Chicago NOODs Yacht Racing Action

June 21, 2009

I raced in the NOODs Friday on the J120 racing yacht Valkyrie.  There was a huge weather delay as the sky was black as night over the city and north of us out into the lake.  It looked as if it was bearing down on us so we battened down the hatches and dropped our sails in preparation, Read the rest of this entry »


2008 What a Year in Adventure-ness

December 30, 2008

Reflecting on the adventurous aspects of 2008…  One of the best ever for me second only to 2000 when I travelled the world for 6.5 months.  This year I was so fortunate.  Five foreign countries, two new mountains climbed, fourth Chicago to Mackinac sailing race, surfing, skiing…  I must list all the adventures and trips I was lucky enough to participate in this past year, and be so grateful for the opportunities I was blessed with.

  1. Elwha Trail hike in the Olympic Mountains West of Seattle with four good buddies.
  2. The 100th running of the Chicago to Mackinac Sailing race, on a J120 named Valkyrie, placed well in our class, finished in around 55 hours.
  3. Cruised the North Channel of Lake Huron on a 38 foot Ericson sailboat owned by my parents with a highlight being Topaz lake.
  4. Nantucket Massachusetts for several days with my oldest friend Spencer and his family, driving on the beach, catching bluefish from the shore, enjoying old friends, meeting my namesake, Cormac Thomas Carney
  5. Upstate New York at my girlfriend’s grandparents’ “camp”, waterskiing, kayaking, mountain biking, swimming.
  6. Climbing the highest point in New York State, Mt Marcy, ticking off the 12th state high point on my quest to do all 50 of them.
  7. Jamaica for work, Kingston.
  8. Cayman Islands to visit my cousin Megan for a few days.
  9. Jazzfest in New Orleans for a bachelor party
  10. Numerous mountain biking excursions around Chicago
  11. Numerous sailing parties on my boat, a 28 foot Ericson christened the Imjatse after a Nepalese mountain I climbed.
  12. Rock climbing in Red River gorge, Kentucky
  13. Rock climbing at Mississppi Palisades twice
  14. Summiting Mt Belford, a 14,000 foot mountain in Colorado, then sleeping in a bivy sack on its flanks overnight in about 15 degrees.
  15. Pilgrimage to the original Chipotle in Denver
  16. 35 person white water rafting trip sponsored by the adventure ministry I run at church, running class III and IV rapids.
  17. Kayaking the Vermilion River in very high, fast water.
  18. Costa Rica!  Staying at my friend’s resort, surfing, jungle hikes, four-wheeling.
  19. Talon’s Challenge at Vail, skiing thirteen black and double black runs in a single day with a reward of a free beer and a free hat.
  20. Skiing at Aspen with the family
  21. Moving my friend’s sailboat 200 miles down the intracoastal waterway from Norfolk to Beaufort NC, just my father and I.
  22. Two winter attempts of Mt Humphries, the tallest mountain in Arizona, each a failure, but getting closer and I lived to climb another day.
  23. Thanksgiving in Boston
  24. Ten person caving trip that I led through Buckner’s cave in Southern Indiana.
  25. Ski trip to Wausau Wisconsin and Granite Peak Resort.
  26. Raced the Cohasset Triathlon
  27. 40+ person sea kayaking trip led by my group

What a wonderful year, with lots of love and great relationships started, nourished, and deepened during all these adventures and trips. 

I have to give a lot of credit for this year to Tim  Ferriss, author of The Four Hour Workweek for his writings and inspiration to live like this – thanks much Tim and all the best to everybody in 2009.  I always wanted to live like this but never knew anybody who did – I didn’t think it was really possible until I read Tim’s stuff and embarked upon the adventure.  Inspirational.  This year has been the best to date for my business, relationships, and adventures and experiences.  I hope for an even better 2009 and hope for the same for everybody.  I have to copy some of Tim’s stuff from a mentor of his here  – good food for thought:

“While many are wringing their hands, I recall the 1970s when we were suffering from an oil shock causing long lines at gas stations, rationing, and 55 MPH speed limits on Federal highways, a recession, very little venture capital ($50 million per year into VC firms), and, what President Jimmy Carter (wearing a sweater while addressing the Nation on TV because he had turned down the heat in the White House) called a “malaise”. It was during those times that two kids without any real college education, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, started companies that did pretty well. Opportunities abound in bad times as well as good times. In fact, the opportunities are often greater when the conventional wisdom is that everything is going into the toilet.

Well…we’re nearing the end of another great year, and, despite what we read about the outlook for 2009, we can look forward to a New Year filled with opportunities as well as stimulating challenges.”

Sailing with Girls tonight

September 27, 2007

Taking my Sis and all her girlfriends out sailing tonight – should be a blast.  As the sole male on board, I’ll tough it out!  Great girls, I’m looking forward to it.  Weather looks great.

 Was out with my buddy Dave lat night – mmet at a bar downtown then moved up to Wells on Wells in Old Town – I love htat bar.  We had a great time, catching up on stories and what we’ve been up to recently, and telling old fraternity stories.  Great to see him as always.  After that was going to head home but texted John and Sleshy – who were out, so cabbed it up to Wrigleyville and the Sports Corner.  Great to see them too, it’s been a while.  Conversation was good and then sailing came up and we rehashed a bunch of races from the summer and different strategies and what to do differently next year.  Fun to see them and share stories.

Racing on the Valkyrie J120

September 7, 2007

Went out to race sailboats on Lake Michigan Wednesday night, no luck though, the wind was dead.  They called the race and all the boats, probably 150 of them out there, all motored back to the harbor.  We hung out and drank beers at the dock then headed home, last race of the summer!  To entertain ourselves we hoisted Eddie Kearns up the mast – he was going to jump from the spreaders, probably 25 feet up, into the lake but wussed out.  Here’s a short video of him and the other raceboats, with no wind…

Moore up the mast

Sailing from Chicago to Michigan city

September 5, 2007

Lisa in the Imjatse cockpitfor Labor Day we sailed from Chicago to Michigan city, about 30 miles, leaving early Saturday morning.  There were four of us, Myself, Lisa, Adam, and Nikki.  We had a terrific time, great food, beautiful weather and perfect wind.

Adam and Nikki  Imjatse mast view  Lisa driving the imjatse  At the Lake Michigan beach   

Sailing footage: 

Nikki’s father picked us up from the harbor -he’s 82, his wife is 57.  Big spread there.  Super couple, giant lake house, with a stunning view of Lake Michigan, a gorgeous pool, right on the beach with woods all around.  Terrific parties, lots of other people there, all very smart and very liberal and jewish.  I had a blast listening to them all and eating amazing food both nights.  Sunday night they had 25 people over and we had crabcakes that had been flown in from Baltimore.  Yum.  Took a long walk down the beach, tackled Lisa and got an accidental big scratch on my neck for my effort!  Whoops. 

 View from the lake house  Better view 

Sunday night got dropped off at the harbor again – this time I slept on the race boat after joining in the party and watching the band.  Probably 200 sailboats were there, all rafted up.  I found my boat and crew, was great to see them.

Michigan City Tri-satae party:

We raced back from Michigan City to Chicago on Monday.  Seven of us were crew.  It was fun – hot and a ton of bugs – which attracted no less than a bat, and three small birds!  They stayed with us the whole trip across, seven hours worth.  It was fun watching them all – one we named commander Chirpington, the other was Admiral Beakensworth.  They chowed on the flies and bugs for hours, and didn’t mind hopping on us, in fact paid us little attention.  Check the videos.

And now back to work!  Dissolving one company and moving forward with some others, streamlining my bidnesses.  All’s well.  tonight’s the last race on the Valkyrie, so will head out to Burnham harbor in a few.

Buoy racing, chicago, girl buys me a guinnes

August 6, 2007

For the weekend just passed, I had some fun.  We did buoy races on Saturday, two of them.  So much fun, lots of action.  I was in “the pit” running the lines for the sails, putting up the spinnaker and dropping the jib, four times, much more than a long port to port race or even the Wednesday night beer cans.  Lots of fun.  Our foredeck guy was new, so the first time everything was tangled and we lost the race, however every other time he nailed it perfectly.  It was terrific and fun.

Went out that night with a high school bud and his wife and 5 year old son for dinner.  It was a good time, but I’d say we don’t connect like we used to, not that we were ever super tight, now it’s farther apart.  As a single guy, and then that I’m an entrepreneur and he works a job – that widens the lifestyle difference.  Met up with a few buds after for beers, then to bed.  Sunday drove a couple guys to the dock to race again – I wnated to go but didn’t as I thought I was burnt out on the boring races – was too late to say “oh you know what, actually I can make it now”.  So went to a street fes t with my hot little girlfriend and my best buddy from college, we had a great time and drank some beers.  Lisa’s not drinkgin due to the marathon.  Great news, her recovery from a 16 mile run was far faster without drinking – she’s pretty excited about that.  I would love to stop drinking and partying – but it is so much fun…  I think I’m built for it.  I’ve tried so many times to stop partying – but it gets lonely and boring.  I feel like non-partiers aren’t as much fun for some reason.  May not be the case.  On-going study of mine.  Anyways I’m drawn to fun people and I think the partying generally goes along with that for whatever reason – accelerates and amplifies the fun.

Tried to go to church Sunday but go thtere as it ended – duh, messed up the time somehow.  Park changes service times a bunch.  We’ll be getting a new building soon, that will help.

Friday hung with the same high school bud and another one that lives here – we all went up to his office in the Tribune – he has fun watching the what goes on in the Intercontinental hotel rooms from his office- pointed out a guy in his underwear that night – not too exciting.

Teaching climbing tonight, looking forward to it.  And looking forward to not having alcohol tonight.  I’ve been on like a three week bender it seems – summer is like that in Chicago, everybody goes out and has a blast, then people hibernate in the winter.  It works.

Went out last Wednesday with the captain of the boat I race on, after the race.  We’re sitting there and I point out a girl who I tell him is smoking hot.  John agrees.  We were drinking Guinness.  Not more than a minute later a waiter brings over two full pints of Guinness.  From the girls.  What the…??  If I had a dollar for every time that happened to me, I’d have a dollar.  In shock, we regained our composure and then after some debate and help from our waitress decided it was our obligation to go talk with them, not the other way around.  So we did, with pleasure, and the hot one was happy to talk my ear off – she was entertaining yet plastered and seriously a babe.  Loves to ski, her dad’s a big kayaker.  Hot.  Fun night.

Nantucket and Triathlons

July 12, 2007

So I spent the last 6 days on the road.  Fiorst went out to Cohasset and ran a triathlon.  A sprint, so it was ‘short’ but it was very hilly and the swim was in the ocean – hills are tough to train for in Chicago!  I rode a mountain bike belonging to my girlfriend’s father as they live out there – hard to be competitive on one of those babies when everybody else has spent 3k on their bikes.  Talk about getting passed…  and on the run and on the swim I thought my heart was going to blow out of my chest, whoa.  Actually did happen to one guy my age – had a heart attack during the swim and tragically killed him.  That’s no fun.  Was all over the news.  My poor buddy from since I was five put the whole thing on and did an outstanding job – this was the inaugural year.  I really hope he does it again – it was so much work, I can’t even fathom.  We spent 3 or 4 hours working that afternoon with 8 or 10 others tearing everything down and loading up trucks, what an  effort.  Kudos to Billy B!!

 We drove my buddy Wayne to his in-laws place on the cape – they drove us around this compound on golf carts – apparently the great Gatsby was based on this estate, now shared by a bunch of families – the guy’s mansion is now subdivided into 30 condos – the place is mammoth.  and he was a bit of a nutjob and built an enormous – probably 250 feet tall – satellite dish out on this picturesque point in the ocean – inconfruous is the word for it.  Quite a sight.  The son of the witch of wall street apparently.

Then Early the next morning we were off to the island – My girl’s mother very kindly drove us to the ferry – where we hopped on, 30 minutes early to my chagrin (I like to cut it closer) and sped across to Nantucket in the fog.  I was so so excited to get there  – I’ve been going since I was ten, almost every year with one of my best buddies in the world, and his family.  My buddy wasn’t there but his folks were, and they were such wonderful hosts.  And a gorgeous, clean, loving home worth many millions I’m sure – overlooking the harbor and right close to town.  Free use of the cars and great food and wonderful comapny.  We headed off to the beach the first day, Somtehing Natural Sandwiches and grubbed down on them at Jetties – Lisa was about to eat my arm so we had to get food in her quick.  After that we checked out Wauwinet where her folks will stay in a few weeks, then spent the afternoon at Dionis, before heading home and showering and heading to Straight Wharf for an amazing dinner.

I left off – the night before the triathlon – Lisa’s folks are incredible cooks – I carbo loaded on juicy steaks, scallops, pasta, bread and tomatoes – what a feast!  When I grow up I want to cook like that!  Easy way to pack on pounds – go visit them!

So the next day on Nantucket – would have loved to go surf casting which I usually do when Spence is out there, but no dice this trip.  Instead we launched their 19 foot sailboat – I was very helpful as sailing’s a hobby of mine, having a boat of my own here in Chicago.  It was fun – lifted it off the trailer with a winch then set the mast with the four of us, 2 guys, 2 girls.  Smooth.  Made a decision to sail without a lower shroud – it worked.  Had a gorgeous sail through thte harber and back to the buoy at Gretch’s beach.  I love Nantucket – such a slow pace and so much to do if you love beaches and oceans and all the playing that goes on.  Also saw gretch and Mark – they’r e so great – I’ve known them since I was a boy too, and they kindly offered all their beach toys – kayaks, windsurfers, etc.

Then headed home the next afternoon after seeing my high school buddy Wayne and his wife and enjoying lunch and beers at “The Brotherhood of Thieves” restaurant – a favorite haunt of ours since college.  Yum!

And crazy enough – this Saturday I leave for the Chciago to Mackinac sailboat race – gotta get all my gear together.  333 miles, nonstop – working in shifts, 3 hours on three hours off – grueling and amazing.  11 guys on a J120 called Valkyrie.  I’m dreading it now – sounds like misery doesn’t it?  Rain or shine, storm or calm, we sail, and we don’t stop until we get to Mackinac.  That’s a long time to be jammed in a boat with 10 other dudes.  It’s all good and it’s an incredible accomplishment – I actually worte a story on my first mac and got it published.