Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Bad Thinking

Who could pass up sharing the link to a blog called "Bad Thinking." Its (yes, you guessed it!)

Fractional Sailboat Ownership - Continued

Now that I have become interested in the concept of fractional sailboat ownership I find that I am much more aware of companies in this field than in the past. Today I was browsing and came across yet another Chicago (and New York City) entry: Pinnacle Yachts. Their web site is here at What I particularly like about this site it that it not only describes their fleet but it also prices the annual leases so you can get an upfront idea of what it would cost. Note that this company, like Fair Winds Sailing, is not a shared ownership plan but rather you lease a boat for the season.

James Taranto

James was to join us last year as crew for the Bayview - Mackinac race but as we had to withdraw Reboot he never got the opportunity. He is on the crew list for this years Chicago - Mackinac race and we hope that he is able to make it. As part of my Information Technology consulting business I have been working in the area of website analytics and website optimization. Website optimization comes in two flavors: how to get people to your website (search optimization) and how to get people to buy something once they get there (conversion optimization.) In the course of my work I found two things about James that I did not know. The first, not surprisingly is that he has his own domain It expands the index of his work beyond the Wall Street Journal to his other writings. James - you need to talk to me about format - its pretty bland! But more fun, I found a link to a James Taranto in the archives of the Apollo Bulletin Board System (BBS) from 1985 thru 1992. This is reputed to be our same Wall Street Journal James! It just goes to show, even 20+ years ago whatever you posted on the internet has remained to haunt you forever! The link, by the way, is just in case you are interested. I hope no one is searching for my old posts!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Fair Winds Sail

Captain Ben Sells of Fairwind has been in touch and we have agreed to chat tomorrow. He Fairwind has been in business for 30 years with Captain Ben at the helm for 10 of them. Check in tomorrow night for an update!

Chicago Charter Sailing

I have been doing some exploring with repect to the fractional sailboat ownership scene and contacted an old friend down in Chicago. He has been chartering from Fairwind Sail Charters. Their web site is at It seems only appropriate that they have Beneteau's. So now we have covered Hunter, Catalina, and Beneteau. It seems that their plan is not an ownership plan but rather a preset seasonal lease - you lease 28 or 14 sailing days in the season. I will be contacting them for more information and posting it here. Stay tuned!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Milwaukee Community Sailing Center Sailor's Ball

The Milwaukee Community Sailing Center has set Saturday, March 1st as the date for the annual Sailors' Ball. The theme is Gimme Buffet - Tropical Paradise. There is a pram (big dinghy) decoration contest so of course MAST had to enter! We will let you know how it works out and post pictures after the event. The Milwaukee Community Sailing Center web site is I am please to share that the MCSC Sailor of the Year is Olympian John Ruf. John heads for China later this year to represent the United States in the 2.4m class‚ at the Paralympics.

Fractional Sailboat Ownership

The concept of time sharing is not new. Even when I was young (before dinosaurs roamed the earth) the idea of sharing a vacation home, an RV, or a boat with others in some form of shared arrangement has appealed to some people. In the past couple of weeks two organizations that provide these services have come to my attention. Both of these organizations are large franchise operations and both are in expansion mode. Closest to home in both Racine, WI and Chicago, IL is SailTime. SailTime is both a sailing and a powerboat operation. On the sailing side they have partnered with Hunter. They offer Hunter 33's and Hunter 38's in a 1 + 7 configuration. (The 1 + 7 means that there is one owner-member and seven members per boat.) In addition SailTime has targeted Milwaukee as a "target base." The other operation is WindPath. They have partnered with Catalina Yachts. It looks like they will purchase just about any of the Catalina line starting at the 309 and up to (at least so far) the 400. They also have two levels of members: standard members and owner-members. WindPath has not made it to Lake Michigan yet but like SailTime they also have a base in Detroit. For those looking for a franchise opportunity both companies will set you up with your own SailTime or WindPath franchise for a personal investment of between $50,000 and $150,000. Both of these franchisers are trying to expand into 10 to 20 new locations both in the United States and overseas in the next year. It will be interesting to see how it all works out. SailTime is at WindPath is at That should be easy to remember!

Welcome Feedburner

We have joined the Feedburner community. Now you can use Feedburner to subscribe to our content! Our feedburner link is: Enjoy!

Inner Harbor Marine - Milwaukee WI

A friend sent me the following announcement of a new marine store here in Milwaukee: Inner Harbor Marine (IHM), Milwaukee's fully independent, locally owned, newest, fully-stocked ships store and new boat sales facility recently opened in Milwaukee's Historic Third Ward. IHM features over 10,000 individual, boating related products ranging from boat care & maintenance supplies to marine electronics. IHM is located in the Harborfront Condominiums, 587 East Erie Street, and is accessible via the road and two dedicated docks on the Milwaukee River. IHM features paint from Interlux, safety equipment from Mustang Survival, cleaning and maintenance products from Meguiar's and is the dealer for Duffy Electric Boats. In addition to the unique location and ships store offering, IHM features a concierge service that will deliver products to a vessel at any of the marinas located in the Milwaukee metro area. The concierge service also features a "turn¬key" cleaning & stocking program that an owner can utilize to uncover, clean & stock his/her boat with supplies needed for a weekend rendezvous on Lake Michigan. Upon return to the dock, IHM will dispose of any trash, remove unused supplies, clean and cover the boat. IHM feels this service will be well received by an owner that wants to simply enjoy his/her boat without the preparation and maintenance requirements of ownership. IHM is owned and managed by a group of investors that consist of marine industry veterans, real estate developers and restaurateurs. Aaron Kelly, who oversees all of the operations for the IHM offering, maintains day-to-day management of Inner Harbor Marine. IHM was formed in April 2007, and has plans to expand into other operations consisting of marine spill response and cleanup, storage, service, water taxi and new boat leasing programs. Since I was near downtown I decided to take a look at the store. Harborfront Condominiums are on the channel between the Milwaukee inner and outer harbors. For those of you who come to any of the various Milwaukee fests the store is near the Marcus Amphitheatre end of the Summerfest grounds. First, the bad news. When I arrived there was a sign on the door saying that the staff were at the Milwaukee Boat Show at State Fair Park. So I didn't actually get to go inside the store, but I was able to look in the windows. The store is more wide than deep so I was able to get a good idea of the stock. At this point it seems to be pretty much standard stuff. Since the location is not all that convenient - it requires quite a bit of jogging around various streets to get there - we will have to see about prices. On the “show up and your boat is ready to go, return and we will take care of it” offering I just have never had a good idea of how big this market actually would be. Certainly there will be a few boats willing to do it, but enough to make a business of it? I simply don’t know. It never hurts to have a little competition to keep prices in line. I will visit again and provide a follow up report.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Chicago - Mackinac Update

What great fun! With over 425 entries they have run out of room to put the boats at the finish! The marina at Mackinac only has room for about 72 boats but of course at the end of a race they just raft boat to boat across all of the open water. Even so, there is a limit to how much open water there is! The previous record was 325 entries in 1998. They are trying to figure out where they can provide more dockage. The wonderful boldface on the web site is "we have temporarily closed the registration feature!" It is kind of fun to watch the "exodus." Pretty much everyone leaves the same morning because that is about the only way to get out. We were all the way back in the stack after the Bayview - perhaps 50 boats between us and open water. By 11 AM they were all just heading out. Think of a log jam breaking up and you get the picture. Reboot has gone international. Our crew now includes Nigel and Sue Astbuyr Rollason from Chudleigh, Devon, England. Nigel is a former Isle of Man motorcycle racer having taken first place in both the individual and sidecar classes. He raced for BSA motorcycles for some years. You can have some fun if you google Nigel and Isle of Man. Both Sue and Nigel are veterans of the famous Fastnet race having done four (1999, 2001, 2003, 2005) in their MGRS 34 IOR 3/4 ton class racing yacht. We are also hoping to be joined by our embeded journalist from the Wall Street Journal - James Taranto. James was to make the Bayview - Mackinac race last year but when we blew out of the Chicago - Mac he was of course left without a ride.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Living the Dream

Ever wonder about those people who actually do cut the cord and set sail? Many of them have web sites. I have just added links to two such web sites at (click on "Crew Web Sites") This link will take you links to my crew's web sites, some of the yacht clubs who host our races, and some people living the dream.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Sailing Computer

I have been following a very interesting set of posts on computers for sailboats. Pretty much everyone I know assumes the solution is a laptop. But some posters over at Sailing Anarchy have started with a different idea - a very small desktop. The advantage is that the unit is much cheaper than a laptop. Since it is also smaller it can be mounted in a location more protected from the elements. You can link to the prototype concept here:

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Sail Trim (Dot Org)

In my never ending desire to go faster in Reboot I came across a site called The link, by the way, is Much to my surprise I found a site not dedicated to trimming sails, but rather to trimming sailors! It seems that one Jennifer Langille has created an emag dedicated to helping sailors keep in shape. Jennifer also blogs at about sailor fitness. She must be doing something right as she has Farr Yacht Sales as a sponsor. I should point out that as Reboot is a pretty big and heavy keel boat and I spend most of my time in the cockpit or the cabin I don't think all that much about staying fit. However, when I look at the guys in the foil moths and the 49ers and some of the other high performance boats I realize that physical fitness is a big part of the ride. So you might mosey over and give Jennifer a read. If you do, tell her I sent you. Roger

100th Chicago - Mackinac Race

As I write 31 boats entered in the "Cruising Division" with a total of 376 entries. The rumor is that they will cap the entries at 400. Last year there were only 16 boats in the division and only 8 finished. Unfortunately we were not one of them. We lost electrical power and had to retire. It looks like we will have a bit more competition this year than last. BTW - this is the second year that the Chicago -Mackinac race has had a cruising division. The other great news is that there will be transponders on 100% of the boats this year so you will be able to track our progress against everyone else. We carried a transponder last year but not every cruising division boat carried one. We are so pumped even though the race is months away!

Monday, January 14, 2008

The International Coast Pilots - Sailing Directions - Enroute

We have talked about the Coast Pilots. But what if you want similar information for locations not covered by them? In other words - the entire world that is not the United States of America. Where do you go? Fortunately the US National Geospatial Intelligence Agency has your answer and its free! The 37 volumes of “Sailing Directions – Enroute” are yours for the downloading at Follow the link to publications and then select “Sailing Directions – Enroute” from the menu pull down at the top. This will take you to a page that will let you download both the Sailing Directions and their updates.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Yacht Club vs Marina

I was asked today the difference between a "Yacht Club" and a "Marina." I figured that after going thru all the work to type it up I would post it here: The major difference between a “yacht club” and a “marina” is its purpose. A “marina” is a place that provides dockage, ramps, or storage for boats. It may be publicly or privately owned. For example: McKinley Marina in Milwaukee, a publicly owned marina: Manitowoc Marina – a privately owned marina A “yacht club” is a private club organized to support the sailing/boating sport of its members. It may be very small or very large; it might be very selective in its membership policies or open to all comers. Usually a yacht club will sponsor education, racing, and outreach activities. It may have extensive and beautiful physical facilities or it might be a simple as a shack on a beach. Some examples to give you an idea of the scope: M.A.S.T. Racing A Milwaukee sailboat racing yacht club. The physical facility consists of a dock box with racing marks, a clipboard, flags, etc. The Milwaukee Yacht Club The yacht club at the North end of McKinley Marina – one of the earliest yacht clubs in the United States. Modest physical facilities – more selective in its membership primarily because it has the highest dues and fees in the area. South Shore Yacht Club The other big Milwaukee yacht club. A little more downscale than MYC. Members are required to pay some of their dues by contributing physical effort on work days. Milwaukee Community Sailing Center A non-profit open to anyone who can afford the dues. Very well supported by the community – in fact many of the MYC and SSYC members also belong to and/or support the Sailing Center. Most clubs have reciprocal membership privileges. If you are a member of one club you can use the facilities of the other clubs for a limited time as a guest. It is also true that if you are racing in a club’s racing venue you generally have unlimited access to the club during the race. Two web sites just for fun: The New York Yacht Club One of the granddaddy clubs and generally thought to be very selective – guess what – 3200 current members. Some of the most beautiful physical facilities in the world and some of the greatest lore – home of the American’s Cup for 132 years. Also has a great web site: Chicago Yacht Club Another granddaddy and home of one of the most famous sailboat races in the world, the Chicago – Mackinac. This year will be the 100th running of the 333 mile race. There are expected to be 400 boats in the race – with a crew minimum of 5 per boat (most will race with 9 – 11) that is a minimum of 2,000 guests at the yacht club for the week of the race. Lots of famous names have been in the race – the record was held by Roy Disney for many years. Only quote you need to know “see you at the pony.” Have fun – hope this helps.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Coast Pilot - Finding your way

I am going to spend the next couple of posts on resources to find your way. Of course there have always been guidebooks. For example, for East Coast US and Midwest sailors there are the Waterway Guides published in four sections by Dozier. You can get a feel for the guides at their website at Like many publishers they also have created a very nice web site with lots of useful current information. For example, their "navigation updates" tab is a nicely reformatted resource from the Local Notice to Mariners for the regions they cover. The US Government publishes the Coast Pilot. Its 9 volumes cover not only the coasts of the United States but Coast Pilot 6 covers the Great Lakes. All nine volumes are available for free download at The Coast Pilot series does not have the glitz or the recreational focus of the commercially published cruising guides as they were more attuned to commercial and military shipping. However in recent years they have become much more user friendly incorporating some of the nice features of the commercially published guides like aerial photography of the harbors. The Coast Pilots cross reference to the official NOAA charts. They are also a great source of depth and clearance information. Milwaukee is the confluence of three rivers all of which are navigable. The Coast Pilot has a chart of the bridge clearances - a convenient way to know how far up river one can go. The general layout of the Coast Pilot is sequential as you would cruise. If one were to pick a point, e.g. Milwaukee Harbor, the information going North would have you turning the pages forward in the Coast Pilot, going South you would turn the pages back. The Coast Pilots are supported by "critical corrections." These are also available from the above web site. At this time the corrections are pen and ink - a problem since the Coast Pilots are .pdf files. Looking for information about areas not in the United States? They are called Sailing Directions. We will get to them in my next post.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Life Raft and Survival Equipment

Looking for a site that is about life rafts and survival equipment when you are on the water. One old standby to purchase equipment is Landfall Navigation. But what if you need your liferaft serviced? Here is a link that has been recommended by several other sailing related boards and blogs: (Liferaft and Survival Equipment Inc.)

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year

The start of the 2008 racing season! Now, if we can just get the ice off the Lake...