Archive: May 28, 2009

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the greatest dinghies

Thursday,  05/28/09  08:48 AM

My list for the Tillerman, the greatest dinghies of all time (that I have sailed):

  1. 505.  The greatest doublehanded racing dinghy of all time, indisputably, as well as the prettiest.  Not to mention one of the toughest classes.  I raced in the 505 Worlds in, um, 1990 (had to think about that), in Kingston Ontario, finished about 50th in a fleet of 100 boats, and rate that one of my best regattas ever (that was back when I could sail).

  2. Laser.  The greatest singlehanded racing dinghy of all time, although the Finn would have a case, too.  Certainly the most popular; there are Lasers everywhere.  I've never had any success racing Lasers, exception in local fleets, the class is just too tough.  I've owned three lasers including Locomotive Breath, my current one, which is eight years old; I'm guessing I've had one for over half my life, and hope to keep that going...

  3. C-15.  This is my sentimental favorite, as I've owned my current C-15 It's the Water for 30 years, and have won three national championships in it.  Of course the C-15 isn't as fast as a lot of other doublehanded boats, but it is built better and they last.  (And in enough wind, they do manage to get out of their own way :)  Probably the high point of my sailing career was winning the C-15 International Championship in Japan, in 1978.  Yeah, I was 19; I peaked early...

  4. Snipe.  As the Laser is the most popular singlehander, the Snipe would have to be the most popular doublehander; you can find them all over the world.  They are not fast, but they're fun to sail and durable, and they have a feature which has ensured their popularity: they can be sailed by a guy with his girlfriend.  I owned a Snipe for about ten years, finally donated it to the Alamitos Bay Yacht Club when garage space became more important to me than sailing :)

  5. Hobie 16.  The most popular catamaran of all time, by far; you can find them all over the world on every beach.  They're simple and fun and fast, and at one time there was a huge racing fleet which was amazingly competitive (seems to have died out a bit in recent years).  I raced them off Malibu, and enjoyed their speed and ease of sailing as much as the competition.  They are as happy sitting on a beach as they are in the water.

Assembling this list gave me a strong sense of nostalgia.  Nothing is as worthwhile as spending time sailing; my father used to say God did not count time on the water against your allotted days on the Earth.  I need to spent more time "out there"... maybe next weekend, with my daughter (the Westlake Cup Regatta, which I first won in a Cyclone at age 17), or a bit later, the High Sierra Regatta, fixture of the C-15 Class calendar, my first "out of town" race when I was a young teen, wide-eyed with wonder at seeing so many boats from so many places, and Huntington Lake is still one of the best places to sail anywhere.  Stay tuned!


Thursday,  05/28/09  09:01 AM

(...composed on USAir en route to Phoenix from Burbank...)

Yesterday was amazing, in fact it feels like part of today, because I woke up in Vista, spent the day working (productively, yay), had a fantastic dinner with colleagues and friends in Carlsbad (at which, I'll note we sampled a mini-vertical of Duckhorn Three Palms merlots, and concluded once more they are amazing), drove home, slept for three hours, got up and drove to Burbank airport, and here I am... whether this bodes well for my meetings later today remains to be seen :)

Scott "Dilbert" Adams is calling the bottom: "In January I wrote a post about Captain Sullenberger safely landing his plane in the Hudson River. At the end of the post I said it was a sign that the economy had reached bottom and would soon improve, thanks largely to what I predicted would be an upsurge in consumer confidence...".  And this appears to be exactly what happened.  But as Scott cautions, "Disclaimer: Don't get your financial, legal, or medical advice from cartoonists.

So President Obama has nominated Sonia Sotomayor for Supreme Court Justice, to replace the retiring David Souter.  Her proposition: 'I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male'.  Ugh. 

From the department of unintended consequences: "Bond investors literally can't afford to lend to unionized companies because it's clear that current power in Washington will take the unions' side, despite past bankruptcy law precedents that favor senior creditors. That means Washington's actions in pushing for these bankruptcy verdicts to come out in favor of the unions will probably hurt unionized companies in the long run."  Repeat after me: governments should not be involved in markets... 

President Obama's response to North Korea's apparently successful test of a nuclear weapon: "'Let's be clear: we are not taking adverbs off the table,' Mr. Obama said. 'If the need arises, we will use them forcefully, aggressively, swiftly, overwhelmingly and commandingly'."  As Powerline notes, no verbs in prospect. 

Jeff Atwood tells us everything you wanted to know about RAID, and more...  I've become a convert to RAID, slowly; in the bad old days it seemed like the arrays' unreliability was worse than their drives', but these days that's no longer true and using RAID on servers seems almost required. 

Now you can [apparently] Stand Up to Cancer, with Twitter...  possibly the best use of Twitter that has yet been found, although it cannot transmit pictures of Jennifer Aniston :) 

FierceBiotech reports Cougar trial sees big response to prostate cancer drug.  "Researchers say that Cougar's lead drug candidate--abiraterone acetate--produced positive data in a small clinical study on prostate tumors.  Abiraterone is designed to stop the body from producing a hormone tumor cells thrive on.  Imaging scans of the 54 patients in the study demonstrated that nine of 24 subjects demonstrated a decrease in tumor size."  Excellent! 

Cult of Mac reports iPhone under fire: "For the first time since the announcement of the original iPhone, there are legitimate competitors all around, many of them even approaching Apple’s thinking in creating a holistic ecosystem of supporting software, third-party development and services. There are three big threats to the rise of the iPhone right now: Palm Pre, mass availability of Android, and the Zune HD platform".  The iPhone will do just fine, competition is good. 

Meanwhile TechCrunch thinks the Palm Pre will fail: "I'm afraid to report that after all the magic, all the tears, all the joy the Palm Pre will be just another phone.  It won't save Palm, it won't change paradigms, and it won't send the iPhone hegemony crashing to its knees."  We'll keep think link around and check back in a couple of months :)  My own view is that the Pre will succeed, and it has saved Palm already, although I agree it won't dent the iPhone hegemony. 

CNet: How technology lifts Pixar's 'Up'.  It looks really good, wow, how can they have done it again?  Can't wait to see it; opens Friday...  BTW the Disney acquisition of Pixar looks like it worked, huh? 

ZooBorn of the day: a baby Baboon.  Looks like more trouble than a barrel of monkeys, doesn't he?



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