vision...

I'm going to provide you with the most current, interesting and entertaining video from the most important faces and places in sailing. Every day I'll be putting up new videos about regattas, team racing, team practices, training, coaching, advice, rules and lots of other stuff that's just plain interesting. I want you to use the site to learn, improve, and hear from the top minds in sailing.

Right now the main focus of is college sailing but Chris plans to branch out to other areas as well. Actually I found it refreshing to find a site that covers college sailing in such detail. There are interviews with coaches and sailors, videos of drills and practice session... Plenty to enjoy and plenty to learn from.

Chris is going to be covering two upcoming events that will be of special interest to anyone who follows Laser sailing, or who wants to see the up and coming generation of young American sailors in action. The High School Singlehanded Championship (Cressy Trophy) is this weekend and the College Singlehanded Nationals is next weekend. Chris will be posting video every day of both three-day events.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Dean Fulton's Sailing Bucket List

Near term:

Sail a catamaran on one hull.

Windsurf from Benicia to Suisun.

Take a cruise ship somewhere, anywhere.

Sail the High Sierra Regatta in a Lido 14.

Rent a boat to sail to Catalina.

Long term:

Sail from SF to Newport Beach, and back.

Sail to Hawaii, and back.

Buy a boat able to do the above.

Have the time to do the above.

Have the money to do the above.

Take every class available so as to have the knowledge to do the above.

Gain the experience to do the above.

Apathy Index Hits New High

My Bucket List Group Writing Project continues to create unprecedented apathy in the sailing blogosphere. The subject clearly has no interest for most of my regular contributors. I guess I'm losing it.

Looking on the bright side, there is a contribution from Greg and Kris who have a relatively new sailing blog Log of the s/v Clarity. They live in Oregon and their sailing bucket list starts with...

  1. Liveaboard.
  2. Cross the Columbia Bar, turn to port, go South for a month.

And it just gets better from there with nine more fabulous adventures. These two sure know how to dream. I hope they make their dreams come true. Check it out.

By the way, and nothing to do with the above, I received a letter from John McCain yesterday. He wants me to send him thirty five bucks so he can "tell the truth". Hmmm. Why didn't he say before? If that's all it would take I would have sent him some truth dollars before.

So if you want to make a grumpy old man happy you have two choices...
  1. Send John McCain $35.
  2. Write an entry for my Sailing Bucket List Group Writing Project.
Your choice.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Stud Boy, Lead Dog, Advance Powder Coating, Etc. Etc. 74th Sail

My Stud Boy, Lead Dog, Advance Powder Coating, Anchorage Drag Bike, Anchorage Suzuki Arctic Cat, Arctic Cat, Citgo, Crowley, Davis Block, Debenham Investments, Fairbanks Gold, Fine Line Interiors, Guardian Security, L&M Supplies, Dillingham, Pacific Alaska Leasing, Renton Coil Springs, Ron Davis, Ron Zugg Shocks, Speedwerx, Spenard Builders Supply, United Steel Workers Local 4959, Wasilla Arctic Cat 74th Sail of 2008 was a very special occasion. Special because it was only the second time this year that I sailed with my son.

I do understand why he hasn't been able to sail much this summer. First of all he was getting established in a new job while taking evening law school classes, graduating this May, and then studying to take the bar exam. Also, he and his wife decided this summer would be the perfect time to have their second baby. Just to make life more interesting they thought it would also be fun to put their house on the market, and then accepted an offer on their home when their new son was three weeks old, without any idea of where they were going to live next.

With all that going on, I really did understand why it would probably not have been a smart move for him to say, "Bye dear, I'm off to sail with my Dad all weekend at the Buzzards Bay Regatta. See you Sunday night."

But this weekend I did persuade him to join me for an hour or so of light air sailing on the Sakonnet. Just like the old days. We headed down the river for a while and then the wind died. Stud Boy stood up in his boat and started rocking it around towards the west where he thought he saw a wind line. I chilled out and used my extra-sensory wind perception powers to find a new wind to the north. Once we were both in some sort of wind we beat upriver and I crossed him by about a hundred yards just to rub it in that the the old dog is still the Lead Dog.

I think Stud Boy was enjoying it. When I suggested we head back to the beach he persuaded me to stay out longer. I guess he wanted to make the best of one of the few sailing days he will have this year. Though perhaps he will be able to join me for some frostbiting once they are settled in their new house.

Why all those sponsors for my 74th sail? Well if they would sponsor these dudes, why not me? What do they have that I don't?

Squirrel Soup

OK. In retrospect last week probably wasn't the best time possible to ask you to think about your "bucket list".

After all, the movie Bucket List was all about a couple of old geezers doing various extravagant things in what they both assumed was the last year of their lives. One of the dudes was filthy rich and he financed their spectacular round-the-world vacation.

With the financial news last week, most of you were probably wondering if you would ever be able to afford to retire, let alone visit the Pyramids or go skydiving; or if already retired you were trying to work out whether to give up sailing, stop buying gas for the car, or cut back on eating first. Some of you, in anticipation of another Great Depression, may even have been searching for recipes for squirrel soup.

But our group writing project on your sailing bucket list is still open. So switch off the news, imagine that you will be able to afford to pursue any and all of your sailing dreams, and tell the world what sailing adventures you want to enjoy before kicking that proverbial bucket. Full details at Bucket List Group Writing Project.

Monday, October 13, 2008

What Happened and Why



From The Economist, 1987

Where Is This Sea?

Where is this sea? I have blanked out the coordinates so it isn't too easy for you.

Prize for the first correct entry... you win the rights to sponsor my 75th Laser sail of 2008.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Caramel-Brorst Polanskified Terrafirmatrically Solanderizised Radiotopicallyistic Flummery 73rd Sail

My Caramel-Brorst Polanskified Terrafirmatrically Solanderizised Radiotopicallyistic Flummery 73rd Sail was on a beautiful autumn afternoon on Upper Narragansett Bay.

Your what?

My 73rd Laser sailing day of 2008 as sponsored by... those guys. I can't be bothered to write out the full name again.

What's the deal with these weird sponsor names? Is it supposed to be funny or something?

Well that guy called "anonymous" who is always leaving comments here suggested a couple of weeks ago that I ought to do more marketing of my quest to sail 100 days in a year and should secure some sponsorship. A bit like Reid Stowe and his 1000 Days at Sea. He has sponsors doesn't he?

Yeah, but you're not fooling anybody. We all know you are just pretending to have sponsors. They are just made up names. What's the point?

Point? Does everything have to have a point? Blogging is all totally pointless.

I still don't get it.

Well, the first two sponsors were pretty obvious weren't they? The makers of my sunglasses on a day of amazing visibility. And then being inspired by John McCain's "I have a pen" speech.

I don't like it when you get political. I thought this was supposed to be a sailing blog.

However did you get that idea?

I don't know. But I did know those two sponsors that you stole from TV shows, Dunder Mifflin from The Office, and Sunshine Desserts from The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin.

Stole? That's a bit harsh.

But what was that weird one about flue gas desulfurization? I didn't get that.

Aaaah. That was a test. To see if people who followed Laser sailing, or for that matter Olympic sailing in general, ever noticed who was sponsoring the sailors.

You're not going to tell me that an Olympic Laser Sailor was sponsored by Oglebay Norton Flue Gas Desulfurization, are you?

Well actually, yes.

That's Anna Tunnicliffe. She won the Laser Radial gold medal in China. So what?

Who was her main sponsor?

I dunno. I think it says Carmeuse on her sail.

And what do they do?

Don't have a clue? Who cares?

Well, I guess Carmeuse cares. If a company sponsors an Olympic sailor don't you think the company would want the world to notice who they are and perhaps have some idea what they do?

What do they do anyway? Oh no. Don't tell me...

Yes. Check out the Carmeuse website. They are a lime and limestone producer. And the first application listed for their products on that web page is Flue Gas Desulfurization. And last year they bought another company in that field, Oglebay Norton.



So all those people making fun of you for having Oglebay Norton Flue Gas Desulfurization as a "sponsor" were actually laughing at Anna's main sponsor?

I wouldn't say that. Anna is a real Laser sailor. And she has earned the respect of the whole sailing world with her accomplishments.


Anyway, As I was saying
my Caramel-Brorst Polanskified Terrafirmatrically Solanderizised Radiotopicallyistic Flummery 73rd Sail was on a beautiful autumn afternoon on Upper Narragansett Bay...

I give up.