As any experienced racer or daysailor can testify, finding good crew isn’t as easy as you’d think. Bribes of beer and sandwiches can be attractive to some crewmembers, but others are more particular. Bryan and Jennifer Saulsbury’s crew, for example, prefers Scooby Snacks. But Bryan says that catering to Barley’s discriminating tastes is well worth the effort. "Barley sits on the weather side, and is always ready to lend a paw."
Bryan reports that Barley, a two-year-old Portuguese Water Dog, has been sailing aboard the Saulsburys’ Cal 2-27 Boris since he was just a pup. In fact, Bryan says that he bought Boris specifically to take Barley sailing. "We belonged to Tradewinds Sailing Club but they have a ‘no dogs’ policy — which we totally understand — so we bought one of their older fleet boats so Barley could join in the fun. He took to the boat right away!"
"The first time we took him out on the boat, we were just planning to motor for a short while to see how he did," says Bryan. "Once clear of the marina, Barley went to the bow and struck the Titanic pose! Since salt water runs through his veins, he didn’t worry a bit about the noise or motion of the main being raised, and once we shut off the engine, he staked out his spot on the cabin top. He comes with us every time we take the boat out so he’s an experienced sailor who knows (and obeys!) the rules of the boat."
Portuguese Water Dogs were traditionally bred as maritime working dogs, trained to retrieve tackle, herd fish into nets, and to act as messengers between ships. But they’ve also earned their place in history as companions for Portuguese explorers, as well as leaders of the free world (the current First Canine is a Portie named Bo).
The Saulsburys caution that Porties are not the breed for everyone. "They’re extremely intelligent and very active," says Bryan. "They need to be kept busy physically and mentally, or they’ll invent their own forms of entertainment. Regardless, Barley’s a true joy, and we couldn’t ask for a better sailing companion."
For whatever reason, frugality and boating often seem to go together. In fact it’s a rare mariner who isn’t constantly looking for a better price on supplies or a cheaper way to accomplish regular maintenance tasks. But some boaters seem to make a sport out of economizing.
Take, for example, this sailor spotted while we were sailing down the Petaluma River a while back. At first glance it appeared he was simply prepping his boat for launching. But when we looked a little closer. . .
. . . we realized the guy was apparently intending to raise his mast using a block and tackle that was rigged to the Highway 37 bridge overhead. Although he was undoubtedly breaking a law or two, we have to applaud his ingenuity, and we’d sure like to know if he pulled it off. But, having once gotten a hefty fine for simply parking too long in that lot, we fear this frugal sailor’s plan may have been quashed long before he got his sloop rigged and launched. Anybody know the answer? See the story in our August 2010 issue.
There are some rewards you just can’t win on the race course, but are available to everyone who sails the Bay. Beyond the regular activities of running races, organizing cruises and connecting folks in the general revelry surrounding sailing, most yacht clubs also find other ways of giving back to their local community. One such effort is run each summer by Corinthian YC. Under the leadership of Corinthian YC member and BAADS sailor Herb Meyer, the Club hosted its annual Day on the Bay for families served by Easter Seals of Northern California.
For the 10th running of the event, more than 30 boats were volunteered by their owners to take children and adults with disabilities and special needs out on the water for a dose of nautical fun. From humble beginnings, the event has now grown to become one of the most memorable sailing days for Easter Seals participants as well as for members of both the Corinthian and San Francisco YCs. By all accounts, the event is a win/win, as it gives club members an opportunity to offer service to people facing great challenges in life, while also exposing them to the remarkable, positive attitude of those challenged with disabilities, and to the hard work done by their caregivers, who focus not just on the special needs, but also on the abilities of their charges.
The event included over 30 boats and crew, breakfast and lunch for over 200 people, plus a Coast Guard safety demonstration off CYC. Judging by the smiles on the faces of both volunteers and participants, this Day on the Bay yielded rewards for all involved. If your club or organization hosts a similar worthy event, drop us a line, as we’d like to highlight other events created by sailors to help the local community.
Don’t look now, but Paddy Power, Ireland’s largest bookmaker, recently took civilization another circle closer to the drain by offering odds on which Gulf of Mexico species will be the first to go extinct due to the big oil spill. The current ‘favorite’, at 4-5, is the Kemp’s Ridley turtle, the smallest and most endangered of all sea turtles. Indeed, it could hardly look worse for this gentle little voyager: The Kemp’s lays its eggs only along one area of Mexico’s Caribbean coast, and Padre Island, Texas — and the fragile population of 8,000 are migrating to those places right now from their normal range along Southern and Eastern seaboards. Since the Deepwater Horizon blew up and sank on April 20, hundreds of turtle deaths have been recorded, most of them Kemp’s.
Second on the Paddy Power list, at 6-4, is the bluefin tuna. The leatherback turtle and brown pelican are next at 8-1 apiece, followed by the loggerhead turtle (12-1), sperm and blue whales (16-1), and Gulf sturgeon, elkhorn coral and smalltooth sawfish (all 20-1).
Okay, yeah, it’s just another publicity stunt for which Paddy Power is famous (or infamous depending on how you look at it). And we realize their reason d’etre is to lift betting out of smokey backrooms and make it appeal to a younger, hipper audience. But in our opinion, there are boundaries to humor and lines you don’t cross. This is one of them.
In fairness, Paddy Power is also taking bets on who will head BP after the ‘extinction’ of Tony Hayward. Now that’s hip. And funny.