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On the block.

June 24, 2015

Cypher has been such a great boat for us, and her time with us is at an end.  In a nutshell, Spencer likes to go fast (and win) and Cypher is just a little too big, and a little too wide, and a little too slow for serious racing on San Francisco Bay.  We’ve had some great weekend jaunts and have been just about everywhere within a day’s reach (Benicia, Vallejo, Petaluma, Oakland, Corinthian, Angel Island).

The right people are coming, and she is waiting for them.


SouthEast Farallon Island Trip

November 23, 2013

SouthEast Farallon Island Trip

Beautiful day trip to the Farallons. A wind from the east at 10-15 knots let us fly the spinnaker most the way out, and a wind shift let us reach back most the way to SF. Dodged lots of crab pots.

A misty sailing day

June 25, 2013

Fun day on the Bay with friends.  A different kind of day.  Viewing SF from the water through fog and mist.  A visit to AT&T Park just before the game, a cruise up the Oakland Estuary.  A run under the new span of the Bay Bridge, and finally some sailing on the bay.  Wet and different, but fun.  Something about being on the water and with friends!

Some nice pictures from the day by Teresa Callen.


June 20, 2013

Wow, how has it been since January since my last post!  Let’s see, where to begin…

Been doing a sporadic racing and lots of sailing this year.  Had a fantastic time at the Great Vallejo Race… those people know how to throw a party.  Lots of time on the bay, and cruise out with the HMBYC to Petaluma (up the Petaluma river), and an overnight in Ayalla cove at Angel Island.  Shredded our asymmetrical spinnaker in the rigging last month and waiting for a new one to arrive.  Raced in a BYC and SBYC friday night race, and doing SBYC again tomorrow night (abet without a spinnaker).

I checked this blog because I just requested moderator privileges at the Got Wind and Water meetup group.  Going to use it to invite the occasional random guest for sails – good deed, promote the sport, etc.

It’s Thursday night.  Sipping a Gin and Tonic (our official cocktail for the summer of 2013).  Planning to spend the next three nights on the boat.  Working tomorrow, racing tomorrow (Friday) night, racing in the Summer Sailstice on Saturday, and taking friends out on Sunday.  Sounds like a sailing weekend!

Love and best wishes to all (that’s you, our huge and varied readership – not!).


Corinthian Yacht Club MidWinters – 2013

January 16, 2013

Excited to be racing in the MidWinter Series at the Corinthian Yacht Club this weekend. I’ll update this post with our results on Monday…maybe even GPS tracks of our races on Sat & Sun.

Crew on Saturday will be Neal Wehtje, Denise Rabius, Carliane Johnson, Lisa Ludwigsen, Leann Nassar & Spencer Nassar.  Sunday crew will be Steve Smith, Terri Lahey, Lisa Ludwigsen & Spencer Nassar.  Party and raft-up at the CYC on Saturday night.

Special feature of this series:  Guaranteed Wind (depending on weather)

Porpoises and gray whales and sea lions, oh my!

May 8, 2012

Great day on the SF Bay on Sunday.  Followed a gray whale cow and calf for 45 minutes from near Sausalito to the Golden Gate Bridge and out to sea. Found ourselves surrounded by porpoises on the way back in. It was even sunny and warm!

Friday night racing at GGYC

May 8, 2012

HMBYC Team Cypher Beer Can Race #1 – May 4, 2012
By Carliane Johnson

Sailing involves trying to control many variables at once, which can include the skills of the skipper and crew; the boat and its equipment; and the weather and sea conditions. Add to this the aspect of racing by throwing in a lot of boats in close proximity to each other. Consider, then, the concept of chaos theory.

It is believed that chaos can be controlled by creating small perturbations in the overall, unstable order, which can actually lead to more stable and predictable motions. Thus, a sailboat race is a perfect depiction of controlled chaos.

Half Moon Bay Yacht Club member Spencer Nasser, along with his boat Ultimate Cypher (Hunter 410), has put together Team Cypher as part of the Golden Gate Yacht Club’s Friday Night Beer Can Series. The core crew consists of fellow HMBYC members Marcus Choy, Carliane Johnson, Terri Lahey and Neal Wehtje. The other clubs in the series are from Bay View, Presidio and St. Francis. The first race was held on Friday, May 4, a beautiful blue-sky day. The team was treated to a warm sun setting behind the Golden Gate Bridge while a large full moon rose above the skyline.

The crew had met earlier in the day to discuss sails, tactics, responsibilities, safety, and most importantly, how to ensure that we maintain the fun throughout. It is even specified in the rules that the “GGYC race committee insists you have fun during the beer can series.” Spencer had entered our team in the spinnaker fleet, one of three boats to compete in this group. There are another seven boats in the non-spinnaker fleet. We first spent a couple of pre-race hours in the slip at Pier 39 practicing and discussing how to run the sheets and how to raise and lower the spinnaker; though with winds around 20-25 knots, it was thought that we might not use it. We also practiced deploying and maneuvering the whisker pole. We did not have enough time for a practice run on the bay, so with a 6:35 pm start time closing in, we motored out to locate the markers as soon as the GGYC race committee announced the course.

As a new sailor who has only raced Cal 20s, I noticed that a start line has a different feel to it when it includes a large group of 30 to 40-foot boats with a few smaller boats to enhance the excitement level. Yelling remains the universal method between vessels to manage this chaos. However, with Spencer at the helm, additional coaching suggestions from Terri, and the gallant Neal Wehtje on the foredeck, Ultimate Cypher was maneuvered sharply, avoided the chaos and started well….only to find that it can be slow going getting across the start line when the opposing current is running at 4 knots or greater. The team worked the jib well and hoisted the spinnaker smartly, but it was when we tacked the spinnaker that it seemed to take on a stubborn life of its own and we lost some of the elements of control. With more practice, we will get better at this, but we saw that ours was not the only boat in the fleet with an unruly spinnaker, and the third boat probably never raised its spinnaker throughout the race.

Once control was re-established with the sails, the near-certain strong bay winds uncharacteristically dropped to less than four knots. We had almost made it around the race course the required two times when the race committee called the race, concerned about the racers sailing in the dark. Of the nine boats to start, only one was able to finish in time. Team Cypher is currently tied with the other two boats in our fleet with four points each. Those crazy variables (some controlled and some not) did nothing to dampen the good cheer of all the sailors or the fine complimentary buffet afterward and the warm welcome we received by the host club. Our next race is May 18.

Next time you get the chance, please wish HMBYC Team Cypher fair winds, fine sails and fun-filled chaos.