Summer Sailstice News & Stories
Sailors have known for millennia that things go better with wind. The rest of the world is rediscovering the power and beauty of wind as an alternative energy source - the complete reverse from sailors where wind is the primary energy source. We also know every photo of a city, windpower, a harbor or any body of water always looks better with a sailboat in it.
We interrupt our regular programming to bring you the latest organization to sign up for Summer Sailstice: Blue Peter – The Sailing School. Why does this merit special mention? Three reasons: First, it is a sailing school with a cool approach to youth development. Second, part of that cool approach is that most teaching is done aboard small, open boats. And third, the Blue Peter Sailing School operates out of Moreton Bay, Australia.
What??!! You've sailed all these years and never taken a Sunsail BVI sailing vacation? It's not always easy to figure out how to fit a BVI sailing vacation into life but it's always worth it!
It started out as a curiosity, became a novelty, caught on, started trending, and is now on the brink of becoming a downright phenomenon. We’re talking about Hobie Cat’s “next big thing” – the Hobie Mirage Adventure Island Kayak, and her big sister, the Mirage Tandem Island.
Our oceans continue to acidify, fish stocks continue to decrease, stress on the ocean ecosystem increases while simultaneously, public interest in outdoors sports and, sailing in particular, continue to decline. There are many signs of postive growth in sailing but from the peak participation of 12.5 million in 1979 participation has dropped to under 3 million in 2014 while our population has doubled.
So you’ve signed up for this year’s Summer Sailstice and you’re getting excited?
Well, here’s some news - This week has been quite exciting with several businesses coming on board to donate prizes for the 15th annual Sailstice celebration. Take a look:
Today, most people sail for pleasure. But it wasn’t so long ago that sailing was serious business. How serious? Think about this: From the decks of sailing ships, continents were discovered. Trade routes were established. Empires formed, flourished and fell. Wars were won or lost, and the fates of nations decided. In fact, the very concept of modern civilization itself keyed on trade routes established by ancient sailors.
SAN ANSELMO, CALIFORNIA (April 13, 2015) – US Sailing is inviting literally everyone to sail ‘together’ for the 15th annual, worldwide Summer Sailstice celebration of sailing. For current sailors this means starting their summer of sailing by hoisting sails on the summer solstice weekend of June 20/21.
Right after Summer Sailstice, at the end of June, 2014, four of us delivered my friend John Marsh's Tartan 40 'Asolare' from Hopetown, Bahamas to Chatham Massachusetts. Hurricane Arthur formed a few days after our departure and followed us up the Gulf Stream almost catching us before we tucked into Newport, RI just hours before its arrival where we were able to hide out from it's passing (without Hurricane Arthur our intended destination was Maine).
Way back in the last millennium, back in the late 1900s a parody of the classic magazine 'Yachting' was published by Elizebeth Meyer perhaps best known for restoring the famous J Class sloop 'Endeavour'. The journal came out as a single issue back in 1984 and took aim at just about anything that was then representative of 'traditional' yachting life. Racers, cruisers, yacht clubs, companies and yachtsmen were all subjected to what might have been an evening 'roast'.
A few weeks ago, we featured the Marion-Bermuda Race, a 640-mile cruising-boat event that is, mileage-wise, one of the longest ways to celebrate Summer Solstice. If that’s a bit more of a marathon than you’re comfortable with, fear not – there are a plethora of shorter racing events around the country that are likely within driving – if not sailing – distance. Here are a few of them.
The 'share economy' meets the 'giveaway economy' with a 'Life Jacket Drive' offering a brand new lifejacket in exchange for an old one. While Summer Sailstice looks to raise awareness and participation in sailing globally with a celebration of sailing we also work in our local, San Francisco Bay sailing area with a non-profit, SailSFBay.org to do the same.
Even if you're a cruiser it never hurts to start on time or to be ahead of the game.
The Catalina 36MkII, Knight Wing, sailed out of Kemah, TX by the Armer family signed up early this year and was the winner of a 2015 Summer Sailstice burgee. Kemah is a very popular base for Galveston Bay sailors with plenty of breezes and sunshine.
A hearty ‘welcome aboard’ to SUNY Maritime, who will be participating in Summer Sailstice for the first time this year. On Thursday, June 18, from 5 p.m. until dark, they will host free introductory sails aboard three of their small keelboats - a Colgate 26, Sonar 23 and a J-24. All sails will depart and return to their Throg’s Neck location at the southeast corner of the Bronx.
People sail to race, cruise, adventure and relax. Those who choose to adventure cast off docklines and sail beyond the dreams of most, more casual sailors. Some sail over 100,000 miles which equals about 4 circumnavigations of the earth at the equator. The Crusing Club of America, founded in 1921, supports seamanship, ocean voyaging and racing with an impressive list of very accomplished sailors.
We have some great events signed up already! We are happy to award 3 Blue Water Sailing Magazine Subscriptions and 3 Summer Sailstice Burgees to some early sign ups!
Congratulation to Stuart who won a Bluewater Subscription. He is planning on having a fun spaghetti dinner after a sunset sail at Gimli Yacht Club in Canada!
“It was an absolutely perfect day on the water – sunny, warm and 7+ knots of breeze. We had a terrific mix of volunteers and staff taking about 100 people sailing on our Lido 14 dinghies, Shields, Harbor 20s and of course Betty, our Catalina 42. Participants ranged in age from 15 months to 77 years. It was smiles all around.”
It’s not often that an inaugural sailing event – especially a long-distance ocean race – draws more than 100 entries. But that was the case with the Marion-Bermuda Cruising Yacht Race. Developed by a coalition of members from the Beverly Yacht Club (of Marion, Massachusetts), Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club of Bermuda, and the Blue Water Sailing Club – and still co-run by all three clubs - the first running of this premier cruising boat competition in 1977 drew 104 starters.
Just imagine if if all sailing facilities across North America and beyond threw open their doors and invited the public to experience sailing on the longest day of the year right at the start of summer! And then publicized it all in their local area - on Craig's List, in the local paper, in a Blog, Facebook and Twitter Feed. All sailboats, all sailing, all together. Summer Sailstice is the opportunity for everyone to do this for this year's 15th annual Summer Sailstice.
As we lined up along with 6 other sailing vessels in Marigot Bay, St. Martin awaiting the drawbridge opening we turned on Navionics tracking and verified that our transducer was feeding data into our Navionics app on our iPad. Over the last few months of cruising the Caribbean on our 39 foot Beneteau we had heard horror stories of this entrance.
Long shot – in the old days, cannons weren’t very accurate at long range. So a long shot was always a gamble with only a slim chance of success – as it is today in common usage.
Loose Cannon – Today it means crazy person. In the days of fighting sail, it meant the craziness that happened when a two-ton cannon broke loose of its lashings and started rolling back and forth across the deck.
It's March. Spring is around the corner (we hope). If you're not already in the midst of a project we're sure there's a boat project in your not-to-distant future. Boat covers will be coming off, boats pulled out of sheds and the spring buffing begins. This year, along with your boat project you can add a chance to win a $250 gift certificate from West Marine as they've launched a “Do It Yourselfie!” Promotion.
A thousand years ago, Cnut the Great was a pretty popular guy. He’d not only stopped the Viking hoards from invading England, he eventually became king of the North Sea Empire, which included England, Denmark, Norway and part of Sweden.
Sailing is fun anywhere, but for location-location-location, it’s hard to beat San Francisco Bay. In the summer, this natural amphitheater boasts afternoon winds in the teens or ‘20s (and sometimes more) every day. And you can’t look in any direction without witnessing spectacular vistas, from the Golden Gate Bridge to Alcatraz to the place sailors call the City Front. The currents can be tricky and wind is chilly, but for most sailors, the challenges only enhance the experience.
It may interest you to know that of all the myriad avenues just a phone call away for new sailors – sailing schools, yacht clubs, community programs, dinghy days, local marinas, individual fleets, special events (such as, ahem, Summer Sailstice), and of course family and friends – the first call many newbies make is to a sailing magazine. Especially regional sailing mags, such as SpinSheet (spinsheet.com), the excellent monthly for and by Chesapeake Bay sailors.
Chicago sailing has been providing access to sailing since 1986 and, as they say on their site, they firmly believe that sailing is more than just sport, it's a way of life. With their commitment and obvious enjoyment of sailing on Lake Michigan it's also great to see them celebrating Summer Sailstice with local partner the Columbia Yacht Club. Here's a pic and story from their site:
Our recent mention of a Beetle Cat once owned by the Kennedy family (Jackie bought it for John and Caroline to sail in Europe when she was married to Aristotle Onassis) elicited a reminder from a reader that James W. Graham recently released a book about the role sailing played in the lives of Jack, Bobbie and Ted.
We were cruising the other day – the internet, that is. And you know these sites where they suck you in with something like “15 Celebrities Whose Plastic Surgery Went Horribly Wrong”? Then when you go there, there are so many ads that you have trouble just finding the subject matter, then even more trouble trying to read it because you’re deleting all these unwanted pop-ups every 5 seconds.
Many sailing words have made their ways into everyday language. But you might be surprised at how many phrases you hear every day also came from shipboard life. Here are a few – and pay attention to how many are related to flags. In the days before radio, they were the main way ships communicated with each other and the shore.
Sailors often feel they are misrepresented in the media which seems to love perpetuating the myth that sailors all rich 'yachtsmen'. Really, where would anyone get that idea?
Ask 100 people what comes to mind when you mention Kentucky and you will get lots of responses involving fine whiskey, a certain horse race at Churchill Downs, and the place they make Louisville Sluggers. Real trivia buffs might even know that Kentucky was the birthplace of, among others, Abraham Lincoln, Hunter S. Thompson and Johnny Depp. What you would likely not hear mentioned much, if at all, is that Kentucky is a terrific place to go sailing.
This looks cool. Beetle Cats are one of the great classic classes from the Northeast and here's one with a unique pedigree - a Kennedy original.
BOSTON, MA – (February 10, 15) John Jr. and Caroline Kennedy’s childhood sailboat will be part of an upcoming live auction event by Boston, MA based RR Auction.
New Orleans was the site of a gathering of US Sailing ‘saints’ - the people who are on the front lines of sharing sailing with the youth of America through community and youth sailing programs. The three-day event, called the US Sailing National Sailing Programs Symposium, is a professional development opportunity for anyone who runs or teaches a sailing program.
Lee” has a myriad of meanings these days – alleys, blue-eyed girls, a brand of jeans. It was a type of medium tank in World War II. And it is a common first and last name over much of the world.
In the sailing world, “lee” has only one connotation – toward or on the downwind side of the boat. Ergo, “leeward” is the opposite of “windward.”
The word is thought to have originated from and Old Saxon (and French, and Norse) word meaning, literally, “shelter.”
While sailing is the main focus of Summer Sailstice, doing something 'sailing related' counts, too. For example, last year, Tom Perry was planning to go sailing on his home waters of San Francisco Bay aboard his Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 52.2 with his girlfriend, Barbara. Then again, being a sailing school instructor, he sailed a lot already. So he was open to other ideas.
San Francisco's 'Three Bridge Fiasco' run by the San Francisco Bay Singlehanded Sailing Society at times resembles San Francisco's sometimes 'loopy' Bay to Breakers Race. A few serious racers mixed in with hordes of people just out for a good sailing parade. With an entry list of 365 boats it was truly a Bay sailing spectacle which, with our ongoing drought, was held in near perfect weather. It had everything but wind.
Scuttlebutt editor Craig Leweck tells of 'the fiasco' - now with 369 boats signed up to start on Saturday:
If the mission of an event is to maximize participation, the first step might be to throw out the highly refined race management manual. Setting perfect start lines for perfect windward-leeward courses is fine for the hard-core racers, but not as much for the casual competitor.
Did you catch the news item about the “pet” stingray that entertains visitors to a marina in New Zealand? These days, Brutus attracts almost as many stingray lovers as berthers to Gulf Harbor Marina, on the North Island. One of a group of rays that have cruised the harbor for years, it's only in the last year in a half that Brutus has realized that being really friendly has it perks.
Wondering what to do for the upcoming Summer Sailstice? In the next few months, we'll feature some fun stuff other people have done in the past that may give you ideas for this year. First up, one of the best-kept secrets in sailing – Bulgaria.
We had some good entries for our Winter Solstice GoPro Prize contest and the winner is Dana from Seattle!
She shares her tale:
Dark and Stormy Sail
And Therein Lies the Confusion The language of sailing is confusing enough to newbies, but there were times when it was confusing to longtime sailor men, too. Consider exhibits A and B: starboard and port.
Many people new to Summer Sailstice ask the same question: “What exactly do I do?” Our answer is simple: “Go sailing.” That's it. On June 20 – the longest day of the year (aka the Summer Solstice), just cast off the docklines and go. It doesn't matter where or for how long. If you sign up on the website here, you become eligible to win some cool prizes.
Among the early sign-ups for Summer Sailstice 2015 is The Sailing Club, Inc., homeported - sort of - in Morristown, New Jersey. (More on that in a minute.) This will be TSC's second year with Sailstice, and the 2014 plan worked so well, they're going to do the exact same thing this year: On Saturday, June 20, Depart Rock Hall, MD, in chartered boats, head to the Miles River on the Eastern Shore of Chesapeake Bay, and pick a good creek for a raft-up.
Raft-ups are one of the most popular ways to celebrate Summer Sailstice. Tying a bunch of often-dissimilar boats together in rows – or the ever-popular circle - takes a bit of finesse, but the social and photographic aspects are worth it, even if a bit of gelcoat gets chipped here and there. If you celebrate that way this summer, use lots of fenders and please send photos.
One of the best things about Summer Sailstice is connecting with all the people and organizations who are introducing new people to sailing. The Midwest Women's Sailing Conference is one of those great organzations and the Milwaukee Community Sailing Center is one of the great facilities.
If you're aware enough of Summer Sailstice to have visited this site, or participated in past Sailstices, you're aware of the simple concept: get as many people as possible out sailing on the weekend nearest the Summer Solstice, which takes place June 20-21 in the northern hemisphere.
When the founders of Summer Sailstice conceived the idea back in 2001 of getting as many people as possible sailing on the first day of summer - aka the Solstice – they never specified it had to be on water. While the vast majority of participants do partake in boats, last year a group of fun-loving speed freaks folded the Sailstice into their annual Roundup racing series, sailing on a “lake” that hasn't seen significant water since mammoths waded in for a drink.
Ratty, the resident boat expert in Wind In the Willows, said it best: “There is absolutely nothing half so much worth doing as simple messing around in boats.”
So how do sailors mess around in boats when they're not sailing? Well, one way for upwards of 150 folks in and around the San Francisco Bay Area is joining the volunteer crew building the tallship Matthew Turner, currently under construction in Sausalito.