Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Vendee Globe: fleet stretches from Falklands to western Australia

Sailing aerial images of the IMOCA boat Hugo Boss, skipper Alex Thomson (GBR), during training solo for the Vendee Globe 2016, off England, on September 16, 2016 - Photo Cleo Barnham / Hugo Boss / Vendée GlobeImages aériennes de Hugo Boss, skipper Alex
The hazards of single-handed ocean racing are many.  On December 21 Sebastien Destremau was sailing in 30 knots with three reefs in the main when his boat was "knocked down like a dinghy".
A glance at the race tracker shows that 51 days out the fleet is strung out along a line from the Falkland Islands east of Argentina to Cape Leeuwin - western Australia.  Nineteen of the twenty nine boats are still racing.  In fifteenth position is Rich Wilson aboard Great American.  Leading is Armel Le'Cleac'h aboard Banc Populaire, making 16.9 knots with Brit Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) 281 nm behind and 5,900 nm to the finish line.  On Christmas Thomson rounded Cape Horn just a mile or two south in variable southerly and southwesterly winds of 16 - 40 kts. He still managed some Christmas cake.
Wilson is at 55 S, 97 E - south of New Zealand.  He trails Le Cleac'h by 5,900 nm and has 11,650 nm to finish.  Another 2,000 nm behind is Pieter Heerema aboard No Way Back.  He is limping along at 3 knots.  Is there a way forward?

Weather Analysis December 24th 2016 - Leaders

S. Newman Darby, Inventor of the Sailboard, Dies at 88 - The New York Times

Related image

It's a long way from 1963 and the first sailboard to today's kite surfing.

S. Newman Darby, Inventor of the Sailboard, Dies at 88 - The New York Times

S. Newman Darby, a sign painter whose passion for boating led him to invent a sailboard that is widely acknowledged as the first windsurfing craft, died on Dec. 3 at his home in St. Johns, Fla. He was 88.
His daughter Wendy Darby Brown confirmed the death.
Mr. Darby created his sailboard in 1964 out of frustration because the waves on lakes, like the one near his home in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., were not big enough to surf on.
His solution was to attach a sail to a surfboard, and the combination worked. But it was flawed: It could not turn sharply or go well against the wind. So he created a universal joint using a nylon rope to link the sail to the board. This enhanced his control of steering and speed.
Mr. Darby’s enthusiasm spilled over into an article he wrote for Popular Science magazine in 1965 about his invention.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Joel White, 66, Designer of Wooden Boats - The New York Times

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Today was a special day.  I visited my buddy Arthur-  up and about 9 days after a successful heart transplant - his second.  The first - as a young man - held up for 25 years +/-.   I brought him a copy of the 2017 Calendar of Wooden Boats by Benjamin Mendlowitz - the house photographer of the wooden boat community in tiny Brooklin, Maine - a center of superb craftsmanship.  I introduced him to the great sailboat designer Joel White who died 19 years ago.

The great essayist E.B. White wrote about the Maine lake where Arthur's family has a cottage - and On Golden Pond was filmed. - gwc

Joel White, 66, Designer of Wooden Boats - The New York Times

by Richard Goldstein

'There's a certain amount of dewy-eyed enthusiasm about wood that gets a little sticky sometimes,'' Joel White once said. ''People can get so caught up in the Zen of the thing, they sometimes forget what a boat is really for.''

Mr. White was born in Mount Vernon, N.Y., the son of the essayist and author E. B. White and his wife, Katharine, who was fiction editor of The New Yorker. The family moved to a farm in North Brooklin, Me., in the mid-1930's, and the son became immersed in a lifelong love of sailing Maine's coastal waters. He built a 19-foot boat named Martha, in honor of his daughter, that his father sailed after adding his own touch -- carved dolphins, four on each side of the bow, decorated in gold.

One of E. B. White's most enduring essays, ''Once More to the Lake,'' written in 1941, tells of a trip with his son back to the freshwater lake where the father spent vacations as a boy.

Mr. White attended Cornell University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, from which he obtained a bachelor's degree in naval architecture in 1953. After working on boat building in Newport News, Va., and serving in the Army, he returned to Maine and assumed ownership of the Brooklin boating facility in 1960. His son Steven has been owner and president of the boatyard since 1986.

He was the author of ''Wood, Water & Light: Classic Wooden Boats'' (Norton, 1988) with photographs by Benjamin Mendlowitz. Reviewing the book for The New York Times, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt called it a ''lovely work'' that was ''untainted by snobbery.'' Mr. White read from his father's essays, poems and short stories in a recent audio cassette, ''White on White.''

The editor and writer Roger Angell, Mr. White's half-brother, said that ''he really was a Down Easter. He was reserved in his emotions and instinctively modest.''

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Vendee Globe - 42 days out - 22 still racing, Great America IV in 17th place

Weather Analysis Indian Ocean December 17th 2016

The Vendee GlobeTracker  shows the fleet spread out across the Indian Ocean the trailers are approaching western Australia while the leaders are half way across te Pacific. the Pacific.  Leader Armel Le Cleach has 8,800 miles to go.  Brit Alex Thomson trails him by 484 nm.  The two leaders are more than half way across the Pacific. A few weeks ago Thomson lost one of the foils, but has been on a favorable tack.

Making 11 knots at the moment, the sole American entry Rich Wilson is 5,300 miles behind the leader in 17th position.  22 of the 29 starters are still racing.  The others abandoned the race due to equipment failures,
Photo sent from the boat La Fabrique, on December 16th, 2016 - Photo Alan RouraPhoto envoyée depuis le bateau La Fabrique le 16 Décembre 2016 - Photo Alan Roura

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Ellen's scallops

As for the scallops,  I kind of “wung” it but here are the basics:  bread crumbs, lemon zest (1 lemon),  fresh herbs (parsley, thyme), parmesan cheese (tablespoonish or more), some shallot, salt and pepper, paprika,  red pepper.  Mix it all together.  Dredge the scallops, put in hot oil (I added a little butter too but probably not necessary) and brown quickly on both sides (crispy surface is good). Serve with lemon. - Ellen

Peppercorn halibut

Vibrant Peppercorns (and Their Impostors) Brighten Fish Fillets http://nyti.ms/2h6YmN5

New wave height. Record ~ 19 metetd


My sister Candy

My sister Kathryn - who we called Candy - was born sixty four years ago today - December 14, 1952.
This is my favorite picture of her - the big smile, the energy.
No loss in my life matches this one.  When Candy died two days after my mother in February 2015 she had long been diminished in health, the old buoyancy gone.  She left behind Molly and Max, and her two grandchildren - Ella and Clare, named for our mother and her aunt Ella Curtis Steel to whom we were very close as kids and who  baked great butter cookies.  I hope she is enjoying one now.

Monday, December 12, 2016

An Old Hand Once Again Tries His Luck at an Around-the-World Race - The New York Times

An Old Hand Once Again Tries His Luck at an Around-the-World Race - The New York Times

by Christopher Clarey

Rich Wilson in his boat as he prepares for this year’s edition of the Vendée Globe. Wilson, 66, placed ninth in the race in 2009. CreditTheophile Trossat for The New York Times
MARBLEHEAD, Mass. — When José Luis Ugarte, the oldest sailor to finish the Vendée Globe yacht race, finally arrived back on terra firma in 1993, he soberly pronounced the solo, round-the-world race “an inhuman event” that should be done no more than “once in a lifetime.”
But here is Rich Wilson, back for more at age 66 and in position to break Ugarte’s age record by two years. After placing ninth in his first Vendée Globe in 2009, Wilson, an asthmatic American educator from this yachting hub near Boston, will again set sail alone from France on Sunday. Taking nearly three months to complete, the Vendée Globe remains a singular test of character that allows no stops or outside assistance and too few hours of sleep as the weeks and months pass by along with the swells and storms.
“The last time, I slept two times in that race for four hours straight, and both were accidental,” Wilson said last week in a Skype interview from France. “They had a 120-decibel alarm clock on the boat, and I slept through that, and that sort of defines the fatigue.”
A chain saw, by the way, typically registers 110 decibels, but there was more delight than dread in Wilson’s voice last week as he prepared to depart with the 28 other competitors from the Atlantic port of Les Sables d’Olonne.ading the main story
“The Vendée Globe,” Wilson declared, “is the greatest sailing race in the world.”
There is certainly nothing nautical that rivals it in France, where the Vendée, a quadrennial event that began in 1989, remains a major cultural happening, one capable of inspiring Sunday sailors and lifelong landlubbers alike and of appealing to the adventurous and iconoclastic niches in the French psyche. Despite a growing international contingent, a Frenchman has won every edition of the race.
The start is one of the great spectacles in sports, as each of the 60-foot yachts is towed out to sea through a narrow channel lined with hundreds of thousands of spectators. Then, quite abruptly — after the cheers and the commotion — there is solitude, or at least a modern approximation of it, with all the satellite phones and other means of communication now at offshore sailors’ disposal.
“The first trans-Atlantic passage I did, our communication was through ham radio,” Wilson said. In that race, he said, communication with anyone involved muscling a simple antenna up the mast and hoping for the best.
“The way it is now changes it, certainly, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing,” Wilson said. “I think you get to maybe tell the stories a little bit more immediately to whomever it is you are going to tell them to. And I think it allows other people to participate in your adventure.”
That is the point of all this peril for Wilson, who values education above adrenaline. He was a math major at Harvard who later got a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard Business School and a graduate degree in interdisciplinary science from M.I.T. A high school teacher in Boston in the mid-1970s, he later worked as a defense analyst, consultant and investor. Divorced and with no children, he has been using his ocean voyages as teaching moments since the 1990s, reaching students initially via newsletters and more recently through the internet.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Blackjack - a Friendship Sloop

A friend and neighbor  rebuilt Blackjack a 115 year old Wilbur Morse-built Friendship sloop at the Sail Power and Steam Museum in Rockland, Maine.  Only the transom, keel and stem are original.  Every other plank is new - cut and fitted by Jim and volunteers.  Every rib steam bent - like the old days.  This video shows the boat as it looked when it came into the shop.

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Lessons & Carols - Fordham Christmas Concert

Sunday, December 4 - the Fordham Combined Choirs - at the University Church