Saturday, December 31, 2011


Peter Kräubig with the German jazz group "Room 4" singing Bluesette at a charity concert held in Dyckburgkirche Münster (Dyckburg Church) in 2009. Münster, Germany is about 75 km northeast of Essen*.

Peter Kräubig is an accomplished pianist and composer.

I like this group. They remind me of "Les Doubles Six" of Paris back in the 60's.

Good music to listen to while letting go of 2011 tonight and embracing 2012. Happy New Year!

Dare we hope that the Dragon is more kind to us that the Rabbit has been? What have we got to lose?

Until next, sweet sailing.

*I've never been to Münster, but I did play a concert in Essen back in 1971 with the University of Redlands Concert Band and Jazz Band along with trombone soloist Murray McEachern.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Winter Solstice

The "reason for the season" is of course the Winter Solstice. We've turned the corner from the days getting shorter in the Northern Hemisphere, and hence forth we will get more sunshine (for a time). Celebrations lasting a few weeks help us get through the darkest of times (literally speaking) and different religions find various reasons to celebrate, but basically they do so, I believe, at this time of year to help us all get through the lack of sunlight. For me, vitamin D supplementation and a dose of wide spectrum artificial light each day does the trick.


One celebration we partake in around the Winter Solstice each year is a special dinner at Wordsworth Restaurant. This year it was extra special, as the restaurant was damaged by the 3/11 earthquake and tsunami, but has survived, as have we. (Life goes on, despite the odds.)

This year's menu included Bagna Calda, Parma ham with mozzarella and tomato in pumpkin sauce, foie gras, seafood salad, soybean soup, baked stuffed Homard lobster, pasta with greens, and for desert, apple compote with cookies and chocolate.

PandaB does not eat foie gras (click here for why) and a very special thing happened this year. The waitress came to our table before we began our meal and asked if I would like a substitute instead of foie gras. They had remembered my preferences! So while they served K the foie gras, they brought me a special dish of baked turban sea snail in olive oil with chopped greens, covered with tiny croutons. It was a delicious alternative and I was very impressed by the thoughtfulness of Wordsworth in offering it to me.


After dinner we went down to Kashima Jingu train station to see the light display.


All the best from Pandabonium and K this Winter Solstice season - no matter how you celebrate it - and may 2012 bring us all peace and understanding.

May all beings be happy.
May they be joyous and live in safety.
All living beings, whether weak or strong,
in high or middle, or low realms of existence,
small or great, visible or invisible, near or far,
born or to be born.
May all beings be happy.

-A Buddhist Metta

Until next, sweet sailing.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Nadezhda - Missed Hope and an Icy Bottom

Our Swedish Bluesette crewman Martin emailed me to let me know that he had seen Nadezhda at Yokohama the other day. Nadezhda is a 22 year old beauty (very tall and not too broad in the beam if you get my drift) from Vladivostok and I was keen to see her in person!

Her name means "hope" in English and I was full of it (ahem). As our roof is in the midst of repairs (at last!) of the earthquake damage, it would be a chance to escape the noise and flying roof debris. There was the matter of providing tea and snacks for the workers at break times, but K's mom offered to come over and take care of that.

Good thing I did some research about Nadezhda before we went to Yokohama - especially before setting the alarm clock for O'dark thirty to go meet her. Nadezhda you see is a Russian tall ship which has been on a tour of the Pacific. When I found her on on Friday, she had already left Yokohama and was off shore of Ibaraki heading north at 6.7 knots. Ah well, Martin got some pics with his cellphone which I get to share with you here.

At 360 ft length, 46 ft beam, she is much larger than Japan's Nippon Maru training vessel (307 ft long, 42.5 ft. beam) which I saw when it visited Maui around 1970-ish, and which is now on permanent display in Yokohama. Both ships are quite beautiful of course, but Nadezhda is rarely in my backyard.

Thank you, Martin!

So, today, instead of going to Yokohama, we headed for lake Hinuma and Bluesette. Along the way, we spotted a good sized sailboat on Lake Kitaura - a rare sight. My Canon camera had trouble focusing today for some reason, but the boat looks like a Catalina 27 to me. Must be quite old (like from the 70's) as the sail number is 247. I think it is docked at a little marina that we once considered which caters to bass boats on trailers. Kitaura is quite a narrow body of water for such a large boat - much longer than Hinuma, but only half as wide.


We didn't leave until after the roof workers had their morning break after all, so first order of business was lunch at Mama's. Sorry if regular readers tire of this routine, but we don't. :^)

I had spaghetti with a spicy tomato sauce and olives with tuna, K had the same but with bacon rather than tuna. Desert was roll cake with banana and grapefruit.



The task for the day was not to sail. It was a beautiful day, if a tad cold, but we were there to change out the boat cover and other minor maintenance. The "Sunbrella" cover has lost it's water repellant properties and has been growing a bit of green something or other on its top. We switched it out with a plastic tarp temporarily so we could take the Sunbrella home and clean it with a pressure washer and spray it with water proofing anew.

We were not surprised to see a little water in the bottom of the boat - about 3/4 inch - but we were surprised at the ice. It has been a cold December for us so far. More like January or February weather.


The club house is nearly finished, but for some concrete work around the outside for walkways. That will have to wait until warmer weather. Meanwhile, they will start moving in tomorrow. It is a bit smaller, but very well built and of course, it's *new*.


On the way out, we stopped to say hello/goodbye to Mrs. Hakuta in the temporary office where she was watching three grandchildren. Two granddaughters were playing with a "Hula Hoop". Reportedly, they have set a local record of 438 revolutions in one go!

Until next, sweet sailing... and hula hooping.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


We watched the total lunar eclipse last night. It started at about 22:00 our time and we watched until 23:45 (when we were getting too sleepy to continue). As the moon was nearly directly overhead, we soon tired of straining our necks, so we spread a blanket on our pebble drive and laid on our backs to view it.

Skies were thin clouds broken to scattered at first, but it later cleared. Due to a rain storm that passed recently, the air was very clean and since we're in a relatively rural area, there was not much in the way of light pollution. It was a little chilly out (about 39°F), but we were dressed for it.

It was the most beautiful sight either of us has ever seen in the night sky. Jupiter was out too and with binoculars we could see some of its moons. When a large patch of sky was clear, the stars added to the spectacular show - the moon was in Gemini with the Pleiades (Subaru in Japanese), Taurus with its red giant, Aldebaran, and Orion offering a lot to enjoy with the binoculars. (Nikon 10x50mm 6.5° field of view).

As Martin mentioned to me in an email today, with the moon fully eclipsed, it looked very three dimensional against the backdrop of stars. I think the brightness of a full moon normally makes for too great a contrast for us to see it as a sphere.

I didn't get any pics with moon partly in shadow, as early on I didn't think they would come out at all (I haven't had much luck photographing the moon). Later I decided to give it a go anyway. I took several pictures, but only a couple of them were worth saving - they were ones taken with the camera on a tripod and tripping the shutter with the timer so as not to vibrate the setup. Canon Powershot S3 IS was on full zoom. Not an astronomer's choice of equipment, but good enough pics to jog my memory of this event in the future.

As I walked back to the house to go to bed, I turned to take one last look, and as I did so, a meteor streaked across the sky to the southwest. Perfection.

*syzygy: Astronomy . an alignment of three celestial objects, as the sun, the earth, and either the moon or a planet

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Almost As Good As S...ailing

It looked like it would be too windy for us to go sailing today, and besides, after the rain we've had it was a full morning of catching up on laundry, with warmer weather and crystal clear skies.

For lunch, we treated ourselves to Wordsworth Restaurant in neighboring Kamisu City.

I had spaghetti with oysters in a spinach cream sauce, topped with salmon roe.


K went for the pasta soup with seafood. Scallop, clam, oyster, mussel, crab, prawn and squid.

So good. Or so I was told. ;^) K finished the whole thing.

No, we don't usually eat out twice in one week. We'll need to take a break from it, as we're thinking of having the special Xmas dinner at Wordsworth again this year.

Until next, sweet sailing.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Boys Go To Jupiter

..."to get more stupider" - or at least, so the playground rope-skipping rhyme goes. (In case you're wondering, girls go to Mars to buy more cars - which is pretty stupid too, if you ask me.)

Anyway, the Jupiter in this post is Jupiter Instruments, an American company that makes musical instruments in Taiwan using machines made in Japan and Switzerland - and they ain't stupid. They've got Harry Watters playing demos for their trombones, and he is simply awesome. Here is Harry "sailing" through (what else?) Bluesette:

Damn. Maybe if I practiced more? .... Nope. Not in a million years - or 928,081,020 kilometers*.

Until next, sweet sailing.

*max distance between Earth and Jupiter

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Helmets Can Be Cool

Just in case anyone got the idea from my comments on the great Tillerman's blog (and I refer to him as such in sincere admiration) that I don't think helmets are appropriate in some situations, here is a photo of myself, Pandabonium, and my sidekick Tonto K, looking cool in helmets at Lake Toya, Hokkaido, July 2011.

Pandabonium: "Well Tonto, we are surrounded by natives. It looks like we are finished."

K: "What you mean 'we' Kimosabe?"

And don't forget, when German voters replaced Chancellor Helmut Schmidt with Helmut Kohl in 1982, they weren't changing Chancellors, they were just exchanging Helmuts! And no one dared to challenge the Germans about the use of Helmuts at the time.

Until next, sweet sailing. And mind the boom!

Friday, November 25, 2011

One Hand for Yourself One for the Ship

The title of this post is from an excellent book by Tristan Jones which I read when I had dreams (delusions?) of sailing single handed around the Pacific. My reality - my boat, my "sea", and my challenges are much, much, smaller, but at least I am really sailing now, rather than dreaming about it.


Last Sunday, my sweet crew took me up to lake Hinuma, helped me set up Bluesette, and let me go out single handed while she stayed ashore taking pictures. The weather was initially cloudy and windy as the previous day had been one of solid rain and wind. Luckily, the storm had passed more quickly than the meteorological gurus had prognosticated and things gradually improved throughout the day.

At "Mama's Kitchen", Mama and her two daughters took good care of us as always. The salad bar had fried sweet potatoes which were very tasty. Kimie went back for seconds on those.

I realize that food pictures aren't going to a big hit to my US readers on the day after Thanksgiving, but I'll post them for those who read this post at some later date when they are not satiated...


Kimie had pasta with ham and asparagus while I had pasta with seafood. Ono-licious as we say in Hawaii (yummy, oishii).



Although the American holiday of Thanksgiving as practiced in the USA is foreign to these shores, Mama's dessert featured pumpkin pudding pie with fruit.


At the yacht harbor, we found that the new club house is not quite finished. Double pane windows are installed, though, and the interior walls and ceiling have been finished off nicely. It won't be long now.

Kimie was against me sailing today and reluctant at first to lend a hand with boat, noting that the last time she didn't want us to go out was the day we capsized. But I assessed the situation, noting the water and sky conditions, and determined it was a good day for it. So, she finally got behind my program and helped me to get Bluesette ready as well as familiarize herself with the camera she would be using.

Single handing the Lido 14 is not too difficult provided that the winds are moderate. Today was perfect - about 7 knots. Not that I didn't have my hands full at times, like when I retrieved the painter from overboard with the grappling hook, but mostly it was just wonderful sailing.

It was quite amazing being so alone. Not only was I alone in the boat, I was alone on the lake. Kimie saw one windsurfer when I launched. In any case, the usual "traffic" was absent. Not a sail in sight, no fishing boats, water skiers, or bleeping jet skis - not a bloody internal combustion engine to be heard. Shear bliss. My only companions were birds - seagulls, coots, ducks, - and the occasional jumping striped mullet.

From the boat, approaching Kimie standing on the levy at the yacht harbor and coming about looked like this:

(Kimie can be seen standing to the right of the boat ramp)

From the shore, it looked like this:

Later, I was approaching the harbor from the East, sailing downwind and into the sun. Rather than jibe, I elected to do a 270°, which from the camera on the boat looks a little dizzying.

What I didn't see, due to the sun, were a flock ducks nearby. Kimie captured them with the camera as most took to the air while I was turning.

Ducks fleeing as Bluesette turns

Of course, as much as I enjoyed the solo, I missed Kimie's companionship. It isn't as much a matter of having a crew to perform tasks (though I do appreciate the great contribution she makes as crew) as it is being able to share the experience with her; the beauty, the joy, the laughter, the cursing.

And that is the crux of the matter. I enjoy sailing alone, but sharing the experience is even better. Having a crew who helps me to do both? Well, deep appreciation and gratitude fill my heart.

Until next, sweet sailing.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Labor Thanksgiving Day

November 23, is a national holiday in Japan. The holiday has its origins in the mists of the past, two thousand five hundred years ago, as a celebration of the November grain harvests. While the Imperial household still calls it by the old name - Niiname sai (first taste) - and it is still celebrated as such at the Imperial Palace and Shinto shrines around the country, the 1948 law which made it "Labor Thanksgiving Day" and made it a legal holiday, dedicated it to labor and industry (reflecting the times) and a time to thank one another.

While I certainly appreciate the efforts of others, personally, when it comes to "production" I am more in tune with gratitude for food, than for industry, and hope Japan will do more to retain its own food production. Presently, Japan only supplies around 39 percent of the calories consumed in the country and must import the rest. It would be sad indeed to see us slip to the position in which South Korea finds itself - growing only 13% of its food needs and being dependent on countries like China and the USA, with all the food safety and security hazards that implies.

Regardless of the origins of our respective national holidays, we can all benefit from having an attitude of gratitude for the people, animals, and plants which sustain us - as I do the people who read this humble blog.

For an interesting perspective on food and gratitude, check out this excellent video about "Satoyama" - areas in which people work to create a balance with agricultural lands, secondary forests, artificial wetlands, and grasslands to create a sustainable life from the ecosystem. "Food" for thought...

Until next, in sincere gratitude, Sweet Sailing.

PS - for more information about Satoyama, visit Satoyama Initiative

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Friday, November 18, 2011

Goodbye Yesterday

As I have mentioned before on this blog, as well as on Pacific Islander, Imai Miki has long been a favorite singer of mine. I saw her once with her husband at Kahului Airport on Maui, as they made their way to a tour helicopter, while I was walking to my airplane. Her husband is also a pilot, flying a plane like the one I had at the time.

Anyway, I remember listening to this song on my laptop in 2004 as I was flying over the Pacific in a 747 on my way to Japan and a new home, indeed, a new homeland, and a new life.

Since the Great Northeast Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in March, the song has taken on a new meaning for me. But regardless of when or where we are on this crazy world, sailing through space, I think there is meaning and hope to be found in this song.

Unlike the version I listened to on my flight, with full orchestra, drums, guitars, etc. behind her, this version was recorded with only her voice and a piano. It highlights her vocal skills.

Here is Imai Miki singing Goodbye Yesterday (and hello tomorrow) Enjoy -

By the way, in the video, Miki-san's hair is cut short. Japanese will sometimes cut their hair short to signify a new beginning or a fresh start. This often happens after getting over some kind of hardship.

Kimie's translation:


Goodbye yesterday
Here I am now
Who was born again
Look, more than ever
Smiles suit me, don’t they?

I laughed and cried as much as I could
I found my true self
Finally I have reached
The path that leads me to eternal kindness

Every time you shed tears
The closer you should get to your happiness
Tomorrow starts from goodbye
Goodbye yesterday
And hello tomorrow

Even if you love someone
And will be hurt from it
That is a sweet scar
A milestone for tomorrow

When you accept everything
The light will approach you
When you are embraced by the sky
Eternity will be engraved on your heart

The seasons come and go like winds
I cut my hair short
The world welcomes the morning today too
Goodbye yesterday…
Goodbye yesterday…

Being embraced by joy and sorrow
I gently smile
Goodbye is the gratitude to yesterday
Goodbye yesterday
And hello tomorrow…

Until next, sweet sailing.

*Updated with new translation 4:20 AM 11/19/11

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Soapy Sails?

Thanks to Don Snabulus for this XKCD comic:

Other titles/captions, anyone? "Soapy Sails" is Don's suggestion...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tanbo Art

Tanbo is the Japanese word for "rice paddy". In 1993, in the center Aomori, the northern most prefecture on Honshu, the people of Inakadate Village created "Tanbo Art" by growing pictures in rice paddies using different strains of rice that have various leaf coloration as their palette. They hoped to increase commerce by drawing attention to the village. They plant the art in front of the town hall on which they built a castle-like viewing tower. The idea was a success, with over 200,000 visitors coming to see the Tanbo Art each year.

I posted about the Tanbo Art on "Pacific Islander" back in 2005 - - during my first year of living in Japan.

Tanbo Art has not been without controversy. In 2008, in an effort to cover costs, the village revitalization group who are responsible for the art, planted advertisements at the base of the pictures - one for Japan Airlines, another for a local newspaper. The town government was so angry that they threatened to no longer lease the land for the art in following years. After a vote by the townspeople, the rice seedlings for the advertising portions were removed.

This year, the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami gave a new focus for the art and the messages grown in the rice.

The above picture is of Kaguya-hime, a princess from the Moon and the main character in Japan's oldest novel Taketori Monogatari, "The Bamboo Cutter's Daughter". She is shown being returned to the Moon at the end of the story. At the bottom is written : "Gambaru Japan!!" a common expression which has become the nation's post 3/11 slogan. It means "Do your best, Japan".

The second picture is of the Bamboo Cutter and his wife and the glowing section of bamboo in which, as the story goes, the princess arrived on Earth as a baby. Under it, it says "please think of others."

I also happened to write about the novel on my Pacific Islander blog in 2007, as I have a beautifully illustrated and translated book of it. The original novel dates back to the late 9th or early 10th century. At the time I wrote that post, Japan had just launched a moon exploration probe named "Kaguya" after the Moon maiden.

That post is here - and if you haven't read it before, I hope you'll do so and that you find it interesting.

For more remarkable images of Tanbo Art, just search for it in Google Images.

Until next, sweet sailing.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Smooth Bottom

We went up to Hinuma to check on Bluesette and do some basic maintenance.


First stop was Mama's Kitchen, where Kimie enjoyed some pork, ham pilaf, and sides, while I had pasta with sardines in tomato sauce. We shared my fruit and cheesecake desert. One of the sides we were each served was interesting and very tasty - sweet potato stems (in the square white dish in the photo).

I won't bore you with details of everything I did - mostly cleaning (acetone makes a good cleaner) and lubricating. Of course the first thing we had to do was bail rainwater. One fine day, when it is sunny and I have lots of time, we'll scrub boat cover and after it dries spray it with Teflon to make it waterproof again.

I crawled under Bluesette and checked out what was going on in the centerboard trunk. We've been having trouble getting it to retract all the way up into the trunk. Not an uncommon problem with Lidos, but it was getting worse, with the board hanging down 4 to 5 inches at the aft end.


Does your board hang low? Does it wobble to and fro?

I hate getting into such confined spaces, and squeezing between the steel frame of the sendai and the hull is to invite bruising, but it had to be done. I found a bunch of reed stalks up in there which I cleaned out. Also found a piece of fiberglass, but couldn't fetch it. But after the cleaning we were able to get the board to retract so that only about 2 inches hangs down. Good enough I'm told. My main concern wasn't drag anyway, but making sure we clear the frame of the sendai when launching. As I recall the classic Lido I sailed as a kid had a mahogany centerboard which was much lighter than the present fiberglass ones and was not difficult to raise.

View from down under.

Time well spent. It was a bit cold - 68 F - and I had neglected to bring a jacket. After first helping me with the centerboard, Kimie relaxed in the car - nice and cozy - with a book.

Had we not had maintenance to do and had dressed warmly it would have been a good day to go sailing, but we'd have been the only ones doing so. Better not to defer maintenance though. It always seems to come back to bite one in a most awkward place.


The new club house is coming right along. Mr. Hakuta informed us that it will be completed by November 15th!

Until next, sweet sailing.

New Lido 14 Class Association Website

New website. New information.

The Lido 14 Class Association has a new and improved website which looks very good and is well organized.

There are also some new documents available which some readers - especially those interested in modifications - might find of interest. One features a drawing and photo of an adjustable traveler for the classic series boat. Another addresses issues relating to the boom.

Check it out at

Until next, sweet sailing.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011

Parlez-vous De Crevettes Bleues?

Stormy weekends have kept us off the water. We consoled ourselves with food. Yesterday, I took Kimie to lunch at a new restaurant in town. The food (Japanese style) was OK but we missed Mama's Kitchen.

Then, in the afternoon, we received a cold package delivered to our door. It was from our friend who runs a ryokan hotel to our north. A box of Pacific blue prawns (called Tenshi no Ebi - angel prawn - in Japan) from New Caledonia, a bottle of sweet red pepper sauce, and wonton sheets to wrap around the meat and fry in sesame oil.


We'd never tried blue prawns before, so Kimie prepared some for dinner. So many ways to cook them - pan fried, tempura, wonton, sashimi, soup.... Kimie kept it simple and pan fried some with mizuna (a leafy green vegetable) garlic, salt and pepper.


Before cooking, they look silvery blue. She saved the heads for later.

I didn't get a picture of the cooked prawns - we were too busy eating them. They were so flavorful - the best prawns I've ever tasted - with an excellent texture. New Caledonia has been farming blue prawns for decades now. Their local species were not adaptable to aquaculture, so they brought in this one from Mexico. Unlike many farmed "fish", these prawns are not fed land animal by-products, hormones, coloring or antibiotics. They are raised in a way that does not harm the surrounding mangrove forests.

Today, we had the heads in our ramen (noodle soup). The wonderful prawn flavor was infused into the ramen. I did manage to take a picture this time.



Until next, sweet sailing.

Friday, October 14, 2011


Caution all ye who enter here. This blog is for our own enjoyment - a diary of sorts. This post in particular is longer than most on Sweet Bluesette. Having read this far, though, it is too late to alter course, mateys... so...


Return with us now to those thrilling shores of lake Hinuma for another exciting adventure of "The Lone Lido" ~ Bluesette sails again!*

Saturday was for trying out some new gear. (The point of having a boat is to buy stuff for it, right?)

Regular readers know we've been through a couple of types of mast floats - and capsized with one (it worked). But we are engaged in the relentless pursuit of perfection. The first was a Hobie "Baby Bob" mounted atop the mast.

Although it did prevent us from turning turtle once in the shallow waters of lake Hinuma, I think its mass and wind resistance may have actually contributed to our capsize. It's weight was always noticeable when raising and lowering the mast each sail. Maybe the thing I liked least about the "Baby Bob" was that I couldn't mount the wind vane at the top of the mast. So, great for catamarans, but I'm not sold on it (other than forking out ¥*****) for use on the Lido.

Then we tried an inflatable one which wrapped around the luff and was pulled up with the mainsail. That made raising the main a bit harder and was a royal pain in the arse when it occasionally got caught between the mast and stay on the way up. It also looked like it destroyed the aerodynamics, creating drag right at the top and again, perhaps even making a capsize more likely.

We'd seen some of the local boats us a simple 25cm beach ball as a mast float. Light weight, not much drag, and tied on with a bit of tether so it doesn't interfere with the sail (and cheap!); it looks promising. Unfortunately, when we asked Mr. Hakuta to show us how to attach it, we learned that we didn't have the required net. Next time. For this day, he loaned us a funky net float.


Next thing we did on Saturday was to replace the whisker pole eye strap on the mast, since I purchased a new Forespar whisker pole to replace the Mickey Mouse highly ingenious one I made from a painter's extension, screw eye, and sawed off paint roller. It worked, but was not strong enough - bent went I stepped on it one day, then the threaded end broke off and I replaced the whole thing, and the reshaped screw eye was both a danger onboard ("you could put someone's eye out with that", as my Mom might have said) and difficult for the crew to fit into the (ahem) "eye" strap. It too eventually broke off.

New pole, new attach point, so ... drill new holes. The new pole mounts vertically, whereas the old one was horizontal, so the new one covers up the old mounting holes. The curvature of the new bracket doesn't quite match the mast, so I added some gel pads, which also cover the old screw holes and seal them from water - perfect.


By then it was close to noon, so we launched - for lunch at Mama's!

The mini-Mama sisters were there as well as Mama and Papa. (Papa has a different job but has been recuperating from a work related injury for several months. Heartening to seem him getting better.)

Kimie's asari clams and mushrooms

PandaB's eggplant and tuna in tomato sauce

Dessert - oh, my. Cherry tart. Mercy.

This has been our third year of sailing Bluesette and coincidentally(?) Mama's third year in business. As she has done on her two previous anniversaries, she presented us with some goodies on the way out.

Well, we can save the cookies for later. Oops. Kimie also bought two more slices of cherry tart to take home. What diet? What does Kimie do with all those calories? Scary.

Meanwhile, back at the yacht harbor, builders have been busy on the new club house. They are working on it every day and should be finished by the end of November. Wonderful!


We'll be back!

The new clubhouse is about 80% of the floor area of the original, but taller and much more earthquake resistant. The beams are cut to fit each other and bolted together rather than nailed. In addition, there are metal straps between them. By the end of the day, half the roof was covered in ply.

On the water, one of the bits of new kit we were trying out was our Zhik floatation vests. Not to USCG specs, which require 15.5lbs of buoyancy, these are made to European CE specs for people who can help themselves in the water and so they supply about 11 lbs of assist.

They are form fitting and thus don't present a problem ducking under the boom or trying to re-board the boat after a spill. I do like our MTI vests and will keep them for guests, but more than once I've caught mine on the boom when coming about and found it tougher to get back into the boat. The Zhik vests give us enough help floatation-wise without restricting movement or getting caught on things. I might think twice if we sailed in rough waters, but lake Hinuma is a small, protected lake, and help is always close at hand.

On a long downwind - which I arrange when getting thirsty - we tried out the new whisker pole.

The new whisker pole worked well. Much easier for Kimie to handle, more robust, and just as easy to stow.

The striped mullet were really jumping. More than we'd ever seen before. I was singing the tune "This Joint is Jumpin'". Here's a short video clip. Look between the blue jib sheet and the turnbuckle of the white stay to see several fish leaping.

This joint is jumpin'!

Speaking of gear, here's our camera mount, a "Camzilla" from Australia. I bought their kit which has six way to Sunday for mounting the camera.

There is a safety strap tied to the jib cleat and the the camera has a floatation wrist strap which is suction cupped to the hull as well.

There were two other sailboats on the lake - almost twins: a Sea Hopper and a Laser. At one point they were sailing right toward us and I thought I was getting some great video of them. Oh, well. I had the camera pointing too high and they were often below the bottom of the frame. I did get some decent frames toward the end.


It was a gorgeous day and we had a wonderful time playing with our new toys and chasing rainbows as it were. The wind was at about six knots - just perfect - and when we went to dock it died just as we reached the dock.

Hopefully, I won't find too many more "must have" bits anytime soon. I've spent enough this year. But happily, we have come to appreciate the things we do have and can focus more on how to get the most out of them.

"Get 'em up Scout!" "Hi ho Bluesette, away!"

From an excellent and timely movie - "Brassed Off"

Until next, sweet sailing.

*Trivia: Clayton Moore, The Lone Ranger, lived a few blocks from the house where I grew up. A great guy both on and off the set, I remember that he gave away (plastic) silver bullets on Halloween. We need heroes like him today. Where are they?