Category Archives: Sailing

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Top Reasons Why I Never Learned To Sail: I Was ‘Pipped’

Sailing Lessons Don’t Stick But There Was A ‘Southern Cross’ Moment


Monterey Bay sailing
As demonstrated here in Monterey Bay, this is how the beach blogger sails, with beer in hand.

I love sailboats, sailing, being on the water and being in sailboats.

I have friends who are skippers and have long been jealous of their ability to sail. It seems such a cool thing to be able to do, something James Bond probably did in his spare time when he wasn’t chasing villains.

A sailboat is probably where he took the Bond Girls after he finished saving the planet.

Unfortunately, I never learned to sail. I took a lesson and got a “diploma” but that was more of a ceremonial thing because I never quite got the hang of it.

The reason is simple: My mind was somewhere else during the lessons because I had been “Pipped.”

As any baseball fans knows, the term “Pipped” comes from a first baseman of the New York Yankees back in the 20s named Wally Pipp. He took a day off – he may have had a hangover, according to some reports – and was replaced by his backup. A guy named Lou Gehrig.

Well, Lou Gehrig went on to play in a then-Major League record 2,130 consecutive games. Being “Pipped” means someone replaced you in a not-so-glamorous, almost sympathetic way.

I had decided to write about a sailing class when I worked at the Savannah News-Press, and it was in Savannah where I met a girl who was visiting from Illinois.

We hit if off immediately, I took her around with me, introduced her to friends and she had such a great time she even came back a few months later to visit me.

One day, while I was covering an event, I had a friend keep her occupied, and that “friend” turned on me. He even secretly went up to see her in Illinois.

I got wind of this just as the sailing class started, so I only listened to half the things the instructor was saying to us. As proof, the wind pushed the small boat downwind and I got stuck in an oyster bed. I was knee deep in muck and the instructor had to come rescue me.

I spent the entire week feeling angry and betrayed but then a funny thing happened: I had a “Southern Cross moment.” On the last day, we were out on the open ocean and I walked out to the bow to reflect on tings.

The boat was bouncing up and down, spray was coming over the top and it suddenly dawned on me that I was spending way too much time thinking about two losers than I was enjoying the moment.

It was at that moment that I wished I had been paying full attention to the instructor from the start. Because I probably would have learned how to sail.

Now, I’m just a crew member. But at least I’m there to fetch beers for the skipper and am especially good at making boat drinks.

A Thrilling Finish To The 2015 Congressional Cup Sailboat Race

Taylor Canfield Defends Title By A Nose (Or Bow)

Congressional Cup sailing 2015
Taylor Canfield (left) battles Phil Robertson in a dramatic finish to the Congressional Cup.


You’ve seen it in horse racing, a photo finish that brings cheering spectators to their feet and the announcer losing his voice making the call.

But in sailboat racing?

It happened during the 2015 Congressional Cup, resulting in one of the closest finishes in the prestigious event’s 51-year history. Taylor Canfield, the #2-ranked match race skipper in the world, was battling 13th-ranked Phil Robertson in the final race of the best-of-three races on the final day.

The two skippers had their spinnakers flying headed toward the finish line for several tense minutes when Canfield edged Robertson by the length of his bow to pull off a thrilling finish to one of the top sailing events in the world. The 2015 Congressional Cup featured four of the world’s top 5-ranked skippers and six of the top 10.

The photo finish left the spectators – and no doubt the skippers and their international crews – gathered on the Long Beach, CA, Belmont Pier breathless for hours afterward. That was evident at the post-race party hosted by the host Long Beach Yacht Club.

With the win Canfield, of the U.S. Virgin Islands, successfully defended his title. Robertson, of New Zealand, won over the Long Beach Yacht Club officials with his bow-rising personality during the week-long event, which was held May 13-17.

Congressional Cup sailing
Spectators on the pier are treated to exciting up-close racing during the Congressional Cup.


Congressional Cup sailing
The racing among the world’s top skippers was tight the entire event.


Congressional Cup sailing
Crews work hard to maintain their edge during the Congressional Cup

This was an interesting Congressional Cup for several reasons beyond the hair-raising finish. It featured weather conditions that changed as often as a woman’s mind.

It started out sunny, deteriorated to a full-on rain by Friday causing a re-shuffling of the schedule, was held under gorgeous Southern California sunny skies on Saturday and finally a combination of sunny, then cloudy, then chilly and windy conditions by the finals.

All in all, it was a thrill for the spectators who packed the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier for this free event. Immediately afterward, everyone was buzzing about the 2016 Congressional Cup, which is scheduled for April 5-10.

50th Congressional Cup Off To Spectacular Start In Long Beach

Annual Sailboat Race Greeted By Sunny But Not Windy Weather

Congressional Cup Long Beach sailboat races
The boats of the Congressional Cup race right off the coast of Long Beach, CA.


The skippers and officials may have wanted more wind, but for spectators, the start of the 50th Congressional Cup sailboat race could not have been more spectacular.

The identically-prepared Catalina 37s threw up their mainsails, jibs and spinnakers on a Chamber of Commerce Monday (April 7) in Long Beach, CA, full of sunshine and warm temperatures. It was the start of a full week of racing.

The people who gathered on the Belmont Pier could have brought beach towels and bathing suits, for the weather was as good for sunbathing as it was for watching some world’s premier skippers try and steal each other’s wind in order to advance in one of the world’s most prestigious sailboat races.

Congressional Cup Long Beach sailboat races
The Congressional Cup sailboats come THIS close to the Belmont Pier!


Congressional Cup Long Beach sailboat races
There's free viewing from the Belmont Pier for the Congressional Cup.


The racing is divided into two stages, with the lower-ranked skippers (they are all in the top echelon by world standards, incidentally) battling it out the first two days while the higher-ranked skippers – including defending champion Simone Ferrarese (currently ranked 8th in the world) and the #1 Taylor Canfield – take to the water on Wednesday and Thursday.

That builds to weekend battles of the winners, with the championship taking place on Sunday. The action runs from approximately noon-4 p.m.

“I’ve been here before and fished last,” Ferrarese said. “So it was quite exciting to have won last year.”

The Congressional Cup takes place all week and viewing is free from the Belmont Pier. There’s food and beverages, but for the good stuff (chalices of Stella Artois, for example) you need to be a VIP.

The Long Beach Yacht Club puts on the race and spectators are entertained by lively and informative PA announcers.

The Congressional Cup’s website is:

The Twitter hashtag is: #ConCup



Visiting Norway On A Yacht From Nord Ship Agency

Traveling Through The Norwegian Fjords Aboard A Superyacht

Norwegian Fjord
No matter how one travels, the Norwegian Fjords are gorgeous. Photo:

Here’s a unique way to see Norway.

Nord Ship Agency, a specialist superyacht agent, has joined forces with Heritage Adventures and is now offering customized tours to Norway.

The co-operation means that Nord Ship Agency can work with captains and visitors to offer an onshore or offshore activity program.  Tours can be customized to cover different parts of Norway, from World Heritage Sites to specific villages and farms, and from short group adventures to multi-day independent tours.

“We want visitors to understand what unique experiences the Norwegian Fjords can offer,” Hans Christian Braarud of Nord Ship Agency said to Yachting Pages. “You can go mountain hiking, fishing, cycling, on guided glacier walks and more. The fjords are a natural beauty and one of the best ways to explore them is to cruise the waters and this is where we come in” to play.

“We are very excited about this partnership.  Heritage Adventures is one of the best travel companies in Norway.  They have the knowledge and experience to give our customers excellent service, which is important to us.

Nord Ship Agency is a general yacht agent that can assist with entry clearance, custom procedures, immigration, port berths, accommodation, transportation, spare parts and freight forwarding, bunkering and general guidance and support, working with captains, charter companies and yacht builders.

So if you’re ready to set sail in Norway on a megayacht, check it out here at: Nord Ship Agency.


The Moorings New 51-Foot Cat Ready To Set Sail In Virgin Islands

Power Catamaran Available For Charters In BVIs And Bahamas

The Moorings 54-foot power catamaran
The Moorings 51-foot power catamaran features lots of comfort and technology.

The Moorings, a charter yacht company, has designed a new 51-foot power catamaran called The Moorings 514 PC, and it’s ready to set sail for charters in the British Virgin Islands and Bahamas starting in March.

The boat has a large and open salon, a galley with state-of-the-art appliances, and four cabins.

The powercat provides smooth cruising while efficiently using less fuel. It has an extensive indoor living area with a contemporary style and comes equipped with state-of-the-art electronics and a stylish lounge with direct fly bridge access.

“There has been such an interest in this yacht that production has increased to provide more boats for customers,” said Shannan Brennan, Head of Global Marketing for The Moorings. “This yacht is going to make cruising even more spectacular while giving everyone on board what they’ve been looking for.”

You can take a virtual tour of The Moorings 514 PC, and book a charter trip, at:

50th Congressional Cup Attracts The World’s Top Skippers

Five Of Top 10 ISAF-Ranked Sailors Taking Part In Prestigious Sailboat Race

Congressional Cup sailing race Long Beach, CA
The Congressional Cup takes place April 7-13 in the waters of Long Beach, CA

In the year of the Olympics, this is like the Dream Team.

For its Golden Anniversary event, the Congressional Cup has attracted a golden lineup of sailors. The prestigious sailing event, which takes place April 7-13 in Long Beach, CA, has five of the Top 10 ISAF-ranked skippers in the world in its field.

They are: Taylor Canfield, #1 of the Virgin Islands Yacht Club; Ian Williams, #2, of the Royal Lymington Yacht Club in Great Britain; Phil Robertson, #4, of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron; Keith Swinton, #5, of Australia; and Mathieu Richard, #6, of APCC Voile Sportive in France.

The rest of the field is comprised of Johnie Berntsson, #14, of Royal Gothenburg Yacht Club in Sweden; Simone Ferrarese, #16, of Circolo Della Vela in Italy; Will Tiller, #20, of Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron; Christopher Poole, #27, of the United States; Dustin Durant, #37, of the host Long Beach Yacht Club; Francesco Bruni, #102, of Club Canotteri Roggero di Lauria in Italy; Dave Perry, #126, of the Pequot Yacht Club in the United States; and Scott Dickson, #136, of the Long Beach Yacht Club.

Ferrarese is the defending Congressional Cup champion. Williams is a two-time Congressional Cup champion, having won back-to-back races in 2011 and 2012, Perry accomplished the feat in 1983 and 1984 and Bruni (2010), Berntsson (2009) and Richard (2007) have each won titles.

The skippers are looking for the best way to navigate a course sailing at and near the Belmont Pier .  Spectators get outstanding up-close views of the start, the racing and the finish from the pier, all for free.

The Congressional Cup is the longest-running match race in North America.

It is hosted annually by the Long Beach Yacht Club. The 2014 primary sponsors are Farmers and Merchants Bank and Friedmans Appliance Kitchen and Bath Center. The 2014 Spinnaker level sponsors are Creative Productions, Gelson’s Market, Newmeyer and Dillion LLP, SWIMS, Team Campbell Logistics, The Port of Long Beach, Time Warner Cable and Union Bank. 7 Angels joins Congressional Cup this year as the official wine sponsor and Stella Artois will continue as the official beer sponsor and will be doing bar promotions building up to the event.

Hashtag: #ConCup



Dramatic America’s Cup Finish Good For All Sailboat Racing

Oracle USA’s Historic Comeback Creates Excitement Among Mainstream Sports Fans

Americas Cup Oracle
Oracle's dramatic comeback was witnessed by fans up close in San Francisco.

This is just what sailboat racing needed, the kind of dramatic buildup and finish that can grab the attention of people outside of its own community.

The 2013 America’s Cup was like a big gust of wind hitting a mainsail for the entire sport.

Team Oracle’s USA unprecedented comeback to defeat New Zealand’s Team Emirates on the last race of the last day was the sport’s equivalent of Joe Montana coming back in “The Catch” and Super Bowl XXII. Appropriately enough it was held in the city where Montana played, San Francisco.

Perhaps the City by the Bay has a certain kind of magic when it comes to comebacks.

When Emirates was whipping the USA – it built a seemingly insurmountable 8-1 lead the first two weeks of the three-week event – there was little interest outside of the host city for America’s Cup. But then, the Americans (well, the skipper is an Aussie and there was only one Yank on the boat, so the term “Americans” refers mainly to the nationality of boat owner Larry Ellison) came storming back.

And slowly, that started to get the attention of mainstream sports fans.

As the USA began to rally, more and more Americans started checking the results and even watching on TV (one fault is that the race was held on a secondary NBC channel, not the main stations). People started talking about it at work, in bars and in restaurants. And that’s just what sailboat racing needs – mainstream sports fans paying attention to it.  It even made national news (CBS and NBC evening news broadcasts).

Organizers actually reached out to potential fans and the citizens of San Francisco by staging the race in San Francisco Bay, within easy view from the shore. Each day, thousands of people stood on a jetty by the St. Francis Yacht Club or from free viewing spots along the water from Fort Mason to the Golden Gate Bridge.

An America’s Cup Pavilion was created and while you had to stand on your toes to even see the tip of a sail, this provided the event with kind of Olympics type of international atmosphere. There was big screens set up for viewing, temporary restaurant/bars and even a NFL Experience type of interactive tent.

And to top that off with the kind of comeback that Americans love well, that means that all the regattas that local yacht clubs hold now have a chance of getting some crowds and, perhaps, even local media coverage.

I’ve been involved for the past few races of the Transpacific Yacht Race (Long Beach to Hawaii, held every other year, with the next one in 2015), and most recently the Congressional Cup, a race in identical boats featuring past America’s Cup skippers (the 2013 event is April 7-12 in Long Beach, CA), and have seen the first-hand the potential sailboat racing can bring to fans

Sailboat racing has long been the sport of the elite, and little regard has been given to the “common person,” marking events or even the media. Skippers and boat owners – while certainly jovial when you meet them – get their racing money from their own wealthy companies and don’t have to bow to sponsors or the press to impress.

America’s Cup is the biggest event the sport has by far and does attract casual interest and media attention. But it’s only every three to four years – the bizarre rules of sailboat racing need to be streamlined to make it more understandable to the average fan – and needs to be held every two years to build on this momentum created by Oracle USA.

Happy sailing!


The Transpacific Yacht Race