Thursday, April 28, 2011

What's the best way to improve your sailing skills?

The absolute best way to develop and improve your sailing skills is to go racing.  Even if you are less than thrilled with the competitive adenaline that racing can bring out in folks, there is absolutely no better way to become a better sailor.  Clear;ly I'm biased here.  But my bias is from a lifetime of sailing, racing, cruising, and teaching/coaching.  Because of my experience on the race course, my cruising skills are better than most.  Racing teaches boathandling, sail trim, awareness of wind, current, weather,...the list goes on.  So if you want to improve your skills as a sailor this year, no matter how good you think you are, you need to go racing.  Here's how:
Click here


Monday, April 25, 2011

Great news for the Charles River!

The last couple of years I have learned more about algae in the Charles River than I really wanted.  While the Charles River has been getting dramatically cleaner over the past 10 to 15 years, in the last few years we have witnessed problems with algae blooms which raised concerns about human contact with the water. The algae can produce toxic stuff which may (NOTE THE WORD MAY) not be so great to come in contact with and certainly not to  ingest.   The science is incomplete and therefore lends itself to many, often conflicting, conclusions.  Simply put, add the right mix of nutrients in the water (I suspect we may want to have a word with the folks upstream who apply fertilizer to their lawns),  add sunlight, warm it up and algae has a feast. To be fair this algae may be responsible for giving our planet oxygen. For that I will always be grateful.  But all things in their proper time and place I say. At the risk of being one more NIMBY person, I say go make your oxygen somewhere else. 

So here is some great news.  Power plants create a lot of heat and have to constantly cool things down.  The Kendall power station in Cambridge is no different. As I understand it  in the past they would use river water to cool things off and then when done return it to the river. However, it would still be kind of warm, maybe 100 degrees Fahrenheit +/-.  So the really good news is that they are implementing new technology that will reduce the amount of  warm water returning by 95%....95%!!  That's a lot a percent.  Here is the link to the article about this great development for all of us who play on the Charles River.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Dock project approaching completion!

On opening day (April 1) under snow and rain I espoused to the news cameras that it was really 80 degrees and sunny at Community Boating. I think I mentioned something about weather being a state of mind.  hmmm...I know I was feeling the fact that being open at all on April 1st was really quite remarkable.  To have seen, day to day,  the dock construction throughout the winter and perhaps understand better than most that there were many more reasons for the project to fall behind than push ahead, such as a brutal winter and materials coming from third world countries on slow boats, I am still pinching myself to see that we are open and coming close to completion.  Some of the areas still being worked on include the 420 floats, the high performance floats, the boat ramp by the crane, the fence around the facility, some areas of decking and bumpers along the edges of the entire structure.  There's also a "punch list" being worked through. I'm feeling pretty comfortable that we will see the entire facility 100% by mid May. Keep an eye out on this web site, blog, and Basin Breezes, for info about when windsurfing and Lasers will be "open".  They're coming soon!

Spending so much of my attention and energy focused on the construction project makes me miss paying more attention to sailing.  This is one reason why I really appreciate our great staff.  There's a reason why CBI received a lot of awards this past winter from the US Sailing Association. Thanks to the work of our program directors this winter we will see great programming again this summer.  Just today we have a group of kids from two Boy's and Girl's clubs embarking on a week long course of sailing instruction - a jump start to the summer junior program.  Last weekend CBI hosted an important high school qualifying regatta.  Sign-ups for the Accessible Sailing Program are underway and the adult program will see a continuing emphasis on on-the-water instruction and advanced classes such a sailboat racing (Look to our class schedules on the web site to see what's being offered).  While I honestly feel a little pride for all of us in the new facility, I am most excited about what we will do with it in the future.  It's no mystery - we're gonna turn more and more folks, young and old, into sailors.  Think of that song  " What the world needs now....(more sailors!)