Monday, December 31, 2007

ABYC Boxing Day Pursuit Race

Last Saturday, December 29, 2007, 65 boats entered the popular ABYC Boxing Day Pursuit race held inside Alamitos Bay. Entries were diverse and ranged from the Naples Sabots, Lido 14's, Snipes, Cal 20's and 25's, Mercuries, Snowbirds and various keelboats and catamarans. ABYC sailor and PRO Mark Townsend has built this casual day race into quite the annual event! Using the Portsmouth rating system the boats all started at their assigned time LeMans style off the ABYC long dock.

We entered our Tim Kernan designed Columbia 30M for a fun sail around the bay and to see how many of the fleet we could track down being the last monohull to start . My son Steve was on board along with my close friends and accomplished sailors that included Bruce Golison, Steve Brown, Scot Atwood and Pat McCormick. Scot's friend Tom joined us as well and did a great job. The course took us around Alamitos Bay for a few laps of busy sailhandling for us. These guys all did a great job getting the sails up and down in the cramped quarters for Pacific High inside Alamitos Bay! We managed to pick off all but 9 boats and finished 10th overall and second in the keelboat class--- not a bad finish for having to maneuver in such close quarters at low tide with no room for error!



Wednesday, December 12, 2007

My son Steve's thoughts to our Angel Paul on his birthday today---

Happy birthday brother
Today is your big day
Another year older, another year wiser
I think is what they say

I didn't make you a cake this year
Or find you an amazing gift
I didn't give you a big bear hug
Or even a tiny kiss

It's not that I didn't try to find something
It's not that I don't hold you dear
It's just the only thing that came to mind was
I wish that you were here

Sunday, September 09, 2007

LBYC Catalina Island Series Race- Isthmus to Long Beach

This past Friday and Saturday the westerly breeze was on in the Catalina Channel (16 - 18 kts) so I asked my good friends Steve Brown and Amy Ray to join me on Pacific High to motor over early Sunday morning to the Isthmus in Catalina Island and race home in a probable 25 mile sprint from Catalina back to Long Beach. They both agreed to and the fun was on.

We met at the boat at 0630 and started the 4+ hour motor to Catalina. The highlight of the trip was seeing a CA Grey Whale less than a quarter mile from us heading south for the winter. Quite a sight. We enjoyed pleasant conversation, coffee and Ames' breakfast sandwiches. We arrived at the island with an hour to prepare for the start. We picked up a mooring in Cherry Cove to prepare and rig the boat. Steve and I donned our bathing suits and enjoyed a swim cleaning Pac Highs' bottom while Ames rigged the Jib and Main. The Westerly filled in at 10 kts at 0800 and continued to build all day. At the start we had 14 kts and for the last 7 NM the breeze was 19 - 21.

Needless to say, perfect conditions for us. Our PHRF Class B had several good boats, among them a FT 10, Farr 40, J 145, 2 Tripp 40's, and a ID 35. We took the port tack committee boat end start and headed off to Long Beach on a jib reach getting our reaching AYSO up within ten minutes.

The ensuing 2 1/2+ hour romp is what Pac High is all about. The FT 10 took the westerly above rhumb line route and we took the east of rhumb line route with the Farr 40 in the middle. The breeze piped up and moved aft allowing us to surf up to speeds of 16.9 knots. At the East End of the Long Beach Breakwater 3/4's of a NM from the finish the FT10 was 4 boat lengths in front of us on starboard tack with a jibe and take down to pull off in a breeze to get to the finish and the Farr 40 was a few minutes back with the rest of the fleet safely tucked away. All we had to do was take the AYSO down and jib reach to the finish. (Easier said than done but Steve Brown was on the boat!) Steve Brown who is big, strong and talented simply sucked our chute into the cabin like a vacuum cleaner. The FT10 had problems and lost a lot of time in her maneuver and the die was cast.

Of note:
During the 5 miles before the Long Beach Breakwater East End a Santa Cruz 52 who started 5 minutes behind us finally passed us. But when the breeze really came on above 20 Pac High turned on the afterburners and we passed the SC 52 back and beat her by minutes. Amazing stuff. Anyway, it looks like we won our class- good times.

All in all, Pac High performed most admirably and the day was awesome. Thank you Steve and Ames!

A link to the results: Results

Monday, July 09, 2007

TransPac 2007 Start #1 Report

Just got home from taking the Brown Sugar (my good friend Steve Brown's Express 37) supporters out on Gypsy to watch the start and first hour of the race. Until 1230 the wind was about 8 kts at 160 - 180. In the ensuing 5 minutes the westerly filled in at but 240 at 8 - 9 knots.

The start was uneventful with the fleet behaving and with the exception of 3 boats (Caulkins 50, Ariadne and one of the Cal 40's) everyone set out on starboard tack towards the west end of Catalina Island.

We were able to sneak in to leeward of Brown Sugar for a final Bon Voyage and pictures one hour into the race.

For updates on the Brown Sugar adventure go to
Team Brown Sugar

Saturday, July 07, 2007

ABYC Fourth of July Pursuit Race and BBQ

Today, Saturday July 7th we entered Pacific High in the Alamitos Bay Yacht Club 4th of July Regatta pursuit race--- followed by a BBQ get together on the club lawn with good conversation among friends.

The Westerly filled in very early and it promised to be another of those famous Long Beach consistent 15 -17 knot afternoons -- which it was.

Joining me were long time friends and talented sailors, Bruce and Margo Golison and (ABYC PRO Extraordinaire) Mark Townsend. Mark had a rare free weekend day so jumped at the chance to actually go sailing! It was lucky we snagged him as the breeze really filled in and he knows his way around a boat.

In the monohull fleet Pac High was the scratch boat and had to cool her heels as the rest of the 25+ boat fleet took off on their respective start times . (Cal 20's, Etchell 22's, Tempests, Finns, Lasers, Laser Radials, Snipes, Coronado 15's, Capri 25, Schock 35 among others). There was a fleet of A Class Cats entered but inexplicably they started only three minutes behind us--- so scoring them in our fleet was an obvious error as they passed everyone within 25 minutes (us in 8 minutes) into a 1 1/2 hour to 2 1/2 hour race depending on the boat you were on. The A Class Machines that did not capsize finished the race in 1 hour or less. But who cares (and know one did) as the point of the day was to have a great day on the water and enjoy each others company ashore.

By the time we started the fleet was gone!----- We had no idea what was to transpire but patience, conservative and good sailhandling along with going the right way up both beats on the 10 mile 2 lap W/L course paid off. We passed the last 2 boats (a Cal 20 and a Laser Radial) with about 3/4's of a mile to go to take the race, finishing in front of the club after sailing down the Long Beach Jetty Channel.

Bruce, Margo and Mark really hustled and we all had a great time. I am most pleased with our little pocket rocket. We hit 14 knots in a solid knot puff on on the last downwind leg and grins were all around.

Nest Saturday is the Seal Beach to Dana Point Race-- Good times.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Memorial Day Weekend Sunday Gypsy Sail- Yeah!

My close friend Bob Hickman decided earlier this week to insist we take Gypsy out for a daysail today with some of our special friends. He and his wife Carol said they would take care of lunch for the crew--- "Wash-- Just get the boat ready!" Yes--- It was time to crawl out of my cave - and Dr. Bob was taking control! I was looking forward to today and spent all day Saturday cleaning Gypsy up to make her presentable. :)

My son Stevie and I both are in about the same place regarding Paul, and Stevie was excited also about today's sail as well to just get out there. Stevie invited 2 of his high school buddies George and Alex to sail with us as well.

Filling out the crew were Camille Daniels, her friend Jim, and John, Kathi and Savannah Robinson.

And to top off the afternoon my good friend Steve Steinberg met us at the dock just having flown in from Egypt for a few days in between jobs captaining major league yachts in the Med to give me a hug as he was unable to be there for Paul's services last January.

Tomorrow we take Pac High out for a sail to Newport Beach if the breeze is up.

Life goes on------

A Poem to Remember Paul

A Parable of Immortality

I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other. Then someone at my side says: "There, she is gone!" "Gone where?"
Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and
spar as she was when she left my side and she is just as able to bear her
load of living freight to her destined port. Her diminished size is in me,
not in her. And just at the moment when someone at my side says: "There, she is gone!" there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout: "Here she comes!"

Henry Van Dyke

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

My son Stevie's (17year old HS Senior) tribute to Paul

“Cast off!” cried He,
The Captain to his crew.
“Today we leave,”
“And sail into the blue.”

So off they went,
Enchanted by the breeze;
A marvelous journey,
It surely was to be.

Merely ten days out,
A cry was uttered by the crew.
They happened upon a hidden reef,
Which tore the ship in two.

Down she went without a fight,
Into the deep blue sea.
A shame, the journey had just begun,
How marvelous it was supposed to be.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The 60th Newport Beach to Ensenada Race is set for a week from this Friday!

Pacific High is entered and this will be a nice shake down sail for us to get the kinks out. This will by my 26th time in the race and my son Steve's 3rd. Eric Witte (TransPac Watch Captain) is flying out from CT to get some time on the boat as well.

The 120 mile Newport Beach to Ensenada Race has been an annual event since 1947-- this is the 60th running of the race. It has quite a history of famous sailors and stories that are so special. My dad raced in it in 1954, 1961 and 1963. I never got the pleasure of sailing with him in this event as he was too old when I was ready to participate. But what a gift that he introduced me to the sailing life, a lifestyle that is just incredible. He taught me to be a real sailor, not just a racing skipper. He is with me always along with my dear son Paul out there on the open sea. I am sure Paul is cracking his grandfather up daily, up in Heaven.

Stay tuned for updates as we splash Pac High in a few days and get her set up.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

I commssioned an oil portrait of Paul by noted marine artist Jim DeWitt

Jim is one of my favorite artists- aka Jim DeWitt of San Francisco-- former sailmaker now full time artist in his retirement years. ( For those of you who have children, or anything else that you would like painted in his style I highly recommend him.

Anyway---- I am typing through the tears but feel so much gratitude for what people can give. Jim was pretty emotional and I could hear it in his voice when we chatted about the project.

He has produced a masterpiece -------------

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A New Star is Shining

God has a new star in the sky, and even though it is a little one, when I sail out on the open ocean Paul will be the brightest shining gem upon the sea for me.

Godspeed Paul--- Your old man loves you!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Key West 2007

I just returned from an escape to Key West spending last week aboard the Division 2 Signal Boat as navigator and back up to my friend Bruce Golison who was the PRO. It was a nice week for me seeing old friends, making new ones and enjoying the experience of "Key West".

I also was an embedded reporter on the Sailing Anarchy website where we dedicated the weeks action to my recently deceased son Paul. We made history by reporting the event virtually live, with commentary and pics posted as things were happening. The on-line sailors who could not attend gobbled up the content. Good times.

Here are links to some pictures of the action on our course:
Key West 2007

Key West 2007 Day 3

Key West 2007 Day 4

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Paul Washburn Donations Request

The outpouring of support, prayers and affection has been truly touching. Many have asked where donations in Paul's name can be made. I would be most appreciative if donations were made in Paul Washburn's name to CHOC, the wonderful children's hospital that helped him last Monday and Tuesday.

Choc Hospital Donation Link

Thank you all who have checked in for your kind words, friendship and support during this sorrowful time.


Sunday, January 07, 2007

Thank you all for your prayers for Paul and the rest of us Washburn Boys

Thank you all so much for your prayers and condolences.

There are two services that are open to anyone who wants to celebrate Paul's too short but happy life.--
One is tomorrow Monday at the Pacific View Cemetery in Corona del Mar, CA at noon.

We will also be spreading Paul's ashes at sea the last week of January with another celebration of his short but happy life to follow at the Alamitos Bay Yacht Club in Long Beach. Check my sailing blog for exact date and time. If you would like to join us at sea I can make arrangements to get you on an escort vessel. I will post a contact person that will be handling those arrangements.


Steve Washburn

Friday, January 05, 2007

From Sailing Anarchy

Sail On, Son

These are hard things to write and I'm hesitant to even do so, but I felt that many of you may wish to pass along your thoughts. Anarchist Steve Washburn's (Wash) precious 10 year-old son Paul passed away from natural causes suddenly and unexpectedly earlier this week. As a father it is impossible to imagine such a tragedy, and yet Steve and his family are sadly being forced to live it.
Wash has been a friend of mine for 20 years, and a regular and insightful contributor here in the SA forums - who can forget his awesome Key West live play by play reporting? More than that, Steve was a dedicated and loving father who brought his sons into the world of sailing in a way that most of us can only dream. Take a look at their blog - you'll get a feel for the love. It is not often that I feel another's pain, but I do here and am quite saddened by their loss. Life can be so swiftly and unfairly cruel.

It is in situations like this that our community, without fail, always shines so bright. Please take a moment to pass along your condolences to the Washburns.