Tuesday, February 28, 2006


How do you get an Americas Cup hull from Seattle to Valencia? If you are BMW Oracle Racing, you fly your hull there in a cargo plane.

I wonder what Fedex would charge for that?

Monday, February 27, 2006

Admiralty 101

From a very funny law student blog called How To Law School:


By Stockton & Tweed

Admiralty law is a distinct body of law, not a branch, or subset, of general civil law. In fact, Admiralty has its own variations of the various subsets of law, including tort law, contract law, criminal law, labor law, etc. Admiralty law even has its own courts. Despite not being a large practice area, admiralty law can be a lucrative and fulfilling endeavor for a salty soul in a good port city, such as Chicago, New York or Fargo.

Although admiralty law has its own variations on substantive law, the primary challenge facing the young admiralty lawyer (beside keeping one's uniform tidy) is admiralty court procedure. Admiralty procedure, though seemingly complicated, arcane and unseemly, has its own beauty, like the sea itself. Set forth below is an intoductory guide for the young practitioner:

1. Addressing the Court: Admiralty court judges are never addressed as "your honor" or "judge," or even "sir." Rather, the proper title of a judge sitting in Admiralty is "Cap'n."

2. Entering the Courtroom: Admiralty lawyers must be careful not to board admiralty court before the bailiff (or "Boatswain") rings three strokes of the court bell.

3. Knowing the Players: Discipline is key in admiralty court. And knowing how to address others in admiralty court is crucial. Second chair co-counsel should be referred to as "first-mate." Opposing counsel must be referred to as "Scurvy Knave" or "Mr. Scurvy Knave".

4. Special Admiralty Terms of Art:

a) When raising an objection to a question posed by the Scurvy Knave, precede any statement with "Arghhhh."

b) If you wish to approach the bench, the correct phrase is, "Permission to come aboard, Cap'n."

c) You must always alert a witness before hostile cross-examination. The correct phrase is, "Prepare to be boarded."

d) Most addresses to the court should be preceded with "ahoy," unless another phrase is mandated, such as "Arghhhh."

e) A number of common words and phrases are replaced by special admiralty phrases. For example, "is" is usually converted to "be."

f) Admiralty lawyers are never sanctioned for unethical conduct. They may, however, be lashed to a yardarm and flogged.*


An Admiralty Proceeding might go something like this (the Boatswain has already wrung three bells):

Judge: Gentlemen; is there any further evidentiary issue to report before we raise the topsail and get underway**?

Counsel A: Ahoy! Permission to come aboard, Cap'n.

Judge: Permission granted............Call your next hand***.

Counsel A: Aye, Cap'n. I'd be a-calling Ben Gunn...

Counsel B: Arghhh, Cap'n. I be objectin'. That blasted Scurvy Knave never named no Ben Gunn as a hand. Aye, and the crew**** may be prejudiced by me lack of abilities to question the lad, lest I be havin' a moment or two for preparation, and such.

Counsel A: Shiver me timbers, Cap'n. There be no prejudice if I be calling Ben Gunn. A better crewman has never sailed these seas.....

Judge: Gentlemen, gentlemen. This ship cannot long last the tempests of litigation with such conflict. Now; Mr. Gunn is a fine lad, and his integrity is not in question here. But the crew cannot be expected to properly perform its duty if Counsel has not had the opportunity to prepare.

Counsel A: Ahoy, Cap'n. But might the crew be due for a day in port*****? And might the time the crew be spending in quarters****** give the Scurvy Knave his precious time for preparation?

Counsel B: Arghhh! I be objectin' to that too, Cap'n. Why, I've sailed the seven seas but never with a scurvier knave than this here bloke*******, and . . .

Judge: Counsel B, your objection is noted and shall be recorded in the log book********. Boatswain, dismiss the crew to quarters with an extra ration of rum. Counsel B, you now have your opportunity. I suggest you use it wisely.

Counsel B: Aye, Cap'n. But we'll be havin' a mutiny********* on this point, Cap'n; mark my words.

Make sure you know this procedure inside and out before shipping out into a Maritime case.

*If a yardarm is unavailable, courts sometime lash the offending attorney to a copier or file cabinet.
** "Proceed with questioning."
*** "Witness"
**** "Jury"
***** "Recess"
****** "Sequestered"
******* "I have practiced the law for many years and have litigated many cases against numrous attorneys, none of whom has shown as much disrespect to the processes and procedures of this court, and of opposing counsel, than opposing counsel in this matter. "
******** "Record"
********* "Appeal"

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Building a Laser Trailer

I have started to work on building a box on top of my trailer for storage. It was very cold and windy but with a new baby, work and law school I have to make the best of whatever free time I have. The plan is to build something similar to this trailer:
My trailer is not as wide and does not have a rectangular shape, so I am modifying the design on the fly. Based on a suggestion from Tillerman, one side of the box is on a hinge so I will be able to get gear out of the box without taking the boat off the trailer.

Here's the trailer before:

I bought three 8' 2x6, four 2'x4' plywood panels and some other assorted wood.

I attached the hinged side first.

Then the other side and the cross pieces.

It started to get dark before I could start trimming the plywood so the rest of the project will have to wait for another day.

Saturday, February 25, 2006


It is important to stretch before sailing to avoid injury. If you are halfway between Wellington, New Zealand and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil then you have to stretch when you can.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Interesting Links: Gmaps Pedometer

Gmaps Pedometer is a really useful website that lets you calculate distances for running routes, coastal sailing, etc. You just click a series of waypoints on a Google Map and the site calculates the distance. Here's a screenshot of a set of waypoints from Newport to Block Island (24.9 miles).

Monday, February 20, 2006

Bottom Sucker

I bet having one of these attached to your hull will slow you down.

This reminds me of a race in the Star North American's two summers ago. We were having a good race and were heading higher and faster than the boats around us. My skipper S. was keeping us in the groove and I was droop hiking for all I was worth. I looked down and saw a ton of weed on the keel. I didn't want to tell S. because things were going so well and so I didn't want to give him something to worry about. I waited about a minute and we were still moving better than the other boats, so I decided not to tell him. We finished the race with the best finish of the regatta and then I told S. about the weed.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Movistar Repairs

Yesterday SailingAnarchy had a story about the repairs that had to be done on the Volvo Open 60 Movistar. It appears that the fairing around the canting keel had been damaged.


Today a Sailing Anarchy member from Wellington posted some interesting photos of the repairs that were being made.

The boat was taken to a boat lift and immediately the hull cleared the water it was obvious that large parts of the keel wedges that fair the keel aperture and the sliding “bomb doors” had been ripped from the hull. There was also damage to the fairing at the hull aperture for the port side dagger board.

Now that the boat has accepted the 2 hour penalty for the next leg they can have their shore team or outside experts to work on the boat until it is time to leave for the start of Leg 4.

The wedges are foam and carbon fibre fillers between the sliding plates that move with the canting keel to stop most of the water that might come into the boat through the hole the keel works through.

The whole repair was done while the boat was hanging from the hoist.

There was even damage to the daggerboard slots:

Anyone want an aircraft carrier?

China is selling a decommissioned Soviet aircraft carrier for 128 million yuan ($15.7 million). It has been converted to a floating theme park with a movie theater and restaurants, so don't start having visions of taking over the world with your own private Navy.

BEIJING (Reuters) - A lucky bidder may come away from an auction in China with their very own Russian aircraft carrier -- albeit one converted into a floating theme park with a movie theatre and restaurants.

Bidding is expected to start at a cool 128 million yuan (9 million pounds), Chinese media said on Friday.

The Minsk, a decades-old, decommissioned relic of the Soviet era, was first bought by a Chinese company for scrap metal in 1998 but then sold to an entertainment firm, which poured millions of dollars into turning the ship into a tourist attraction.

The carrier opened to the public in the southern boomtown of Shenzhen in September 2000 as the main draw of the military-themed Minsk Aircraft Carrier World amusement park.

A Chinese travel agency describes the theme park as "a harmonious combination of carrier appreciation, military recreation, typical seaside lifestyle in south China and military atmosphere".

The ship's attractions included torpedoes and a Russian dance troupe that performed folk dances, the agency says.

But the company that operated the park, Minsk World Industries Co. Ltd., sank deep into the red and was declared bankrupt by a Shenzhen court in March last year, the Beijing News reported.

The court commissioned a southern China-based auction firm to handle the March 22 sale of the ship, which the auction company confirmed on Thursday, it said.

Despite the company's collapse, the theme park had stayed in business and drew 33,000 visitors during the recent Lunar New Year holiday, the Shanghai Daily reported.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Big Waves on Leg 3 of the Volvo Ocean Race

The ABN AMRO website continues to give sailors an insight into the rough life onboard a Volvo Ocean 70. ABN AMRO 2 ran into some really big waves on leg three between Melbourne and Wellington.
Gerd Jan Poortman was badly injured when he was swept from the bow all the way to the back of the boat by a huge wave that also damaged the bow pulpit.

UPDATE: I found an image of the damaged bow pulpit:

Here's a excerpt of his comments (linked to the video of his description of the events):

“Nightmare. First night big wave didn’t realize the strength of it. Didn’t see how massive it was. Swept me all the way from front to back. Somewhere along the line I hit my head. The dagger board on my back, I lay down and was hard to get up. Thanks to George for stitching me up and taking care of me. A real TEAM and great bunch of boys around me.”

Unfortunately an Ocean 70 is not the best place to recover from injuries.

Monday, February 13, 2006

The Wetass Chronicles is no more.

I knew something was up when Tim Zimmerman failed to update his popular Wetass Chronicles blog since last Tuesday. It seems Tim has decided move on to bigger and better things.

"Hate to say it, but after two-and-a-half years of trying to keep up with this website, I am burned out, cooked, done, finito. Well, not really, but I just don't have the time anymore to do this thing properly, and I'd rather not just mail it in. Plus, it's time to head in a new direction and develop other novel means of wasting time while amusing myself. Thanks to all the loyal readers and tipsters. There are plenty of other blogs out there now bringing you the latest in extreme adventure and video, so keep on clicking. It was fun while it lasted. Have a nice life..."

Having only discovered The Wetass Chronicles fairly recently I feel a bit cheated...his ability to find and host interesting watersports videos was unmatched in the blogosphere.

Good job Tim and good luck in the future.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Law and Sailing: JS 9000 Copyright Case

The JS 9000 is a simple, narrow and fast 30' sport boat. The beam is only 5.7' and the hull design appears to be influenced by ACC yachts.

The JS 9000 designer, John Swarbrick, hails from Western Australia, and comes from a family that has built boats, particularly raceboats, for three generations. His resume includes the famous Kookaburra series of 12 metre yachts, and Tokio, the Chris Dickson-skippered Whitbread 60.

He first set about designing the yacht which ultimately became the JS 9000 in the late 1980s. In 2001 he built the JS 9000 plug and by 2003 the boat was ready for production.

Unfortunately, in June of 2003 one of his former employees sold the JS 9000 molds to Boldgold Investments who started the process of manufacturing a copy of Swarbrick's JS 9000.
Swarbrick sued the parties involved in the production of the JS 9000 copy for copyright infiringment and obtained an injunction against Boldgold and the other parties to prevent them from using copies of the yacht's hull and deck mouldings to reverse engineer a mold from which they intended to create copies of the yacht.

In a decision delivered in June 2004 (Swarbrick v Burge (2004) 208 ALR 19; [2004] FCA 813), the Federal Court of Australia ruled that the yacht was protected as both a sculpture and a work of artistic craftsmanship under the Copyright Act. Furthermore, the Court found that copyright also existed in various items used in the making of the JS 9000, in addition to the yacht itself. These items included a number of drawings and molds, as well as the "plug" - a wooden handcrafted full-size model of the hull and deck of the boat which is then used to create the mould. The court compared the boat-building process to "the modus operandi of Auguste Rodin", finding that the yacht, plug and mould had real aesthetic quality in addition to their functionality and noted that "the antithesis between function and beauty is a false one". In other words, they were not only artistic works, but works of artistic craftsmanship and had therefore not lost copyright protection by reason of industrial application.

Notwithstanding the peculiarity of the distinction in Australian copyright law between solely artisic works and works of artistic craftsmanship and the correspondingly differing protections provided against unauthorized copying, this decision seems to make some intuitive sense. If a naval architect designs a boat, his right to produce boats using his design should be protected. The protection should be narrower than that which a patent on a novel design concept would provide, but other boat builders should not be allowed to copy the exact design of the boat without permission. The JS 9000 case was made simpler because the defendants were using an actual JS 9000 mold and hull to create their production boats. I don't think the outcome would have been the same if they had just designed a similar boat from scratch using the knowledge they gained while working on the JS 9000 with Swarbrick.

For readers interested in getting their hands on an RS 9000, there is a used one in Texas available for $32,500:

A new boat costs around $60,000 with a trailer and sails from JS Yachts - USA. Here are a few more great shots of the JS 9000:

Thanks to LiveSailDie for pointing me to this interesting story.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Tow-in Surfing at the Cliffs of Moher

I was amazed to see the size of the waves just off the Cliffs of Moher that are being surfed in this clip. Gavin Gallagher from DreamCatcher Productions explains why big waves are so elusive on Ireland's west coast:

"People may never have imagined Ireland as a surfing nation, yet Ireland is recognized internationally as hosting some of the best waves in the world. Perhaps the only bad part of surfing in Ireland is the lack of offshore or wind free surf, desirable for perfect conditions. Luckily our west coast is never short of swell during the winter months, yet the elusive factor and a surfers arch nemesis is the wind. Ireland faces directly into prevailing onshore west wind which destroys the shape of otherwise perfect waves. For this reason Ireland is a surfers Pandora’s box, bursting with potential and temptation, yet hindered by wind. The Atlantics huge swell machine keeps the ocean alive, until that golden moment…. “And then the wind died… “ Our reef’s and beaches ignite in a symphony of perfection and every surfer worth the salt in their veins drops all plans, meetings and projects and surfs until either their arm’s and legs can take no more or the infamous cold begins to shut the body down."

This photo is from Bundoran in Donegal.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

ABN AMRO Skipper Sails the Hydrofoil Moth

Sebastian Josse from ABN AMRO got a chance to sail Rohan Veal's International Moth. Here's the video: http://team.abnamro.com/web/show/id=111901.

The video shows how hard it is to keep the hydrofoil Moth balanced. I didn't realize until I saw this video that the trim tab on the rudder hydrofoil is controlled by rotating the tiller extension.
Cool stuff.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Laser Rigging: Control Lines

I am not going to do the complete upgrade to the vang yet. I am going to start with a simple upgrade with the old cleat block and boom block and the addition of two 20mm blocks. I am going to do a full upgrade on the outhaul (6:1) and cunningham (6:1) using Harken 16mm blocks and the Harken Extreme Angle Cams.

Please comment if anything that I list below doesn't sound right.

Here are the lines I am planning to use:

Vang: 6 meters (19.5 feet) of 3/16" (5mm) NewSwift

Outhaul: (rigging diagrams here)
Primary: 1.7 meters (5.5 feet) of 1/8" (3mm) Vectrus12
Secondary: 4.8 meters (15.75 feet) of 3/16" (5mm) Yale Lite
Gooseneck Line: .62 meters (2 feet) of 5/32" (4mm) Vectrus12
Shockcord: 1 meter (5.5 feet) of 1/4" (6mm) StretchCord

I also plan to use the Rooster Clew Strap and a clew hook.

(rigging diagrams here)
Primary: 1 meter (3.3 feet) of 1/8" (3mm) Vectrus12
Secondary: 4 meters (13 feet) of 3/16" (5mm) Yale Lite

To attach the various small blocks I am going to splice them onto the ends of the lines to keep everything looking clean. Rooster Sailing has some good directions.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

2006 Sailing Goals #1: Get in Shape UPDATE

I promised that I would post about the routine that I am doing at the gym. Here is the first routine that I did with the trainer:

Warmup for 5 minutes (I would probably substitute 30 minutes of cardio)

Abs/Back (done on a mat, 15 times each, slowly)
Pullover Crunch - like a regular crunch but with a 15 lb weight that is extended towards the ceiling as you crunch up.
Oblique Crunch - side crunches with the addition of the upper leg being extended out and back with each crunch.
Reverse Crunch - bringing legs in to chest and then lifting hips off the mat.
Plank - pushup position but on elbows, hold for 45 seconds.

One leg squats (15 reps per leg)
Squats on a balance board (3 sets of 15)
Steps - stepping up onto about a 1.5ft step with 15 lb weights in each hand, extend weights up and lift other knee to chest

Dumbbell press on a large excercise ball - ball under shoulders, hips up
Dumbell fly on a large excercise ball - ball under shoulders, hips up

Y/T/I lifts on a large excercise ball - laying face down with hips on ball and feet anchored against the wall, lift 10lb dumbbells from floor to a Y position, then to a T position then to an I position holding at each position. (15 times)
Shoulder flys on a large excercise ball - laying face down with hips on ball and feet anchored against the wall, lift 10lb dumbbells in a backwards fly motion.

Dumbbell curl with reverse down - Slow dumbbell curl with 25lb weights, up with palms up and down with palms down.
Multi-set cable curls - three sets with increasing weight (15, 25, 35) and decreasing reps (15, 12, 10)
Multi set tricep extensions - three sets with increasing weight and decreasing reps

This routine was all done within an hour, so my heart rate was up the entire time. It was definitely tiring and my muscles were sore for a few days. I really liked all the excercise ball stuff; it was really good for keeping my abs and back busy stabilizing everything and made the excercises harder than they would have been on a bench. When I go back this week, we'll probably mix in some other excercises and I'll write about those too.