sleddog

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About sleddog

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  1. sleddog

    RIP - Stuart Walker

    Good guy. Spent an evening once sharing stories with Dr. Walker....will always remember his story of honeymooning with Frances on a week's cruise in his Starboat. ."Where'd you sleep?," I asked. "Oh, we threw a pad down on the floor of the cockpit," he nonchalantly replied. FAIR WINDS.
  2. sleddog

    Dick Carter design boats

    A fun book with great stories and photos! Dick Carter's recollections of people, places, and events are encyclopedic. Lesser known are DC's innovations such as Internal halyards and tangs. He also had a halyard lock for his spinny, but that didn't work as well as hoped Nor did the trim tab... I loved reading this book and recommend it.
  3. sleddog

    Improbable

    I've seen osprey nest at mastheads. And blackbirds hatch their babies in my boom. But a nest in the very bow of IMPROBABLE? That is decidedly unusual. But maybe not. I wonder if our feathered friends used for their front door the DORADE inspired, vents with baffles in IMPROBABLE's bow that lets in air, but not water, when sailing to weather. Did Len know? Guessing Mr. Mull would have approved of this alternate usage. (Vent visible in below photo.)
  4. sleddog

    Dick Carter design boats

    Sad news from the Ligurian Coast in NW Italy. Francesco reports that due to extreme, 10 meter waves breaching the breakwater at Rapallo Harbor, "the Carlo Riva Marina does not exist anymore and god only knows if it will ever be rebuilt; RABBIT was in Lavagna, at CARM, for some minor detailing following the restoration, so it was saved. Compared to what happened to other boats (SERAFINA, Swan 39 the design of which was derived from IMP that Skip knows perfectly, sunk, MY PASSION, moored on our same dock, and SEA WHIPPET, owned by our sailmaker, missing, other boats in pieces) our Carter 37 TOMIRA was lucky, she still floats and the repair work won’t be much, the major concern is to find berths for 2 boats in an area where 400 moorings disappeared and won’t be available for a time that no one can evaluate (if ever)." https://www.boatinternational.com/yachts/news/storm-destroys-hundreds-of-yachts-in-rapallo--38669 Below, Francesco and Mietta's Carter 37 TOMIRA damaged, but afloat. 200 yachts in the Carlo Riva Marina were reportedly sunk.
  5. sleddog

    Improbable

    Watching IMPROBABLE swinging in the fresh breeze, high above Auckland Harbor, I could see the wire lifting cables beginning to slice the BMax bumps. I couldn't really blame the stevedore union boss for shaking me down..these LASH barges were the beginning of a future container era for Auckland, and I couldn't imagine the stevedores were very happy with that automation in their future. In addition, I had learned just a few months earlier one of the 60 foot LASH Barges had split open it's bottom, dropping 375 tons of steel I beams into Auckland Harbor and closing the port while that mess was cleaned up. I paid up.... the union boss made a quick radio call, and the missing stevedores magically appeared, fitted out in yellow foulies against the non-existent rain. Simultaneously, HIKANUI lowered IMPROBABLE into the waiting maw of the LASH Barge. Having explained my plan with the model and sketches, the stevedores knew the drill: IMPROBABLE was rested on her keel inside the LASH Barge then slowly lowered further so her port side rested on the hospital mattresses. A timber framework was quickly built so the hull wouldn't shift. As this was work was going on, IMPROBABLE's mast was also lowered inside the barge and secured. It was a tight fit: squeezing a 60 foot spar inside a 60 foot barge through a 40 foot opening. The giant, multi-ton hatches were lowered, and I bid bon voyage to my favorite boat. IMPROBABLE was again living up to her name. Flash ahead 3 weeks. PHILLIPINE BEAR had arrived in Oakland, CA from Auckland, NZ. We knew what to expect. As IMPROBABLE was lowered into Oakland Harbor and the mast laid on deck, it was clear to all the BMax bumps had not survived, even with the mattress padding. IMPROBABLE was motored to Ronnie Anderson's Yard in Sausalito to be hauled. In less than a day, the damaged bumps were permanently removed, and we were back to the original hull, which is what Haji has now: one of the most fun and sea kindly designs I've been privileged to sail aboard.
  6. sleddog

    Improbable

    IMPROBABLE's BMax bumps were actually nicely faired and barely noticeable. Not those miserable tits that became the rage as IOR rule beating "progressed." IMPROBABLE's bumps lowered her IOR rating about .5 foot, to 38.5', still a higher rating by a foot than her S&S Solent rivals, the 49 footers RAGAMUFFIN, BAY BEA, AURA, and 'MOUCHE. But to be honest, none of the IMPROBABLE crew liked the bumps. They were heavy, yet fragile, and made rafting up on Cowes Harbor Trots problematical. After our unofficial record passage from Hobart to Auckland in the 1974 Trans-Tasman Race, IMPROBABLE became a Auckland "Harbor Racer" and training ship for 90 kids from the Torbay Boating Club's junior program, where Ron Holland had begun his early sailing career in the P Class. In late January we participated in the always festive Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta with 18 aboard, plus two dogs. We duked it out with BUCCANNEER, the always fast INNISMARA, and D'arcy, Molly, and family on TEQUILA. Darce beat us across the line by a boat length, but later learned they had cut a mark, giving the overall to IMPROBABLE. I was astonished to be handed a $200 check for the win at the Anniversary Day Regatta trophy presentation. Winning money; That was a first for the Red Rocket. I was looking forward to delivering IMPROBABLE back to California, when word came from owner DWA that she was to be shipped in 3 weeks time aboard the PFEL PHILLIPINE BEAR. It seems DWA's neighbor in Tiburon was President of PFEL (Pacific Far East Lines). A deal had been reached that shipping costs would be waived, if we covered the loading/unloading. Sure thing, Boss. Only problem: In this pre-Travel-Lift era, there were no slings and no crane in Auckland to hoist us from the Harbor and into the LASH barge. IMPROBABLE had to be gently tucked inside the 60 foot LASH Barge (Lighter Aboard SHip), a sort of giant floating container with two 20 foot opening hatches. I reckoned I could get the boat inside the LASH Barge. But IMPROBABLE was too high to stand on her keel and allow the giant steel hatches to be closed. And the mast was 20 feet longer than the hatch opening.... I built a model of the boat and the LASH barge, and reckoned we could just squeeze IMPROBABLE inside if we laid her over on her side. I could only imagine what that was going to be like for the glass and foam BMax bumps. With a borrowed truck, I collected some 2" steel cable for lifting slings. A quick trip to the Auckland Fire Dept. netted us some old fire hose for the cable covering. Then to the Auckland Hospital where we were donated a half dozen old mattresses for the hull to lay on. No time to waste. We had appointment with the HIKANUI, Auckland's giant floating crane. HIKANUI, to be rented at $500/hour, was taller than the tallest building on Auckland's waterfront, which at the time was the 3 story Travel Lodge Hotel. HIKANUI's 6 man crew was to be supplemented by a gang of "Wharfies," stevedores who would handle the LASH Barge and it's steel hatches. Trouble ahead? Not until IMPROBABLE was lifted from the water and was swinging 30 feet in the air in the fresh westerly. Then everything stopped. The Wharfies disappeared. I asked the HIKANUI's captain what was going on? "Raining, Mate." "Wharfies don't work in the rain." It wasn't raining. Barely misting. I said to the HIKANUI Captain, "who says it's raining?" He pointed to a small office on a tower, far above the Wharf. "Union boss is up there. Go talk with him." I climbed ladders upward and entered a small office at the top of the Wharf. The Union boss of the Wharfies made it clear IMPROBABLE would not be loaded while it was raining. "But it's not raining," I said politely. He just smiled and said, "If my crew works in the rain, they get to go home the rest of the day with pay." "What's that gonna cost?" I asked? "$500 dollars'" was his reply. I looked out the window at IMPROBABLE's red hull swinging at eye level in the breeze. The wire lifting cables, even with the substantial fire hose protection, were not doing the glass and foam BMax eggshell bumps any good. Never liked the bumps anyway. Perhaps something good could come of this? TBC
  7. sleddog

    Merlin at 75 mph

    Great news for MERLIN lovers: she's a comin' back to Santa Cruz. First a detour to a SF Bay boatyard for a little fine-tuning, including a new rig, rudder repositioning, and return to original color....Then crew training, shake down, and Wednesday Nights off Santa Cruz beginning late March, including Coastal Cup...All prelude to Transpac '19. Good goin' Chip, Brian, and crew! Santa Cruz anxiously awaits. ~sleddog
  8. sleddog

    Show your boat not sailing

    WILDFLOWER at repose in perennial favorite, Pirates Cove, De Courcy Island, BC. Shortly before entering the narrow dogleg channel into the granite walled millpond, a summer squall with northwesterly gale force gusts had emptied the anchorage. There was still an umbrella or two in the trees....
  9. sleddog

    Improbable

    IMPROBABLE's original transom hung rudder was built by Kiwi surfboard maker Rodney Davidson. Even without its stainless pintles, the unit weighed over 100 pounds. IMPROBABLE's transom rudder, though non-lifting, was influenced by Commodore and myself having sailed on RED ROOSTER in the '69 Admirals Cup and Fastnet, where ROOSTER's transom rudder added a certain cachet to an already interesting (and fast) design. RED ROOSTER's rudder could be cranked up vertically, along with the centerboard/keel, so that she could be made to draw about 3 feet. Once on the Solent, DC sailed ROOSTER between deeper draft competitors that were hard aground taking a shortcut over a sandbank.. RED ROO was red of course....and so had to be IMPROBABLE. IMPROBABLE never had an auto-pilot for deliveries. It was all shorthanded, watch-on-watch, manhandling the 7 foot laminated Kauri tiller. A tiller line to a windward winch assisted steering those late night watches..as did a small plastic hose dangling at the tiller's end, just forward of the tiller extension. The plastic hose led aft on the tiller, then down through a cockpit port to a hookah hanging under the cockpit. Listening to Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin while partaking of DKW's best homegrown made those dark nights pass just a little bit faster.
  10. sleddog

    holy christ!

    Why Moore-24's have stern pulpits.. Morgan's crew on BRUZER blows the spinny halyard, and......
  11. sleddog

    Improbable

    That would be Jim Gannon, our token Aussie. "Ruddy" was only used by us Yanks when calling "ruddy about!"
  12. sleddog

    Improbable

    In '71, on the Solent, we quickly learned the inferiority of our North "CRS", close reaching spinnaker, with reef points. The Banks "Star Cuts" were a light year ahead in shape for close reaching and reaching conditions, the asymm or Code Zero of their day. Once we got the wind aft of AWA 100 we were OK. In breeze, the further aft the better. Several times in big breeze on the inshore races of the Admiral's Cup, Commodore would go forward and hang fenders off the bow pulpit as we overtook 60 footers. The photogs loved the audacity...they hadn't seen a fast red boat since RED ROOSTER, two years earlier...... Even Princess Anne, at a RYS cocktail party for overseas entries, commented on "why do you New Zealanders all speak with American accents?" Note the sun glistening on the IOR "bumps" at Bmax. And our beautiful transom hung rudder was gone! Dumb. Sailing on the Solent with a crew of 6 was a workout. Commodore was worth 3, so we actually had 8.
  13. sleddog

    R2AK 2018

    Too bad no drone to watch the leaders get flushed thru Seymour shortly before Max Ebb....7-8 knots of favorable current, with whirlpools for dessert will have some heads spinning.
  14. sleddog

    Improbable

    Bill Barton's labor of love, The Legend of iMP, has several chapters on IMPROBABLE, her conception, adventures, owner and crew. As poncho remembers, we were in Sydney with IMPROBABLE when SAYULA pulled into port, battered and bruised. https://www.amazon.com/Legend-Imp-Magical-Rocked-Sailing/dp/0615355315
  15. sleddog

    R2AK 2018

    Anchored in the bay at Finnerty Islands, north west corner of Lasqueti, swinging at anchor while taking a nap is my guess.