Sunday, February 28, 2016

___________________________ CATBOATS (2) __________________________

The catboat in the above photograph is 'Jenny' said to be a 16 foot Crosby designed Cape Cod Catboat built in 1933 and recently restored. I think she shows a striking resemblance to the catboat in the following black and white photograph.

The full building plans including the Table of Offsets for this catboat 'Hitty' (below) appeared in the March 1951 edition of Rudder Magazine (Two months before I was born).  I like to think she was built and launched around the time I was born  (Yes this photograph appeared in the Rudder in March and I was born in June, but just settle down and stop letting facts get in the way of a good story).

A few years ago, with the aid of a photocopier and by matching a scale rule to written lengths on the plans I worked out a magnification number (from memory 360%). I then took the Rudder magazine along to the local, strangely named "The Gaudy Green Copy Company" where using this percentage they printed off the plans for me. (For those who have built boats - yes, of course, the Table of Offsets is the ultimate check on things).

Using given station measurements on the plans (not the scale rule in this instance) Hittys' length is 15 foot 2 inches, so she appears to be about 1 foot shorter than Jenny. So if she is not a twin sistership she is at the very least a slightly shorter sister belonging in the same family.

Interestingly the designers name doesn't appear anywhere on the plans or in the written article about Hitty in the Rudder magazine. It appears that 'Cape Cod Catboat' was at that time synonymous with the famous Cosbys, so I am presuming it is a Cosby design. It would be a long shot but it may not be a Crosby Cat as there were other designers of note that designed Cat Boats in the first decades of the 20th century e.g. Fenwick Williams, John G Alden, Charles Wittholz, Fred W Goeller, C C Hanley et al. But when you look at the similarities between Hitty with Jenny I would bet my cotton picking sailing socks that she is a Crosby.

I have been looking at Hittys' plans for years now and despite other pressing projects - I would dearly love to build this little centerboard Cat Boat.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

________________________ AN INTERIOR LIFE _________________________

Lately, I have been thinking about what it actually means to have 'An Interior Life'. I have often thought that it had a lot to do with a conventional religious framework, something that had to be sanctioned and approved of by some sort of organised religious institutions.

Karen R. Koenig, LCSW, M.Ed., is a psychotherapist based in Sarasota, FL, USA. This is her definition which I find interesting.

"Having a rich “interior life” may be key to finding meaning and happiness in our existence and undoubtedly promotes emotional health.

What does it mean to have a rich interior life? People who have one reflect on themselves and their place in the world with curiosity, not judgment. They engage with ideas and wonder a great deal. They spend time musing and mulling over, which is not the same as ruminating about the past or being anxious about the future. They have no stake in this process except intellectually enlightening their horizons and broadening their understanding of the world. Their inner life excites them and is a resource.

People with rich interior lives generally enjoy their own company because it brings them happiness. Spending time in their minds is a pleasurable, not a scary, activity. They enjoy going wherever their thoughts and ideas lead them—to music, art, history, current events, literature, science, or sports — and find satisfaction in the pursuit of possibility. They yearn to know and learn, not to be right, and their thinking has depth and breadth. They don’t worry much about what others think of them. They enjoy social activities and engaging in external pleasures, and their joy comes from within as well as without.

Having a rich inner life means not constantly being busy doing. Our inner lives may be compromised if we are always doing something and/or being with other people – rather than spending time alone. How do you find out who you are and what you think if you don’t spend reflective time with yourself? How do you grow to love yourself if you barely know yourself? Without a rich interior life, people seek comfort in externals—food, people, activity, etc.—and become dependent on them to stimulate (and simulate) pleasure."

The Churches definition of the Interior Life goes something like this:

"The Interior life is a life which seeks God in everything, a life of prayer and the practice of living in the presence of God. It connotes intimate, friendly conversation with Him, and a determined focus on internal prayer versus external actions, while these latter are transformed into means of prayer."

I wonder whether if we all had an interior life according to Karen R Koenigs definition the "Externalising" of our "Interiorising" would mean that God would not become something 'Up There' or 'Out There' or even 'In There', rather God would be right here in front of us in the unique "being - ness" of another creature - ANY creature, and the cosmos that cradles us all.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

_____________________ CRY THE BELOVED CITY _____________________

Christchurch, Canterbury, in the South Island of New Zealand is the city where I grew up. Today it was hit by a 5.7 earthquake. This photograph was taken on Sumner beach. The dust is from millions of tons of rocks that have fallen from Whitewash Head, a headland that I often walked around in the old Christchurch days.

The damage wasn't confined only to Whitewash head. In other parts of Christchurch newly repaired roads and water mains have been damaged and there has been a considerable amount of liquefaction.

Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have been enduring these quakes for the last five years or more. Like most New Zealanders, especially Cantaberians, I am wondering when all this will stop. I hope it's soon.

___________________ SIX HOUR ENDURANCE RACE _____________________

After having been suitably fed and having imbibed a looooong draft of beer from a large barrel of Speights I am typing this four hours after the end of a six hour endurance yacht race on Whangarei Harbour run by the Onerahi Yacht Club ......... and not to put too finer point on it ......... I am pretty bloody knackered.

Six hours racing in a small centerboard yacht is a long time. I was well prepared with a new hiking suit into which I inserted hiking pads for the back of my thighs and some foam for my calves; but I still managed to bang my bung knee so hard I yelled a string of expletives that any pirate would be proud of. I also managed to clout the top of my head once out of twenty six successful gybes I executed at the bottom mark.

The boats on the trailer behind the red Toyota in the above photograph belong to a family who sail Starling dinghies - and sail them very well indeed.

The wind speed varied during the day between 20 - 35 kms per hour which meant I only came into my own and became competitive sailing upwind (tacking to and fro) in the higher wind range.  This is because of my weight which is a lot heavier than the other skippers who are mainly high school children and a couple of adults who know what a healthy weight is.

I was lucky to actually to be able to take any photos at all. I was late for the start because I had trouble figuring out how to set up the boom vang pulleys, then about one minute into the race I lurched to windward at the bottom of a wave, over corrected, capsized and got behind even further. When I got myself sorted out, there on the bottom of the cockpit floor was my $650 submersible camera. It had fallen out of what I thought was a safe place in a pocket on the front of my life jacket.

I only capsized once in the whole six hours which is not the fate that befell most of the others. Gybing in fresh winds is notoriously difficult and as people got tireder and lost their concentration capsizing became more frequent.

Of course I wasn't bothered that people with figures like stick insects whose body weight is such that their power to weight ratio makes their boats twice as fast as mine capsize - it sort of balanced the ledger a bit. It was a sailing day where there was a meeting of sorts between fat and experienced and thin and not quite so experienced.

The tide turned about three hours into the race and began to flow out. This created a tide against the wind situation which produced some very short and sharp seas which came over the bow in great deluges. Happily most of this was removed by the venturi self bailer on the floor of the cockpit.

At the end of the race I could hardly find the strength to haul the boat out of water on the trolley. After washing down the hull and sails with fresh water from a hose I slowly pulled the boat over to where the car road trailer is. The heavens then opened and the rain came down in a great deluge.

Happy is the man who can still get his sailing act together and perform credibly enough to be placed second equal (26 laps of the course) in a six hour endurance race five months out from his sixty fifth birthday. Such a man is in his element - he loves life and sailing with a passion and he looks forward to enjoying at least another decade of small boat sailing.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

____________________ It's Becoming A Bit Of A Habit ____________________

It makes me smile to think that the whole rationale for doing this renovation on the Starling dinghy was to get myself a little knockabout cruising dinghy. Since the boats been launched all I have done is race it every Tuesday night at the Onerahi Yacht Club. Here I am yet again on the way to the start.

Some of the fleet tooling around waiting for the start. The fleet was very small tonight. The size of the fleets for the last few race days may have something to do with the lack of wind.

The bigger boats get under way. The Starling fleet always starts one minute after the bigger fleet which makes the whole process easy for 64 year olds. I am still just able to count to 60.

My cousin Stephen Smith sailing his Ok Dinghy. He asks me every time I arrive at the club where my OK Dinghy is.

As you can see - not a lot of wind. Time for a selfie.
We usually race three back to back races, sailing two or three circuits of the course depending on the wind strength for each race. Today as the racing progressed the wind got lighter and lighter making even just two circuits of the course a challenge to complete.

The last race was an ordeal. The tide was flooding in fast which made the rounding of the last mark before the down hill run to the finish very difficult.

Heading back to the clubhouse with the first lights in the houses on the hill appearing. By the time I got the boat ashore, washed and secured to the boat trailer it was after 9 pm.

I am looking forward to this Sundays race which is a 6 hour endurance race. For me this means 6 hours of a special kind of in the moment meditation - sailing meditation is a lot of fun - and fun is very good.

Monday, February 8, 2016

_____________________ THINKING OF SUMMER ________________________

Viewing this photograph reminded me of flying over this area in 1976 with my father and his old sailing mate Ron Lloyd who had given up sailing and taken up flying. He had flown his little Piper aircraft all the way up to Whangarei from Christchurch and we did a coastal trip up to the Bay of Islands and back. Though the views were spectacular it didn't cure me of my slight apprehension about flying. I would rather be down there anchored in one of the beautiful bays.

The trip wasn't enhanced when Ron lit up his pipe and filled the little aeroplance with smoke and I remember landing back at Whangarei airport very 'green around the gills'.

To get to my hometown of Whangarei you turn to starboard at Cape Brett which is the headland at the very top of this photograph.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo: "What I can do for a better world"

I first came across Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo in 1999 when I read a book by Vicki Mackenzie about her life and her calling to meditate in seclusion for 12 years. The book "Cave In The Snow" makes inspirational reading. The wisdom from Tenzin Palmo since those times informs us that our path doesn't require us to go to this extreme seclusion to make spiritual progress. Our progress begins where we are, right now.... and the content and context that is on our doorstep at this moment is the substance of our individual path. Over the years I have read and re-read three other very wise and helpful books by Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo:

'Three Teachings'
'Into The Heart of Life'
'Reflections On A Mountain Lake'

Today I finished re-reading her book 'Three Teachings' and as it is often the way when listening again to a piece of music, or re-reading a poem or book I have discovered again new richness.

There are a lot of utube videos of Tenzin Palmo. In these troubled times I have chosen this one, which is quite long but worth viewing for her repetition of the great wisdom (That is inherent in all the great religious traditons) regarding the links between Suffering and Compassion.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

________________ Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta 2016 _______________

 There she was in all her red splendour in the early morning light. She looked exactly as she did one year ago.

Once on board I took a quick tour of the boat and this is the only thing I noticed that was different from last year - one hell of a bend in the stock of the CQR / Plough anchor - it must have been one hell of a jolt to have bent that!

I sailed the harbour race with my brother Christopher this year. That's him in the foreground in the striped T - Shirt  working on the coffee - grinder winch hauling up the mainsail.

The days events began with the annual Tug Boat race which kicked up quite a lot of choppy water.  The huge wake made any yachts that were too close, pitch and roll, as this little H28 is doing.

The launch 'Te Hauraki' is owned by Steinlagers skipper Alastair Deaves father. We all gave a big cheer as she raced past in the Tug - Boat race. She was small fry compared to some of the massive Tugs racing, but she seemed to be keeping up with the big fat fellas.

The 'William C Daldy' was the only coal fired steam driven Tug in the race.

One of two old Americas Cup yachts that are now in use on Auckland harbour as daily charter yachts. These boats are very fast and quite a match for Steinlager 2.

These are the two flag choices that the New Zealand public will vote on later this year. We will either retain the old flag which combines the Union Jack on a dark blue background with four red stars (The Southern Cross) or we will have a new flag which combines a white silver fern boarded at the top with black and the red stars of the Southern Cross on a light blue background.

Visually from a distance the old flag stood out the best of the two. From a distance the new flag looked a bit washed out in comparison. Closer up (We sailed under the Auckland Harbour bridge) the new flag looked good.

The scow 'Ted Ashby' being put through her paces. One hundred years ago the Auckland coast was full of these coastal trading scows. Before the development of roads and railways these were New Zealands equivalent of the Thames Trading Barge.

The famous amateur built 'Innismara' hoisting her mainsail. She was built as a 'Ranger Beater';  Ranger being an A Class racing yacht designed by Knud Reimers that was unbeatable for decades on Aucklands Waitemata Harbour.

 A Dragon Class yacht, one of the prettiest little boats ever designed, getting the spinnaker pole down.

Traditional Polynesian catamaran heading towards Auckland Harbour bridge.

There were a number of old traditional gaff riggers sailing in the regatta.

Off we go heading for North Head in the distance and then up harbour to the windward buoy.

As we were sailing on the wind at 12 knots the trimaran Vodaphone flew past as if we were standing still. She must have been doing well over 25 knots. This is the trimaran that beat the 80 foot Maxi Lion NZ  that I raced on, by 14 hours in the Auckland to the Bay of Islands Coastal Classic race in 2015.
Speeding back up harbour to a line honours win in the big monohull division.

It was great to share the experience with my brother Chris who I think is now a starter for this years Coastal Classic aboard Steinlager 2 ....... Great!!