Sailing Stories #1

When I was in high school, living in southern California, I dated a girl whose family was into sailing. They had their own 36’ sailboat (The Sting) and many weekends would find them on the boat. They were heavily involved in a sailing club and over time served in various capacities as officers of the club.

The club had a regular spot on Catalina Island they called home and would hold cook-outs and other festivities on the island. Every year, during the summer, they would hold a week-long cruise that the fleet of sail and power boats would travel together on a set itinerary. One year, for instance, they cruised along the coast from the Los Angeles area to San Diego, stopping each night at a different marina.

One year, I went along with the family on a cruise to the Channel Islands. While Catalina is one of the islands, and by far the most visited, there are a number of others in the area off the coast. The club had gotten permission to sail around Santa Cruz Island which is a nature preserve. This permission allowed some limited time on land at specific landing points.

By the time this cruise happened, I had sailed enough with the family to be an adequate “deck ape”. I could work the lines, raise and lower sails and could trim the sheets to take maximum advantage of the wind. Everything I knew about sailing at that point I had learned from Tony, the father of my girlfriend. A consummate sailor, he eschewed much of the modern technology and plotted courses by compass and nautical maps.

One grey morning, with little wind, we set off from the marina heading out to the island. As the club was going to meet that night, several other boats we around as we departed and for a while we chugged out of the marina and headed to Point Vicente to round the Palos Verdes peninsula. We planned at taking turns at the wheel and I volunteered to be first.

Being in the mid 1980’s, I pulled out my Walkman that had a built-in speaker and placed it next to the compass right in front of the wheel. Billy Joel played, we all sang along a bit and we rounded the point. Tony gave me the compass heading and I turned the wheel to match it. In short order I noticed that we seemed to be veering more to the port (left) than the other boats. Tony, with a look of consternation, checked the compass and then disappeared below to re-check the chart. He came back up a minute later and confirmed what heading I should be on. Tony figured the others were trying to stick closer to the mainland versus going a more direct route. I stuck to it and over time we watched the other boats disappear to our side.

Several hours later, the cassette started to slow down and I knew the batteries were dying. I passed the wheel over to Tony and grabbed the Walkman to go find a new set of batteries. It was then I heard him say “Whoa!”. Suddenly we were heading a different direction than we thought, all without moving the wheel. As it turns out the Walkman had a magnet in it that was affecting the compass and as soon as it was moved, the compass returned to where it should have been. We had been going off-course for hours and it took us the rest of the day to recover from the mistake.

Photo Aug 09, 5 00 21 PM - Featured Size

This is an awesome salad with such freshness.

Photo Aug 09, 4 35 47 PM

Oil the bread.

Photo Aug 09, 4 44 23 PMGrill the veggies.

Photo Aug 09, 5 00 25 PM

An explosion of freshness in your mouth!

Grilled Panzanella Salad

Prep Time: 0 hours 20 minutes | Cook Time: 0 hours 10 minutes | Servings: Serves 4 | Difficulty: Easy


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing and drizzling
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 small clove garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 medium tomatoes, halved
6 scallions
2 large bell peppers (any color), quartered
1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise
1 10-ounce loaf ciabatta or semolina bread, halved lengthwise
1/2 cup torn fresh herbs (basil, mint and/or parsley)
1/4 pound thinly sliced salami, cut into 2-inch ribbons


Preheat a grill to medium high. Make the dressing: Whisk the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste in a bowl.

Brush the grill with olive oil. Put the tomatoes in a large bowl; drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill cut-side down until slightly charred, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet.

Put the scallions, peppers and zucchini in the same bowl; drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Brush the bread with olive oil. Grill the bread and vegetables until charred, about 2 minutes per side for the bread and scallions and 4 minutes per side for the peppers and zucchini. Transfer to the baking sheet and let cool slightly.

Cut the scallions, peppers, zucchini, tomatoes and bread into bite-size pieces; transfer to the bowl. Add the herbs, salami, dressing and any juices from the baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper and toss.

Per serving: Calories 431; Fat 20 g (Saturated 5 g); Cholesterol 29 mg; Sodium 1,066 mg; Carbohydrate 50 g; Fiber 6 g; Protein 15 g


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Grilled, Italian, Lunch3, Picnic, Pork2, Recipes, Salad, Vegetable4

Author:The Ranting Chef

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2 Comments on “Sailing Stories #1”

  1. April 24, 2015 at 1:47 pm #

    Interesting story…ended kind of abruptly…but of course you all survived! Love the salad!


  2. April 26, 2015 at 2:06 am #

    Oh my that’s a funny story, it’s a bit scary how things can be altered by other technology, really makes you think.


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