Thursday, November 30, 2006

The excitement of sailing...

Sailors everywhere will enjoy this clip of pandemonium breaking out on a boat during a race. I especially admire the courage it took to put this out for everyone to see. Hats off to you, skipper, for sharing "Ham-It-Up! Capri 25 Sailing Round Down."

Monday, November 20, 2006

Black tie night...

This weekend was the annual Commodore's Ball at our club. As always we had a great turn-out and everyone loves dressing up.

The band, The Delta Wires, is one of the best blues bands locally, and we danced up a storm.

Monday, November 13, 2006

"Messing about on boats..."

Almost every English speaker knows Kenneth Grahame's marvelous children's book The Wind in the Willows (1908). Sailors especially know it for Mole's encounter with Water Rat:

'Hullo, Mole!' said the Water Rat.

'Hullo, Rat!' said the Mole.

'Would you like to come over?' enquired the Rat presently.

'Oh, its all very well to talk,' said the Mole, rather pettishly, he being new to a river and riverside life and its ways.

The Rat said nothing, but stooped and unfastened a rope and hauled on it; then lightly stepped into a little boat which the Mole had not observed. It was painted blue outside and white within, and was just the size for two animals; and the Mole's whole heart went out to it at once, even though he did not yet fully understand its uses.

The Rat sculled smartly across and made fast. Then he held up his forepaw as the Mole stepped gingerly down. `Lean on that!' he said. `Now then, step lively!' and the Mole to his surprise and rapture found himself actually seated in the stern of a real boat.

'This has been a wonderful day!' said he, as the Rat shoved off and took to the sculls again. 'Do you know, I've never been in a boat before in all my life.'

'What?' cried the Rat, open-mouthed: 'Never been in a -- you never -- well I -- what have you been doing, then?'

'Is it so nice as all that?' asked the Mole shyly, though he was quite prepared to believe it as he leant back in his seat and surveyed the cushions, the oars, the rowlocks, and all the fascinating fittings, and felt the boat sway lightly under him.

'Nice? It's the only thing,' said the Water Rat solemnly, as he leant forward for his stroke. 'Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing -- absolute nothing -- half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing,' he went on dreamily: 'messing -- about -- in -- boats; messing -- -- '

'Look ahead, Rat!' cried the Mole suddenly.

It was too late. The boat struck the bank full tilt. The dreamer, the joyous oarsman, lay on his back at the bottom of the boat, his heels in the air.

' -- about in boats -- or with boats,' the Rat went on composedly, picking himself up with a pleasant laugh. 'In or out of 'em, it doesn't matter. Nothing seems really to matter, that's the charm of it. Whether you get away, or whether you don't; whether you arrive at your destination or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you never get anywhere at all, you're always busy, and you never do anything in particular; and when you've done it there's always something else to do, and you can do it if you like, but you'd much better not....'

Some time ago, I was invited to launch a new sailing blog as one of several "community bloggers" for the San Francisco Chronicle's web site The project has been underway for several months, and today at about 1:00 p.m., it is being launched. SFGate readers will see links appearing to the new community blogs feature throughout this week.

With Water Rat's words firmly in mind, my new SFGate blog "Messing about on boats..." appears under my screen name Spindrift. I'll be musing regularly about all sorts of topics related to sailing from doing it on San Francisco Bay to cruising in the Caribbean and whatever comes up in between. It's going to be great fun, and I hope you'll take a look.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Refitting Spindrift...

Last week we began a refitting project on Spindrift, taking her over to Svendsen's Boat Works to have the mast unstepped for new standing rigging, radar, and more. You can follow the process via Spindrift's maintenance log.

For regular readers, please know that I've altered the sailing blogs just a bit. In addition to the new maintenance log for Spindrift, there is Spindrift's general log, and a new cruising log that has our Caribbean cruising logs.

The links to these and other sites are along the left hand side of the page, as always.