Thursday, February 28, 2008

It's Just Not The North Coast of Illinois' Month

If you havn't heard there was an explosion and fire in a mall in Waukegan today. We will give you a follow up. So far they are saying 9 people were hurt. (Waukegan is the area just south of the Skipper Bud's fire) Follow up link:,WA28_BLAST_WEB_022808.article

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Return to Sailboats for Ocean Freight

Nick Stephens in his blog points out that Frederic Albert had started a company to transport wine via sailboat "to do something for the planet." The blog is here: This got me thinking - has technology reached the point where putting sails back on ocean going freighters makes sense? Or has oil reached a price at where it would work? It turns out that this has been stuided by the Danish EPA. The results surprised me: Scope of AnalysisThe analysis and comparison of the product carriers was based on a full years sailing. An evaluation of the implications of lower speed for the wind-driven product carrier was made. Effects of varying the bunker price when sailing at 13 knots was also performed.ConclusionEven though the wind-driven product carrier receives extra propulsion power via the sails, its costs are higher than for the conventional product carrier. Thus, the conventional product carrier has a commercial advantage over the wind-driven product carrier in both the Atlantic and the Indian-Pacific trade pattern. Measured in required freight rate (RFR), the wind-driven product carrier requires an appr.10% higher freight rate in order to cover its total costs per day.Voyage costs of the wind-driven product carrier are higher, because bunker costs at 13 knots are higher than those of the conventional product carrier. With regard to operating and capital costs, added costs of the wind-driven product carrier are substantial compared to the conventional product carrier, due to sail and rig.As far as the two trade patterns are concerned, the cost difference between the conventional and the wind-driven product carriers is substantially higher in the Indian-Pacific trade pattern than in the Atlantic trade pattern, which indicates that the Atlantic trade pattern is more beneficial to the wind-driven carrier.The sensitivity analysis of the bunker costs show that the bunker costs of the wind-driven product carrier are higher, and grow faster, than the conventional tanker, when bunker prices increase. This means that total costs of the wind-driven product carrier will be higher than for the conventional product carrier for given bunker prices. This goes for both the Atlantic and Indian-Pacific trade patterns.If the service speed of the wind-driven product carrier is lowered, there is a negative coherence between the service speed and the required freight rate (RFR) for the wind-driven product carrier. This means that a lower service speed requires a lower freight rate in order to cover total costs. The relative decrease in required freight rate is lower between 12 and 13 knots than between 11 and 12 knots.Bunker costs are most positively affected by decreasing service speed in terms of the wind-driven product carrier. This decrease is larger for the Atlantic trade pattern than for the Indian-Pacific trade pattern.Comments on the Mærsk Broker StudyWith given premises regarding speed, trading areas, commercial conditions etc., the conclusion was clear: WindShips were not able compete on commercial terms with conventional ships.Furthermore: WindShips, in the Indian-Pacific trading area, will consume more or equal amount of HFO than the conventional ship. The lack of favourable winds combined with the lower propulsion efficiency at 13 knots average sailing speed resulted in nothing but additional costs when adding a rig. Adding to this is the assumed higher consumption of MDO for the WindShip. So, if I read this right no matter what the price of fuel it will never make sense. What do you think?

Is Merlin Coming?

We don't know. We do know the boat is still in CA as of last Sunday. We also know it is listed as "sold" on the website. Maybe someone in the know will comment. It would be nice.

John Ruf

Very nice article at,2933,332900,00.html Don't forget that John is being honored at the Milwaukee Community Sailing Center this Saturday - March 1st and the the MAST Yellow Submarine will be there too!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The "Have Blue" Project

I have been following up on my recent post regarding installing an Solomon Technologies ST-74 engine powered by fuel cells in a Catalina 42. My first confession is that I did not realize just how old these posts were having been “bumped” by some bloggers who were obviously interested. I also discovered that there was a “Have Blue” project at Lockheed. It was a precursor to the F-117 aircraft. Apparently two Have Blue planes were built and tested at Groom – a.k.a. Area 51. Not our "HaveBlue" but interesting trivia. I got in touch with Solomon Technologies. Their answer to my inquiry was: “The boat you speak of was a collaborative project between Haveblue, a hydrogen fuel cell organization, promoting alternative energy and contributing manufacturers/suppliers. The project was halted a few years ago and the contributed products returned to the original manufacturers.” I looked up Have Blue on the internet. What I did not find was an active company or organization pushing fuel cell/electric drive technology for auxilary power for sailboats. I did find a reference to a web site that simply says “This web site is closed.” In searching the forums of the Catalina 42 owners association I did find references to the project from 2004. Apparently Catalina Yachts loaned a Catalina 42 to HaveBlue for the test. You can read the posts at Do a search on “have blue” (with the quotes or you will get lots of hits for blue dodgers! ) So, for the moment I will consider this one closed.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Milwaukee Boat Club

The more time I spend blogging the more I find myself noticing things that I most likely overlooked in the past. For example, while dropped Trevor off at West Marine today I noticed a flyer for the Milwaukee Boat Club. When I got home I did a little research and this is what I found out. First, the club celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2007. It was founded in June 1957 as the Outboard Runabout Fleet of Milwaukee by 13 families to “promote the safe and proper handling of small boats; to provide for the exchange of information on outboard boating equipment and operation; and to promote good fellowship and helpfulness in the sport of outboard boating”. It changed its name to the Milwaukee Boat Club in 1972. The Commodore for 2008 is Pete Merryfield. If you are interested in more information or joining the club their web site is

Friday, February 22, 2008

Skipper Buds - Final Update

I finally bit the bullet and drove down to Skipper Buds at North Point Marina. There is no question that there was a fire, the smell hits you long before you make it to the entrance. I was treated politely but told that there was no one at Skipper Bud’s authorized to make a statement.

The fire was in the cold storage building of the facility. It was discovered when a fire alarm went off. An employee checking on the fire alarm confirmed that it was not a false alarm. All of the fire suppression equipment in the building – and Skipper Bud’s is proud of the investment they have made in fire suppression equipment – worked, as far as anyone is a position to know, exactly as it should.

The final count:
3 boats totaled
108 boats in the building at the time of the fire
1100+ boats on the property.

One responder was injured when he slipped on an ice patch.

Work continues on fixing the building and treating the boats that were in the building for smoke and water damage. I was told that there is every expectation that all the boats will be ready to launch by Spring.

The picture is as close as they would let me get to the building!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Great Lakes Water Basin Compact

After being asked to post the announcements for the two upcoming meetings about the Great Lakes Water Resources Compact I thought it might be worth a Google. So here is the link:
It is worth noting that there is also the Great Lakes Basin Compact. Their link is here:

The Issues and Science Behind the Pending Great Lakes Water Compact

Event partners are UWM,, the Government of Canada and Discovery World at Pier Wisconsin. Remarks by Peter Annin, author of "The Great Lakes Water Wars." Also appearing will be Todd Ambs, WIDNR Water Division Chief, Matt Moroney, Executive Director of the Metropolitan Builders Association of Greater Milwaukee and representatives of the UWM Water Institute. There will also be a presentation on the Great Lakes Water Institute's work and a tour of the Water Institute facility. Wednesday, March 5th, 7:30 am - 9 am - Discovery World at Pier Wisconsin, 500 N Harbor Drive, Milwaukee Posted without comment as a public service

Great Lakes Water Resources Compact Meeting

Adrienne Roach, WLCV's Southeast Organizer will be giving a presentation on Great Lakes Water Resources Compact at the Milwaukee Yacht Club, March 3rd at 7 PM. "Adrienne will discuss the the many threats to our Great Lakes, such as invasive species, toxic dumping, and the problems and solutions associated with protecting the Great Lakes from further unnecessary divisions. Established in 2002, the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters (WLCV) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to electing conservation leaders to the state legislature and encouraging lawmakers to champion concervation policys that effectively protect Wisconsin's public heath and natural resources." Posted without comment as a public service.

West Marine Yacht Club Day - 76th Street Store

This Saturday, February 23rd is “Yacht Club Day” at the West Marine store on 76th street in Milwaukee.

Here is how it works. The store is open from 9 AM to 5 PM. Come in and register your name and yacht club affiliation for a chance at the door prizes and to get the yacht club discount. In addition there will be munchies!

There will be one grand prize of a inflatable PFD. For each yacht club represented there will be a first prize of a 3rd Reef jacket and a second prize of a fleece blanket.

In addition there is an across the board 5% discount on electronics and a 10% discount on everything else.

Kip and Trevor also ask you to come in to tell them about what you think of the new store layout and inventory. They have rearranged the store and added a lot of new inventory to better match the needs of the sailing and boating community in Milwaukee. They are actively looking for your feedback.

The best news is that Trevor tells me that he has spent the last week and a half doing prices changes in the store and that in every case he has reduced prices. For example, today he dropped the price of an 6 hp 4 stroke Mercury outboard by over $200!

[Full disclosure – my son Trevor is an Assistant Manager at the 76th street store.]

Milwaukee Air Show

OK. Here is a big rub for me. A local group is trying to bring the air show back to Milwaukee this summer. My information is that they have a firm commitment from the Thunderbirds to appear at the show which is tentatively scheduled for July 12th and 13th. According to my sources what is up in the air (boy that was an unintended and bad pun!) is financial sponsorship.

Great - right? It all depends on how you see it. The problem is that an Air Show makes it difficult or impossible for other users of the marina and outer harbor (for example the charter fishing boats and the sailing classes) to use the waters not only for the two days of the air show but also for the two "practice" days before the show. While not opposed to the Air Show there is a group that would like to see the venue moved away from the McKinley Marina and Outer Harbor waterfront.

Why is it a rub for me? Three reasons:
  1. I really like airshows
  2. I really like sailing
  3. I will be racing Reboot in Lake Huron that weekend, so I don't really have a personal stake in the outcome.
What do you think? Let me know by leaving a comment.

McKinley Marina Stakeholders Meeting

McKinley Marina Stakeholder’s Meeting

I attended the McKinley Marina stakeholder meeting last night. It was hosted by the Milwaukee Yacht Club (thanks for the munchies and drinks!) The purpose of the meeting was to bring the various groups that use McKinley up to speed on the new season. The meeting was chaired by Chuck Ward, Chief of Operations for Milwaukee County Parks. We were introduced to Clarke Johnson, the McKinley Marina manager.

Representation included the fishing community, the slip holders, the mooring field, the Milwaukee Yacht Club, the Milwaukee Community Sailing Center and MAST. Highlights of the meeting:

We received the tentative schedule for closings to Lincoln Memorial Drive. I will share these on a web page.
We were told that the boathouse will in fact be torn down tomorrow and the area renovated including repairs to the breakwall and bridge.
At the moment there is no internet wireless capability in the Marina. Clarke is talking to several vendors to see if we can get this installed for this season.
The problem of radio interference on VHF channel 16 was discussed. This is not a marina problem but a federal problem. The Coast Guard is taking the lead on resolving the problem.

Also discussed was the possible air show. I have made that the topic of a separate post.

Both Chuck Ward and Clarke Johnson requested your direct feedback on how things are going. You can reach Clarke at 414-273-5224

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Skipper Bud's Fire

I called Skipper Bud's and asked to talk to someone who could give me a statement for the blog - they transfered me to an answering machine and no one has called back

Monday, February 18, 2008

Skipper Buds - Monday Update

According to Trade Only the estimated damage at Skipper Buds is $12 million ("according to local news reports.") So it's not clear who actually came up with the $12 million number in the first place. I will be heading down to Chicago tomorrow and with some luck will have time on the way back to stop by Winthrop Harbor.

The physics of sailing

Nice article on Physics Today website Enjoy!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Another story link on Groupama 3 capsize

And some great pictures of the boat. Shame.

Groupama 3 Tri Flips - Crew rescued

Ten French yachties have been rescued from the overturned hull of their racing yacht 80 miles off the coast of Dunedin, NZ. The yachties were rescued at about 4pm local time from the hull of their Groupama 3 trimaran which was taking part in the Jules Verne Trophy round-the-world race.

Link to the story is here:

Ole and Charlie's Marina - Tacoma WA - Fire

We usually blog about the "Mid-west Coast," that is the south side of Lake Michigan. But while following up on the Skipper Bud's fire we ran across yet another marina fire this weekend - this one at Ole and Charlie's Marina in Tacoma WA. The press coverage is much more extensive, but this link will give you an idea of what happened.

Not a good weekend for boat storage!

McKinley Marina Stakeholders Meeting

I have been invited to participate in a “stakeholders meeting” at McKinley Marina. We will be discussing the upcoming season and I am sure will revisit issues like fishing, weeds, etc. I will report back here. If there is something that you would like me to bring up please post a comment below and I will do my best to ask and report back.

Skipper Buds - Sunday Update

I have tried to get in touch with Skipper Buds and they are not answering the phone. Here are some additional links to news coverage:,5_1_WA16_BUDFIRE_S1.article,0,6260589.story,0,6890698.story What I find interesting (and somewhat disturbing) is that there is almost no news coverage. For example, I have seen posts that suggest that 6 boats were damaged, 4 boats were damaged, etc. Most sites link back to the CBS Chicago TV station that had the helo up. More when I get more.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

YouTube - Crash and Burn

Someone had the insane idea of posting a thread of the worst video uploaded to sites like YouTube, etc. It reminded me that there is actually some good stuff out there, this particular video is a lot of "crash and burn" sailing. Enjoy! We thought this was real fun.

Skipper Bud's Fire Follow up

Our sources tell us that only 4 boats were totaled in the fire. That is too bad. I am sure that the smoke damage to the other boats in the building will be pretty aweful too. More to come when we learn more.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Skipper Bud's Fire

As I write this one of the storage facilities at Skipper Bud's in Winthrop Harbor IL (on the Illinois - Wisconsin border) is on fire. The fire is at 5 alarms. Not good for anyone. More to follow.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Chicago Mac Video on Facebook

I stopped over to see Ed King this afternoon. While I was there we got a segment of our 99th Race to Mackinac video uploaded onto the Facebook Reboot Racing page. You can watch it here: Pretty cool!

Bhaven's Blog

We have added a link (down there on the right side!) to Bhaven's blog. Bhaven races with us in the Friday night MAST Yacht Club races. The link is

US Naval Academy Sailling Clinic

Do you have a son or daughter 13 to 18 years old that is into sailing? The US Naval Academy is running a "Big Boat Racing Clinic" this August. The program starts with a Thursday night arrival and runs thru Sunday with lots of time on the Academy's new 44's. Check out the link here:

Monday, February 11, 2008

MAST 2007 Results

We posted our attendance at the MAST annual awards ceremony, and even posted the pictures of the winners up on the MAST page on Facebook at but we didn't post the final results.

And the winners are:

GP Division:
1st – Eclipse, Beth Thompson
2nd – Locke Ness 2, Fergie and Pat Locke
3rd – Natures Touch, Peter David

Division 1
1st – Dreamweaver, Ron Marish
2nd – Cool Change, Paul Cooley
3rd – Suntreader, Mike Drew

Division 2
1st – Poggy, Guy Mascari
2nd – Wisdom, Lee Konrath/Chuck Cerny
3rd – Corvus, John Norman

2007 MAST Cup
Natures Touch, Peter David

Congratulations to all!

Kaenon Sunglasses

While down getting the scoop on the Water Taxi Aaron noticed my bent Maui Jim’s and took the opportunity to introduce me to a sunglass brand he is carrying that was new to me: Kaenon. Kaenon is really into producing product for winning sailors; their web site has a great link here to some of the more notable users (I will be waiting for them to update it with my picture!)

As you can see from the Kaenon website they make both frame and wire glasses. The picture above is their Hard Kore model. Aaron lent me a pair to wear for a couple of days to see how they worked. It was great timing, I think that yesterday was one of the sunniest days we have had all winter, and of course my major interest was in something that would work well on the water so bright sun on new snow was not a bad substitute. The Hard Kore’s are light and very comfortable. The pair I am wearing has the copper tint as shown in the picture above. I really prefer the copper to the neutral or grey. It does a nice job of enhancing the contrast without really making the colors quite as weird as the yellow lenses. I have a habit of bending sunglasses; the Hard Kore’s look pretty sturdy. We will see how they work out and I will follow up with another post in a couple of days.

What was particularly important to me about the Kaenon brand was that they offer prescription lenses. What was really exciting to me was this statement from the Kaenon website:

“And, like all Kaenon Polarized eyewear, Hard Kore is Rx adaptable utilizing SR-91 Rx lenses.”

Like many older guys I need prescription glasses – in fact prescription bifocals. In my search on other eyewear web sites I find that even those that offer prescription lenses do so for a small segment of their product line – usually the products I don’t particularly like. So it was pretty cool to find out I could pick what I liked first, and then deal with the prescription part second rather than vice versa.

Inner Harbor can set you up with either regular or prescription Kaenon’s. If you need prescription lenses they will get you set up with the necessary eye care professional. Next time you are downtown go have a look.

It’s not going to be fun to have to give these back!

Water Taxi Update

I stopped down at Inner Harbor for an update on the water taxi project and came away even more excited. I can’t share all the details yet (some of them are still being worked out I would guess) but here is the latest scoop – not one, but two routes. Route 1 will be the “Blue Route” (I just named it, so don’t be surprised if it gets a different name) as it will be doing a loop in the outer harbor – the closest thing we have to blue water. (If you have ever seen my license plate you will know my love of Blue Water!) It will cycle from South Shore Yacht Club to the Lake Express Ferry Dock to the dock on the Milwaukee River behind Inner Harbor (near the south end of the festival grounds) then up to Pier Wisconsin (at Discovery World –near the north end of the Festival Grounds) then on to the Milwaukee Yacht Club/McKinley Marina. Route 2 will be the “Amber Route” (closest color I could get to beer and ale) and run from the Inner Harbor dock up the Milwaukee River as far up river as Laacke and Joys and the Edelweiss docks. Aaron mentioned the Amtrak Station and Post Office, they are up the Menominee River so I am not sure if the plan includes a trip up the Menominee. I have seen pictures of the boats Aaron intends to use on the “Amber Route” (they are really cool!) but don’t know if he has finalized them yet so you will have to wait before I can tell you any more about them. More to come so check back often!

Rescue at sea!

From the Sailing Anarchy Boards - link at tht bottom - what a great story! We got home early this afternoon from a great birthday weekend. The weather was perfect - 60's and sunny, slight breeze. I got my 4 year old and our little sabot and headed down the road to the back bay. We invited a couple friends to come out for their first time sailing. We knew the tide was heading out, and that I would probably have to wade through shin deep mud to get back to solid ground. Still, it looked to be a great afternoon. The first group of us goes out. Two adults and a 4 year old crammed into an 8' sabot! We do this often, and it is fun for short trips. We tack out to the open area of the back bay and go through the basics of sailing. On our run back in, we noticed a sand bar appearing above the water! As we get closer we realize just how fast the tide is going out. So, instead of trying to sail back to our starting point, we make a straight line to the nearest shore to bail out. Unfortunately, as we get closer, we realize we will never make it. I climb out and start to sink into the mud. There is no wading through this. I am looking at belly crawling out and then getting boards to get the other two out. It isn't happening. We do everything we can, and finally claw our way back into deep water (6"-10"). We are looking at a 3+ hour sail in the dark to get to the main bay and get out at the marina. At this point, that is not a big deal. As we are getting out to the channel, we hit another shallow spot and really stick it. 5 minutes later, the mud is visible on the surface all around the boat except at the stern. We figure we are done for and are going to have to wait about 4-6 hours to get some water under us. At the same time, my wife is on shore, aware we are stuck, and calls on the cell. We tell her we are going to have to wait it out and we'll call her when we need her to shine her headlights on the ramp so we can see where to go across the bay. We also get on the phone with the friend on the shore who is concerned about his wife on the boat with me and my son. Afterall, it is their first time out, we are stuck and it is getting dark and cooling off. She convinces him we are going to be fine, but a little late for dinner. The crowds are now growing along the shore. The husband remembers another mutual friend who works for the local fire dept. He calls just to make sure there is nothing else we can do. In the mean time, I managed to break us out of the mud and we are again clawing our way to the channel. The phone rings again, but from our fire dept friend. We walk him through what we are doing and he says ok. Shortly after, we get a call from the Coast Guard wanting to come rescue us. Then, the Harbor Patrol. Then, we get a call from the fire dept. which has sent 4 trucks to somehow reach us in the middle of the bay. We think they thought we were still near shore. We are again sailing at this point. Long story somewhat shortened, we see two jet skis from a different group (I have to find out who they were) flying in the channel with rescue equipment and behind them is the flashing blue strobe of the Harbor Patrol. We get towed back and get home safely without freezing and playing in the mud. All involved offered to let us finish our sail and come in on our own, but all were there to make sure we made it. Each rescue organization called to check in afterwards to make sure we were warm and home safe. I was amazed at how much help was offered. And, while all recognized we were ok, they kept watch to make sure we stayed that way. We enjoyed the tow in and are very grateful they were their with the ability to get to us. It might have been a slow night in a small town, but the confidence we have in our rescue groups grew. While my pride suffered to accept the tow, I know after seeing how much help came in such a minor incident, my wife and I both feel that much safer with our family out in the water.So, to the Morro Bay Fire Dept., Coast Guard, Harbor Patrol and the group that towed us out (I will post your name tomorrow after i find it out) And to all the rescue volunteers and staff everywhere who do this and much much more...THANK YOU for what you do.From all three and of us on board the 8' Sabot Sanity and our spouses.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

West Marine Yacht Club Day

When I dropped Trevor off at West Marine (full disclosure - he works there) I was reminded that the 76th Street Milwaukee store is having a Yacht Club day on Februray 23, 2008 with door prizes and discounts for all yacht club members.

MAST Annual Awards Dinner

Last night Trevor and I went to the MAST Yacht Club annual awards dinner. We took some pictures and posted them here: It was a lot of fun and just reminded me of how much I would like to be back on the water. Of course we are having one of our cold (-5 degree F) February days here in Milwaukee today. We are all waiting for spring!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Chicago River Lock

We were down at Strictly Sail and were eating lunch at Navy Pier. Here is the view looking South at the lock into the north branch of the Chicago River. Just makes me wish for summer!

Ferdinand "Red" Nimphius TOPS-O-COTTON

The Wisconsin Maritime Museum will be soon receiving as a donation the Ferdinand [Red] Nimphius-built boat TOPS-O-COTTON. The museum will be hosting an event on May 17, 2008 celebrating what would have been the 100th birthday of "Red" Nimphius. Toward that end, the museum is seeking information on other Nimphius boats to include in an exhibit. What would be of great interest would be photographs, models, artwork, news articles and racing trophies, plaques or ribbons won by Nimphius boats. Any members of your club who currently own, or have owned and even raced one of Nimphius' boats is encouraged to contact the Wisconsin Maritime Museum's Curator, David Beard or Collections Manager Cristin Waterbury with a list of items they might wish to loan to the museum for this event. The objects will remain on exhibit through the summer and then be returned to the owners. Any assistance with this project would be greatly appreciated. And we invite anyone interested to join us on May 17 to celebrate the life and craft of Red Nimphius. Best regards, David Beard Asst. Director/Curator Wisconsin Maritime Museum 75 Maritime Drive. Manitowoc, WI 54220 (920)684-0218 x116

Friday, February 8, 2008

Awesome Pictures - San Francisco Fleet Week

While cleaning up my computer I can across this link to some amazing pictures from the 2007 San Francisco Navy Fleet Week.



Rumor has it that Milwaukee's own Jerry Sullivan of the Milwaukee Yacht Club is bringing the Custom Bill Lee 68 Merlin to Milwaukee. The yacht is showing as "pending" on the web site. It is already entered in the Chicago - Mackinac race with Jerome Sullivan as the owner - charterer so we can pretty much guess if someone from here is "pending" it would be Mr. Sullivan.

Its quite a sled - I expect that we will see it blow past Reboot in the Chicago - Mackinac (and the Queens Cup, etc. etc.)

Design a boat with Bob Perry

Bob Perry, noted yacht designer, has a fun thread going over at Sailing Anarchy ( its in the Forum>Sailing>Cruising Anarchy and it is titled "Cruising Anarchy whatever classic cruiser. Basically Bob is asking - if you wanted him to design a "pretty" cruising boat with classic lines - what would it look like. So clink on over and join the fray!

Yellow Submarine

I am off tonight to work on the MAST "Yellow Submarine." Apparently the Milwaukee Community Sailing Center is having a float contest as part of the Sailor's Ball. MAST is entering a "Yellow Submarine." The scary part of all this is that the project is being headed up by the Race Committee Chair. Will this be an new one design for Milwaukee racing? More to follow when I know more!

Chicago - Mackinac Update

As of last Wednesday the 100th running of the Chicago Mackinac race had 450 boats entered! How very cool! And Greg J. Miarecki and company are trying to figure out where to put more boats so they can expand the size of the race. This will clealy be an event to remember!

Milwaukee Water Taxi

Milwaukee has spent millions on improving the “River Walk” along the banks of the Milwaukee River over the past few years. For those of us with sailboats a big change came last season when the walkways made it south of the East St. Paul Bridge. The extension of the river walk was important because sailboats can’t go any further up the river as we can’t get our masts under the bridge. The number of public docks along the Milwaukee River in the area of Water Street increased as did the number of bars and restaurants available from the water.

Even with this good news there were still two major drawbacks:

1. At least one person on the boat had to refrain from partying so that they could run the boat,


2. the most obvious trip was from the Summerfest Lagoon up the river, or after dinner down the river to the Summerfest Lagoon to concert at the Marcus Theater. Unfortunately there was no place to dock at Summerfest.

A partial solution to item “2” was the new docks at Lakeshore State Park. However, this did not solve problem “1” above. Also, the number of docks at Lakeshore is very limited.

Enter Aaron Kelly of Inner Harbor Marine. Aaron is bringing water taxi service to the Milwaukee waterfront this summer. Start in the center city – end up at Summerfest – or vice versa. This is clearly an idea whose time has come. We will be posting a link to the schedules, pickup points, fees, etc. as soon as they become available.

Lakeshore State Park

If you spend time on the waterfront, in particular if you spend time near Pier Wisconsin, you may have noticed new boat slips south of the pier in the direction of the Summerfest grounds. I spent some time at the very end of last season in one of the slips aboard ISA, a Bruce Roberts Offshore 44 cutter rigged sailboat owned by my friend Pat Wilborn of Port Washington. (A quick plug here for Pat, he also has a nice sail loft – Sail Away Sails - and is a great guy to go to for sail repairs. You can reach him at Tell him I sent you!) So as I was researching my post on the new water taxi service I needed to know – exactly who owns the new slips and how does one reserve them? The slips are part of the latest state park in Wisconsin – Lakeshore State Park. The DNR has a nice web site about the park at Lakeshore is the newly renovated island on the north side of the festival grounds. In addition to providing slips it includes a multi-use trail that hooks up with the Hank Aaron State Trail and the Oak Leaf Trail. It will also provide improved access to local fishermen.

A Freshening Breeze

As promised I headed down to Inner Harbor and spent some time chatting with Aaron Kelly, the owner. It was an exciting and fun experience. First – the store: It is nicely laid out with some interesting gear that I have not seen at the local West Marine. Aaron has signed onto the LED light evolution with a nice assortment of lights to replace those amp burning incandescent bulbs. I also liked the Walker Bay Genesis Rib he had on display. It is just the thing for tooling around the marina and the “Inner Harbor!” You can get a look at the product line at . I could go on about the store but the real story is Aaron himself. Aaron is not content to be just another face on the marine scene in Milwaukee but someone who wants to change the entire face of the game. He sees the Milwaukee waterfront as his playground and the Inner Harbor Marine store as just the first of many ventures that will be unfolding over the next few months. He is introducing the fractional boat ownership concept here in Milwaukee (powerboats, not sailboats – we will have to work on him about that!) and will also be expanding the marine service business beyond the concierge service we have mentioned in a previous blog to include more boat maintenance offerings. So stay tuned – a new breeze is blowing through Milwaukee Harbor - Aaron Kelly. More to follow!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Sailfast Chicago

Spent some time surfing today. Ran into a site called Sailfast Chicago. They appear to be focused on the Chicago sailboat racing scene which of course at the moment like Milwaukee is frozen out (lol!) It is a pretty well developed site in that it has a lot of software stubs (e.g. its own wiki) and hooks (e.g. to a messsage board that has some limited use.) Apparently it has been around for a while. I will check back in a few weeks and see if there is anything of particular interest to share. In the meantime you may want to check it out for yourself.

Inner Harbor Marine - Milwaukee WI (Update 1)

You may remember our post about the new Marine Store and Marine Service organization here in Milwaukee. The link is: Aaron, the managing partner has just posted a nice set of comments about my original post and you can read them if you follow the link above. In addition to motivating me to stop by the store in the very near future and provide a more comprehensive review I make the following observations: 1. Location via car. I don't particularly find that location convenient. I don't particularly find driving to West Marine convenient either. I note that Southwind has a mini-store at McKinley where I keep my boat. That would be convenient if the stock was stuff I needed. 2. Location via boat. I think it is really neat that Inner Harbor has two slips. I hope they are big enough and wide enough to make landing a 42' sailboat easy. That would not be a true statement for most of the slips along the Milwaukee River - they are far too short. 3. I am delighted that the boat concerage service seems well received. I had wondered if this was a viable business. My motiviation was to put my then teenage sons to work doing it. I am happy for Aaron that he has signed up 16 boats. We will have to see how both Aaron and his clients feel about the service at the end of the season.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Strictly Sail Chicago

Just got back from the Chicago show. It has gotten much bigger in the last few years. I went with Ed King and Dan Scardino. We then went on to the Pink Pony Party at the Chicago Yacht Club. (For those out of the loop the Pink Pony is the largest and closest bar to the finish line of the Race to Mackinac.) There was a nice turn out and decent music. There was also a lot of 100th Race merchadise on display. One thing we did note is that every sailboat manufacturer at the show has his fractional ownership partner right next to the boat display. So we concluded that fractional ownership is truly "hot" this year.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Used Equipment

I did some research for a friend on sources of used sailing equipment and created a web page with links. You can find it at