Saturday, May 31, 2008

How to Launch a Lifeboat...

Ever wondered how they launch the lifeboat in rough seas from a large commercial vessel. Take a look at the following videos...

Here is the view from the water...

Now here from the boat...

Now here is how they test these boats...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Windermere Volunteers Needed

Volunteers are urgently needed to help with the annual Windermere Regatta, June 13 to 15, 2008, as follows:

Friday evening $3 menu:
3 bbq chefs for burgers and hotdogs

Saturday evening:
2 or more bartenders to help Pam Edwards (There will be an inside and outside bar. Note that you must have Bartending Permit)

Saturday afternoon/evening:
3 bbq chefs to help Dave Thomson do the flank steaks, beans, salad, dessert
6 persons to help with setup and cleanup

Please Help!!! Volunteers should respond via email to

This will be fun!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Windermere Regatta Coming Soon...

Our annual Windermere Regatta is coming up soon. If you haven't registered yet this week would be a good time to do so. The Regatta consists of a series of windward-leeward races held on Saturday June 13 and on Sunday June 14, 2008. It is also a qualifying Regatta for the Seattle Yacht Club Grand Prix. Races start at 10:00, with two or three races scheduled for each day, depending on the weather conditions.

The Regatta is open to all yachts that have submitted the following:

Monday, May 26, 2008

On your mark, set, drop anchor

Conversation heard at Swiftsure 2008:
"Ahoy there Pa, if we're racing why are we anchored?"
"Well son that's a good question. Frankly though when you've been out here in this whale pasture as long as I have you'll learn to hush up and watch us experts in racing tactics and strategery do our thing. Now unscramble the drifter sheets, fend off that boat that has lost steerage in the current, and light up a smoke to check the breeze, be quick about it!"
Yes, the big daddy Drift/Swiftsure offered all this and more. In podium finishes here's the rundown:
Grafix skippered by Tom Gilbert was the big winner in the Clallam Bay Race, Handyman skippered by Neil Lhor held on for second, new AYC member sailed Chris White sailed Crazy Ivan to second, Alakazam with Dr. Paul Bergman was third, Doug Fryer got Night Runner up for a third as well in the classic Lightship Race.
Seattle Yacht Club had more division winners (read more$$$$) but AYC easily brought home more hardware overall than any other club! Congratulations also go out to Passepartout, Seeker, and Schussboomer for hanging in there in this tricky race.
The wind was light off the start and only a few boats were able to escape through Race Rocks before the great flushing sound was heard. Over 40 boats were anchored when Handyman arrived to watch boat after boat spin through the current and bounce off rocks. When the wind did fill from the West Saturday evening the race was warm and fast. We rounded Clallam Bay and maintained an over hullspeed run all the way home. The usual camaraderie was enjoyed and all are looking forward to next year.

Last Fireworks Display (NOT A JOKE)....

Based on information we have just learned from John Curtis who manages the annual Anacortes 4th of July fireworks event, this will likely be the LAST official fireworks show in Anacortes. There were rumors to this effect several years ago, but those were primarily related to lack of funding - the funding issue has been resolved thanks to the City of Anacortes stepping.

This time the problem is that due to "Homeland Security" issues large fireworks (can you say explosives) cannot be imported without very strict security measures. It is as a result of these new security measures that it is prohibitively expensive to import large fireworks (John says around $500 per shell) so the Chinese (who make nearly all our fireworks) have decided not to export to the US anymore!

As a result tyhe 2008 July 4th event may very well be the last official fireworks show in Anacortes....

Monday, May 19, 2008

AYC's Orsini Wins the NOOD!!!

Flash from The Seattle Times: Stephen D. Orsini of Anacortes, aboard Inferno in the Santana 20 boat class, won the overall title in the Sperry Top-Sider National Offshore One Design Regatta on Sunday.

Orsini and his crew had moved around in the rankings during the weekend-long competition, then took the lead Sunday. He will be invited to compete aboard Sunsail 39s in the NOOD Regatta Championships in the British Virgin Islands in November. Other competitors will include the winners from each stop on the nine-regatta NOOD circuit.

Congratulations, Steve!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

BC Ferry Way Off Course???

One of BC Ferries' newest rides (the MV Coastal Celebration) was recently spotted in London, England earlier in the week. The 160-m vessel, dubbed the largest double-ended ferry in the world, made its way up the Thames and moored just east of the historic Tower Bridge in London.

We are not sure how they ended up there, but I am sure that the passengers who departed Tsawwassen expecting to arrive in Syndey were NOT amused!

Check out the full story here.

MV Coastal Celebration

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Top Rocks in the San Juans...

We all know that the San Juan Islands are cruising paradise, but our lovely archipelago also has a reputation as being an unforgiving place for unwary skippers (especially those chartering). While there are numerous rocks out there (some even uncharted like the big boulder on the southeast of Guemes Island), some cause more trouble than others...

Our local Vessel Assist Captain Richard Rodriguez has seen his share of mishaps and kindly created the following map of the real "money makers". Print it out and tape a copy to your dash the next time you head out - you could be next!

Vessel Assist "Money Makers"

Friday, May 16, 2008

Washington State Ferry Way Off Course??

Ivan Reiff of the Western Prince II (whale watch boat out of Friday Harbor - 360-378-5315) recently spotted the Washington State Ferry Chelan cruising NORTH of Stuart Island. The photo below shows it going by John's Pass.

Why this is we don't know - perhaps there were too many crazed boaters departing Roche Harbor so they decided to take a different route? Maybe the Department of Homeland Security wanted something too look at with their new fancy remote camera array at Turn Point? Maybe the captain wanted to wave to his girlfriend on shore (it has happened before)?

Who knows - perhaps someone could fill us in?

MV Chelan north of John's Pass (Stuart Island)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

AIS In the Sky?

For those of you who haven't heard about AIS (Automatic Identification System), it is a rapidly emerging shipboard broadcast system used by larger boats (operating in the VHF maritime band) that reports a vessel's position, course, speed and other important information to all nearby receivers.

If you have an AIS receiver this information can be displayed on your chart plotter, enabling you to easily identify nearby vessels and determine if there is a crossing situation which you need to deal with. One added benefit is that part of the data being transmitted is the name of each vessel and their MMSI DSC calling number - enabling you to easily call a particular vessel and negotiate passing arrangements. Really cool stuff that based on my experience is a necessity when transiting congested waters with a slow vessel in reduced visibility or at night.

But wait - it gets even better! The US Coast Guard and the Norwegian government are planing to build and launch several AIS satellites, enabling AIS vessel transmissions to be globally received and monitored - facilitating vessel traffic control in regions well beyond the current VTS limits...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Taking over the world 1 bulb at a time...

In case you haven't checked in out lately, LED lights are the current rage for a very good reason - they consume considerably less power and burn much cooler than incandescent bulbs plus they last a very long time. It is because of this that LED lights are routinely used in such diverse applications ranging from bike and truck tail lights to anchor lights and so on...

While LED lighting is in a stage of rapid technological advance they are most certainly ready for prime time! So if you need to replace your anchor light or various interior dome lights in your boat, stop by any one of your local marine retailers and they will be able to help you...

LED Anchor Light

Monday, May 12, 2008

Clock Starts Ticking Today...

For those Americas Cup fans out there you will be interested to learn that Justice Cahn has just ruled that the countdown to the date of the next Cup starts today (May 12, 2008). According to my calendar, this would mean that the first race would be in March 2009.

Given the history I fully expect both teams to continue pursing this matter on two fronts - the first being in the courts; and the second by building the fastest boat they can in the time available!

Read the ruling.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

911 Worldwide...

We all know that you dial 911 when you want help - even while boating, but did you know that this is not the case in other parts of the world? The following graphic illustrates the various emergency numbers in use around the world. So the next time you are overseas on a boat trip you will know; but who would have thought it would end up like this!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Can you read a Telltale?

Telltales, tufts, wind indicators, flappers, or woolies - no matter what you call them are an invaluable aid in sterring and trimming a sailboat. BUT - do you know how to read them? We came across a great article that clearly explains the theory behind telltales and how to read them. If you feel a little fuzy on the subject and want to learn more, it is well worth the effort to read this article...

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Wednesday Night Has It All !!!

Our second race of the Wednesday night sailing season proved even better than the first. Our illustrious commodore tried to equal our first commodore(read club history in roster) by flinging himself overboard at the leeward mark.

Spence was back on the water less than 1 month after a triple bypass,(ask to see his scar). Grafix broke her unbeaten record of victories since her complete refit by getting beaten by the bad boys and girls of Schussboomer. Your RC beat his wife on the worm. (Now there is a sentence only sailors could understand) Capt Mac cooked his 1000th burger of the season. Check the duty roster it's probably your turn, we're a volunteer club, if you can't do it, it is your responsibility to find someone who will!!!!!!

Thanks to Scot Soes and prospective member Fred Schuttekopp for RC work. Nice to see some new boats on the water and all the familiar faces, in both B and C class the first boat around the final mark failed to finish first, it is never over till it's over. Even then it's not always over.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Presumptive Rubber Ducky Award Nominee...

In case you missed it, tonights race was very memorable on two counts - the first being the variable winds; and the second being that we had our first Rubber Ducky Award Presumptive Nominee of the season...

From our distant vantage point it appeared that a certain unnamed vessel rounded the leeward mark into a header and crash tacked, dumping our much beloved Commodore over the side. Recovery turned out to be difficult and required the assistance of the chase boat in order to effect a timely retrieval!

Unfortunately for the certain unnamed vessel the rules clearly state that you have to finish with the same crew that you started, so they were DSQ'd much to their surprise! There is however some controversy over this as the crew insists that the rules don't apply to situations when a crew member wants to leave the boat, especially when they are the Club Commodore!

Sound's like we need to get the protest committee warmed up for this one - could be ugly!

Through the Panama Canal in 1:52...

Check out this cool time-lapse video of a cruise ship transiting the Panama Canal in less that a couple of minutes... From what we here they are going to try to make the canal even larger so that it can handle more traffic and larger vessels...

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Sucia !!!

About a dozen intrepid AYC Captains, undaunted by the less than optimal Spring weather made their way to Sucia Island for the Club's annual outing. Saturday began as a drear day, but magically, at 1600 hr, the sun came out, the fire was started and the barbecue lit. The Jury is still out on who exactly won The Scavenger hunt, awarded to Warren & Linda Walz. It is claimed that the judge, Mark Burpo, was been bribed with Scotch. The Ugliest Hawaiian Shirt was deemed by the three judges, led by Barb Blymer, (see picture) to be on the back of Phil Case.

The Judges:

The Finalists:

The Ugliest:

Monday, May 05, 2008

Nothing like being out of control...

In cased you missed the Andrew Kerr seminiar on Saturday, here is some exciting video of an enthusiastic member of our dinghy fleet trying to take out the committee boat... Actually its an R-class skiff surfing down under - there wasn't that much wind on Saturday - but everyone had a great time and learned a ton of new stuff...

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Don't Forget - Andrew Kerr Seminar & Relay for Life...

Don't forget that we have two great events that you won't want to miss on Saturday, May 3. Additional information on both of these events is listed on this website:

0830 - Andrew Kerr Sailing Seminar - AYC Clubhouse
A free all-day seminar conducted by professional sailing coach Andrew Kerr. The first session will be in the club house, followed by an on-the-water session where you can practice what you learned, then a video wrap-up of the days events.

1800 - Relay for Life Benefit - Fidalgo Bay Resort
A Relay for Life fundraising Benefit (Team Rekevics #4102) featuring the band "Midlife Crisis" and a silent & live auction.

Americas Cup Update...

If you couldn't make it you missed a great evening with Tom Ehman discussing the various issues and challenges associated with the running of the 33rd Americas Cup. Speaking to a PACKED house in Washington State's oldest yacht club (our very own AYC), Tom provided a short history of the Cup and how the event has changed over the years.

Tom spoke about the Deed of Gift Challenge being waged by the BMW/Oracle team and the various risks associated with such an endeavor. Based on his carefully worded comments(plus what we know locally but not from him), they are building one big mother multi-hull (most likely a trimaran) and that they will be testing it here in Anacortes (the cranes were placing the docks today).

This will clearly be one of the fastest and most expensive racing yachts ever constructed, and it is happening right on our doorstep! Stay tuned...

BMW / Oracle Training with an X40 Catamaran

French on the VHF Radio?

In case you have been wondering why French is being spoken on the marine VHF radio, here is the origin of some of those silly words...

This is said three times on Channel 16 when it preceeds a message concerning safety, hazardous navigation or some sort of danger to mariners. This comes from the French word for "safety". For some boaters it would be a good idea to use this whenever attempting to dock their boat!

This is repated three times - PAN PAN PAN - and comes from the French word 'panne' which roughly means breakdown. Certain vessels in the AYC fleet seem to use this on a regular basis due to their highly unreliable auxilliary propulsion units...

The term Mayday is also repeated three times and is an internationally recognized call for immediate help. It comes from the French word m'aidez or 'help me'. Note that it is not a good idea to call mayday when your barbie runs out of propane!

So now you know - French is really spoken on the VHF radio!

PS - Thanks to Capt. Richard J. Rodriguez for this...