Friday, November 28, 2008

YouTube Excellence ???

I've put up 23 YouTube videos. At times I look at the anemic view counts and wonder why it's hard to get my videographer genius recognized. This news post from the Onion News Network puts it all in perspective.

YouTube Contest Challenges Users To Make A 'Good' Video

Music for Fridays; Dirty Vegas

A video story of a lost love with some great dance moves.

Volvo Ocean Race, Torture Boats, Comment 5

All of us who sail have, at one time or another, experienced foils that, at speed, hum or sing. I never had a singing foil that affected my day out pleasure boating. But VOR leaders Ericsson 4 have a rudder that day in, day out, 24/7, just shrieked.

Would this be equivalent of hearing nails on a blackboard 24/7?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Volvo Ocean Race, Torture Boats, Comment 4

As posted at;

Stig is suffering from a severe eye infection triggered by the constant high-pressure water stream being forced up along the side of the hull and into his face. “In the old days the hose of water resembled sticking your head into a toilet bowl and flushing it,” Stig eludes in his blog today. “But this time I think it best resembles going down to the local fire station, borrowing their biggest, meanest high-pressure hose and turning it up to its max and sticking your head into the beam.”

Stig Westergaard is a watch leader on Team Russia.

Vendee Globe

Vendee Globe, the singlehanded around the world race, is now underway. The leaders are approaching the bottom of Africa. The Vendee Globe doesn't get much play in the United States; I guess mainly because it is mostly a French affair (out of 30 starters, eight were English, 1 was American, sounds like one of them may be Polish .... the rest French). A pity it doesn't get more press over on this side of the Atlantic. The Vendee Globe must be the most grueling of any of the endurance sports and I include the Tour de France here. The leaders are expected to take 90 days to get around and most of them seem to be on 2-3 hour sleep cycles as they constantly drive their boats. The Open 60 designs are beasts; 60 footers with clouds of sail though at least they pay some heed to shielding the crew from the worst with large steering cuddies (unlike the VOR 70's).

Videos can be found here;

Unfortunately most of the interviews are in French, a language I found beautifully melodic but incomprehensible.

Reminds me of the tired joke.

1. What do you call a person that speaks more than two languages ..... multilingual.

2. What do you call a person that speaks two languages .... bilingual.

3. What do you call a person that speaks one language ..... American.

Cowes TV did an English interview with French sailor Seb Josse sailing for BT. You get a good feel for these Open 60's. Of note is the central channel which leads all the lines aft to the steering pod for easier and protected handling of sails.

Seb Josse is currently lying second.

Monday, November 24, 2008

YouTube: Swedish Wooden Sailing Dinghies

I'm a sucker for homebuilt wooden sailing dinghies. This video popped up this weekend and shows some Swedish only wooden classics, mostly single chine plywood designs. Some classes I recognize, such as the junior A kanot (canoe stern, first boat shown in the video) and the B kanot (canoe stern, the one with the mini hiking wings). I have no idea what class of boat sports the balanced jib boom or the class sporting the single trapeze.

The Google translation from Swedish says this is a sailing camp. I assume it is somewhere in the Stockholm archipeligo. All these junior sailors and not one fiberglass Opti to be seen!

Update on 4/09;

From Dinghy Forum on Sailing Anarchy .com we have this quote..........

Nils Björkman in Sweden has a whole slew of youth boats. He is a Naval Architect and runs Ungdomarnas Båtbygge (The youth boat building club).

A webpage of Nils Björkman designs.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Music for Fridays; Feist -1234

YouTube is the new MTV. So every Friday I will attempt to feature my eclectic musical tastes. Canadian singer Feist's song 1234 is a poppy, bouncy, tune with a good looking female singer and some very weird dance moves.

Sorry, the original version went away. All we have is the Sesame Street version (words modified).

Volvo Ocean Race, Torture Boats, Comment 3

Team Russia, a Rob Humphries design Volvo 70.

Reference my comment .... one day, one wave train you will get it wrong.

The video is a little bit discombobulated, but viewing it with some offshore sailors, here is how they dissect it.

- Boat piles up on a wave, slows and then broaches.

- Involuntary gybe and now the canting keel is on the wrong side.

- Boat can't right itself, so it stops in the vertical position until they can get the canting keel pumped around.

- Afterguard climbs to weather using whatever handholds they can find.

- Keel gets wound around and boat slowly rights itself. Offwatch scrambles on deck. We have video from the inside of the boat as the poor offwatch also have to contend with a now vertical floor.

- Adrenaline quotient 90/100 (at least they weren't sinking)

From the .... I'm glad I'm on this end looking in.

Ouch! Big Tactical Mistake on YouTube

Certainly over my years sailboat racing, I have, on occasion, been very good at working my way to the back of the fleet. Now with the proliferation of onboard cameras, we have the luxury of watching others also making big tactical booboos and putting it online for all to see. From the onboard camera aboard an Ultimate 20 during one of their races at the East Coast Championships at Lake Norman, North Carolina.

Certainly our Ultimate 20 team looks to have a good start near the weather end but at the 2.33 mark, when going right, the skipper inexplicably tacks into the wind shadow of a starboard tacker. Another quick clearing tack and then they dig themselves out to the right side all by their very lonesome.

Part of the problem is they are only two crew when it looks like most of the other U20's have at least three. So they may be overpowered but the crew only hikes off the start line and then perches inboard for most of the rest of the first beat.

They certainly seem to be enjoying the race and the crew is certainly adept at getting all the jobs done, even though they are shorthanded. Gotta have fun and these two definitely seem to be doing that.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Volvo Ocean Race, Comment 2

From the Puma Team. Underneath all the bravado talk, you get a sense of the stress of racing these boats. I think Jerry Kirby was another oldster that took a break from racing the Cochin India leg.

Also another view at what a great swimming pool these Volvo 70 yachts are;

Glug!, Glug!

From the YouTube Universe; Melges 24 smackdown!

From YouTuber "rapidecharly", a Melges 24 blasting downwind seemingly under control untli they attempt a gybe at the 1 minute 22 second mark.

Glug! glug!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Directors Cut; YouTube, St, 2007 Classic Moth Midwinters

A slideshow about the 2007 Classic Moth Midwinters was my second YouTube video. I've gotten better at using Adobe Elements and figured out how to add music. Music was by a local Baltimore/Washington ska band "The Players". I twice saw them perform live. Great band. Pictures were taken by Amy Linton.

The 2007 Midwinters was the first one to be held at Gulfport YC, St. Petersburg FL. and featured good breezes on Saturday (around 20 knots) and much lighter on Sunday (around 5 knots).

For those who wonder why all the hulls look different it's because the class is a development class where you design within a box rule (11' LOA,  5' Beam, 75 lbs. hull weight and a max 1" hollows restriction on hull shape aft of the Daggerboard trunk to prevent wings or catamarans).

For those who like names attached to sail numbers;

64 - Joe Bousquet
71 - Walt Collins
79 - Mike Parsons
92 - Tweezerman
93 - Rod Koch
102 - Jeff Linton
107 - Greg Duncan
2000 - John Zseleczky

There are also close up shots of brothers, Mark and Craig Saunders as well as Derek Dudinsky.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Directors Cut; YouTube, Mid Atlantic Small Craft Festival 2007

I've put 23 YouTube videos out there and I've thought that one way to utilize this blog is to provide commentary on some my YouTube videos, just like the Directors Cut in the DVD's you rent.

The first YouTube video I did was in December 2007; a slide show of photos from the 2007 Mid Atlantic Small Craft Festival in St. Michaels. I used Adobe Photo Elements Slideshow Creator to string together some digital photos. I didn't know enough to add music, so this is a silent video.

One interesting craft was an Adirondack Guideboat built out of paper shown at 32 seconds in. Building small craft out of glued up paper was a popular way of building small canoes in the early 1900's. I talked to the builder and he admitted it was very time consuming way to build and used a fair bit of resin.

My Classic Moth is featured going out to the sailing race on Saturday. They usually get around 60 boats of all types and sizes, with very few having any knowledge of racing rules, the starts are usually one of avoidance and trying to dig yourself out to one side of the course.

The end of the video shows three people showing geat interest (puzzlement) in some rigging on my Classic Moth.

Volvo Ocean Race, Comment 1

I've been watching the videos of this race both on YouTube and from their website and I get the feeling of watching a car wreck slowly unfolding.

These boats are brutal. I mean brutal!!! At speed (over 20 knots) on deck, the boat is underwater. On watch means constant firehose spray .... there is nowhere to hide.

Imagine steering a boat doing mid 20's in the pitch black. Insane!! and these guys do it day in and day out. The law of averages says there will be one day ... one wave train where you get it wrong.

The wind gets up to 40 knots and the boats look to be under control 95% of the time but the other 5% is utter mayhem. Puma reports that at one hour they pitchpole so violently that they break the prodder and shred the foresail. The next hour they launch off a wave and crack the center frame up at the bow. And this is one of the best prepared campaigns of the bunch.

One telling video interview had Jonathon McKee working the grinder and saying that after three days of putting the pedal down going to Capetown he was looking for a respite. At Capetown he was cycled off the boat for the next leg. His 50 year old body needed some R&R. I have the utmost respect for Jonathon's sailing abilities but these boats chew up sailors and spit them out.

I really wonder how many of these teams will be able to complete that monster leg between Quindao, China and Rio De Janeiro Brazil?

John Keegan, the military historian, wrote a book "The Face of War" where he speculated on how a full military confrontation between the East and West on the border of Germany would play out (obviously written before the downfall of the Eastern Bloc). His conclusion; after three days of all out tank battles, ground battles; for those on the front line, the human body would shut down.

I really wonder if, with these latest Volvo 70's, they have upped the game so much, that we will have human zombies trying to finish this thing out.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Tillerman's "Guess who's coming to dinner" contest

I've created this blog mainly as a response to another writing assignment from blogger Tillerman. www.propercourse.blogspot.comThere may be other uses for this blog but for right now lets dig into Tillerman's assignment .... who would you invite to a very special dinner/party? For this party you can get to mix the living and the dead, the friends and the strangers.

Tillerman's a dinghy sailor, I am also a dinghy sailor. Where Tillerman immerses himself in the one-design Laser class, I am usually found in some class where people design or build their own equipment, whether it's hulls, sails, blades, etc.

So my dinner party would definitely have an abundance of what the English call "boffins", in this case those who like to experiment with sailboats, preferably small racing dinghies.

Large parties work best and hopefully all guests are voluble, completely free with their opinions and willing to listen. Wives/ girlfriends are always welcome and indeed are essential. Unfortunately, I don't know any female sailing boffins so my guest list is definitely sexist.

You must start with your COF - Circle of Friends, boffins which in this case would be Bill Beaver, John Z, George Saunders, Steve Clark, John Kells, Bob Ames, Bob Blomquist, Paul Miller with some left coast COF boffins such as Erich Chase, Del Olsen, Fran DeFaymoreau (4 Naval Architects in this group and everyone has built, in most cases, multiple racing dinghies). I would also add local acquaintance, Aussie Tony Arends. I'd also invite boffin Bill Boyle but he doesn't seem to do parties very well.

Now onto to the special guests;

Austin Farrar - UK deceased - Austin was the premier designer in the International 14 class in the 1950's, was the first one to put a wing mast on the C-class catamaran "Lady Helmsman" founded the sailmaking firm Seahorse sails and was involved in a myriad of experiments. To use that overused phrase; Austin was always an "out of the box" thinker.

Ben Lexcen - i.e. Bob Miller - Australia deceased - Top designer/sailor in the Australian 18 skiffs. Designed the Contender which won the IYRU singlehanded trials in the early 1960's. Designed the wing keeled Australia II that wrested the America's Cup from the Americans. From everything I read, Ben Lexcen was a larger than life character and you need some of those at a party. Here is a video of Ben Lexcen's 18-footer design, Taipan.

Ian Howlett - UK - designed America's Cup 12 meters, IOR tonners, premier yacht designer. House designer for most of the Topper companies dinghy designs. Final kicker in my book is he races an 11' British Moth. What other big name designer gets his jollies from racing an 11' dinghy?

Bruce Kirby - CAN/US - Top designer in the International 14 in the 1960's and 70's. Designer of the Laser. Designer of the Canadian entry into the America's Cup. Designer of the successful Noank Sharpies shoal draft cruisers. I met him in the early 1980's and came away with the impression of a personable, self effacing fellow with loads of stories to tell.

Tom Shnackenberg - NZ - The boffin in charge of New Zealand's America's Cup dominance. Not sure how forthcoming he would be at a party like this but, if he opened up, the stories he could tell...

Eric Arens - US - Eric is actually in my COF but I rarely get to see him. I crewed for Eric in Int. 14's in the 1970's. Eric still sails Int 14's today as crew - age mid 60's! Eric has been commodore of both Severn Sailing Assoc and Richmond YC, is a senior US sailing judge and loves the give and take with interesting people at a party. He's retired now but was a PHD physicist at NASA Goodard Space Center.

Jeff Linton - US - Jeff is a pro, has won several World Championships, has won US Sailing's sailor of the year award, but also designed, built, and races a Classic Moth. Jeff and his wife, Amy, have a wealth of stories to tell. Jeff is very approachable which is not always a characteristic you find in professional sailors.

Chris Thompson - AUS - Chris has written an unpublished history of dinghy sailing, a superb tome of research and writing. Chris races the original Windsurfer and Lasers. I would need someone to keep Tillerman occupied!

Mystery guest - It's got to be one or two of the Frenchmen involved with the design or building of the Vendee Globe 60 footers. Not sure who? as I don't know the players. Someone with good English as this is a Anglo-centric party. Someone who can bring the wine maybe?? What glorious machines those Vendee Globe 60 footers are and the French need to be recognized for driving these designs to the pinnacle they represent in ocean racing.

Other's on the invite list (but I 'll spare the details);
Jo Richards - UK
Phil Morrison - UK
Paul Bieker - US
Bruce Farr - NZL
Chris Benedict - US deceased.