Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Old Long Since

I remember my first trip to England in 1977. I had come over to compete in the moth World Championship regatta at Hayling Island. But as a vacation to myself I had arrived five weeks early to take in some sightseeing. With my bicycle, a couple of panniers of clothes, a tent and a sleeping bag, and two hundred dollars in my pocket I set off on a cycle tour of the UK. I worked up the western third of the island through the Lake District. The most northern point was just the other side of Hadrian's Wall on the Scottish border. Eventually I made it back down to the south coast near Lymington. One of my tasks was to arrange the offloading and transport of the three Magnum2s that we shipped to Portsmouth. I don't remember who in the Lymington Sail Club assisted, but the boats were eventually dropped of at the club allowing us Yanks to get in some practice before heading to Hayling Island.

But before Richard and Tommy had arrived I was the sole American in a group of mothies. I don't exactly remember the occasion, but there was a party with excessive beer involved, some late hours, and mothies and their accents from all over the British Isles. I found myself in the unusual position of translating for some Brits the English words and phrases that others couldn't quite decipher. It was apparent to me that the variety of accents was so broad that it took someone like me who had just struggled to figure out dialects and accents to act as a translator. (I was sure that folks had told me to visit the "like district" before I realized the correct word.)

So when you raise your glasses tonight, and sing those crazy Scottish lyrics, know that the fact that most folks really don't know what they're saying is completely normal.

Happy New Year. Enjoy Dan Fogelberg, one of the best singer/song writers of my generation. Too bad had died last year from cancer.

Same Old Lang Syne, by Dan Fogelberg (1980)

Met my old lover in the grocery store
The snow was falling Christmas eve
I stole behind her in the frozen foods
And I touched her on the sleeve

She didn’t recognize the face at first
But then her eyes flew open wide
She went to hug me and she spilled her purse
And we laughed until we cried.

We took her groceries to the checkout stand
The food was totalled up and bagged
We stood there lost in our embarrassment
As the conversation dragged.

We went to have ourselves a drink or two
But couldn’t find an open bar
We bought a six-pack at the liquor store
And we drank it in her car.

We drank a toast to innocence
We drank a toast to now
And tried to reach beyond the emptiness
But neither one knew how.

She said she’d married her an architect
Who kept her warm and safe and dry
She would have liked to say she loved the man
But she didn’t like to lie.

I said the years had been a friend to her
And that her eyes were still as blue
But in those eyes I wasnt sure if I saw
Doubt or gratitude.

She said she saw me in the record stores
And that I must be doing well
I said the audience was heavenly
But the traveling was hell.

We drank a toast to innocence
We drank a toast to now
And tried to reach beyond the emptiness
But neither one knew how.

We drank a toast to innocence
We drank a toast to time
Reliving in our eloquence
Another auld lang syne...

The beer was empty and our tongues were tired
And running out of things to say
She gave a kiss to me as I got out
And I watched her drive away.

Just for a moment I was back at school
And felt that old familiar pain
And as I turned to make my way back home
The snow turned into rain ---

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


After being given redress for coming to the assistance of the stricken yacht Georgia, Ragtime has finished first in class in the Sydney-Hobart. To the skipper and crew: thanks for reminding us all that the Fundamental Rules are listed first for a reason. "1.1: A boat or competitor shall give all possible help to any person or vessel in danger." Good on ya, Chris!

Why Georgia, by John Mayer (2003)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Five Golden Rings

The fifth day of Christmas got me thinking about the Olympics. With Charlie McKee (Bronze medallist in 2000 in the 49er) as the most prominent mothie with Olympic experience, it seems that the class will be tempting to other former Olympians. According to the Mach2 website, Ossie Stewart (Bronze medallist in ’92 in the Soling) will be sailing a moth out of Hayling Island next year. So here’s my question: how many folks sailing moths have national team experience, either as a competitor or as a coach (I think Adam May falls in the latter category)?

On a related note, I would suspect that there are a number of Olympians that have sailed moths (although probably not foilers) in the younger, junior sailing days. Does anyone know of former mothies now prepping for Weymouth in 2012?

Since I’m still on Christmas break, enjoy a little acapella with Straight No Chaser. The lyrics are all over the place, so just sit back and smile. Even you guys celebrating “Christmas down in Africa.”

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Old School Road Trip

Five boats and one car. The picture was taken in 1948 at the Portsmouth Boat Club regatta sailed on the western branch of the Elizabeth River in Portsmouth, Virginia. Below is a picture of the boats racing. In the lead is Dorr Wiley, the designer and builder of the premier boats of the era. Both photos are from a collection belonging to Chuck Higgins. Thanks to Greg Duncan for passing them along.

To accompany the road pic I had to include Jackson Browne. Enjoy.

Running on Empty, by Jackson Browne (1977)

Looking out at the road rushing under my wheels
Looking back at the years gone by like so many summer fields
In sixty-five I was seventeen and running up one-o-one
I don't know where I'm running now, I'm just running on

Running on - running on empty
Running on - running blind
Running on - running into the sun
But I'm running behind

Gotta do what you can just to keep your love alive
Trying not to confuse it with what you do to survive
In sixty-nine I was twenty-one and I called the road my own
I don't know when that road turned onto the road I'm on

Running on - running on empty
Running on - running blind
Running on - running into the sun
But I'm running behind

Everyone I know, everywhere I go
People need some reason to believe
I don't know about anyone but me
If it takes all night, that'll be all right
If I can get you to smile before I leave

Looking out at the road rushing under my wheels
I don't know how to tell you all just how crazy this life feels
I look around for the friends that I used to turn to to pull me through
Looking into their eyes I see them running too

Running on - running on empty
Running on - running blind
Running on - running into the sun
But I'm running behind

Honey you really tempt me
You know the way you look so kind
I'd love to stick around but I'm running behind
You know I don't even know what I'm hoping to find
Running into the sun but I'm running behind

Friday, December 26, 2008

2nd Boxing Feast

Boxing Day, the Feast of St. Stephens, the second day of Christmas – all references to December 26th. Today (actually yesterday in that other hemisphere) is also the traditional start of the Sydney-Hobart race.

With a two week break for the holidays, I don’t have to go back to work until the 5th. Teaching school does has its benefits! Susan and I have been listening to music from The Chieftains and from Jethro Tull. Enjoy.

A Christmas Song by Ian Anderson (2003)

Once in Royal David’s City stood a lowly cattle shed,
where a mother laid her baby.
You’d do well to remember the things He later said.
When you’re stuffing yourselves at the Christmas parties,
you’ll laugh when I tell you to take a running jump.
You’re missing the point I’m sure does not need making;
that Christmas spirit is not what you drink.

So how can you laugh when your own mother’s hungry
and how can you smile when the reasons for smiling are wrong?
And if I messed up your thoughtless pleasures,
remember, if you wish, this is just a Christmas song.

Hey, Santa: pass us that bottle, will you?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Sydney-Hobart Underway

I can't help but be rooting for the lone American entry in this year's S-H race: Ragtime, a 44 year old, 65 foot plywood flyer, with a hard chined, slab sided underbody reminiscent of a stretched foiler. Maybe another American will finish much higher than expected in another premier Aussie regatta??? Not necessarily Moth-related, but visions of Charlie, Hans and Bora!

Alexander's Ragtime Band, by Irving Berlin (1911)

Oh, ma honey
Oh, ma honey
Better hurry and let's meander
Ain't you goin'
Ain't you goin'
To the leaderman, ragged meter man?
Oh, ma honey
Oh, ma honey
Let me take you to Alexander's grandstand, brass band
Ain't you comin' along?

Come on and hear
Come on and hear
Alexander's ragtime band
Come on and hear
Come on and hear
It's the best band in the land

They can play a bugle call like you never heard before
So natural that you want to go to war
That's just the bestest band what am, honey lamb

Come on along
Come on along
Let me take you by the hand
Up to the man
Up to the man
Who's the leader of the band

And if you care to hear the Swanee River played in ragtime
Come on and hear
Come on and hear
Alexander's ragtime band

[2nd verse:]
Oh, ma honey
Oh, ma honey
There's a fiddle with notes that screeches
Like a chicken
Like a chicken
And the clarinet is a colored pet
Come and listen
Come and listen
To a classical band what's peaches
Come now, somehow
Better hurry along

[Alternate line:]
So natural that you want to hear some more

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful

Lest anyone think that the US has benign weather this time of year (okay, shirtless in Hawaii may give that impression) it might be good to know that North America has some of the most extreme weather on the planet. For example, the highest wind gust ever recorded was on Mount Washington in New Hampshire.

Here are some links for today's weather for four North American locations. Family came down to Norfolk from the first two, the third is the venue for next year's worlds, and the last is the reason Bora escapes to Hawaii and those southern hemisphere regattas this time of year.

Albany, NY (where my sister drove from)

Boston, MA (my son flew in yesterday.)

Cascade Locks (site of the ’09 worlds)

Detroit and environs (Bora’s hometown)

Besides, I wanted to hear more Led Zeppelin

Immigrant Song, by Robert Plant (1970)

Ah, ah,
We come from the land of the ice and snow,
From the midnight sun where the hot springs blow.
The hammer of the gods will drive our ships to new lands,
To fight the horde, singing and crying: Valhalla, I am coming!

On we sweep with threshing oar, Our only goal will be the western shore.

Ah, ah,
We come from the land of the ice and snow,
From the midnight sun where the hot springs blow.
How soft your fields so green, can whisper tales of gore,
Of how we calmed the tides of war. We are your overlords.

On we sweep with threshing oar, Our only goal will be the western shore.

So now you'd better stop and rebuild all your ruins,
For peace and trust can win the day despite of all your losing.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas - with a nod to B & OB

This post is just to say “Merry Christmas to all,” with a nod to Bora and Obama. Meanwhile, the rest of us in the land of the ice and snow (do I sense another song coming soon??) huddle close to keep warm. Best wishes and may all mothies (and presidents-elect) everywhere hoist a cup of Christmas Cheer.


Mele Kalikimaka , by R. Alex Anderson (1949)
Covered by lots of folks including Bing Crosby and the Andrew Sisters (1950).

Mele Kalikimaka is the thing to say
On a bright Hawaiian Christmas Day
That's the island greeting that we send to you
From the land where palm trees sway
Here we know that Christmas will be green and bright
The sun to shine by day and all the stars at night
Mele Kalikimaka is Hawaii's way
To say "Merry Christmas to you."

Mele Kalikimaka is the thing to say
On a bright Hawaiian Christmas Day
That's the island greeting that we send to you
From the land where palm trees sway
Here we know that Christmas will be green and bright
The sun to shine by day and all the stars at night
Mele Kalikimaka is Hawaii's way
To say "Merry Christmas to you."

Monday, December 22, 2008

In the Zone – a third of a second sooner

I got the new rule book and after a cursory examination I read that the “zone” around marks and obstructions has been increased to three lengths. Great. So since a boat going twenty knots travels a tad over 33 feet in a second, we now have a third of a second longer to claim or deny that overlap. It seems to me that in foiling conditions Rule 18 is close to completely useless. How about 18.4: “When an inside overlapped right-of-way boat must gybe at a mark to sail her proper course, until she gybes she shall sail no farther from the mark than needed to sail that course.” How may folks postpone their gybe for a second or two (or five?) Well, at 20 knots five seconds is 15 boatlengths. I’m glad that we are all cognizant of seamanlike boat handling and understand the limitations of our fellow competitors. Personally when approaching the wing mark at speed, I’m “about to round” halfway down the leg. Mentally it takes me that much time to prepare for a smooth turn. On Try-Foil, crash tacks and gybes inevitably end in a capsize. So, please, give me just a little more time.

Give Me Just a Little More Time, by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Eddie Holland. (1970), covered by Kylie Minogue (1992)

Give me just a little more time
And our love will surely grow
Give me just a little more time
And our love will surely grow

Life's too short to make a mistake
Let's think of each other and hesitate
Young and impatient we may be
There's no need to act foolishly
If we part our hearts won't forget it
Years from now we'll surely regret it


You're young and you're in a hurry
You're eager for love but don't you worry
We both want the sweetness in life
But these things don't come overnight
Don't give up cos love's been slow
Boy, we're gonna succeed with another blow

Give me just a little more time
And our love will surely grow
Baby please baby
Baby please baby

Love is that mountain we must climb
Let's climb it together your hand in mine
We haven't known each other too long
But the feeling I have is oh so strong
I know we can make it there's no doubt
We owe it to ourselves to find it out


Give me just a little more time
And our love will surely grow
Baby, please baby
Baby, please baby


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Carbon Cachet

So I'm watching a college basketball game on TV yesterday and there's an advertisement for a new Visa credit card made of carbon fiber. That's pretty cool, I thought, if I had one I could even use it to scrape ice off the windshield. So I visited the website and found that the card carries a $495 annual fee. Who would want that sort of prestige? Visa must think there are enough people that would be willing to bite. I had been thinking of using some left over carbon cloth to make a license plate frame for my car. A Google search for such an item revealed one made with "100% real carbon fiber" for $50.00. Still too rich for my blood.

So I'm starting to spec the materials for my new gantry. The gantry I have now is made of glass tubes with a carbon sleeve. I suppose the weight is a bit more than a gantry made of all carbon, but the cost is certainly much less. Since the tubes in the gantry are subject to some rapid force changes, especially when crashing, I'm not sure that glass isn't the best choice. Supposedly a glass tube has a little more give before breaking when compared to an all carbon tube which, while stronger, is more brittle. I'm no structural engineer with material expertise, but I sometimes play one when building... (visions of D. Lord?)

Back in Black by Brian Johnson, Angus Young, and  Malcolm Young

Back in blackI hit the sack
I've been too long, I'm glad to be back
Yes, I'm let loose from the noose
That's kept me hanging about

I'm just looking at the sky 'cause it's getting me high
Forget the hearse, 'cause I'll never die
I got nine lives, cat's eyes
Abusing every one of them and running wild

'Cause I'm back, yes I'm back
Well, I'm back, yes I'm back
Well, I'm back, back
Well, I'm back in black
Yes, I'm back in black

Back in the back of a Cadillac
Number one with a bullet, I'm a power pack
Yes, I'm in a bang with a gang
They've got to catch me if they want me to hang
'Cause I'm back on the track and I'm beatin' the flack
Nobody's gonna get me on another rap
So, look at me now, I'm just making my play
Don't try to push your luck, just get out of my way

'Cause I'm back, yes I'm back
Well, I'm back, yes I'm back
Well, I'm back, back
Well, I'm back in black
Yes, I'm back in black

Well, I'm back, yes I'm back
Well, I'm back, yes I'm back
Well, I'm back, back
Well, I'm back in black
Yes, I'm back in black, yow

Ah, yeah
Oh, yeah
Take my love
Yeah, yeah
Ah, hey yeah
Ooh, yeah

Well, I'm back (I'm back)
Back, well I'm (I'm back)
Back (I'm back)
Back (I'm back)
Back (I'm back)
Back in black
Yes, I'm back in black
I've hit the sack

ODU uses the first 40 seconds or so of AC/DC's Back in Black to start the Men's BB games. An article in this morning's paper states that the group has almost become mainstream.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Another trip around the sun

So today I updated my profile on the Yahoo! Groups site by racheting the age up one notch. I wonder how many "older" mothies are out there. Colin is obviously the old man of the class until he bails out for the security of his canoe. I know Amac is a few months behind me in age (but would be way, way ahead of me on a course.) Naomi Tachibana is up there (does anyone know his age?) I would suspect if all the active mothies that have made the leap to foilers were ranked by age I would make the top five. I'm pretty sure I own the longest span between world championships - 32 years (1976-2008.)

So to celebrate my 70th post and my 54th year I'll crank up Jimmy B. and have a cold one.

Enjoy another visit with Buffett's Album License to Chill (2004).

Trip around the Sun, lyrics by Sharon Vaughn, Al Anderson, and Stephen Bruton
Sung by Jimmy Buffett (with Martina McBride)

Hear 'em singing Happy Birthday
Better think about the wish I made
This year gone by ain't been a piece of cake
Every day's a revolution
Pull it together and it comes undone
Just one more candle and a trip around the sun

I'm just hanging on while this old world keeps spinning
And it's good to know it's out of my control
If there's one thing that I've learned from all this living
Is that it wouldn't change a thing if I let go

No, you never see it coming
Always wind up wondering where it went
Only time will tell if it was time well spent
It's another revelation
Celebrating what I should have done
With these souvenirs of my trip around the sun


Yes, I'll make a resolution
That I'll never make another one
Just enjoy this ride on my trip around the sun
Just enjoy this ride ...
Until it's done

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

More pix from '76 Worlds

A shirtless John Claridge, the reigning European Champion, with the mainsheet in the teeth technique sailing his Magnum2. Hot on his heels is Harriett Mosowitz who took the Women's title at the regatta.

America is known the Land of the Beautiful. This beautiful helmsperson sports a itsy bitsy teeny weeny (yellow?) polka dot bikini.

Peter Moor, the reigning Australian Champion, hits the leeward end of the starting line. Maybe because he's a scow sailor and isn't used to steering (or obviously balancing) a skiff? Kenny Elliott is the guy on Peter's weather hip. I believe Kenny is sailing a Stockholm Sprite.

This photo shows Richard Wallio rounding in his poacher. I'm not sure who sports the KA sail behind him. Richard, Tommy Lutton and I made the '77 Hayling Island worlds in glass Magnum2s out of a mold off Claridge's boat.

And lastly yours truly. Not the close-up but the boat all the way to weather (#4171.) The boat is my Mistral "Try Too." Critiquing from 32 years later I see a bit too much heel, but generally a nice shot. Sail is vanged down and obviously I've moved out from the kid in the foreground.

These pictures are from the March 1977 issue of Sailing magazine, the oldest continuously published sailing periodical in the US. The photographer credited is Carl F. Johnson. Thanks to Walt Collins for providing the pictures.

Itsy Bitsy Yellow Polka Dot Bikini (Paul Vance and Lee Pockriss)

She was afraid to come out of the locker
She was as nervous as she could be
She was afraid to come out of the locker
She was afraid that somebody would see
One, two, three, four, tell the people what she wore

It was an itsy, bitsy, teenie, weenie, yellow polka-dot bikini
That she wore for the first time today
An itsy, bitsy, teentie, weenie, yellow polka-dot bikini
So in the locker she wanted to stay
Two, three, four, stick around we'll tell you more

She was afraid to come out in the open
And so a blanket around she wore
She was afraid to come out in the open
And so she sat bundled up on the shore
Two, three, four, tell the people what she wore

It was an itsy, bitsy, teenie, weenie, yellow polka-dot bikini
That she wore for the first time today
An itsy, bitsy, teentie, weenie, yellow polka-dot bikini
So in the blanket she wanted to stay
Two, three, four, stick around we'll tell you more

Now she is afraid to come out of the water
And I wonder what she's gonna do
Now she is afraid to come out of the water
And the poor little girl's turning blue
Two, three, four, tell the people what she wore

It was an itsy, bitsy, teenie, weenie, yellow polka-dot bikini
That she wore for the first time today
An itsy, bitsy, teentie, weenie, yellow polka-dot bikini
So in the water she wanted to stay
(From the locker to the blanket)
(From the blanket to the shore)
(From the shore to the water)
Yes, there isn't any more

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Traveling Twice the Speed of Sound

Do you ever get a tune in your head and have it repeat all day long? After seeing the latest pics of the Mach2 off the mold the old Crosby, Stills and Nash song came to the forefront of my brain from some inner recesses. I'm wondering about the imprinting process. All of the carbon I lay up might be structurally sound (or maybe not!) but I couldn't for the life of me get a presentable look that I could show off with a clearcoat finish. That's why my hull and foils are painted. What McDougall/McConaghy are doing with their hull and what Bruce has done with his latest foil is way beyond my capabilities. There are some nice cosmetics out there. And how about that big oven in the background?!

So hum along with me and CSN:

Just a Song before I Go, lyrics by Graham Nash (1977)

Just a song before I go,
To whom it may concern.
Travelling twice the speed of sound
It's easy to get burned.

When the shows were over
We had to get back home,
And when we opened up the door
I had to be alone.

She helped me with my suitcase,
She stands before my eyes
Driving me to the airport,
And to the friendly skies.

Going through security
I held her for so long.
She finally looked at me in love,
And she was gone.

Just a song before I go,
A lesson to be learned.
Travelling twice the speed of sound
It's easy to get burned.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Mothies from AUS and the UK racing in the US Worlds

The picture above was found by George Albaugh sorting through a bundle of photos from the 1976 Ware River worlds. The photographer is unknown but probably was a local reporter. Show is Aussie Peter Moor sailing a borrowed boat. In the background is Brit John Claridge in his Magnum 2. Here's another shot from the collection showing what appears to be a start with some obvious carnage on the line. In the background is Ted Causey, the eventual winner, sailing a Poacher design (#4155).

So y'all start gettin' your travel plans together for next August. "On the boats and on the planes, they're coming to America..." Today's selection is from 1980: Neil Diamond's America.

AMERICA Written and sung by Neil Diamond

We've been traveling far
Without a home
But not without a star

Only want to be free
We huddle close
Hang on to a dream

On the boats and on the planes
They're coming to America
Never looking back again
They're coming to America

Home, don't it seem so far away
Oh, we're traveling light today
In the eye of the storm
In the eye of the storm

Home, to a new and a shiny place
Make our bed, and we'll say our grace
Freedom's light burning warm
Freedom's light burning warm

Everywhere around the world
They're coming to America
Every time that flag's unfurled
They're coming to America

Got a dream to take them there
They're coming to America
Got a dream they've come to share
They're coming to America

They're coming to America
They're coming to America
They're coming to America
They're coming to America
Today, today, today, today, today

My country 'tis of thee
Sweet land of liberty
Of thee I sing
Of thee I sing

Mothies from the US racing in AUS

The pic above is from Christophe Launay (see and shows Bora racing in the Sydney Regatta. One look at the leader board after day 4 shows Charlie, Bora, and Hans in the top 4 overall. No surprises here: Charlie holds an Olympic Bronze medal, Bora posted a record-setting 9 bullets at this year's US Moth Nationals, and Hans is the presumptive favorite to take the moth junior title at next year's Gorge worlds. Yep, lots of talent in Sydney harbor. The Aussies competing can sail, too.

For commentary check out the blogs from Scott or Phil.

The musical inclusion today is from Bruce Springsteen. Yesterday was Pearl Harbor Day. Yes, we in the USA have lots of conflicting emotions and policies. Such is freedom.

Born in the USA by The Boss

Born down in a dead mans town
The first kick I took was when I hit the ground
You end up like a dog thats been beat too much
Till you spend half your life just covering up

Born in the u.s.a., I was born in the u.s.a.
I was born in the u.s.a., born in the u.s.a.

Got in a little hometown jam
So they put a rifle in my hand
Sent me off to a foreign land
To go and kill the yellow man

Born in the u.s..a....

Come back home to the refinery
Hiring man said son if it was up to me
Went down to see my v.a. man
He said son, dont you understand

I had a brother at khe sahn
Fighting off the viet cong
Theyre still there, hes all gone

He had a woman he loved in saigon
I got a picture of him in her arms now

Down in the shadow of the penitentiary
Out by the gas fires of the refinery
Im ten years burning down the road
Nowhere to run aint got nowhere to go

Born in the u.s.a., I was born in the u.s.a.
Born in the u.s.a., Im a long gone daddy in the u.s.a.
Born in the u.s.a., born in the u.s.a.
Born in the u.s.a., Im a cool rocking daddy in the u.s.a.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Bora's vid

Bora posted his latest video on You-Tube. I'll leave the commentary to him, but it's obvious to me that the Yanks are now at the top of the Blog Competition (especially when compared with some recently contributed "vlogging.")!

The other item of interest is the need to include actual listenable music, even if it's a cover of stuff I heard back in the day. The following cartoon from is relevant.

I was at a Led Zeppelin concert at Hampton Coliseum in September of 1971 before Stairway had gained much airtime. The concert-goers were sorta taken aback with the slow intro...

"Stairway To Heaven" lyrics and music by Robert Plant

There's a lady who's sure all that glitters is gold
And she's buying the stairway to heaven.
When she gets there she knows, if the stores are all closed
With a word she can get what she came for.
Ooh, ooh, and she's buying the stairway to heaven.

There's a sign on the wall but she wants to be sure
'Cause you know sometimes words have two meanings.
In a tree by the brook, there's a songbird who sings,
Sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiven.
Ooh, it makes me wonder,
Ooh, it makes me wonder.

There's a feeling I get when I look to the west,
And my spirit is crying for leaving.
In my thoughts I have seen rings of smoke through the trees,
And the voices of those who stand looking.
Ooh, it makes me wonder,
Ooh, it really makes me wonder.

And it's whispered that soon if we all call the tune
Then the piper will lead us to reason.
And a new day will dawn for those who stand long
And the forests will echo with laughter.

If there's a bustle in your hedgerow, don't be alarmed now,
It's just a spring clean for the May queen.
Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run
There's still time to change the road you're on.
And it makes me wonder.

Your head is humming and it won't go, in case you don't know,
The piper's calling you to join him,
Dear lady, can you hear the wind blow, and did you know
Your stairway lies on the whispering wind.

And as we wind on down the road
Our shadows taller than our soul.
There walks a lady we all know
Who shines white light and wants to show
How everything still turns to gold.
And if you listen very hard
The tune will come to you at last.
When all are one and one is all
To be a rock and not to roll.

And she's buying the stairway to heaven.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Have you heard the one about the 3 holes in the ground?

...well, well, well.

Bill designed the Hungry Beaver with an over-sized well: 230cm long and 30cm wide. The board is held in position with hard plastic inserts top and bottom. Below is a scan of the bottom insert. The ability of using different inserts allows different foil sections, forward rake and even, to some aspect, fore and aft position.

Between the top and the bottom of the well inserts the board has lots of space all around it. So here's a thought: Does the cantilever arrangement of two points in the HB well allow more flex than a cantilever arrangement with a board in a snug fitting well top to bottom?

My first thought is "no," most wells are strongly braced at the deck and at the hull but have some flex in the middle section. So even in a foil-shaped well the structure is effectively what we're using with the HB. Right now I'm awaiting the foil section and rake position from Amac of my new strut to machine matching new inserts.

Today's musical section is an oldie. One Wiki answer has this trivia: The "John" referred in the title is the reincarnated author of the book of Revelation (or the Apocalypse.) The Dead were influenced by Neal Cassady who had a healthy respect for Edgar Cayce. Edgar Cayce's Association for Research and Enlightenment has a headquarters in Virginia Beach, not more that 15 miles from my house.

Uncle John's Band music and lyrics by Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter.
Sung by the Grateful Dead

Well the first days are the hardest days,
Don't you worry any more, 'Cause when life looks like easy
Street, there is danger at your door.
Think this through with me, let me know your mind.
Woh - oh, what I want to know, is are you kind?

It's a buck dancer's choice my friend; better take my advice.
You know all the rules by now and the fire from ice.
Will you come with me, won't you come with me?
Woh - oh, what I want to know, will you come with me?

Goddamn, well I declare, have you seen the like?
Their walls are built of cannonballs, their motto is
Don't tread on me. Come hear Uncle John's Band playing
To the tide, come with me, or go alone.

It's the same story the crow told me;
It's the only one he knows.
Like the morning sun you come and like the wind you go.
Ain't no time to hate, barely time to wait,
Woh - oh, what I want to know, where does the time go?

I live in a silver mine and I call it Beggar's Tomb;
I got me a violin and I beg you call the tune
Anybody's choice, I can hear your voice.
Woh - oh, what I want to know, how does the song go?

Come hear the Uncle John's Band by the riverside
Got some things to talk about, here beside the risin' tide
Come hear Uncle John's Band playing to the tide,
Come on along, or go alone,
He's come to take his children home.
Woh - oh, what I want to know, how does the song go?

Come hear Uncle John's Band by the riverside,
Got some things to talk about here beside the risin' tide.
Come hear Uncle John's Band playing to the tide, come on
Along or go alone, he's come to take his children home.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

'09 Worlds - Race and Holiday

A recent query by Nige about next year's worlds at Cascade Locks got me thinking about a vacation my wife and I had in 2004. That summer we rode 4200 miles across the US on a bike (that's a "push-bike" for you Brits,) starting in Oregon and ending 69 days later in Virginia. The journal of our trip is posted on the Crazyguyonabike site here. One thing we remembered is that Oregon was our most favorite state. We were astonished by the state's natural beauty and the varied ecosystems withing short distances. Yes, Oregon itself can be a holiday destination all in and of itself. I'll leave to the West Coast contingent to provide specifics, but Susan and I know that we'll enjoy our trip to Oregon next August, regardless of the sailing results.

The mention of a reduced number of entries also brought to mind the last Moth worlds held in the US - at Ware River, Virginia in 1976. If I recall we only had about 35 competitors, and only two top international mothies - John Claridge, the reigning European Champion (who finished 3rd), and Peter Moor, the Australian Champion (a scow sailor who finished 2nd, in a chartered skiff!). John sold his Magnum2 after the race to Ted Causey, the eventual winner. As Claridge found 33 years ago, I suppose there is some sense in selling a boat after the regatta to avoid shipping costs to get it back. With the strong US dollar (this week, anyway) many international competitors may get a good financial return to enable the purchase of the newest iteration back home. The US fleet benefits with the addition of well setup, competitive boats. Maybe the US as a venue will again find only half the number of this year's Weymouth Worlds. In 1977, the year after Ware River Worlds, we had about 85 competitors at Hayling Island, with only 3 Yanks. As a piece of trivia, I finished 7th at Ware River and 16th at Hayling Island. I was also 32 years younger!

Well, so much for stories. With the boat packed away, I'm headed out on my bike. Enjoy the music.

The Acoustic Motorbike - by Luka Bloom

The day began with a rainbow in the sand
As I cycled into Kerry
Cattle grazing on a steep hillside
Looked well fed, well balanced
Close to the edge

Pedal on, pedal on, pedal on for miles
Pedal on
Pedal on, pedal on, pedal on for miles
Pedal on

I take a break, I close my eyes
And I'm happy as the dolphin
In a quiet spot talking to myself
Talking about the rain
Talking about the rain
All this rain

Pedal on
Pedal on, pedal on, pedal on for miles
Pedal on

You see whenever I'm alone
I tend to brood
But when I'm out on my bike
It's a different mood
I leave my brain at home
Get up on the saddle
No hanging around
I don't diddle-daddle

I work my legs
I pump my thights
Take in the scenery passing me by
The Kerry mountains or the Wicklow hills
The antidote to my emotional ills
A motion built upon human toil
Nuclear free needs no oil
But it makes me hot, makes me hard
I never thought I could have come this far
Through miles of mountains, valleys, streams
This is the right stuff filling my dreams
So come on, get up on your bike
Ah go on, get up on your bike

Pedal on
Pedal on, pedal on, pedal on for miles
Pedal on

With my face to that bitter wind
I bombed it into Killarney
Skin raw like a sushi dinner
And an appetite
That would eat the hind leg of the lamb of God
Even though you know
I wouldn't dream of doing such a thing
Then settle down for a quiet night
Think about what I've seen and done
And wonder

There's a reason for this
Now is the time
To speak of the problem troubling my mind
Sick of the traffic choking our towns
Freaking me out, bringing me down
Knock down houses, build more lanes
Once was a problem, now it's insane
My solution it's one that I like
It's motive
The Acoustic Motorbike
So come on, get up on your bike
Ah go on, get up on your bike

Pedal on
Pedal on, pedal on, pedal on for miles
Pedal on

Ah go on
Ah go on
Get up on your bike
Get up on your bike

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Gantry revolution, evolution or retroversion?

Some thoughts about the rendering of the Mach 2 gantry: Amac seems to have abandoned the molded panel approach that he used on the Bladerider and has gone back to tubes as used on the Prowler, albeit with a small fairing around the bottom tube. Weight and cost were probably considerations, but possibly he saw my minimal fairing and thought “Joe’s a genius!”

All kidding aside, why the retroversion? Since the Mach 2’s hull is cut away to angle the ‘transom,’ as it is, forward, any paneled gantry would necessarily be significantly larger and thus heavier (though still lighter than the hull sections it would replace.) Here’s my guess: I think that the visual profile from abeam had a lot to do with the decision. With a paneled gantry the cutaway look of the Mach 2’s stern would not be evident when photographed from afar and might be mistaken for a BR. The tubular gantry highlights the gap between rudder and deck, making the distinctive stern all the more noticeable. Additionally, the slight fairing and forward canted rudder easily distinguish the Mach 2’s tubular gantry from the Prowler4 gantry. Anybody else have a guess?

Another point mentioned on the Mach 2 website is the lack of a rudder box to “minimize play and reduce complexity.” In my mind that means the tiller is fixed to the rudder. While there may be fewer pieces, I’m trying to figure out how the three mutually perpendicular lengths (tiller, rudder, foil) can easily be transported. Add the hiking stick on and it seems to be quite a gangly contraption. I’m all for reducing slop, but am at a loss to see the benefit of no rudder box. Any ideas?

As you may have noticed, I’ll be adding bits of music with each post. Feel free to click the “pause” icon if you don’t want to draw attention at work ;-)

Boats to Build, Lyrics by Guy Clark
Sung by Jimmy Buffett and Alan Jackson

It's time for a change
I'm tired of that same ol same
The same ol words the same ol lines
The same ol tricks and the same ol rhymes

Days precious days
Roll in and out like waves
I got boards to bend I got planks to nail
I got charts to make I got seas to sail

I'm gonna build me a boat
With these two hands
She’ll be a fair curve
From a noble plan
Let the chips fall where they will
Cause I've got boats to build

Sails are just like wings
The wind can make em sing
Songs of life songs of hope
Songs to keep your dreams afloat

I'm gonna build me a boat
With these two hands
She’ll be a fair curve
From a noble plan
Let the chips fall where they will
Cause I've got boats to build

Shores distant shores
There’s where I'm headed for
I got the stars to guide my way
Sail into the light of day

I'm gonna build me a boat
With these two hands
She’ll be a fair curve
From a noble plan
Let the chips fall where they will
Cause I've got boats to build

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Falling slowly...

...again under the spell of the home-builders' addiction.

The recent computer rendering of the Mach 2's forward raked gantry and a post on Phil's blog about replacing the wand cable with carbon tubes to reduce weight have got me itching to mix resin and play with carbon. Unfortunately the outside temperature has also been falling. Snow flurries last night and with a northwest breeze today, the wind chill is in the teens (that's ~ minus8C for you metric folk.) This time last year, because I don't have a heated shop space, I was gluing rack tubes on the kitchen floor (did I mention that my wife is a saint?) so I may be back to the kitchen for the new bits. But first, I had to drag out the list of suppliers, that with Bill's help, I've managed to find. For those who may want the info, here it is:

Selected Sources for Home Builders:

Euro-Composites (Elkwood, Virginia) Nomex honeycomb core material

Composite Engineering/Ted Van Dusen (Massachusetts) Custom carbon rack tubes

Goodwinds Kites (Washington – Pacific NW) Small diameter carbon tubes.

Soller Composites (New Hampshire) Uni-directional carbon

McMaster-Carr (Chicago) Grade G10 Garolite rod/sheet; general industrial supplies

Applied Vehicle Technology (Indiana) Carbon cloth

Eastern Burlap (Norfolk) WEST epoxy resin/vacuum bagging supplies

West Marine (Annapolis) Starboard cassette material, Corecell foam, other supplies

Annapolis Performance Sailing (Annapolis) UHMW tape, other supplies & hardware

Aircraft Spruce (Georgia) Kevlar fabric

I get the majority of the supplies via the mail, except for the stuff from Eastern Burlap, a local business that I've used since the early '70s when I built my first boat, a Stockholm Sprite. I have found that when I'm in the build thinking mode, most of the time is spent contemplating design and process, and there's relatively little actual shop-time (or kitchen-time as the case may be.) So at this point I'm beginning to visualize, continuing to discuss with Bill, my advisor on all things Beaver, and post to and receive from Phil, Doug, Karl and the rest of the mothosphere blog comments about design and engineering.

The music is on, stay tuned.

Glen Hansard - Falling Slowly Lyrics

I don't know you
But I want you
All the more for that
Words fall through me
And always fool me
And I can't react
And games that never amount
To more than they're meant
Will play themselves out

Take this sinking boat and point it home
We've still got time
Raise your hopeful voice you have a choice
You'll make it now

Falling slowly, eyes that know me
And I can't go back
Moods that take me and erase me
And I'm painted black
You have suffered enough
And warred with yourself
It's time that you won

Take this sinking boat and point it home
We've still got time
Raise your hopeful voice you had a choice
You've made it now
Falling slowly sing your melody
I'll sing along

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Mach2, redux

Wow! So according to the just released website, Si will sail the first boat in January at the Bloody Mary (heat up the hot toddy!) and then Amac and Si will compete in the Australian Nationals a couple of weeks later. So it seems that production must be well under way. Additional boats will be bought for the 2009 season by noted folks (Arnaud Psarofaghis and Ossie Stewart.) I hope this means my new foils are either in the process of being built or at least in the production queue. If great performance gains are to be made my bet is that they will come from the foils and rig and not so much from the hull, regardless of how sexy it looks.

The forward canted rudder seems intriguing. For next season I may go with two different rudder set-ups. One would be my existing rudder and gantry. A second could be a new gantry and rudder to mimic the Mach 2's angle. In addition to the modified gantry such an addition would require a new strut and lifting foil and a new rudder box and tiller, so the material costs aren't insignificant (at least $400.) We'll have to see...

Oh yeah, I did get a mention from Andrew Brown on my standing in the blog competition. Perhaps he saved his last comment for the best???

Monday, November 17, 2008

Everybody in the Pool!

The blog aggregator seems to be pulling everybody into the pool. From the postings since mid-August I count 26 different authors, some with but one entry (Sam) others with bunches (yours truly), some with super interesting content (Bruce and Luka's Mothcast - too bad it's only posted monthly), some with inane content (hey! click here!). It's great reading all the thoughts rumbling throughout the mothosphere. I particularly look forward to the comments from the movers and shakers in the class (Scott, Si, Bruce, Phil, Bora, Karl, Doug, Adam, and others.) I'm sure the World Championship Moth Blog committee of Matt, Andrew, and Glenn have their hands full. It would be interesting to get their up-to-date thoughts of the front runners.

So, here's the take on water temperature, as indicated by those who took the recent poll. It seems that there are some true die-hards among us (9/34 say that only when the water freezes is it "too cold.") Most folks start to complain at around 10C. As Si mentioned in a recent post, even water temperatures of 11C can cause ventilation, freezing feet and control lines that start to erode skin. We in the Northern Hemisphere tend to either shut down this time of year or, if schedule and finances permit (Bora), head Down Under to the upcoming summer. Thanks to the 34 people who submitted input. I'm looking forward to the results of Simon Propper's poll on the UK Website.

The invitation is still open to include YOU, yes YOU, as a "mothie following this blog." Com'on in, the water's fine.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Morning Light and Wacky Weather

This afternoon I took in the movie Morning Light at a 12:30 matinee. Almost all of the Hampton Roads sailing community was there. Ironic because the weather was more like September than November. With the bay water temperature still at 60 degrees F, the air temperature in the upper seventies, and the breeze between 10 and 20 mph, if this was May everybody would have been out sailing. As it was, since it's mid-November, most folks have shut down the sailing urges and are relegated to getting their fix via the cinema or the web.

Oh yeah, the movie. Pretty good for a documentary. You should try to catch it if you can. The official website is overly complicated but there's a reasonable copy of the trailer on You Tube.

Just a dozen hours left to weight in on the poll about water temperature. My commentary tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

From half-way around the world

The bits came Monday from John Harris. Not bad - only eight days from when he dropped them in the post in Sydney until they arrived at my front door in Norfolk, halfway around the world. I've yet to weigh the rings but I suspect they'll be probably one tenth the weight of the blocks they'll replace. Does anyone want to buy a couple of Ronstan high load blocks (pictured below)?

Oh yeah, thanks to the couple of dozen folks who have taken the poll. I'll wait until the weekend for as many mothies as possible to weigh in before I put in my two cents worth.


Sunday, November 9, 2008

When do you stop/start sailing?

I've been following a discussion on the UK Yahoo! Groups list about regatta dates for next season. Four of the proposed events are before the end of May, the traditional beginning of the sailing season on the US East coast. One event, the open meeting at Parkstone, is actually slated to start on Feb 28th. Now, such a proposed date for Chesapeake sailors would be laughed at out loud. Even if you could gather together enough sailors to brave the water temperature (the average water temperature in the winter is 4.3C and in the spring 11.9C) you wouldn't find any club members to run the races. February and early March is still skiing season. Boats come out of storage at the earliest for an April launch. Before that, sailing in confined to "midwinter" event in Florida.

No, sailing on the east coast is at most a three season affair, but in many clubs it is restricted to the months of May-October. When I got to Weymouth I was surprised at the water temperature and ended up buying the "super-warm" skiff suit and top from Gary. With all of my swimming even that wasn't enough. So, I'm wondering when mothies around the would say the water is "too cold."

If you're following this blog, take the poll. The poll will be open for a week and I'll discuss the results next weekend.


Friday, November 7, 2008

Economic Craziness

The pic above shows what I paid for gas today. The dollar is bouncing around. The graph below shows the movement in the past year of the dollar against the Euro. For comparison, the cost of gas (petrol) in my area is the equivalent of .40Euro per liter and that includes taxes! I don't know why is the price dropping, but I've read it's because of the worldwide slowdown that is decreasing the demand for crude.

I suspect that airline ticket prices will also continue to drop. I looked at prices for a round trip in August from Heathrow to Portland and back as if I was a Brit going to attend the Gorge Worlds. Base price is as low as $900 on American Airlines. I haven't looked at the Virgin site, but would if I were going to try to fly with a boat!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Hotdogging in Rye

Yesterday in the mail I got the picture cd of the racing at the AYC HPDO regatta. Consistent foiling was really only possible on the first day before the warning, so when I saw the guy in the inflatable with the long lens camera I made a mad dash toward him for a "hot dog" shot. Let's see.... hike out with only one foot under the strap. Whoops! the other foot slips out. Yeah, Peter doesn't have the only boat that can foil by itself...

On Sunday the breeze was so light that I was in low-rider mode only. With the cable disconnected and the wand raised up I felt I was back in the seventies working my plywood boat upwind. Lots of bow-down attitude to keep the stern (and now, gantry) from dragging. My speed made good upwind was as high as anyone else's, except for Chris who just managed to just beat me to the weather mark by lots of pumping and close reaching to get up on the foils.

Photos courtesy of “”.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Change in America

After too many years of questionable decisions, both on the part of the electorate and of the present administration, a majority of the voters decided to go with, what Colin Powell called, a man who shows "intellectual vigor." An an educator I'm glad that the United States has chosen someone who might arguably be one of the brightest minds of his generation.

Not moth related, except that we all know moth sailors (and especially designers and builders) have some of the keenest minds on the water.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Dollars and Sense

I just purchased the hi-tech vang strops #1 and #2 that include the SRS round thimbles from Sailingbits. The web price was AUD114.30 and according to the Convert website the bits will cost me about US$75. So the weak Australian dollar allows me to get some nice pieces for a smaller cost. Unfortunately, the foil purchase won't go the same route. Amac decided to re-quote the foils from AU$1980 to US$1986 since his cost base is primarily based in our currency. I will still get my new foils (hopefully in about three months) but won't benefit from the currency fluctuation.

The boat has been broken down for the season. I'll be reworking the wand system and will need to build a new cassette for the new board. I also hope to layup another rudder and aft foil before spring. Until then I'll be paying off debts and hopefully saving enough for the trip to Oregon in August. Let's see....Mapquest say it's about a round trip distance of about 5960 miles (9600 km) and with my gas mileage of about 20mpg towing a trailer and gas costing, who knows, maybe $3/gal, the trip will cost about $1000 in fuel alone. Dirt cheap compared to air freight!