Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Happy Holidays

It has been a busy month with work and all as well as preparation for the holiday season. So for obvious reasons I have not been able to post as much as I would like to. Apologies to my readers for my lapse. I will have some R&R over the holidays to write. I am hoping to be able to spend some time with Posey's Tactic simulator in between shoveling snow and flying down the hills with the kids on the sleigh!

Just want to wish everyone a great holiday, hoping everyone has a chance to relax and ring in the new year with a bang.

Best wishes to you and yours!

The Skip.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Budget Time

In the process of reviewing the state of the Gray jay and preparing to set up a budget for repairs and "sail fast" modifications. The preliminary budget is about 10K. First on the list is to find a suitable class sanctioned spinnaker. Not sure yet whether to go to a sail maker or try to find a "used regatta sail" (I have seen some in the past that are "used once" and then sold). I will have to seriously check them out.

The traveller needs new cams or a replacement windward sheeting car so I am looking into those as well. The main has a small tear in the plastic window so I need to get that repaired as well. One item that is on the must have for gadgets is a digital compass that will display headers and lifts and count down the start (in large display numbers). I am getting ready to do some class racing now with a year under my belt in this boat club racing. Promises to be an eventful season full of colourful language and lots of learning. Looking forward to it!

Some of the go fast mods on my wish list are faired keel and new rudder. The next step is to set up priority maintenance vs. speed spreadsheet and start the process of pro and cons.

Will post my thoughts and get some feedback from all of you!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Proving Ground

I hate long flights...So I figured what better way to pass the time then to download an audio book to my ipod and listen on the way to Jamaica. I found on the net and decided to grab a book or two for the journey. Found a few sailing books...some of which were not available in Canada (what is up with that?).

Picked 2 books that interested me the first was The proving Ground by G. Bruce Knecht.

Publishers Weekly reviewed the book:
Coolness under extreme pressure marks not only the subject of Wall Street Journal correspondent Knecht's highly praised book about the ill-fated 1998 Sydney to Hobart yacht race but also its writing and reading. Knecht, a sailor as well as a journalist, uses good journalism and novelistic flourishes to tell the story of one of the worst disasters in modern yachting history. Of the 115 boats that started under clear skies in Sydney, just 43 would finish. Many sailors lost their lives, while others were rescued by airborne heroics after the fleet had been ripped apart by unforecast winds and 80-foot-high waves. Matching Knecht's cool professionalism, veteran actor Stanley Tucci who has himself played journalists as diverse as Walter Winchell and Joe Mitchell reads the story with a minimum of melodrama, letting the words and deeds of those involved re-create the danger, horror and final triumph of man over nature.

The book was a fascinating listen. The courage these sailors needed to venture out into the ocean and deal with the full fury of mother nature pounding on them relentlessly was inspiring and frightening. I have examined my own inner strength at this point in my life and concluded that as much as I desire to test my courage and face death in an ocean crossing race, I cannot risk leaving my kids without a father for selfish reasons. After hearing the tales of survival and contemplating some of the unbelievable decisions that had to be reached during the storm, I know that the time is not right for me to even think about such a race.

I know, in time, when the kids are older, I will be faced with the same nagging question....should I or should I not try a once in a lifetime journey, a survival test, a test of courage and determination. I know I have the strength to do it but I need to resolve the inner issue, the voice in my head that says you are a father and should not willingly put yourself at that level of risk for a joy ride.

Perhaps in time I will resolve the issue. I will re-visit it and contemplate it. I am not one for looking back on life and saying what if....I usually grab ahold and say why not! But this seems different somehow!

The second book is the unabridged version of Sailing Around the World by Joshua Slocum.

The New York Times review says:
...a literate and absorbing yarn published in 1900 and still in print....His story is a convincing tale of the intelligence, skill and fortitude that drove a master navigator.

I slept on the plane on the way back from Jamaica so I never actually listened to this one yet. I will give you my two cents when I do.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Reality Bites

Yes I have been back for a bit now and have not posted. (Thanks for the prod Seadated!). I have been procrastinating and trying to juice the holiday for everything I could. The trip was fantastic! I enjoyed every bit of it. It took three days to unwind and get into the Jamaican groove. I think what really happened is that after three days of heavy partying I finally realized I had a hangover and knew it was time to sit on the beach motionless for the majority of the day.

It took a few days to try and arrange getting sunfish to sail around on. Everyone wanted to rent us the large 60ft catamaran complete with captain and drinks, but I wanted a small cat or sunfish.

We finally made a deal with an all inclusive near Hedonism (sidenote: some people are not meant to be naked in public, no matter how much they desire to be so!) It took a bit of wrangling but we did get a deal on them. We sailed them back to our hotel that afternoon which went on into the night (took about 2.5 hours to sail back with building breeze).

The next 2 days (which was how long we had rented the sunfish for) turned out to be windless days. Seems as though it is either really windy in Jamaica or no wind. We gave up on the sunfish (no wind? What do we do now? Drink!!!). The tropical depression came in very quickly without much warning. Nobody was on the water at all and no one was willing to rent us a sailboat given the conditions (probably the best since I was the only one who knew how to sail!) )Waves and wind were very heavy. Much erosion on the beaches. Have some great pics which I will post. We never ended up renting any other boats the entire vacation. Spent many nice evenings enjoying friends and great dinners. Spent most other days in the sunshine drinking on the beach.

The trip home was ugly and cold. The temp hit negative double digits (Celsius) last week so I think I was also suffering from the blahs!

Anyway just wanted to give you a quick update and let you know I did not get imprisoned in Jamaica, or purposely miss my flight and decide to make Jamaica my permanent residence. Missed my kids and was glad to get home to see them. Playing major catch up now (the joys of owning a business!), and a little procrastination (also the joys of owning a business!).

I will get back on the positing bandwagon shortly when I catch up. Here is another pic of the view from our balcony. When find a suitable web photo album I will post more.