Over the river and through the woods to get to sail my Hobie…

Last Saturday’s forecast: wind. Nuf said. Downside was that I-275 through downtown Tampa was undergoing major revisions all weekend due to the ongoing construction. Forecast: expect 1+ hour delays through town. Ugh.

So I looked at my various options, and the only reliable way to get to Dunedin was to head south on I-75, then hop on I-275 northbound across the Skyway Bridge to St. Petersburg, then up Hwy 19. Road trip! Only problem is that it’s a 2-hour road trip – each way.  I got a later start than I wanted (had to help my neighbor round up a couple of stray cows), but was soon on the road.

When I got to the beach there was only one launching spot left. Whew. Made it just in time. I backed the boat to the water’s edge then started rigging the mast & sail. I have a system where I can raise the mast & sail fairly quickly. But it had been a few weeks, so I had to take my time; didn’t want to forget an important step along the way. Finally all ready to go, I pushed the boat into the water and took off.

The first few moments pulling away from the beach are always so cool. The wind caresses the sail and silently off I go. No rumbling motors, no paddling. I just sit there, trim the sail and hold the tiller.

My playground…


In no time was I really moving. The wind was blowing hard from the east. The skies were clear.

I headed due south, past a couple of small islands in the intracoastal waterway. I could see a few other catamarans in the distance. One was on its side, having blown over. A couple of others were circling nearby as their friend got righted. Then they were off and running again.

I’m still learning the feel of my Hobie. I practiced a few gybes, then tried to tack. Failure. I just can’t tack through the wind – I always stall out and end up having to bail on the maneuver. Ah well. I’ll just stick to gybing.

I sailed north and south for a while, trying to fly a hull. Never fully got one all the way out of the water, but the boat was screaming along. Total fun! Back and forth I raced. My hands were starting to get tired from holding the tiller bar.

I headed downwind, westwards towards the pass between Caladesi and Honeymoon Islands. The downwind sail was very relaxing, and I laid down on my back, looking up into the sail and sun. Nice.

As I was heading into the pass, I knew the return might be a bit tricky. The tide was heading out, and the wind was helping it along. The sail back would be upwind and upstream.

About halfway through the narrow pass I chickened out and decided to turn back. Part of the excitement about having to gybe to change directions is that you usually end up screaming through most of the points of sail. It’s sort of like changing directions on a snowboard – at some point you have to commit, turn your board straight down the fall line, and hope you can keep it turning before you crash and burn. So instead, since the wind was blowing quite a bit, I tried to tack. Wrong move. The boat pointed directly upwind and stopped. Then started backing. Out. Into. The. Gulf.

I looked around and noticed I wasn’t on the inside any longer. I was out past the western edge of Caladesi and Honeymoon. Oops. A Hobie 14 without a jib doesn’t point into the wind very well – probably 50-60 degrees off the wind is the best I can do. Each upwind run is more like a sideways run, and with the current rushing out, I was making little headway. And if I tried to point higher into the wind all I would do is slow down, and the current would take over and I would lose ground. My speed through the water was OK, but my speed over ground was backwards.

At least now that I was out of the narrow channel (but in the Gulf) I could make a longer run, trying to gain as much ground as I could before I had to gybe back the other way. After a few minutes I was back in the pass and had started getting comfortable gybing in the strong winds. I realized it would take a while to get fully back on the inside of the islands, with lots of zig-zags in between.

After about 45 minutes of back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, I was finally in a comfortable spot and started sailing for fun again. My hands were about dead, but the wind was really blowing and I didn’t want to stop. I tried to fly a hull again, but still didn’t get there. Still a bit too nervous to fully commit. I need to mount “Bob” on the top of my mast then give it a go. I think after I flip one time (and get the boat upright again) I’ll feel more comfortable about taking it to the edge.

I finally packed it in, broke down the sail and mast, loaded up on the trailer, and started the two-hour ride home. Turned out to be an 8-hour road trip, end to end. I need to find my handheld GPS so I can see how far / fast I’m going.

Hobie 14? It’s a blast.

No computers. . .

As photographs of the president’s first 100 days are discussed, it strikes me as interesting that in all these images you don’t see people sitting around with a computer perched on their laps or on the tables. Not one computer.

And thinking back, it’s not just Obama’s way of working – I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a picture of the cabinet or some other such meeting where there are computers out. 

While in some meetings I’ll just use a notepad for notes, most of the time I wouldn’t know what to do if I didn’t have a computer in front of me.

What about you?

How to add loopback adapter in Windows 7

Couldn’t get the tried and true methods of adding a loopback adapter to work using Windows 7. How do you add legacy hardware? How do you launch the add new hardware wizard for a device that’s not connected?

A quick search took me to http://www.sevenforums.com/network-internet/4166-how-add-ms-loopback-adapter.html

The quick answer: start –> search –> hdwwiz


Press Next, then choose “Install the hardware that I manually select from a list (Advanced)”

This morning’s sunrise / moonrise

Did you happen to look to the east this morning just before sunrise? The crescent moon and Venus were practically kissing each other. They were less than an inch apart.

The sky here in Tampa was crystal clear; the sun not yet up, and the moon and Venus were brilliant white. The earthshine reflecting back on the dark part of the moon allowed you to see the entire disk.


Need some more help learning ASP.NET MVC?

Scott Guthrie, Scott Hanselman, et. al., released the first chapter of their ASP.NET MVC 1.0 book as a free PDF file. It contains a 185-page tutorial on the soup-to-nuts of www.nerddinner.com, an ASP.NET MVC application.

It’s cool to see what they’ve done with the site. Back when I was a Developer Evangelist I created NerdDinner.com, using .TEXT (Community Server). I set up blogs for nerds in each of the cities that wanted to promote their eating habits. At the high water mark there were about 40 blogs on the site devoted to geeking out while eating bad mall food.

When I switched jobs and moved to Tampa I let the NerdDinner.com domain registration expire. It’s good to see that the new owners have taken good care of it. The site is way more spiffy than it ever was, with integration to Virtual Earth.

Check out ScottGu’s blog for the details about the book and tutorial.

As always, be there and be square.

Sobering videos

I’ve seen a few of the Smart Fortwo cars around on the streets of Tampa. Cute little things, but just looking at them always makes me wonder what would happen to the driver & passenger in a crash. Even with tons of airbags, I can’t imaging the results would be pretty.

Same for Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris. Cute, inexpensive, but so very small.

Well, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently released videos of test crashes of all three vehicles against mid-sized cars from the same manufacturers.

If you’re at all squeamish, you shouldn’t watch. For everyone else, here’s the link: http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Insurance/InsureYourCar/small-cars-get-poor-marks-in-crash-tests.aspx?slide-number=1

After watching these videos you’ll never catch me in one of those cars.


Nobody in the whole world has visited my blog today. Absolutely nobody. I like WordPress because of the blog stat info, but today? Naaa. I-don-like-it-so-much.

Say did you see the video of the transit terminal somewhere – I believe in Norway – in which someone plays "Do-re-mi" by Julie Andrews from The Sound of Music over the transit system loudspeakers? A few people start dancing, then soon the entire floor is covered with dancing people.

Made my eyes tear up for some reason. Don’t know if it was because it brought back some childhood memory, or if it was from seeing so many happy smiling people. Quite a change from the disturbing daily news.

I’ve tried to find the video since I saw it the other day, but haven’t located it. I need to spend a bit doing a serious search. If I find it a gain I’ll update with a link. It’s fun to watch.

Update: Hey! I found it (after about 10 seconds).


ASP.NET MVC – how do I get started?

There was a huge turnout at last night’s Tampa Bay ASP.NET MVC special interest group. Jim Zimmerman gave a nice introduction to ASP.NET MVC, walking through the creation of a simple application.

David Hayden has done an excellent job of pulling this group together. He (and team) put together the group’s web site (http://www.tampadev.org/), created a discussion forum, and even assigned everyone homework. 🙂

So how do you get started? The user group site as a link to the ASP.NET MVC training kit. You could also go to the ASP.NET web site and work through the numerous tutorials there: http://www.asp.net/learn/mvc/#MVC_Overview

Take your time with it. Play around with it. There’s a lot of material / resources available for you to come up to speed on ASP.NET MVC. Why not get started today?

ASP.NET MVC SIG tonight in Tampa

If you’re interested in MVC and live in the Tampa area, then tonight is your night.

The MVC special interest group is meeting tonight.

Thursday, April 16, 2009    6:30 – 8:30pm
Microsoft Office – Tampa, Florida

See http://www.tampadev.org/ for more info.

What’s MVC? Go to the meeting and find out. Tonight’s topic is “An introduction to the ASP.NET MVC framework.” See also http://www.asp.net/mvc/

See you there.