Archive for October, 2008


Italy and France

October 28, 2008   

So like I mentioned in my Scotland? post the Bay Area is an area of micro climates. Today we went off to the south of france/italy which is 45 minutes from my door north and inland a little – Napa or the wine country. Seeing as I don’t drink you would think it would be a boring trip for me but the scenery is so beautiful and I enjoyed taking the break which is rare for me. While Tom tried the wines Draeger and I hung out in the sun. The leaves are changing color with it being Autumn – I didn’t realise that the vine leaves changed as well – obvious I guess but I hadn’t thought about it. It made the landscape look like a watercolor painting with splashes of red, orange, yellow, green etc. We went to four wineries and had a picnic lunch at one of cheese and bread. We also stopped at a Olive oil company and tasted lots of great oils and vinegars. A very relaxing day all and all 🙂

Leaves above the picnic table

Vines at the Domaine Chandon winery

Andretti Winery

Olive orchard

Scotland ?

October 27, 2008   

I didn’t really fly to Scotland but I drove up to Point Reyes with Tom who is visiting from the UK. With the micro climates in the Bay Area one day you could be in the South of France or Italy and then drive 20 miles and be in a landscape reminiscent of Scotland. We went up Highway 1 stopping at Muir Woods, Muir Beach, Stinson Beach, Tomales Bay, Drakes Bay Oyster company where I bought some fresh oysters for my dad and then up to North Beach on the road to the lighthouse. I have never got to the lighthouse alway ending up getting bored of the drive and instead taking a long walk on the beach.

Today there were four other people on the beach they had a fire going and a picnic. Draeger had a great time with her tail wagging running in an out of the surf. The California coast line really is very beautiful it is something we don’t necessarily appreciate.

The overlook at Muir Beach

Pelicans at Bolinas

Surf at North Beach

There was a beautiful low level fog rolling in from the sea

Great Pumpkin


My guys as I call them Rene and Gus sailed with me on the Moore – Flashman on Saturday it was light air and we had a fun day despite doing very poorly. The first start I believe took 4 general recalls to get us off the line – there was a ebb pushing everyone over and I guess people weren’t paying enough attention to it. I made many changes to the boat after the Nationals and they didn’t seem to help so back to the drawing board. The problem is that one of the changes might have helped but seeing as I did so many at once I don’t know which ones to fix! Silly me.

On Sunday we went out with Mary on Astra and I went from steering to Saturday to bow on Sunday. It was odd weather for October – we got the usual June weather instead it was blowing 35knots in the slot between angel and alcatraz. The great pumpkin is a fun race as it is a reverse pursuit race you can go either way round and the smallest boats start first. Not many boats started behind us and as it looked glassy calm in Racoon so after much conversation we went to Alcatraz first and then went through Racoon last. The winning boat went the other way but they were small and started a good hour and half before us. My friend Tom from the UK came out with us and the Astra trimmers got taken to boot camp as he is a really great trimmer I hope they enjoyed the coaching. We ended up 25th out of the 164 boats that started.

After racing I had a casual meal at my house and made spagetti carbonara which went down well I think I will do it again sometime as it really is a simple meal to make after a day on the boat.

On our way home after racing.

Boat Build

October 24, 2008   

Some weeks I really love my job as I get to learn so much. I just got back from a week in LA working on the boat build project. It was fun working on all the little customisations we are doing to the boat. Hopefully it will be in the bay area by Christmas. When Westerly works on something they really move fast and the quality of workmanship is high. Unfortunately we had to have the heavy metal toe rail installed as the flush hull deck joint was going to be too expensive. but there are one or two cool little features from race boats on this cruising boat. I know the below picture is not that exciting but it really is for the owner as it shows progress!

A perk of the job is that I get to visit with friends in LA I stay with very old family friends – surrogate parents of mine who live about 15 minutes from the yard. I was also able to visit my friends on Balboa Island down in Newport Beach which is a very cute little village very different from the rest of LA. I met there new son and had a great dinner.

Morning Light

October 19, 2008   

I put together a group of friends (8 people) to go for dinner and a movie and see the movie Morning Light put together by Disney. It was almost a private showing only 15 people in the whole theater. I can’t see them running it for long with that type of turnout. Good movie but probably wouldn’t see it again. Unfortunately for the movie producers it wasn’t a windy race so there was as dramatic shots as they could have hoped for. Those kids were very lucky to get such a great opportunity – I wish I was 8 years younger. It does show what offshore sailing is about for non sailors so I might use it to explain what I do and unlike most sailing you see in movies it is actually technically correct!

Getting old!

October 13, 2008   

Last night after the 2.5 hour drive back from diving I was very sore and feeling my 30 years of age. No longer am I 20 my body won’t take the abuse! It was a long day (8am-2:30pm) of rescue scenarios which meant lots of getting in and out of the water including towing and dragging únconcios divers up the beach. Karl, Guy and I aced the last scenario so much so that Bruce out instructor said it was the best demonstration he had seen of teamwork etc.

The sceario is you are sitting on the beach getting ready for a dive and a diver comes out of the water missing his buddy. You have to question the diver to find out where he thinks he last saw the diver. They are not meant to volunteer information you have to ask the necessary questions. Then you have to kit up as a team, give specific instructions to ”people” who are ashore i.e. call 911, get oxygen and a first aid kit, post lookouts and look for bubbles, send someone to check the diver didn’t go off for lunch without telling anyone etc. You then enter the water and go down to the bottom where the diver was last seen and then start an expanding box search this was hard as the visibility was only 4 feet. We had one person navigating with a compass and one person looking to each side searching the bottom and amongst the kelp. We found the diver ”non responsive and not breathing’ and brought him to the surface. Between the three of us we did rescue breathing, took off the divers and our equipment while towing the diver to the shore. We than pulled him up on the beach and started CPR and administered O2.

The whole thing to 28 minutes from when the diver exited the water telling us he was missing his buddy to putting him on O2 and doing chest compressions. This was very fast for the conditions but in real life unless the person was in respiratory arrest for more than 6 minutes of that period the would be dead or have serious brain damage. It just goes to show how important it is to stay with your buddy when you are diving and not lose each other.

Rescue Diving

October 11, 2008   

I am in Monterey staying at the Monterey Youth Hostel which is a very comfortable place that welcomes divers and costs less than a campsite per night! There are tons of Germans staying here for some reason they have all congregated here.

Class finished early today so I made the matinee show of The Duchess at the theater a very unusual thing for me to do. It was a really good movie and is based on an actual affair between the Duchess of Devonshire and Charles Grey (7 years her junior who became prime minister in the 1830’s).

Yesterday we spent the day in the classroom going through over 200 pages of the Rescue Diver manual and then a multiple choice exam afterwards. Having been brought up in the UK where we don’t have multiple choice exams I learnt it is important to read all the possible answers. If I had read properly it would have been 100% but for the two silly mistakes! I hasten to add that they weren’t life threatening ones. After the day in the classroom I burnt up my credit card at the dive shop – there is another sport that has kit that is more expensive then sailing.

Today we spent 5 hours in the swimming pool going over in practice what we had learnt in theory. Towing a diver to safety, what to do with a unresponsive, responsive, panicked diver, breathing for a non breathing diver and carrying people to safety. Of course I was given the 220lb guy (who was deceptively small looking) to firemen carry out of the pool not so easy when sliding around on the pool with fins that have no traction.

Tomorrow we are in the water at the Breakwater dive site doing it in the ocean. Hopefully I will get better at the multitasking neccessary to tow an unconcious non breathing diver to the shore through a kelp bed while giving rescue breaths every 5 seconds and removing their mask, regs, weights and BCDs and then yours without missing a breath. There is always hope…

Hope you are having a great weekend.


October 9, 2008   

I picked up my nephew yesterday for a morning with Aunty Ashley. We went to the toy store as it is his 2nd birthday this weekend and picked out an Elmo toy which will drive my brother and sister in law crazy! Then we went to Blackies Pasture where we used to go as kids.

”This pasture land was where Blackie was “retired” at the age of 12 from his illustrious career as both a Cavalry Horse in Yosemite and a Rodeo Cutting Horse. He lived here happily for another 28 years. Children and adults stopped by to pet him and to feed him apples & carrots. He was a beloved part of this community. Blackie was deeply missed when he passed away at the age of 40. He was buried in this pasture and from then on it was known as “BLACKIES PASTURE.” A simple cross & small plack, plus a life-size bronze statue, commemorate Blackie as the town’s mascot. ”

Draeger the dog and Henry had great fun on the shore. It really is beautiful where I get to live. Maltese Falcon was anchored over in Sausalito you may be able to make it out in the photo.

Vallejo 1-2

October 6, 2008   

On Sunday I doublehanded back from Vallejo on Rhum Boogie in the SSS season closing event. Wayne did his first singlehanded race up to Vallejo on Saturday but I think decided he is more of a social guy then his competitors and so probably will stick to doublehanding!

The start was right off the club and by my watch we were 5 seconds late to start the rest of our class was way early. By mine, Wayne and a few other boats reckoning half the fleet was over early but there wasn’t a recall so off everyone went. Very odd.. We had the ebb with us and as usual in the river one boat would catch a zephyr and come roaring up from behind and pass you and then we would do the same. Once out of the river we went to the center of the channel avoiding the two tankers on a large lift but the people who stayed against the breakwater even it what seemed like less breeze gained. We started to favour the right side of the course and it paid for us until we got to the first marker of the restricted area and then had to move to the south of the shipping lane. We then stayed closer to the lane as there was more wind while others went to the left of the course. The wind came in from the left and we were left hanging out to dry! We had been on starboard tack headed right at point and ended up with a 40 degree left shift putting us in a bad position and in early flood.

We kept trading tacks with the J120 Twist and finally we decided to bail to the left and take the loss getting into 12 feet of water and less tide against us. Twist took it a little too far and ended up on the sand bank taking quite a while to get off on a falling tide. We managed to get some legs when the breeze came up to 11 knots and over took two boats by hoisting our spinnaker for the last 200 yard dash to the finish at RYC. We were first to finish in our class but corrected out in 6th. I think really we should have been in class 2 not the sports boat class as although we look like an open 40 we are desceptively heavy and more like the class 2 boats which included an Azzurra. If we had been in class 2 we would have corrected out 3rd in class. All in all a beautiful sail in nice breeze with a fun short handed partner.

When I am 27

October 3, 2008   

I spent the day cleaning out my garage as it is full of useless items that I don’t use. My aim is to get to the point where I can in a day pack my belongings into it in an organised fashion and take off. So I went through one box of my beautiful creations that my mother had painstakingly and lovingly filed by year or subject. This box was age 3 to 9 including my school reports, every mothers and fathers day card I had written, the notes to the tooth fairy and Santa Claus. Even the congratulations cards from everyone on my birth and the girls names list that they had put together! Funnily enough what they called me wasn’t on the list – thank god they didn’t call me some of those names :-).

Anyways the point of this entry is that I came across my a page about what I was going to do when I was 27! I wrote it at age 8 and it made the boring depressing job of cleaning out the garage a little less dreary. Things were a bit different in reality – the summer of my 27th birthday I was racing across the atlantic in the Rolex Transatlantic Challenge – life turned out better than I could have dreamed of 🙂