Archive for » June 21st, 2014«

Sailing In Newport For Dummies


A sailboat in Newport (istockphoto © mblea041)

To acclimate myself to the one-time playground of Edith Wharton and the Vanderbilts, I stayed at Forty 1 North, a gorgeous luxury marina resort especially popular with yacht owners who can’t find Eastern seaboard marinas big enough for their large vessels, and also set sail on the American Eagle, a former America’s Cup defender previously owned by Ted Turner. But mainly I tried not to get seasick. Or drown. Here’s what I learned.

When’s high season? What should I wear?
Beginning Memorial Day, the docks at Newport are crowded until August, when boats usually cruise to Nova Scotia, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket. Stripes are appropriate. Scarves and anything with dangly bits that can get tangled and strangle you as you raise the sail are not recommended.

Are the terms “boating” and “yachting” interchangeable?
Only if you want to be thrown into Newport’s jail for the ignorant. You’d probably fish off a boat, but get served a multi-course meal on a yacht, which usually have elements of luxury—custom details, fancy pillows—not seen on more practical fishing boats. In short, all yachts are boats, but not all boats are yachts. Size also matters, but when does it not?


12-meter boats (America’s Cup Charters)

Schooner, sloop—what’s the difference?
A schooner has two sails. But the 12-meter sloop is another beast entirely. This is the class that sailed the America’s Cup after WWII, which took place off Newport from 1958 to 1983. Now a new breed of souped-up yachts competes for the coveted cup, but many of the wood-built “American Twelves” sail on in Narragansett Bay in Newport under America’s Cup Charters, the only place in the U.S. where one can charter Cup defenders.

Will I fall off?
Not unless you want to. The racing vessels make for an incredibly smooth ride because they’re heavily ballasted on the bottom with 600,000 pounds of lead. This also means you won’t throw up that delicious lobster roll you ate earlier.

Is a yacht tender how single boats meet other single boats?
You’re thinking of Tinder. But they work in a similar way. A tender is how a young single yacht meets a dock, and then hangs out there so its owners can hop on land for awhile, because a man cannot live alone at sea forever. Forty 1 North has a yacht tender program http://www.41north.com/marina-yacht-tender.aspx for vessels less than 36 feet, but can also accommodate super-yachts up to 250 feet. It’s a serious business—there are 5,000 pounds of electric cable running under the dock to juice up all the yachts.


(Kara Cutruzzula)

Why’s the bathroom called the head?
According to Captain Herb Marshall, who sailed the American Eagle while I was onboard (and bought the boat from Mr. Turner), it’s called a head because—cue the obvious—it’s at the head of the ship. Also, conveniently, “when you turn your back, the breeze is Mother Nature’s toilet paper.”

Um, not to be crass, but where does the poop go? On the poop deck?
You’re disgusting. The poop goes in the toilet. Just like on land.

What’s a jib?
It’s a cute little triangular sail at the front, er, bow of the boat. Don’t worry, Homer didn’t know either.


(Kara Cutruzzula)

Why do the current America’s Cup yachts look nothing like the charming boats of yesteryear?
There are no rules! The defender of the Cup often goes wild during the boat building process, and also sets the location and date of the next event. Oracle founder Larry Ellison upended the Cup game in 2013 by commissioning a futuristic-looking yacht with carbon fiber sails that went 47 knots (55 miles) per hour. It was $10 million, but also made for “one of the greatest comebacks in sports history” when his Oracle Team USA came from behind to take over Emirates Team New Zealand in the finals.

I’m so into boats now. When’s the next Cup?
Not until 2017. Keep your eye in Chicago, San Diego, or Bermuda—they’re all in the running to host. San Francisco was recently shut out.

Too far away. And I’m landlocked. Can’t I sail away on Netflix?
Sure, lazybones. Some favorites from the crew aboard the American Eagle: One Crazy Summer, Captain Ron, and Wind. There’s All Is Lost if you’re feeling a bit out of sorts. Or save yourself two hours—and a boat trip—and watch Bill Murray become seaworthy in What About Bob? He’s sailing, he’s sailing!


The sunset at Forty 1 North (Kara Cutruzzula)

Stay at Forty 1 North, located in Newport, Rhode Island, for a waterfront fix. Summer rates begin at $395 a night.

Sail your own 12-meter yacht through America’s Cup Charters, http://www.americascupcharters.com/ with rates starting at $2,340, including the boat and crew. Large groups can charter multiple boats and host their own regatta.

Kara Cutruzzula is a culture and travel writer based in New York. Follow her on Twitter at @karacut.


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ON THE WATER: Top Laser Sailors Square Off On Pacific

Alamitos Bay Yacht Club hosted the successful 2014 Laser, Laser North American and U.S. Singlehanded Championships last weekend with almost 200 boats sailing. 

The event attracted 190 entries from 14 countries in three classes, demanding a quarter-mile-long start line, making it difficult to navigate between the beached boats on the bay side of the peninsula Sunday morning as the sailors were rigging their boats.

One of the top-rated American racers, Charlie Buckingham from Newport Beach, convinced the world’s fourth-ranked Laser Full sailor, Brazil’s Bruno Fontes, to come to Long Beach to compete. Both are accomplished sailors and Olympic hopefuls.

On Sunday, I watched the two of them help one another prepare their boats as they talked about the day ahead. They almost seemed like two kids participating in ABYC’s thriving summer youth sailing program. 

 That spirit of friendly competition is what has afforded sailors the ability to continually improve, attract others to the sport and give spectators a good show. Buckingham and Fontes did just that.

It was great to see them finish first and second, respectively, in the Laser standard fleet.

Chris Barnard, also from Newport Beach, staged a fast finish, winning both races Sunday to place third overall. 

Paige Railey of Clearwater, Fla., flying under the St. Francis Yacht Club burgee, won the Laser Radial fleet and Gage Wilson of Cape Coral, Fla. won the nine-boat Laser 4.7 fleet with four wins. 

Solstice Saturday

This Saturday is longest day of the year. The solstice heralds the beginning of summer, and local water fans are going to capture every minute of sunshine. 

Membership Open House

In addition to its annual Summer Solstice regatta, Alamitos Bay Yacht Club will open its doors to the community from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday. Members will offer tours of the clubhouse, complimentary hotdogs, drinks and sailboat rides. Guests who join the club on Saturday will pay only half the usual $1,000 initiation fee. During the past promotion that began in January, the club signed a total of 22 new regular members and nine junior members.

Charity Regatta Dance

Also on June 21, from 7 to 11 p.m., the Long Beach Singles Yacht Club will host a dance at Seal Beach Yacht Club as part of the Charity Regatta, with proceeds benefitting the Long Beach Children’s Clinic. There will be a live band, no-host bar and hors d’oeuvres.

Tickets are $30 each or $50 per couple. For details, contact Joyce Evelyn at 377-0056 or joyceevelyn@verizon.net.

Summer Camp

Long Beach Yacht Club’s fleet surgeon afloat, Rick Adams, is encouraging people of all ages with physical disabilities to attend Casa Colina’s 20th Annual Land Meets Sea Sports Camp in Long Beach that runs Aug. 6-10.

 For more than 25 years, the Land Meets Sea Sports Camp has provided therapeutic outdoor experiences to thousands of people with disabilities. The camp introduces adaptive water, land, recreation and competitive sports, many of which are based at Marine Stadium. People with varying abilities will have the opportunity to participate in activities including kayaking, jet skiing, water skiing, outrigger canoeing, swimming, sailing, deep-sea fishing and an introduction to SCUBA.

For further information or to sign up, contact Casa Colina Outdoor Adventures program at (866) 724-4127.

Rowing

The Long Beach Rowing Association celebrated National Learn to Row Day on Saturday, June 7. More than 75 LBRA members welcomed more than 125 visitors to a free open house that included instruction on Concept 2 rowing machines, dock boxes and on-the-water rowing on Long Beach’s historic 1932 Olympic Rowing Course in two eights, four quads, and a double and single wherry. Experienced LBRA rowers rowed with the beginners, who rotated in and out of boats and were accompanied by two LBRA coaching launches.

On that day, six attendees became members of the Long Beach Rowing Association and 35 signed up for the learn-to-row lessons, with more people signing up daily for lessons. Those interested in lesson and membership information can visit longbeachrowing.org.


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Sailing in Turkey: Learning the ropes on the Turquoise Coast


Bodrum Castle

As we prepared to motor out the next morning, with only a little wind, Cap’n
gave us all duties. Two had to untie the lines that secured us to the
harbour and another pulled up the line attached to the anchor at the bow.
The rest had the easy job – tying squishy fenders to our sides so that we
would bounce off the adjacent boats should our angle of exit be anything
less than straight.

Timing, we learnt, is everything. Sailors are a proud bunch so no one wants to
show themselves up by veering into their neighbours.

Thankfully, we experienced only a few tense moments when mooring, and soon
learnt the basics. To make the most of the winds, which fortunately had
lessened , we freed the sails by letting them out with winches (much kinder
on the hands) and spent the next couple of days tacking past muscular
granite hills, with the hazy blue smudge of the Greek island of Kos on the
horizon.

At Hayitbuku, we felt the joy of pirates as we snuck in behind a granite
outcrop to find a gorgeous hidden bay that was ours alone to shelter in,
with a wooden jetty, a couple of restaurants and not much else. The most
attractive beach was at Palamutbuku, which attracted more day-trippers with
its line of thatched, open-air restaurants, and smooth white pebbles that
made the sea a delicious turquoise colour.


The sheltered coves of the Turquoise Coast

In order to enjoy a bit of nightlife, we factored in stops at Bodrum, with its
swanky, tree-lined promenade of boutiques and kofte restaurants, and Datça
Town, where, in late September, we were able to commandeer the dance floor
of a cocktail bar and request any music we wanted. A more bohemian air was
found at Selimiye, a fishing village on a pretty shingle bay, with artisan
shops, a couple of jazz bars and rustic-chic beach cafés filled with candles
and hammocks.

Our provisions that day were bought from a wiry old woman and her son, who
explained that the peppers, cucumbers and aubergines were from their garden.
We picked up eight mackerel for 20 lira (£5) and gutted them on the back of
the boat in the hope of making ceviche.

Somehow we succeeded and, over the week, managed to fry calamari, grill fresh
mackerel and whip up pomegranate salads. Our chef was selected as much for
his strong stomach as his culinary skills. Preparation took place below
deck, where the little cooker was designed to be self-righting even when the
boat was heeling at a 30-degree angle and the cupboard doors needed sealing
to prevent plates crashing out on to the floor.

There was nothing quite like the freedom of spreading open the chart over a
bitter Turkish coffee each morning and deciding where to anchor and leap off
the bow for a swim. The only navigational constraint was not to go so far
out that we would not make it back in time to hand the boat back.

For those wanting less responsibility on a sailing holiday, flotillas are a
good way to travel, and we saw many groups who had opted for this. They
typically contain up to 12 boats that sail together, with a skipper, host
and engineer all available to help out, so are perfect for friends without
any sailing skills.

On our last day there was barely any wind, but burly clouds softened the hill
tops now on our right – sorry, starboard – side, creating shafts of sunlight
that threw every crevice into sharp relief. It was a bittersweet return. We
grabbed any opportunity we could to throw up the sails and feel the air rush
past as they cupped the breeze, tipping us at a cocky angle as we leisurely
zigzagged back.

When I was finally given a chance at the helm, it took a bit of practice to
hold a course while capturing an optimum wind. Apologies were needed when
the stern rose up suddenly and we keeled to one side, making everyone lurch
for a handrail. But beer cans were easily righted and I was graciously told
it was the swell rather than my fault.

Those moments when we were nose-diving or surging off-kilter on the back of a
wave were thrilling. But we always had the autopilot to fall back on when
the urge to turn up the music and just kick back became too great.

We finally arrived back at the marina just as the sun was setting and, having
passed a rudimentary boat inspection, repaired to the bar, pleased not to
have disgraced ourselves or damaged anything. Picking at a plate of hot,
crumbly calamari, we toasted our voyage and welcomed the next crew, who
hauled their sails in tight and glided effortlessly into the mooring slot
next to us. “Like the cut of your jib!”

Essentials

A week’s bareboat charter through Sunsail (0844 417 2110; sunsail.co.uk),
departing from Turgutreis on September 6, costs £2,618 for a fully equipped
cruising yacht that sleeps six, with all necessary equipment, linen and
towels, starter pack and snorkelling equipment.

A week’s flotilla hire for six, from the same location on the same date, costs
£2,618 and includes a transit log and flotilla fee, plus 24-hour support
from a Sunsail crew.

These prices do not include flights to Bodrum or transfers. EasyJet has return
flights to Bodrum from Stansted for £211 on September 6.

Turquoise Coast travel guide

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Gala to benefit sailing school

JOHNSBURG – An upcoming 1920s-themed gala at the Pistakee Yacht Club will raise funds for the growing sailing school operated there.

The second annual Gastby Gala is planned for Saturday, July 19, at the century-old yacht club, 3300 N. 3300 N. Rocky Beach Road in Johnsburg.

The evening will start with a student parade on boats at 5 p.m. A cash bar will open and appetizers will be served starting at 5:30 p.m. Dinner is planned for 7 p.m.

There will be a silent auction.

Tickets are $75 a person or $550 for a table of eight.

All proceeds will go to the Community Sailing School @ Pistakee, which wrapped up its first season last year and hopes to expand its offerings. The rebranded sailing school invested in new boats, brought in three paid staff members and successfully put 60-plus students through its classes last year.

To register, send an email to csspistakeefun@gmail.comor call Tom Kartheiser at (815) 307-4466.

- Northwest Herald

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