A wee bit o crass commercialism – Sailing style…


ACSweatshirtAs you have probably guessed, I write books, create art, and take pictures.  The reason?  Besides the obvious reason… that I like to… I want to make a little extra money.  Cash, Moola, sheckels, dinero, pesos dollars bucks simoleons, filthy lucre.  Get my drift?

I have many online stores, mostly at Zazzle.com, a couple of book stores on Amazon.com.  As I recently wrote to a friend, “I am writing a blog to promote my website I have my website to promote my store(s) I use my stores to promote my work.”

I have several Zazzle stores.  A couple for the horsey set. One for blue collar workers. Another for sailors and sailing enthusiasts. One for the energy industry. One for medics.  One for senior citizens. Two book stores. A “General” store that has some stuff from all the other stores.  When you reach the website, to go Screen Shot 2014-05-19 at 8.16.39 AMto the stores, AKA Pahl Mall, click on Pahl Mall, and you’ll get the store page. We show the sailing store page here. I could go over all of of the stores, but I think I’d rather talk about one at a time.

FYI, I have led a very eclectic life.  This was probably because I stupidly thought that I didn’t need to go to college, I would go to work for the family biz.  Make lotsa money manufacturing high voltage electrical pole-top switches.  Utilities buy them. The smallest switch we made was good for seven and a half thousand volts.  That’s big enough to power up your average pro football stadium.  In that environment, I was a foundry boss, then a galvanizing plant boss, then a production manager, and finally up the executive ladder.  While I was doing that, I became familiar with oil drilling because of my father, who sunk a lot of dry holes in California. It was too bad that we couldn’t dig those 10000 foot holes up and chop em into three foot segments and sell them for fence post holes. The same for gold mines. And cattle ranching. I became a corporate pilot, flying a twin engined Beechcraft. I’ve been a sailing enthusiast since I was ten years old.  I was rowing a boat solo when I was five. I know boating.  I left the family biz when I was thirty-nine, at the beginning of a mid-life crisis.  Owned and operated two retail stores, a bar/nightclub, a photography studio, yatta, yatta. Morphed into a pretty successful horse photographer. Learned about horses. They’re big critters who see ghosts. This is the reason I have so many online stores.

Scrubbing BottomsSo, in this episode, I’m gonna just feature a single store.  Sailing stuff.  There is a lot of humor in sailing.  You just gotta dig a little to find it.  One of the prime details about sailboat racing is the necessity of having a clean boat bottom.  Screen Shot 2014-05-19 at 9.38.46 AMA lot of the time, various crew members will jump in the water, grab a sponge or brush and attempt to get any algae off the bottom, because it drags the boat’s speed way down.  This leads to a variety of shirts and cups.

NOTE: Many of these images are screen captured from our stores on Zazzle.

We also have crew tees with the crew-member’s job titles on the front.  Like the one below: Do you know what a sewerman is?  No, it has nothing to do with the poopdeck.  The sewerguy  is stationed under the foredeck.  He hands new foresails up through a hatch and gathers in the old ones.  He/she inspects, folds, repacks and stores the old sails immediately, so they’re ready to go.Screen Shot 2014-05-19 at 9.44.37 AM

We also have a few political points to make that are pertinent to sailing: The San Joaquin Delta is being drained by the EPA so they can maintain water flow to Southern California, who never had use of the delta water naturally.  The delta empties out into the San Francisco bay. None of the rivers have ever flowed over the Tehachapi Range, between Bakersfield and L.A. The excuse for doing this is to keep the delta smelt, an overgrown mosquito fish from going the way of the Dodo bird.Screen Shot 2014-05-19 at 9.36.14 AM

And there’s always the obvious taxation issue.  Remember when someone in D.C. though it would be a good idea to assess an “excise” tax on boats and planes?  It killed several yacht manufacturers, putting a whole lot of people out of jobs.  We took this idea a little further and this shirt was the result.Taxation

In my books, my protagonist, Tracy Jo Cunningham, is an avid sailor on the San Francisco Bay.  She is also a salty, sexy young Private Investigator.  It goes without saying she has a checkered past.

In the early part of the series, she sails a Jensen-built Cal 2-30, The perfect boat for San Fran Bay.  Coincidentally, it is the same boat we sailed on the Delta and Bay.  Good sail plan and a heavy keel, built hellferstout. Under a good stiff breeze, 2-30s will almost plane. There are excellent sailing scenes in several of the books.  Tracy gives no quarter, and takes no crap from male competitors.  She only displays first place trophies, because in her words, “Displaying seconds and thirds is only admitting that someone beat you.”  Of course, as the author, I highly recommend these novels to all sailors who like a good read.  Available in electronic form and paperbacks.

If you click on any product image, it’ll take you directly to the sales page for that group.

And now, I’m gonna include a segment of one of my books, Rehab is Murder. Strictly for sailors…

“EASE that freakln’ pole!” I bellowed at the top of my lungs, my voice barely carrying over the clanks and clatters of a sailing yacht that was running with a bone in her teeth.
“I gotta come up! Let that sonofabitch breathe!”
I looked back, fighting my yellow foul-weather gear hood, and turned my boat towards the San Francisco waterfront, just enough to force my competition to go with me. Instantly, I felt the wham as the spinnaker pole jerked its new slack from my big crewman, easing it forward in the twenty knot apparent winds.
At this angle, twenty knots of apparent winds were close to thirty knots of actual wind speed over the water’s surface. It was an un-typical spring day in the San Francisco bay. If this was summertime, the day would have been normal. There was heavy, fast-moving, gray fog overhead. The cold salt water was in a steep, ugly green chop, and the bone chilling, wet winds were howling in the taut rigging.
The tops of the waves sprayed off to form spume and mist that created rainbows when the sun peeked through the low cloud cover. The spinnaker took a new, more proper shape, and the knotmeter inched a few tenths faster.
“Sheet!” I yelled loudly, “Dammit, watch the friggin’ sheet!”
I wasn’t swearing with a Mexican accent, I was shouting for the crew to stay with me. The Sweet Tart heeled sharply. I braced my left foot against the side of the cockpit, and turned the wheel to adjust for weather helm, the tendency of the boat to veer upwind in a gust. I looked at the boom, which was bending under the incredible load.
If something wasn’t done, and right now, it would break. “Vang! Dad! Uncleat that rope in front of you and ease it off! Dammit, move! We’re going to have aluminum spaghetti around our freakin’ ears if you don’t get your ass moving!”
Poor Dad. First time he comes for a social visit and he’s subjected to me in my element, which is sailing, more particularly racing, and even more particularly racing Leland S. (Stands for second place) Brooks, my Business Partner.
“Goddammit, watch it! Jenn! Help him! He’s going to lose his freakin’ fingers!!”
Jennifer jumped in and snubbed the line, then took it from Dad’s hands before they were pulled into a sharp-edged jam cleat. She managed to do what I wanted without further cussing on my part.
“That’s better. Come on, you beautiful bitch,” I urged more speed out of my boat, “Go! Go baby, Gogogogo!’
I looked behind me and relaxed just a bit as the bow of a gorgeous midnight blue classic C & C 43 directly on my stern began to fall back. My move had held him off. But it was too damn close. He was hard on my stern, doing everything he could to snare my air and pass my pride and joy, the Sweet Tart.
This was an impromptu practice race between me and my partner Lee Brooks. His boat was so much bigger and faster that we had developed a head start handicap for these affairs, so that the real one-on-one would be at the finish line. Now his faster steed was coming down on me hard. Also not to mention, this race was the battle of the sexes.
Mano et Fe-mano
“Watch it! He’s goin’ up!” Jennifer, a regular member of my crew yelled. I snapped my head around and saw Lee taking a broad reach to my weather side. It was decision time. I could turn and stay with him, but with the new angles, he would throw a wind shadow. I could duck him, but that would involve a Spinnaker jibe, and that isn’t a thing of joy in these winds. I could ignore him and sail my own course. The turning mark wasn’t that far away. He would be coming back down on me on a minute or less.
Then I saw it. An airborne flock of sea-gulls was being tumbled wildly by something over the waterfront, not half of a quarter mile away. No wind marks showed on the water, but gulls don’t normally do snap-rolls and lazy-eights. Not unless Jonathan Livingston Seagull lives.
I knew what was coming.
“Douse it!” I yelled at my crew. “Now!”
Dante Spanos, the huge man on the foredeck, knew better than to discuss the matter.
Sweet little Tracy tended to get violent after a race if my orders weren’t followed immediately. Within seconds, the One-Twenty Genoa was heading up the mast and the spinnaker was coming in under the mainsail.
“What the hell are you doing?” Dante yelled while ensnaring the spinnaker and throwing it down the front hatch. “We have a good five hundred yards to the buoy!”
“Trust me!” I didn’t even face him as I watched the sails being squared away. “Let’s jibe this sombitch! Lemme know when’ . . . .”
“Go for it!”
“Okay. Go! Headache!”
I put the tiller over hard and unconsciously ducked my head as the boom swept over with a wicked clank. I didn’t need to duck, as the boom was a good three feet over my head. Now I was sailing by the lee, something that is considered suicide in these winds. Sailing by the lee produces uncontrolled jibes, aka goosewing jibes.
An uncontrolled jibe could rip everything off the deck, including people. A goosewing jibe is where the bottom of the main comes across, but the top doesn’t. The Vang is designed to prevent this from happening. But nothing is taken for granted on the San Francisco Waterfront in a blow. If the goosewing isn’t resolved quickly, the sail can tear itself in half. Then I (being the smallest one in the crew) have to go up the mast with a sharp knife, and slice up a two thousand dollar sail to get it off. Can you just imagine the sheer embarrassment of slinking to my berth with that mess in the sky?
Our boat took an angle back towards the mark, to the south and downwind of Alcatraz, while Lee and his crew gave me a derisive hoot for chickening out early. Dante and Jennifer began shouting at me, telling me that I was crazy, and that the whole standing rigging was going to be around our ears in seconds.
Only Dad kept quiet. Fortunately he didn’t know what was coming. I just smiled at them, mentally crossing my fingers that I had made the right decision. I looked over and grinned at my competition, and gingerly eased away from where their mast would be in a few more seconds.
The explosive gust hit Lee’s larger boat like a hard stiff-arm from an invisible running back, a hundred feet tall. His red, white and blue tri-radial spinnaker snapped violently, new air filling it from the wrong side, and the boat skewed sideways, completely out of control.
The new air direction was the direction we had just set up for.
Lee’s ponderous headsail sank and filled with water. In seconds his classic C & C 43 was broaching under a fifty knot gust, his boat’s half-exposed keel trying to compensate for many tons of sea water in his heavy foresail. Sweet Tart snap-rolled wildly one time, then settled into a hull-speed broad reach for the mark. I rounded the mark, and was beating back up the waterfront when I sailed close to Lee’s stricken vessel.
My regular crew properly saluted the sopping wet men with a peculiar pose, sometimes known on land as “Mooning”. I heard Lee cussing his crew, who were just now getting back under way with the white top five feet of a shredded spinnaker still flying from the masthead. It looked like a flag of surrender.

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