Celebrating the Sailor

Happy Columbus Day! In honor of the explorer CC, for whom we reserve today, and without mention of whether or not he was a good guy or a demon – we must at least acknowledge that the man logged some miles at sea on intricate ships and in challenging conditions.

With that in mind, climb aboard this beautiful tall ship, the Top Sail Schooner Oosterschelde and experience a bit of what our pal, CC, might have been accustomed to aboard his own vessel.  Enjoy!

Adventures with Icebergs and GoPros (and a cool sailboat…)

So maybe you never want to climb an iceberg….or explore the far reaches of our globe. the high latitudes are rumored to be stunning – even more so in real life than in this cool video with ultra beautiful 4k GoPro footage. And should you be one of these crazies who does want to scale icebergs  – you better have a great support boat nearby.

We love boats around here – not icebergs, truthfully. And while not every TotalBoater will explore these remote areas, we can all dream and better yet get a lift there via dazzling YouTube videos documenting it all.  Adventure is out there – and even if you’re a landlubber or if you’re stuck in a dusty wood shop or boat shed – we hope you find time to seek and enjoy plenty of adventure. And mostly we hope your adventures involve boats…forget the icebergs….

But even if you don’t care a lick about ice climbing (count me in that category), the footage is stunning from these well camera-ed up climbers. Complete with a drone and about 4 cameras (by my count) on each climber, this remote area is very inviting for an adventure. And if you agree, then by boat is pretty much the only way to go…that is if you want the ultimate adventure which, we know, is always based on a boat!

O’Pen Bic Intergalactic Video and Boat Sale

TOO. MUCH. FUN! In the midst of storm prep or storm avoidance it’s fun to look back at this crazy event this past summer. Kids had smiles for days after the first ever O’pen Bic Intergalactic RI Championships. Big breeze and a big crowd of sailors brought wild conditions and enthusiasm to the shores near the Tiverton YC, host of this awesome Un-Regatta. See – it wasn’t about winning this time – everyone got awards and everyone had a blast racing with a teammate on some pretty nutty courses. And everyone swam. A bunch. Not the scary kinda capsize, but planned – even mandated – capsizing mid race to see who could best recover and scoot to the finish.

The O’pen Bics are showing up all over the East Coast and beyond. The West Coast has a number of fleets popping up and around here – especially post Intergalactic event – clubs and families are embracing this fun, fast and fairly wet kind of racing.

We took demo boats on the road this summer (read about the Bic Summer Tour here) to spread the stoke about how cool they are to sail. And the people loved the tour. Junior sailors flocked to the trailer of boats to check them out and be first in line to take it out. (Watch the video about the Summer Tour here)  Kids readily handed off the tiller of their Opti for a chance to rip around in the O’pen Bics! And our little fleet of Bics rocked it’s way around New England – steadily adding to the list of enthusiasts. And to the list of boat owners. So next year when Bic madness ensues – there will be a longer list of local clubs and sailors ready to Un-Regatta with the best of ’em!

And now is your chance! Pick up one of these gently used boats from the summer tour for a great price. The boat retails for over $3200 but you can grab one of these boats for $2400.  (fully rigged, lightly used, no dolly or covers.) Grab one now and tuck it away for the sweet spring sailing we all love. To inquire about the boats contact kristinb@jamestowndistributors.com or grab a brandy new boat here.

The Hero in Heronemus

Here is another amazing story to share with you about the good people of our boating world. Steve Heronemus was an avid sailor of the Wisconsin waterfront until he was diagnosed over 10 years ago with ALS. Losing all motor capabilities and having a sharp mind must be amongst the most frustrating and difficult illnesses, especially when pastimes like boating and sailing with your family slip out of physical reach.

So when the folks at the SEAS (Sailing Education Association of Sheboygan) reached out the the Heronemus family to see if they were interested in getting Steve involved in a new endeavor with their existing Adaptive Sailing Program, they jumped at the chance. Steve Orlebeke, Director of Engineering Harken got involved and  invented a touch pad and sip/ bite system to operate the auto pilot. And off went Steve. And hopefully other ALS patients in the future.

From the SEAS Blog: On September 4, 2015 using only a bite switch coupled to an autopilot and two touch pads for sail trim Steven Heronemus took his 83 year old father for a sail in a twenty three-foot sonar off the shores of Sheboygan Wisconsin. At the time. he had no idea it would be their last sail together because twelve days later his father unexpectedly passed away.

To Steven the quiet afternoon sail was a joyful return to something he loved. To his father it was one of the most beautiful gifts he could have received from his son.
And to other sailors with disabilities it would further inspire SEAS to explorer develop and refine the human interfaces necessary to provide any disabled person access to the wind and water.

On September 23rd the day after his father’s memorial service Steve took his son Matthew for sail as a tribute to his father the man who taught him to sail.

The story is about a whole community – the sailing community of Lake Michigan  and beyond and the friends and family of the Heronemus’ – and even more so about the family who was able to sail together again in a very timely way. Three generations of Heronemus men were able to sail again – so regardless of how the program takes off – and we have faith that it will – already magical things have transpired and a sailor gets to sail once again.

Classic Yacht Racing in the Med

What a sight it must be to walk along the main quay in downtown St. Tropez. This is true on any given day, but most especially this week and weekend while Les Voiles de St. Tropez fleet is in town.

With the collection of classic yachts mostly moored stern to along the downtown waterfront, it is a great opportunity for tourists and interested yacht oglers to get up close to the impressive fleet.  All the major classic yacht designers, styles and builders are present – with a few Herreshoff NY40s and the impressive Elena of London (a 180 ft replica schooner launched in 2009), some beautiful Fifes like Moonbeam III, an Alden or two and of course some boats penned by S&S, the J Class yachts, some 12 metres and the list goes on.

Take a walk down the waterfront in this video showcasing the lineup of stunning wood and brass. Meticulously maintained and sailed, these boats put on quite a show on the water while competing seriously on the water…that is on every occasion except when – as is the case a few times this week – racing is cancelled due to bad weather. The crews have plenty to do to keep busy – polishing, entertaining, competing in shoreside activities…. the fun is never ending even when stuck ashore.

And in case you thought this was only a showcase of the most fabulous classic yachts – there is a division of modern yachts, as well, with a 15 boat fleet of Wally yachts and a modern fleet with plenty of impressive carbon fiber and design wizardry. All in all – a major spectacle whether they are ashore for a weather day or out racing.




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.)



Off Piste Sailing

Oh the epoxy and fiberglass this guy must go through for his daggerboard! What a wonderful little movie about how sailing can transport you to places you just can’t reach by shore. And who said it has to be far away or even far from shore? This guy couldn’t get any closer to “land!”

Does anyone get to enjoy sailing like this near your own home port? Reminds me of the rocks off Ocean Drive in Newport. I am adding this to my Boating Bucket List! Off Piste Sailing! Love it.

A Tribute to a Race Course Legend

Mostly Dr. Robin Wallace is known around the northeast for his work on the race course from the  PRO (Principal Race Officer) position and not one of a decorated racer. But if PRO’s and Race Committees had awards, Dr. Wallace might be one of the most celebrated. He is certainly a well known fixture at starting lines for all classes of boats, from Optimists to the weekly Shields racing off Newport to Super Yacht Regattas and Youth Championship races. He gets around and his services and expertise is in great demand and this video is a wonderful glimpse into what makes Dr. Wallace such an asset to racing sailors on Narragansett Bay and all over the world.

When the America’s Cup left Newport, RI in 1986 bound for down under, Dr  Wallace was amongst a group of visionaries who didn’t see the defeat in the Cup loss – they saw an opportunity to plant sailing and specifically community based sailing in the Ocean State. Sail Newport was created with the help of Dr. Wallace who thought the water made all sailors equal, regardless of background and opportunity. This was to be equal opportunity sailing at it’s finest.

With the recent success of Sail Newport who so adeptly played host to the Volvo Ocean Race’s Newport Stopover in May 2105, it is a great time to watch this video and admire the talent we have at our local starting lines. And thank you, Dr. Robin Wallace, for your tireless commitment to sailing in the Ocean State. You are a model for so many and a great asset to the sport all across the world.  We thank you.

Thanks to Onne van der Wal for the video.

You’re Invited: Renaissance Regatta – July 16th, Providence, RI

Each July, Community Boating Center (CBC) in Providence, RI organizes and runs a “Renaissance Regatta,” as their main annual fundraiser.  Part of their revenue comes from dues, but a large percentage of the students are on scholarship, so they rely on grants, sponsorships, and donations to pay their operating expenses. Jamestown Distributors is proud to sponsor the event and lend our company President, Mike Mills, to the Board of Directors. At least come to the party to heckle Mike as he does his “sponsor” thing.

During the Regatta, sponsors have the opportunity to come down to our boathouse, meet our sailors, and (should they choose), go out on the water for a sail or fun race with some of the kids and other sponsors.  We organize a silent auction and barbecue, and it’s a chance for us to toast all of CBC’s supporters, volunteers, and staff.

  • Get a tour of CBC Center and meet the sailors, instructors and board members who make CBC Providence such a success.

  • Tour a classic Sparkman & Stephens-designed 53′ Sloop Sonny at the CBC dock. “Sonny” will  be open for all to see.sonny

  • Watch NYT Yachting Reporter, Chris Museler, and his MOTH buddies rip around the waterfront in Providence in foiling moths.

    ©ThMartinez/Sea&Co.  ARNAUD PSAROFAGHIS (SUI 4)

    ©ThMartinez/Sea&Co. ARNAUD PSAROFAGHIS (SUI 4)

If you’re local to Rhode Island or the Providence vicinity – please consider supporting CBC. It keeps kids busy and off the streets, it occupies a beautiful piece of formerly dilapidated waterfront in downtown Providence, it teaches kids and teens to love and respect the water and it supports the notion that accessibility to the water and to public “Learn to Sail” programs are a vital part of any waterfront city. Continue reading

In Honor of All [Badass] Fathers

Fatherhood can be rough. Right about the time we hit our prime (dare I say in our 30s?) and have ourselves figured out, what we like and don’t like, how to spend and waste time and money and how to prioritize life’s to-do’s… kids come along. They don’t RUIN it – noooo… having a kid is the best!  All of a sudden life and [new] priorities zoom into focus pretty quickly.  And for a few years our hobbies and habits are modified… a bit. But it’s not forever. You have precious few years to stamp your coolness mark on your offspring – and you better get busy doing so, lest you be left with some lazy land lubbing, eye-rolling mini you.

Hopefully you’re the dad who loved to get in the boat and having a kid didn’t slow you down. Maybe it sent you faster to the boat. To the beach. To the events in life that we cherish. Because HURRY!!! it’s nap time. Dinner time. It’s a school night. It’s recital night. There’s a game at the same time!!! INTERFERENCE Call!!!!  Life as a father to wonderful kids can be built around the stuff that is mandatory. Like naps, dinner and school. But the magic of fatherhood (says a mother) is that moment when you drag the kids along to your passions and they soak into the kid. How can you pass along your love for boating to a hater? Sure, they drag you along to the various required events – but when it becomes a drag to drag them to your preferred events, well…that stinks. You have won when they share your passion. (This also works if you start to love their passion – so really it’s a sharing thing…)

So here’s to hoping you can do cool things and live life uninterrupted by the short people (kids!). Here’s to hoping the shorties want to follow you to the boat, the hardware store, the workshop, the garage, to paint the bottom, to step the mast, to WALK? the mast??  – and so on. Wait – WALK THE MAST? Ok. No kids allowed here. Not even most real humans allowed here. Just crazy solo-circumnavigators and fathers like Alex Thomson. Thomson and his yacht, named for sponsor, Hugo Boss, just won best use of PR for this stunt he pulled off in the video above. He already got mad attention for Walking the Keel of Hugo Boss and diving off into the water – and now this insanity?

We give you the mast walking father, Alex Thomson’s cool behind-the-scenes video because – well – it’s so badass. Not that being a father isn’t badass enough, this dad takes it to another level and not only risks his life at sea when sailing around the world alone, but also as he runs up the rig and sail of his IMOCA 60 monohull and then dives – head first – off into the black water below. Wearing a suit. Whew. Bad. Ass. period.

This is just the kind of badassery that represents the challenges of fatherhood. Recognize the challenge, accept – and get climbing fast. Live life to the fullest – share your passion with the kids, try out their passions, make time for family fun always and hope like hell it’s on the water. And if you’re crazy enough (don’t do it): walk the mast. Just make sure the kids aren’t following behind you this time.

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY to all you BadAss Dads out there!