Our Race to Alaska – A Waterlust Film

Back in the spring, we blogged about the crazies from all over the country who met up in the Pacific Northwest to gather together for a fairly typical sailing race start. But everything that took place after that start was pretty atypical. These sailors were not just racing around the buoys or doing an overnight distance race. They were off with their bows pointed – more or less – towards Ketchikan, Alaska.

The 750 mile race is divided into 2 stages – almost cut in half.

This jovial race description meets you on the R2AK website and it’s so fitting I’ll share it here:

It’s in the spirit of tradition, exploration, and the lawless self-reliance of the gold rush that Race to Alaska was born. R2AK is the first of its kind and North America’s longest human and wind powered race, and currently the largest cash prize for a race of its kind.

It’s like the Iditarod, on a boat,
with a chance of drowning
…being run down by a freighter, or eaten by a grizzly bear.

There are squalls, killer whales, tidal currents that run upwards of 20 miles an hour, and some of the most beautiful scenery on god’s green earth.

Even if you didn’t care then – care for the first few minutes of this cool video accounting some East Coast sailors who traveled cross country to race their “beach catamaran” in this crazy race. The video is somewhat long – but it’s really well done and the story of this race is so cool. And when it pops up again next spring, you’ll be following the crazies. I know I will.

Building a ‘Paper Boat’ of Hurricane Katrina Memories

paperBoatToday marks the 10th (TENTH!!!) anniversary of Hurricane Katrina making landfall in New Orleans and southeastern Louisiana. Katrina was the costliest natural disaster, as well as one of the five deadliest hurricanes, in the history of the United States. The storm is currently ranked as the third most intense United States landfalling tropical cyclone, behind only the 1935 Labor Day hurricane and Hurricane Camille in 1969. The massive storm left a giant mess in its wake, with a completely flooded city and years of rebuilding dams and levees and neighborhoods and houses.

The funny – not so funny – part of the Katrina story is that people with boats became heroes.  Not the mega yachters either, guys with little fishing skiffs and dinghies circled the city plucking desperate people and pets off roof tops and saving them. Water world, as we suspected, is well suited for boats and boaters. Kudos to those brave enough to venture out in the face of danger. But to be honest – zipping down your street in a skiff sounds like an adventure. We all know this was nothing of the sort.

Enter this amazing NoLa artist and this cool story about his effort to connect with his community and continue to express the emotions that came with a damaged city.

Chris Staudinger and his father have built the skeleton of a 16-foot canoe. The boat is big enough, Staudinger hopes, to carry the memories of the post-Katrina community. 

Beginning with a reception at Byrdie’s Gallery, 2242 St. Claude Ave., on Saturday (Aug. 29) from 6 to 10 p.m., Staudinger will coat the hull of the boat with 2005 storm and flood stories he has gathered from contributors. He hopes that eight layers of paper, brushed with polyurethane, will make the vessel watertight. Though he’s not sure when or where he’ll take the canoe to water, he plans to make it “fully functional.”

Staudinger calls the project “Paper Boat.”

“Paper Boat” will be Staudinger’s first conceptual artwork. In the past, he confined his artistic expression to the written word. 

“I’m actually more of a writer or poet,” he said. “I’ve never really considered myself a visual artist. I just want to do something different.” 

Staudinger said that he used to lead canoe trips in Mississippi and once helped build a 34-foot canoe to ply the Mississippi River. Memory of that was the spark of the “Paper Boat” project. Read more of this story here.


Bottom Paint Research – Mid Season Update

This spring we told you about the RWU marine science students who had been busy building barges and painting panels with bottom paints to test. That was quite a process, but it’s nothing compared to their current and most recently quite busy process, with biweekly visits to each of the 5 barge locations. Every other week they check on every single panel, recording each panel’s growth, and any and all changes with notes and photos. They then swipe them clean and back into the water they go.

Jamestown Distributors will learn a lot from these scientist’s findings once all the data has been collected. We will receive a report on their findings and use the results to help us better advise our customers on which paint will perform better based on location, use and other factors. We like to think we are the experts on bottom paint, from our customer service advisors, to actually manufacturing our own TotalBoat bottom paints.  With this insight we will do a much better job as our knowledge base increases. Early results point – as expected – to the great differences in growth according to boat location. What works in one harbor might not work in your own area.

In case you thought we’re giving it all away before you’ve even watched the video, don’t worry! The students have taken this study to a whole new level and we are thrilled to have been able to film them as they build and check the barges. But the real carrot at the end here will be the results. And just like you, we can’t wait to learn about what the RWU students learned.

in the meantime, please become a part of the study and enter your own pre-season info into our short survey. Plugging in these customers survey results alongside the RWU research will present a very powerful picture at the end of the season. Be a part of it! Take the survey now and when you haul your boat later this season – circle back and fill in your own results. It’s all science and it all helps us help you find the most effective bottom paint for your boat.

Tides: From the shores of West Africa to the Bronx River

When Sekou arrived in the United States in 2009, he couldn’t speak English. His father had sent for his family, who were living in Guinea at the time, to move from West Africa to the Bronx, N.Y.

Adjusting to a new environment was difficult—unlike Sekou’s school in Guinea, where he was popular and spent a lot of time outside with his friends, the outgoing 14-year-old was placed in a middle school where kids picked fights with him. He lived in an area of the Bronx that had some of the city’s highest rates of violent crime in addition to being one of the poorest congressional districts in the nation. He had little reason to go outside.

A few months after arriving, Sekou discovered Rocking the Boat on a day trip with his school. The nonprofit had established itself in the South Bronx in 1998, when it began teaching local students the craft of wooden boatbuilding. By the time Sekou enrolled, it had expanded to offer students environmental and on-water education opportunities, job skills training, and community rowing programs to engage people living along the Bronx River.

The language barrier made transitioning into Rocking the Boat hard for Sekou, who communicated at first only in French. But he was well-liked, and his desire to have a good time and see projects to completion helped him acclimate and learn English. When he was 16, he was hired into the job skills program at Rocking the Boat, working on commission to build and repair boats.

Sekou, now 17 and a junior in high school, is not sure what he’s going to do after graduation, although he’s thinking about enlisting. His priority right now is working on a 30-foot whaleboat for the Mystic Seaport Museum in Connecticut that is slated to be finished in 2012. “I’m not going nowhere until I finish the boat and see how it’s gonna come out,” he said.

(from Vimeo page) Pretty cool! Someday I hope to check out Rocking the Boat. What an amazing program. Jamestown Distributors is proud to be a supporter.

Drone over Dragon Races

What a cool view- never mind the amazing Hawaiian water calling me – these boats and crews are so solid and cool. Good thing to watch on Hump Day. Ever rowed a boat with more than just you and 2 oars? This looks akin to crew but with a cultural element. Enjoy the view!

Kidz in Motion: Opti Sailing

This is a fun little interview from an enthusiastic and somewhat expert Optimist sailor. This young lady goes over the whole program – how to rig the sail and what makes her love it and why she races. You can tell that she loves her little “bathtub” opti and takes pride in being able to explain all the parts and pieces to a seemingly less educated audience.

I was recently speaking with a friend about kids and opti racing… and this sage sailor boiled down for me what he estimates to be the difference between the kids who excel and those who struggle or just… sail. His claim is that it’s all about the attention span, and that sending these kids out to race for 4-6 races in a day really requires a serious attention span. And not just to all the boat and sail parts to adjust for increased speed on your boat – also to the race course, the competition, the wind, weather, waves and current. And staying hydrated and rigging correctly and listening to your coach and adjusting quickly to unforeseen tweaks, changes and course alterations based on teammates and fellow competitors. WHEW! That’s a lot to think about for any normal adult, much less the increasingly challenged attention span of today’s kids.

But this lady has it down. Even if it is like “having an internet browser with 50 million tabs open at once,” She seems focused and committed to doing well and being her own commander.

I’d sail with this fine captain any day. (preferably not in an Opti, though.)



Danish Teak Sealer: Easy to Use and Effective

We just made this video about a product we have been getting rave reviews about: TotalBoat Danish Teak Sealer. In this video it is used on a teak deck and brings an older boat back to it’s beautiful teak decked glory.

Not all wood needs to be varnished or even protected. Many choose to leave teak and mahogany to grey and “fade” in the sun, which is certainly an option. But your wood is thirsty and will absorb water and thereby start to produce mold and mildew and this is when a teak oil or sealer will be very handy.

Easy application helps make a case for applying a few coats each season to extend the life of your wood. And right now – near then end of the summer – is a great time to add a coat to your wood. Give it a nice bath and then an easy coating or two of this great product. Your wood will thank you!

3D Computer Imaging a Herreshoff S-Boat

Captain Nat Herreshoff probably never imagined someone (like his grandson, Halsey Herreshoff) would be taking the measurements off of his molds to make 3D computer images of the boats lines. For certain he envisioned them being used to create boats to the millimeter of his scaled models, but the computer 3D imaging – never! Don’t misunderstand though, Capt. Nat was at the forefront of yachting’s technological movement at his time, developing the first light steam engine and creating the first fast steam torpedo boats for the US Navy.


10 Top Ships in Storm Video

Storm season is coming and there is no better way to fix your blood pressure and get your head around how you might prepare, than watching big ships in massive seas. We’ve done this before and discovered all 13 of you reading this LOVE giant seas, breaking waves, broaching ships… danger, thrill seekers. Armchair thrill seekers – which is the way to be since who wants to be on any of these ships in even remotely bad seas.

So sit back, pop a dramamine and enjoy the ride. And ponder your own storm action plan. When the National Hurricane Center announces that this will be a benign season, it’s time to prepare for the worst! Enjoy!

Total Restoration Riva Aquarama Lamborghini 278

Carlo Riva and Ferruccio Lamborghini, both full of passion and extremely driven to create the best in their field, joined forces in early 1968 when Ferruccio ordered a new Riva Aquarama. This Aquarama would be fitted with a pair of Lamborghini V12’s modified for marine use by the Lamborghini Factory, starting a second career for these fantastic engines.

Riva custom designed and built the exhaust system with open pipes according to Ferruccio’s request.

A unique all Italian Riva Aquarama was born, hull number 278.

Take a spin through the factory, through the restoration of this fabulous Riva and then take a ride on an Italian Lake for a test run. You won’t regret it.