Written by Ben Ellison on Sep 24, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub
While Simrad may be the last of the Big Four to introduce a high-performance, multi-touch, glass bridge system, it seems like they’ve added at least one significant twist to the concept. The new NSO evo2 black box contains two independent main processors, which can drive two independent displays. The brochure claims that this architecture gives you “the freedom to view and control your onboard systems more easily while making every dual station installation or larger networked system simple and much more cost effective.” It’s a claim that I tentatively buy…
The Furuno NavNet TZTouch (some Panbo love here) was arguably the first of the new glass helm breed, but I was disappointed to learn that the more recent TZT black box model does not support dual independent displays like the original NavNet 3D box does. “It’s not possible with touchscreen,” I was told, and I believe that’s true, unless you take the quite unusual step of essentially putting two computers into one box. The only other true dual processor marine computer I can think of is the RAPC Nautilas I once wrote about, and the main goal for that design is redundancy.
The NSO evo2 also offers some redundancy, at least to the extent that there are two processors each running independent instances of NOS (the Navico Operating System version of Linux). This was demonstrated to me at IBEX when a tech pulled out an iPad and showed me how the Simrad GoFree app (running through WiFi1) saw the evo2 as two separate MFDs and could thus either mirror the single touchscreen I was looking at or function as a completely independent screen with access to radar, sonar, etc. etc…
I can’t find a product page for the new NSO yet, but you can download an evo2 brochure PDF here and you’ll see that each processor can drive a wide variety of screen resolutions right up to 1080p. I understand that the box even comes loaded with drivers that will work with several third party multi-touch monitors, and I think the touch commands travel on the HDMI cable unlike older implementations where a USB cable is required (the Furuno TZT BB, for instance, has dual DVI and multiple USB ports so it can drive a second mirror monitor at a second helm). I hope to check on that detail tomorrow at the NMEA Conference in San Diego (I’m writing in an airport again ;-). Another plus visible in the evo2 booty shot above is the full-size SD card slot, which means that some installations will be able to do without a remote card reader.
The NOS evo2 will function like a souped-up NSS MFD, but make that the NSS 3.0 which came out last week packing multifunction goodies like support of FLIR thermal cameras and FusionLink audio (over NMEA 2000), not to mention the chart choices seen below. I really appreciate the new support for the OP-40 keyboard, which means that NSS (and evo2) now has the two interface attributes I so miss from the NSE series — the instant function keys (which can actually call up any screen or even a list of screens if you hold instead of tap) and the Win button (which can instantly make a screen window full screen).
The NOS evo2 does not have the multi-screen SmartMode I admire on the Garmin 8000 Glass Helm series (also seen at IBEX), but then again even the black box 8000 apparently can only drive one screen (and maybe a mirror) and I believe that it has to be Garmin’s if you want to use touch. Raymarine remains a little mysterious, as they have yet to announce a black box version of their multi-touch gS-Series. Glass bridge competition and innovation is heating up, Simrad is now definitely a player, and I hope that the style and functionality will start working its way down to less expensive gear. Your thoughts?
OH. MY. GOD. I can’t believe this madness hasn’t ended yet. I was certain Team New Zealand was going to win one of the races yesterday, as the Oracle crew had yet to do better than split decisions on days when two races were sailed. But now Oracle has in fact won four in a row and “only” needs four more.
This is starting to seem almost feasible. And I think Dean Barker is starting to think the same thing. He hasn’t been looking too happy at press conferences lately.
Here’s the video for yesterday, in case you haven’t stumbled across it elsewhere:
Both wins were wire-to-wire, but the Kiwis got very close for a while in the first race. Oracle has firmly established that they can foil like bandits upwind when conditions permit and their tactics and crew work continue to improve overall. If day one of the series were today and I were making bets, I’d have to pick them.
Which reminds me… if Oracle repeats with a double win today, that jury decision docking them two races at the start becomes determinative.
That would truly suck.
I can’t say I’d do any better at coming up with witty repartee on live TV, but there have been some real stinkers. I can’t tell who’s saying what, but the announcers have been Todd Harris, Ken Read, and Gary Jobson. I think Todd Harris uttered all three of these great pillars of sailing wisdom:
3. “Let’s not forget that just a few months ago seeing a boat foiling was like spotting Sasquatch.”
2. “So the lead is back up to 300 meters for the Americans! They rolled the dice and it came up Yahtzee!” (Note cheesy metaphor, grammatical error, and bad pun, all in one.)
And the all time cheesiest line of this America’s Cup (in my book):
1. “These guys have nine lives! No wonder they’re sailing catamarans!”
I remind you, TORTURE has been a San Francisco tradition since the baseball season of 2010. And there’s nothing like winning four races in a row to get the home town juices flowing. People running. American flags flying.
The cityfront on Sunday was packed, almost the way I imagined when the Cup was announced for San Francisco, and it’s about time we got to see Norbert Bajurin dancing for joy, again.
Two years ago, it was an article of faith that we could match race 72-foot catamarans. Now it’s a fact and it’s happening on foils, and the spray is flying on the racecourse and even as a spectator it makes my heart race and that’s not all there is. Jimmy Spithill has it that, “The only thing slowing these boats now is cavitation. That’s like hitting a governor on a motor. Otherwise, we’d be seeing speeds in the fifties.”
Close crosses. Passes. Larry Ellison has been a risk taker at every stage of his career, and his multiple leaps from AC32 to AC34—an electronically defined and monitored race course, wing powered cats, raw speed—have finally clicked. Proof of concept, and maybe it would have been better to have held off until 2014, and gone up against the World Cup for eyeballs but with fully-developed boats (Emirates Team New Zealand wing trimmer Glenn Ashby says the learning curve is still “nearly vertical”) but who knew that, going in?
ETNZ, foiling upwind, seems to spear a boat named “Musashi” after the great samurai, author and philosopher. However this image was recorded when ETNZ was winning races. Then versus now. Photo © Jan Pehrson
Remember when the Kiwis were talking about taking the racing back to monohulls? I don’t see that happening, even if they win this thing, with Kiwi skipper Dean Barker declaring, “Foils are the future.” Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill says, “I’m just glad we were listening to the kids. It’s about fun, and it’s about fast.”
One of the great Aussie journos, Rob Mundle, posts on my Facebook: ” It’s time for the kiwis to bolt the wheels back on … but I, and thousands of others here in Australia, won’t care if it goes down to the very last race. Thanks to Larry E and his visionaries, AC 34 is the greatest image changer, and interest grabbing moment, our sport has ever seen. The public interest in a match that doesn’t involve Oz is unprecedented. Now we just have to organize an Australian challenge for the next match … wherever that might be!”
The exclamation mark is his.
IT’S NOT OVER TILL
Along with their other troubles—Team New Zealand has lost four races straight; Dean Barker now holds the all time record for the most AC races lost as skipper—the Kiwis are losing elements of their lodging and are scrambling to find new digs for some of their people.
And they’re not alone.
With 30,000 of Larry’s best friends coming to Oracle Week, the hotels are chock-a-block, and foreign journalists too are being displaced. They never expected to be here this long, so they didn’t reserve. In the media center today, I was approached, tongue in cheek, to see if my little house near Baker Beach perhaps has room for about 25 people . . .
A few shots from when the sun was still out. I observe that, in 1983, the first autumn chill settled over Newport on the eve of Race Seven.
In the Oracle Innovation Lounge, after watching OTUSA nearly lose the Cup in the time limit-abandoned attempt at race 13, Billionaire and the Mechanic author Julian Guthrie watches Oracle run away with the following race and improve the score to 3-8. The gent alonside is, of course, the “mechanic,” Golden Gate Yacht Club commodore Norbert Bajurin . . .
Who was quite pleased at the win . . .
Meanwhile, the nation of New Zealand waits in shocked frustration, and their press folks who, just a few days ago, were planning a vacation junket before flying home, are making adjustments. However long the odds against, Jimmy Spithill and his team on the water and ashore have demonstrated that it’s not over till it’s over, and as I write this, it’s not over.
Light wind yesterday… and for the first time we saw the big black cats flying gennakers, or Code Zeros, or screechers, or whatever the hell you want to call them. And Oracle had trouble with theirs… and were way way way behind… and Team New Zealand was less than a mile from the finish… when the race was called as the time limit expired. So they tried again…
By now you can guess how this goes. Or if you can’t… watch the viddy by all means.
The psycho drama continues.
Lots of jokes on the Intervine today about Divine Interventions. So I won’t make one. We’re racing again today. WX in SanFran right now is rainy with a slight chance of thunderstorms.
I’m still collecting questions for my Q&A, so don’t feel like you’re too late. Leave a comment on the original post, or drop me a line. No query too small to be considered!
Q: What should I name my boat?
A: I’m glad you asked. Choosing a boat name is a bigger deal than you think, especially if you are cruising. Why? Because, dear reader, when you move aboard, you lose your own name, and become your boat name. Before you name your boat, you need to ask yourself two questions: 1. Is it easy to read and understand? 2. Do I like it enough that I can live with being called this every day?
John and Betsy are wordies and Shakespeare buffs, so they have named their brand new boat Honorificabilitudinitatibus.
A man walks down the dock as John is buffing the last bit of gelcoat.
“Hi, there,” says Bill. “Nice boat. What design is it?”
“She’s a Schaefer Special,” answers John.
“Mmm.” Bill squints at the tiny Gothic script painted under the gunwale. “What’s the name?”
“Honorificabilitudinitatibus.” John says the name slowly.
“Heck, I’m not going to chew that mouthful. I’ll just call you Bus,” says Bill. “Hey, Ginny! Come on down here and meet Bus!”
John has learned two things. His boat name is both impossible to read and to say. This is not good news. When you offer something for sale on the morning net, you want potential buyers to be able to reply. When you call the Coast Guard on your crackly VHF, you don’t want this:
“Vessel in distress, please give your name.”
“No copy, vessel in distress. Please repeat.”
Your boat name is your name, so make it clear. And, as a kindness to the nearsighted among us, this advice applies to font as well. Big and plain, people. Big and plain.
Item two: identity.
John and Betsy discuss it. They tried Betsy’s name choice, and it was a dud. So now they are switching to something a little snappier. John picks his favorite childhood pet, Cutie McTwinkletoes.
“Knock knock! Cutie McTwinkletoes, are you home?”
Betsy leans out of the cockpit, trying not to cringe. “Hello.”
A stranger is standing in her dinghy alongside John and Betsy’s boat in the anchorage. “Hi, there. I’m from Moonshine. We’re having a barbeque on the beach later, if you want to drop by.”
“Great,” says Betsy. “We’ll be there.”
Three marinated porkchops later, John and Betsy are ready to meet some more cruisers. Moonshine grabs them and hustles them over to her husband. “Bob, this is Cutie McTwinkletoes. They just started cruising. Oh, you should meet Sea Breeze, they’ve been out for years.”
Back aboard, the VHF crackles to life. “Cutie McTwinkletoes, Cutie McTwinkletoes, Cutie McTwinkletoes, this is Moonshine, Moonshine.”
Betsy picks up the mic. “Go ahead Mooshine, this is Cutie McTwinkletoes.”
“Hi, Betsy. Just wanted to let you know you left a Tupperware bowl behind; I’ve got it for you.”
“Moonshine standing by six-eight.”
“Cutie McTwinkletoes standing by six-eight.”
Betsy turns to her husband. “John.”
“If I have to refer to myself as Cutie McTwinkletoes one more time, I’m going to murder someone. Probably you.”
“I’m thinking of new names as we speak.”
This is how cruiser-cruiser interactions work:For whatever reason, your surname is personal information you don’t go sharing around.
You are your boat name. To strangers, the Coast Guard, on paperwork. I have been Amy Papillon for three years now. It’s a good name I can live with. Short, snappy, easy to remember and understand. I could hear it all day and not get annoyed. And I’m very easily annoyed.
So before you call yourself Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, or Bikini Chick Party Spot, or anything from the pun family, think carefully. You will use this moniker a lot. A lot, a lot. So make it clear, make it comfortable, and love it. You’re stuck with it.
And our imaginary friends John and Betsy? I like to think they have sailed away on a boat named Mack.
Written for Panbo by Ben Ellison
I just spent five full days at IBEX 2013 — as press guy, Innovation Awards judge, and NMEA seminar presenter — and I’m heading home with LOTS to write about. I’ll start with the deep integration Garmin and Volvo Penta put into the handsome Glass Cockpit system I was checking out above, and how smartly Raymarine has responded to this market-share threat. In my view it’s happy story about how competition and technology are making boating better…
We’re hard on it, sports fans. The Oracle boys dropped a hard-fought race on Wednesday (two lead changes, plus a big surge on the last downwind leg) and now can’t afford to drop any more. One more win and Team New Zealand will be taking our tin back to Auckland. Oracle did what they had to do yesterday to stay alive–slam-dunked the Kiwis at the start and led all the way to the finish line. Check out their speed upwind in that viddy up there. Full foiling action with top speeds over 30 knots. They just keep getting better!
I’m holding my breath: how much longer can they drag this out???
Here’s the replay of Wednesday’s race down here:
Both days the second races were cancelled as wind speeds on San Francisco Bay exceeded the wind limits set for “safe” racing. A ripe topic for carping and complaining among the peanut gallery, as you might imagine. Personally, I think this helps Oracle in their bid to come from way way way behind (they’re down 8-2 on points and now need seven consecutive wins to keep the Cup), as it gives them more time to tweak and pray in between each race.
The best place to follow the carping and complaining, of course, is over at Sailing Anarchy. Some of it seems incredibly well informed. Here’s one very interesting comment from one RHough:
I cracked the books a bit and ran some numbers yesterday. I think I have a good reason for the wind speed limit being set where it is. Wow was I wrong.
The boats ended up being faster than they predicted, i.e. the designs were too good. :-) This put them dangerously close to putting the foils into cavitation speeds (~50+) that could have lead to real control problems.
Basically they want to limit boat speed to under 50 knots to stay safely out of foil cavitation speeds. The boats can sail over 2x wind speed and in some ranges are close to or at 3x wind speed the TWS needed to keep them below 50 knots is in the 22-24 knot range.
The wind limit for safety was not a reaction to the Artemis disaster as I assumed incorrectly. I had assumed the limit was for structural concerns not an unforeseen design challenge.
If they want higher wind speed limits they have to lose the foiling to remove the “50 knot barrier” or they can lose the wing to reduce the top speed of the boats to under 3x wind speed.
If they want to keep the full foiling and hard wings they are stuck with a low wind speed limit until they solve the cavitation issue. Sort of ironic that the faster the boat is relative to wind speed the lower the safe wind speed becomes. If indeed the wind limit was lowered due to concerns about foil cavitation then they got it right and the engineering math supports it.
It is not about being pansies, or poor design, or reaction to the Artemis disaster. It is about unforeseen design success.
Stop bitching about the boats being to fragile to sail in 30+
Start celebrating that they are too fast to sail in over 25.
And another from one catsailordude:
The wind limits are definitely necessary but the way they are applied has caused a great deal of disappointment for the viewers. It’s unfortunate that a race can be cancelled during the pre-start because of a 15 second gust. Given that the races last only 20 minutes or so, I think that once the pre-start has commence (at 2:10) there should be no cancellations. The wind limits should have had some cushion built into them to allow for the fact that wind could increase by a knot or two during a 20 minute race.
As for anyone being pussies, people sailing non-self-righting boats that foil at over 40 knots are not pussies. Sailing a fast boat in 12 knots TWS is much more on-the-edge than sailing a ballasted boat in anything. Calling these guys pussies would be like calling an F1 driver a pussy because he only drives on smooth pavement and doesn’t go off-roading.
The mistake of this America’s Cup is not that it’s in fast catamarans, it’s that the rig is just a little bit too tall for the conditions of San Francisco. Had they gone with the 110 foot rig, the boats would have less weight and power up high and the wind limit could have been set at 25 or 26 knots, which would have meant few if any cancellations. It also might have meant that you would see the code zeros come out in 12 knots instead of 9 knots. Hopefully ETNZ runs the next cup in catamarans, but with a rule that is more accurately calibrated to the prevailing local conditions.
But this is only version 1 of this type of boat in the Americas Cup and despite a few cancelled races, this is by far the best sailboat racing I have ever seen broadcast, and not just because of the speed–it’s more because the upwind legs. It is certainly much better racing than anything we saw in 1992 or 1958. Let’s face it, the only competitive America’s Cup finals prior to this one were in 1983 and 2007.
Even with the 131 foot rig, these boats and crews are handling the big breeze better than just about any AC boats in the past. They are certainly handling the breeze much better than any prior AC boat capable of powering up in 6 knots of wind.
You can read the whole conversation at the SA forum thread Absolutely Pathetic.
A blog reader recently asked: what clothes do kids need for cruising, and how much do they need?
Before we cut the docklines in 2008, we were well supplied in clothes to take the kids through about two years of living in the tropics. In hindsight, this was serious overkill. We brought too much. The obvious fact that escaped me when provisioning for a fundamental needs like clothes and food: remember that people everywhere need to dress and eat… you really don’t have to bring everything you need with you.They look so small! Alameda, October 2013
It did help to start with clothes that worked. For us, that means lightweight, synthetic blends. Many pure cotton clothes take longer to dry, which can be a problem here in the land of the daily squall. We need things that can dry in a few hours of peak sun.
Although my 20/20 hindsight was that we brought too much, a few things are helpful to stock up on. Outside of flip flops, shoes have been more difficult to find. Although it wasn’t hard to find clothes that met the the kid’s needs, it’s also nice to also have exactly what they’d like to wear.A bit bigger now. Flores, March 2013
We plan ahead the most with clothes for swimming and sun protection. In most of the cruising grounds we have covered so far, swimming is a near-daily activity. Having a spare suit (or two) is helpful, and having an extra size can be as well. We give and receive in the hand-me-down circle, although that’s harder to count on.
Sometimes the only option for buying new is a resort that caters to tourists at marked-up prices. Since we know we’ll all go through a lot of gear, we stock up on spares or a size up when it’s economical. Long-sleeved rash guards and swimming pants can be hard to find, and they are invaluable for protection from UV and jellyfish. I’m still wearing the pants I had made in Mexico, but I go through about one rash guard a year: the UV exposure eventually turns them into stretched-out unwearable balloons.
Beyond rashguards, if your kids are big swimmers or you anticipate a lot of water time, it’s worth looking at junior sized wetsuits. That’s another item that can be a little harder to find as you go. We didn’t feel that we needed them in Mexico, but they came in handy for many of our Pacific stops.
Clothes that aid with sun protection are also harder to find. The kids have especially light skin, a family history of melanoma, and live in the tropics. They need all the help they can get! It’s easy to find shorts and t-shirts, but it’s not always easy to find the lightweight, loose, sun-protective gear that can really come in handy sometimes- especially if you’d like something purpose-designed and SPF rated.
Broad-brimmed hats with chin straps are good to stash as well. Along our travels I’ve routinely seen them available for adults, but far less often for children. Besides, the kids can be picky about what they wear, so we made sure to let them pick out the style and color they wanted (within parameters for sun protection). We get about a year out of each hat.
Each of the children have a sturdy pair of sandals: the kind of show you can go for a hike in. I love Chacos for this, and a friend helped get our entirely family shod in their awesome sandals when we had a “mule” visiting us from the states a few years ago. Actually, one of those- and a pair of flip flops- are the only shoes the kids have. Recently, both of the girls needed new sandals. We didn’t have the next size on board, but they could get decent replacements for about $10 locally: the a bonus of traveling in an inexpensive region. Multiple repairs have been done- restitching soles was about $1/shoe in Indonesia, a little more in Malaysia. For long term durability, though, it’s best to start a well made pair. When the inevitable blowout occurs we can get by if we don’t have exactly what they need, when they need it, stashed in a locker.
At home, they rarely wore out their clothes- they were far more likely to outgrow them first. Now, the reverse occurs. It’s partly a function of the fact that we have much smaller wardrobes so clothes get more wear; it’s partly a function of the harsher sun drying. 100% cotton lasts longer, but it takes longer to dry, so we tend to prefer lightweight, breathable synthetic blends. They are more comfortable, and they’ll dry before the afternoon squall hits, but they are more susceptible to UV and they are harder to find in the developing world.
Mostly? The kids’ clothes, like mine and Jamie’s, are well worn. They are holey, haphazardly patched, and sun-bleached. Niall has shorts that remain decent only because of strategically placed sail tape. Does it matter? Nah. They don’t care. We don’t care. and happily, there is no peer group dictating “the latest” thing they need to swap it out for either.
Greetings! By happy accident today, I’ve launched my new sailing podcast, ’59 Degrees North: Andy Schell’s Conversations with Sailors,’ in conjunction with Talk Like a Pirate Day! Aye, the podcast! Anyway, comin’ at you with the first episode today. I talked with Allan Palmer, captain of the brig Tre Kronor in Stockholm last week, aboard the boat. Palmer’s dad was a real Cape Horner, sailing the grain route from South Australia on the last of the big square riggers. We discussed that, as well as Palmer’s role in traditional rigging projects, what it’s like to sail a square rigger, and how he’s helping to keep traditional sailing alive. The podcast will be available for download and subscriptions on iTunes in the coming days. Enjoy!
Or maybe you are interested in the family angle. Can four people really stay cooped up together for a thousand days without serious injury resulting? How do you deal with picky eaters? How do you find other nice families to hang out with? How do you teach school? Why are beads the most hated toy aboard? Would you ever do this again, knowing what you know now?Want to know what seasickness feels like? I can tell you.
Even the rumor mill is up for grabs. Were you really approached by a casting agent for a cruising reality show? Why are you more afraid of seas snakes than of sharks? Did your family really have 43 cavities between you on your last trip to the dentist? Is it true that you are a pathetic sailor?
Sailing, life aboard, our trip – any and all (polite) questions will go in the grab bag. So leave a comment with your burning questions below (the shy among you can feel free to email me at sailing dot papillon at gmail dot com instead), and let’s see what Sailing Papillon readers have on their minds.
Women have long complained about how the world is dominated by men. To most men, meanwhile, it is perfectly obvious that modern civilization is little more than a plot to make women comfortable.
The truth, of course, lies somewhere in the middle. If it were true, as men aver, that it is women who rule the world, such things as pornography and the Three Stooges would probably be outlawed. On the other hand, if men really ruled the world, as women insist, society no doubt would be organized very differently. The men most likely would live in nomad biker gangs, and all the women and children would live in villages. The men would ride from village to village, impregnating women and fixing anything that was broken before moving on.
For many centuries, the sea was the one venue in which men might more or less realize this ideal existence. Even today, many would argue, sailing is very much a man’s game. The common platitude is that women enjoy the sailing scene, i.e., they like hanging out and socializing on stationary boats, but they don’t really enjoy sailing itself, i.e., the part where you feel nauseous while having water sprayed all over you.
As fun as it is to annoy women by saying such things, it really isn’t true. Women like Dawn Riley, Isabelle Autissier, Ellen MacArthur, and many others besides, have clearly demonstrated that the gentler sex is more than tough enough to excel at sailing. One of the truly amazing things about singlehanded ocean racing is that it is an extremely demanding physical sport in which men and women compete equally. Indeed, it may be the only sport like this. And this is possible because sailing is a sport in which brute strength doesn’t really count for much. Over the long run, sheer endurance, will power, heightened sensory perception, and ingenuity count for much more, and these are traits women and men share equally.
Isabelle Autissier, one of my personal heroes, aboard her Open 60 Ecureuil Poitou-Charentes in 1994
On the other hand, it is also true, when trolling the ranks of common cruising couples, that you most often find it is the man who is genuinely interested in sailing, while the woman has somehow been persuaded to come along for the ride. These relationships have profoundly influenced the development of the sport of cruising under sail, most particularly in the realm of boat design.
It used to be that a well-designed cruising sailboat was quite narrow and had minimal living accommodations. The galley might consist of a crude gimballed one-burner sea stove on which cans of gruel could be efficiently heated. The head was a cedar bucket. The berths were narrow and confining. The cabin itself was exceedingly cramped, and its inhabitants were constantly falling and stepping on one other. Not surprisingly, few women were ever lured aboard vessels such as these.
Before women started attending boat shows, most cruising sailboats had interiors like this
Slowly, by degrees, the situation has improved. Step aboard most modern production sailboats and you’ll find they are eminently habitable. For starters, they are much wider (hence are much bigger inside) than boats of the past. Often there is a large owner’s stateroom with a queen-size island double berth, commodious hanging lockers, a vanity perhaps, and a fully appointed head with a separate shower stall. Midships you will find a spacious galley, replete with most modern amenities, plus a comfortable saloon, and forward (or aft, depending on the design) you will find yet another comfortable stateroom (or two), with its own head, for guests and/or children. Men have been much more successful convincing women they might like to go cruising on boats like these, and this has helped the sport grow considerably over the years.
Some purists, of course, have objected to these trends. Sailing, they claim, is all about being miserable, and if the women don’t like it, they can just stuff it.
Many men like this, of course, also aspire to live in nomad biker gangs. Some of their complaints, however, do have merits, for in some respects modern designs do not work as well as older ones. For example, a wide flat stern that can easily accommodate a spacious aft cabin will help you go faster when surfing off the wind, but will only hurt you in other circumstances, particularly when beating to weather in a strong breeze. Being able to comfortably beat off a lee shore in high winds was once considered an absolute prerequisite for any “real” cruising sailboat. For some spacious accommodations may now seem just as important, but there are still just as many lee shores out there as there used to be.
One of my personal pet peeves is found in the modern saloon. Too often these days these fall prey to what I call CSLS (Curved Settee and Love Seat) disease. A curved settee opposite a pair of love seats may look sexy at a boat show, and may help convince your wife that buying a new boat is a fantastic idea, but in a seaway they look like nothing but misery.
Now that women are attending boat shows, many cruising sailboats have interiors like this
Given that the most comfortable place to sleep in any boat at sea is amidships, long straight settees should always be the rule in any serious sailboat’s saloon. The other big problem with modern saloons, ironically, is how wide open and spacious they are. Those guys in the old narrow boats might have been falling all over each other, but at least they never fell far. Lose your footing in a modern saloon while a boat is well heeled and you may well fall quite a long ways–and may easily break something in the bargain.
Not that we should give in to the purists and return to the days of celibate discomfort. Some claim we can solve all that is wrong with modern cruising boat design by simply banning women from boat shows. Perhaps, but it won’t do the sport any good. Far better to keep the women aboard, and the men happy, by seeking reasonable compromises. There are, in fact, many designs out there that judiciously balance the competing demands of comfort and seakindliness. If we educate ourselves and favor such boats, there will only be more of them.
Women, of course, have also had a tremendous impact in the realm of systems. These have little effect on a boat’s sailing ability (except in so far as they may increase a boat’s total loaded displacement), or on crew safety, but they can greatly improve a boat’s livability. Amenities like watermakers, pressure showers, propane stoves, and refrigeration go a long ways toward making a cruising boat into a very comfortable vacation home. They do cost a lot of money and are difficult to maintain, but any man unwilling to shoulder such burdens to keep himself in civilized female company has only himself to blame if he ends up as a lonely singlehander.
Most modern men, of course, are willing to go to some trouble to keep their women comfortable. I remember, for example, a cruising couple I met some years ago while sailing in the Bahamas. His name was Leo. He was an avid sailor who could not abide not having a boat in his life. Her name was Judy, and she was a typical suburban housewife.
As Leo explained it to me: “Judy told me she wouldn’t go cruising with me unless she had air conditioning, wall-to-wall carpeting, a washer/drier, and a dishwasher. So I put all those things on the boat, and we’ve been happy ever since.”
The key ingredient
Of course, it took a lot of power to run all that stuff. Twice a day Leo had to run a large generator to keep everything going, and whenever he started it up, he’d shout: “Honey, quick! Turn everything on! We can’t waste all this wonderful electricity!”
Judy always complained bitterly about the racket. But Leo only smiled and cheerfully savored each offending decibel.
Tioman island was our stunning landfall after a slightly stressful passage across the South China Sea. I learned about the lures of Tioman Island beaches when backpacking in SE Asia in the early nineties. It has only grown in reputation, so we went with pretty low expectations. I just assumed that given the reputation and the proximity to population centers that it would have been the victim of overdevelopment: resorts stuck like scabs on a natural landscape, cars of driving too fast, tourons on scooters.
What a pleasant surprise to find instead that it’s still a sleepy place of quiet beauty. Yes, it got busy on the weekend with the flocks from Singapore and KL, but most of the time it was just heavenly peace. Sharing the bay between four cruising boats- kids even!- all of which had prior connections, from French Polynesia to Thailand, made it even better.
Claire and I hiked through the jungle, a four mile jaunt that climbs to the top of the ridge running north / south and down to the east side of the island. It was so much fun we convinced Muscat, Tahina, and Utopia to join us and go again a few days later.
It was amazing to see the size of some of the trees in there.
Nearer to town, there were a number of rubber trees being tapped. Trunks are abraded with a diagonal slash, and the sticky / stretchy sap is caught in a bucket that’s just nailed on the side. Low tech, effective.
Towards the ridge of the island, a gentle stream fed from a drinking water catchment area at the top. The perfect place to stop and rest, shaded by the massive trees. Orchids grew in the juncture of boughs, high overhead- their signal to us a scattering of blossoms on the trail below.
There were gorgeous fungi.
I was a little less excited about the various reptiles and insects we encountered along the way. There was this tiny red-headed snake- freaky because it was SO fast, winding past Claire’s toes in a flash. Happily, it was as interested in avoiding contact as we were. This red snake, on the other hand, just kind of sat there and watched. In the middle of the trail… of course.
It was amazing what the kids spotted. Siobhan has eagle eyes! We saw monkeys, but they were the naughty long tailed macaques, so no pictures- I kept the camera put away. I do not need to have a camera turned into a monkey toy.
The millipedes, too, are not so much my favorites. This body on one is as thick as my index finger, and about 8″ long. Yikes.
How about this crazy lookng lizard?
This one made me think that a worm and a banana slug got together. They’re called planaria.
Waiting at the bottom of the hike: a beautiful beach, with a low key village and an icy class of watermelon juice. Perfect.
Living in San Francisco and sailing on San Francisco Bay I took a sidelong view of the America’s Cup. It’s not my first rodeo. I happened to be in San Diego in 1992, and New Zealand in 2003, where I checked out some of the action on the water since I happened to be there with a boat. We had a close encounter in San Diego, and I watched the dismasting of the Kiwi boat in 2003, but I’m the first to say that sailing isn’t much of a spectator sport.
Leading up to this Cup everyone assumed that because I was a sailor I was all aflutter about it. I explained what watching sailboat racing was like: I’d move my two hands, emulating sails, at oblique angles, very slowly.
I will now eat my words. It’s been gripping. The TV coverage (Thanks Stan Honey) is probably better than what I’ve seen on the water, but the little glimpses and close encounters I’ve had on the water bring a visceral reality to what I watch on TV.
Out on the water we’ve been watching it take shape for months. The Prada boat, for example, was definitely the coolest looking, but had something wrong with it. Foiling is pretty skittish in the best of times, but the Prada boat sort of crabbed along when it foiled, and this looked wrong:
Emirates New Zealand always looked strong, but so did Oracle.
On one training day I happened to be out with some friends aboard Condesa when several of the boats were out practicing. You can’t ever really plan to get near one, because they’re moving at 40 knots, for God’s sake. We were passing the windward gate, the one near the Golden Gate Bridge, when the New Zealand boat came charging our way. They came right at us at 40 knots, looking very sketchy and out-of-control on their foils, and for a moment I thought we were going to make the evening news. NZ missed us by thirty yards and rounded the gate, of course, but they came close enough not just to see, but to hear them: a crazy high-pitched hum, squealing, grunting, the sounds of high-tech materials being stretched and strained.
They are amazing machines to see up close, and the speeds they attain regularly would have been record-breakers for much of my lifetime. Two sailboats closing at a speed of 80 knots: No wonder they wear helmets and body armor.
This past weekend was my first time out on my boat since the Cup itself started.
For all the traffic on the water and potential for bumper boats, everyone was very courteous. Still, a little tense for the helmsman. The camera helicopters flew onto the course in formation, did a little pirouette, then flew into position. Wow, this was serious.
America’s Cup beginner’s luck: We happened to be right there – probably the best location of all the punter spectator boats – for the NZ near-capsize. We sailed to Petaluma for the night, then came back for Race 2 on Sunday.
Today I came home and told my wife, “If you know what happened in today’s racing, don’t tell me!” I’d had to work, so I didn’t see anything but the helicopters flying overhead. As it turned out I missed nothing because of the postponement for the wind limit, but I guess this means I’m a sports fan.
Now here we sit on the eve of the Cup’s key moment: If NZ wins both races tomorrow, that’s that. But Oracle has been tweaking their boat, winning some races fair and square, and making them work for it. A major comeback isn’t out of the question.
One camps says it’s all too expensive and we’ll never see anything like this again. Another says we’ve seen the future and there’s no going back. I’ll have to side with the latter camp if the America’s Cup is going to engage the general public. This is San Francisco, and it howls pretty much every day: Watching these same boats sail in San Diego would be…boooooring.
Hey, Dean Barker, everybody missed one backstory item in your press conference on Sunday. You won a race, and you lost a race, and with that loss . . .
You set a record.
As dawn broke over the East Bay hills that morning, September 15, 2013, you were tied with Australia’s great America’s Cup challenger, Jim Hardy (Sir James to me) for a record of twelve Cup races, as helmsman, lost.
Hardy skippered for Australia in 1970, 1974 and 1980. Gretel II, Southern Cross and Australia. You’ve skippered Team New Zealand in 2003, 2007 and 2013. At the end of Race 9, Match 34, you advanced to thirteen America’s Cup races lost as skipper, qualifying you for a place in the Guinness Book of Records, supplanting Sir.
I think he doesn’t mind.
The story pales, of course, alongside your odds, as skipper of Emirates Team New Zealand, of winning the America’s Cup this time around. Pales, unless you’re the guy who just passed along that (ahem) other record.
Hardy’s all-on for your win. Oh, you ANZAC guys . . .
Jim comments, “I look at the number 17 on the side of the Oracle boat, and I wonder, because very rarely has an odd-number boat won the Cup. Think back through it. It’s true.
So, what does it mean to lose the America’s Cup?
Barker and Hardy both have history. Barker, you should remember, took the handoff from Russell Coutts in the New Zealand defense of 2000, was given the helm for a final-race win, and became the anointed knight for the 2003 defense, which can best be summed up as a national embarrassment. Come 2007, there was a ridiculous barrage of blather about whether or not Barker had the “right stuff.” He came out of that 2007, 2-5 loss to Alinghi’s faster boat with anyone and everyone seeing that he did and does have the right stuff, and he’s looking a little bit good at the moment.
So, what does it mean to lose the America’s Cup?
‘Tis an ever-open question.
In Valencia, Spain in 2007, a few days after Barker and Emirates Team New Zealand failed to win the Cup, I killed some time with Jim Hardy while he waited for his airport connection. We fell to talking about how hard it must be—must have been, in the now that was then—for the New Zealand team. It’s not as though they were overwhelmed. They took two races and threatened in others. They were close enough to taste winning, and part of the mindset of a competitor is to wake up in the morning believing that you’re going to win. Losing takes adjustment. Both teams in 2013 have shown that they come to the starting line, every time, expecting to win.
Jim Hardy told me, “At the end of the racing in 1970, I stood at the wheel of Gretel II, and I couldn’t lift my arms. I had really believed we were going to beat Intrepid, and the weight of that just took over.
“I could not lift my arms.
“I could not lift my arms.”
Thanks for the memories—Kimball
I’ve had a brief exchange of comments following my last full post on the Cup with a fellow named Alex D who complains he is bored by this America’s Cup and cites the lack of sail-handling as one reason for this. True enough, there are no sail changes mid-race in this new species of Cup competition, and I’ll admit I sort of miss that, too. But it’s not true that sail-handling is irrelevant, as Team New Zealand demonstrated in dramatic fashion on Saturday when they mishandled their wing during a tack and almost capsized their boat. Alex D: Pls. skip to 28:30 in the video above and describe below how boring it is.
Oracle has improved dramatically since dropping two races on Thursday (you can see that viddy, if you like, at the end of my Newport boat show post). In Saturday’s race, for the first time, they kept up with the Kiwis going to windward and were in a position to take the lead and the race when the Kiwis screwed up.
Even better, in Sunday’s first race they demonstrated superior speed upwind in their wire-to-wire victory over the Kiwis. They did the same in the second race and took the lead on the windward leg, only to lose it again on the last downwind leg when they had to duck the Kiwis in a crossing situation.
Some people will tell you this America’s Cup is boring no matter what happens (just like some people will disagree with President Obama no matter what he says and does), but there’s no getting around the fact that we’ve seen more lead changes and tactical intensity in this series than in any other AC series in history. This is sailboat match racing on steroids, and if you watch it with an open mind, without prejudice, you can’t help but enjoy it.
Had the series started on Saturday, I’d be telling you these boats and teams were evenly matched. Hell, I might even tell you I liked Oracle better. Unfortunately, what is now a 7-1 deficit still seems insurmountable, though Oracle is obviously determined to go down fighting.
We should acknowledge, too, that Stan Honey has done a fantastic job with the TV graphics. For more background on that, check this link here.
And for those who truly do miss the days when watching sailboat racing was like watching grass grow, I suggest you tap into this live video feed of the Costa Concordia salvage job, which is underway in Italy as I type this.
Before taking off across the S China Sea, we anchored out near the western point of Sarawak to give ourselves an easy, early morning departure. It also happened to be a spot with, shockingly, a sweet little reef to explore. We’ve gotten used to being anchored in a marine park while local boats actively fish around us (including park rangers!?), so this was something of a pleasant surprise.
Here in Sarawak, Malaysia, overfishing and negligent fishing practices have devastated most reef environments. Despite the pretty pictures, this one was not healthy. There were no fish bigger than about 12″, and not a single shark- hallmarks for healthy reefs. But the diversity of corals and other marine life was good, as you’d hope near the edge of the Coral Triangle region.
We anchored near a small island with a turtle hatchery project to spend the afternoon. Jamie and I worked on getting barnacles off the bottom of Totem so they wouldn’t slow us down on our passage to Tioman. We had several knots of current, which made the bottom work exceptionally tiring. I had to hang onto a line so that when I came up from underneath I could hang at the surface and recover- it was impossible to really catch my breath if I had to keep kicking into the current just to stay in one place.
Meanwhile, Claire hit the reef and found many fishy friends, so with a smoother hull we went to join her. It’s no Raja Ampat, but it was surprisingly lovely and intact. She had just been diving over in Sabah near Sipidan, on the NE side of Malaysian Borneo: over there, you can still see lots of turtles, massive schools of fish, beautiful reef forms, even some sharks. She insisted this was still pretty cool. We were just so happy to have her with us!
I of course cannot get over my fixation on anemonefish. So dang cute with their little grumpy faces. Love the colors of anemone this group is hanging out in.
I think this is a type of bubble coral, but I don’t know. It was absolutely gorgeous, and there were a few clusters in a few different colors scattered around the reef.
Beautiful coral forms.
Niall has become quite the freediver. He can get down and hang well enough to grab photos like this of the fans that tend to be happier with more depth.
My favorite moment was spotting a flatworm on the bottom. Here it is in my palm: how adorable is this tiny thing? I can’t believe I managed to see it, to be honest.
We’ve been given the moniker of The Happy Family by our friend Brian on the MV Furthur. Sometimes I think it should be The Snorkeling Family.
This all unfolded was about the same time we started getting those “first day of school” pictures from friends at home… somehow, this little island felt like the perfect classroom for our little learners. I guess you could say this is our first day not back at school.