In one of those email conversations one has, Adam asks me why I think a yacht is naked without a heavy machine gun. Here we go…
Somewhere in the Baltic. I am second mate on a big steel ketch delivering it to the Tall Ships Races. We’re barely three months into the commission and already the skipper and first mate loathe each other.
Still, it’s light winds so we’ve got the asymmetrics up: cruising chute, full main and mizzen staysail. My mate Mike is on the helm. At the time, he doesn’t have much sailing experience, but has hangliding, windsurfing and dinghy time. He’s wind aware, knows his collision regulations, is calm and, well, he’s a good helm.
We’re on starboard tack, the downwind boat and we’ve got hard to tack sails up. The black-hulled schooner is on a converging course and a steady bearing. We’re stand on, by every rule of the road the German schooner has to give way. Then there’s another ketch motorsailing into the mix. I know the skipper of this one: knows his onions but she’s an unhandy boat
To be honest, I have never been remotely interested in mega-yachts and when she launched a year ago, I paid scant attention. This book changed my mind. It's a bloody marvel. The length of a football field; the largest sailing vessel ever built; costing $130 million; an extraordinary rig. Its construction employed a small town in Turkey, several college departments and the best boat designers in the world. Perkins had a to get a special license to ship the carbon fiber from Japan as he was the second biggest buyer of after the Pentagon.
The book does a good job of covering the age of sail. It also goes deep into Perkins' life and the creation of the Venture Capital market. Perkins is an accomplished sailor. His other yachts, Mariette won many regattas and he was (is) an aggressive racer. In one famous race off St Tropez his stand-off with another yacht resulted in the sinking of another boat and the drowning of one its crew.
Most of the book is about the design and construction of the Maltese Falcon and if you're a boat nerd like me, you'll love it.
OK, this has nothing to do with sailing but a British friend of mine emailed this and it's very funny =========================================
After every flight, Qantas pilots fill out a form, called
a "gripe sheet," which tells mechanics about problems with the aircraft. The
mechanics correct & inspect the problems, document their repairs on the
form, and then pilots review the gripe sheets before the next flight. Never let
it be said that ground crews lack a sense of humour. Here are some actual
maintenance complaints submitted by Quantas' pilots (marked with a P) and the
solutions recorded (marked with an S) by maintenance engineers.
By the way, Qantas is the only major
airline that has never, ever, had an accident.
P: Left inside main tire almost needs replacement.
S: Almost replaced left inside main tire.
P: Test flight OK, except auto-land
very rough. S: Auto-land not installed on
P: Something loose in
cockpit. S: Something tightened in
CSN&Y at their hippy, totally stoned finest, playing Wembley in 1974. Here they are singing Wooden Ships.
This didn't make the Top 10 Sailing Songs but got an honorable mention. The song was co-written by David Crosby, Steve Stills and Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane on Crosby's boat in Florida. Wikipedia has this to say about it:
Kantner could not be credited on the original release of Crosby, Stills & Nash
due to legal issues, but he is credited on the 2006 re-release. The
song was also released by Jefferson Airplane the same year on the album
Both versions are considered to be original versions of the song,
although they differ slightly in wording, melody, and considerably in
The song depicts the horrors of a post-nuclear war where presumably
two sides have virtually annihilated the world and one man from each
side stumbles upon the other.
The opening line of the song is considered by many fans as being one
for the ages. "If you smile at me I will understand, that is something
everybody everywhere does in the same language" These lyrics are still
printed today on tee shirts at Crosby Stills and Nash and Young
concerts and on various internet stores.
Sailing featured heavily in CSN&Y's songs because of David Crosby's love of sailing. According to wikipedia:
Experience with sailing and nautical references provide the basis for
many songs as well, most likely initially driven by Crosby, who learned
to sail at age 11 and lived on a boat for many years. As seen above, the cover of their 1977 album CSN
shows the three on Crosby's 80 foot sailboat "Mayan". Songs which
feature this theme include "Wooden Ships," Crosby's "The Lee Shore" and
"Shadow Captain," Stills' "Southern Cross," and Young's "Through My
Can you tell me please, who won the war?
And no Tillerman this is not one of my bloody competitions.