Zensekai (zen's world under sail)

The sailing adventures of s/v Zen and crew

Monday, October 30, 2006

Ideas and Members

Once upon a time, I had considered joining my local Yacht club. I figured it would be good to meet some new people, share some stuff, etc. After doing some reading about some adventures other clubs have, and hearing a few things, it seemed like mostly it was a reason to get together and drink. Ok, if that is what you like, fine. Responsible drinking is ok.

Now my local club I found out had very few sailing members mostly powerboaters. Hmmm, now we are into a different realm. The idea of powerboating somewhere & drinking does not do anything for me. Nor does the thought of that kind of crowd, not that they are bad, just I'm different. My local club does not have docking facilities, nor a space that I could use for teaching my classes, nor sailors, so that idea went out the window or port as it were.
Being mostly a quiet type and not a big group animal , I figured it was best. Not much gain for the amount of time and money needed to be a member, at least for me.

I came across this on-line group, they had a charter, bylaws, blah blah. So I hooked up with them. No output maybe a few connections when overseas as the Commodore was currently in Japan. The Commodore is quiet for a long time, turns out is is making ready to go to Spain and is looking for someone to run things. I can do that I figured and was appointed the position as Vice-Commodore.

So I'm thinking maybe with a little effort this could work into something. There are many many on-line groups that have sailing stuff, tips, jokes, etc, etc, sail parties. So I'm thinking more on the lines of just an international network of folks will to lend a hand/advise to another when visiting, or at least direct them in a needed direction. If they are in the same area and just want to hook up so much the better.
eg: sailing to Spain, need some local info, help, parts, direction, check in with the Commodore. In Indonesia check in with blah blah. In Japan, In California, etc, etc. Maybe even get a few real time clubs to give some type of affiliation, courtesy visitor pass, etc, something.

So I am looking for ideas and members to make this go . It cost nothing and may help someone , including yourself down the channel.
Give me some feedback.

Partly cloudy

Seems like I was not not quite in balance this weekend. I had 3 days off but, I seemed to have lost track. The time switching and getting a little sick last night , as well as some frustration, may have added to todays feeling of lost time.

Lets see, Friday...ah , yes, I went down to s/v Zen. I got a call on Thursday saying they were turning on my business phone line there, but the Phone co. only takes it to the Harbor house connection, then they, the marina handles it. Hmmm turns out they do not. They gave me the number of someone who does. I thought this would have been fairly simple since there is already a connection box there... but no. Oh well next step...

So I did a few misc things on the boat. Installed a heavy flag line and replaced the string. I took a lil bit of a movie of raise the burgees. If I can figure out how to do it, I'll post it.

Friday night off to my Sifu's for Kung fu practice. Learned some more of the Chu Tai Chi Sword. This is the Tai Chi Mantis, Tai Chi sword form One of my goals is to finish that and a couple of other items before heading off to Japan. I have a lot to reveiw , record and practice before then. My "Uncle" wants me to put more time into the Chen Style as well.
Will this all come into use in Japan, who knows. But it will give me stuff to practice and stay in shape. Hopefully I can pickup at least a couple of students to pass this on to and have a Japan branch to The Chuk Kai Tai Chi Mantis Federation, besides me.

Sat. morning a quick review and filming so I wil not forget stuff from Fri. Then off to Ceramic class. I have no class on Sat, but I can go into the shop and work. Turns out my sushi plates are ready from the kiln. I am pleased with a couple. Two got kind of warped but still ok. Colors are not like I had planned, but still over all they are nice. Lady Zen liked them. I finished up triming a new sake bottle while there. I think this one will be the best. I wll not have much time this week to play with ASA studies to do... more on that later

Next off to "uncle's" shop to work. I put in a couple of hours on the computer mostly working camera stuff for him. Whihc reminds me I need to update the photography website.
So then I pickup sushi for dinner so Lady Zen does not have to deal with making dinner. We can have a relaxing evening watching Fuji TV, our Sat night Japanese programs.

So now it is Sunday already, gosh. I sleep in a little. Then breakfast and some computer stuff. I give some thought to getting in some sail time. I have ASA teachers test coming next weekend. I should get out and go through some drills. I kind of put that on the back burner as it is still somewhat early and low tide is around noon. It is now 10:30. So no point of going until after lunch.

I give some thought to the test and go over the paperwork sent to me. YUK! There is a lot of stuff to study. So I have at it, reading , reading , reading checking questions, researching my books. Blah, it is good I have some good books to research. Some of the things that are going to be coverd are not even on the level I am testing for. ????? What up with that ??? Grrr.
Hmm now it is getting late, and I just figure out there is a time change today not next week. Hmmm. after some more thought I figured I am less concerned with my on the water test than I am with the written stuff. So I put aside sailing for today and get back to the book work. Addtionally researching some of the water manuvers I will need to do. eg: sailing off a mouring, docking to a morning. I have not done these, but using some logic and comparing that with some book samples, it does not seem that complex. Similar in a way to the man overboard drills. I am fairly sure I can handl it. Not need to rush through them anyway I can tak emy time. This will not be a race.
The big thing in my mind is the questions, so more research turns up alll the answers I need. So I'll spend the next few days packing it all in my brain, and hopefully I'll be able ot re-access it when needed.

This testing over 3 days, written, on the water, lecture, given topics to mock teach both in the class and on the water...I'm preparing.. but still nervous about the un-known.
Kind of like looking at the Golden Gate bridge in a fog bank. You know that the bridge is there, what it looks like, how it functions, what is suppose to be there, but you can only see the tip of it from a distance. What in really on it is only a guess...

Friday, October 27, 2006


Sunny Autumn day
Glassy water reflects windless sky
How sad... no sailing

Monday, October 23, 2006

Sailing, Sake & Sushi

It was a clear day; looking out on the lanai I could see there was some wind. Not much but some. More than yesterday, so things were looking up. The forecast said 8 mph winds.
We were waiting for the Tokyo/Monterey (we’ll call them AE & Sakura) delegation to arrive.
We got the arrival call just shortly after 11:00, perfect.
After getting them in, and the greetings thing done, I checked with the Benicia Marina for docking space, which turned out to be a no-go. Bummer! Oh well Chisai koto ( no biggie)
Plan B was to go to Glen Cove. However with light winds, and Glen Cove itself although cute was not as interesting as Benicia for out of towner’s first visit. time for plan C

We head off to the Japanese market, pickup a light lunch, sushi roll, Inari, some plums, pack some wine. They grab some things to take home since Monterey does not have a Nippon Market. So the Sakura from Tokyo is happy to get some home food.
Then off we head to the marina.

Down at s/v Zen we unpack and setup for lunch.
Some wine and sushi and floating puts everyone in relaxed mode.
The weather was perfect at the marina, cooler than inland but very comfortable.

Afterwards we prep for a sail. Since there is not much wind and already getting on with the tide timing the plan is to just sail around. Before that though I wanted to get my line setup for burgees flags. I volunteered the Lady Zen since she is the smallest. She was not too pleased about it, but went along with the plan after I explained it to her a couple of times.

It went smoothly; afterward she said it was not too high after all. Now I have my string up so I can host the SailJapan Burgee. I thought it was in keeping with the Kobe /Tokyo connection aboard today. Later I will pull through a heavier line for the burgees, which will include, SailJapan, SailFar.net, This Old Boat, & International Yacht Club.

Side note I am now the Vice-Commodore of the International Yacht Club. Sounds impressive it not? Over 75 members…. It is an on-line group, but maybe I’ll check into to getting some real time affiliations.

Off we head out of the marina, a small mishap on launch as the docking line catches and hangs us up. We free the line but come out of the slip at a very bad angle, but we make it and off we go.

Winds are very light, so mostly we are just above a drift rate. Very relaxing and pleasant going. We have some tunes going and chit chat.

Sakura feels the need to nap, as the sun, and wine fully kick in. It is nice cruise we make slow time but soon we are over at the Benicia entrance, I swing around and head away an over to Seal Buoy.

Today as most nice days there were couple of sleeping big guys napping.

After a few more turns around the area we head in under power as the wind by this time was almost nothing again with a glass-like surface.

A smooth docking back at
the slip and we are done.

A bit of a photo op and we are off.
We take a quick sighting drive through Walnut Creek downtown for our guest and we head home.

Lady Zen prepares dinner, sushi, spring rolls, salad, and garlic rice.
I break out some Sake brought back from Kobe, smooooooooth, fresh taste MMmmmmm

We settle in for the evening with a game of Mahjong. The Nippon ladies hold the victories on

the round. Lady Zen wins 1 hand with Sakura taking 3 hands. No fair, AE & I are wearing the
clothes, drinking the drink and they are winning, wazz up with that!!!

Part II the next day.
Lady Zen has to work, so I am up early fixing breakfast for the team. Sausage links (veggie for me) fried apples, Fried potatoes with onions and peppers, corn bread and Spanish omelets, with Mimosas to wash it down.

I take the crew, less Lady Zen to Berkeley to the

Berkeley flea market, one of my favorite stops there.
We hang out, AE gets a massage, afterward we chat with the soap lady who gives us the run down on her soaps, gels and bath salts.

We purchase a few and she gets a small interview for the podcast. After a few other booth stops we are off to Tokyo Fish Market which, turns out to be closed. Bummer!!!

Next stop, Jack London Square. We stop at a few farmers market booths, check out some art, head over to World import and Bed, Bath & Beyond. On the way back it is a Ben and Jerry Break from there a stroll back to the car, taking in the autumn

We head up into the Berkeley hills on the way back to Home Base. I show them one of the best view spots of the area.
From the vista we see, Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco, Marin, and Alameda. The fog was in and heavy, but it made the view in way more interesting.

So finally stop on the way in is Jo’s Sushi Bar in Pleasant Hill. The best Sushi place Lady Zen & I have found in our area.
There we have a light dinner of OSHII sushi, some misc chit and chat and joshing with the waitresses. Sakura is pleased with the taste, and AE is impressed with the Chief’s skill level. Next time it is at the bar with a bottle of Sake.

So ends a much needed playtime weekend for all. Now is the time to study down for my up coming test in two weeks!!!! Recess is over.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Becalmed friday

So you may wonder what does this picture have to do with being becalmed... answer nothing!

It is here for two reasons
1. I did not have a picture for the day.
2. A few months back I said something about doing a new ceramic class . I have yet to do anything nautical other than a few waves on some sake cups. However it is a filler and it something from the ceramic venture. One of the few things I am really pleased with. The cups are cool but the pictures do not look good. There are a few more pix on Flicka



I had a visit to the blog from one of my favorite blog writers, Butiku-san. His blog, laughing-knees is not about sailing and water, but the other element earth/mountains and his life in Japan. He has wonderful photographs. We use the same camera, nice. He sent me an email saying he liked boating but it was like a different planet from the mountians. He was also a bit purplexed about all the Zen's. :-)
Since he doesnot have a direct email on his site I'll answer that here for him and anyone else that drops by , Ok here goes

I am Zen or aka Captn Zen, Vice Commodor Zen, some combo of that. Mostly just Zen.

Lady Zen is my almost perfect wife, who is my balance and partner.

s/v Zen aka Sailing Vessel Zen is our Boat, an Islander 29


Becalmed friday:

Today looked perfect outside, temps in the high 70's, sunny, great autumn day. I took off from work 1/2 day. Things are scary slow when they want you to be 95% billable :-(
anyway. I figured i'd take off the afternoon, without pay, and go sailing. I have my teachers certification class testing coming up in a couple of weeks, and I have not been out on the water for as many so, I figured today is the day. I can get some practice in. Man overboard, heaving -to, points of sail, etc. The Universe however had other plans, as in NO WIND! grrrrrr
it was beautiful outon the water almost glass, but not enough wind to move me. Sometimes just enough to tease but not enough to move. So I drifted for a while then motored back to the marina. Oh well...
Making the best of things I gave s/v Zen a wash down. Lady Zen will be happy she has been wanting to do that for a while and with company coming on Sat, it worked out well.
The weather cast says a bit more wind tomorrow we'll see...
We had planned on sailing to Benicia for lunch, however a call over there says they will be very full with a guest yacht club visit, bummer. I was told try before coming chances are slim though. Oh well. No wind (maybe) no dock space (maybe), let's see what the tide brings...

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Autumn Mushotoku day

Welcome to Autumn...

Who says we do not have seasons in California. When the weather is nice, in the 70's and it is sunny, it is nice, but some days, like today, cool & cloudy are not my favorite. Hard to feel like doing anything, more so when dealing with a bit of depression. Yuk, I need some play time...
It has been awhile since I posted as I said it would be. I had thought about it last week, being my 6 month blog anniversary, but I figured only I cared. I have learned a lot about blogs in that time and met some interesting people. Some who drop by read and leave comments, thank you and then there are the others... some of who I support their blog but...oh well, sometimes in life you're on a one way street. It is better to Mushotoku blog.

It was my hope today to get out for a bit of sail. Yesterday Sat. was wonderful weather. I was hoping to take Lady Zen and our Tokyo friends out but... things happen and plans change. We are hopeing for play time next week. Perhaps with a couple of couples. It will be the largest group I've had on s/v Zen.

Anyway, today I had figured on going out single- handed, however the weather although not bad was not good. Well at least to me. Weather report said a high of 66. For a Summer child of the topics this was not good. Yeah I know 66 was nothing, but cooler on the water. I was not into chill'n
However if the sun had been out I would have given it a go anyway.

I started out today on my lanai (balcony) garden watering the plants, cleaning up rodent poop. Yuk!, I had an invader, but he is history...
I was shocked to see those guys can climb up the side of buildings.

So after checking the weather and feeling outside I was not feeling sailing.

I had been to the marina on Sat. It was great weather, but things were off...

The Zen sense was flashing...things were not right in the area, the energy is weird. Someone had taken my water hose, used it and left it un-wrapped laying off the dock, as if trying to fill the marina harbor... weird. When I went on s/v Zen the door was fine but the cover looked like it had been messed with...but all was well.

So I look around...Other things were off in the marina,
there was a boat sunk across from me...

The boat next to me with livaboards was now empty...abandoned

Another boat across from that, same owners, under lock/chain & key...

another boat on my dock had oil pads all around it
and looked like the inside had been gutted, WTF...

several boats had locks and chains on them... I went hmmmmmmm.
Looking at the locks on the boats, I thought... hmmm they look similar perhaps these are people who did not pay their bill... I spoke with the dock hand, my bud, he told me yeah. The locks are on folks who have not paid their slip charges. Some are over $1,000... WOW!
There were lots of dead beats. I felt better knowing the real deal at least about that...

So today, I'm back down on s/v Zen I figured on doing some basic checks, running the motor and changing the oil for next Sat's adventure.
I had purchased a 12volt oil change pump, which I had yet to try out, so today was the day. It worked great!! It made the process very simple. Nice! A worth while investment.

Also, added gas stablizer to the fuel, since no way with winter coming I will use up the whole tank of gas. Checked out my new to me camera tripod,

took a shot of s/v Zen flying the Good ole Boat burgee, maybe I'll get in the mag, at least that is what they said...when I send it in. We'll see.

maybe a better picture though...

So enough of the marina day... I prepare to head home. As what happens 85% of the time I have to wait for the train to pass before I can leave the park. Today it is two Looooong frieght trains

So I head back in to the marina grounds to kill some time...

Grab a few shots, then head off to the store after the train passes and the road again is open.

I stop at the market, get some wine, a DVD rental, Xmen, (yeah very cool) and pop next door at Papa Murphy for a bake at home pizza. A Veggie gourmet delight. I doctor it up at home, fresh Basil from the garden, lots of garlic, veggie sasauge, bake... it is ready 3 min before Lady Zen comes home...good timing, we pig out!

So what else happening, you may wonder or not.

As I said slow time for sailing , of sorts. Next week we hope to have a Autumn Lzenzenzuyunandan (hahah for me to know)Benicia Adventure.
I do have my ASA BKB teacher's exam coming up Nov 3rd. I have a couple of weeks to study up for that.
I spoke with the lady who was suppose to give me the test but she did not have enough people to take it, so it was cancelled. I am going to another location for that test. I chatted with the lady some, she has all the other ASA classes going on at her school, Afterguard Sailing Academy that I want to take to prepare for the Japan passage. Also they are a good price. I'm planning on the next Navigation class with her, in Feb. As it turns out another small world omen, Japan thing happened. She turns out to be the ASA teacher who taught/certified the Sailing Zen master, Aoki, Yoh Sensei I have contacted in Japan. I will be taking the rest of my courses with her. What a karma moment to find that out! So I have another Sensei. Some things are just meant to be...God/The Universe/Tao/Great Spirit put us where we need to be.
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