Fair dinkum or not? You decide.

18 Aug
This picture has no relevance to the blog – I just like it and wanted to share it

I am always interested to know people think of my opinions and the information that I share in my Great Circle Sails blog. Actually, for a while there I was wondering if anyone even reads my blog but lately I have been getting some fan mail so some people are enjoying my point of view. Not so much a person that goes by the name Anarchist David. Most of my blog pieces are published on Sailing Anarchy which is by far the ...
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DRYING OUT: Not Afloat Aboard the New Lunacy

16 Aug

Anchor and boat

I’ve been looking forward to doing this ever since I got this boat. Mind you, I’ve done it before on another boat. My old Golden Hind 31, Sophie, conceived by Maurice Griffiths, a true shoal-draft aficionado, had three keels (one shallow full keel on centerline, plus two small auxiliary bilge keels) and was designed to take the ground with impunity. So I tried drying her out, once, in the St. George River off Thomaston in Maine. I did not know the ground there, and it turned out the mud flat I grounded her on was composed of very ...

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Facing up to health care

16 Aug


Keeping up with routine health care needs isn’t a problem when cruising. It’s rare to be in a place where quality care cannot be found, or reached quickly should an emergency arise. In Puerto Rico we played catch up with dentist and dermatology checkups.

Pinterest health careWe arrived in Puerto Rico expecting to hop-skip-jump across the south coast, continuing (we hoped) to blast our way east to the BVIs, then make southbound tracks to Grenada. In the landfall of Puerto Real, Marina Pescadería’s owner/manager, Jose Mendez, welcomed us like old friends. He had already arranged service from an outboard mechanic we ...

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More sailing news

11 Aug

So this is one of my pet peeves and I debated whether I should use this forum to air it, but what the heck there is not much going on in the sailing world this week (joke). A couple of days ago I got a press release from the Volvo Ocean Race.  All of us in the media are prone to overuse superlatives and I am usually fine with it, indeed I am probably more guilty than most, but this I am not fine with. Here is the headline. “New Zealand sailing hero Peter Burling joins Team Brunel for Volvo
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Bad Things Come In Threes

9 Aug

We were sailing back to the Spaulding Marine Center from a successful first charter on our 1885 gaff-rigged sloop Freda. We left the charter guests at the Ferry Building, set sail, and managed to lay Sausalito in one tack on the ebb. Volunteer crew Rob and I quaffed artisanal cheeses and fresh figs, leftover from the charter, as we enjoyed spectacular Bay sailing aboard the oldest sailing yacht on the West Coast. I was feeling so cocky about it that I suggested, “People always drop her sails and motor the last mile to Spaulding. There’s plenty of room by ...

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Lessons learned by causing a false AIS MOB alert

8 Aug

Written by Ben Ellison on Aug 8, 2017 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub


The grins tell the story: Mission accomplished! Due to an obscure but noteworthy electrical glitch, plus oodles of embarrassingly distracted seamanship on my part, a sizable U.S. Coast Guard team spent part of a beautiful Saturday looking for an AIS man overboard alert that seemed to be associated with my boat Gizmo. Fireman Joey Jansen-Hedrick and Petty Officer 1st Class T.J. Iaci (above) were the boarding party that had to deal with an owner/operator (me) who was pretty sure they didn’t know what they were talking ...

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202: Johnny Owens & Paul Rogan // Ireland to Iceland

7 Aug

Johnny Owens & Paul Rogan are 2/6th of the ‘Ireland to Iceland 2017’ crew whom we met on the docks in the faraway fishing town of Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides. Their gang of merry sailors were on an adventure to the Arctic in a 40-foot steel ketch, Johnny’s father as captain, making music as they want in the pubs along the way. We invited them to Isbjorn to share their story of adventure and creativity. Their expedition is designed to raise funds and awareness for Good2Talk Westmeath, a Mullingar, Ireland-based charity who provide Suicide Prevention, Counselling and Psychotherapy ...

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TANDA MALAIKA: Lost on an “Unmarked” Reef in French Polynesia

6 Aug

Tanda wrecked from air

I noticed this story a few days ago and finally found the time to study the available facts. This takes some concentration as the writing style of Belinda Govatos, the sailor/blogger who suffered through these events with her family and diligently recorded them on her website, Adventures of a Tribe, doesn’t seem to involve paragraphs. The story begins on the night of July 18, when according to Belinda’s account her husband Danny was keeping close watch on deck while she prepared dinner as their Leopard 46 catamaran Tanda Malaika, outbound from Mo’orea in French Polynesia, approached the atoll ...

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Stormbound in Sweden // How we made the conservative call to stay in port

6 Aug

The mornings GFS GRIB update - locally, it's blowing even harder! Shame, because the wind direction is ideal!

The mornings GFS GRIB update – locally, it’s blowing even harder! Shame, because the wind direction is ideal!

“It’s blowing dogs off chains in Marstrand this morning!”

I wrote on Instagram at 0630 this morning announcing our delayed departure. I’d been up since 0500, planning for an early morning departure so we could ride the westerlies down the Kattegat, around Copenhagen & Denmark, and up into the Baltic towards the medieval city of Visby on the island of Gotland. A weather buoy just outside the harbor indicated sustained winds of 15.6 m/s, gusting to 19.7 m/s. That’s ‘meters per second,’ ...

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VHF radio etiquette

4 Aug

boy on radio
“Thanks for the wake, @$$%*#!”  Unpleasant to imagine, unpleasant to hear, and rude on all sides. We haven’t heard that since leaving the USA and I don’t miss this aspect of many boaters in close proximity plus a dose of …well, of whatever it is that prompts throwing a wake or respond like that! They need to go cruising.DSC_1185

Summertime radio chatter included restrained and frequent USCG reminders not to use channel 16 for radio checks, to move conversations away from 16 (reserved for distress and hailing only), and more publicly aired inanity. And more from people who didn’t know ...

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