San Francisco Bay is beautiful body of water. But it can be a challenging place to sail, row or swim. I'm Ben Shaw, a lifelong sailor and adventurer. But my sailing career on the West Coast is just beginning. In this podcast I pick the brains of those who know the local waters. If you want to hear some good adventure stories while learning more about sailing on and around SF Bay, this is the podcast for you.
Ron Elliot // Close Encounters with Great White Sharks - Ep. 71
Ron Elliot probably has more close encounters with great white sharks than nearly any other person. Ron is a retired urchin diver who has spent countless hours underwater at the Farallon Islands. He continues to dive at the Farallons, even after a recent encounter during which he found himself facing a massive shark charging him with open jaws…. He didn’t escape unscathed. Watch Near Miss, a film by Josh Berry featuring Ron. And help support shark research at the Farallons, which has suffered a loss of funding during the COVID pandemic.
Brooks Watson // Sailing on Clubhouse & Watts on Water - Ep. 70
Brooks Watson started sailing about a year ago. But he’s jumped in with both feet, not only getting out on the water, but building a new community for sailors on the Clubhouse social media platform and launching a non-profit, Watts on Water that will enable cruisers to bring solar powered lights to those in need all over the world. He’s currently focused on the recent disaster in St. Vincent and is working to bring lights to those in need after a volcanic eruption cup power to much of the island.
James Dilworth // Big Adventures in Small Boats - Ep. 69
James Dilworth is a sailor and boat builder. He built a 17-foot catamaran, strapped it to the roof of his car, took it down to Mexico and spent time exploring the Sea of Cortez. Once, in a challenge from the Discovery Channel, he built a boat with 3-grand in 3-days and attempted to sail it to the Farallon Islands. When I first met James he was getting ready to fly to the Philippines where he’d bought a traditional dug-out canoe, outrigger sailboat to take between the islands. In this conversation he shares the highs and lows, close calls and unforgettable experiences from his many adventures.
Joe Balderrama // SF Bay Singlehanded Sailing Society - Ep. 68
Joe Balderrama loves the feeling of sailing alone - and he’s done a lot of it both in the San Francisco Bay and across oceans. He’s currently the Commodore of the San Francisco Bay Singlehanded Sailing Society. We talk about everything from the Three Bridge Fiasco to surviving squalls in the Pacific.
Ryan Finn Update // The Whole Story of the Hull Hole - Ep. 67
In January, Ryan Finn left New York on a single-handed, non-stop passage to San Francisco around Cape Horn - a feat that’s never been done. But only a day out from shore he heard a bang and found a gaping hole in the hull of his 36-foot proa. He was able to make repairs and limp back to the east coast of the United States. After interviewing him before his departure (Episode 62), I caught up with him again briefly to hear about the incident, the aftermath, and his plans for the voyage moving forward. He’s set up a Go-Fund-Me campaign to help with the costs of the voyage.
Mike Scheck // Scanmar & Getting Into the Business of Sailing - Ep. 66
Mike Scheck is President of Scanmar International, the Bay Area company best known for making the Monitor Windvane. A long-time Bay sailor, Mike took over the company from founder Hans Bernwall in 2014. Scanmar actually sells a few different windvane models and autopilots. Mike and I talk about the advantages of different kinds of steering gear, the new emergency rudder system for the Monitor, the origins of Scanmar, as well as the challenges of making your avocation into your vocation.
Interview w Joe Balderrama
Perfect questions, insightful and articulate responses, stories (terrifying stories!) and a real respectful sense of the place in sailing history held by the Singlehanded Sailing Society.
Thank you to both of you.
The only trouble with this show is that when I listen to it, I start hearing the sirens calling me to the ocean, and I’m liable to run out and jump on the nearest boat.
Carry on, Mr. Shaw.
I live in the Bay Area and started sailing here after living in Florida all my life. It is awesome to here everyone’s stories about the bay and to learn more about the Bay Area sailing spots. Love the approach Ben takes with his guests.