Archive for 'Socalsail'

User registration bug fixed

Posted by John Callender on June 19th, 2013 at 5:33 am

There was a problem with the user-registration feature for the Socalsail Gear Directory not working properly; I believe that’s fixed now. If you’d like to add a listing to the directory, or submit an update for an existing listing, please feel free to register.

Registration is free, as is listing your company or service in the Gear Directory.


Web Links Now Available for All Buyer’s Guide Listings

Posted by John Callender on January 28th, 2007 at 11:17 am

I’ve modified the Socalsail Buyer’s Guide so that listed companies can have free links to their web sites. My thinking is that this encourages companies to update their listings, and generally makes the site more useful for its users.

Companies whose listings include a link are listed in the “Enhanced Listings” section at the top of alphabetical, category, and location pages. Adding a link to a listing that doesn’t currently have one is fairly simple; you just need to:

1. Create a user account on the site, if you don’t already have one. See the site’s registration page.

2. Go to the Buyer’s Guide page for the company in question, and look for the link that reads “Update This Listing” on the left side of the page.

3. Fill out the form, including the “Web Address” section.

4. Wait for the submission to be approved. (I approve all submissions manually to avoid malicious webspam, among other reasons.)

If you have questions or comments about the new arrangements, send me an email at Thanks!

NOAA Wind Data Interrupted

Posted by John Callender on May 14th, 2006 at 7:15 am

NOAA weather buoy

I’m not sure why, but the NOAA weather buoy data that I display on SoCalSail’s Current wind observations page stopped updating at 3:00 a.m. local time today. It looks like it’s a problem at NOAA’s end; hopefully they’ll have it straightened out shortly.

Update: Which it looks like they did, since things are working again as of the next day. Hooray!

New Look for SoCalSail

Posted by John Callender on April 8th, 2006 at 2:45 pm

Matt's cool new SoCalSail logo

Thanks to my good friend Matthew Hine, SoCalSail has a new logo and site design. Please let me know if you notice any problems, or if you come across the old design lingering anywhere on the site.

Thanks, Matt!

Animated Wind Maps Are Up in Beta Form

Posted by John Callender on November 27th, 2005 at 10:29 am

wind map sample

I’ve been working on this for the last week or so; it’s still a little rough, but I think it’s far enough along to be worth unveiling. Anyway, check it out: Southern California wind observations.

I’m currently producing a static map showing the latest hour’s wind data from NOAA’s National Data Buoy Center; in addition there are animated maps showing the previous 6, 24, and 72 hours. The maps are updated at 30 minutes past the hour, by which time most of the buoys have uploaded their previous hour’s data.

On my to-do list are the following:

  • Fiddling with the little wind icons to make them antialias better.
  • Adding some sort of analog time display to make it easier to track the passage of time in the animations.
  • Adding additional maps for other locations (the buoy data at NDBC covers all US coastal waters, as well as a number of other regions in other parts of the world).

I think it’s pretty cool, in terms of the concept, at least, and I’ll keep working on improving the execution. I’d be interested in getting feedback on how the wind maps could be improved, either privately via email at, or publicly using the weblog’s comment form.


Weather Page Updated

Posted by John Callender on November 5th, 2005 at 3:50 am

map showing weather buoy locations

I’ve done some cleaning up of SoCalSail’s weather page. Mainly, I’ve updated the map showing weather buoys so it matches the current version of the National Buoy Data Center’s Southwest California Recent Marine Data page.

I remember how excited I was when I first saw the progenitor of that page a number of years ago. That was back in the mid-1990s, when doing cool things on the Web still had a clubby, subversive feel to it. Here, I realized, was the work of a kindred spirit, someone who felt the way I did about putting useful content online.

In a funny coincidence, I subsequently was at the second annual Perl conference, and struck up a conversation with the young man I happened to be sitting next to. We asked each other the standard Perl conference question (“So, what are you doing with Perl?”), and I practically fell out of my chair when he told me that he worked for the National Weather Service in Florida, and had recently used Perl to put together a little CGI application to report observations from weather buoys.

“You’re the guy who did that!” I exclaimed. “I love that site!”

His name was Dave Faciane, and meeting him was definitely one of the highlights of that conference for me. I’ve lost track of him since then, and several years ago the application he built was moved to a new server and his name removed from the credits, but I remember that chance meeting, and thinking about it now reminds me of those good old days when the Web was first being imagined into existence.

Anyway, give the new weather observations page a try, and let me know if you notice any problems.

Some day soon I hope to update it to do automated processing of the buoy data, so I can display a version of the map with near-real-time wind data graphically displayed on it. From that it would be a short step to doing an animated version of the same map so you could see how wind conditions had been changing over the last 24 hours.

I think that would be pretty cool. And I bet Dave Faciane would get a kick out of it if he saw it.

A Little History

Posted by John Callender on November 3rd, 2005 at 9:17 pm

Hilaria back in the day

I registered the domain name ‘’ on July 9, 1997, intending to create a site that would be a resource for Southern California sailors. Over the next year I played around with setting up automated updates of the coastal marine forecast, and created an early version of the site’s Buyer’s Guide. But other projects intruded on my time, and what with one thing and another I never completed the site. It remained an unfinished demo, basically.

Although I never publicized the site, at some point I inadvertantly exposed its URL to the search engines, and shortly thereafter I started to notice that it was picking up some traffic. As time went on, I began to receive email from people about the site; most of them trying to contact companies in the the Buyer’s Guide. Eventually this shamed me into adding tools to allow users to register on the site, and for registered users to submit updates to the Buyer’s Guide info.

A few months ago I added Google Adsense ads to the site. A few weeks ago I got an email from Chris Tucker of SailTime Channel Islands, a fractional-ownership/charter outfit, asking about advertising possibilities. On November 1, 2005, SailTime became the site’s first banner advertiser.

I’ve been sailing in Southern California since I was a young boy; that photo is of Hilaria, the vintage 10-meter (originally built in 1927) that my father owned during the 1960s and early 1970s. It was on Hilaria that I first learned to sail, and I treasure those memories to this day. I’ll probably share some stories from that time in this weblog. In the meantime I’ll also be talking about sailing news, sharing information about resources for Southern California sailors, and generally doing my best to make this site as useful as possible.

Thanks for visiting.


Posted by John Callender on November 3rd, 2005 at 11:34 am

Welcome to SoCalSail. As you can see, the site is now running a weblog on its home page. In addition, I’ve added some new features in the site’s Buyer’s Guide. I look forward to adding a lot more content and features in the days ahead; in the meantime, please feel free to poke around and offer your feedback.

You can submit comments in response to individual weblog postings (like this one), or you can send me email at

Welcome aboard!

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