Thursday, December 10, 2009

Quadriplegic Sailing the Atlantic

Quadriplegic Sailing the Atlantic - Bon Voyage Geoff Holt!
Canary Islands - Many Yacht Pals cross the pond each year, but this transat is quite special. Our friend Geoff Holt, known both for his historic sail around Britain and his work in creating the model for modern disabled sailing programs around the globe, has cast off from the Canaries, and is currently bound for the Spanish Main. When he makes it, he will be the first quadriplegic to solo the Atlantic Ocean. His aptly named 60 foot catamaran Impossible Dream is now making way on the 2700 mile journey.

By the age of 18, Geoff had sailed in excess of 30,000 miles at sea, including 3 trans-Atlantic crossings and several solo voyages. His career was cut short in 1984 by a life changing accident which left him paralysed from the chest down. Diving into shallow water broke his neck causing a complete spinal cord injury and he has used a wheelchair ever since.

He has remained passionate about sailing and keen to support any initiative which provides sailing opportunities to other disabled people. In 1995, Geoff was a founding Trustee of the national disabled sailing charity RYA Sailability and now, through a network of more than 150 Sailability clubs and groups, more than 20,000 disabled people a year experience the freedom of sailing in the UK.

For more than 15 years he headed up regional marketing teams for two of the world's largest firms of accountants. He holds a degree in Fine Art Valuation and has sat on just about every sailing committee representing disabled sailing both nationally and internationally.

More than 20 years after his accident, Geoff became the first disabled person to sail single-handed around Great Britain in an expedition he called Personal Everest.

“Sailing has given me so much in my life. It was my livelihood before my accident and it was to be my saviour after it. The freedom I experience on the sea is like no other; I am free of my wheelchair and free of my disability. When I am on the water, it makes me feel alive and any sailor, regardless of their ability, will know exactly that same feeling. Sailing is my life.” says Geoff.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Bataan ARG Returns from Deployment

From Bataan Amphibious Readiness Group Public Affairs

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Sailors and Marines of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) completed a successful seven-month deployment Dec. 8 when USS Bataan (LHD 5) and USS Ponce (LPD 15) arrived at Norfolk Naval Station and USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43) returned to Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek, Va.

The Bataan ARG is composed of the Bataan, who served as the flagship for the ARG, Ponce, Fort McHenry, Amphibious Squadron 2, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 22 Detachment 4, Fleet Surgical Team 6, Tactical Air Control Squadron 21 Detachment 1, and detachments from Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 2, ACU 4 and Beachmaster Unit 2.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Captain Phillips - Grand Marshal

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Maersk Alabama Crew Repels Suspected Pirate Attack

U.S.S. Bainbridge ( DDG-96 )

Captain Phillips visits the USS Bainbridge and the Maritime Museum at Nauticus in Downtown Norfolk

Maersk Alabama Crew Repels Suspected Pirate Attack
By Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Nathan SchaefferSpecial to American Forces Press Service
MANAMA, Bahrain, Nov. 18, 2009 – The U.S.-flagged Maersk Alabama’s security team repelled an attack from suspected pirates this morning 560 nautical miles off the northeastern coast of Somalia, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command officials reported.

New pirate exhibits to open at Nauticus

NORFOLK, Va. - The lifeboat that rogue pirates commandeered from the Maersk Alabama to hold Captain Richard Phillips hostage arrived at the Nauticus National Maritime Center Wednesday. The lifeboat, on loan from the National SEALs Museum in Florida, will serve as the centerpiece of a Hampton Roads Naval Museum exhibit on "Piracy Today: Modern Terror on the High Seas," which is scheduled to open on November 21.

Captain Phillips is scheduled to visit Norfolk on November 19 to publicly thank the crew of the USS Bainbridge for rescuing him on Easter Sunday, April 12 during a dramatic confrontation at sea between NAVY SEALs and the rogue pirates. The ceremony will take place on the fantail of the guided missile destroyer at 2 p.m. During a gala ceremony at 7 p.m. on November 19 in the Nauticus Theater, Captain Phillips will receive the inaugural National Maritime Medal of Valor from the Board of Directors of the Nauticus National Maritime Center.

Foiled Pirate Attack Encourages Defense Officials

The Congress shall have Power to define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations.
The Constitution of the United States ~ Article. I, Section. 8

Saturday, November 7, 2009

USS New York Receives Official Commission

The USS New York is commissioned in New York, Nov. 7, 2009. The Navy ship was named in honor of the courage displayed by New York City's residents during and after 9/11. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Dan Meaney

USS New York Receives Official Commission
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 7, 2009 - A new Navy ship named in honor of the courage displayed by New York City's residents during and after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks received its official commission today.

The USS New York recalls "the searing memories of Sept. 11" as well as "the bravery of the rescuers, the resolve of the survivors, the compassion of this city and the patriotism of this great country," Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said during the ship's commissioning ceremony at New York City harbor. Clinton was a member of the U.S. Senate representing New York state during 9/11.

Part of the bow, or front, of the new ship, Clinton said, is constructed of 7.5 tons of melted-down steel taken from the wreckage of the World Trade Center's twin towers that were destroyed during the terrorist attacks.

The motto of the USS New York, Clinton said, is "Strength Forged through Sacrifice: Never Forget."

No one "will ever forget the image of twisted girders and shattered beams looming above the smoldering pile" of wreckage, Clinton said.

The USS New York is a San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship. It was christened March 1 in a New Orleans' shipyard by Dotty England, the ship's sponsor and wife of former Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England.

The USS New York and its crew, Clinton said, will join in the fight against terrorism and extremism and also perform humanitarian missions worldwide.

The new ship's first commander is Navy Cmdr. F. Curtis Jones, a native of Binghamton, N.Y. The vessel has a crew of more than 350 sailors and can transport a landing force of 800 Marines and their equipment.

Clinton was accompanied at the ceremony by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus; Navy Adm. Gary Roughead, chief of naval operations; Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James T. Conway; and other senior officials.

Mabus hailed the USS New York as "a visible testament to our resilience, to the character of this city, to the strength of this country."

The 9/11 attacks, Mabus said, failed to destroy neither America's spirit nor its resolve to defeat worldwide extremism.

"And, that's what this ship represents," he said.

Mabus saluted the men and women who comprise the New York's crew.

"The nation and our Navy are incredibly proud of you and all that you have done to prepare the New York for her operational life," Mabus said of the ship's crew. "You have begun to shape the spirit and the soul of this ship, just as surely as the builders laid the keel, placed the engines, [and] installed the weapons."

The New York and her sailors and Marines are now "ready to sail in harm's way, on any point on any of the world's oceans, to prevent conflict, when possible, and to win decisively, when necessary," Roughead said.

The U.S. flag that waves above the New York's decks, Roughead said, serves "as a symbol and a message of freedom, of commitment and of resolve."

As the New York embarks on her maiden voyage, Conway said, the warship "will carry the spirit, the determination, and the defiance that has always been America."

And, though terrorists attacked the American homeland eight years ago, they "will not change who we are or what we believe," Conway vowed.

Visit the online FAQ at for up-to-date information.

This service is provided to you at no charge by U.S. Department of Defense. Visit us on the web at

Monday, November 2, 2009

2009 Caribbean 1500 rally to begin Nov 2

The fleet of 60 boats is gathering in Hampton, VA for the November 2nd start of the 20th Caribbean 1500 rally.

Cruising Rally Association - Home Page

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sultana's Annual Downrigging Weekend

The harbor and wharfs of Chestertown will be filled to capacity on the weekend of October 28- November 1, 2009 as ships from across the mid-Atlantic make their way up the Chester River to participate in the schooner Sultana’s ninth annual Downrigging Weekend. Established in 2001, Downrigging Weekend marks the close of the schooner Sultana’s sailing season and the beginning of Downrigging for many of the region’s tall ships and traditional sailing vessels. The weekend will afford the public opportunities to view, board and sail on the assembled fleet and to join in celebrating the maritime heritage of the region. A fleet of “Tall Ships” and historic vessels are scheduled to participate in Downrigging Weekend 2009, including the KALMAR NYCKEL, PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II, schooner VIRGINIA, , A.J. MEERWALD, LADY MARYLAND, and more!
Click on Post Title for website

Friday, October 23, 2009

USS New York

USS New York ( LPD-21 ) stops at Norfolk on the way to New York City for Commissioning Ceremonies.,2933,565141,00.html

Special features of USS NEW YORK:
Bow stem includes seven and a half tons of steel recovered from the World Trade Center's twin towers
Construction with World Trade Center steel was encouraged by Governor George Pataki of New York and Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City
Name given by then Secretary of the Navy Gordon England
Keel was laid on August 2004
1,200 Louisiana workers stayed to keep building the ship after Hurricane Katrina hit the shipyard in August 2005
Ship was christened at Northrop Grumman's Avondale shipyard on March 1, 2008
Motto: "Strength forged through sacrifice. Never forget."

Monday, October 19, 2009

Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race - Results

The results are in ! Although the Pride of Baltimore II crossed the finish line first, a handicap advantage awarded Lady Maryland with the 1st Place honors.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Aboard the Schooner Virginia

* added Sunday October 18. My photos of this event are being posted on my Flickr Photostream

Thursday, October 15, 2009
The Great Chesapeake Bay Race is ON !

Aboard the Schooner Virginia
Photographer Steve Earley and reporter Aaron Applegate join the crew of the 122-foot schooner Virginia for The Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race, a 120-mile contest from Baltimore to Hampton Roads. Read their blog for continuous updates. Find a map here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pirates Beware !

080730-N-0000X-001 MARINETTE, Wis. (July 30, 2008) The first U.S. Navy Littoral Combat Ship, Freedom (LCS 1), the inaugural ship in an entirely new class of U.S. Navy surface warships , is seen underway during day two of Builders Trials. The ship is designed for littoral, or close-to-shore, operations and to provide access and dominance in coastal-water areas. (Photo provided courtesy Lockheed Martin /Released)
USS Freedom To Deploy Early

The Navy announced today the decision to deploy the USS Freedom (LCS 1) in early 2010 to the Southern Command and Pacific Command areas ahead of her originally scheduled 2012 maiden deployment. According to Navy leaders, Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) are needed now to close urgent warfighting gaps.

"Deploying LCS now is a big step forward in getting this ship where it needs to be – operating in the increasingly important littoral regions," said Adm. Gary Roughead, chief of naval operations. "We must deliver this critical capability to the warfighter now."

The USS Freedom will have an immediate impact on fleet readiness and global reach as an asset with unique combat capabilities and the ability to meet littoral tasking not previously seen in the modern cruiser or destroyer fleet.

USS Freedom (LCS-1), the lead ship of the Freedom class of Littoral combat ships (LCS), is the third vessel of the United States Navy to be so named. She was officially accepted by the Supervisor of Shipbuilding Gulf Coast on behalf of the US Navy from the Lockheed Martin/Marinette Marine/Gibbs and Cox team in Marinette, WI on 18 September 2008.
She is designed for a variety of missions in shallow waters, capable against submarines and ships, as well as minesweeping and humanitarian relief. The ship is a semi-planing monohull design capable of over 45 knots (83 km/h; 52 mph).
Commissioned in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on 8 November 2008, USS Freedom is home-ported in San Diego, California.
Media contact: +1 (703) 697-5131/697-5132

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Mullen Praises 'Powerful Legacy' During Ship Commissioning

At A Glance
Class: BURKE Flight IIa As Built.
Displacement: 8373 Tons (Full)
Dimensions: 509' 5" (oa) x 66' 11" x 20' (Max)
Armament: 1x5"/62 RF, Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile, 90 VLS Cells, 2 SH-60B helicopters, 8 Harpoon Missiles, 6 x 12.75" TT
Machinery: 100,000 SHP; 4 GE LM-2500 Gas Turbines, 2 screws
Speed: 30+ Knots, Range 4400 NM@ 20 Knots
Crew: 370

Friday, October 9, 2009

2009 Schooner Days in Portsmouth VA Events

Click on the header for a schedule of the many activities for Saturday and Sunday.
More info in my other blog:
Schooner Days is a celebration of the world’s largest gathering of schooners along the waterfront of Olde Towne Portsmouth, Virginia. It's held in conjunction with the 20th Annual Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race from Baltimore to Portsmouth.
This two-day celebration offers numerous maritime-relatedactivities, many are free to the general public. Music is scheduled along the waterfront along with military re-enactors and pirates.
The Portsmouth waterfront from North Landing to beyond the High Street Landing they'll be over 50 schooners from around the world. You'll be able to go onboard a few vessels to see what living and working aboard a schooner is about.
Schooner Days promotes Portsmouth’s rich maritime history and brings awareness for the need to preserve and improve the natural resources of the Chesapeake Bay.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Multinational Force Keeps Pirates at Bay

Report from the U.S. Department of Defense
By Ian GrahamSpecial to American Forces Press Service

Click on TITLE for article

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race

Massachusetts and Malabar original artwork donated by Pam Pahl.

October 13-16, 2009 From Baltimore, Maryland, to Portsmouth, Virginia

The Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race (GCBSR) was founded to promote public awareness of the Chesapeake Bay's maritime heritage and to encourage the preservation and improvement of the Chesapeake's natural resources. We accomplish this goal by donating the proceeds of the race to one or more charitable organizations involved in conservation of the natural resources of the Chesapeake Bay. To date, $114,600 has been donated to support children's education programs of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
The race begins in Fells Point, in Baltimore, Maryland, and ends 127 nautical miles down the Chesapeake Bay in Portsmouth, Virginia. Entry is open to all schooner-rigged vessels.
More than 50 schooners participated in the 2008 race. This year's race is the 20th anniversary of the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race. Please join us — as a sailor, sponsor, volunteer or spectator — to make this 20th anniversary race the best race ever! Until then, we wish you fair winds and smooth sailing!

2009 Fleet
Below is the fleet as of September 7, 2009. Schooners will be added to this list as their entry forms are received. Schooners with an * by their name take paying passengers. Please contact them directly to inquire about charter availability.

Length (ft)
Home Port

Adventure 42 Shady Side, MD

Adventurer 56 56 Annapolis, MD

Antonina 58 Townsend Inlet, NJ

Arabella* 160 Newport, RI

Bonny Rover 64 Norfolk, VA

Celebration 40 Middle River, MD

Cuchulain 50 Pasadena, MD

Delight 45 Cape Charles, VA

Dove II 63 Northport, ME

Edlyn Rose 50 Baltimore, MD

Farewell 47 Baltimore, MD

Green Dragon 45 Manchester, MA

Heron* 60 Solomons Island, MD

Island Time 50 North East, MD

Jacob Jones 31 New Yarmouth, MD

Juno 82 Vineyard Haven, MA

Lady Maryland 104 Baltimore, MD

Libertate 56 Annapolis, MD

Liberté* 74 Annapolis, MD

Liberty Clipper* 125 Boston, MA

Lion 30 Fell's Point, MD

Martha White 65 Chestertown, MD

Mistress 77* 77 Key West, FL

Mystic Whaler* 110 New London, CT

Norfolk Rebel 59 Norfolk, VA

One World 64 Road Harbour, BVI

Outward Bound 30 Rockland, ME

Paquito 68 Magothy Beach, MD

Pirates Lady* 71 Key West, FL

Pride of Baltimore II 157 Baltimore, MD

Prom Queen 60 Cambridge, MD

Quintessence 44 Forked River, NJ

Resolute 39 Annapolis, MD

Resolution 53 Londontowne, MD

Sally B 65 Galesville, MD

Shanty 50 Norfolk, VA

Singing Gypsy 34 Suffolk, VA

Spirit of Independence* 80 Portsmouth, VA

Sultana* 97 Chestertown, MD

Susan B Merryman 39 Havre de Grace, MD

Virginia 126 Norfolk, VA

When and If 81 Vineyard Haven, MA
Woodwind* 74 Annapolis, MD

©The Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race, Inc

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Belfast Tall Ship Festival

800,000 enjoy Belfast Tall Ships festival - August 18, 2009

The equivalent of half the population of Northern Ireland visited the Tall Ships during their four day stay in Belfast. Organizers estimate that around 800,000 people crowded to the city`s docks for the biggest event ever staged on the island of Ireland.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Making Waves in Power

Monday, July 27, 2009

Petraeus Visits Sailors, Awards Maersk Rescuers

Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of U.S. Central Command, addresses sailors aboard USS Bainbridge while the ship was in port in Manama, Bahrain, July 27, 2009. Petraeus thanked sailors for their hard work while deployed to U.S. 5th Fleet as well as their role in the successful rescue of Richard Phillips, the Maersk Alabama captain held captive by Somali pirates for five days in April. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Nathan Schaeffer

By Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Nathan Schaeffer
Special to American Forces Press Service
MANAMA, Bahrain, July 27, 2009 – The head of U.S. Central Command visited the guided-missile destroyer USS Bainbridge while in port here today to thank sailors for their work while deployed to U.S. 5th Fleet, as well as for their role in the rescue of Richard Phillips, the Maersk Alabama cargo ship captain held captive by Somali pirates.
Click on Headline for rest of story from U.S. Department Of Defense / Defense Link News Article

Friday, July 24, 2009

USNS Comfort Returning to Norfolk

Photo from:

USNS Comfort ( T-AH-20 ) departed Norfolk, Va. April 1, beginning a four-month deployment to Antigua, Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Panama. Each visit lasted about 10-12 days.
USNS Comfort wrapped up operations in Nicaragua July 14, completing the seventh and final mission of the Continuing Promise deployment.
USNS Comfort is one of two Military Sealift Command hospital ships that can rapidly respond to a range of situations on short notice. The ship is uniquely capable of providing health services support as an element of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and has been configured to provide a range of services at sea and ashore. The ship provided support in New York City following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and in the Gulf Coast region in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.

Crew Leaves USNS Comfort Changed by Mission
By Fred W. Baker III

American Forces Press Service

CHINANDEGA, Nicaragua, July 24, 2009 – It’s just after 9 a.m. in this hot, humid town, and Navy Capt. Colleen Gallagher already looks tired. She is in the throes of running a medical site manned by health care providers from the Navy hospital ship, the USNS Comfort.

Click on the following link for the full story >

See also:

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Lifeboat to Visit Norfolk

Sailors tow the Maersk Alabama lifeboat where Capt. Richard Phillips was held captive for five days by Somali pirates in April. (SPC 2nd Class Jon Rasmussen U.S. Navy)

A lifeboat that made international headlines in a high-profile pirate attack will be on exhibit at Nauticus this fall.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race

2009 Letter from the Board of Directors

Dear Captains,

The Board of Directors for the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race met earlier this year and reached several decisions that impact the fleet participating in the 2009 race. We want to share these decisions with you to help you plan for this year's race.

For 19 years, the race has successfully balanced its mission of preserving maritime heritage and educating present and future generations of children on the importance of sustaining the health of the Chesapeake Bay. In fact, the event has expanded to reach so many that in recent years the expenses have increased while the revenue stream, which is used to finance the race and the mission, has remained relatively flat. In 2008, the race attracted a record fleet of schooners and a record number of people to our activities, which naturally increased expenses. Examples of expenses which increased or were first-time expenses in 2008 were the cost of the awards ceremony in Portsmouth (doubled in cost) and the rental of dock space in Portsmouth (never before required to dock the fleet). Unfortunately, our 2008 revenue mirrored our 2007 revenue. We project, based on early interest for 2009, that these (and additional) increased expenses will be part of the race's requirements again this year.

To meet these requirements and maintain the credibility and financial stability of the race, the board reached the following decisions: 1. The entry fee for all schooners will be $1.50 per foot of "sparred length" with no maximum. For example, a schooner with a LOA of 50 feet will pay $75.00 to enter the race. We recognize that this represents an increase of $.50 per foot and we regret having to take this step. However, it is the first increase in the 20-year history of the race. 2. We will continue to provide two long-sleeve race shirts free to each vessel entering the race. Additional shirts for 2009 will each cost $20.00. This will also be the shirt price for yacht club members, volunteers and sponsors for 2009. Our apologies for this increase, but production costs dictate this price structure.
2008 represented a leap forward in regard to participation in the race. With a total of 57 entries and 47 schooners docked in Fells Point and Portsmouth last year, we envision a strong and viable event for years to come. Your support and participation is very much appreciated.
One additional potential impact for you is dockage. For years we have "capped" the LOA total to an arbitrary 3,000 linear feet of schooners based on available dock space in our host cities. For the past several years we have been able to accommodate more than that. In 2008 we had more than 4,400 feet of schooners entered in the race and docked more than 3,500 feet of schooners (since some enter, but don't sail or require dockage). This year we will continue to dock participating schooners at no additional cost to the participants as we can. However, if we have another year of extraordinary growth, schooners that register late (i.e., after the deadline for entry) may find themselves "on their own hook" for private marina accommodations or swinging at anchor. Unfortunately, there are practical limits to what we can work with in the sites where we operate. The message for you is to please register as timely as you can this year so we can execute the most effective plan. We're asking you to please "hang in there" with us on this issue as we work through the details.

Our founder, Captain Lane Briggs, is undoubtedly smiling down on the continued success of the race as we work through these issues. All of us know that Lane's vision made this the premiere annual schooner event in the United States. For our 20th year, let's work together to keep the vision and dreams alive as we move forward.

Feel free to give any member of the Executive Committee (Al Roper, Nan Nawrocki, Dave Junkins or George Treiber) a call or send us an email ( if you have any thoughts or comments on these issues.

Thank you!

The Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race Board of Directors

Shrimper & Sailboat Collide

The sailboat Domarolo and the shrimping boat Tina Rae collided near the Diamond Shoals approximately 12 nautical miles east of Hatteras at about 3 a.m. Tuesday, July 21, 2009. for pics

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Walter Cronkite 1916 - 2009

Click on post title for CBS News article.

Photo of the S/V Wyntje used by permission. Thanks, David !

CBS has scheduled a prime-time special, “That’s the Way it Was: Remembering Walter Cronkite,” for 7 p.m. Sunday.

Walter Cronkite's Yacht Donation Helps Troubled Teens Sail To Success

History and Highlights:

Walter Cronkite, (repeatedly voted the most trusted man in America), gave hope and his yacht to some teens who have not always been trusted. Kids from the Norfolk Marine Institute and the Tidewater Environmental Program helped bring the boat down from Annapolis and enjoyed a day of cleaning and sailing aboard Mr. Cronkite's beloved custom built yacht.


In December of 2006, Walter Cronkite's 64 ft Hinckley Sailing Yacht, Wyntje, was re-launched from Oxford Boatyard. Cronkite's vessel recieved a first-class hull paint job and rigging replacement. Walter visited the boatyard briefly to check on progress and also met with OBY employees.

Walter Cronkite was the only journalist to be voted among the top ten "most influential decision makers in America" in surveys conducted by U.S. News and World Report and also was named the "most influential person" in broadcasting. And, in a nationwide viewer opinion survey conducted as recently as 1995, more than a decade after leaving the CBS anchor desk, he again was voted "Most Trusted Man in Television News."

Vineyard recalls his love of sailing, life on the island

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Festevents Parade of Sail

I have posted the photos I made during the Parade of Sail / Harborfest '09 in my Flickr Photostream / Events / Sets / Parade of Sail. I shot all the images in the RAW format, thinking they would be better and easier to edit (?) and had to convert them to Jpeg for posting. Descriptions may be added later.

Thanks to Captain J.C. Waters and the crew of the
Spirit of Independence
for letting me tag along for this unforgettable experience.

Click on the link above or copy and paste in your browser:

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Independence Day

Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men
who signed the Declaration of Independence? Five signers were captured by the British as traitors,
and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.
Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army;
another had two sons captured. Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or
hardships of the Revolutionary War. They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes,
and their sacred honor. What kind of men were they? Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists.
Eleven were merchants,
nine were farmers and large plantation owners;
men of means, well educated,
but they signed the Declaration of Independence
knowing full well that the penalty would be death if
they were captured.
Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and
trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the
British Navy. He sold his home and properties to
pay his debts, and died in rags. Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British
that he was forced to move his family almost constantly.
He served in the Congress without pay, and his family
was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him,
and poverty was his reward.Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer,
Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton. At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that
the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson
home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General
George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed,
and Nelson died bankrupt. Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed.
The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying.
Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill
were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests
and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his
children vanished.
So, take a few minutes while enjoying your 4th of July holiday and
silently thank these patriots. It's not much to ask for the price they paid. Remember: freedom is never free! I hope you will show your support by sending this to as many
people as you can, please. It's time we get the word out that patriotism
is NOT a sin, and the Fourth of July has more to it than beer,
picnics, and baseball games.

Have a Great Holiday
From a Patriot

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Portsmouth May Be New Home

The Zuni, a 66-year-old Navy salvage tug passed down to a nonprofit foundation seven years ago, is docked at the Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base in Norfolk away from the eyes of the public.
The foundation’s goal is to help the Zuni make a comeback as a maritime attraction that will bring tourist dollars to Portsmouth.

“You have a unique city here – it has a great maritime heritage – and we have a unique ship,” Rich Cunningham, assistant director of operations for the Zuni Maritime Foundation, told the City Council at a recent meeting.

See my first entry on the Zuni in my blog ( May 15, 2009 ) >

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Battle of Craney Island Commemoration 2009

June 20...Battle of Craney Island Commemoration, Fort Norfolk, Norfolk, Va.

A group of dedicated living-historians, who share a love of history and continually strive to educate the general public about the life and times of the common sailor and soldier of several eras in our history as accurately as possible. This organization recreates the Revolutionary War and War of 1812 for members of the public through encampments and battlefield reenactments. We represent a sailor of the Royal Navy and a militiaman from southeastern Virginia during the American Revolution. As for the War of 1812, we portray a militiaman of the 2nd Va. Regiment of militia as well as a soldier in the 20th U.S. Regiment of infantry.
For further information we can be contacted at

One of the more neglected conflicts in American history is the War of 1812. In an attempt to help educate the public about this important era in or nations past, we in the crew of HM Sloop OTTER participate in various War of 1812 events in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, as well as at other sites around the country. We have two primary impressions; The 20th U.S. Regiment, and the 2nd Virginia Regiment of Militia, as the Fort Norfolk Garrison, 1812-1815 A company of the 20th U.S. saw duty at old Fort Norfolk during the Chesapeake campaign. The 20th also saw action in the northern theater. The 2nd Va. Regiment of Militia was formed at Fort Norfolk, and saw action in the Battle of Craney Island. The Fort Norfolk Garrison considers itself a family friendly unit, while at the same time abiding by a set of uniform and conduct standards that will assure a high level of authenticity. Our uniforms are constructed with appropriate period-correct fabrics, by hand when seams are visible. Through research and documentation the accouterments and weapons we use are as close as possible to that actually used during the War of 1812. Our desire to recreate the troops stationed at Fort Norfolk accurately is such that these standards will be upheld. And when you think about it, if this is done to the best of our ability, we can step back and take pride that we are doing our best. Levels of participationThere are two levels of participation in the Fort Norfolk Garrison, 1812-1815. Entry level is that of a Militiaman in the 2nd Virginia Regiment of Militia. The new member will be required to obtain / assemble a basic militia kit based on the regulations set forth by Governor Barber in January 1812 for Virginia Militia forces.The next level of progression in the Fort Norfolk Garrison is that of Regular as a private in the 20th U.S. regular infantry. Our 20th U.S. impression is intended to be much more "progressive" in nature in that we require an elevated level of authenticity in uniforming and equipment. Because of this, unit members are not required to advance to this level to participate in the Fort Norfolk Garrison, it is strictly voluntary, though encouraged.
So, if you are willing to abide by our standards of authenticity and would like join us, welcome! Contact us at for a membership form and a copy of the Soldier's Manual.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

22nd Race to Cock Island

The Race to Cock Island

The 22nd Annual Race to Cock Island ( and back ) will get underway on Saturday, June 20 at 0900 ( That's 9 AM for you landlubbers ) The harbor will be a forest of masts of more than 300 sailboats. The starting line will be at the Mile Marker Zero of the Intra-Coastal Waterway. View from the Portsmouth Seawall near Tidewater Yacht Marina behind where the Holiday Inn used to be. More info here >

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tall Ships at Harborfest 2009

Monday, June 8, 2009

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Tall Ships Sailing across Atlantic

Few things inspire awe like a tall ship under full sail, unless of course it's several tall ships under full sail at the same time. Pick your hyperbole - jaw-dropping, gobsmacking, totally and truly awesome - seeing that much classic canvas just does something to the blood. Once again this year, the tall ships are giving people in ports around the world a spectacle that has only rarely existed in the last century: The sea filled with big, beautiful sailing ships.

Tall Ships from Europe, North and South America sailed out from Vigo, Spain last month, competing in a sailing race called the Tall Ships Atlantic Challenge. The ships are now sailing on leg two of their adventure, part of a 7,000 mile odyssey around the North Atlantic, where the ships and their hundreds of hardy crew members will visit seven ports in five countries along the way.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Memorial Day 2009

Click here for Special Memorial Day post in my other blog

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Take Someone Sailing

Do you remember the first time you felt a boat propelled by the breeze? When the sails filled, and the craft began to make way with only the sounds of the water on the hull and the wind in the rigging? Do you remember feeling the magic of ballast, leverage and airfoil as you first sailed impossibly against the wind, or how you felt connected to the sailors of centuries and millennia ago when you hauled a line? Now think what a gift it is to share all this with someone else.
Check out this article by Kim Hampton at > Take Someone Sailing

also :

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Mighty Z

The Mighty Z
After facing years of waves and war, the Zuni/Tamaroa Navy tug may have found a home in Hampton Roads thanks to some dedicated volunteers.

By Phyllis Speidell
In the midst of a battle few survivors will talk about, Glenn Fox looked up and saw the U.S. flag raised on Mount Suribachi. With the roar of Marine cannons reverberating around him, he could spot Japanese solders scrambling among the boulders further down Iwo Jima's black sand beach. It was February 1945 and Fox was 18, a Navy machinist mate aboard the USS Zuni, and too busy to be scared—or aware, he says, of "how much history was being made up there."

See: Hampton Roads Magazine for the rest of the story.

and: Zuni Maritime Foundation

Previous article at Pilot-on-Line by Kate Wiltrout: Storied ship led several rescues now needs one

Portsmouth may be ship's final destination ...
The Zuni is docked at Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base in Norfolk. It was the Coast Guard cutter Tamaroa during the events depicted in ...
The Zuni Maritime Foundation wants to dock the 66-year-old Navy salvage tug on the ... The Zuni is currently docked at Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base in ...

Friday, May 1, 2009

Sailing Around the World on a Beach Cat

Greg Prod’Homme couldn't figure out how to turn it around, so he just kept sailing.

Yacht Pals - The Online Sailing Community

YachtPals Boating and Sailing News
Boating and sailing news by the professional journalists and photographers of the Crew. This is the place to find all original sailing news and boating news about yachts, sailboats, sailing, and sailors around the world. No press release reprints, or news aggregators - just all original boating and sailing news from the number one source.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Pirates Aren't New

I received in my email box a new chapter in Buddy and Melissa's sailing adventures aboard the '38 foot Lagoon catamaran Indigo Moon with the details of an savage attack on another boat in Guatemala. All of the previous entries in the log were always good reading and sometimes amusing as he shared the trials and tribulations of sailing. Hundreds of beautiful photographs were splashed about in the text, making it very interesting. Sadly, Guatemala - Part One - Crime and Cruising 2008, viewed from the Rio Dulce, is an abrupt change and came as a shock. With all the news lately about modern day pirates, I thought I'd share this to show that pirates aren't new.
Click on the hyper link above or copy and paste this in your browser >

Friday, April 17, 2009

Barquentine 'Peacemaker' Visits Norfolk

Breaking News

The Flagship of the Twelve Tribes is in Norfolk this week and open for free tours. If you are anywhere in the area, you must take time to check out this beautiful vessel. More photos in my Flickr Photostream.
Visit their website to get more information on this unique ship and her mission.

Eight page PDF with pictures Specifications and Mission


Depart Wilmington NC April 13 or 14
Norfolk VA April 16 - April 26
Cambridge MD April 29 - May 5
Alexandria VA May 8 - May 18
Long Island NY May 25 - June 7
Cape Cod MA June 11 - June 25
Plymouth / Boston MA July + August

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Somali Pirates Attack Another US Ship

By VOA News 15 April 2009
Somali pirates have attacked another U.S. ship off the coast of Africa, but they were not successful in taking the vessel.
The ship, called Liberty Sun, is now under military escort following the attempted hijacking. It is reported on its way to Mombasa, Kenya.
This latest attack comes just three days after the dramatic rescue of an American cargo ship captain held captive by Somali pirates. Three of his captors were killed in that rescue operation, while a fourth was captured.
Some pirates have vowed to retaliate.
VOA News - Somali Pirates Attack Another US Ship

Somali Pirates Hijack 4 More Ships

MOMBASA, Kenya (April 14) - Undeterred by U.S. and French hostage rescues that killed five bandits, Somali pirates brazenly hijacked four more ships in the Gulf of Aden, the waterway at the center of the world's fight against piracy.
Pirates have vowed to retaliate for deaths of their colleagues— and the top U.S. military officer said Tuesday he takes those comments seriously. But Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told ABC's "Good Morning America" that "we're very well prepared to deal with anything like that."

* These events are getting so frequent and out of hand that I can't keep up. Please use the links from previous posts to get the latest news.

Vandenburg Departs Norfolk

April 13, 2009
Position Report 1800 EDT - LAT: 34 º 45” 0 N - LONG: 075º 33”8 W
COURSE: 226 T off Oracoke Inlet- SPEED: 6.1 kts- SEAS: 3-4 ft with swells 5 ft- WINDS: S 15kts - VIS: Clear - MTG: 778 nm
Capt Billy Notes: Tug and tow riding just fine. Fishing lines out, but no fish. Some weather ahead and may slow speed of voyage

On April 12 at 12:15 Vandenberg departed Norfolk, Virginia for the long tow to her new home in Key West Florida. More than a decade of work by a dedicated core of volunteers will finally come to fruition. After leaving the shipyard dock, Vandenberg will pass under the Elizabeth River bridge and pass the Hampton Roads bridge-tunnel, the Chesapeake Bay bridge-tunnel, come around the point at the Cape Henry lighthouse and head south. Smith Maritime, of Green Cove Springs, Florida is undertaking the tow with the deep sea tug, Elsbeth III. [follow the links to learn more about the tug]

Follow this link to see the video provided by National Weather Service, Key West showing daily updates on position and weather conditions.

Project to sink Vandenberg off Key West begins
Thu, Apr 05, 2007
After 10 years of fundraising and permitting, a project has begun to sink a retired military ship off Key West, Fla., to serve as an artificial reef.
Last Friday, the decommissioned U.S. Air Force missile-tracking ship Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg, a 523-foot ship that also monitored NASA space launches from 1963 to 1983, was towed from the James River Naval Reserve Fleet in Fort Eustis, Va., to Colonna's Shipyard in Norfolk, Va.
The ship also saw "action" as a film set in the 1999 movie "Virus," starring Jamie Lee Curtis and William Baldwin.
The ship is to become the second-largest vessel ever intentionally sunk to become an artificial reef, according to maritime and recreational diving experts. Currently, the largest ship ever scuttled for an artificial marine habitat is the USS Oriskany, an 888-foot Navy aircraft carrier sunk in May 2006 21 miles southeast of Pensacola, Fla. To date, the second-largest vessel, the 510-foot landing ship dock Spiegel Grove, was scuttled in May 2002 about six miles off Key Largo.
Artificial Reefs of the Keys has $3 million in commitments from two Monroe County government entities, a $1.3 million pledge from the City of Key West and other funding resources to help defray the estimated $5.7 million price tag to properly sink the ship, according to Joe Weatherby, the project's coordinator and founder of ARK.
Make-ready and cleansing is being coordinated by ReefMakers, and is expected to take about a year. The ship is slated for scuttling about six miles off Key West in spring 2008.
The proposed artificial reef is expected to attract marine life, provide ongoing positive impact to the tourism-based economy and benefit the underwater environment by taking recreational diving pressure off natural coral reefs. It will also serve as a sportfishing venue for anglers.
"She's an eye-popper and doesn't look like anything else out there," Weatherby said, noting the large electronic tracking dishes that are to be removed and then reinstalled on the ship before sinking. "Portions (of the ship) will come up to within 40 feet from the surface, making it a world-class dive."
For more information on the Vandenberg, dive into More travel details on the Keys are available at

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Navy Rescues Captain, 3 Pirates Killed

Navy Rescues Captain, 3 Pirates Killed

- An American ship captain was freed unharmed Sunday in a U.S. Navy operation that killed three of the four Somali pirates who had been holding him for days in a lifeboat off the coast of Africa, a senior U.S. intelligence official said.One of the pirates was wounded and in custody after a swift firefight, the official said.
In a firefight at sea, the U.S. Navy rescues an American cargo ship captain who had been held captive by pirates off the coast of Somalia. A senior U.S. intelligence official says that three of the four pirates who had been holding Capt. Richard Phillips, above, have been killed. The fourth was wounded and is in U.S. custody.
More info here > as it happens.

Maritime Global Net -
Shiptalk, News, Marine, Maritime, Shipping, Shipping Industry, Courses, Conference
--------------------------------------------------------------- - Phillips free, three pirates dead
Maersk Line, Limited: Home Page -

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Maersk Alabama

Pirates recapture US hostage after escape attempt. See link below

Somali pirates take two container ships off the east coast of Somalia

ICS International Chamber of Shipping and ISF International Shipping Federation

Pirates /

Piracy Guidance and Reports

Live Piracy Report

I think I should start a Pirate Ship business

Lifeboat FAQs

Pirates recapture US hostage after escape attempt

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Spirit of Independence - Maiden Charter Cruise

For the rest of the photos, Copy & paste in browser >

If you don't want a free Flickr account ( needed for access to album ) email me and I will send you a free pass.

* Originally posted at my Olde Towne Photos Blog. Click here for more info .

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Spirit of Independence to grace the waterfront

Breaking NewsThe Spirit of Independence Sailboat Charter Service to start in Portsmouth

Click here for more information and recent events.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

March 5, 2009 > Oh this is just great. I've just discovered that AOL has added insult to injury. First, they delete my albums, then the journals and Homepages. Now they have deleted my AOL and AIM Profiles and photos. These links don't work unless you have joined Bebo which AOL just purchased for $850 million. Don't ask me why. It's hard enough to keep up under normal conditions, harder when they pull the rug out from under you and keep changing things. This is change I can do without. I'll try to retrieve all my images from my files and repost them in my blog or my Flickr photostream. Thanks for your patience.

Friday, January 23, 2009