Saturday, February 21, 2015

100 Years of my dream boat the Herreshoff 12 1/2

I have always sailed small boats, starting with a Snipe as a boy.  When I collected on my first jury verdict I bought a City Island built cedar Snipe, put a 2 HP motor on the back, and tied it up at a silted-in marina - the Lighthouse Boat Club - in North Bergen, NJ.  I soon learned that the motor could barely push it against the North River tide.
After that I sailed Lightnings at Nyack Boat Club for ten years.  In 1994 we went to Friendship, Maine drawn by the legend of the Friendship sloop.
The next summer I saw a Herreshoff 12 1/2 bobbing at its mooring and fell in love.  I stopped in Mystic on the way home and bought what to me looked like a 12 1/2.  Actually I was cheated - it didn't come close to the measurements.  But it looked close enough for me and I got half my money out when I sold North River in 1999.  Then I bought my current boat - North River 2 - a Buzzards Bay 14.  Designed by L. Francis Herreshoff,  I call it a stretch 12 1/2 (17' LOA vs. 15'10" LOA).  The original H 12 1/2 was designed by the legendary Nat Herreshoff who called it a Buzzards Bay Boys Boat.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Sunday, February 15, 2015

USCG Icebreaker Frees Fishing Vessel Near Antarctica [PHOTOS] - gCaptain Maritime & Offshore News

U.S. Coast Guard Photo

Polar Star,  our only heavy icebreaker capable of Antarctic operation (40 y.o.) has freed the 275 foot F/V Australian Chieftain which was beset in pack ice. - gwc

USCG Icebreaker Frees Fishing Vessel Near Antarctica [PHOTOS] - gCaptain Maritime & Offshore News: "The crew of the USCGC Polar Star freed an Australian fishing vessel from thick pack ice Friday night approximately 900 miles northwest of McMurdo Sound, Antarctica.

The 207-foot FV Antarctic Chieftain contacted Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand earlier this week after becoming beset in ice with 27 people aboard, reporting that three of its four propellers have been damaged by ice and it had lost its ability to maneuver. The RCC New Zealand then diverted the Polar Star, more than 330 miles away, to respond to the vessel.

After rendezvousing with the fishing vessel overnight Thursday, the crew of the Polar Star was able to take the Antarctic Chieftain in tow. The USCG reported that the vessels are surrounded by 12 to 15 feet thick ice covered with two feet of snow."

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Philip Levine, Former U.S. Poet Laureate Who Won Pulitzer, Dies at 87 -

Philip Levine was a favorite of mine and my favorite of all is the poem What Work Is.  Like William Carlos Williams he was an accurate observerof human emotion. - gwc

Philip Levine, Former U.S. Poet Laureate Who Won Pulitzer, Dies at 87 -

by Margalit Fox

Philip Levine, a former United States poet laureate whose work was vibrantly, angrily and often painfully alive with the sound, smell and sinew of heavy manual labor, died on Saturday morning at his home in Fresno, Calif. He was 87.

The cause was pancreatic cancer, said Christopher Buckley, a longtime friend and fellow poet.

Mr. Levine served as poet laureate from 2011 to 2012. He received a Pulitzer Prize in 1995 for his collection “The Simple Truth” and won two National Book Awards — in 1980 for “Ashes: Poems New & Old” and 1991 for “What Work Is.” His poetry appeared often in The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine and other major publications.

At his death, he was an emeritus professor of English at California State University, Fresno, where he had taught from 1958 to 1992.

In spare, realistic free verse, Mr. Levine explored the subjects that had animated his work for decades: his gritty Detroit childhood; the soul-numbing factory jobs he held as a youth; Spain, where he lived for some time as an adult; and the Spanish anarchists of the 1930s, a personal passion since he was a boy.

These were themes with which few American poets were concerning themselves when his first collection, “On the Edge,” appeared in 1961. “A large, ironic Whitman of the industrial heartland” is how the poet Edward Hirsch, writing in The New York Times Book Review, described Mr. Levine in 1984.

Dwight Garner,  writing in the Times in 2011, said

The work of Philip Levine, America’s new and 18th poet laureate, is welcome because it radiates a heat of a sort not often felt in today’s poetry, that transmitted by grease, soil, factory light, cheap and honest food, sweat, low pay, cigarettes and second shifts. It is a plainspoken poetry ready-made, it seems, for a time of S&P downgrades, a double-dip recession and debts left unpaid.

The book to buy, if you haven’t read Mr. Levine, is “What Work Is,” which won a National Book Award in 1991. It won’t give you the most rounded sense of his long and varied career, but it starts strong and, like a perfect rock record, won’t quit. Mr. Levine was born in Detroit and worked in Cadillac and Chevy factories as a young man; his evocations of working-class life are moving and exacting.

Here’s the beginning of “Fear and Fame,” which opens “What Work Is”:

Half an hour to dress, wide rubber hip boots,
gauntlets to the elbow, a plastic helmet
like a knight’s but with a little glass window
that kept steaming over, and a respirator
to save my smoke-stained lungs. I would descend
step by slow step into the dim world
of the pickling tank and there prepare
the new solutions from the great carboys
of acids lowered to me on ropes — all from a recipe
I shared with nobody and learned from Frank O’Mera
before he went off to the bars on Vernor Highway
to drink himself to death.

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Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Day Weekend

Low tide on the Back River


Friday, February 13, 2015

Memorial Mass - Clare Marie Trautfield Conk

Our brilliant and accomplished mother Clare Marie Trautfield Conk (1922 - 2015) was remembered at a Mass of Christian Burial at the beautiful Blessed Junipero Serra Chapel, Mission Santa Barbara, on February 6, 2015.  By sad coincidence my sister Kathryn Therese, who had long been in poor health, died the night before and was remembered on this our saddest day.

My mother was eulogized by memy sister Nancy, and my brother Peter who read a passage from the Book of Proverbs.  My brother Steven read a letter from Paul to the Philippians, reminding me that he had been a champion high school  forensic speaker.  Mom's husband of seventy years, our dear father George, was present, struggling with the flu.  They had marked their 70th anniversary on January 27, only four days before our mother's passing.

With Nancy, Dad, Norma, Peter

George at Serra Chapel, Mission Santa Barbara

Mom and Dad, Stones Point, Maine- 2009

Clare never passed up a boat ride
with Sophia Clare Conk - her youngest grandchild

With Dad and Nan at the dedication
Clare Conk Castillo homes
Mom was a WWII vet - a Navy WAV
and a member of the California Bar - self-taught!

We all walk this earth feeling we are frauds - The Quotable David Carr -

David Carr was a great journalist and, hardest of all, an honest memoirist.  He was addicted to crack cocaine, nicotine, endangered his tiny twin daughters and yet managed to redeem himself.  But he did not escape the damage he had done to his body.  He collapsed in the Times newsroom - dead at 58.  He knew as Benedictine Brother David Steindel Rast said that "gratefulness is the heart of prayer".

The Quotable David Carr -
‘We All Walk This Earth Feeling We Are Frauds’

From his book, The Night of the Gun:

“I now inhabit a life I don’t deserve, but we all walk this earth feeling we are frauds. The trick is to be grateful and hope the caper doesn’t end soon.”

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

USCG Icebreaker 'Polar Star' Sent to Rescue Vessel Stuck in Ice Off Antarctica - gCaptain Maritime & Offshore News

Coast Guard heavy icebreaker Polar Star
USCG Icebreaker 'Polar Star' Sent to Rescue Vessel Stuck in Ice Off Antarctica - gCaptain Maritime & Offshore News

"The U.S. Coast Guard heavy icebreaker USCGC Polar Star’ has been called on to respond to a 207-foot fishing vessel with 27 people aboard that is stuck in thick ice approximately 900 miles northeast of McMurdo Sound, Antarctica.

The Australian-flagged FV Antarctic Chieftain contacted Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand after becoming beset in ice, reporting that three of its four propellers have been damaged by ice and it has lost its ability to maneuver.

RCC New Zealand has diverted U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star, homeported in Seattle, to respond to the vessel. The 150-person crew of Polar Star was deployed to McMurdo Station, Antarctica, as part of Operation Deep Freeze, which provides military logistical support to the U.S. Antarctic Program managed by the National Science Foundation. The crew had just completed their mission at McMurdo Station when they diverted to aid the vessel in distress on Tuesday at 9:15 p.m."

Polar Star will need to steam more than 330 miles to reach the vessel. Ice in the some areas has been reported to be 9 feet thick, with 35 mph winds and heavy snowfall, according to the USCG. The crew of Polar Star is scheduled to reach the Antarctic Chieftain Thursday at approximately 10 p.m
Once on scene, the crew of the Polar Star attempt to free the Antarctic Chieftain from the ice, and the New Zealand-flagged fishing vessel Janas is schedule to escort or tow the vessel to the nearest safe harbor. The FV Janas is approximately 600-miles away from the Antarctic Chieftain’s position, the Coast Guard said.

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Monday, February 9, 2015

Clare M. Conk of Santa Barbara

Clare Conk was always ready to sail, and passed her love of boating on to her children. (Conk family photo)

Clare M. Conk of Santa Barbara:

"Clare M. Conk passed away peacefully at her home in Santa Barbara on Sunday, February 1, 2015. She was 92.

Clare and her husband, George, marked their 70th anniversary on January 27, 2015. She is also survived by her children, George, Nancy, Peter, Kathryn and Stephen; her grandchildren, Molly Castor; Max Looker; Theresa Conk; Mindy, Lonnie and Patrick Miron-Conk; and Sophia Conk; and her great grandchildren, Clare and Ella Castor; and Evan, Kaylee and Lily Sereno.

 Clare was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, where she also graduated magna cum laude from St. Joseph’s College in June 1943. She was first in her class in U.S. Navy midshipman school at Smith College. She was a USN communications officer at Norfolk Naval Base in Virginia until her honorable discharge in April 1945.

Clare received her M.A. in Education from Hofstra University in 1954 and was a secondary school teacher for 15 years.

 In 1980, Clare began her law practice after reading for the bar. With only one year of formal law school classes, she took and passed the California Bar exam on her first attempt. She practiced law until 1992 when she turned 70.

 She served on the Board of Directors of California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA) for 25 years and the board of Santa Barbara Community Housing Corporation for nearly 30 years.

In 2010, SBCHC honored her by rededicating its senior housing community on Castillo Street as Clare Conk Castillo Homes.

 Clare and George loved to travel and explored all over Europe on 18 different trips, as well as journeying to parts of Scandinavia, Russia, Fiji and New Zealand. They typically would stay for a month in one area to have more of an experience of living in a place rather than just being tourists.

 Clare loved sailing and boating. On summer vacations in Maine with her children, well into her 80s, hers would be the first hand raised whenever the call went out “Anyone for a boat ride?” Whether it was taking the boat to watch the lobster boat races or over to Christmas Cove for lunch, Clare was a lifelong boating enthusiast and her children followed suit.

 Clare will be remembered at a memorial mass at 4 p.m. Friday, February 6, in Serra Chapel, St. Barbara Parish at the Santa Barbara Mission, 2201 Laguna St.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations in her memory to California Rural Legal Assistance or Santa Barbara Community Housing Corporation/Clare Conk Castillo Homes.


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Sunday, February 8, 2015

Deluded and dysfunctional, the Republicans have lost the plot

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Clare Marie Trautfield Conk (August 31, 1922 - February 1, 2015)

Clare M. Conk
Married to George W. Conk, Jr., January 27, 1945
Ensign, United States Navy (1943-1945)
A.B. St.Joseph's College, Brooklyn, NY (1943)
Attorney at Law, State of California (1981)
Mother of George, Nancy, Peter, Kathryn and Steven
Grandmother of Theresa, Max, Molly, Sophia Clare, Mindy, Lonnie, & Patrick
When all the others were away at Mass
I was all hers as we peeled potatoes.
They broke the silence, let fall one by one
Like solder weeping off the soldering iron:
Cold comforts set between us, things to share
Gleaming in a bucket of clean water.
And again let fall.  Little pleasant splashes
From each other's work would bring us to our senses.
I remember her head bent towards my head,
Her breath in mine, our fluent dipping knives -
Never closer the whole rest of our lives.
-Seamus Heaney, Clearances