velogiraffe:fabforgottennobility:Gianni Berengo Gardin, VENEZIA…

Friday, March 13th, 2015



Gianni Berengo Gardin, VENEZIA

I’m curious what year this is.

I found a copy of it in a web store that lists it as “Canal Grande Venezia 1955 by Berengo Gardin”, which would make it one of Gardin’s earliest published photos.

It was included in a 2013 Gardin exhibition, which describes it as showing “high water during the Historical Regatta” (con l’acqua alta, durante la Regata Storica). That led me to the official site for the Regata Storica di Venezia , which has a “virtual museum” with 690 historic photos of the regatta dating back to 1881, including this one:


I love the web.

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hi, nice to see another VOR fan :) do you sail? have fun with the inport race today and wish you a good start into the new year :)

Saturday, January 3rd, 2015


I still sail occasionally, though not as much as I used to. When i was growing up I raced a lot on my dad’s boats in southern California. We did some buoy racing, but mostly raced offshore around the islands and along the coast. When I was still pretty young, in the 1960s, I learned to sail on his 10 Meter Hilaria, which he kept at San Diego’s Southwestern Yacht Club:


Later, in my teens, I sailed a lot on his Columbia 52 Victoria out of Los Angeles Yacht Club in San Pedro:


We were enthusiastic, if not always particularly successful. Once we won the LA Times Trophy (which at that time was the PHRF component of the Whitney Series). Other highlights were a first one year in the Marina del Rey to San Diego Race, and a second in the Newport to Ensenada Race.

Since then I haven’t done as much sailing, and what I have done has mostly been cruising, either bareboat chartering or, for a while, on my own boat, a Kettenburg 32 that I no longer own. Here’s my son watching dolphins from her bow on the way back from Santa Cruz Island in 2003:


I should do more sailing. Like Rat says in Wind in the Willows, there’s nothing half so much worth doing.

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llamapunk: gandalf1202: Claude-Oscar Monet – The Museum at Le…

Sunday, May 18th, 2014



Claude-Oscar Monet – The Museum at Le Havre [1873] on Flickr.

This is an important work which dates from a key period in the artist’s career. In the early 1870s Monet lived mainly at Argenteuil but made frequent trips to his home town, Le Havre, on the Normandy coast. In 1872 and 1873 he painted several views of the harbour at Le Havre. The view here is taken from one of the walls of the inner harbour looking across to the Musée des Beaux-Arts. The museum was destroyed during the Second World War and has since been replaced by a modern structure.

[National Gallery, London – Oil on canvas, 75 x 100 cm]

what is going on over there in the sails on the left side of the painting? are they having A Problem or is it just perspective?

The mainsail on that boat is in the process of being raised or lowered.

There are two halyards on a gaff-rigged sail; the throat halyard (which attaches to the gaff near the mast) and the peak halyard (which attaches to the gaff away from the mast). While raising or lowering the sail it’s normal for it to be in a state in which the peak halyard has not been tightened enough to actually raise the gaff and tighten the leech of the sail; that’s normally the last thing that happens when hoisting, and the first thing you undo when lowering.

You can see the lowered (or not yet raised) peak halyard in the painting. Also, it looks like there are several people standing around the base of the mast, which makes sense if they’re hoisting or lowering the sail.

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For some reason a bunch of people on the web have misidentified…

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

For some reason a bunch of people on the web have misidentified this as a 1934 photo of Rainbow, which is just silly; presumably it was next to a Rainbow photo at some point and people got confused about which caption went with which image.

But no; this is a famous photo of the racing schooner Westward taken in 1910, shortly after she was launched. Designed by Nat Herreshoff, skippered by Charlie Barr, photographed by Frank William Beken.

Those were the days. If you’re gonna have robber barons, at least you can also have amazing boats.

A nice article about Westward is available as a PDF.

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llamapunk: lies: boatporn: I’m guessing at least one of these…

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013




I’m guessing at least one of these is Westward.


this is some serious boat porn.

I know, right?

A cool detail I didn’t even notice until I saw the photo reblogged by you was this guy:

Just chillin’ at the top of the foremast, like you do.

Fun fact: I have been nearly that high in the rigging of a sailboat under way. I didn’t free-climb it, though, like I bet this guy did; I got hauled up in a bosun’s chair.

It’s quite a view.

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boatporn: I like to call it line because it’s on a boat. I’m…

Friday, September 20th, 2013


I like to call it line because it’s on a boat.
I’m sure at least 4 people are going to tell me I’m wrong but I don’t care.

You’re gonna coil that, right?

Coiling the halyard at the first opportunity is a rule I learned early. You’re not done hoisting the sail until the halyard is coiled and ready to run. It was driven home to me during a windy buoy race during LAYC’s 1977 Midwinter Regatta, when I experienced my first (and so far only, thank God) non-practice man overboard drill.

Victoria had just rounded the Point Fermin buoy and the spinnaker had just filled when Dan went over the side. The extra 10 seconds or so it took to douse the spinnaker and turn back upwind for him because the halyard had not yet been coiled probable cost us an extra 150 feet.

An extra 150 feet separating you from a tiny head bobbing in the whitecaps turns out to be a lot.

Don’t wait to coil those halyards. Do it now. It’s a good rule.

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As soon as I saw those bows I was pretty sure these were two…

Saturday, April 6th, 2013

As soon as I saw those bows I was pretty sure these were two J-class boats racing, so I went looking for more information. It turns out five J’s raced at the St. Barths Bucket Regatta last week, the first time since the 1930s that that many have been on a racecourse at the same time. That seemed a likely place for this shot to have been taken, and after a few minutes I found it.

Photo: Carlo Borlenghi

The boat in the foreground is Hanuman, a 2009 recreation of the great Endeavour II. The woman on the bow is photographer Shirley O’Hara Falcone.

Borlenghi’s caption doesn’t identify the boat in the background, but I suspect it’s Lionheart, built in 2010.

This image makes me think of my favorite quote from Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions:

For bringing us the horse we could almost forgive you for bringing us whiskey. Horses make a landscape look more beautiful.

Income inequality has exploded in the last few decades, and the resurgence of racing in “superyachts” like these J’s is a reflection of that. But I could almost forgive the modern robber barons when I see these boats on the water. They make the ocean more beautiful.

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boatporn: henrilloydusa: Classic 12 Meter Sailing Hi…

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013



Classic 12 Meter Sailing

Hi Newport.

12/US 6 is Onawa, originally built in 1928, and apparently the oldest US 12 still afloat. She was designed by W. Starling Burgess and built by Abeking & Rasmussen of Germany as part of a group of boats commissioned for members of the New York Yacht Club.

There also were a group of 10 Meters designed by Burgess and built by Abeking & Rasmussen for NYYC members around the same time. They basically looked exactly like this, only a little smaller; around 60 feet long versus the 70-foot length of an early-era 12. 10/US 3 was Hiliaria. Built in 1927, she was still sailing in the 1960s, when my father owned her and raced her out of San Diego. She was the boat on which I learned to sail.

Side note: If I’d been on Onawa when that picture was taken, I would not have been able to relax until I’d rigged a boom vang. Once a racer, always a racer.

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I thought that “boat porn” image I reblogged earlier…

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

I thought that “boat porn” image I reblogged earlier today looked familiar, and I was right: It’s a detail from a painting I admired at the Getty on my trip there a few weeks ago. It’s one of two paintings by Claude-Joseph Vernet hanging high on the wall in the same room, depicting what appears to be the same Mediterranean port, first in a storm, then in a calm.

From the Getty placards:

A Storm on a Mediterranean Coast (1767)

Claude-Joseph Vernet (French, 1714-1789)

Oil on canvas

The most famous landscape and marine painter of eighteenth-century France, Vernet excelled in the atmospheric depiction of imaginary Mediterranean locations. In A Storm, an English merchant vessel battles raging seas, while the exhausted, anguished survivors of a shipwreck are rescued. A diligent student of nature, Vernet rendered the elemental drama using a naturalistic palette dominated by greens, grays, and browns, applied in lively, sophisticated strokes. The companion to this picture, A Calm, hangs nearby.

A Calm at a Mediterranean Port (1770)

Claude-Joseph Vernet (French, 1714-1789)

Oil on canvas

Vernet described this painting as “a seaport enriched with many figures, edifices, and maritime buildings at sunset.” While Turkish merchants converse on the quay and fishermen pursue their daily activities, a Dutch warship is peacefully moored in the bay. Vernet’s balanced composition, warm palette, and controlled brushwork suggest a harmony between man and nature. Together, A Calm and A Storm — its companion hanging nearby — powerfully evoke stark contrasts of weather and its effects on mankind.

[me again]

As a sailor, I love the way Vernet captured the difference wind makes. In A Storm, the scene is loud and tumultuous; people are fighting for their lives. The British merchant ship is trying to claw its way off the lee shore, but is losing the battle, and those aboard know they don’t have much time. In my imagination the captain has ordered the women and children into a small boat with a few sailors to help them. It’s a desperate maneuver, but the captain believes it is their best chance of survival.

And it appears to have succeeded: The boat is being broken up by the waves, but its occupants have made it to land, with most of them apparently alive and well, save one woman being carried and one man still being helped from the water.

Higher on the shore, two survivors point to the stricken ship, heeling far over as it attempts to escape the rocks with its remaining skeleton crew. A ship like that in these conditions is probably making thirty degrees or more of leeway. Even if it successfully weathers the nearby lighthouse, it seems unlikely that it will be able to clear the more-distant headland. But if the wind moderates or veers, it may have a chance.

In A Calm, the same lighthouse looks out on a completely different scene. A gentle land breeze stirs the ship’s pennant as the Dutch naval vessel works its way into port, the sun setting behind. I grew up racing sailboats around the islands off Southern California, and I can’t count how many times I’ve sailed in conditions like this; the barest breath of wind ruffling the surface of the water, the crew concentrating on coaxing the sails to life. Cruising sailors fire up the engine when the wind dies, but racers (like their Age of Sail counterparts) don’t have that option. A large vessel sailing in light air is a wonderful thing, peaceful and majestic, and Vernet evokes that beautifully in A Calm.

I wish those two paintings had been displayed lower on the wall at the Getty; I wasn’t able to get as close as I wanted. The Getty website makes it easy to zoom in and see more details, which is great, but it doesn’t have the same emotional impact as standing in front of the original.

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