Join us to compete in two Caribbean Regattas: Competition, Camaraderie and Trade Wind Breezes

Jump onboard and race Bermuda High in one or both Caribbean Regattas

St. Thomas International Regatta
March 28 – March 30, 2014

BVI Spring Regatta
March 31 – April 6, 2014

Once again, we can hardly wait to compete in the St. Thomas Rolex Regatta. And for the first time, we are planning to race in the BVI Spring Regatta immediately following Rolex. As part of the Regatta, you can take our Bareboat class. Two years ago  we were in the hunt for a podium finish (3rd place) up to the last day, where the winds were lighter and we were not as competitive. Last year was exceptionally light winds yet we were still in the hunt with our larger headsail. We finished in 5th place (out of 10 boats), with 23 points, only 3 points out of 2nd place. As usual, we beat lots of well sailed larger boats, including a Swan 53.

One interesting thing I have discovered is that we have consistently finished in the top half or better of the fleet, and most of our competitors are really good sailors. I do the start, but thereafter, the crew rotates on the helm for 2-3 minutes. One might think this is slow, but it is not, and I think the reason is that our drivers stay super focused on going as fast as possible, while the rest of us call tactics or trim sails. Focus is the key to doing well, especially for the person on the helm. The person who just relieves the helmsman stay by their side for 2-3 minutes to make sure they stay up to speed and the tell tails are perfect. This system keeps everyone involved and focused, making for a great learning experience. I also am well known for staying calm and collected, and the sprit on Bermuda High is always great. At the parties, we often hear of high level captains and pro’s screaming at the crew! We may not have won yet, but every year we get better, and we sure have a great time!

If you choose to stay on board Bermuda High, costs are as follows:
Main salon berth – $60 per night
Forward stateroom – $110 per night
Port aft stateroom – $90/night Starboard aft $80/night.

Cost for the St Thomas Regatta – three days of racing and one day of practice:
$550 – members / $650 – non-members
Cost for the BVI Spring Regatta – five days of racing:
$690 – members / $790 – non-members

Do both Regatta’s – $990 members / 1090 – non-members
Returning racers get an extra 10% off.

Caribbean Bareboat Class

Add $800 member / $870 non-members for the Bareboat Class. 

The three day class portion will take place  just before the St. Thomas Regatta or will follow the BVI Regatta.

The St. Thomas Regatta Bareboat class will run from the 24th to the 26th. On the 27th is the prep and practice day. Students can stay onboard for no charge except during days we are racing. The final Bareboat class day will be on monday March, 31st, when we sail and clear into the BVI’s. Students will be finished and may depart on April 1st from Tortola, unless they wish to stay and do more racing.

If you prefer, you can join the boat on Sunday afternoon, March 30th at the St Thomas Yacht Club. You will be onboard for the clear out / clear in process, as we head to the BVI’s on monday the 31st, joining us for the BVI racing. The class will then be held on April 5th to April 8th, and you will depart from Charlotte Amelie harbor, St. Thomas, a few minutes from the airport (code STT).

We may also offer a Bareboat class in early February, from the 5th to the 10th.

Instructions for St Thomas racers is as follows. Arrive Thursday, March 21st (or late Weds) and sail with us to the St. Thomas Yacht Club (leaving from CYOA dock in Charlotte Amalie by 2pm which is 5 minutes from the airport). You can also meet us at the Yacht Club that evening.  The racing starts on friday, February 28th. The race ends Sunday, March 24th followed by the Award Ceremony and Party held beach side. Complementary breakfast served each morning at St. Thomas yacht Club from Friday, March 22 through Sunday, March 24 and there are awesome parties every evening. Lunch will be served on boat in between races.  You preferably will depart on monday am from the St Thomas Yacht Club (plan on an hour trip to the Airport), although it is possible to leave Sunday. You probably will miss the last day of racing unless you find a flight that leaves after 5pm. We are normally done racing between 1 and 2pm.

On monday, we will sail to the BVI’s for the Spring Regatta, for 5 more days of great racing. In the CSA class we are in, one of our frequent competitors is Hotel California, a Santa Cruz 70 we usually beat. They came in 2nd place in the BVI Regatta! The racing finishes up on Sunday afternoon on April 6th when we collect our second trophy! You preferably will depart on monday am from the BVI’s, although it is possible to leave Sunday. You probably will miss the last day of racing.

St. Thomas Rolex Regatta www.rolexcupregatta.com
BVI Regatta  www.bvispringregatta.org

Warm Your Sailor’s Heart

Ocean Sailing: Experience a truly amazing and challenging journey which will give you a sound introduction to life at sea.

Christmas Walkabout, St. George, Bermuda pictured above. 

We are planning our Ocean Sailing Class this year on Bermuda High. Do you have any interest in joining us?

We will meet on Saturday, November 23, 2013, from 9 am – 3 pm to review weather, the boat and likely head out to practice reefing and man over board drills. Bring appropriate sailing gear and your lunch.

SCHEDULE

Sunday, December 1, 2013 Earliest departure date. A delay of up to three days for a good weather window is common. We will spend two hours storing gear and reviewing the boat before heading out around noon.
Thursday December 5, 2013 Earliest arrival in Bermuda.
Friday, December 6, 2013 Likely arrival in Bermuda. Second leg of the crew should arrive. Of course, we will have a very good idea if we will be leaving December 1, 2013 by November 28, 2013, allowing you a one week advance to purchase your airline tickets. An incentive to arrive by Friday evening is the amazing party in St. George, Bermuda from 6 – 8 pm, with many events which  include some of Bermuda’s finest homes welcoming you and serving all sorts of delicious fare! For more information: St. Georges Christmas Walkabout
Saturday, December 7, 2013 Earliest departure from Bermuda.
Sunday, December 8, 2013 Likely departure Bermuda.
Saturday December 14, 2013 Likely arrival in St Thomas. We normally spend the first night upon landfall moored off Caneel Bay, one of St. John’s loveliest resorts, and have breakfast there in the morning. A well deserved treat!

Click for more details soundsailingcenter.com/ocean-sailing

A Gift Worth Giving this Holiday Season

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Show your love or appreciation this Holiday Season with a Sound Sailing Center Gift Certificate. Purchase a class, membership or simply give a dollar amount to use at SSC. Call 203-838-1110 or email sscsailing@gmail.com for your gift certificate.

Bareboat Caribbean Class: Cover everything you will need to know to successfully charter a yacht in the Caribbean

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Are you interested in doing some bareboat chartering and experiencing a variety of the Caribbean Islands? If so, consider our Bareboat Class. This class will make you comfortable at chartering in the Islands.We are setting up our next Caribbean Bareboat Class. Please email sscsailing@gmail.com to reserve your spot. soundsailingcenter.com/bareboat

St. Thomas Rolex Regatta:  Competition, Camaraderie and Trade Wind Breezes

Call 203-838-1110 or email sscsailng@gmail.com to reserve your spot as crew member on Bermuda High at 2014 Annual St. Thomas International Rolex Regatta. March 27 – March 30, 2014. www.rolexcupregatta.com

Post Flotilla: Free the Arctic 30

After receiving regular updates from Peter on his voyage, one could tell 45 days ago that the stress levels were climbing. After the news of the ships seizure and the imprisonment of the crew, I followed the story and Russia’s response more carefully. I strongly believe as sailors and in life that we should leave as light a footprint as possible—we are stewards of the earth, and on the importance of Maritime Law and tradition.

On my trip south in December 2010, I was struck by the complete absence of marine life in the Gulf Stream area until we were well south of Bermuda. With over 25 passages north or south to Bermuda, the sight of porpoises greeting us as moved off the Continental shelf was a ritual. We also caught no fish—the ocean seemed dead. It was scary. We were passing through the waters tainted by the Deepwater disaster, and the damage was clear.

I had never been a Greenpeace activist, but Russia’s seizure of the Arctic Sunrise and imprisonment of the crew bothers me greatly. I hatched the plan to hoist some protest sails and sail our larger boats around New York City. We were fortunate to have some amazing help, including Karen Wappler, of the New Canaan Country School, and her students, designed and painted the amazing four sails for us to hoist. Mark Washeim, of Doyle Sails LI, made the protest banner with fabric from Challenge Sailcloth. Bruce Borner, a photographer and Anne Hannan of Windcheck helped distribute our press releases. For two weeks there were thousands of emails to cover all the details, plus many hours of work building signs and prepping the boats (including painting the bottom and installing new batteries in Friendship, our electric Pearson 37). Initially we were shooting for a Friday event but the weather forecast pushed things to Sunday.

At 4pm on Saturday afternoon at Sound Sailing Center, the first Press Conference took place. We were very pleased to see news crews from both FoxCT and Cablevision Channel 12, along with the online media channel, It’s Relevant.com. The Pastor of my church (Saugatuck Congregational), Allison Patton was on hand to offer a splendid blessing of the fleet and then we were off into the sunset with 14 Sound Sailing friends and members taking our two Pearson 37′s, Hanse 400 and Hanse 320 off to City Island. The wind picked up off Rowayton and we had a splendid sail to City Island arriving around 10:20 pm. The next morning, Robert Gardner from Greenpeace arrived with four others and we headed out. By 10:40 we picked up the remaining Greenpeace crew off the seawall on the East River, raised our protest sails in 15-20 knots of wind and started the Flotilla down the East River to the United Nations.

A Greenpeace onshore photographer managed some great images of the fleet in front of the UN, then we headed to the Statue of Liberty, followed up by a sail up the Hudson to North Cove marina, where we had the final Vigil and I made a short speech. By 4:30 pm we were headed back to CT, in the coldest night of the season so far to remind us of the conditions the Arctic 30 were in.

November 22 is an important day as the UN International Sea Court makes the first rulings on the case after a hearing which happened today, November 6. I will be monitoring closely. Although our flotilla is over, the protest will go on and grow as more people become aware of the astonishing overreach of Russia and the grave danger to the Arctic. I will be glad to send anyone interested more info, and of course, there is information available on the web.

Finally, I have several patents related to Offshore Wind energy. My latest patent, which is pending, covers a smart way to deploy an offshore wind tower without the need for a jack up ship, along with a way of storing 12-24 hrs of 5mw output, at a cost about 25% of battery storage. I was able to finance the initial engineering study, but will start again looking for grant money to build a working model we can instrument, deploy and test. We have tried DOE grants with the leading US University for Wind Energy as a partner to no avail. Low cost offshore wind with storage is key to decreasing dependance on oil and something else useful that I can do.

Many, many thanks to all of you that offered your support. This is one battle that will be won by Greenpeace, hopefully in the very near future.

The last video of Peter on the Arctic Sunrise

A five minute video of most of my speech. Thank you Elena!

Alternative Energy Solution: Offshore Wind Program Helix Pump

Please click the following links to view:

Greenpeace Flickr Pics
Regional Patch Story
FoxCT Media Coverage
CT Channel 12
Press Release: Tribunal of the Arctic Sunrise Case 

free-arctic-30

Free the Arctic 30

Local Sailors stage a Protest Flotilla around New York City on November 2nd – 3rd

What: A flotilla of sailboats with painted sails and banners will proceed from CT to an action at the UN Building, then on to North Cove to protest against the Russian imprisonment of the Greenpeace Arctic 30. Press conferences and Vigils will be held at either end.

When/Where: Connecticut:Vigil | Saturday, November 2nd at 4pm at Norwalk Cove Marina, 54 Calf Pasture Beach Road, Norwalk, CT 06855

When/Where: New York City: Action | Sunday, November 3rd at 11am at the southern tip of Roosevelt Island in front of the United Nations Building

When/Where: New York City: Vigil | Sunday November 3rd at 3pm at North Cove Marina between Liberty and Vessy Street, 385 South End Avenue New York, NY 10280

Why #1: To raise awareness of the imprisoned “Arctic 30″, including our friend and Norwalk, CT resident Peter Willcox, the Ships Captain

Why #2: To help raise awareness of the dangers to the environment of Arctic offshore drilling

What’s Interesting? Our action off the UN building will be newsworthy as we finish the job the “Arctic 30″ started! Martin van Breems, Peter’s friend, has crossed the North Atlantic singlehandedly, dodging icebergs while fixing a seriously damaged boat, will speak to the difficulty of working offshore in frigid conditions. We will also propose strategies to limit Arctic drilling and increase the likelihood the crew will be brought home promptly. Greenpeace officials will offer updates on the Crew.

Detailed Information

The sailors are protesting the unjust imprisonment of the “Arctic 30″, the Captain, 27 Crew and two freelance photojournalists who have been held in desolate prison cells above the Arctic Circle, in Murmansk, Russia.

Saturday afternoon, November 2nd at 4pm, a press conference will be held at Norwalk Cove Marina, just before the flotilla departs. On Sunday morning, November 3rd the flotilla of boats will sail down the East River and up the Hudson River, with another press conference and vigil at North Cove in lower New York City at 3pm.

On September 19, 2013, Russian agents boarded and seized the Greenpeace Ship at gunpoint while in international waters. All 30 were formally arrested on September 26, 2013. The Greenpeace Ship, “Arctic Sunrise”, was repeating a peaceful protest which took place a year earlier, which consited of hanging a banner on the first Russian offshore oil platform in the Arctic circle.

Among the “Arctic 30″ being detained are two freelance photojournalists. Russia still refuses to release them while they were there to document, having no part in running the ship or the action.

The oil platform, controlled by Gazprom, is in International waters, thus Russia’s domestic laws do not apply. Nevertheless, the Russians have refused to appear before the Sea Court in Hamburg Germany which has handled other ship seizures for Russia.

The imprisoned crew hails from a diverse group of 18 countries around the world, sailing aboard a Dutch Ship, with an American, Peter Willcox, as the Captain. Peter, a Norwalk, Connecticut native first worked on the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater. Next, he worked his way up the ranks on the first Greenpeace ship, Rainbow Warrior. His experience as Captain also includes being bombed by the French Government.

The flotilla departs from Norwalk Cove Marina at 5pm, after the 4pm Press Conference and will spend the night at City Island. The faces of the Arctic 30, locked up for over 40 days now in isolated prisons inside the Arctic circle, will gaze out from the flotilla of vessels as they circle New York.

The first stop is planned for 11am at the UN Building. The flotilla will circle in front of the UN Building to honor each crew member, and will broadcast their names, background, a plea for their release and an action to increase awareness of Arctic. The flotilla will continue heading south, around the tip of Manhattan, and will circle the Statue of Liberty. The flotilla will head up the Hudson, cross over to the New Jersey side and head back down the river. After crossing the Hudson, the boats will dock at the North Cove Marina between Vesey & Liberty Streets in front of the World Financial Center for a 3pm Press Conference with several speakers, including Greenpeace officials with the latest news. The sails and faces of the crew will form a backdrop.

The protest is headed by Martin van Breems, who owns a product development company and a sailing school, Sound Sailing Center, in Norwalk, CT, where Peter Willcox is a part time instructor.

According to Martin, “As a sailor who raced across the Atlantic singlehanded through numerous storms and around the icebergs of the Labrador Current in a collision damaged boat, I have some understanding of what it takes to run and repair a vessel offshore in cold temperatures. To say such work is brutally difficult is an understatement, and I crossed the Atlantic in the summer, with good light. Working on oil rig machinery in one of the numerous winter storms, with sub zero temperatures in the darkness, accidents leading to major spills are inevitable.”

“US based corporations are heavily invested in developing the Russian Arctic oil fields. Exxon has already committed $200 million. However, questions about what happens when something goes wrong remain unanswered. The Russian oil industry already spills about five million tons of oil into the environment every year, due to old or poorly maintained equipment, combined with human error.”

“Polluting your own backyard is one thing, but polluting a river effects your neighbors downstream. The ocean is a series of rivers. Russia’s impending offshore oil spill disaster, which in all likelihood will be impossible to clean up, will spread and end much of the life in the Arctic. The desperate Russian legal approach towards the Greenpeace “Arctic 30″ is no surprise, as they only represent legitimate doubts and concerns. I wish our flotilla was headed to the Gazprom platform, but of course, there will be many such flotilla’s next year if the crew is not treated according to the treaties that Russian has signed.

The outline of the Deepwater disaster of the Arctic is clear. More awareness of the danger, more actions, and more pressure on Russia’s international partners in offshore Arctic drilling is the only hope to free the “Arctic 30″ and halt offshore Arctic drilling.”

First Norwalk Press Conference, Saturday, Nov 2nd at 4pm

For more information, please contact:
Martin van Breems
www.soundsailingcenter.com (info posted on this site)
dutchman_mvb@hotmail.com
54 Calf Pasture Beach Road, Norwalk, CT 06855
tel 203 838 0375 | cell 203 981 3590

Second Press Conference location, Sunday November, 3rd at 3pm

North Cove Marina
Between Liberty and Vesey Street
385 South End Ave, NY, NY 10280

For more Greenpeace information, please contact:
Robert Gardner
robert.gardner@greenpeace.org
tel 202 478 6634 cel 540 421 7558

Additional info:
savethearctic.org
www.greenpeace.org/freethearctic30

Latest Interview with Peter Willcox:
http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/10/24/russia-greenpeace-idUKL5N0ID0UJ20131024

New York Times article explaining the importance of Arctic Drilling to Russia (Gulf of Mexico to Russia):
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/02/business/energy-environment/with-returns-on-dry-land-diminishing-russian-oilmen-look-to-arctic-waters.html?_r=0

Lukoil will not drill in the Arctic:
http://www.bellona.org/articles/articles_2013/lukoil_arctic

Some Legal Background:
http://opiniojuris.org/2013/10/23/netherlands-seeks-provisional-measures-itlos-prompt-release-greenpeace-vessel/

An excellent first hand look at the problems of offshore drilling:
http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/energy/coal-oil-gas/one-troubled-rig-and-the-future-of-arctic-oil-drilling-15152661

The latest NY Times article:
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/31/world/europe/activists-feel-powerful-wrath-as-russia-guards-its-arctic-claims.html?hp&_r=0

Info on the identity of the “Artic 30″:
http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/en/campaigns/global-warming-and-energy/Save-the-Arctic/Russian-Climate-Action/Arctic-30/

Autumn Sailing: The best is yet to come

Many NE sailors, including us, find that Autumn is best time for sailing on the Sound. The water is surprisingly warm enough for swimming until November and keeps the adjacent air feels just as comfortable. Days filled with NW breezes and bright blue skies increase and the winds are often stronger than in the summer. Destinations like Block Island drop their dock space rates and the summertime crowds thin out. Of course, all sailors keep an eye on the Caribbean for developing storms, but this season has been a very quiet one so far.

Classes

We continue to offer Intro to Sailing and Basic Keelboat classes through mid October. Can’t find a convenient class time? Please call and we will add more classes based on demand.

Memberships

All SSC memberships are for one year from when you sign up, so you can join anytime. Yachts normally stay in service until mid October, while the Ensigns are in service year round.

SSC’s final Basic Cruising Class of the season offered late September

Thursday, November 7 & November 8-10, Friday thru Sunday weekend overnight cruise

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Our final Basic Cruising class of the season will cover systems and navigation, docking and more in a classroom setting and at the SSC docks followed by a two day overnight cruise Friday thru Sunday. Over 26 hours of instruction.
Note: Cost for meals included for overnight sail.

Please call 203-838-1110 or email sscsailing@gmail.com to reserve your spot. soundsailingcenter.com/basic-cruising/

Advanced Cruising to Maine a Success

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See what our students had to say…

“I highly recommend the Advanced Cruising Course to anyone planning to do some serious cruising. We had the benefit of two excellent instructors (Martin Van Breems and Tom Claydon) who kept a close watch on all students as we entered and exited harbors throughout Long Island Sound, Massachusetts (Cuttyhunk and Cape Cod), and the islands north of Portland, Maine, including entry under sail and at night. We practiced docking and mooring, anchored under sail, and took advantage of the long cruise between Cape Cod and Maine to practice “man overboard” and reefing maneuvers. An afternoon spent going through the engine was particularly helpful, since we needed to bleed the fuel system after our arrival in Maine. The timing was perfect, as I felt well-prepared to handle high winds, fog, and engine issues experienced on a subsequent sailing trip.”    - John D.

“If you want an experience of a life time, you must take the Advanced Navigation Course. Martin conscientiously taught us what to do as a captain in numerous mock emergency situations when sailing. It’s one thing to be taught at what if scenarios but to actually work through them in a mock emergency situation is an invaluable experience in best practices. I give this experience a five star rating!”    - Randy C.

“Great boats, great training, wonderful experience. Everything from piloting, navigation and sail trim to how to repair a marine head and sailing without an engine. Certainly a big check on my bucket list.”    - Ray C.

“The advanced cruising class for me was all about confidence in myself. While navigating the islands off of Maine, I navigated using visual queues rather than looking for buoys or other “electronic” tools. I realized that I was now more aware of my surroundings. The instructors were tuned into the needs of all students.”    - Ken S.

Sound Sailing Center Yacht and Daysailer Memberships

Become a member
Join Sound Sailing Center where you can enjoy sailing at an affordable price. Our main fleet is based in Norwalk, CT. with boats also available in Mystic, CT and the Caribbean.

Click to see price drops for Hanse 400 and Pearson 37 memberships.

Reservations for use of our seventeen plus boats, ranging from 23 to 40 feet, can be made online in advance. Members are free to bring family and guests along.

Calling all Racers!  Ensign Racing Series

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Hone your sailing skills, meet other members and have fun.

Email us at sscsailing@gmail.com for more information about our Frostbite Series.

Charters, rentals and corporate events are available.

Restrooms, showers and parking facilities available.