Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Breaking the Rules

Which of the Racing Rules of Sailing are broken the most frequently?

It's a tough question on which to find hard data. It's not necessarily the same as the frequency at which protest committees find violations of the various Rules. Or the frequency in which competitors voluntarily take on-the-water penalties. Or even the rate at which protests are made. I'm asking about actual Rule violations, protested or not, accepted or not.

The clever folk who run the online racing simulator SailX have come up with an answer for their environment. They measured the total number of Rules breaches recognized by their Rules Engine in one year in just a couple of their sailing fields. The grand total was 661,023!

More interestingly the histogram above shows the breakdown by Rule of some of the most common breaches on SailX. For those of you who (like me) can't always remember their Rule 15 from their Rule 16, here is a cheat sheet.

Rule 10 - On Opposite Tacks
Rule 11 - On the Same Tack, Overlapped
Rule 12 - On the Same Tack, Not Overlapped
Rule 13 - While Tacking
Rule 15 - Acquiring Right of Way
Rule 16 - Changing Course
Rule 17 - On the Same Tack; Proper Course
Rule 18 - Mark Room
Rule 21 - Starting Errors; Taking Penalties; Moving Astern

And if you don't have all of the Rules remembered by heart here is a link to the full Racing Rules of Sailing.

It's no surprise to me that the most common breach is of Rule 18 - Mark Room. SailX mark roundings are almost as crowded, confused and chaotic as they are in our local Laser frostbite fleet.

The Rules Engine also has some pretty good logic for calling the next two most frequent breaches, Rule 15 - Acquiring Right of Way and Rule 16 - Changing Course, but I don't think there are that many protests under those Rules in real life. That's not to say that they aren't regularly broken though.

So what do you think? Is this similar to the breakdown you see in real racing? What do you think the three most frequently breached Rules are? If the SailX pattern is different from real life, why would that be?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sailing to St. Lucia

As Britain shivers in its coldest spell for 25 years, Captain JP dreams he could escape by sailing to St. Lucia. Who can blame him?

Bonus points for anyone who can name the schooner in the photo and triple bonus points for anyone who can say where she is now.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Thanksgiving is over. Xmas is coming. The stores are playing Xmas music and are full of stuff, more stuff, stuff you never knew existed, stuff you don't need, stuff your friends don't need, stuff you will buy anyway... of course.

The weather is getting colder. There are hardly any boats left on the moorings. They are all tucked up in their shrink-wrap coats for the winter, packed gunwhale to gunwhale on dry land. The hardy souls are frostbiting. Brrrrr!

Is it just me or is anyone else already coming down with a bad case of cabin fever? Do you feel the need to say, "Bah humbug! Forget Xmas shopping. I need to fly to St. Somewhere. I need warm water and a tiller in my hand. And afterwards I need palm trees and sand between my toes and rum drinks with little umbrellas"?

If you could escape to anywhere in the world this December, where would you go, what would you be doing?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mongolian Beef

I have a strange relationship with the Thanksgiving holiday. Unexpected things happen to me at Thanksgiving. So every year I get this odd feeling that something surprising is going to happen.

My first Thanksgiving in America was in 1989. A colleague from work invited my family to spend Thanksgiving with his family. Wonderful! How generous! We would have a chance to experience a real American family Thanksgiving.

Except my colleague phoned me early on Thanksgiving morning to say that his daughter had taken ill with some dreadful highly infectious disease and that, unless I wanted to put my own kids at risk of catching the dreadful highly infectious disease, then we had better not come to his house. Oops. What a surprise!

Do you know how difficult it is to buy a turkey on Thanksgiving morning?

A few years later we decided to spend Thanksgiving at the Bitter End Yacht Club in the BVI. They were promising a Family Fun Week with lots of activities arranged for the kids and a special Thanksgiving Dinner for all. What could be better? Fun in the sun and Dad gets to play with boats all week.

When we arrived at Newark airport to fly to the BVI we discovered that the American Airlines flight attendants had decided that this would be an excellent week to go on strike. After several fruitless hours at the airport we finally realised that there was no way we would be able to fly to the BVI in time for Thanksgiving. What a surprise!

So we went home. The kids were off school. I had booked a week off work. There was no way I wasn't going to have some kind of vacation. Do you know how difficult it is to book a last minute vacation in Thanksgiving week? In the end we went skiing for a few days at Killington. There wasn't much snow, but hey it was better than going back to work.

Five years ago Tillerwoman and I were spending Thanksgiving with my son and his wife in Massachusetts. We had had an excellent family Thanksgiving with my daughter-in-law's extended family on the Thursday, and on the Saturday evening the four of us went out for a Chinese meal at a local restaurant.

She says it was the Mongolian Beef that did it. Shortly after returning home, my daughter-in-law suddenly made a strange expression and said, "Uh oh! I think my waters just broke." A few hours later I became a grandfather for the first time. What a surprise!

Thanksgiving always seems to deliver a surprise. I wonder what it will be this year?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Little Cotton Socks

O Docker, bless his little cotton socks, called it right six weeks ago. In The Thrill of Victory he drew our attention to the terms negotiated by the City of San Francisco with the current holders of the America's Cup for the "privilege" of hosting the next AC in their beautiful city by the bay. The perceptive and persistent Mr. Docker searched through all the legalese in the terms and discovered that the city by the bay was planning to give away 66 and 75 year leases on 25 acres of prime waterfront property for aforementioned "privilege". And the lucky fellow who would be the beneficiary of this windfall would, of course, be a certain Lawrence Joseph Ellison. What a shocker!

Now another clever West Coast dude called Harvey Rose, bless his little cotton socks, has been crunching some numbers and worked out that the "privilege" of hosting AC 34 will cost San Francisco as much as $128 million. Harvey is not as prominent in the blogosphere as Mr. Docker, but Harvey works in the San Francisco Budget Analyst's Office, so I guess he knows a thing or two about budgets and costs and has produced some very fancy spreadsheets to support his case. Nice work Harvey!

What a wonderful, generous bunch the people of San Fransisco are! They want to shell out $128 million of their own hard-earned dough in these difficult economic times to help make the sixth richest man in the world even richer. It sure is in the finest tradition of voodoo trickle-up economics.

Meanwhile, back in Newport, the real home of the America's Cup, the America's Cup RI 2013 Planning Committee didn't lose heart when they were told that there wouldn't be an America's Cup RI 2013. They switched gears and are now working hard on preparing to host an America’s Cup pre-regatta in Newport in September 2012. Apparently Mr. Russell Coutts, bless his little cotton socks, has told the chaps in Rhode Island that there will be pre-regattas and that, "Newport will be given top priority for any such regattas in the USA." I should hope so!

The plans for the pre-regatta include upgrading Fort Adams, home of the famous Laser Fleet 413, into a world-class sailing center which could be used to host future sailing events. As far as I can tell there are no plans to donate Fort Adams State Park or any other parcels of Newport prime waterfront property to Lawrence Joseph Ellison, bless his little cotton socks. I should hope not!

Is it just my perverted perspective, or does it seem like that when you win you really lose, and that when you lose you really win?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Died 22 November 1963 R.I.P.

Fit to Sail?

Do I sail a Laser to keep fit? Or keep fit to sail a Laser? What's the relationship between fitness and sailing for me?

As they say in one of the Facebook options for Relationship Status ... it's complicated. It's both I suppose. And neither entirely. Is the prop driving the wheels or are the wheels driving the prop? It's complicated.

My personal relationship with physical fitness is complicated for sure. At school I hated sports and avoided them as much as I could. It was probably something to do with the way the English educational system worked at the time which meant that, while I might have been one of the smartest kids in my class, I was also by far the youngest (18 months younger than the class average) and therefore one of the smallest and weakest and least physically developed of my so-called peers.

Rugby? Big kids knocking me over in the mud.

Cross-country? Big kids running faster through the mud than me and leaving me behind.

Cricket? Big kids throwing a hard ball at my head.

What was there to like? There was no me in team.

I never really got over my aversion to sports and physical exercise in my college years... apart from my brief flirtation with rowing which was fun if not exactly a huge success.

In my first job after graduation I was lucky in falling in with a group of guys who were into hill-walking in all weathers in the mountains of Wales (where we lived.) I began to appreciate the joys of the great outdoors and even to take a pleasure in overcoming physical challenges.

I tried white-water kayaking too. Disastrous.

I tried rock-climbing. Whoah. Not good for someone scared of heights.

In my next job the folk at work played games like squash and badminton, and I joined in. But it was more for social reasons than anything else. I was never any good at either game really.

In my thirties I started running. Entered some races. Was never any good at that either but for some weird reason I stuck with it. Probably an ideal sport for an anti-social bastard like me.

I had tried sailing on odd occasions but had never done it regularly. That all changed when one day on vacation in Menorca I had my first sail on a Laser. There was something about the responsiveness and acceleration and closeness to the water of the experience of Laser sailing that grabbed me in the first few minutes... and it hasn't let go of me for nigh on thirty years.

I was somewhat surprised at first to discover that you need to be physically fit to sail a Laser properly. But after a while I began to appreciate that Laser sailing gave me a good workout and also gave me a motivation to keep fit.

So do I sail the Laser to keep fit? That's not the prime reason I sail it by any means, but it is a beneficial side-effect of sailing the Laser. That's probably one of the reasons I keep sailing the Laser rather than a boat which wouldn't physically challenge me so much. I like it that it challenges me. I don't always like it when I fail the challenge, but hey that goes with the game.

When I fail to perform on the water at the level I expect of myself because of a lack of stamina or strength or flexibility or agility, it (sometimes) motivates me to work on my fitness to improve my sailing. I'm very much in that phase now. My pathetic performance at the Laser Masters Worlds in September made me angry with myself. I channeled that anger into working on my fitness. In the last couple of months I have had a much stronger motivation to work out than I can remember ever having before. And I have been able to work consistently on various aspects of my fitness. I hope I can maintain this momentum through the dark months of winter and into next summer's sailing season. Then we will see if it pays off in sailing performance.

So do I keep fit to sail? To an extent. That may be a major part of my motivation to work out and get fitter. But of course the more important reason is that we all need to stay fit, especially so as we grow older. As I wrote over four years ago in How to Grow Old...

It's better to have a long, healthy, active old age than to be a grumpy old geezer who can't climb upstairs without running out of breath or breaking a leg...

And study after study has shown that loss of muscle strength, not disease, is the major factor that limits the chances of older people living an independent life until death. And the natural decline in muscle strength that sets in after the age of 50 can easily be reversed through a simple training program.

It's complicated. Is the prop driving the wheels or are the wheels driving the prop? I don't know. It's magic.

I think I'll go to bed now.

Friday, November 19, 2010


OMG Granddad!

What's up Owen?

OMG! Did you see that cart going faster than the wind dead downwind?

Yes Owen. Amazing, isn't it?

Sure is Granddad. How does it do that?

I don't know Owen. I'm hoping one of the many smart readers of my blog will explain it to us.

OMG! I thought you knew everything Granddad?

Not quite everything Owen.

And another thing Granddad. What's the right acronym for this kind of sailing? I see the video in your post calls it DDFTTW. But I see that some people call it DDWFTTW. Which is right?

I don't know Owen.

OMG! Something else you don't know Granddad.

Owen, why do you keep saying "OMG"?

I don't know Granddad. I think I saw people using it on Facebook. What does it mean?

I'll explain it when you're a bit older Owen.

OK Granddad. I think I'll go to bed now.

OK Owen. Sleep tight.


Is it possible to build a craft that will "sail" dead downwind faster than the wind (DDFTTW)?

Watch the video. It certainly looks like that cart is sailing DDFTTW. How can that be possible? Is this an illusion, a fake, a scam? If it's real, how does it work? What's the science behind it?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My Rowing Career

My post last week about bumps charts and the video above (which I discovered on Chris Partridge's Rowing for Pleasure blog) reminded me of my rowing career...

In my second year at college, a group of my friends and I (all with zero rowing experience) decided that we would enter an eight in the Cambridge May Bumps. There is a long and honorable tradition of inexperienced amateurs rowing in the Bumps in the lower divisions. I think we were in the 7th Division (out of 8) but we were probably one of the worst crews ever to chance our luck.

By the way, if you have no idea what "bumps" is all about you should first read May Bumps on Wikipedia (which is renowned for its truthiness.) I don't see any point in explaining it all again here.

A few of our number were college athletes (rugby or hockey players as I recall) but at least half of us were totally unfit science geeks who never took any exercise other than walking from the college to the nearest pub most evenings. My room-mate Steven had done a bit of rowing at school so he offered to coach us. One of my friends, Paul, agreed to cox. He wasn't a terribly big chap but he was probably the heaviest cox on the river that year.

We trained hard. At least a couple of sessions a week for three or four weeks. I remember two things from the training. One was that Steven (who followed us on his bike on the towpath) was always shouting, "You're late Two!" (My friend Robin was rowing at #2 on the boat.) But the thing that really sticks in my memory was the day when we were rowing flat out and Paul managed to steer us into a direct collision with a cabin cruiser moored at the side of the river. It was an even more spectacular crash than the one in the video. I have no idea why he did this. It wasn't as if the Cam was especially narrow at that point. But then he was no more incompetent as a cox than the rest of us were as rowers.

Come the first day of the May Bumps we were totally shocked when we "rowed over" meaning we rowed the whole course without catching the boat in front or being bumped by the boat behind. I think that was probably because the six boats who started behind us (maybe even more) were all involved in bumps early in the race and so dropped out. We had never even rowed the whole course at full pace before.

We were immensely proud of our achievement. Rowing over in the Bumps! I took my girlfriend for tea at the Union and felt I had finally arrived as a "Cambridge man."

Unfortunately we were bumped every day on the remaining three days of the Bumps. One of them may have been one of those ignominious overbumps (where the boat who started three places behind you catches you) or perhaps even an even more ignominious double overbump. (Don't ask.)

As luck would have it, our college first crew was Head of the River that year. So we enjoyed the rare pleasure of attending a college Bumps Supper for the winning college. All I can say is that what happens at a Bumps Supper stays at a Bumps Supper. And anyway I was too drunk to remember clearly much of what transpired... except I vaguely remember a lot of singing... and a huge fight... and a fire. Hmmm. I wonder who paid for all the damage.

Anyway. That was my career as a rower. I think that was why I decided to become a sailor.

Killer Shrimp Invade UK

According to the BBC my native country England is under attack from an invasion of killer shrimp. The evil creature, officially known as Dikerogammarus Villosus, is described by the Environment Agency as being 'particularly vicious and destructive'. Apparently the nasty little buggers bite and shred their victims to death but often leave them uneaten.

The alien invader hordes were recently spotted in Grafham Water, a popular sailing lake in eastern England, but this did not deter 248 courageous Laser sailors from showing up last weekend at Grafham for the Laser Inland Championships. For these intrepid souls, racing in a Laser regatta is even worth the risk of being bitten and shredded to death.

So what is to be done? How can Britain fight back against the alien invaders? Where is a latter day Churchill to inspire the country to action with a speech vowing, "We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender"?

That David Cameron bloke who is now Prime Minister seems a pleasant enough chap but I don't think he has the temperament to lead the nation against the onslaught of Dikerogammarus Villosus.

But, if it's any help Mr. Cameron, I did find this recipe online for Killer Shrimp Soup.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Water Based States

Look at a map of the United States. Between the Mississippi and California almost all of the states are bounded by straight lines and many are nearly perfect rectangles.

It might not have been so if the US government had heeded the suggestions of John Wesley Powell, who in 1890 produced this Map of the Arid Region of the United States, showing Drainage Districts. Powell argued for those districts to become the essential units of government, either as states or as watershed commonwealths.

Makes a lot of sense to me. Water management is still a hugely contentious issue in many of the arid regions out West. Why not organize around watersheds?

Thanks to Strange Maps for this fascinating look at how things might have been. Click here for a larger version of the map.


Continuing my series of posts based on questions in Jay Livingston's thought-provoking Should I Race My Laser again Next Year? ...

After asking us to think about what gave us the most fun in sailing this year and what skills we improved this year, Jay moves on to the subject of physical fitness...

I want to stay in shape. I enjoy all the things I can do when I’m in good health and my body is ready to handle a bit of physical activity. That’s why I choose the Laser; it sails better when I’m in shape. For me being aware of the upcoming physical challenge drives me in the winter when I find it hardest to do conditioning.

Were you physically ready to sail last spring? Would you enjoy being in better shape this coming spring? (The key word here is “better” not perfect. A bump up of 10 or 20% can make a major difference.) Getting the boat upright, hiking and even rigging and launching are easier and safer when you’re in better shape.

Hmmm. That's one of the reasons I sail the Laser too: it's a motivation to stay in shape. But it's clear from my pathetic performance at the first and last days of the Laser Masters Worlds this year, that I haven't been taking physical fitness seriously enough. If I had been fitter I would have sailed better in heavy air. If I had been fitter I would have been able to sail both races on those two days instead of being totally exhausted after the first race on each day.

The Words of Wisdom from the daily winner at the Newport Laser Frostbite Fleet a couple of weekends ago, Brian Fisher, reinforce the need for physical fitness in Laser sailing...

Q: You seem to hop in and out of the Laser and still perform at a high level when you're sailing. In general, after not being in the boat for a long time, how do you go about getting back into the groove? What's your routine for re-acquainting yourself with the boat to the degree that you can compete in Fleet 413?

A: I have been jumping in and out of the frostbiting fleet for the past 10 years or so with varying results. Last year after a dismal performance at the windy Fat Boys regatta I decided that I didn’t want to sail the Laser any more at that level. Without proper physical preparation and at least some practice, I was not getting any better. I paid for a program from Annapolis Sailing Fitness and worked hard all last winter on getting stronger for the Laser. This summer I sailed 5 regattas starting with the ACC’s in Sayville. I also practiced 5 or 6 days including an afternoon with Shope and Ferg. The result of this effort is that I am now able to sail within striking distance of the leaders, and it is a lot more fun.

That's exactly I how I feel about my "dismal performance" at the Worlds. I don't want to sail another Masters Worlds if that's the best I can do. My anger at myself has been a motivation to work harder this winter on raising my fitness up to a level where I can compete in major Laser regattas on the heavy wind days -- or at least not wimp out after only one race. As Brian says, if you have the fitness "it is a lot more fun."

And it's all about having fun, right?


Quote from my 2-year-old grandson Aidan yesterday as I held his hand to help him walk down some steps on the way to his sister's fifth birthday party...

"You can do everything Granddad."

It's good to know there's someone who believes in me.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Late Night Bonus Picture Quiz

My last picture quiz was obviously too easy. Mojo had the answer within three hours of the posting.

Let's see who can get this one...

What is it?

When was it?

Where was it?

Who won?

What is the connection with Tillerman?

Picture Quiz

Picture quizzes seem to be all the rage these last few days in the little corner of the boating blogosphere which I frequent. So here is another one for you...

Where did this race take place?

What year?

Who were the crews?

Who won?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

More Navel Gazing

Continuing the navel-gazing that I started in Reflections with more questions to myself from Jay Livingston's post Should I Race My Laser again Next Year? ....

In Reflections, Jay's questions were all about what was fun about Laser sailing this year. He then moves on to ask, "What core skills did you develop or discover? What improved?"


That's a damn good question.


Let's see...

In January I developed the skill of how to restore the circulation to my finger tips and ease that excruciating pain that says, "You stupid bugger, what are you sailing in this temperature for? You must be nuts." See the ironically titled I Love Winter. Useful, but not exactly a "core skill".

In August I discovered that if you work the boat hard on the beat in 15-20 knots you will go faster and might even win a race. See the cryptically titled Work. Well, that's more useful, but it's not really a discovery. I knew that all along. Just been too lazy lately to actually do it.

And in September I discovered that I am nowhere near fit enough to sail in big wind and waves with the best Laser Master sailors in the world. See the jokingly titled Half a World. Well that sure was a "discovery" but it wasn't exactly an area in which I "improved". Quite the opposite in fact.

So, if I am brutally honest with myself, I have to admit that I didn't discover or develop any core skills this year... and damn all improved. Quite depressing really.

If I stopped this post here I know the comments would be full of remarks from well-meaning friends who would tell me that, "It's not all about winning," and "Sailing is meant to be fun." Well, yes, I know I'm not going to be winning races at the Laser Masters Worlds. But there is a certain satisfaction to be gained from sailing a boat with a modicum of competence. And I don't see any reason why I shouldn't be improving one or two specific sailing skills each year. That would be rewarding in itself.

But I didn't improve any skills this year. In fact, I haven't improved any specific skills in most of the 30 years I've been sailing a Laser. Not consciously anyway.

Sad really.

I should. I could. I've owned Eric Twiname's book Sail, Race and Win for many years which is essentially about identifying skills you need to improve and then creating a self-coaching plan to achieve that improvement.

So why haven't I done it? Why didn't I do it this year? What makes me think next year will be any different?

Search me. Laziness and wishful thinking I suppose.

Jay has more excellent questions on this topic such as, "Is there one aspect of your sailing that, if it improved, would help you feel more motivated? Have you or can you put multiple practice sessions into honing your skill? Does the tradeoff between practice time and more skill seem worthwhile even if you don’t currently have the time?"

Oh geeze.

I think I'll go to bed now.

Rolex Sailor of the Year - Tom Slingsby

Monday, November 08, 2010

Mary Rose Grounded


It really was windy around here this morning. About 10am, the 65-foot Herreshoff schooner Mary Rose broke free of its moorings in Bristol Harbor and went aground on Love Rocks.


It's A Bit Windy Outside


I guess this morning is a perfect example of why you can't always rely on the National Weather Service marine forecast. Good job I didn't decide to go sail my Laser in those friendly 15-20 knot winds!

Early Snow

The elk are coming down from the hills each morning.
The winter grazing's better here below.
The evening sky last night was like a warning.
It´s cold outside, looking like early snow this morning,
It´s cold outside, looking like early snow.

Sunday, November 07, 2010


And if you ever wonder why you ride the carousel
You do it for the stories you can tell

Ah, the stories we could tell
And if it all blows up and goes to Hell
I wish that we could sit upon a bed in some motel
Just listen to the stories we could tell

Thursday, November 04, 2010


Should I Race My Laser Again Next Year??

That's the title of the latest post on Jay Livingston's Laser Sailing Notes blog. Jay's posts always make me think. He has a way of focusing in on the key issues and questions, especially those relevant to older Laser sailors like him and me.

Should I race my Laser again next year? What's "should" got to do with it? I will if I want to. I probably will. But in trying to answer that first question "Should I Race My Laser Again Next Year?" Jay poses a whole series of other questions that are designed to help any sailor decided what they want to do with their sailing next year.

Good questions. Deep questions. Questions that make you examine your priorities. Questions that will help you get the most out of your sailing next year.

I'm going to ask myself those questions, and ramble on here for a while with the answers. It may take a few posts to work through them all...

Jay says that in his career, coaching executives and other high functioning individuals, he has found it very helpful to use an approach called Appreciative Inquiry (inquire into what you should appreciate, what your strengths are, the positives). The idea is to not just identify all the problems, but to start with a recognition of what you do well, what you enjoy, what you’re good at.

So he asks the questions...

What did you enjoy this year? What was the most fun you had on your Laser this season? The most satisfaction?


I sailed some local regattas, and the Masters Worlds in England, and I did a lot of solo practice. But I think the two kinds of sailing I enjoyed the most were frostbiting in January and February, and practicing with the small group in Bristol on Tuesday evenings in the summer.

That I enjoyed frostbiting in the dead of winter was a total surprise to me. At my old frostbiting fleet in Connecticut, they didn't sail in January and February, but at Newport we sail all winter. Strangely enough I didn't feel all that motivated to go racing in the so-so, blah, cool, cloudy days of October, November, March and April. But in the bitter cold of midwinter, when there was snow on the ground and ice on the buoys some weekends... I wanted to go racing. And I loved it. When I told some fellow Laser sailors in the summer about this they looked at me like I was nuts. Am I Strange?

The other times I had the most fun this year were the Tuesday evenings in Bristol. Small fleets. Rabbit starts. Tough competition with some of the best Laser sailors in the area. Lots of races. And then off to a local pub or restaurant for dinner and a few beers and lively conversation. I don't know why I enjoyed these outings so much. Sometimes I won. More often I didn't. The social aspect was certainly one reason it was so much fun: plenty of banter on the water as well as off. Also there was less "down time" than in the typical regatta because there was hardly any waiting between races, and the area we race is only a short sail from where we launch. I think the fact that nobody keeps score (although we all remember our good races) is part of the reason it was so enjoyable too. Maybe I'm not such a competitive Type-A personality as I was when I was younger.

What does all that say about what should I do next year? Only sail in January and February and on summer Tuesdays? I'll have to think about that one.

A couple of other questions that Jay asked were, "What core skills did you develop or discover? What improved?"

Hmmm. That's tougher to answer. I think that will have to wait until the next post...

Monday, November 01, 2010

Winner of $75 Gift Certificate Contest

There were only six valid entries for our recent contest to win a $75 Gift Certificate for CSN Stores. All the other entries were invalid in some way because they broke the simple contest rules in that they were anonymous, not from followers, or were multiple entries from the same person.

The six valid entries were from
  1. Litoralis
  2. Annie
  3. mamipdx
  4. Jo
  5. Drew
  6. Liz

Regular readers of this blog may notice that two of the valid entries are from members of my own family. This is true, but I didn't make it a rule that family members were ineligible, so I'm going to allow them.

Now I know there's some site that does random number draws in a way that proves to all the participants that they were all entered and that it was all fair and neutral and whatever. But it costs money and I'm too mean to use it for only six entrants. So you'll just have to trust me.

As there are six entrants I'm going to roll a dice. Actually a virtual dice at Roll Dice Online.

And the winner is...


Congratulations to Jo, who thinks I'm "salty"!

Jo - please email me and I will send you the secret code to use the gift certificate. (I can't get the email address in your comment to work.)


My youngest grandson may only be 4 months old but he wasn't going to be left out of the Halloween fun.