Buy Boats, Sell Boats, Review Boats

Posted by on Aug 28, 2009 in Sailboat Racing, Trawler, UK, US |

Hurricanes, Trawlers, Tuesday Night Races

New boats, new storms, last summer races all signal the change of season.

August is winding down and the summer season in New England, where I live, has that old familiar feeling of fall in the air. Dead leaves in the driveway, a sweatshirt for the walk on the beach yesterday morning, and, of course, the boat-owning adventure of tracking the latest hurricanes and tropical depressions hustling up the East Coast of the United States. Last week it was Hurricane Bill that passed by a couple hundred miles offshore. This week, it’s been Tropical Storm Danny.

I got some good news about Danny when I logged in this morning. Lying northeast of the Bahamas at about 29 degrees North, Danny ain’t quite the man he used to be (last night even); he has lost strength and seems more likely to bring us rain and 30 knots from the east later this weekend than anything approaching storm force. Here’s the latest National Hurricane Center “discussion” if you’re interested and haven’t seen it yet.

Form follows function: this shapely Selene 59 is ready for the elements

Form follows function: this shapely Selene 59 is ready for the elements.

That means I can shift gears back into publishing mode this morning. You might have noticed that we’ve upped our output at Boats.com recently, adding electronics stories from Tony Bessinger to the mix provided by regulars Matt Trulio, Charles Plueddeman, Brett Becker, and Kim Kavin. We’re just getting started with our editorial improvement program and would be happy to hear your ideas below in the comments section. If you’re a Facebook afficionado, we’ve set up a poll about one future idea on our “fan” page and you can make comments there, as well.

Kim’s newest story describes Selene Ocean Trawlers’ plans for three new models. As I put on my sweatshirt again today, the idea of cruising on a trawler is sounding very practical, and I’m reminded of our Hampton 680 staff cruise in early August in Seattle. I snapped the picture above of what I’m pretty sure is a Selene 59, a great-looking model that came out in 2006. Later on, we passed a whole marina full of Selenes on Lake Union where Selene Seattle is located, right down the street from our home offices for Boats.com and YachtWorld.com.

My office, in Middletown, Rhode Island, is close by dozens of marine businesses, as well, in Newport, Portsmouth, and Bristol, and we all share Narragansett Bay, where I had a couple of beautiful end-of-August sails this week on our 30-foot Shields.

Sun below the horizon, Sophie steers our Shields, Grace, for home.

Sun below the horizon, Sophie steers Grace for home.

On Tuesday night, our race series with the Jamestown Yacht Club wrapped up on a very warm night with 5 to 10 knots of wind. We raced in the non-spinnaker class, with a core crew of my daughter, Sophie, and my friend, Bruce, and over the course of the season, we have rotated in mothers, sisters, and lots of friends. When I was traveling for a couple of weeks, my friend, Ted, took the helm and won both races, so our season’s score turned out very well. We also won the “Crew Race,” in which everyone in the crew steers a leg of the course; Bruce, Sophie, and our Dutch sailing friend Rozemarijn did a fantastic job, but I forgot to fax in the report on time explaining which jobs each of us did on each leg so we were disqualified. Fortunately, our memory of event is what counts.

After an overcast afternoon, the sun pokes through the clouds over Reed's shoulder as it gets ready to set over Jamestown.

After an overcast afternoon, the sun pokes through the clouds over Reed's shoulder as it gets ready to set over Jamestown.

The same goes for Wednesday nights, although on this race night my co-skipper, Reed, and regular crew of Pete, Ted, Rachel, and Matt, take our performance much more seriously. That’s because there are often 30-plus other identical 30-footers (all members of Shields Class Fleet 9) on the starting line with us. We count ourselves as doing well if we finish in the top 10 any night, and really well if we’re in the top 5. That series doesn’t end until late September, but we finished fourth this week and were doubly rewarded with the sunset in this photo.

—John Burnham