May 9, 2008

The Niña Discovers the Bay

Columbus sailed the ocean blue aboard the Niña — more than 25,000 miles throughout his many explorations —  and now folks along the West Coast will get a chance to see what life was like onboard the famous (or infamous, depending on your viewpoint) caravel.

The new Niña, built by the Columbus Foundation in the early 1990s to commemorate the quincentennial of Columbus’ most famous journey, is claimed to be the "most historically accurate replica of a Columbus ship ever built." She sailed under the Gate Wednesday afternoon on a West Coast tour of sea ports and is open for public tours through Sunday from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. at Pier 9 — $5 for adults, $3 for kids 5-16, and kids under 5 get in free. If you can’t make it to the City this weekend, you’ll have another chance at a tour as she’s scheduled to return in late July.

For more on the history of the original Niña and the details on the construction of the replica, visit www.thenina.com.

Singlehanded Transat Starts Sunday

One of the world’s preeminent singlehanded offshore races gets underway Sunday when a fleet of 13 IMOCA 60s and 11 Class 40s will leave Plymouth on their way to a finish in Boston in the Artemis Transat. Formerly known as the OSTAR, this quadrennial test has been a legend-maker — Éric Tabarly, Francis Joyon and Michel Desjoyeaux have all made their marks here. While typically an all-uphill bash, this year’s race is shaping up to be an uncharacteristic downwind slide. In the IMOCA 60s, there figures to be one hell of a battle between Frenchmen Desjoyeaux, Vincent Riou, Loick Peyron, Seb Josse and Marc Guillemot. In the Class 40s look for Italian Giovanni Soldini to be near the top. You can follow it all at www.theartemistransat.com.

BMW Oracle Racing Announces Design Team

BMW Oracle Racing’s design team of Vincent Lauriot Prevost, Marc van Peteghem, Mike Drummond and Mick Kermerac sit for a photo with boss Russell Coutts.

© 2008 Gilles Martin-Raget / BMW Oracle Racing

Over the weekend, BMW Oracle Racing announced its design team for the AC33. Unsurprisingly, it included dynamo French multihull designers Marc van Peteghem and Vincent Lauriot Prévost along with Mike Drummond and Mick Kermerac. We don’t quite understand why the team has taken this long to announce the design team — given that they’ve had their boat under construction for some months now. Now if they would just send us some pictures of the new boat. . . .

Stewing in Our Juices

A big part of cruising is diet. And a big part of spartan cruising is a spartan diet. Cruising in the Med back in the ‘70s, we would often go a week or more dipping from the same pot of stew, just adding a bit more veggies and meat periodically. But on the minimalist scale, a group of Greek sponge divers had us beat. We fell in company with the friendly bunch aboard their one-cylinder boat in the Ionian Sea and traveled around with them for a week. During that time, the men ate only from a drum of stew that always sat on the deck over a small burner, always bubbling and emitting an . . . interesting. . . aroma. We tried a cup once and, well, Wolfgang had nothing to worry about. We always wondered what was in there.

One day, one of our crew speared a grouper and we invited the Greeks over for filets. After dinner, as they prepared to head back to their boat, our cook came outside with the remains of the cleaned fish and prepared to throw it overboard. The men started yelling "No, no!" then with big smiles and thanks accepted the head of the big fish. We watched as they rowed over, stepped aboard and threw it into the pot. After that, we politely declined offers of Greek stew.

Readers — do you have a good ‘food’ story? Let us know about it in an email.

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