Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Last day of 2008

For December 31, we have a northerly gale howling. The Severn River below the Route 50 bridge is a mass of white horses. Temperatures tonight will dive to 20F (-6 C). Ah .... but in the Southern Hemisphere, it is summer.

A real short video of Europe dinghy sailing (11 seconds) taken in Napier, New Zealand, on the West of the North Island. Sparkling waves, puffy clouds, 15 knots of wind. To the sailing of 2008 and to the sailing to come in 2009.



Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Vendee Globe: Two Women (on Day 50 of the race)

As I said before, if you magically dropped me on an Open 60 in the Southern latitudes, I would be desperately making a beeline to the nearest spot of dry land before I went bonkers. In these two videos, you get a good feel for life down below on these racing machines as they reach along toward Cape Horn. The banging, the crashing, the shaking..... how can anyone get any sleep?

In the first video, our eternally upbeat Sam Davies, is celebrating Christmas with, what looks like a brewski, and some jam and toast. Not too easy to get down the hatch as the boat lurches about;



Was it a bird? .... No....In the second video, friends of Dee Caffari have chartered a light plane and rendezvoused overhead to take pictures while she passes south of New Zealand. Dee's happiness is palpable at even this minor brush with civilization. What she doesn't mention is that she has a mainsail that needs an on-boom repair, that is when the conditions moderate so she can safely hang out there! And the slamming, bashing noise and the shocks reverberating through ones bones goes on and on and on...........



Again, thanks to Yachtpals for putting these videos up on YouTube.

Meanwhile Frenchman Michel Desjoyeaux continues to pour it on at the front, seemingly impervious to the breakdowns that have frustrated his pursuers.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Old Farts and Technology; IPOD

I've had an IPOD for close to three years but never used it because all I had for listening was the stupid little earpiece. This Christmas I got an IPOD dock as well as an under cabinet radio with an audio input that I can plug the IPOD into. WOW! Put it into Shuffle mode and who knows what song will pop up next. Forget about Playlists .... I like surprises.

I found one other benefit. Tired of picking up after your grown up kids when they're home for Christmas? Put your IPOD on Shuffle mode, turn the volume up and watch your kids melt away. Must be something about bluegrass, followed by opera, followed by zydeco, followed by early period instrument waltzes, followed by "Arthur Loves Plastic".............

The Other Circle M Moth

The International Moth originally had a Circle M class insignia. In the late 1960's, when the International Moth class merged with the Australian Moth, the class adopted; the tall fully battened rig , 7' beam and the Australian Moth class insignia, affectionately known in Classic Moth circles as the "Squashed Bug" symbol. The Classic Moth, when it was resurrected in the early 1990's retained the Circle M insignia but there was another class that had been using the Circle M since it's inception in the 1930's. This is the British Moth.

From the history of the British Moth ;

The British Moth's ancestor is the American Moth, which was popular across America in the 1930's, almost 1500 moths were registered with the American Moth Boat Association. Based on this, Sydney Cheverton designed a boat more suited to British waters.

The length of 11 ft. was retained, with the scow bow and hard chine construction. The mast was increased to 20 ft. carrying a sail of much higher aspect ratio but smaller overall area (75 sq ft. to 63.5). The small cockpit with wide side decks was retained to permit "dry" capsizing.


The British Moth, as the name indicates, is solely a British class. It remains the most popular Circle M Moth with consistent 30's attendance at their national championships.

Here is a Youtube on the British Moth which popped up recently. You have to overlook the sound track which seems to have been stolen from some kiddies TV show, but the sailing looks good.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Woodenboat's Small Boat Edition 2009

Woodenboat magazine puts out a Small Boat issue every year. It is a smorgasbord of small boat disciplines; kayak, open decked dayboats, sailing canoes, skiffs, wherry's, dory's, catboat's, mini hydroplanes ...... and etc. etc. For a boat nut, it's a must read.

WoodenBoat Small Boat Magazine

Some of the boats have a personal connection.

John Summers has put together a stitch and glue 16X30 sailing canoe. I've seen the plans and they are comprehensive. The 16X30 Gilbert sailing canoe is not for everybody, but if you want a challenge of sailing a sliding seat canoe (not as athletic as the International Canoe) this is the one to build.

Build and Sail a Decked Sailing Canoe

I sailed against Ben Fuller in International Canoe's in the 1980's, and in the 2009 magazine; he has his "Rai Tan" lug sailed open camp cruiser featured. An Antonia Dias design, it looks to be very competent either under oar or sail.

Music for Fridays; Bonus Edition on Saturday, "I Love LA"


My kid's and my niece, who were home for the holidays, said the feature they most liked about the blog was the "Music for Fridays" (They are not sailors). For Chris, Robyn, Lauren, and Miss Marlee, here is my favorite modern troubadour, Randy Newman. with a warm weather classic "I Love LA"

"We're going to ride it until we just can't ride it no more"


The Suicide Class

Steve Clark asked me to go through some of my archival material on the Suicide Class. The Suicide Class is one of two development dinghy classes to originate in the U.S (the other is the Moth class). The Suicide was a sail area class; limit of 125 sq. ft. The Suicide originated in New England with some big names (Herreshoff) designing to the rule but the hotbed transferred to Florida after WWII. It is not surprising that Moth sailors and Suicide sailors overlapped. Harry Cates, noted builder of Moths was also a Suicide builder. Both the Moth and the Suicide classes died out in the U.S. in the 1960's. The Suicide tried a comeback in the 1980's but it was just old timer nostalgia. The Moth class has resurrected itself in the U.S in two versions; the International foiler and the more sedate hiking Classic Moth.

The last rules of the Suicide class had the LOA between 18.5 and 22.5 feet, hull weight around 200 lbs., beam was 5 feet. The fleet sported wishbone booms. The crew was on a trapeze.

I find this class very interesting. Unfortunately Anne Henry was writing a class history in the 80's but I never heard any more about it.

Here is a picture from one of the Suicide promotional brochures; Somewhere in Florida. Looks to have the high sheer chines of a Florida Moth. I wonder if this is one of Harry Cates Suicide's?

Double click on the image to get a larger version.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Vendee Globe: Yann Eliès Redux

The rescue of Yann Elies is old news. It had a happy ending. But what if he had broken his leg at the outer reaches of this Southern leg, where help is thousands of miles away rather than the 40 hours it took the Australian frigate to arrive. The news might not be so rosy. These are highly competent professional offshore sailors with huge shore teams. They know the risks. But Rachel Maddow, the liberal political commentator on MSNBC, is surely echoing some of the thoughts of John Q Public in her short piece on the Vendee Globe.



Tip of the hat to Sailing Anarchy for the heads up on the Rachel Maddow video.

Music for Fridays; Beirut

We are now in the midst of the holiday season and with it .... the partys. In ancient times, Christmas was conveniently rescheduled to coincide with the year end pagan bacchanalia. Wikipedia has this to say on how Christmas came to be celebrated on Yuletide

The music video for Beirut's "Elephant Gun" depicts a drunken orgy; so decadent, it becomes in our imagination, one of those fantastical Hollywood parties. On the reverse side, my New Years Eve celebration over the last several years has been one of polite conversation, good wine and a delicious dinner with friends .... which sensible decorum dictates at my age!

I was trying to avoid skin this time; but I couldn't resist.

Friday, December 19, 2008

E-Scow Absolutely Cooking

This video is one of the more popular sailing videos on YouTube with over 24 thousand hits as I write this. This E-Scow is jib reaching in breeze with spray everywhere. What a hoot!



I sailed on an E-Scow once, even got to steer. Very powerful and deceptively quick from inside the boat. You needed to look aft at the stern wake to fully appreciate how fast you were going.

I remember back in the 1970's standing on the shore at Mantoloking YC on Barnegat Bay and watching off in a distance, a 505 at full stride under spinnaker. I watched in awe for about a minute; the 505 blasting along, and then realized there was another boat a couple of hundred yards behind under spinnaker that was just eating this 505 up. It was an E-Scow that looked to be going twice the speed of the 505. Very impressive

Vendee Globe: Yann Eliès

Yann Eliès suffered a severe fracture of the femur while changing sails on his Open 60 "Generali" and is awaiting rescue by the Australian Navy. Fellow competitor, Marc Guillemot, has rendezvoused with Generali and is keeping station until the Aussies show up on Saturday

No one knows more intimately the extreme risks that are inherent in this race than the 30 competitors who started the Vendee Globe. These sailors are made of very stern stuff.

That said, my thoughts go out to Yann and his family.

Music for Fridays; Skin and More Skin

I assume the few readers of this blog are male so I abandon any pretense keeping "Music for Fridays" forever highbrow (well maybe none of my "Music for Fridays" would be considered highbrow....)

This is a twofer.

First "Angel City" with a dance tune "Touch Me".



And for you needing to salve any Catholic guilt after viewing this; the following is a story of a seductive murderess being pursued by a mysterious man driving an American car, and, in the middle of the video, African women singing a refrain. Very weird. I suppose the lesson for the men is to keep your guard up if some young, nubile, half clad women takes a fancy to you! But I like the techno beat.

"Mauro Picotto" with "Komodo"

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What are you sinking about?

I find this commercial hilarious.

Vendee Globe: Two Women (cont)

Most of the time, video posts from the Vendee Globe competitors have a relatively sunny flavor to them, even when all hell is breaking loose. In this post, we see the raw emotion breaking out from Dee Caffari when she learns that Mike Golding, sailing an identical boat and rig to her, has dismasted. For her, it's just another niggling, distracting thought that hopefully you can put to the back of the brain as you continue attacking the Southern Ocean.



The shore crew for Sam Davies "Roxy" has come up with the best video angle for shooting these boats as they careen down waves in the Southern Ocean. They have a camera with a fish eye lens, strung up off the aft port quarter which captures most of the Open 60. What amazes me in this video is how well this Open 60 handles waves at speed and I mean SPEED!. Part of it must be the trimming of the ballast tanks, part of it must be hull design, but you never see walls of water washing over the boat as you see on the VOR 70's.

Dubai Dhow

Dubai, I've been told, is the Switzerland of the Mideast. I've never been, but from what I read, it's over the top, a little bit like our Las Vegas; swanky communities on man made islands, the worlds largest indoor snow skiing facility, skyscrapers with every imaginable type of avant-garde exteriors....

But they do race a traditional sailing craft, the dhow. This video shows the largest class, 60 footers, and they must be the fastest lateen rigged boats in the world. This particular one is cooking, the bow wave is coming off the hull about half way back and the wind looks to be only around 8-10. Or, as the video documents, they were cooking. At about 1.43 into the video either the trimmer screwed up .... or there was a breakdown, the main was suddenly dumped, the dhow lurched to weather and most of the crew ended up in the water.

But like high performance sailors anywhere; if you've had a good ride before disaster struck, it's still a good laugh. Good spirits all around as the crew is scooped up by the support boat.



More information on the Dubai Dhow racing can be found here

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Vendee Globe: From the two women

I really should be writing Christmas cards but in true Internet armchair warrior fashion, I am sipping one of my favorite stouts, Brooklyn Brewing's Chocolate Stout, and watching true sailing warriors battle the Southern Ocean.

Sam Davies changing out headsails on Roxy and then on the back half of the video, Sam, after enduring an hellacious night (not a good night for sleeping, she says!), shows a childlike amazement at a beautiful, crisp, sunny day on the Southern Ocean.



And then Dee Caffari on the psychological pressures of enduring a gale in the Southern Ocean. Even in dinghies, carbon hulls are much louder than other hulls. I've read that the U.S Army has used constant blasting of rock music as torture. Can the slamming, banging, groaning, loud swishing of water passing at 20 knots underneath ..... can this be far behind?



If I was magically transported to one of these Open 60's, it wouldn't take long before I was curled up in my bunk, hands over my ears, yelling "Please make it stop..... Please!"

Videos posted by Yachtpals

ABC News reports on Ellison's 90 foot tri

Have to put up with the advertising but this is sailing where no one has gone before.

Warning! - one seal was killed in the filming of this video.

ABC GMA video on Larry Ellison's BOR 90 project

Tip of the hat to sailing website SailKarma for digging this up.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Ice Sailing in Norway - Brrr!

Here in the seaboard states of the Mid Atlantic of the U.S, we generally don't see winter until after the New Year and even then, extended cold spells below freezing rarely last longer than a week. This video looks to be shot in Norway, above the Arctic circle, where blizzards and frozen lakes are normal before Christmas. The video starts out with a blizzard and then features a home brew sled/sail contraption. The video is beautifully shot. You feel the desolation of the Far North winters .... and nothing beats the fun that a simply constructed sailing sled can bring on a short winter day (real short in Norway!).

1950's film on 12' Firefly sailing (England)

I'm guessing this film takes place in the 1950's. Young English sailors are building and sailing 12' Fireflys, an Uffa Fox design. The Firefly is still raced today in England and is the team racing dinghy for English Universities. I enjoy watching old film and this has the typical "jolly good... hip hip hooray" narration of English shorts of this period.



My good friend, Bob Blomquist, raced in a small fleet of Fireflys in and around Boston Massachusetts during the1950's.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Vendee Globe: Loick Peyron Dismasting

Anybody reading this blog will figure out that I've been following the Vendee Globe Round the World Singlehanded Race pretty closely. With regular video updates and yacht tracker positions, this years race has an immediacy for the Internet sailor second to none.

Loick Peyron, one of the leaders, dismasted on Wednesday in the Southern Ocean. He made a quick video of the damage (look at the daggerboard poking up out of the mainsail) before getting to work cleaning up. Cutting away a dismasted rig is hard work for a full crew, let alone a singlehanded sailor. The end of video shows Loick with his jury rig using the boom. Yacht tracker shows him pointed for the West Coast of Australia.



Yachtpals has been hard at work converting Vendee Globe video over to YouTube.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Music for Fridays; Folgers Commercial

Music for Fridays has again jumped the gun to Thursday. As I write this, a hard December rain is making for a very raw night outside. This Folgers coffee commercial always brings a smile to my face. It's lighthearted goofiness is a perfect antidote to the weather outside. This commercial features a weird boppy dance troupe (if you want to call it that) , a minimalist story line, and a catchy tune. For those a bit thick, the story features dancing rays from the rising morning sun filtering in from the ocean. These yellow dancing rays with scooters, loud mouth organs and an irascible cheerfulness are bent on waking up a set of characters who are definitely NOT morning people. The Folgers pitch comes in at the end.

Directors Cut; YouTube - 2006 Classic Moth Nationals

Unlike most classes, the Classic Moth's come back to Elizabeth City, North Carolina, every year for their national championships. Elizabeth City is where the U.S Mothists claim the Moth class originated (the Australians have an equally valid claim for developing the first Moth). In 1929, a professional captain Joel Van Sant designed his 11' "Jumping Juniper during his annual maintenance layover at Elizabeth City before taking his yacht on to Florida. My fourth YouTube video is a slideshow of the 2006 Elizabeth City Classic Moth Nationals,

As you watch the video, here are the time stamps and annotations of the Mothboats and their sailors;

0.21 - Deck layout of a Florida Mousetrap design, most likely Ken Wilius's.
0.23- Maser (modified Laser) built by Al Whitener and owned by Joe Courter. Duflos transom in background.
0.29 - Craig Saunders rigging his Mistral.
0.36 - Lewis Hayes's McCutcheon built Shelly 3 design.
0.40 - Jeff Linton's Mousetrap (modified Mistral) stern view.
1.32 - George Albaugh's vintage Dorr Willey design.
1.48 - Greg Duncan in his vintage Connecticut (Skip Etchells) desgin.
2.05 - Craig Saunders and Jeff Linton at the finish.
2.19 - Derek Dudinsky in his Mousetrap.
2.24 - Rod Koch in his modified Europe.
2.30 - Erik Albaugh in a Shelly 2.
2.35 - Rutledge Young in a Gen 1 Mint design.
2.45 - Ken Wilius in a Mousetrap.
2.53 - John Zseleczky in a Mistral.
3.00 - Joe Bousquet in a Mistral.

Photos taken by Elizabeth Albaugh.
Music is "Chinkapin Hunting" by the Chicken Chokers.



For more on the history of the Moth class, visit the Wikipedia entry for Moth Class History .

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Volvo Ocean Race; Delta Lloyd

Team Delta Lloyd has been racing at the back of the VOR 70 fleet. The usual lack of preparation and training is the culprit, but I give high marks to this snappy YouTube video compilation of Delta Lloyd's first two legs.

At about the 1:08 mark, we see them broach a'la Team Russia, but, alas, we don't see the extended consequences.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Vendee Globe: Samantha Davies

The Vendee Globe fleet is in the Southern Ocean now, racing at the bottom of the world, in large wind and waves, aiming toward Australia, New Zealand and then onward to Cape Horn. Samantha Davies is one of two women racing the Vendee Globe (we have posted some of Dee Caffari's (the other woman competitor) informative videos on this blog). Samantha is very telegenic, a bubbly personality on video that masks how tough she needs to be to race these 60 foot behemoths singlehanded.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A-scow helmet camera

I've always had a soft spot for scows. If you've read my profile, you will note that I sailed the 18' Y-flyer scow as a teenager. As an adult I sailed an Australian scow Moth in the now defunct U.S. Modern Moth division for several years. The following is a YouTube of A-scows, the Big Daddy of U.S scow classes at 38' length. I've sailed on MC scows and E-scows but never had a chance to ride on a A. The YouTube video is an excerpt from a longer professionally made film and gives a good idea on the speed of these beasts. If you listen, you can hear the unique thump, thump of a scow shape as it goes through waves.



Bob Turner, born of South Carolina, sailor of Y-flyers, made a go of getting an E-scow fleet on the Chesapeake. I thought he was crazy since the Bay is notorious for a short chop but then I realized that most regattas take place in the rivers feeding the Bay. These were perfect Scow locales but for whatever reason the E-scow didn't achieve permanence here on the Chesapeake Bay. There is still a strong fleet in Barnegat Bay, NJ, about a 4 hour drive North of Annapolis.

Australian Historical Skiffs continued

As a follow on to my video on the Australian 10 footer skiffs here is a quick video of one of the reproduction Australian 18 footers racing on Sydney Harbor. (Click here to view more posts on Australian Historical Skiffs.)



YouTuber atefooterz put this video up and has others if you are interested.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Europe Dinghy; Companion video

George Albaugh, Classic Moth sailor who races a Europe dinghy, liked the first Europe YouTube so I now post a companion video from the same YouTuber as the first one.

Music for Fridays; on Thursday!

I'll be busy this Friday; this being the Christmas season .... so "Music for Fridays" gets bumped ahead one day.

Todays featured artist is one of my favorite reggae singers who, believe it or not, is a German who goes by the stage name of "Gentleman". What's unusual about this video is the backdrop; it features the area in Bangladesh where large ships, at the end of their life, are driven ashore and then broken up .... dirty, dangerous, labor intensive work taken over by a third world country,

I have no idea why "Gentleman" decided to do a reggae music video with ships being destroyed in the background, but it is fascinating to watch.

This video is blocked from being embedded inside this blog. To view it, click on the link below;

Gentleman - Dem Gone

For a more in depth story, there is the CBS "60 minutes" segment (again, link only);

Ship Breakers of Bangladesh

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Vendee Globe; Dee Caffari on Sail Handling

Because the headsails on an Open 60 are all on furlers, all sails are stored rolled up. Dee Caffari gives a good overview.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Europe dinghy, Another Classic Moth

The USA Classic Moth rule uses the International Moth rule as it was up to the early 1970's before the class merged with the Australian Association and allowed wings and a higher aspect sailplan. The Europe dinghy, or, as it was originally known, the Europa, was a Roland Moth design from the 1960's. It was always thought of as the baby Finn. Europe's certainly qualify for Classic Moth racing (other than the Europe one-design sail which has grown too much roach for the Classic Moth rule) and in the U.S several Europes have been absorbed into the Classic Moth class. In Europe, the one-design Europe class remains very strong despite (or because of) the elimination of the class from women's Olympic competition.

A very good video of Europe's playing in some big waves;

Volvo Ocean Race, Bird Watching, Comment 6

The Volvo Ocean Race fleet is in port now, having completed the second leg to Cochin India. Ericcson 4 repeated their win on the first leg and look to be the ones to beat this year. Puma Racing recorded this encounter with an albatross while racing this leg. We marvel at our technology at getting these sailboats around the world but for pure wonderment, nature seems to trump us every time.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Vendee Globe, Dee Caffari

One of the two women racing this singlehanded round the world, Dee Caffari gives an interesting tour of the navigation area in these Open 60's.

Directors Cut; YouTube - Aussie 10 foot skiffs

For my third YouTube video, I again did a slideshow, but this time I heisted all the pictures from the Internet. I suppose this could be seen as a copyright infringment. I was willing to take the YouTube down if someone complained. That hasn't happened yet.

This is a slideshow of the Australian Historical 10 foot skiffs. Most every sailor is aware of the modern Australian 18 skiffs with three men on a trapeze ... on wide racks ... going blistering fast ... on the edge of control and beyond. There is also a modern 12 foot skiff and 16 foot skiff with two men on trapeze.

In the early 1900's there were a myriad of skiff classes in Australia; a 6 footer, a 8 footer, a 10 footer, a 12 footer, a 14 footer, a 16 footer, a 18 footer class and some behemoths over 20' long. These were round bilged, open dinghies with acres of sail and as much crew as they could fit in the boat to keep these boats mast side up. These skiffs were very similar in concept to the American sandbaggers popular in the late 1800's.

Over the last 20 years, there has been a resurgence in the Historial Skiffs, particularly in the Historical 18's and the Historical 10. All of these skiffs have been built as reproductions.

The Historical 10 footer is a ride I want to experience when I get to Australia. 10 foot long .... three crew .... flying spinnakers from the number 2 rig of the Australian Historical 18's. I think this slideshow gives a feeling on how crazy these 10 foot skiffs are.



(Click here to view more posts on Australian Historical Skiffs.)

Classic Moth Nationals - some Pics

Elizabeth Albaugh sent over some pictures she took at the 2008 Classic Moth nationals, held as always in Elizabeth City, NC in mid Sept. For higher resolution pictures, click on the thumbnail.

Jeff Linton won the regatta in his Mousetrap design (a modified Mistral).


Joe Bousquet finished second in his modified Shelly3 design


John Zseleczky was third in a Y2K design (another modified Mistral).


A new Mothboat, a Tippy design,  by Jim Young won the Gen 1 division (older designs and/or slower designs).


And, Walt Collins won the Vintage division in Ara II. Vintage division is restored Mothboats built before 1950. They are required to use wooden masts.


Everyone starts together.