Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Marty Nakashian - Volunteer,Teacher and Navigator

I first met Marty Nakashian in the spring of 1998.  I was CBI's new Program Director and feeling some sense of trepidation as I tried to figure out how CBI worked.  It was and is a unique mixture of personalities worthy of some literary description far beyond my skills.  Marty epitomized much of what makes CBI special. Here are a few of my recollections. 

On Friday nights Marty set up the grill, put on the apron and cooked burgers and dogs for everyone at sunset.  He'd charge enough money to cover the cost but no more.  Then on Saturday or Sunday if the weather was nice he'd set up an information table in front of the boathouse.  He would answer questions all afternoon managing to  communicate a sense of love for sailing on the Charles and CBI.  Marty helped CBI's harbor trips by using computer programs to create tide charts for the purposes of trip planning.  This was before the time of the internet explosion.  I don't know the exact time frame but Marty served on CBI's board of directors for many years. Marty may have been most renowned for his navigation classes.  Marty taught two navigation classes at CBI over many decades, Coastal Piloting, and Celestial Navigation.  Anyone who took one of these courses was in for a treat.  Marty was a brilliant teacher.  He distilled the complex into the easy to understand. I can honestly say he made many Charles River Mercury sailors into navigators.  Marty maintained the compass rose on the dock next to the dock house.  When the dock was replaced in the winter of 2010-2011, Marty volunteered to paint a new compass rose  for CBI.  Today you can see the last compass rose Marty painted.   It's quite beautiful.  I always find something comforting in navigational things such as charts and compass roses. They orient the universe. They help people find their way. In many ways in life Marty helped CBI find it's way.  The family of Marty Nakashian has requested that donations in memory of Marty may be donated to CBI for the purpose of maintaining his compass rose.  It will be comforting to know that Marty will be keeping CBI on course in the future.


Monday, July 9, 2012

How to dock when the breeze is up and blowing from the water towards CBI

A couple of Sunday's ago I had an opportunity to help some folks get back to the dock.  Their problem was that the wind was blowing directly onto the dock.  This meant that even when they let their sail out all the way and turned their boat alongside the dock, the sail was still catching the wind and they weren't slowing down.  This meant a landing more resembling  crashing into another boat already secured to the dock.  If you can't bring your boat to a stop in breeze then your dockings will always be crash landings.  Is this just fate that we accept and stoically endure or is there a better way? I am happy to say that there is clearly a better way which is easy to execute.

Here are the easy to follow steps.

1) Before you pass the tip of the island have your halyard ready to run free and loosen your boom vang a bit.

2) As soon as you pass the tip of the island (hopefully 10 to 12 boatlengths from the island - let's say mostly in front of the dock house)  push your tiller toward your sail hard and go "head-to-wind".  You are essentially going into"irons". You are looking sharp now! Lower your sail all the way down.  You have plenty of time so just make it neat enough so you can steer using the tiller without the boom blocking it's range of motion.

3) You now find yourself with no sail up, practically dead in the water, and the wind is blowing your boat to the dock (Isn't that where you are trying to get to?).  You will be pleasantly surprised that your boat will very soon have enough way on so you can steer. Aim for the best parking space you can find. The beauty of this is that no matter where your boat finds the dock, it will be a gentle engagement - No Damage!  Even if you bump into another boat it will will be gentle as well.

4) If you are skeptical and would like to see this in action then come down to CBI on a late Sunday morning when the breeze is piping up out of the west (Cambridge to Boston).  CBI's Tiller Club racers always take a break.  They sail back to CBI en masse.  You will see all of them dropping their sails before landing.  They are racers and  do it with a bit more finesse than I just described.  However, the fundamental technique is the same. When I see someone executing a docking like this in breeze I know they have some miles under their keel..



Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Gybing - Friend Or Foe?

Gybing is definitely your friend.   Here are quick pointers for successful gybing SIDES - HANDS - STEER - CONTROL.

First, Gybe when you are going as fast as possible.  By sailing fast downwind you minimize the apparent wind speed and this minimizes the force of the wind "felt" by the sails.  In 15 kts of breeze, if your hull speed is 3.5 kts then the wind felt by the sails will only be11.5 kts.  A veritable calm!

Here are the four steps to gybing and NOT capsizing.

1) "Switch sides"  
While sailing dead downwind, and paying close attention to maintain that point of sail, stand up facing forward and straddle the  aft end of the centerboard trunk.

2) 'Switch Hands"
Hold the tiller with whichever hand is to leeward. If you are on a starboard tack then you will switch from your left to your right hand.  If you had been on a port tack then you will switch from your right to your left hand.

3) "Steer"
Steer by using your weight and the rudder together.  Slightly shift your weight, and push your tiller to windward . If you are on a starboard tack this means weight  and tiller to starboard.  On port tack - the opposite. The boat will now turn "away"  from the wind such that the wind will catch the 'back side" of the leech and quickly push the sail across the boat.  4 letters spell a very important word at this point.  D-U-C-K.

4) "Control"
Moments before the gybe, I hold the mainsheet such that I am feeling the pressure exerted by the sail.  At one particular moment the pressure gets light just before the wind will grab the back side of the mainsail and push it across the boat..  You will also notice just before that moment that the jib will start switching sides on it's own.  Then I pull the mainsheet hard (even jerk it) to expedite moving the sail across the boat and simultaneously straighten the tiller (bring it to the middle of the boat).  The tiller should ALREADY be pointing directly down the middle of the boat when the boom crosses overhead. This is one of the more important fine points that will prevent you from spinning out, heeling far over, and filling up with water as you capsize. Additionally since prior to gybing you already "switched sides and hands" you are perfectly positioned to hike out hard on the new windward side.  If you need, when the boom is crossing the boat, you can even push the tiller slightly past mid position as you and your crew hike out hard on the new windward side.

There are still a few fine points to this process which involve more aggressive rolling of the boat and engaging the crew in helping to throw the main over.  These will become important on the race course.  However, for now start practicing what I have outlined here and you will be on your way to fast fun gybing in any wind condition.

Gybe early, gybe often.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Apparent wind/True Wind and US Sailing New sailing textbook

I wanted to write about gybing a sailboat.  But one point I need to make in that discussion early on is that speed is your friend and that safe and secure gybing should be executed when sailing at max speed. This is a little bit counter-intuitive at first.  So I need to explain.  However, before starting I realized that you need to understand the difference between true wind and apparent wind. So I'll make a few comments here about wind and my next blog will go into gybing. 

True wind - it's the actual wind.  Just stand still and feel the breeze.  That's true wind.  Now start moving in a direction and then you feel the apparent wind.  Apparent wind is what you feel when you are moving. Apparent wind and true wind are exactly the same if you are stationary.  They are different when  you are moving.  Let me illustrate.  You are parked in your car, perfectly still.  The wind is blowing at 10 mph in exactly the same direction that your car is pointing.  The true and apparent wind are both 10 mph.  Now you start driving at 5mph (BTW you have a nice little convertible).  Since you are going in the same direction as the true wind you will feel an apparent wind of only 5mph (10 minus 5). The true wind is still 10.  Now accelerate your car to 10 mph.  The apparent wind (what you feel)  is 0 mph.  The true wind is still 10.  Now accelerate to 20  and you will begin to feel an apparent wind of 10 mph apparently moving in the opposite direction(20-10) .  Once you've got this basic concept down  then it gets a bit more interesting if the true wind is moving either left or right in relation to the direction that you are moving.  Remember using vectors is high school math class?  Thank goodness because using vectors make sit all come clear. Now it will be easy for me to explain an important reason why,  when you gybe,  you should be going as fast as possible. When gybing speed is your friend.  More on gybing in my next blog

US Sailing has a great new book called Learn Sailing Right, Intermediate Sailing. http://store.ussailing.org/browse.cfm/learn-sailing-right-intermed/4,675.html.  We are selling this latest offering at our front desk.  I highly recommend it.   Even if you already have your CBI  JIB rating this book is full of great information in detail that can help you improve your sailing skills. It follows on US Sailing's excellent Learn Sailing Right, Beginning Sailing.   

Next time - Gybing, Friend or Foe?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Can you see the wind? OR

When a CBI sailor capsizes his or her boat,  our staff plucks them out of the water and returns them to CBI safe and sound.  While we retrieve their vessel they have an opportunity to find something dry to put on and fill out a "Capsize Report".  One of the questions we ask on the report is something along the lines of "What caused you to capsize? What happened?".  From time to time folks have reminded me that if they could answer that question then they probably wouldn't have gone swimming. So I'm here tell you what may have (most likely) happened.  You were not watching the wind.  You didn't see the big gust of wind charging along in your direction.  You were caught unawares and the wind blew you over. Simple. So all you have to do is watch the wind to anticipate when it will hit your sails and be prepared to to ease them out, and more importantly hike out hard and allow your boat to head up (some) as your boat  heels over in the gust..

But wait, you may ask.  I can't see the wind.  Air is clear.  How can you possibly see it and therefore anticipate when it will strike the sails?  Ah Grasshopper, here you ask about one of the great secrets usually revealed only to those already in possession of the secret handshake.  While I am not willing to reveal anything about the handshake I am willing to reveal the secret of "seeing the wind"

You can't see the wind.  You can see the surface of the water which the wind rubs against creating little wavelets or wrinkles as it moves along.  The more wind the bigger the wrinkles you can see on the water. On gusty days if you just sit and watch the water sheet for a while you will see big dark areas on the water surface moving along quickly.  Kind of like moving ink blots.  These are gusts. Wind does not simply move horizontally. A good bit of it moves up and down.  When a significant downdraft hits the water surface, it  spreads out and moves in the general direction of the prevailing breeze. There can be a significant temporary change in the direction of the gust.  If you are caught (surprised) by the leading edge of the gust which probably changes direction by 10, 20 30, 40 degrees or more (on the Charles River), then you have a good chance of a surprise tack or jibe. This can leave you sitting on the leeward side of the cockpit while the boat heels over and fills up with water.  You probably won't recover from this before finding yourself completely immersed in the water and wondering just what happened and why. 

To avoid this adventure in swimming, pay attention to where the wind is coming from all the time.  Keep looking upwind at the surface of the water for dark areas that are moving in your direction. As a novice sailor you are most interested in managing the sudden increase in velocity.  When you become more expert you will actually seek out these dark areas for the excitement and speed they can produce.  Sailboat racers are always trying to "connect the puffs" - that is sail to and in the puffs as much as possible.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Steering Tips and Tricks.

For all you new sailors here are a few more tips and tricks to advance you along your sailing learning curve.
You have three ways to steer you boat.  The first one we talk about is the rudder.  Push the tiller off center and the rudder pivots such that water pushes more on one side than the other and the the stern of the boat is pushed left or right.  Like a grocery cart being pushed backwards.  Fine enough so far.  You can steer the boat with the rudder. However.... 

There are two other ways to turn your boat.  The first is to shift the weight of the skipper and crew to either minimize or accentuate the heel of the boat.  When sailing, if you let the boat heel to one side the boat will  turn toward the other side.    The last way to steer the boat is to  use your sails to increase or decrease weather helm.  Remember that when turning the boat it tends to pivot at a point roughly over the centerboard. Most of the mainsail is aft of this point.  So when the force of the wind hits the mainsail, it has a tendency to push the boat such that it turns around that pivot point.

You will know that you are becoming an expert helmsman when you use the rudder less and less and use your weight and sails more and more to steer your boat.

These pointers are generalizations which are true.  As with all generalizations there are a few exceptions.  However, as a beginner working toward your Helmsman rating there are no exceptions! Follow these "rules" and you will be on your way to becoming an excellent sailor.  Next blog - How to "See the Wind"


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

New Sailor Tips and Tricks [top secret stuff!...please share].

For all you new sailors at CBI  - progressing to the Helmsman Rating will be one of your first goals as you learn to sail.  The Helmsman Rating means you can go sailing at CBI most days without restriction and bring guests.    So I will keep posting some  tips and tricks along the way which I hope will help you out.

Tip #1
Keep the boom vang off except when sailing.

Face forward when tacking and gybing.  Avoid turning or facing backwards at all.

Tip #3
When you're not moving at all and you want to get going, straighten the helm, trim the sail until it stops luffing, wait until you start moving forward before you attempt to turn or tack.  Often you will see newbies attempting to turn their boat by pushing the tiller hard-a-lee before moving forward.  It never works.  Have you ever tried to turn your car when it is parked with the brake on?  Nothing happens.  Same in a sailboat.  If you're not moving forward then you can't turn using the rudder.  More advanced sailors learn how to steer with the aid of their sails, but that is something we'll teach you after you have a Helmsman rating.

More to follow...


Monday, April 30, 2012

Welcome New Members! Here are some Rigging Tips and Tricks

Last Saturday CBI held an open house and welcomed close to 100 new members.  Many thanks to all the volunteers who helped conduct orientations, take new members for sailboat rides, and helped cook some delicious b.good burgers on the grill. It was a breezy day with it's share of capsizes.  We measured the water temperature and it's creeping up to 70 degrees....not bad.

For you new members we taught several rigging classes yesterday so I am going to share some tips and tricks for rigging a Mercury sailboat correctly and quickly.

1)  CVS is a Retail Store

Once you have pulled your Mercury out of the slip to the front of the dock and secured it with a NIGHT KNOT, put your  Centerboard down first, loosen the boomVang 100% (often referred to as simply the Vang), then uncleat the mainSheet.  Then you'll put on the Rudder  and bend on the Sail. (IMPORTANT! In order to keep the Rudder safe from collision with other sailboats while at the dock please leave it  until last.)

2) When bending on the sail remember this: front before the back and bottom before the top. I'll give you a clue, the tack is not the back, the clew is.

3) When hoisting the sail crouch in front of the mast where you can easily hoist and guide the sail's bolt rope into the mass groove. You will be positioned such that the boom can not bump you on the head and the boat will be very stable because you are centered athwart ship.

4)  TOP SECRET TRICK!! Better than the secret handshake!!!  Do not tighten the boomvang until you have cast off from the dock and are a boat length away. AND when you are returning to the dock make sure you have loosened the boomvang as soon as you are inside the island or similarly close to the dock.

Next blog I'll continue to reveal some of the most helpful tips and tricks about tacking, gybing, avoiding irons and docking on a breezy day.  Stay Tuned.


Monday, April 23, 2012

Friday Night Racing - Giving Informal Instruction

Last Friday was a fun evening for sailing and racing on the Charles River - The breeze was up and down and a bit shifty.  I want to recommend that you use Friday night racing as a good opportunity for giving informal instruction to newer and less experienced sailors.  I raced with a young man named Matty.  He's got a Solo rating and has been sailing for a couple of weeks and had not a clue about racing sailboats.   I warned him in advance that a good part of the evening would be me giving him direct commands such as "trim, ease, weight to leeward, hike out now, centerboard up, centerboard down, tack, gybe, etc. He would learn more by doing than by me explaining.  On one race, approximately 45 seconds before the starting gun he started to ask about how the jib telltales work.  "Later" I said, "TRIM!".   He picked it up rather quickly. We had a great time. By the end of the night he was shifting his weight in and out, forward and back, while paying close attention to the jib's trim, and starting to "see" the puffs before they hit us.  I found an opportunity to give him a short lesson on telltales.  I think he learned a lot and enjoyed the whole experience. He asked me if he showed up next Friday night would he be likely to find a crew position. I said yes.

I think that what I described here is a small slice of the essence of CBI. I hope you agree and will join in by inviting more novices to crew on Friday right races too. I can tell you with complete certainty that Matty will be a great crew in the next couple of weeks and probably will be skippering his own Mercury by the end of the summer.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sailing World Archive 1997 - Recovering from a Bad Start

In sailboat racing a lot has changed since 1997. There are new composite materials for hulls, rigging and sails. The shape of hulls and keels are not what they once were, and in the America's Cup both competitors will be catamarans going very fast with a good chance of capsizing when the breeze pipes up. However, some thing stay the same.  Check out this article from 1997 by Terry Hutchinson - "Recovering from a Bad Start".  Still works as well as it did15 years ago.  I know. I had a bad start last week.  After applying the principles enunciated in the article - voila! first across the finish line.  Thank you Sailing World!  http://tinyurl.com/cpgeun2


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tweaks to CBI's Boat Sign-Out/Sign-In

CBI Adult Program Director Andrew Alletag writes today's blog.  You probably have noticed a number of small changes to various standard procedures at CBI  this year such as a new flag color (yellow), bright pink floats at the tops of the Mercury masts, and we  now require that adult members (as juniors already do) leave their membership card at the dock house when they sign out a boat.  This of course means signing the boat back in when you return. So we've added a step to the process of going sailing here.  Our goal is to improve CBI's management of your safety on the water.  And so far on that front we are very satisfied. However, we've noticed that we still have a little work to do in making this new process of signing back in flow smoothly.  Andrew here offers some suggestions that you can follow to help out and we both thank for any and all thoughts on how to make the new system work better.  Shoot us an email!


Dear CBI Sailors,

As you may have noticed, the Dockstaff will now retain membership
cards at the dockhouse when you check out a boat.   We have received
 a lot of useful feedback, and we thank you for taking the time to 
express your ideas and thoughts.  As we get further along into the season, 
and the dock becomes busier  we will need to streamline the process a bit 
more. Here are a couple of things that you can do to help keep the line 
moving and help us get everyone out on the water quickly and on your 
way home after sailing:

When you arrive at the boathouse, grab a PFD and a sail before coming

to the dockhouse. Remember to line up starting at the ramp instead of
the stairs to limit confusion and traffic.  If assigned to an incoming
boat, wait on the dock away from the boathouse.

These small things can help improve the flow of traffic around the

dockhouse and we believe will speed up both sign-outs and sign-ins.  Thank you for
helping us out with this and for an amazing first couple of weeks of
our sailing season.


Friday, April 13, 2012

CALLING ALL VOLUNTEERS! CBI Prepares For April 28 Open House

We're planning on holding an Open House on the 28th and we need some help.  Our goal is to introduce folks to CBI, sign them up for a membership, take 'em for a sail and treat 'em to a delicious grilled gourmet CBI hot dog or burger. mmmmm......so good.  What we need: CBI Volunteer Sailors available from 11 to 3 to take folks out for a sail and CBI Grillers to individually cook and serve delicious and succulent burgers and hot dogs.  The cookout will have a suggested donation of $5.  For anyone who purchases a full year membership on the 28th the cookout is on us. 

So...A Call To Action!  :

1)  Email me at charlie@community-boating.org. or Andrew Alletag at Andrew@community-boating.org.  Let us know that you can volunteer as either a Sailor or Griller.  Many Thanks!


Thursday, April 12, 2012

America's Cup Get's Interesting

Check out this link to see the latest footage of America's cup racing   http://www.youtube.com/user/AmericasCup?feature=watch . I have to confess, that after the last America's Cup where gigantic sailboats (one cat and one tri) cancelled racing one day for some pathetic reason such has too much wind,  I lost complete interest in America's Cup racing and took up wall paper watching.  Trust me, watching wall paper was more interesting than watching the last America's Cup.    However, it is very good news indeed for those of us who love the sport of sailing to  see the current version of America's Cup racing.  The byline today  is "The Best sailors. The Best Boats." They might have it right. The racing is great to watch. The boats go fast and crashes are not uncommon. There's a reason the crews wear helmets.   I wonder if they might be interested in hot pink floaty things (that's a technical term) at the top of their masts?    Whether you know anything about sailboat racing or not, you will find a lot to enjoy in the competition which has become the new America's Cup.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Learn to Race Class to Kick Off in April

I've spent a good part of my life teaching sailing, and sailboat racing.  Throwing yourself into sailboat racing is the best way I know of to learn the fundamental boathandling skills you need to truly become an excellent sailor.  It's not the competition per se but rather the instant feedback loop.  You know immediately if your sail trim is off, your point of sail is off, if anything is off,  as you watch your competition's transom as they sail away.  When I can't figure out why my competitor is pulling away from me I go through a systmatic procedure of comparing and contrasting what I'm doing and what she is doing.  If this doesn't turn the light bulb on for me then when we get back to shore I seek her out and ask her what the heck she was doing to go fast.  I've learned a lot about sailing and racing in this way.  So I want to encourage you as you develop your skills as a sailor at CBI to start racing.   And we have the perfect way  -  CBI's now famous "Learn To Race Class ".  Taught by the extraordinary CBI volunteer Jennifer Bodde, this is a series of three classes, Intro to Racing, Basic Racing Rules, and Basic Racing Strategy.  The first series runs for three consecutive Wednedays, April 18, 25, and May 2, from  7 to 8:30 at the boathouse. 


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

In memory of Norman Priebatsch

CBI's President, Karyn Brudnicki has authored today's blog remembering  Norman Priebatsch.  Reflecting the complexity of life, we all have our own memories, recollections and feelings when we lose someone. I know I'm not alone in expressing deep sadness that comes from losing a friend. Karyn has remembered Norman beautifully.  Thank you Karyn.


Walking out on the new docks, it is impossible to miss the red shed hosting a fleet of windsurfer sails and the array of windsurfing boards hanging on racks beside it.  Perhaps like me, you’ve even abandoned the comparatively stable (and dry) boats to check out a windsurfing class.

Our windsurfing program has come a long way from where it was when I first joined CBI in 2002.  We now have an impressive fleet of over two dozen windsurfers, with a range of beginner to advanced boards, a dedicated crew of volunteers that fixes the equipment, and robust class offerings including windsurfing clinics.

All this is possible largely due to the efforts of one particular volunteer, Norman Priebatsch. 
He dedicated countless hours to improving CBI’s windsurfing program, leading working groups to acquire new equipment, as well as to maintain and improve the quality of the programming offered at CBI.  He was passionate about infusing his zest for windsurfing into countless members’ lives. 

A week ago, Norman emailed out to announce that Dan Weiss of US Windsurfing would open the season with a rigging class in the morning of March 31st.  On that Saturday, Norman led his last volunteer effort for CBI, helping rig sails and prepare the equipment for the season.

Thus it is with a very heavy heart that I write to share this news with you.  Norman was hiking the Tuckerman Ravine on Mount Washington on Sunday afternoon with friends and family when he fell into a deep crevasse.  Rescue efforts have been suspended.

I always knew Norman as the go-to windsurfing guru, but it was not until I joined the Board in 2008 that I got to know him on a more personal level.  He welcomed, encouraged, and supported me on the Board.  An award to recognize the efforts of our volunteers was his idea.  At his request, I drafted the wording for the volunteer award, the first of many policies I created or reviewed, thanks to his initial inspiration.

Norman always had a bright smile on his face and an even brighter idea to share about how to improve CBI.  It was a challenge to keep up with him – he was more energetic than 10 members, putting those ideas into action and spurring others to participate.  A noted entrepreneur, he employed his business talents serving CBI as a Board Member from 2007-2009.

You could always find Norman on the water.  The classic Norman outfit was a pair of sneakers, white socks, and sporting a walkman.  How many people do you know who still rock a walkman, much less on the water?  Norman carried it in a plastic bag in his fanny pack, while both windsurfing and running on the Charles.  (Yes, on the Charles, not just by it!)  He didn’t care if it got wet – it was only a walkman after all.  He generally listened to books on tape, turning to rock and roll only when it was particularly windy.  This truly embodies the type of person he was – someone with strong intellectual drive and a passion for active living.

An avid outdoorsman, he enjoyed exploring nature through windsurfing, cycling, running, skiing, and hiking, among other pursuits.  He truly seized life by the horns and would wish for no regrets.  In his honor, I plan to try windsurfing again this summer and I hope you’ll join me.

He leaves behind a strong legacy on the Charles River:  a superb windsurfing program with top-notch equipment and enthusiastic volunteers and sailors.  His efforts will be felt by members of our community for generations to come.  Norman, you will be sorely missed.  I invite members to share your favorite memory of Norman, to celebrate his life and impact on CBI.  

Monday, April 2, 2012

Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA) Receives International Recognition

Link to CRWA Prize  http://www.crwa.org/events/Riverprize.html

For quite a few years we have been telling folks the good news about the water quality of the Charles River.  With the exception of the swimmers in the annual Charles River One Mile Swim, CBI sailors, windsurfers, and kayakers, have a more intimate relationship with the water of the Charles River than just about anyone. So we've witnessed first hand the significant and steady improvements in the water quality over many years.  Many hands have worked hard at making the Charles River clean.  However for all of us here at CBI I extend a heartfelt thanksand congratulations to the folks at CRWA for their leadership in advocating for a better Charles River. 


Friday, March 30, 2012

Amazing View of Ocean Currents

From a very young age we've all learned about ocean currents such as the Gulf Stream.  Ben Franklin was one of the early folks to write about it in detail.  For thousands of years sailors have been making their way about the planet using ocean currents to their advantage when ever possible.  Sailboat racers spend a lot of time, energy, and thought plotting the best way to cross the Gulf Stream on their way to Bermuda.  Finding that perfect spot to cross the steam often results in trophies and accolades at the the finish line.  So in prepartion for your next ocean voyage check out this video to get the most comprehensive and condensed view the our planet's ocean currents.



Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Blogging, It's a Lifestyle

Last year on April 28 I started blogging.  I wrote a total of 42 posts. It was fun. I enjoyed doing it. It also was a pressure cooker!  Finding topics to write about. Finding words to express things well. Finding the right balance between light hearted and deeply serious...... and then  the followers...so intimidating to "have followers".  ..Well not really. Granted there were only a handful, and they were mostly folks I begged. (thank you) ..but still ..the ..pressure.. Now the truth and confession.  I ran out of gas. CBI went through a lot in the previous year getting the new piers built while pushing our programming onwards and upwards.  And I just ran out of gas.  Now anyone who knows me, knows that this new age of social media is dragging me along kicking and screaming.  However, now is now and then was then, and bloggin is a lifestyle, so today I sit before my computer, newly energized with the dawning 2012 sailing season before us, and a lot to write about.    CBI is an exciting place to be lately and it will be my goal to communicate to the entire world how incredible this place is.  So here's is some of the latest news. 

CBI has a new website.  We've tried to make the web site work better and present CBI with more pictures, more video, more fun, more excitement...in short more of everything that we think makes CBI so special.

In addition to our email newsletter we are using Facebook, Twitter, and You Tube.  You can expect to see more and more of our communication through these media.

CBI is adding two Sonars to out fleet. They'll be coming online in the next few months.

And about those pink bouys at the top of the Mercuries.....  Some of you may have noticed a shocking pink splash of color living at the top of our Mercury masts this spring.  This came out of experiments last year with various floats at the top of the  masts.  Our goal here is twofold. One, to minimize the number of capsized Mercuries that "turtle", turning fully upside-down and sticking their mast into the mud, and two,  increase visibility of our fleet. Anyone who has ever had to evacuate our entire fleet of sailboats from the river in advance of a summer thunderstorm  can appreciate improving our ability to identify our boats.   As is our usual method we are constantly testing ways to improve our programming and on-the-water safety.  Our hope is that the new bright floats at the top of the mast will serve this purpose. 

There's much more to report but I want to save that for my next postings. So stay tuned.  Finally, I want to express a big thank you to the many volunteers who have been helping in the shop this past winter and at work parties.  Thank you!