Monday, April 28, 2008

UK Charity Raft Race - Thanks Nigel and Sue!

Hi Roger & Co,

Yesterday, Sue and I went down to Plymouth to give moral support to the Allspars racing raft team who were competing in a charity raft race.
As you can see from the pictures, it was more like a sailing submarine !!
As I am not an employee of Allspars, only a sub contractor, I was happily not in the team, although I did the bouyancy calculations for them ( 55% / 45% bouyancy / immersion factor).
I had everyone on the weighing scales after some obvious discrepancies with their DECLARED weights !! ( The original factors were 60% / 40% )

The Offshore and Inshore lifeboats must have been short of business..........even trying to sink a few with fire hoses and their prop wash !!!

After a celebratory drink with the team for third place, the weather cleared up and we then drove to WQB to put the sails onboard Rebel.
Two spinnakers, one genniker, No.1, No.2, No.3, No4, and Storm Jib, headsails...... plus the mainsail.

Nigel & Sue.

Fog Story

From Nigel... Hi Roger, Yes, we get fog, but it doesn't stop us racing. In 2005 we were racing to Falmouth in about 25 / 50 yards visibility near the finish line. We were very short handed with a rookie crew and no one spare to man the nav station. There is a large isolated danger mark in the middle of the entrance called " Black Rock "...Unlit and with no sound signals. On the Starboard / eastern side of the entrance there is St Anthony's light and fog horn and Pendennis castle on the Port / western side. The finish line was between the castle side and Black Rock.......And yes you guessed it, we went the WRONG side of the rock !! I thought the fog signal was past amidships when I saw a green conical starboard St Mawes bouy ( Opposite to US bouyage) I then knew exactly where I was, and had to drop the kite and turn around 180 degrees to finish the correct side of the rock. We took our own finish times and those of the TWO other yachts that were chasing us ......all went the wrong side !!! The Finish line shore committee couldn't see anything at all !!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Crew Search

A great crew search today at SSYC. In addition, we were reminded that if you are looking for a ride (even if you have limited or no experience) you can show up at either SSYC or MYC on any Wednesday night during race season and they will try to place you on a boat.

Friday, April 25, 2008

USCG Lifeboat Station Update

We stopped down yesterday and walked over to see how the clearance project was coming. We found that the bridge has now been removed so that work can start on the wall. We also walked around the corner to the "flushing channel" to see if there was any change on the McKinley side of the channel (the other side is the Milwaukee Yacht Club.) Some pictures for your viewing pleasure:


Of course the British Isles are famous for fog. We just needed to show Nigel and Sue that we sometimes get fog too!

A Cruising Community Wiki

A Wiki, according to the ultimate Wiki - Wikipedia is "a collection of web pages designed to enable anyone who accesses it to contribute or modify content, using a simplified markup language[1][2]. Wikis are often used to create collaborative websites and to power community websites." Welcome to a Wiki for Cruisers created by CruiserLog at Their request: Please become involved in this project - add your information on countries, cruising regions, ports, marinas, immigration and customs procedures, anchorages, personal notes, passage notes and, even correcting spelling or grammatical errors is a great help. This Wiki is for the free use of all cruisers who may follow in your wake, so please contribute to this resource in the true "spirit of cruising" - to freely share information. Visit YOUR Cruising Wiki: There is almost no information about Lake Michigan and the Great Lakes so go on over and add your contribution!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Boat Tailors

On my way South on I94 from Milwaukee to Winthrop Harbor yesterday I happened to notice a sailboat with a winter cover (and a big sign that said "WINTER COVER") on the right hand side of the road. On my way back North I got off in Racine and headed back to Boat Tailors. Walking in who did I find at the sewing machine but John Verbraken who I sail against in the MAST races on Friday nights. I remembered that I had seen John at Strictly Sail Chicago and that he had mentioned he had gone back to work for Rick DeYoung.

Boat Tailors does custom canvas products for boats. (They do not do sails.) They have two trucks for service work and build each product from a template that they create for the specific boat. For more information see their web site at

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Crew Search Reminder

Captain looking for crew? Crew looking for a race boat? Reminder, this Saturday from 3 pm to 6 pm at South Shore Yacht Club.

See you there!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Down the KK and into McKinley

As requested the Railroad Bridge and the KK bridge opened at 10 am. Trevor cast off Reboot in a very dirty river and off I went. This is the second railroad bridge we pass, it only closes when the Circus Train comes to Milwaukee.

The area on the other side of the bridge is the Milwaukee "Inner Harbor." We turn left, head North, turn right and it's under the Hone Bridge.

This takes us down the river to the Outer Harbor. The opening directly in front of the boat is the "center gap" of the breakwall. Beyond is Lake Michigan. But not today, today we turn left again, heading North again until:

The Entrance to McKinley Marina. The lights on both the Port and Starboard marks are powered by photocells and are out about 50% of the time. The center red light on the breakwall visable through the gap always works. Makes it fun sometimes! Its great there is a red light. Too bad its the wrong one!

Heading down the lane between "F" dock and "E" dock. Our slip is on the left, just this side of the powerboat.

Dock crew was waiting, here Trevor helps put the boat away as the weather is turning overcast and rainy.

Success. Lots of cleaning, polishing, wiring, rigging and tuning still to do but WE ARE IN THE WATER! YEA!

Milwaukee Bay Women’s Sailing Organization Fleet Update

Nearly fifty women sailors from the Milwaukee area gathered at South Shore Yacht Club on April 8th for MBWSO’s Spring Meeting, making it one of MBWSO’s best-attended meetings ever. As further indication of the strong season to come, MBWSO is able to announce the addition of three new skippers to its fleet: Wendy Olson from Milwaukee Yacht Club will skipper the B-25, “Thunder”, this season. Wendy is an experienced scow sailor, and will be bringing out a number of inland lakes sailors to experience Lake Michigan. Laura Livermore will skipper “Wild Goose”, a Soverel 27 well-known in the Friday evening MAST series on Milwaukee Bay. Laura’s crew also comes from the large group of talented MAST sailors. Angie Klemm, who previously competed in the MBWSO series on the Milwaukee Community Sailing Center’s J-24, “Taxi”, has made the leap into boat ownership and becoming a race skipper. She will be helming the T-10 “Eclipse” this season. (Janice Shoman, who previously skippered “Eclipse”, will be moving her crew to the T-10 “Snow Balls Chance”, further bolstering the strong T-10 presence in the women’s fleet.) All MBWSO skippers have been invited to participate in the MAST Open Invitational Race (and Pizza Party!) on June 6th. This is a great opportunity to get in some early race practice before the full season is underway. If you’re interested in entering the MAST Open Invitational, contact MAST Commodore Oscar Wientjes at, or Glyn Livermore at, or check out their website at Jane Larson announced that the Milwaukee Community Sailing Center will recognize MBWSO’s sustaining support, as well as its substantial, multi-year pledge to MCSC’s Capitol Campaign, on MCSC’s Wall of Appreciation, which will be on permanent display in its new building. Finally, don’t forget that MBWSO’s 2008 season kicks off with a practice race June 2nd. Once available, the NOR and SIs for the 2008 racing season will be posted to MBWSO’s website at For more information on the season schedule, contact Janice Shoman at or (414) 840-3403.

Yesterday and Today

It took 5 hours but they finally got Reboot into the water yesterday. We missed our 6 pm bridge reservation so we reset it for this morning (the railroad bridge only opens with a reservation, since the Kinnickinnic River is normally only traveled to put boats in and out of storage and most powerboats don't need the bridge to open it is not considered a big deal.)
This morning we will be going down the river to McKinley Marina, Reboot's summer home.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

USCG Auxiliary

When I am down working on Reboot I frequently run into other sailors and boaters. Since talking is a lot more fun than working I like to strike up a conversation when I can.

A couple of days ago I ran into David Johnsen. He is the current Flotilla Commander of the USCG Auxiliary Flotilla 5-17 in Waukesha. We chatted a bit about the local Coast Guard Flotillas and David dropped that 5-17 is actively looking for new members. Also on their agenda for the summer is to get more visibility on the inland Wisconsin lakes rather than just focusing on Lake Michigan. I was also told that it didn't matter that I didn't own a powerboat, I was still welcome.

The Flotilla maintains a web site at: and has an extensive list of activities, classes, and opportunities available. Perhaps I will see you at one of them!

Tax Day in the US

They tell me taxes are the "price of freedom." I am feeling very free. Perhaps even more free than last year. Sure does not put me in the mood to blog. Night!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Pirates Again - off Trinadad

From the CruiserLog web site - not confirmed - but these kinds of posts are usually accurate. “ Hello V..,Well, I took a plunge and am on the boat with Richard. We left Trinidad on the March 28th [2008]. Well, you are not going to believe what happened in a million years. Twenty five miles out of Boca, by the oil platforms, we got attacked and shot at by pirates!!!!! We saw the pirogue on the horizon hours before, wondering what they are doing way out. Well they came by on the port side, I guess to check out how many people are on board. He has bamboo fishing rods on each side of the boat, as they came by and turned around at the back of the boat I was yelling watch out for the line, and Richard is going below gesturing for them to move on. They did wave as they went by. There was 6 of them, clean cut and young. Three honking outboards, from Venezuela. I was at the tiller, now they are on the port side again and I see five of them have guns in their laps. I am still not registering. Richard comes up with a flaregun, and bullet that is 20 years old, as soon as he came up two of them started shooting at us. It took two bullets for me to realize, sh*t, I better duck. So, I did still hanging on to the tiller, and ducked in the cockpit. Richard shot the flare at the driver, one guy was standing up shooting at Richard, fell backwards as the driver punched it and left. Luckily the seas were rough,eight foot swells, so they missed us. We are very lucky to be alive. This happened about six in the evening, so we can still see them on the horizon. Now we have all of the flares, and bullets in the cockpit in case they come back. He called the coast guard to report it. They were in contact with us for hours, but, unfortunately they did not send a boat to catch them. A****les. Pretty wild. My attitude has definitely changed. “ Disturbing

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Naval Academy Cuts Back Sailing Program

The USNA is cutting back its sailing program for midshipment. The new Superintendent feels that spending the time with the fleet is better training. Two contrarian views (three, it you count me.) After thirty years in the Navy I know that an extra few weeks during college (which is what the Naval Academy really is first and foremost) isn't going to make a hill of beans of a difference to the fleet, but it will rob the Midshipment of some great lessons and memories.


Link 1:

Link 2:

Don't detain pirates - bad things might happen to them!

Pretty amazing stuff: "THE Royal Navy, once the scourge of brigands on the high seas, has been told by the Foreign Office not to detain pirates because doing so may breach their human rights." The rest of the article is here:

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Some Pirates Captured - Some money recovered

From the AP: France: Hostages Held Off Somalia Freed By ANGELA DOLAND Associated Press Writer1:36 PM CDT, April 11, 2008 PARIS - Helicopter-borne French troops swooped in on Somali pirates Friday after they freed 30 hostages from a yacht, seizing six of the hijackers and recovering sacks of money -- apparently ransom paid by the ship's owners.The pirates boarded the 288-foot French luxury yacht Le Ponant a week ago, capturing its crew -- 22 of whom were French -- off the coast of Somalia in the Gulf of Aden. Pirates seized more than two dozen vessels off the Somali coast last year, mostly in hopes of securing ransoms.Gen. Jean-Louis Georgelin, the chief of staff of France's armed forces, said the pirates released the hostages after negotiations with the ship's owner. That phase of the operation was calm, with no weapons fired, he said. The hostages were brought smoothly to safely and the pirates went ashore.Once the pirates were on Somali territory, a French attack helicopter chased a vehicle carrying some of them, firing to destroy its engine, the general said.There were conflicting reports about what happened next.Dahir Abdulqadir, a Somali governor in the region near where the yacht was held, said officials had heard "reports over VHF radio that at least eight people were killed." But the office of French President Nicolas Sarkozy denied any pirates died in the raid.Georgelin said six pirates -- out of a dozen hostage-takers -- were taken into custody and would be tried in French courts. All six "gave themselves up without too much difficulty," he added.While insisting France did not pay a ransom, the general indicated the yacht's owners did."Naturally, absolutely no public money was paid in this affair," Georgelin said. He added: "Check with the ship owner. In capturing the pirates, we also recovered some interesting bags ... We recovered part of the ransom that was probably paid."An official in Somalia's semiautonomous Puntland region had warned France against paying a ransom, saying it would encourage pirates to take more hostages.The chief of the company that owns the ship declined comment."It's obviously a very delicate and difficult context, and so the only thing you should take from this is the outcome -- crew members who are going to be able to go home to their families," Jean-Emmanuel Sauvee told reporters after meeting with Sarkozy and families of the freed hostages.Karim Meghoufel, the brother-in-law of a pastry chef aboard the boat, added, "We don't know how much they paid, and in any case, we don't want to know."The hostages, including six Filipinos and a Ukrainian, were in good condition, officials said. Abdi-salan Qoje, a fisherman working on the Somali shore, said he saw dozens of people being ferried from the hijacked ship."They waved at us," he told The Associated Press by telephone from the village of Eyl, about 300 miles north of Mogadishu, capital of Somalia.After the hostages were freed, they were put on a French military vessel and sent toward Djibouti. Relatives said they were expected in France on Sunday.According to the ship owner's Web site, the three-mast, 64-passenger Le Ponant features four decks, two restaurants, and indoor and outdoor luxury lounges. About a dozen pirates stormed the yacht April 4 as it was returning without passengers from the Seychelles, in the Indian Ocean, toward the Mediterranean Sea.France's military quickly mobilized, sending in vessels and a commando force that conducts anti-terrorist and hostage rescue operations.Somalia has been wracked by more than a decade of violence and anarchy and does not have its own navy. A transitional government formed in 2004 with U.N. help has struggled to assert control.Sarkozy's chief diplomatic aide, Jean-David Levitte, said France planned to put forth anti-piracy measures at the U.N. Security Council. One suggestion is for states that can afford it to provide maritime patrols in waters where pirate attacks are a problem, he said.Levitte said 3,200 people have been taken hostage at sea in the last 10 years in trouble spots around the world, with 500 of them wounded and 160 killed."We thought piracy had disappeared, but it has been revealed as a growing menace to international security," he said.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Ponant Hijack (French Yacht)

The best coverage I have found of the hijacked French Yacht is here: Apparently the boat is at anchor off the coast of Somolia and being resupplied from shore.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Sailing Club at UWM

Now that sailing season is almost on us the various local clubs are updating their web sites. As they do we are adding them to our links on the right.
Here is the link to the Sailing Club at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee:
Perhaps the most important thing to realize is that membership in the Sailing Club at UWM is not restricted to members of the UWM community, but rather is open to the general public. Their fleet consists of 7 ynglings and 1 or 3 solings depending on which part of their web site you believe. The fleet is kept at the Milwaukee Community Sailing Center.

US Army Corps of Engineers - Detroit District

This is the link to the US Army Corps of Engineers - Detroit District:

Why do you care? Because they monitor the lake levels in the Great Lakes!

Lots of other interesting stuff on their web site too.

Lake Michigan Yachting Association

Who is the Lake Michigan Yachting Association? They are an association of yacht clubs on Lake Michigan. They also provide individual memberships. Of most interest to me on this site was the link to all of the yacht clubs on Lake Michigan. It is a long list. Their web site is Now if you go to the bottom of the first page you will note that the site has not been edited since 2005. And if you link to MAST from the Wisconsin Clubs page you will find the MAST web site that was retired several years ago. Great fun. I wonder what else a little exploring will find?

Waukesha Cruise Fleet

Powerboater? I found another Milwaukee (OK, Waukesha) Yacht Club while killing time at the 76th Street Milwaukee West Marine. This is the burgee for the Waukesha Cruise Fleet. Their web site is at They have been in existence for over 50 years. Interested in membership? The requirements, from their web site are:

"To be a member of the Waukesha Cruise Fleet, you must...- Have a desire to have fun- Have a boat equipped to pass club requirements- Have a boat equipped to pass Coast Guard requirements- Have a desire to learn- Have a desire to participate in Waukesha Cruise Fleet activities- Have a desire to explore new boating horizons"

Give them a look. Tell them I sent you!

Milwaukee Harbor Yacht Club

As I mentioned I was wandering around West Marine waiting for the boys and came across a flyer for the Milwaukee Harbor Yacht Club. Their web site is at and in my effort to have a "hotlink" to every Milwaukee sailing organization they have been added to the quick links down and to the right.
The Milwaukee Harbor Yacht Club is a power boater club but we can forgive them for that. After all, some day I may just be too old to sail. More importantly, some day I may need one of them to power out and rescue me! So if you are a local power boater check them out!

West Marine - Spring Boat Prep

When I stopped by the 76th Street Milwaukee WI West Marine store the other day to pick up the boys they were in the process of helping some customers and then closing the store for the night. Aimlessly wandering around I happened on a stack of these brochures: "Your Guide To Spring Boat Prep." Its a nice little 12 page reminder - long on advice and short on buy this stuff from us. It is free - you might want to pick one up next time you stop in.

I think I am pretty good at this stuff but I am always reminded that having a checklist doesn't hurt.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Port Washington (WI) Pirate Festival

The 2008 Port Washington (Wisconsin) Pirate Festival runs from Friday June 6th at 6 pm thru Sunday June 8th at 5 pm. There will be a parade on Sunday June 8th at noon, fireworks on Saturday night at 9:30 and live entertainment. See the web site at
There were about 20,000 people at the 2007 event. This event is run by volunteers and sponsored by local businesses. If you want to help out rather than just attend you can volunteer on the web page above.

Update on Pirate Attack

Apparently the ship has stopped to take on provisions and is being tracked by a French Navy vessel.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

New West Marine Clerk

If you can't talk to one, why not talk to the other? Yes, Spencer, my younger son has joined Trevor at West Marine for the summer. Spencer still has a few more weeks of the spring semester at UW-Madison to go but you may start seeing him on weekends and certainly during the week this summer.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Boat Blue - the Clean Boating Act of 2008

Reminder - if you have not already done it, get over to and send your Senators a message of support for S. 2766 the "Clean Boating Act of 2008." There is a lot more information on the site which is sponsored by the National Marine Manufacturers Assocation and Boat US. DO IT NOW!

Pirates - for real!

Pirates take French Yacht Crew hostage:
Another link - pretty much the same information:

More Sailing Blogs

Another great site with lots of sailing blogs: I like the location maps that show you where these various boats are. Enjoy

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Sailing Blogs

We know you like reading sailing blogs. At least you like reading this sailing (mostly) blog. And we do have links to other sailing blogs on our right side (down near the bottom.) But how would you like a link to what I am betting are hundreds of sailing blogs indexed by boat name? And even better, how would you like an index that includes the last time the blog was updated so you are not searching through blogs that have never been updated or were created and never used.

Do we have the place for you:! uses the X-Journal engine created as the expedition support arm of Web Expeditions was created by Tim Harincar as a leading site featuring science and adventure expeditions.

Sailbogs is run by Tim Harincar Internet Engineering and we think it is really cool.


What would you think of a website dedicated to bringing you the latest in boat equipment? Might be a lot of fun. Mike Hobson has founded My Boats Gear after seeing many potentially popular products go almost unnoticed. I think it is a pretty cool idea so we are adding it to our useful links bar.

One of the fun forms of "gear" at MyBoatsGear is boating oriented web sites including the Boating Websites: Website of the Week.

Mosey on over:

Foncia Capsize

Local fisherman Gilles Martin snaps a photo of the 60ft trimaran Foncia as it capsizes off Lorient with Alinghi sailors on board.

Wow - I bet that hurt!

More information including some video can be found here:

Boatworx Inc shutting down

I had a great conversation with Dan Kaderabek who confirmed that Boatworx Inc in Manitowoc is shutting down. The site has been sold to Tower Tech. Tower Tech is part of Broadwind Energy. Dan may be going out of the boat storage and repair business but I doubt he will be all that far away from the Marine industry. Dan's venture is to continue his biodiesel business. He noted how the cost of fuel will hurt many power boaters this summer. Biodiesel offers a lower cost way of making diesel fuel. We wish him all the luck in the world.