Friday, March 31, 2006

Six more weeks 'til sailing season!

Yup, it's time to start getting the boat ready for the 2006 sailing/racing season. This weekend is the big annual warehouse sale at Defender, the biggest boating supply store in Connecticut; and probably New England, too.

So yesterday I booked off work a little early to go there, armed with a shopping list and a credit card, a dangerous combination for me when I'm in a boat store.

The first thing I bought was a Force 10 Stow 'n Go, which is a stainless steel grill. The old round Magma grill was falling apart, and I've never been a big fan of the lava rocks they use to distribute the heat...those are good for the backyard grill, but on a boat it's good to have a stainless steel heating grid instead. Makes it easier to clean and stow.

Baltoplate racing paint for the bottom is getting harder to find every year. But after proper sanding it makes for a fast surface, which is critical if you're going to race the boat.

Somehow I lost or loaned out the bosun's chair that I actually borrowed from a friend years ago, and I'm getting tired of trying to find it. So I bit the bullet and got this one.

I know that serious racers who want to save weight don't have much more than a bucket for a toilet, but we're fancy sailors and we demand refined and civilized comforts. And that means a brand spanking new "head". A "head" is sailor-talk for a toilet. Don't ask me WHY they call it a head, but they do. In fact, I think I'd prefer not knowing why they call it that.

And trust me, you don't want your head leaking. Which is why we bought a new one.

Finally, a wish-list item that I'm going to have to order online to get the best possible price, a Garmin 172C GPS Chartplotter, which should help our navigation a bit. Not that we're bad at it, but I like the idea of not only having the GPS give you your lat/long position, but also having it DRAW A PICTURE on a computerized chart. Much easier than actually opening a chart book and transferring the coordinates to the chart and figuring out where you are.

Easy means simple. Simple is good. K.I.S.S.(*) is our motto. Actually, it's Joyce's motto, because I'm "stupid", and she reminds me of it on a regular basis. Hard to argue with somebody who's so right.

So, we're about 600 bucks into it so far, and I expect to spend at least as much again to get the boat ready to launch. (Yikes!)

(*) K.I.S.S. = "Keep It Simple, Stupid" if you didn't know

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Weekend Shenanigans

A few neighborhood hooligans decided to indulge in a wee bit o' mischief last weekend by breaking into about 30 boats down at the yard. For the most part, only flares, fire extinguishers, some electronics and the odd bottle of booze were taken. My boat "Full Tilt" appears to have been passed by, fortunately.

The pesky little n'er-do-wells (I know I shouldn't use such harsh language, but I'm quite perturbed!) cut through the shrink-wrapped covers on many of the boats, gaining access to the cabins; and then they perpetrated their dastardly deeds. (OK, enough of this silly talk).

This most recent "Crime of the Century" attracted major media attention. Local ABC, CBS and NBC affiliates were lurking about when I dropped by, so I used the opportunity to take some embarrassing photos of Bruce being interviewed.

This is Bruce being fake interviewed for this photo, by NBC 30 reporter Mindi Ramsey.

Here's her photo from the NBC30 website.

Here's the actual interview. Just before the interview began I jokingly asked her if she wanted to interview a disgruntled boat owner while pointing to myself.

She perked up and asked, "Why are you disgruntled?", while Bruce immediately punched me in the back and threatened to raise the rates (again).

Sheesh, some people can't take a joke.

During the interview she made this face while Bruce was talking. Either she's bored out of her mind, or she is seriously doubting whatever Bruce is saying. Either way, I'm sure she'll be angry at her boss for making her go to the boatyard on a frigid day.

This is Bruce on TV. They even used a closeup of his boat's name, while Mindi's voiceover said, "It's no secret the same thing happened to Bruce Kuryla's boat."

(insert groan here)

The media is lined up for their chance. Channel 8 is waiting for their turn. This is the very definition of a slow news day.

Before the interview, Bruce was talking about how he asked a local cop if he should put in a video system. The cop laughed in his face and replied, "Yeah, if you want blurry pictures of kids wearing hoodies and running away."

When Bruce reported the break-in, the cop laughingly asked him, "Hey, do you got the video?"

You gotta love a first-rate ballbreaker like that.

Monday, March 13, 2006

C'mon Winter really over?

In the last few days we had some shirt-sleeve weather...can Spring be here this early?

Nah. We might get snow later this week.

But, just to stay positive, here's a photo from last year's Pierce Invitational Race. Because it's held in May, the water is still a bit chilly, so we're wearing light jackets. It got much warmer as the day went on.

This season, the Pierce is scheduled for May 27th.

That's less than ten weeks from now. Time to start digging out the sails!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Where the J/Boats are born

This is gonna be a long post with lots of cool pictures.

Last weekend was the annual J/Boats Mid-Winter Rendezvous, up at the Pearson Composites factory in Warren, RI. We left early to make a full day of it.

This is the factory main floor, where the boats are assembled.

Joyce looks over the line at the boats under construction.

The half-completed boat before the deck is mated to it.

This is our next boat. Now all we need to do is steal several hundred grand to pay for it!

It's plenty roomy below...and it has a wine rack; Joyce checked.

There's some good sized boats here...this is a 46-footer I think.

In addition to drooling over the new boats, we took advantage of the many seminars on racing, cruising, and maintenance they offered.

Among the many freebies J/Boats provides is breakfast and lunch. Good stuff!

In addition to sailboats, Pearson Composites also manufactures nearly anything that can be made from fiberglass. This airfoil looks like the wing of a giant windmill.

Later that afternoon, Dick & Leslie York spoke about their around-the-world cruise in their J/46. The first half of their talk detailed some of the out of the way places they visited in the South Seas, with many colorful slides illustrating their fascinating adventures.

Then the lecture took a serious turn. Dick and Leslie happened to be in Thailand when the Boxing Day tsunami hit. Their first-hand account of the disaster, along with detailed pictures taken from a neighboring boat in the anchorage was riveting.

They were anchored in deep water, so the wave didn't destroy their boat, but many vessels closer to shore were caught in the breaking waves. And the pictures of the beach and shoreline being innundated were terrifying.

Dick and Leslie, along with friends and relatives, immediately joined in the emergency rescue efforts. They helped save people in the water, and upon going to shore they assisted in giving first aid and relief. Their efforts definitely helped save lives and propety.

On the drive to Newport where we spent the night, we passed the America3 boat from the America's Cup, in Bristol RI. Now THAT'S a sailboat!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The 2006 racing schedule is done!

The Windjammers Sailing Club in Milford just put out the 2006 season's calendar. You can see it here.

This is a photo of Joyce steering the boat last year. I'll have a full report and pics from the J/Boats Mid-winter Rendezvous later today.

Friday, March 03, 2006

J/Boats Mid-Winter Rendezvous on Saturday

The J/Boats factory (Pearson Composites) offers a day of seminars and tours every year up in Warren RI. It's a fun day that really breaks up the mid-winter blues. We'll visit and take lots of pictures, and maybe drool a little bit over some of the latest J/Boats models (J/124 anyone?)

This is an old photo of when Full Tilt was race committee for the weekly Windjammers Sailing Club race. We're looking forward to an awesome season of racing, capped with the J/30 North American Championships at Cedar Point in Westport.

I can't wait for May to get here!