Monday, November 19, 2012


That's how I feel today. Spent four days last week in support of the J/24 North American Nationals, a sailboat race for North American bragging rights in which the winner of a nine race series is judged to be the best in North America.

Defiant, skippered by my friend Bill

The weather was extremely good for racing, winds out of the North at about 13 to 18 knots. It was very cold and miserable for myself and the race committee and way worse for the competitors!

Oh, and I hated being out there. I only did it because the competitors paid a good bit of beer exchange/conversion units (bucks) to be there and they deserved the best we could provide in racing course design, shore side facilities and our good hospitality because some came from as far as Seattle, Maine, Rhode Island and Canada to race. (Just because I'm miserable is no reason to be miserable back!) Wednesday the Yacht Club had an oyster roast with free Bold City Beer. Thursday was fried chicken with free Bold City Beer, Friday was I-have-no-idea-what-what-they-ate ( I dined in the Pirates Den with the Spousal Unit) and finally a proper banquet for Saturday Night Awards dinner. Again, with free Bold City beer. (Thanks to those nice people for providing excellent, local brews! I liked the Killer Whale Ale) Oh, and everyone was extremely well behaved!

I stayed aboard Barco every night for the entire series... No driving after imbibing, sports fans.

Some of these competitors are real racing pro's, and many had been in International competition and I am in no way a sailing peer of these folks!!!


Click to view slides.


The regatta Winner!

This is where the very attractive ladies sailed;  Kobayashi-Maru

The hard working Race Committee (I merely raised flags when told to)

Downwind leg

Snuff out the chute and raise the jib while rounding the mark!

Snuff the chute!




The Canadian boat with sponsorship on main sail

"Get ready for the next start sequence...!"

We ran a total of nine races over three days and the weather tried to hinder and confound us. But we were glad to be ultimately successful in showing the competitors a proper race experience. They were out on the water an average of nine hours each day.

Here are the results and here. And here is the official J/24 website. I was plenty glad to be free of my service requirements on Saturday afternoon. It was a pretty nice time and I was glad to be a very small part of the action.

Have a nice week.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Zombie Jamboree

I can definitely use some traveling! If we didn't have our local obligations, I could see us getting underway to someplace warm and not have an internet connection to remind us why we need to get away...

Let's travel to Jamaica, and enjoy some ole time calypso.

If I smoked, I would roll a fatty and ..."get jah-lost in the reggae"...

Here is a photo of the Spousal Unit and I with the singer of that Lost Soul Video, and the subject of the song, Bob Bitchin' (and Bob's boat, Lost Soul). We talked a lot about "Lost Soul", sailing across oceans and all that. Bob used to own "Easyrider" magazine, until he acquired the taste for sailing. Lattitudes and Attitudes is his current magazine.

Lf-Rt Eric Stone (Singer), Bob Bitchin', me and the Spousal Unit at Miami Boat Show 2003
Eric Stone is a very nice, approachable person. And Bob likes to buy rounds for the fans... We got good and truly slammed with those guys that day!

Another Eric Stone tune:

And here's Bob Bitchin' talking sailing, (we heard this story direct from the man himself!).

Going sinker for awhile, I have plenty of projects to keep me busy and away from the public. If I don't surface before hand, please have a good Thanksgiving.

Barco Out.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Ugly times ahead

Woke up to the bad news and I am kind of afraid of what's coming up; Because no budget has been passed since before the 2010 elections there will be a giant cut that starts in January.

Stand by for heavy rolls. I hope our nation does not break up into a Balkanized mess.

I think one result will be that the lower level entrepreneurial folks will become more involved in a cash economy where the government does not get its share of the transaction. I think Louisiana tried to pass a State law outlawing any private transactions over a hundred dollars, a couple years ago. Because there is no way our economy will be able to absorb the huge spending outlay that the Health Care coming up will cost.

Another problem will be the open warfare between the two Houses of Congress. Expect to see a very tenacious pursuit of the Attorney General (Fast and Furious) and of course the State Department will suffer for the Benghazi debacle.

As for me, I will be planning out two courses: 1. Where nothing really changes but we reduce our debts further and adding no new acquisitions. 2. Where we look seriously into returning to a full time boat living situation and give up most of our shore possessions. Especially this house which happens to be the lion's share of our costs. Sure wish we didn't buy during the bubble, we bought for home not an investment and the value has already dropped about 40%. The mortgage is considerably higher than the value.

One thing I really worry about is losing the Tricare military health coverage in favor of the National Health Care. Another thing I fear is potentially losing my pension. The Government hates paying us little people for our service and would love to cut it away to save big.

It's not like we will actually put up a fight about it, right?

"Just stand in line and take what we manage to give you, we have poor people needing their gubmint assistance..." "You military retiree's were able to learn a trade and were employed for twenty plus years..., "...the furniture maker in North Carolina worked for thirty years and got nothing."

Yeah, but the furniture maker was home every night with his family and had a reasonable expectation of surviving his tenure of serving the factory.

The Government Employee Union has better heathcare coverage than us Service retirees, and they will see no changes in coverage or pensions. Pays to be Union who supported the right guy, I guess.

Turbulent times ahead. The DC Masters want a socialist system that cares for the poor (soon to be all of us!) and they will make great progress towards centralized power and control.

We'll see how the holiday spending works out, it should be a bellwether sign of consumer confidence.

Eventually, the Socialists will run out of other people's money. Maybe January is the beginning...

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Big Day!

Go vote. I hope we can get this election properly settled without any shenanigans from our not so loyal leftist compatriots.

As for me, today is the final completion of my certification as a Master of 50 Ton Motor or Steam Vessels. The Coast Guard took a bit more than three weeks to review my submission and they said that my sea time was on vessels that did not qualify for the 100 Ton rating. I guess I didn't drive big enough boats. Being short on cash will have its effects, won't it?

I got the email yesterday confirming issuance of the Merchant Marine Documents (Sent via First Class Mail!) and today I was able to print out a faux certificate. Apparently, the only document a mariner is issued is a passport type document listing qualifications which must be carried when operating a vessel. The old Certificates (which were actually quite lovely) have gone the way of silver certificates (and unbroken Indian Treaties), but recognizing that most of us only complete the skipper thing JUST for the certificate, the Coast Guard allows us to print one at our own expense.


I feel as giddy as a little girl! (With two pairs of Glasses)

So now I can call my self Captain Id-iot-a in public, and be completely kosher/halal in doing so. Next up is the silly calling cards describing what services I imagine myself doing:

Wars/Revolutions Started/Crushed
Insurrections instigated
Bars Emptied/Filled
Qualified Quaffer of fine ales and spirits
Gun Running
Virgin Old Maid Conversion (A specialty!)
Damsels Rescued from Distress/Boredom
Marriages Performed/Wrecked
Morale:  Lifting/Destroyed
Storytelling (Truthful/Not so truthful)
Pun Punishing

And so forth... Feel free to add what ever service you think of in the comments. They will all be given close scrutiny and consideration for inclusion on my card.

So this is a short list of accomplishments which separate me from most other boaters:

Owned six sailboats and three power vessels over twenty years.
Lived aboard for five years.
Lived in Foreign Port onboard sailboat for over three years. Without proper heat and air!
Sailed West Coast of Europe in my own boat, using paper charts.
Sailed across Atlantic in privately owned boat, without any experience in doing so in the past. Cruised Caribbean without money and lived to tell about it!

Of the thousands of people who choose sailing, only a fraction will ever cross an ocean. For some it is merely because of time constraints/family obligations. For others it is being purely sensible about the whole boating thing and staying safely at home.

My Reason for boating? I had no other way of getting our Hundred Thousand dollar investment home after retiring from 20 plus years of (mainly undetected crime) while serving our Navy. The Navy certainly wasn't interested in paying for my folly.

That's how I always get involved in these big projects with my piss-poor-prior planning, which results in my needing urgent help because I have made the situation an emergency!


Now; go vote!

Monday, November 5, 2012

On the eve of an important election

Big time stuff is happening in our country today and we can no longer engage in toying around with social experiments as National Policy. Another thing; Just because the Administration can break various laws and sweep things under the rug does not mean that the Administration cannot be held accountable.
There was no "October Surprise" because we are becoming numbed to continuous obscuration and obfuscation from President Obama's merry band of pranksters...

Here is a small list from this site of scandalous behavior from our President and his Administration;

• $6 trillion in new national debt under Obama…after he promised to decrease the deficit.

• Obamacare — A massive and incredibly convoluted bill which exponentially increases the federal government’s control over our personal lives…which neither Obama nor a single Democrat even read before passing, and which will likely bankrupt the nation.

• In both the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, the Obama campaign purposely disabled the credit card verification system for its Web site donations, allowing anyone from any foreign country to donate with no limit and no proof of identity; in both elections it was demonstrated that people overseas and people with obviously false identities were able to donate to Obama campaign, in direct violation of several laws. To this day it is not known what percentage of Obama’s campaign funds are illegally obtained, since there is no documentation.

• Billions of taxpayer dollars gambled on “green” companies like Solyndra, NextEra, Ener1, Solar Trust and many others — all of which went bankrupt.

• An intentional refusal to enforce federal immigration laws.

• Unemployment at or above 8% for almost his entire term in office (which was actually closer to 15% actual unemployment).

• Operation Fast & Furious — a government-sponsored illegal gun-running scheme designed to purposely go awry so as to induce public outcry for gun control.

• Spent 20 years listening to a racist anti-American pastor (Rev. Jeremiah Wright), whom Obama described as a mentor. On March 18, 2008, Obama gave a speech in which he said “I could no more disown Jeremiah Wright than I could disown my own grandmother” and “[Wright's church, Trinity United] embodies the black community in its entirety.” Now Obama tries to pretend that Jeremiah Wright doesn’t exist, and that his extremist anti-white philosophy didn’t influence Obama’s worldview.

• Increased the percentage of Americans dependent on food stamps to unprecedented levels (now over 15% of the nation’s population).

• Militarily intervened in Libya in 2011 without the Congressional approval required by the War Powers Act — technically an impeachable offense.

On and on, and so it goes. Read the rest of the list on the link provided above.

As Sailors, We must stand together, strong.  Former Gunners Mate 1/C Ernest Borgnine says in 2006:

Something to motivate us for tuesday's big election:

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Saturday was a great day on the water!

I got hornswoggled into being the race committee boat for Saturday's J-24 sailing regatta at 9:30 Friday evening. The Fleet director wanted me to be available at Zero-Nine-Thirty(!) the next morning...

Yeah, right.  My response was that I would be there at eleven and ready to race at noon.

The breeze had heard about the upcoming event and was standing down until the crack of One. The committee (consisting of myself and the Fleet Director) got anchored and set for the first start which happened a few moments later. One boat crossed the line early and they got the dreaded X-Ray flag and had to go back over the line. All the other starts were clear and it was over all a good time of everyone.

While the first race was going, we sat in the sundeck area having sodas and sandwiches, I heard the unmistakable sound of radial iron in the sky... we couldn't see for a few moments because the bomber was directly overhead but it soon emerged as a B-17 heading for some beach air event. I had no camera ready and missed taking a shot when the aircraft was only a thousand feet up. She sounded great! I did get a long range photo a bit later when the B-17 was returning to the west.

Our good friend Bill in his J-24 "Defiant" had a victory, second and third place finishes in the three races.

The B-17 I mentioned.

Finishing a race.

Our buddy Bill drives on to good finishes. Not bad for a Canoe U. Grad. (Bill was a classmate of Lex)

Great start to the third race.  
Heading to the upwind Windward mark.

Rounding the upwind  Windward mark and turning downwind with spinnakers.
 Great time to be on the water, it was a very clear sky with mostly steady and slow breezes. It required the most skill to get all the boat speed against competitors who have identical vessels.

We all gathered for the post race burned burgers and dogs and enjoyed the company until well past sunset. The Barco Crew retired back to the home boat at 9:30 and were able to sleep the sleep of the exhausted.

Great weekend, wish all of the readers could have been there enjoying the weather and water onboard the Barco.

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Federal Gubmint isn't doing what it should, again

I notice that the President took a victory lap around NYC and New Jersey, and went back to working the election. New York and the surrounding areas look like they have taken a worse beating than what Katrina did to New Orleans. I recall the press shellacking President Bush for not getting FEMA out to New Orleans fast enough to make things better. I hear crickets on tv when the Press observes what our President is doing to help, and the timeliness of Federal responsiveness.

Looking at The Atlantic's coverage of the current disaster, it doesn't look like enough FEMA goin' 'round Jersey City/ New York, either. The Feds need to get electricity and fuel to those trapped in their apartments before this becomes a human tragedy.

It was easy to be dismissive of Hurricane Sandy as she made her trek to the Northeast; We of the Barco were in Fort Lauderdale Beach (On the OCEAN side) for summer 2004, and we evacuated twice in August from worse storms. Our region was devastated, but Florida is a bit more prepared for these disasters and bounces back fast.  Jacksonville, however went two weeks without electrical power in September of 2004, after Hurricane Jeanne trashed the region. No air conditioning for Jacksonville! They got by and so will the Northeast. They need heat for the elderly, food for all and an organized rebuilding plan. Lets hope the election doesn't make those poor people wait much longer for the relief they need.

Have a safe weekend.

Regular reader LL has a nice comment;

"I echo your sentiments. However, there is something to be said for applying common sense to life and stacking some canned goods and a Coleman stove away along with potable water. I'm not saying that people should go 'survivalist', however it's not expensive nor is it ever imprudent to be prepared."

Yep. The Spousal Unit thinks that I'm nuts for keeping a closet full of long life foods, MRE's (7 Trays!)
a 50 gallon water tank, cans upon cans of dehydrated stuff, pre-prepared meats, etc. I won't mention the hundreds of bottles of fine and ok wines, and other spirits. And weapons. With ammo. Boxes of ammo.  Long and short range weapons for the zombie apocalypse (Read: People who rely on Gubmint Handouts for daily bread). My preference would be to make it to the boat if it is still there. The St Johns River is a huge place with lots of little coves to hide out in brimming with fish and wildlife to feed off of. Otherwise, I will only need a vehicle with long fuel legs to get me to the safety of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where those Militant Lutherans live in the Ishpeming Triangle. I'm pretty sure the adherents of a satanic cult based on the other side of the world will never subjugate that area of rural America.

Even if I grab the pack and the three bins we are set for a few weeks.

MRE's stacked in the back. (Meals Rejected for Eating)

Example of MRE. 5 lbs of pasta and sausage. Yum (Not). Six more on the shelf.

3.3 out of 5
Model: 86514
Item #: 357558
    Shipping Included

    Includes 42 great-tasting instant entrées to last an adult for 14 days with an average daily caloric intake of over 2,000 calories.


I got these Portable Food Pantries from Sams. You can get a years worth for about $5K.

This holds 50 gallons of liquid. Fill before storm. Otherwise, it will hold gasoline for the run up north.

As LL said, the storm or catastrophe may still take away your gear but better to buy during times of low cost than not have foods available at any cost.