November 13, 2009

Fish and Chips at Spaulding

Last November, a group of a dozen or so kids launched the product of the first youth boat building program: the 12-ft Norwegian pram named Guppy. Last Saturday, the second such pram was launched on what would have been Myron Spaulding’s 104th birthday. Work on Lightly Salted — which was named after the team’s favorite snack: Kettle Chips — began shortly after Guppy‘s launch, and the kids were not only mentored by adult boatwrights, but graduates of the first youth boat building program. "They were a lot better than we were," noted Sausalito’s Annarose Leff, 13. We’re betting that the next crop of young boatbuilders — who will be working on a 16-ft lapstrake boat originally designed by Myron Spaulding, and updated by Tom Wylie — will be saying the same thing about Annarose.

For more on the Spaulding Wooden Boat Center and their youth program — which is run in cooperation with 4-H and Big Brothers/Big Sisters — go to www.spauldingcenter.org.

Can You Say “High-Aspect?”

BMW Oracle Racing’s new hard sail being put through its paces off San Diego yesterday.

© Gilles Martin-Raget

BMW Oracle Racing finally put their new hard wing to the test yesterday, when they sailed BMW Oracle 90 outside San Diego Bay for the first time since stepping the giant wing earlier this week and adding a fabric fairing to the trailing edge of the aft crossbeam. According to a report by the official BMW Oracle Racing blogger Peter Rusch, the tune-up was going well until the second and third trailing-edge flaps started separating from the rest of the wing due to a loosened pin. The crew was able to reattach the pin and lash the flaps to the main element of the wing before heading back to the barn for repairs — they’re saying those should be relatively straightforward.

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Strictly Steering Seminar

The start of next summer’s Singlehanded TransPac — June 19 — is rushing ever closer, a point emphasized by the fact that the event’s third monthly seminar is on Monday night. "This presentation is simply titled ‘Steering Seminar’ since we’ll be addressing multiple issues: emergency steering options, windvanes and autopilots," says Race Co-Chair Bob Johnston. The doors to the Oakland YC open at 7 p.m., with the (free!) seminar starting at 7:30 sharp — and you don’t even have to be entered in the race to benefit from the experiences of some bad-ass sailors. Email Bob for more info.

Intrepid Rowers Arrive from Japan

Mother Nature blessed the rowers with crisp, clear weather for the S.F. arrival.

latitude/John A.
©2009 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

And you thought you had a backache!

At around 8:30 a.m. this morning, diehard oarsmen Mick Dawson and Chris Martin rowed beneath the Golden Gate Bridge, completing a nearly 6,000-mile voyage across the North Pacific from Choshi, Japan. The two are the first to have made the trip without support craft.

Rowing in shifts of two hours on and two hours off, Dawson and Martin endured a wide range of challenges since departing May 8, including mechanical and electrical problems, and storm conditions that featured 60-ft waves. Their 23-ft, purpose-built craft, Bojangles, was constructed from a carbon-kevlar composite which gives it maximum strength with minimal weight. The Golden Gate YC hosted a reception for the weary oarsmen this morning, before they headed off for a much-needed rest in a San Francisco hotel. That first warm shower must have been heaven.

Mistaken Identity and a Retraction

"I don’t mind you quoting me from a public forum as long as you don’t mix me up and attach my comment with someone else’s — which you did in the Monday ‘Lectronic update on the sinking of J/World," writes Scott, no last name given. "I’m the guy who suggested — tongue in cheek — using cherry bombs to avoid collisions between boats and whales. I’m not the guy who said that the Ha-Ha was a ‘party fest’, even though you attached that to my signature line."
 
Scott said he would like a retraction printed, and as we had indeed made the error, we’re more than happy to comply with his request. Our sincere apologies.
 
In a follow-up letter, Scott wrote, "If you really spent any time on our or any forum, you would know it is much like a bar atmosphere, and a lot of the comments are ‘just trying to fit in’ type of comments." He also said, "Most of our humor is very good-natured and just something to break up the ‘Newbie wants cheap RTW bluewater cruiser’ questions for the umpteenth time."
 
Perhaps it’s going to make us sound like complete assholes, but the above is precisely the reason we don’t spend much time — any, actually — on such forums. We know there is some excellent material in some of them, but the filtering process is so wearying that we leave it to other editors when they can find the time, which is rare.
 
Getting back to the cherry bombs, Scott writes, "No, cherry bombs are not going to be a viable whale deterrent, but you do have to admit that the idea has merit for gaining attention. But fumbling to light a cherry bomb safely, and get it overboard, is, as you mentioned, ridiculous. I make my jokes knowing they will be read as being ridiculous and be taken that way — hopefully by level-headed people. There will always be those with no sense of humor, and it seems to me that you are one of them."

We like to think we have a sense of humor, abeit a stunted one. But with some postings in sailing forums, it seems impossible to tell whether the poster is making an attempt at humor or is simply off their rocker. Maybe there should be a ‘Just Kidding’ box they could check next to their posting so dull people such as ourselves won’t be confused.

"Anyway," concludes Scott, "thanks for quoting what you did of me correctly in ‘Lectronic. I’m famous now. I’ll be waiting for Opera to call."

At the risk of sounding like a complete asshole once more, we’re totally confused yet again. Several times in your various missives you’ve used the word ‘hummer’ rather than the word ‘humor’ to mean ‘that which is meant to induce laughter’. We corrected it, hoping we were doing the right thing. And now you’ve used ‘Opera’ to refer, not to a place where operas are performed, but rather to the African-American media personality and mogul. Are these typos or, as you suggest, do we just have an underdeveloped sense of ‘hummer’?

Anyway, onward and upward.

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