Zensekai (zen's world under sail)

The sailing adventures of s/v Zen and crew

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Nite run

Not much happening sailing wise right now. My Kung fu training seminar starts this week. Over the weekend there was a tournament
and memorial Banquet for the late grandmaster of the Shaolin Tai Chi Praying Mantis system.

We attended and had a great Chinese banquet again. We got to eat our fill at the veggie table.

We were lucky Sat. it did not get that hot, it was comfortable for the events. This was our 15th yr. celebration of the USA Federation. On Sunday I attended the board meeting.
Finally aftward I had a bit of free time. So I took my classmate and one of his students who were up from San Bernadino, in Southern Ca for a bit of a sail. Although there was fair wind on the way out. I was trying to make some time so we only sailed for a short while then motored over to Benicia.

Lady Zen who had to work that day, was to tired to go. So we three had a short trip over. Walked to the resturant but had to wait forever for the food. So by the time we were finished it was getting dark. This was my first having s/v Zen out on the water at night, found out one bulb is out, not too bad. The evening was pleasant. Not much wind which was a bummer. But it is nice being on the water at night sometimes. Locating the marina entrance to get back into home port was a bit of a task, but all ended well.

Our next adventure is a trip, by land to Marin Co. for a boating flea market and art show this coming Sat. Then an overnighter to Vallejo later in the month. I have signed up for part 2 of the ASA sailing course which will be happening end of the month and into Sept., I'm looking forward to that.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Hot fun in the summer tyme

Wu weeee 113 degrees here today. I kept hearing Sly and the Family Stone in my head. Loved that group! Hot fun in the Sumer tyme. Did not feel really inspired to do much today but stay inside out of the heat. However, a/c makes you too soft and I needed to get out. I may not get any sailing in over the next week or two. Kung Fu seminar starts this weekend coming.

So I went out to get my sail on. It was better at the marina only 99 maybe and less on the water. Mounted the carp. There was a fair wind, but I did not feel like dealing with a lot so it was a jib only day. I was able to move along fairly well with just that. Did a few turns and stuff to practice under jib.

The carp did well. I do not know how long the string will hold up, maybe I will change it. It is nice having the roller fast simple. Bada bing bada bom, off you go don't need no boom.

A few back and forths, then a few practice runs to see about stopping under sail.

Started to sail over to the
moth ball fleet, but did not want to take that much time as I was getting hungry.

When you see this up close you will say , whoaaa dude. I'm about 3 - 4 miles away

So headed back to the marina, felt ok after a few trial passes, enough to try docking under sail. I practiced with just the main, but it would not go out far enough so that I could stop with the slip angle to the wind, so as I had more control with the jib it felt better, as in safer.
So I gave it a shot. I overshot my turning mark a bit when dropping the fenders at the last moment, I lost my focus but it still went ok. I'll try it again another time, but it went well enough that I know I can do it.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

にぽんまち  Nippon Machi

Nippon Machi = Japan Town ( Lil Osaka, Sister city to S.F.)

About today's blog from the bay, the only thing it has to do today with sailing is that we didn't, but there is some things about stuff for the boat. It was my original plan to sail out to the Moth Ball Fleet (more on that later) . However later I figured to make a trip into the city. Which is what we locals call San Francisco. First of all let me state I HATE going into the city. Traffic sucks, & parking sucks. Which for many is a way of life but to me, it sucks. ok, moving on. The temps here as of late have been three digits. Yesterday 107 in my area but cooler in the city, were they were complaining about it being high 70's, almost 80 wow! For them it is a big deal, for me perfect, another reason I would not live in the city generally too cold. Winter I freeze even in the summer sometimes night are cold.

but I digress

So, we head out to the city I figure, a stop by this place called "True Sake". I like some sake, the best I found was from Kobe, smooth, soft taste lightly fruity. For those who do not know not all sake it served hot. You can checkout www.truesake.com and get details of you like. Anyway...after true Sake we will go to Japan Town, lunch etc, etc. So not to get too far ahead, I'll backup and fill in details.

We head out about 11:00 already getting warm maybe about 80 degrees here inland. We take the Pickup because the a/c is not blowing anything but hot air in the car. I give it the once over, water, oil , gas and we are off.

First a brief report on the Creative Zen mp3 player. since that is part of the story.
Ipod is big, but I hear some not cool things about it, besides the price. Some of spoke about using it on their boat instead of having CD or DVD's because you can play hours without having a bunch of disk sliding around whenever you tack. So, I'm thinking yeah good idea, so I check into ebay. They are more than I want to spend at this time. However I come across something call, a Creative Zen player. Now of course something with a name like that catches my attention. So I do some research turns out people have good things to say about this little unit. Very good things to say. So the one on ebay is a demo model some company is selling it. It is not the largest at 560 megs, ( also not called a Zen, but a Muvo ???, although listed as Zen, different model ) but that will hold some 200 songs and play for some 13 plus hours or something. Nice. The other thing is I can record from a built in mike. So when Lady Z gives me some Japanese words I need to remember I can record it. Also I can record some conga and bongo/drums sounds beat from over at the Berkeley flea market to use later to play flute and shamisen with at home. Download to the computer and jam on baby.
So I pickup this unit for about 10 bucks hard to beat that with a stick! I figure, I can test run it and if it works out I can by the couple of gig size later (really named zen). I have this fm transmitter which powers off a cig lighter, it sends signals to the radio. So I can take this unit on to s/v zen an play tunes through the stereo , it worked nice!!, I can put it in the car which does not have a CD player, it works!, I can put it in the truck it worked, which brings us back to today's trip.

I downloaded some tunes for today journey it worked great. Since we were headed to Japan town I figured some Taiko drums would be nice. It was!

So we get into Oakland near the Bay bridge, traffic all but stops! Holy Smog breath Batman! I think, this is it! From there on it was wall to wall cars, should I say rail to rail, for the next 45 min to hour. Luckily we had a/c and music.

From the entrance to the bridge we had a good view of the the Bay around Berkeley and the Golden Gate bridge. There must have been several dozen sailboat out, maybe even evk4 was one of them. That was as close as we got to sailing that day. You can not see it from this little picture , but they were there...lots of sails ...off in the distance...really, there is. It is fairly shallow right here.

We finally make it over to True Sake, luck was with us we found free parking only a couple of blocks away. It is cooler there so walking was no biggie. Most likely only one reader, Roya-san of s/v Shibumi has an interest in this, but here it is anyway.
So nice place, lots of Sake on display. Lady Z and I look around then chat with one of the workers. She is also Japanese so she gives us the run down in Japanese, explaining taste and rice milling and stuff. I only got some of it, but knew what she was talking about from reading the newsletter.

Good selection of stuff, all available to ship via DSL to most places in the states.

So we got a couple of bottles, One I had picked out on-line and one for Lady Z who has a different taste in Sake than me. I also said the secret word of the month and got the monthly special for half price.

Sweet. This month it was a gold flake Sake. Yup real gold flakes in the Sake.
When I shake it it floats through the bottle, like those snow bubbles things that show a winter scene. We had some , the Sake not the bubbles, the last couple of times in Japan at my Sis-n-laws place.

Happens that Lady Z like this kind, we'll save it for sometime, maybe special, at least to us. It is the gold flake one in the middle.
On the left is mine light fruit taste. One the right is a white creaming sake. I got it at the Japanese market. Which has a lot of the same things., as far as common Sake, but since most Americans would not go to a Japanese market or know what to buy, True Sake has a niche in the market. Also the Japanese markets will not ship. So ends the Sake report.

Next over to Japan town. We stop at my favorite noodle place for lunch. Yummm, I have my usual, Kitsune Udon ( sweet fried Tofu with some veggies and wheat noodles in a fish broth) and Tuna Sashimi over rice. I try some Shucho to drink. A Japanese liqueur, I hear a lot about it being popular these days in Japan. Ugh! Lady Z says it is like Japanese Vodka . Wow strong, more bitter than I like my drinks. I'm kind of a wuss when it comes to booze. This stuff is ugh, yuk! Lady Z says in Japan it is mixed with fruit juice and made as a cocktail. I can see that would help. But for me, that was my last time trying. I'll stick with my smooth , slightly sweet, slightly fruity, smooth Sake.

Lady Zen has some cold Noodle dinner with Tempura. Served in a boat. This is the closest we get to a Boat today.
(editors note: This statement and the boat keep this blog within the sailing/boating context along with the bit about the several dozen sailboats on the bay today and us not being one of them, otherwise you would not have known about any of this, well if you cared anyway, but again I digress)

Next stop, we head to a Japanese music store. We make a short detour to the Hardware store. I find a Carp Wind Sock. The kind they use for Boys Day in Japan ( Carps are very strong swimmers, this is saying boys need to be strong swimmers in life). Thinking it will a good wind direction indicator I pick it up for s/v Zen. Even if I do not like it, it is only $1.00. (what can you buy these days for a dollar)

Then to the music store. I get some parts for my Shamisen. A bachi ( pick) and a bridge. We check out a few other things in the store since it is more of a gift shop than a music store. Shirt, misc knic knacks from Japan. The owner also has a few used Japanese paperback books. Lady Zen is not into looking at them too much so we move on.

Before heading to the market we stop and have some ice cream. I go for a green tea milkshake Yum. Oshii ( delicious ) The Lady chooses a soft cream vanilla cone.

Next stop the Japanese market, we pickup supplies for the next few weeks. Pickled garlic with tuna flakes, pickled plums, a bottle of plum wine, a couple of small bottles of sample Sake, some misc fish and veggie snacks for dinner and lunch.
Then head back through major traffic to the East Bay.
Did I say the traffic sucked...

Friday, July 21, 2006

 ぎむ Gimu (duty)

Clear sky Friday off
Stacks of numbers & papers
I'd rather be sailing...

Sunday, July 16, 2006

A day in life

Firey Summer Sun
Waters unconcerned lapping waves
Reflect dancings stars

The world breathes
My sails bloom round and full
Silently I pass

Yang to Yin
I gently ride the center
Good day in life

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Spiritual Sailor

I am currently reading The Tao of Sailing, written by a sailor naturally and being a student of the Tao and a fan of Tao Te Ching I find it interesting how the author ties it with the art of sailing, perfect sense to me. Of course in the Taoist/Zen thought/mind everything is tied together. I just recently finished reading a book called Journey of a Hope Merchant an excellent book for those of you interested a sailors adventure of life, death and love struggles. If it was movie ( and it maybe at some point) it would be a good date movie. I had the chance to ask the author a personal question about his spiritual ideals before and after his voyages. I was pleasantly surprised at his willing openness to share his thoughts. Then there is the sailing Zen master in Japan who teaches his advanced students elements of Zen he came to understand whilst doing his ocean voyages. Another simple yet gratifying brief contact moment of even getting a reply from him. I have touched here before in my verbal ramblings about my feelings on Zen/Tai Chi/Feng Shui /the Tao and Sailing
I understand that being a sailor does not make one naturally spiritual any more than it makes one an environmentalist. I was only slightly shocked to recently read an on-line newsgroup posting about yacht clubs and Black members. One person in NY stated it was their clubs unofficial policy not to rent slip space to Blacks for obvious reasons. I did not understand what the obvious reasons were, nor did I get an answer from the poster. I do know that obviously this was not a spiritual minded club. The sea, the earth, the wind does not discriminate. The wrath of nature will take everyone whose time is up, or does something very stupid, with no care to race, color or creed.
Now, understand when I refer to spiritualness I am not talking about religion. Religion and Spiritualness are different. The KKK is full of religious people, wars are fought over religion, Baby Bush is religious. Religion does a fair amount of separating humans, Spiritualness brings us together. I believe God/the Universe/The Great Spirit/ The Creator/Jah/The Force whatever limiting name mankind places on Him/Her/It is more concerned, if one can say that, with humankinds true heartfelt Spiritualness than, the bible thumpers who preach fire and brim stone versions of "their true brand” of religion. I think the true message of Jesus / Mohammad / Buddha the like is about true Spiritualness.
Back to sailing, is there something in the act of sailing that touches some people to the degree that they get a spiritual enlightenment? Perhaps it is some type of trigger for those who are already of that mindset. I know there are many many more sailors out there than I have or will ever encounter, and many of those are far less than spiritual. However those that I have encountered all for the most part share the same basic spiritual awareness that we are but a small part of the greater whole and should respect each other as such. To disrespect a part of nature is to disrespect ourselves. So are sailors on a whole more spiritual? I guess that would depend on who and what it is compared to, however I think on a whole the very act, the need to sail, the desire to connect to the wind and water, to achieve that Feng Shui Harmony, Yin Yang balance, without the noise & pollution of man-made propulsion is, even if not seen/recognized as such, a calling of the Spirit, ...even perhaps, the desire to be one with God

Monday, July 10, 2006

Boating Back to Benicia

The Zen crew went out Sat. with guests

They were our first couple passagers.

We went boating back to Benica. Which is a small town just across the river, which is really called a strait.
It was a great day for a sail. Winds about 15 knots, temps in the low 90's. We started about 11:00am. had a small pre-launch toast, of Barefoot(brand name) Champagne Mimosas. ;) just one small glass each with a little snack. Then set off. I have gotten pretty good with making the trip over. Before it would take me about 5 tacks, now I do it in three. Easy close reaches. Took about 1 hr or so.

Pulled into the guest dock.
Waited a bit after check-in for the boat in front to leave then pulled into our spot and headed off to town on foot. Seem like a good time for a photo op.

A short pleasant walk of 15 min to downtown and we had lunch at an outside cafe/hotel. Lady Zen and I had a Salmon Ceaser salad. Yum, We were expecting just a few chucks of grilled Salmon but got a big grilled fillet on a bed of lettuce. :D We were pleasantly shocked. :o
After a bit of chit chat , we headed back. Took a detour through a small shop area. Where I met and chatted a bit with a fellow musician playing in the courtyard. 8)
He spoke a little Japanese being a Nisei ( 2 generation ). He played mostly the same instruments as me and studied Tai Chi. He had his cute dog with him. We may even hook up at some point maybe do some Jamming since he lives fairly in the area. He is setting up his website soon if you like flute/keyboard NewAge type music. I think it is www.whisperinglight.com

Then we headed back to s/v Zen. and headed back home.

Nice steady breeze, no tacking just an easy broad reach and we were back.
After docking and packing up everything, nice cold cooling Margarettas were in line to end the hot day. ;D

Life can be good

Visual aid for those who do not know the area.
The Red X is home port, The yellow X is Benicia, The green X is Oakland, The Purple X is San Fransico

Friday, July 07, 2006

Practice makes perfect

It was my Friday off today , (wahooo) . The weather was warm in the high 80's, winds 15-20 mph. perfect for a sail. So I did just that. It was great! Steady wind, moderate waves. Did a few miles just for fun. Almost got run over by a tug boat !! Other than that it was perfect. :-)

I practiced my man overboard drills a few times. Since I have part two of my ASA classes coming up next month. The drills went fairly well. I was able to grab the "man" on the first try two of 4 times on the 2nd try twice. Not bad. "he" would have been pulled along a couple of times, but...at least I got "him"
Also practiced, well tried sailing with no tiller, steering by sails only. Did fairly well, but could not come about, I need to figure out that one. Also did a bit of jib reefing. Just to see how the roller jib part way out behaved.

I was thinking today how nice it is to be able to sail in a few mintues of prep. not having to load and unload an outboard into a lazzeret like my old boat . What a hassle that was !!

Tomorrow, we have a couple going out with us for a lunch sail. We are heading back to Benicia. It should be fun, our first couple passengers, we do not have a lot of couple friends... well one really, my sister -n- brother inlaw. I was dissapointed they could not come over this year. So this will be different, kind of exciting. Since Lady Zen and I are both Leo's with like to do the host thing. Let's see how this goes...

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Zen's July 5th report
on the 4th

Things were quiet at the marina when we arrived. A Sunny day, not too hot, gentle breeze blowing. It would have been a good day to sail. However, that was not the plan. It was house, er... boat keeping time. Whilst Lady Zen vacuumed and got below deck in order. I installed my newest creation, the cockpit bug screen. Last week or so, I installed a snap-in place door cover. This screen used the same snap placements to hold it in place with the door removed. NICE!!. Worked great. Later that evening a bunch of "lil flying biting critters" lives were saved from being turned into blood splats by being blocked entry into the private areas of s/v Zen. I was saved the karma of having to dispatch them to the dead zone! So it all worked out.

Then it was set up the Barbie and ready some shade for chow time, finish prepping the food and fire up the grill

For those you can not tell what is.

King Salmon ( large red piece), fresh herbs from Zen's garden ( lemon grass, basil, garlic onion chives, plus red peppers, and garlic, red onions & Japanese eggplant. which have all been marinated in a garlic/pepper/lemon sauce.

All done!, Salmon with fix'ns, corn on the cob, baked yams, spring veggies salad, wine. Yum yum, Yeah, yeah, I know the chop sticks are not American, so what it's my boat!

Things were a bit overcooked. I'm not use to the grill as yet. Next time, less time. This is not the best photo, turns out I had the camera set on movie, which looked cool having the flag waving, but since I could not do that here I extracted this frame.

Ah, all stuffed now, a fun picture with the "zen sign"

Then a short walk around the park to see all the folks and festive stuff. Next some tunes on an internet jazz station ( we got a wireless connection for the day), some reading, margaritas, ( yeah, yeah, it's my boat remember& I hate beer) and a nap, before show time.

Finally dark now around 9 something. Not as many people around on the docks this year. Perhaps because last year was such a disappointment of a show. Many figured it was not worth it I guess! Still a fair amount of drunks around though. Glad I'm not on the road when they drive home. We will wait until the park is clear and they are long gone.
This year was better as far as the fireworks. No big lulls in the action. From s/v Zen we can see three cities shows. Ours right in front of the boat and two others towns just across the water.
This was our best 4th., s/v Zen was clean & comfortable, good food, no noisy folks on ether side or across from us, bugs were kept at bay not bugging us, we counted our blessings, it was a good day.
I hope everyone else enjoyed themselves. Sorry about your trailer Tillerman. Hmmm I wonder if that was some type of Cosmic American Revolutionary Brit payback :-)

Monday, July 03, 2006

Zen & The Environment
part II

There is nothing better than moderation for teaching people or serving Heaven. Those who use moderation are already on the path to the Tao. ...Lao Tzu

Now there are many parts to environmental awarness. There is the cleaning of your porta-potti on the dock, there is the leaking oil from your motor, there is throwing stuff overboard.
I have been shocked to hear sailors doing all of the above. I have been known also to throw small food bits overboard. My feelings are the fish, ducks, something will eat it. If not, it will return to the nature. However plastic bottles, foam cups and such WILL NOT. Beer cans floating in the marshes are also not a good thing. Do not get me started on the plastic beer can/soda can wraps, that stay around forever and get fish and birds caught in them. These are things we ALL should be aware of, we who call ourselves sailors, who use the wind and talk about powerboaters, need to be more aware, do our part and set examples. The sea, the water ways are our home, they are us in the liquid state. To disrespect, it is to disrespect ourselves , our home.
However this is about waste, not the dumped kind, but the limited resource kind.

So as I was saying. I was at the marina on Sunday. Doing some work on S/V Zen. I was finishing some sanding work on the bow. It took me about 4 hours to finish up. It was a fairly pleasant day, other folks were out doing their boat stuff as well, including a guy a few slips down from me washing his boat.

It is my habit and training to be aware of what is going on around me and make some type of mental note. So I get on to the task at hand, sanding. I practice doing the Zen thing making big thing small and using mindfulness on the task at hand, not thinking about getting it over, but getting each small section done correctly. Time moves on. I take a break after about 1 hour. I notice the guy is still washing his boat...more like rinsing

I go back to work, small sections...I am about half way done, it is a good 1.5 - 2 hrs later
Guy is still washing...hmmm ok, he is also practicing mindfullness I tell myself and he also is focusing on the small things not the big job. I go back to work, another 1/2 passes, I still see him rinsing, my focus is slipping now. I notice he is rinsing the same spots again and again. To be clear he is not washing he is rinsing, there is no soap or scrubbing involved there is just water being sprayed. So now I am watching more... as gallons of fresh water are being sprayed on the same areas for another 1/2 hour. Now perhaps I'm overly sensitive having gone through a drought here in CA and also thinking about water that is needed on a long ocean passage is LIFE. However this seems WASTEFUL. Three hours of running water just to rinse down a boat. I notice he is looking at little spots and not taking a brush to clean them just turning the hose on them and standing there. Hmmm should I go say something, something smart and make an enemy, or let heaven issue it's own balance. I notice others go by he speaks to no one... not a friendly type , I note.
I figure time to take a break stretch my legs, etc. I have now finished sanding and applying the TeaQua and need to let it dry before putting on the second coat. So I head down his way to see how dirty this boat is that needs 4 hours of water to clean it. Nothing special, no caked on mud, no oil spots with stuck on seal poop, no globs of sea weeds growing out of the hull, at least on top, no garden flower boxes that needed to be watered, just your basic boat hull, it was your basic post dirty ( I looked at it last week on my walk ), that should have been cleaned and done in 1- 1.5 hour tops. This guy was just your basic water waster, those who use the water hose for every part of cleaning ( like using the water hose to sweep the driveway not a push broom). He did have a brush & bucket through I do have to say, it was tucked neatly out of the way, not to interfer with the water pressure doing it's job. Todays washing lesson from a big boat sailor, after your basic soap down, one needs to spend the next 3 hours getting every drop of that nasty soapy stuff off your hull.

Doh, silly me, it is the 4th of July on Tuesday, he like so many others who do not move or visit their boat for months at a time will most likely be down on the 4th for the show. Him and his hunting buddies from the gun club, ( I saw the shirt) One can not have it look like it has not been moved in 6 months ( which it has not been) , what was I thinking. ok my bad.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Zen and the Environment

1st off let me be clear. When I make my various statements about Zen and whatever. I am 99% of the time talking about Zen the Philosophy, Zen the Mind set, Zen the state of being, Zen coming from a Taoist eye not Zen the religion. I am not Buddhist and know only crumbs of that world. I am not a pure Taoist ether, but I do more understand it's basic philosophy. So with Zen I am speaking of the we are the world/Universe view point, we are part of all that is. We are, should be one with the Universe mind. We are we not a sperate being that operates outside the laws of the Universe. Unlike GW Bush who ... well never mind that is another subject.
Part of my enjoyment about sailing is the senseo f oneness with the Universe, that group spiritualness that happens when you are in the "zone" Feeling the wind, water and yourself as one unit. To me that is only a part of that "mind" and it carries over into other areas, like being aware of and respecting the environment and wastefullness, respect for our limited resources and others who follow. I was reminded today by example that just because, sailing enhances my sense of environmental awareness, it is not the same with other sailors.

I'll finish this rant later, it is getting late. I just wanted to ge this down while it was fresh in my head.

to be con't
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