Monday, April 29, 2013

Divine Wind

The winds which had been raging this month finally abated enough for us to get Bluesette out on the lake. The weather was gorgeous Sunday, with an air temp of 20° C (68° F) and scattered clouds. Winds ranged from 5 to 12 mph, shifting and gusting, so that kept us busy, and it was fun.  Divine.

K liked the fact that we had plenty of wind, but not so much that she got splashed.
I let her wear my Columbia jacket just in case. ;)

Our harbor neighbor, Y-san, was sailing his Com-Pac cat boat, "Silvervine". It was also his first time out this year. We were the only two sailboats on the water.  Watch for him starting at about 35 seconds into the following clip.

On the north shore there was a line of yaezakura - cherry trees with double blossoms - that were still in bloom. I captured them in this clip, though the camera was angled a little lower than I thought. We noticed a house at the top of the bluff which has a commanding view of the lake through some shade trees - something to dream about.

Sorry about the noise in the videos. I mistakenly left a beaded strap attached to the camera and it flapped around in the wind making the clicking sound.

It was about 2:30 when we got to Mama's Kitchen. They some nice new nobori (flags) out front to draw the attention of passers by. It must work as the were very busy.

After we ate a small salad, K had pasta with Genovese pesto and I opted for pasta with tomato sauce. It was supposed to have asari clams, but as that is something I no longer eat, they substituted green peppers and mushrooms for me. It also had broccoli. Very tasty.

Desert was pound cake with strawberries and grapefruit. Mine had banana in place of the cake.

K has some time off as it is Golden Week in Japan. I hope we'll get to go sailing again soon. 

Until next, sweet sailing.

Monday, April 22, 2013

You'll Always Know Your Pal

I remember learning this song in 6th grade.  I didn't like it much and was disrespectful of our teacher, Mrs. House.  She sent me out of the classroom to sit on a bench in the cold winter weather.  Oddly enough, I have never forgotten the song.  Mrs. House got the last laugh after all.

As I have noted in previous posts, there is a place for sail powered craft and canals in our "post carbon" future (as fossil fuels become less available and uneconomic). 

Yet another demonstration project is underway in New York state, as a sail powered canal boat is under construction which will bring goods from Vermont to New York City via the Champlain Canal.

The Vermont Sail Freight Project is being put forward by a group of farmers, high school students, and community volunteers who are building a flat bottomed sailing barge which will soon be carrying a cargo of twelve tons of locally produced wheat, flour, dry beans, maple syrup, apples, cabbages, and hard cider, from Vermont to New York City - a trip of some 300 miles.

Ceres has three cargo holds and has a cargo capacity of about 13 tons. She draws less than 2 feet fully laden, has a hinged mast to pass under low bridges, and an integral sprit crane for handling bulk cargo.

Ooo - Vermont maple syrup.  Brings a whole to meaning to "sweet sailing".

Check out their website, linked above, and also this article on Sail Transport Network: Building the Vermont Sail Freight Project.  

Until next, sweet sailing.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Of Note

We're still dry - too cold Saturday and cold rain coming Sunday. Grumble grumble. Ah, well, Golden Week is coming and K will have lots of days off.

While waiting for actual sailing pics from us, have a listen to this recent video of the USAF big band, Airmen of Note, which was created in 1950 to carry on the tradition of Major Glenn Miller's Army Air Corps dance band.  They don't hire slouches.  All of these musicians have impressive credentials:

Speaking of Glenn Miller....
Striking resemblance, eh?  Coincidence? You decide.
Besides my good looks (cough), and my King 2B Silver Sonic trombone, I have another tenuous connection to Glenn Miller.  As a young lad of 20, I went on a concert band/studio band tour of Europe.  I was first trombone, but we had a special studio band trombone soloist, Murray McEachern.  On the flight back to the USA from Amsterdam to Chicago I sat next to him and he taught me how to memorize a deck of cards (for fun and profit), while I consumed a whole box of liqueur filled chocolates (hic).  Good fun.   If you're not a jazz aficionado and don't know of him, Murray was one hell of a trombone player and alto sax man too.  In addition to playing for/owning famous big bands of the 20th century, he played trombone solos for the movie "The Glenn Miller Story" (1954) starring James Stewart in the title role.   Great movie.  Great trombonists.  Lucky Panda.

Stewart flanked by Louis Armstrong and Murray McEachern

Until next, sweet sailing.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Long Winded

Saturday was fine, but K had to work.    Sunday is here and so are the winds - 23 knots with gusts up to 30 knots (that's 26.5 mph and 34.5 mph gusts).  No thank you.

Forecast from

Next Saturday is looking good and K won't have to work then.  Hope springs eternal.

Out of curiosity (and frustration) I took a look at when we have started our sailing season in previous years.   Last year at this time I was being discharged from a 19 day hospitalization and wasn't fit for duty until May 20th.   In 2011 we didn't start until May due to the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. 

We didn't get into the water until May 3rd in 2010.   Our first year of sailing here was 2009 and the date we first sailed Bluesette was June 27.

So although I am always antsy to start sailing in April, the fact is that we have never done it.   I suppose I need to take a deep breath and relax rather than get all worked up.      There is a Japanese proverb にんたいはにがしされどそのみはあまし - nintai wa nigashisaredomo sono mi wa amashi - which translates into English as "Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet".   

Until next, sweet sailing.

I have also seen this quote attributed to both Aristotle and Jean Jacques Rousseau.   Amazing.  I didn't know they were Japanese, or even more amazing, that they could have known each other.    ;)  
Whoever first said it, they were right on. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Sail - the Future of Ocean Transport


As fossil fuels deplete* and costs rise ever higher, island nations, such as Fiji, find rising transportation costs making life more difficult. With 300 islands, Fiji has always been a  country of seafarers.
Detail drawing of a Greenheart Project sail powered container ship.

Check out this Al Jazeera report from my beloved Fiji:


In addition, I have written in the past on Pacific Islander blog (back in 2005!) about how Vanuatu (an island nation between Fiji and Australia) uses coconut oil processed into  biodiesel to power its electrical generation, taxis and buses.   That post is here: "Coconut Crude".   (No, we can't run Disneyland and the "Happy Motoring" lifestyle on coconuts, but we can provide the necessities and even some comforts using only renewables.   It is the energy equivalent of living within one's means.

High time we learn to live sustainably - for ourselves, sure, but more so for coming generations.   Ironically, I think less developed nations will find the transition easier than those stuck in the industrialized world paradigm of always looking to non-renewable energy and increasingly complex technology to get things done. 

Sota Tale (see you again in Fijian).

Until next, sweet sailing.

*don't bet on fracking to allow "business as usual" to continue.   I am presently helping to edit a new book by fossil fuel expert Richard Heinberg which will expose fracking as nothing more than environmentally disastrous oil and gas industry "snake oil".

Thursday, April 11, 2013

More Lido 14 Youths

On Lake Michigan!

The Bay View Association of Petoskey, Michigan runs a great recreation program which includes sailing instruction for kids 9 and up who have passed a certain level of swimming proficiency.  Formerly they have relied mostly on Sunfish sailboats, but have decided to add three new Lido 14s to the program to give the students experience on  a boat with a jib and they will even fly a spinnaker according to the Bay View Association's newsletter.

WD Schock Corporation reports that they will be getting the "Club Model" version of the Lido 14 which is modified to take more punishment with added layers of fiberglass in vulnerable areas and other features.  The Club Model  is used by sailing schools (such as at Orange Coast College, Newport Beach, CA) and by rental businesses.

Club Model Lido 14s at Orange Coast College - note the bow fender - hey, I could use that!
I thought that these would be the first Lido 14s in Michigan, but I was wrong.   I have learned that Little Traverse Sailing School in Harbor Springs, MI, has  been operating nine Lido 14s for some time now a fact that influenced Bay View to choose the boat.

Keep those new sailors coming.

Until next, sweet sailing.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Look. Listen. With Attention.

Gilbert Medam is a Brazilian guitarist who plays bossa nova. I like his rendition of Bluesette.

Gilbert is also a photographer and painter. Check out his photos on his blog and paintings on Facebook. Be sure to be listening as well as looking.

To quote Gilbert:

"The art is not just to be skilled enough to paint and draw, but rather to look. Art of Looking.

Look, look, look. Listen, listen, listen with attention.

There is a lot to learn that way. And this learning is the key to understanding."

This is true in sailing as well.  Use your senses.  Be there.

Until next, sweet sailing.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Sweet "BLUE"-sette

The closer that it gets, the more I want it....

Sing it LeAnn,

and I know Bluesette is chaffing at her painter  to get back out on the lake.

Until next, sweet sailing.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Clean Mind, Clean Boat

Take your pick.*

Wednesday brought strong winds of 30 knots, plus bucket loads of rain.   The storm passed in the night and Thursday morning was a warm 17ºC (in the low 60s F) and relatively calm.   We headed for Lake Hinuma to see how Bluessette was doing after all these months and perform some Spring cleaning.

Mama's Kitchen is closed on Thursday so we made do with some food from a convenience store.  I wasn't hopeful to find things that fit my dietary guidelines, but lucked out with a nice tray of soba noodles and a salad made up of daikon radish, okra, and two sea vegetables- wakame and mekabu (which is actually young wakame sprouts).
We took it back to the club house where we could eat with a view of the lake and chat with Mrs. Hakuta.  (FYI new readers: the Hakuta family owns the yacht harbor.)

We discovered the boatyard had been reorganized, with power boats removed from our row and replaced with Yamaha Sea Hoppers - yeah, sailboats!

I wore my new "Lido Love" shirt from Fleet 1, Newport Beach's "Valentines Day Regatta".  K as one too, but was less confident about the weather, so didn't wear it this time.   Nice comfortable shirt - thanks for helping us get them Karen!

The shirt has a Lido 14 "Lido Love" being sailed by Popeye and a girl named Scarlet, from "Pirates of the Caribbean".  Great artwork by Karen Pierce of Fleet 1.

When looked into Bluesette, we were glad to see that not much water had gotten in, but she was covered with dirt.

While I stood there, I took a pic of our rudder.   People who trailer their Lido 14 usually have a padded sleeve to cover the rudder for transport, but as Bluesette is stored at the harbor, we just lay ours on the seat.  To prevent the metal from scratching the gelcoat, I placed three rubber pads (designed as feet for stereo systems and such and purchased at a ¥100 store) near the protruding parts.  This side faces down normally, of course.   They are self sticking and have stayed put for a few years now.   Since this part of the rudder never enters the water, they pose no problem in terms of drag.

We pushed Bluesette across the boatyard to one of the hoses and gave her a thorough bath using microfiber cloths inside and out.   I also removed the halyards to take home and clean (they have algae in a couple of spots) and lubricated the pulleys.   I neglected to take an "after" picture as I was pretty tired by the time we finished.

Today is pretty good weather, if cooler, but I'm doing more planting in the garden. 
This weekend will bring more strong wind and rain.  The following weekend is looking good though, so hope to be back out on the water then with our clean boat.

*trivia - "Clean mind, clean body, take your pick" was a line used at performances by the late, great, Dr. Louis Gottlieb, arranger for The Kingston Trio, then Bass player for the  folk trio Limelighters and later jazz pianist.  His Ph.D  was in musicology. 

Until next, sweet sailing.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Monica Zetterlund

Bedårande Sommarvals in Swedish translates to English as "Enchanting Summer Waltz" aka "Bluesette"

I've featured Ms Zetterlund before back in 2009, but the account hosting the video has been terminated since then.  Stupid corporations don't realize that having content on YouTube is free advertising that actually increases their sales more than it harms them.   Oh well, while it is available, enjoy this version.

Until next, sweet sailing.