Category Archives: Sailing

Pirate Confusion Continues

Pirates are notorious for having shifting and disguised identities, which makes catching or even confronting them a major problem. The story of the pirate ship destroyed by the Indian Navy is a good example of the problem:

The alleged pirate ship that was blasted out of the water by the Indian Navy in the Gulf of Aden last week was actually a legitimate Thai fishing trawler that had been seized by pirates earlier in the day, the boat’s owner said Wednesday.

The hijacking of the Ekawat Nava 5 far out at sea; its apparent and immediate conversion to a “mother ship” for the pirates; the gunfight that led to its fiery nighttime sinking; and the harrowing tale of a lone surviving crewman illustrate the dangers and the legal undertow that surround many of the recent hijackings in East African waters.

The story covers the legal issues on the high seas as well as the firefight between the pirates and the Indian Navy that destroyed a private vessel and killed the crew, but did not harm the pirates.

Im Memoriam: Peter Wenner

A University of Hawaii sailing team member was involved in an 18 foot skiff accident this past weekend in Honolulu and has just passed away. Facebook has a Friends of Peter Wenner page with details:

His trapeze harness became tangled in the netting of the wing when the boat capsized. Peter was underwater on and off for a few minutes while they were trying to get him free. The safety boat acted immediately to call 911 and as soon as they were able to get him out of his harness they rushed him to Honolulu harbor in the support boat were an ambulance was waiting.


PJ died doing what he truly loved. Blasting downwind on the 18′ skiff at very high speeds with good friends. PJ said with a big smile to Willy that day now that he’s been skydiving and sailing on the 18′ skiff his life was complete. PJ was a real inspiration to us all. I know we will all remember him for the rest of our lives, smiling, laughing and cracking jokes. The sailing team are all going out on the big boat Tiare on Friday at 3pm to spread flowers and celebrate PJ’s life.

The picture below shows the Pegasus 18′ skiff in action, and the crew standing on one of the big wings with netting:

Tragic, even though they say the best way to go is doing what you love.

I will take a minute to think of PJ and his family, and also double and triple check my safety gear when I next go sailing. The harness is perhaps the most terrifying piece of gear to wear on a dinghy, as the hook easily can become tangled and pin a sailor.

Cadillac CTS Diesel SuperWagon

Oooooh, be still my beating heart. I’ve never been a Cadillac fan, since they seem to prefer excess and flash to function and efficiency, but I have to give them props for trying to step up and follow the European lead in diesel performance vehicles. Have a look at the Cadillac CTS Wagon:

GM says the 4.5L Duramax, which features aluminum cylinder heads with integrated manifolding and a variable-vane turbocharger mounted in the vee, is capable of delivering more than 310 hp and in excess of 520 lb-ft of torque. It also claims the engine meets the tough 2010 emissions standards, making it legal in all 50 states.

This diesel engine is said to get 20-25% better mileage than the Ultra V-8 engine and you know it will totally kill the numbers on the absurd supercharged V-8 CTS-v. In fact, I think they should just deploy the V-6 diesel in both America and Europe.

Why do it? While the CTS is due to get a 2.9L V-6 diesel in Europe, the 4.5L diesel V-8 would most likely be seen as a way of filling the obvious gap between the 304-hp direct-injection V-6 of the regular CTS and the 556-hp supercharged V-8 of the CTS-v here in the U.S.

What they should really do is can the gasoline V-6 version and offer the same diesel option as in Europe. It will have more power and better mileage. I would be more than happy with a 2.9L V-6 diesel. Who needs anything bigger? Oh, right, it’s Cadillac. Well, I guess better to have a massive V-8 diesel option than none at all. Either way, this would be a fantastic regatta/tow vehicle.

Disclaimer: I already own a VW version of this car, manufactured four years ago

2004 VW Passat TDI

…but I am sure I could be talked into updating to an American made V-6 diesel Cadillac SuperWagon.

How to Spot a Pirate

Chief Nato spokesman James Appathurai is quoted in the BBC, saying it is hard to spot Somali pirates:

“There are a host of pirates, but they don’t identify themselves with eye-patches and hook hands so it isn’t immediately obvious that they are pirates.”

I think this has always been true. Pirates have never wanted to be identified early, since it makes their chase harder, but I have to think that the direction of their boat, along with machine guns, RPGs and masks, all make for a good giveaway.

Friend or foe? Black Beard never wore a patch or a hook.