Yachts 4 Fun

Son of a Gun! Nautical Phrases Part 2


In our first lesson on nautical phrases, you learned that the terms “powerboat” and “yacht” are interchangeable and what “three sheets to the wind” really means.

Son-of-a-GunIn this blog, we’re going to cover some additional terms and sayings that have nautical origins. Let’s have some fun!

  • “Son of a Gun” – While we recognize this saying today to be a friendly way of calling a person a rogue or a misbehaver, as in “You are joking, aren’t you, you son of a gun?” it has origins that date back to the 1800s and the Royal Navy in particular. At the time, women were allowed to live on naval ships. A child who was born on board but whose paternity was unknown was logged as a “son of a gun”. The “gun” meaning a military man.
  • “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea” – The jury is still out on where this one came from, although the meaning is clearly being stuck between two bad things. Some possible explanations of its origins follow:
    • Greek Mythology: In Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus is caught between a six-headed monster and a whirpool in the sea.
    • The Devil on a ship is the seam between the last deck plank and the top plank on the side. This seam would require regular maintenance, requiring a sailor to hang over the side of the ship. This would also explain the term “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.”
  • “Give a Wide Berth” – Berth is considered to be the place where a ship is moored nowadays. But in the past, the berth was a place where there was room to moor a ship”. Thus, you would tell your sailors to keep a wide berth between you and, say, some jagged rocks along the shore. People use that in common speech nowadays similarly. When you give a person a wide berth, figuratively speaking, you are going to leave them alone, stay out of their way, etc.

Anatomy of a Yacht

Do you have an upcoming powerboat lesson with us and want to get a head-start? Or perhaps you’d like to brush up on your boating knowledge!

Either way, we’ve compiled a list of the most important parts of a yacht that you’ll want to know before heading out onto the water.

Anatomy-of-a-YachtHull: The hull is the part of the boat that floats. It consists of internal framework and is covered by an outer fiberglass shell (the part that you see and can touch).

Bow: (pronounced like “cow”) The bow is the front of the boat hull.

Stern: The back of the boat hull.

Port: Left (while looking forward).

Starboard: Right (while looking forward).

Aft: In or toward the back.

Berth: The sleeping area.

Bridge/Cockpit: The part of the boat where the controls are.

Cabin: A private room on the boat.

Deck: An outside area of the boat on which you can walk.

Galley: The kitchen.

Helm: The wheel or handle for steering.

Porthole: Window.

Propeller: The spinning blades that make the boat go.

Great Place to Study

2009 07nfrom Sandy’s Log:    As I cram to complete my CM (continuing maintenance) credits for my AICP Certification (American Institute of Certified Planners) before the end of the year, I think back to how much I enjoyed studying and preparing for my AICP test. I was so fortunate. We had a boat (Vesper I), and a boat on-the-water is a great place to study.  It wasn’t a chore. It never felt like work.

2009 07hEvery Friday, Richard and I would toss a few clothes in our overnight bag, pack up my computer and AICP study materials, grab the dog, and off we’d go to King Harbor in Redondo Beach. We’d usually swing by Whole Foods and pick up a few items from the deli along with some craft beer, and we were set for the weekend.

Most Fridays we’d just chill on the boat. We’d take in the sea air and watch the fabulous sunset. Early Saturday, it was rise and shine with the sun. We’d have our morning coffee on the cockpit, and then I ‘d settle in. Richard had a little table built for me on the cockpit overlooking the marina. It was perfect. I’d set up my computer and study away pausing only to watch a seagull, take a dingy ride or take in a few ZZZs in the afternoon sun with Mr. Big.

Saturday nights we’d usually walk over the Bluewater Grill for dinner, maybe a few drinks then back to the boat to snuggle in for the evening. Sunday we’d do it all over again, except some time Sunday we’d head home.

There is no doubt in my mind that having a great place like this to study was key to me being able to stay focused and obtain my certification. I highly recommend it.

2009 070i

Plan Your Trip: Santa Catalina Island

While putting your new powerboat license to good use, getting to Santa Catalina Island is only half the fun! If you’re planning a trip to Catalina, here are 7 of our favorite things to do:

  1. Plan Your Trip Santa Catalina IslandRelax! Is there anything better than a massage after a long day of yachting? You’ll find top-notch spas in Avalon!
  2. Enjoy the beach! There isn’t a bad beach on Catalina! Once you’ve decided which one to spend the afternoon at, relax at a cabana and enjoy the beautiful Pacific Ocean view!
  3. Get active! From mini-golf, to bike rentals, to SUP and kayak rentals, there’s something for every level of fitness!
  4. Explore and take in the sights! Feeling a little more adventurous? Go on a jeep tour (you might see the non-native bison herd)! For those unafraid of heights, try a zip-lining adventure!
  5. Tour the history of the island! The Catalina Casino is the most visible landmark in Avalon Bay, but don’t let the name fool you—there is no gambling in the facility! Instead, it offers daily tours of the 1920s casino building that now serves as the Catalina Island Museum.
  6. Eat! If you can’t decide which restaurant to try—go on a 3-hour food tour with Taste of Catalina Food Tours  to sample the best Avalon has to offer.
  7. Stay! Can’t fit in everything you want to do in one day? Stay overnight at one of Avalon’s world-class hotels or camp in one of the beautiful campgrounds in the area!


Coastal Bird-Watching 101

Batten down the hatches! It’s time to bird-watch. Whether you are new to bird watching or a seasoned pro, coastal bird species are fun to spot and fascinating to watch. Have you ever seen an interesting bird while out on the water and wondered what it was? Yachts4Fun has you covered. We will have an ongoing blog series dedicated to your education about seafaring birds. Today, we will highlight the ocean’s largest and smallest species of birds.


Albatross are impressive in their wingspan and size. Some have wingspans of 10′ or more! They are the largest seafaring pelagic birds in the world. Did you know that there are at least 8 types of albatrosses that have been spotted hovering over the oceans surrounding North America? Mariners believed that if their ship was followed by an albatross, it was an omen of good luck. However, if the albatross was killed by someone on deck, the vessel would be cursed. It’s hard to miss an albatross and if you see one along the pacific coast of North America it is most likely a: black-footed albatross, Layson albatross or a short-tailed albatross.


If the albatross is the largest seabird species, then what bird claims the title of smallest? A storm-petrel, of course! There are at least 14 types of storm-petrels that have been seen in the ocean waters surrounding North America. If you see a storm-petrel out on the water you may think it is walking on water! They hover and bound across the water’s surface when searching for food. These adorable birds are a bit of a mystery as they live their life at sea, only visiting land when breeding and raising their young. In fact, they are such a mystery that the New Zealand storm-petrel was thought to have gone extinct until it was rediscovered in 2003. We do know that storm-petrels form long-term monogamous bonds with their breeding partner.

Bird-watching and powerboating go hand-in-hand. We recommend keeping a pair of nice binoculars on deck. This way, you’ll never miss a fascinating glimpse at the many seafaring bird species that serve as an important part of the ocean’s ecosystem. Happy powerboating and keep a sharp lookout!

Boating Under the Influence

We hear you asking, is that really a thing? Yes, indeed, it is. And if a California assembly member has his way, the rules and punishments regarding boating and alcohol will be increased.

Boating-Under-InfluenceIn 2013, there were 560 deaths from boating accidents in California alone. And alcohol is the leading cause of boat crashes on California waters. Just like drinking and driving is dangerous, drinking and operating a boat is dangerous as well.

A new bill proposed this year (AB 539) by Assemblyman Marc Levine, if passed, would allow law enforcement officials to obtain a search warrant that would let them test the blood alcohol level of a person who is suspected of operating a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Safety is our number priority at Yachts4Fun! We want you to have fun but first we want you to be safe! We know that drinking while driving a boat is dangerous and urge you to refrain from this activity whether you are on a lake, reservoir or out in the ocean.

Stay tuned for more info on this bill…

Plan Your Trip: Marina del Rey

Once you visit Marina del Rey, it’s easy to see why it’s one of the most popular seaside communities in Los Angeles County. If you’re planning on taking a trip, here are 7 of our favorite things to do:

  1. Plan Your Trip Marina del ReyTake in the sights! Rent a bike at Fisherman’s Village and hop on the Marvin Braude Coastal Bike Path that will take you along 22 miles of L.A.’s scenic beachfront.
  2. Find your balance! Rent a paddleboard and try your hand at SUP yoga!
  3. Work it out! Test your fitness level on the parcourse fitness trail in Yvonne Burke Park!
  4. Shake it! Enjoy weekend concerts year-round in Fisherman’s Village (weather permitting) starting at 2pm on Saturdays and Sundays!
  5. Pick up some picnic supplies! Stop by the weekly Marina del Rey Farmers Market on Saturday’s and then enjoy a fresh picnic in Burton Chace Park spending the afternoon overlooking the harbor.
  6. Get festive! On Halloween, Burton Chace Park gets spooky! Those who dare can watch a scary movie and trick-or-treaters will find lots of treats! In December, the festivities keep on coming! Sit back and enjoy (or participate in) the Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade!
  7. Don’t want to leave? We recommend checking out the Marina del Rey Hotel that just reopened after a $25 million renovation!

Buccaneer Days

Buccaneer Daysfrom Sandy’s Log:    Last Sunday I posted on Yachts4Fun’s Facebook page a photo that showed several boats out on the water on a somewhat rainy afternoon. Anthony Blada commented that they were coming back from Buccaneer’s Day, an annual event that takes places in early October where hundreds of buccaneers take over Two Harbors on Catalina Island.

Buccaneers 2That brought back memories of Y4F’s first and (to date) only Buccaneer Days. We left out of Long Beach with a small party of six, which included Capt. Richard, then first-mate, Anthony Blada, and myself. It was a beautiful day on the water. Once we reached Two Harbors, we anchored, caught a water taxi, and headed to shore.

Buccaneers 3Richard and I were about the only ones that did not don pirate outfits, although I must say Anthony made a pretty good effort.
It was a fun and unique experience filled with Captain Morgan and his band of buccaneers, pirate ships, wenches, cannons, parrots, and peg legs.  Oh and the usual—food, music and spirits.

Buccaneers 4Buccaneers 5

Forever Young: Caring for your Powerboat

You’ve decided to purchase your very own powerboat, congratulations! Taking the leap into powerboat ownership is a huge and exciting decision. You’ve just finished your first cruise out on open water and you nailed it! Every detail from your Yachts4Fun powerboating classes was put to use and you’re bringing the boat into your slip but you’re not done for the day! Powerboat ownership is a passion and it takes love and effort. In order to protect your investment and to prevent premature aging of your powerboat, you’ll need to thoroughly clean it after every session.

Forever Young  Caring for your PowerboatThe main goal of a good powerboat wash is to remove all traces of salt, as it is corrosive to your boat’s finish and metal framing. Salt dries into crystals creating an abrasive sand texture. There are a couple basic rules to powerboat cleaning that you’ll want to commit to memory.

  • Always start at the top and work your way down
  • Clean your powerboat from bow to stern

After you have taken these into account it is time to assess the weather. Is it sunny? If it is sunny, get ready to work quickly! We highly suggest a good quality boat wash. Boat wash cleans salt, dirt and grime much more thoroughly versus dish soap. First, spray down the boat with a fine spray and let sit for 1-2 minutes. It takes 1-2 minutes for the salt crystals to dissolve. After you have waited, hose the boat down completely and work the boat wash into a lather. You’ll need to supply the muscle on this step and get ready for some good, clean fun. Working in sections, lather, rinse and dry. If you try to do the whole boat at once, certain sections will dry before you return, and you will be left with water spots. Use a soft drying cloth that will soak up liquid without damaging the finish.

  • The deck should also be scrubbed. We suggest Borax or Hydrogen Peroxide as an environmentally friendly alternative to bleach.
  • All windows and Perspex should be stripped free of salt build up as well. A mixture of water and vinegar will work great for both you and the environment.
  • Applying a quality cleaner and sealant to your metal framework will prolong the life of your vessel as well. After application let sit for 15 to 30 minutes the wipe off with a clean cloth. A wax protectant creates a barrier against the harsh elements.

Things you can do less frequently are: cleaning any vinyl upholstery, carpet cleaning and cleaning/degreasing your engine. You will find a routine that works best for you but we hope that these pointers will guide you in the right direction!

What to Get the Man (Men) in Your Life?

from Sandy’s Log:  

WakeI was having lunch with my hairdresser this weekend, the fabulous Victoria, and she asked me to tell her more about Yachts4Fun. What is Yacths4Fun? Is it a charter business? I proceeded to tell her that Yachts4Fun’s main business is on-the-water powerboat instruction.

The more we talked, the more excited Victoria got about the idea of getting her husband lessons for his upcoming birthday, then the more excited I got that someone has the same idea—powerboat lessons for the man (or men) in your life.

I don’t know about you but I always struggle with what to get Richard for those special occasions. How cool would it be to give someone a gift that involves learning how to drive a powerboat while enjoying the great weather and oceans of Southern California. Oh, and you can join them!

So who’s the man in your life?