Bloodhound is an exact re-creation of the racing cutter designed and built by William Fife in 1874 for the Marquis of Ailsa as a victorian era racing cutter. Photographed during the 2014 Yesteryear Regatta in San Diego.
One of the long time favorites at the annual San Diego Wooden Boat Festival is the 28-foot replica steam launch Amity. Designed, built and operated by Chuck Darragh, she features a plumb stem, fantail stern, and a full canopy that keeps the riders out of the sun and protected from flying ash. Amity’s diesel fueled boiler takes 12 minutes to reach working pressure, and her V-compound engine is rated at 10 Horsepower with a cruising speed of 5 knots. Chuck estimates he’s carried over 3500 passengers in the last 14 years at the Festival. He happily shares information about the workings of steam engines and the 100-year history of these small launches. A retired engineer, Chuck jokingly says, “I love to see things that go round and round.” Amity, and the San Diego Maritime Museum’s yacht Medea, are the only known steam engine vessels currently operating in San Diego waters.
You can learn more about the San Diego Wooden Boat Festival here www.facebook.com/SanDiegoWoodenBoatFestival
How I went from reading the vows for a friends wedding in San Diego to looking down the hatch of a tall ship in Boston Harbor in the span of 16 hours is still a fog. After a late night of revelry my travel day started with a 5 a.m. shuttle mishap, followed by a trans-continental flight, than a ‘holy shit this is a long tunnel’ cab ride from Logan International to the Boston waterfront. With bags in hand I’m now standing in the darkness, hopeful that the silhouette of masts at the end of the pier belong to the ship I was sent to photograph.
It was 10:30 at night, the first of July, and I was now in the company of the Privateer Clipper Schooner Lynx along with her crew of 8 under the command of Captain John Beebe-Center. The captain and Lee Anne, a volunteer from Michigan, were watching a Haratio Hornblower movie in the main salon. It was obviously the climatic moment, and no one spoke until I broke the silence. It was a long and akward five minutes.
Lynx was part of a fleet of tall ships participating in Boston’s week-long War of 1812 Commemoration Festivities – culminated by the annual turning of the USS Constitution. With the crew outfitted in period naval uniforms, we took on passengers to experience a rolling gun battle with our sister privateer The Pride of Baltimore – something that had not been seen on these waters since, well, the War of 1812. By mid-morning on the 4th of July, the waterfront was clogged with all size and manner of vessel. Captain John deftly threaded Lynx through the mosh pit flotilla escorting the USS Constitution out to Castle Island, the apex of her ‘annual turn.’ Old Ironsides, in all her glory, exchanged a blazing volley with Fort Independence. The roar of the guns and the following concussion shook us to the bone.
With the setting sun we let go our shore lines and began the southerly transit, via the Cape Cod Canal and Buzzards Bay, to Newport, Rhode Island. The sea was velvety smooth. A full moon was rising over our port quarter. To our starboard, we were treated to 4th of July fireworks from Cohasset, down the coast to Duxbury and beyond to Plymouth.
Our following days in Newport were filled with morning duties, shore side tours, and the loading of passengers for afternoon sails. My free time was spent searching out photo galleries, diggin’ around the worksheds at the International Yacht Restoration Institute, and people watching from my observation stool at an outside bar.
The dancing white caps, and billowy skies of Newport Bay were Edward Hopper perfect. And as we ran along side the schooner Mystic Whaler, the rush of our quarter wake echoed off her sails. Regretfully, my time sailing aboard Lynx had gone by much too fast.
p.s. During the course of this trip we were in the good company of the ship Bounty. She was a fine vessel, manned by an excellent crew. Ke Akua ho’omaikai Captain Walbridge.
Schooners, cutters and yawls searching for a puff. Morning fog begining to lift, a silvery canvas. Pre-start at the McNish Classic Regatta off the Ventura coast.
The young commodore of the San Diego Yacht Club, Joe Jessop, approached his friend George Kettenburg and asked him about creating a sailboat for San Diego waters. They discussed what features this new one design boat might have to make them competitive for local conditions. Most importantly, the boat was to be built within the “rules” of the Nathanael Herreshoff designed S Class, so that competition between the two boats would be fair without the need for handicapping. Thus the concept of the PC (Pacific Class) was initiated.
In 1929 George and his brother Paul launched the first PC “Scamp.” By 1931 seven hulls had been completed. The newly formed PC Association challenged the S Class fleet in New York to a four-boat match race in Hawaii at the Honolulu Yacht Club. The regatta winning campaign by the SDYC PC fleet was so popular, local Honolulu yachtsman purchased all four boats.
Post WWII boats saw some needed rigging changes, along with cabin and interior modifications. The elongated cabins are an easy way to distinguish the newer boats from pre-war hulls. The last PC completed in the late 1950s was hull #83. And based on the latest documented accounting, 47 of the original 78 boats “built” are known to be still sailing. With the core of the fleet still based out of San Diego Yacht Club, the class attracts many of the areas world-class sailors including; Dennis Conner, Jack Sutphen, Mark Reynolds and Bruce Nelson.
Following is a selection of shots from the 2011 PC Nationals sailed on the ocean course off Coronado. To learn more about these magnificent boats visit - http://sdyc.org/pc/index.html
As a long time sailor of Hawaiian ancestry I’ve been captivated by the rebirth of Polynesian voyaging. And this past month I was part of a small contingent that gathered at Spanish Landing in San Diego Bay to welcome the Pacific Voyagers, Te Mana o Te Manoa, and the fleet of double-hulled Vakas. Once ashore the journey worn crews – after 11,000 miles and 5-months, from New Zealand to California – enthusiastically performed a Haka. Then the crowd and crews held hands in a circle and offered a prayer of thanks for the voyagers safe arrival. The feeling of ‘mana’ in that single moment was one of the most culturally up-lifting experiences I’ve had in a long time. The fleet’s arrival coincided with the annual San Diego Festival of Sail. Seeing the Vakas the next day, among the large gathering of Tall Ships, was like a cultural crossroad of human ambition, seafaring know-how and lust for adventure. I’d like to think it was dumb luck, but it was my “Eddie Would Go” t-shirt that caught the attention of a Vaka crew. Several of them came up to me and said, “great shirt, great man.” And like a dream come true I was invited to sail with them that afternoon. I can’t even begin to describe the genetic bubbles bursting in my heart when they unfurled the sails. It was like a tidal wave of my ancestors pouring over me. When the Vaka’s Kapena (Captain) heard I was a sailor he said, “Kanaka check back with us in January before we head south to the Galapagos, maybe there’s a spot aboard for you.” I spent the rest of that sail lost in a haze and I don’t think I’ve come out of it yet. The thought of being on a Vaka in open ocean. To experience what our kupuna did. To honor one’s kuleana. That would be a dream come true.
Learn more about the Pacific Voyagers and their mission here – http://www.pacificvoyagers.org/Pacific Voyagers
Shelly and I have been fortunate to sail on several trips with our buddy Paul aboard his schooner Dauntless to California’s Channel Islands. Physically, the eight-island archipelago extends 160 miles from San Miguel Island, which lies beyond the shadow of Pt. Conception, south to San Clemente Island – roughly 65 miles west of San Diego. Emotionally, the islands are an opportunity to escape from 22 million Southern Californians and the grind of the modern world. The Channel Islands National Park encompasses five of these remarkable islands (Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Miguel, and Santa Barbara.) and their surrounding ocean environment. The Park’s isolation has created and helps preserve a unique window to California as it once was. Some of our favorite anchorages to hike, dive, kayak, and – fingers crossed – surf, on Santa Cruz include Smugglers, Yellow Banks, Coches Prietos, and Pelican Bay. But nothing can quite compare to the mist veiled remoteness and sheer magic of rarely visited San Miguel. The anchorage at Cuyler Harbor, and witnessing the staggering population of elephant seals at Point Bennett, one of the largest gatherings of wildlife in the world, are unique rewards for the intrepid traveler. Be forewarned, the passage to this northwestern outpost, with its rough waters and severe winds, can test both boat and crew. Our sail home to San Diego, with a lay over in Catalina, includes the constant escort of dolphins and the occasional blue whale. If you’ve never been to the islands, go. If you’re among the fortunate who’ve been before, return. To learn more about this wonderfully preserved piece of California ‘raw’ visit www.nps.gov/chis/index.htm
In 1867, the Boatmen’s Protective Association made an impressive contribution to the Fourth of July celebration by staging a race between the large coastal schooners and the sailing scows of the San Francisco Bay Area. These rugged workmen of the bay came forth not for the trophy, but to put on a show for their city, display their proud boats, and exhibit their skills as seamen. Right-of-way encounters, and individual duels were usually settled by bare knuckles, the throwing of coal, or with buckets of sea water. Today, the annual race is known as the Master Mariners Benevolent Association Regatta and contested over the Memorial Day Weekend. As much a race as a parade of classic yachts, skippers and crews still enjoy spirited close quarter sailing. The post race raft up at the Encinal Yacht Club is a chance for old friends to gather, where the drinks are as strong as the boats, and the yarns as salty as those telling them. Here’s a small sampling of race and dockside images from the 2011 fleet of 75 classic woodies. Learn more about the Master Mariners here - http://www.mastermariners.org/
Following is a selection of images from the recently completed Oracle RC44 San Diego Cup. The RC44 is the brainchild of 4-time America Cup winner Russell Coutts and now attracts some of the world’s leading business minds as their owner/drivers. Its strict one-design racing format, with evenly split eight-man professional and amateur crew, is as level a playing field you’ll find in international racing. With 11 teams representing 9 nations, the five day regatta featured match racing on day one, followed by four consecutive days of intense fleet racing. My most memorable shot was taken from the “9th man” seat aboard Artemis as we were first across the start line. Russia’s Team Katusha, headed by local favorite Paul Cayard, captured the inaugural Oracle RC44 San Diego Cup. The first event organized by SEA San Diego, the regatta was a showcase for “stadium sailing” on San Diego Bay. SEA SD is securing future world-class sailing events in San Diego, including a stop on the AC World Series Tour, as a run up to the 34th America’s Cup in San Francisco. Read more about the RC44 Class here – www.rc44.com
If you love old wooden boats like I do, then you’ll love tooling around a boat yard. Koehler Kraft Boat Works, located on Shelter Island, is the hub of wood boat repair in San Diego. The boat works owner, C.F. Koehler, recently hauled out his 10-meter sloop Sally for extensive restoration work to her frames and hull planks. Sally is among the last four remaining Burgess designed 10-meters, from an original fleet of 14, built in the mid-1920s by Abeking and Rasmussen of Bremen, Germany. Commissioned by a group of New York Yacht Club members, the 10-meter fleet was designed for comfortable, yet competitive long-distance racing. Sally’s sister boat Branta also calls San Diego home, and the two can be seen going head-to-head in classic boat regattas. A third 10 meter, Blue Goddess, is currently being restored in Raleigh, North Carolina joining the 4th known surviving 10-meter Twilight on the east coast.
Sally is 59’ LOA, with a 36’ LWL, displaces 55,000 lbs, and has 1400 sq. ft. of sail area on a fractional rig. Her hull is of Honduras mahogany, and alternating steam bent oak and cold-formed steel angles make up the frames. Even sitting in the barn at the Koehler yard, with huge chunks of her hull removed, she looks every bit the thoroughbred. Stay tune, as I’ll be posting progress shots of her retrofit over the coming months. You can check out video of C.F. cutting into her hull with a skill saw here –http://www.koehlerkraft.com/In_the_Yard/Pages/Sally%3A_10-Meter_Sloop.html