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February 8, 2017

Obama Harnesses the Trade Winds

Ex-president Barack Obama was all smiles after successfully learning to kiteboard in the BVI’s Gorda Sound — for which he scores big points in our book.

© 2017 Jack Brockway /

The list of ‘firsts’ associated with the name Barack Obama was already long, but during the past week the ex-prez added a new feat to his resume: successfully learning to kiteboard after only a few days of training.

Less than 72 hours after passing the mantle of power to Donald Trump January 20, Obama and former-first-lady Michelle turned up in the British Virgin Islands, where they indulged in some much-deserved R&R as guests of Sir Richard Branson at his private island near Virgin Gorda. 

Regardless of how you feel about our 44th president, you’ve got to admit that Obama — and Michelle — are a class act, and undoubtedly one of the fittest ‘first couples’ ever to occupy 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. As seen in the video below, Obama not only got the hang of kiteboarding with relative ease, but he won a bet with Sir Richard, that involved Branson foilboarding vs Obama kiteboarding.

Why the helmet? We’re told they have speakers inside them so instructors can give detailed directions while a trainee is underway.
Video and stills by Jack Brockway

The Obamas aren’t the first political celebrities to take refuge from the stress of Washington in the US and British Virgin Islands after leaving office. This writer remembers when then-ex-president Jimmy Carter and his family spent a week at a secluded home on the north shore of St. John in the early ’80s. Word quickly spread through the sailors’ bars of Cruz Bay that while hosting the famous family on a daysail, a young expat sailor from Southern California had taught the Carters’ 13-year-old daughter Amy how to make piña coladas. We remember being told at the time that the rich, creamy cocktails were such a hit with Jimmy and Rosalynn that it became Amy’s job to whip up a batch every afternoon at cocktail hour.

Have You Checked for Chafe?

When a boat washes up on Bay Area shorelines it is the owner’s legal responsibility to remove it. If that’s not possible, taxpayers have to shoulder the burden. 

© 2017

If you’ve been praying for more rain, please stop. Seriously, enough already.

Thanks to the nearly nonstop succession of deluges that has been drenching Northern California lately, many boats are leaking in places they’ve never leaked before, cockpit drains are becoming overwhelmed, and an assortment of unattended boats have washed up on the rip-rap that protects multi-million-dollar waterside homes. 

And there’s another whopper storm heading our way tomorrow. So allow us to remind you that the worst storm-related boat damage or loss is often the result of docklines or mooring lines chafing through. You might have to see it to believe it, but even beefy, 3/4-inch nylon anchor rode can chafe through in a matter of hours if not protected during a strong blow.

With the violent pitching brought on by a heavy blow, mooring lines or nylon anchor rode can chafe through quickly.

© 2017 Cape Hatteras Marine

How do you protect such all-important lines? In addition to commercially available products such as pre-cut leather wraps, a short length of spare hose or tubing works fine when secured in position. Even rags or an old T-shirt will help in a pinch. The point is to take some sort of precaution to guard your lines against chafe — especially tomorrow, when winds of 40 knots or more are expected to hammer the Bay Area and beyond yet again. 

Alameda Marina Crane Back in Action

Good news for the weekend: not only is the weather predicted to clear, but the hoist at Alameda Marina is back in action. We received this note from harbormaster Paul Houtz: "The 3-ton hoist in the East Lot is now up and running. It has been tested and certified by KoneCrane so please feel free to use it.  

"Since we do not yet have email addresses for all trailered sailboat tenants in the marina, I would very much appreciate your helping me get the word out by telling your fellow boaters the good news!"

The many racers who dry-store their boats there will be glad to know that they’ll be able to make it to race courses this weekend, for the last Berkeley Yacht Club Midwinters, the last Winter One Design races run by RegattaPRO and Sausalito YC, and Alameda Marina’s own Island YC Island Days races.

Calling all Youth Match Racers

Balboa YC in Corona del Mar will host the 2017 Youth Match Racing World Championship on July 30-August 5. Teams will be racing in the new Governor’s Cup 22s. To compete, sailors must be under the age of 23 in 2017. The selection process for the skipper representing the US will be by résumé. Applications will be accepted through February 15. See US Sailing to apply.

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