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Sunday, May 20, 2007

May 19, 2007-Back into the Southwest Monsoon

wingssail image-Judy Jensen
Rail Meat

Last summer in Singapore we had great sailing winds week after week; during July and August it was the season for the Southwest Monsoon and we had 15 to 20 knots on several occasions. June or July are the normal months when the SW Monsoon starts in this part of Asia but already this year in May we’ve had nice South Westerly winds two weekends in a row. Not twenty knots, but ten and steady.

Perfect winds for practicing and our practices are starting to show some results.

Last week we sailed out past Marambong Island where we had some sea room and we had a great practice. We went up wind for an hour, tack on tack, and got into a good rhythm. People are getting comfortable with their roles. We marked the newly painted deck for the car and halyard positions. Then we moved people around a bit and had some cross training.

Johore Straights

When the clock told us our time was half gone we set up the kite and did a sweet bear away set and then fell into a jibe around a parked tanker.

A few jibes and some other foredeck exercises like moving the jib over for a port rounding and then back for a floater takedown later and we were all feeling the luxury of the time to try things without the pressure of a short leg in a real race.

Finally back near Marambong we dropped the kite for good and set sail for Raffles Marina. The cooler came on deck and we had some cold drinks compared notes on what worked and what didn’t, and we relaxed for the sail home. It was good.

This Saturday we went out for a fun race and it was another great day of sailing with eight to twelve knots of wind oscillating out of the SW. Several people on our crew were out of town and we dipped into the list of alternates but even these folks are doing pretty good. We are starting to have some depth in the crew.

Of course the race wasn’t perfect. We had some indecision on the sail selection before the start and then got to the starting area late, and missed the first signal. Then we found our selves on port tack facing a line of starters on starboard. We ducked behind them and tacked at the boat end to start a little late but on the right side for the expected shift.

We had a nice beat, a nice set and we were in good shape down the run vying with one other boat for the lead.

Then the wheels came of a bit. We were late getting the jib ready after having a problem with the luff and we couldn’t set the jib. So we jibed at the mark and tried to carry the kite on the next leg, but it was too high and when the inboard end of the pole went up the mast and we couldn’t level the pole we had to get the chute down still without a jib.

So we rounded the next mark bareheaded and we lost first place but no other boats got by before things were sorted out and we finished a credible second. Not too bad.

Racing is harder than a leisurely practice though and after eight short legs we had a boat load of tired sailors, some didn’t have enough energy left to decide whether they wanted a cold beer or power drink. (I had no problem with that decision).

But there were no complaints about the day and people are starting to think about Phuket in December when King’s Cup rolls around. Maybe, just maybe, we’ll be ready.

Fred & Judy, S/V Wings, Singapore

Marina Yacht Services photo
Bottom's Done

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Just Posted, Story from Fiji-July 2000

wingssail image-fredrick roswold
Savu Savu, July 2000

In July 2000 there was a military coup in Fiji. We sat at the Yacht Club Bar and waited for things to die down. Click Here to read the story

Fred & Judy, Bangkok

Sunday, May 06, 2007

May 06, 2007-Thai Art

wingssail Image-Fredrick Roswold
Thai Art

This was an art project for us. We shot some images of Buddha's in Ayutthaya and worked them over in Photoshop, and came up with pieces like this.

Fred & Judy, Bangkok

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May 06, 2007-Ayutthaya

wingssail image-fredrick roswold

Ayutthaya is the ancient capital of Thailand, the original “City of Siam”, which was once great and is still majestic even in ruins. In the 1600’s ships from European powers sailed up the Chao Phraya River, past the guns at Samut Prakhan, past the sleepy little water village of Bangkok and deep into the kingdom of Thailand. They anchored their ships off the bustling riverside town of temples and broad avenues and whose many tall golden and white spires rose mysteriously behind the merchant warehouses and shops along the riverfront. In 1650 Siam was ruled by an undefeated King who commanded armies mounted on elephants, and it had twice the population of London and was more than twice as exotic and mysterious.

wingssail image-fredrick roswold

Siam impressed the Europeans in 1650. It impresses us today.

We drove to Ayutthaya one weekend on a quest, sort of an “art project”. We wanted to see the temples and other ruins, but most of all we wanted to photograph some of the Buddha’s which are there in order to have some images we could use to make some art for our living room. There are paintings of Buddha’s available in Bangkok which we rather like but we didn’t want to pay the going rate for one of these. We got the idea that we’d make our own piece of art. It would take just the right Buddha, some time on Photoshop followed by a trip to the printer and the frame shop. Well, we’re not sure it saved any money, but it would be fun. You can see the result on the previous post.

wingssail images-fredrick roswold


Fred & Judy, Bangkok

Click Here
and Here for more photos of Ayutthaya


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

May2, 2007-Tommy Dreyfus-Wings' Builder

wingssail image

Tommy was born March 2, 1934 and passed away May 2, 2007

Tom Dreyfus, the guy who built Wings, died this month.

Tommy Dreyfus was boat builder and an employer in the marine industry and we are sad at his passing.

Tommy’s passing is also a milestone for us and for Wings:

The guy who built Wings is now a part of history and so also Wings becomes more a monument to the past than part of the present. Wings was built by a builder who once was, an old boat not quite a classic but definitely not quite modern. “Still looks good” has a special meaning when you were created 30 years ago by a guy who is now dead and gone.

But maybe we should talk less about us feeling sorry for ourselves for having an old boat and more about the guy who built her? What about Tom Dreyfus?

Tommy Dreyfus was nothing if he wasn’t a character. He had a zest for life and a wacky knack for doing the unexpected. He wore a pistol strapped to his ankle. He built fast boats and he drove fast cars. He lived on a house boat and some people said he liked fast women.

Jim Gardiner reports that Tommy was wild with cars: Once Tommy picked up his Jim’s wife Ginger in a 5.0 Mustang GT convertible, and “off to Commander's Palace in New Orleans they went. Upon arriving, Tom executed ten 360-degree donuts and finished with a massive burnout before stepping out of the 200' cloud of burnt rubber wearing an all chartreuse green suit and tossing the keys to the valet. Seeing was unbelievable!”

Butch Ulmer also says that Tom Dreyfus was someone you had to see to believe: ”Yes, Tom’s sailboats were fast and dominated the SORC in the early 80s. He was also a good sailor and shipmate. However, to those who knew him, he will best be remembered for his antics”

One famous story was Tom’s arrival on board Burt Keenan’s “Acadia” for an SORC Race in the early 80’s. Butch fills in the details, “Tom was on a plane that was running late, heading down for the start of a race of the SORC and sitting next to him on the flight down was a reporter for Sports Illustrated…when Tommy lamented that he would miss the start, the reporter offered him a ride on the helo SI had chartered so he could at least watch the start. When they neared the starting area, Dreyfus convinced the pilot to go near Acadia so he could just wave to them and tell them he was OK. When they got near, the door flew open and Tommy threw out his sea bag and promptly followed it into the water. Estimates of the helicopter’s altitude started at 75 feet and went up from there. He made the race! That was Tom Dreyfus!”

The FAA almost yanked the pilot's license because of the incident until Tommy flew back down there and testified that the pilot had no idea that he was going to do it.

Guns were a big part of Tommy’s persona: On shore he had a snub-nose ALWAYS on an ankle holster. One ex-crewmate says: “He was fun to sail with and the only guy I ever knew who flashed a chromed pistol at a New York Yacht Club annual regatta dinner, not as a threat to anyone but to put emphasis on a conversational point”

Another story has him firing his .45 across the bow of Ted Turner's Tenacious as it was trying to pass Acadia, yelling "don't pass me or I'll shoot!" and a boat builder from the south tells about how he was introduced to boating by Tom:

“When I crawled below on "Your Cheating Heart" as a 12 year old I knew boatbuilding was what I wanted to do. When I saw Tommy show up for a regatta with a .50cal mounted to the bow pulpit, there was no doubt in my mind he was what was cool.”

And cool he was. From living on his pimp house barge with his dogs and babes, to driving the coolest powerboats in the world to work, to traveling the world in search of a good time, Tommy was cool. People thought of him as a sailing Hunter Thompson.

We have always had photos in our scrapbook of the building project when Wings was born in Tommy’s New Orleans shed, but one of the builders reports a typical days during Wings’ construction: “”We were pouring a keel one Saturday for a Serendipity 43 and ran out of propane to melt the lead, by the time we ran out and had the tank refilled, it was very late but the job had to be done. We got the lead melted around 10:30. This was in the springtime and the steel keel mold was much cooler than the moist surrounding air and a lot of moisture had condensed inside the mold and collected on the bottom. When that lead hit the mold it exploded up into the air raining down on all of us.”

I don't think Tommy Dreyfus would want you to wish that he Rest in Peace, more like "Rest in Fun".

RIF - Tommy the world won't be the same without you.

Fred Roswold, SV Wings, Singapore


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