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August 31, 2011

The Potters Hit Carquinez

“Hey, where are all the other boats?!”

© Goose Gossman

While others spent last weekend doing something other than sailing, Goose Gossman and the members of the perpetually-sailing Potter Yachter group enjoyed beautiful sailing conditions in Carquinez Strait. "Saturday morning served up sporting conditions which made deep reefing necessary, so prudent novices teamed up with seasoned sailors," reports Gossman. "With extreme tidal flows, the initial destination of the Mothball fleet was altered to avoid unnecessary risks navigating the three Benicia bridges. The 20-knot winds moderated as the day went on, and the dozen or so cruising trailer-sailers had the entire strait to themselves. Breathtakingly beautiful sailing.

The Potter Yachters had fun in brisk conditions on Carquinez Strait.

© Goose Gossman

"On Sunday, I was joined by fellow Potterers for the first sail aboard my refit Fisher 30 motorsailer, which had been on the hard for over 10 years before I rescued her off a horse ranch at 4000 feet. She sailed beyond expectations, and we basically had the entire Strait to ourselves again as we headed up the Napa River to Vallejo for lunch. Honestly, I cannot understand the absence of other sailors on such a postcard-worthy weekend!"

No matter what the conditions are these guys know how to have fun. We’re always impressed by how often — and well — they use their boats.

© 2011 Goose Gossman

Goose probably didn’t know that Vallejo YC had a big cruise-out last weekend to Encinal YC, drawing nearly 20 boats. Of course that doesn’t account for everyone, but at least those sailors can take comfort that theygot their boats out on that picture-perfect weekend. Now what’s your excuse?

Own a Piece of Cinematic History

"Seriously for sale. Must be sold! All offers considered!" So reads a listing for the "original" HMS Bounty on an Internet sales site. Wow, could we have fun with that. Unfortunately, the $4 million-price tag is a bit beyond the depth of our novelty boat slush fund. But it’s worth fantasizing about nonetheless.

The idea of hiding out on uncharted Pitcairn Island was clever, but as you can read in the Trilogy, the novelty soon wore off.

© 2011 Atlantic Little Brown

As most nautical history buffs know, the actual original Bounty was burned and scuttled at Pitcairn Island after Fletcher Christian and the boys adopted that then-uncharted speck in the South Pacific as their clandestine new home in 1789. As you can read in the Bounty Trilogy by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall — a must-read classic in our opinion — things didn’t go that well on the island, especially since not all the men brought a ‘wife’ with them when they fled from Tahiti. (Uh, hello?)

In any case, the ship currently being advertised as the "original" was apparently used in the Marlon Brando version of the famous mutiny story. That 1962 film, in which Brando starred as Christian, was actually at least the fourth cinematic attempt to tell the tale, the previous being the Oscar-winning 1935 black-and-white flick starring Clark Gable as Christian and Charles Laughton as Bligh. But it doesn’t appear that an actual replica vessel was built for that one. Interestingly enough, although some scenes were actually shot in Tahiti, the bulk of the Gable version was shot at a variety of locations off the California coast, including Monterey, the Channel Islands, ‘aboard’ San Francisco’s Sailing Ship Restaurant at Pier 42, and at South Beach Harbor, where the authentic vessel Ellen played Bounty. The first two Bounty films were Austrailian efforts, the latter starring Errol Flynn as Christian.

How fun would it be to own this historically accurate beauty? For a cool 4 mil she’s yours.

© 2011 HMS Bounty

Anyway, the vessel for sale is probably the first purpose-built replica, and she is a beauty. According to the sellers, she was constructed at Lunenburg, Nova Scotia (then and now a tall ship mecca) from original plans found at the British Admiralty, although a third larger than the original to accommodate the bulky film gear of that era.

Licensed to carry 12 during charters, or 150 dockside, she’d certainly serve as the ultimate ‘character vessel’ in any charter fleet, and she’s a prime choice for lucrative film work — she was used recently in Pirates of the Caribbean. And besides, if you bought her you’d have an excuse to talk like a pirate every day of the year, not just on September 19. (If you do decide to buy her, don’t forget to kick back out finders fee. Arrrrrrrrrr!)

A couple anchored their big Hunter Maybe Tomorrow off Norfolk, Virginia, on Friday night when conditions on Chesapeake Bay worsened.
Although most passage-makers in this year’s Pacific Puddle Jump rally rated their crossing to French Polynesia as easier than expected, every offshore sailor gets occasional reminders that merely a few minutes of inattention or bad luck can lead to a ‘game-ending’ disaster.