Tom Harkin driving Isbjorn south in the 2015 Caribbean 1500.
It’s Tuesday, March 28, my sister’s birthday, and I’m home in Pennsylvania at her house enjoying a long weekend off the boat between trips. We’ve had an amazing season so far, four trip down and seven to go! One more Caribbean jaunt next week to Grenada & back, and then we’ll be on our way to Europe in May! I hope it goes without saying, but Mia & I are EXTREMELY grateful to both our Isbjorn crew and our podcast supporters for allowing us to live this amazing lifestyle. ... Read More
The cigarette lighter plug/receptacle has long been the de facto standard to connect portable 12-Volt devices, and it sucks. Nobody smokes anymore. It’s bulky, insecure, makes poor electrical contact, and can’t carry high current. It’s got to be the only electrical connector in the history of electrical connectors with a compression spring that is constantly trying to break the connection.
I suffered many a night when the only difference between a good sleep and waking up in a pool of sweat, ravaged by mosquitoes, was a 12-Volt fan plugged into a cigarette receptacle above my bunk. If I so much ... Read More
Written by Ben Ellison on Mar 26, 2017 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub
It was good to see SkyMate return to the Miami Boat Show after years focused on commercial fishing, and the company clearly has not lost its touch at squeezing lots of easy utility out of skinny-band satellite communications. Its new Mazu/mSeries marine system promises surprisingly full-featured weather and email using Iridium’s least expensive service, plus texting, SOS, navigation and (optional) off-boat monitoring. And, just around the corner in the Si-Tex booth, I saw a very interesting Android-based touchscreen NavStar MFD nicely interfacing with SkyMate’s existing communications ... Read More
I received sad news from my dad last night that Bill Ficker passed away last week. As a racing skipper, Bill won both the America’s Cup and the Star Worlds. For those of us who know what that means, enough said.
I knew Bill, through my dad, my whole life, and I’d see him at my dad’s coffee klatch when I visited. At this coffee klatch, which didn’t have any slouches when it came to sailing, Bill was always the alpha dog, yet patient, unassuming, and shy about his accomplishments. The last time I saw him at the coffee klatch ... Read More
Olly Cotterell is one of the youngest Clipper Race skippers ever, sailing to a podium position in the 2013-2014 edition of the RTW race onboard OneDLL. He currently skipper’s the prototype, foiling racing yacht ‘Maverick,’ which recently won her class in the RORC Trans-Atlantic Race. Olly & I have a connection in that we’ve both worked for Broadreach. We met up to record this episode in person in Antigua, ahead of the Caribbean 600. Olly has an amazing story that includes growing up on a sailboat in Bermuda, working up the ranks as an RYA instructor, surfing at 35 ... Read More
Like many V-berths, mine was designed to be two bunks, but by putting a board and a cushion between them it becomes a double berth. Since the cushion in the middle is called a keystone cushion by the upholstery people, we’ll call the board the keystone board.
On my boat the keystone board and cushion are in place nearly 100% of the time, creating my captain’s cabin, roughly the size of a queen-sized bed. Below the keystone board is seldom seen, but this is some primo storage, accessed from aft, and visible looking forward from the main cabin. During my ... Read More
So now, as the 50th anniversary of the Golden Globe Race of 1968-69 draws on nigh, the battle lines have been clearly drawn. We have on the one hand a highly organized tribute event: the previously discussed Golden Globe Race 2018, put together by ex-BOC racer Don McIntyre, with a fixed starting time and location and all kinds of strict rules and limitations as to boats to be sailed and equipment to be used. And now we also have an utterly disorganized anti-matter tribute event: Longue Route 2018, being put together by another ex-BOC racer, Guy Bernardin, in ... Read More
I had dinner with a friend of mine the other day. She was constantly checking her phone. Her 20 year old daughter had moved to live with her father in Germany and her three-times-a-day text had not arrived. She was worried. “She usually text’s at the same time every day,” my friend said. “I can’t imagine what’s gone wrong.” I nodded in sympathy. I am a parent and I totally understand.
The next day I had lunch with one of my oldest and sweetest friends. Without her I would never have had the most awesome life that I have had. ... Read More
I haven’t taken the time to sit down and write about our sailing adventures since Leg 1 of this year, the long beat from BVI to St Bart’s and on to Antigua. While 2017 has been a mellow year in comparison to 2016 (when we kept breaking the boat, and on top of the sailing trips, we’re managing the World Cruising Club stuff), with the podcast going full steam ahead and the article series I’m working on for SAIL, I haven’t had any time to write for myself.
I’ve been re-reading Sterling Hayden’s Wanderer, one of my all-time favorite ... Read More
It’s been a long time! Andy and I were first in Bequia and to the Grenadines in 2009 during our trip on Broadreach. We sailed a 50’ Beneteau with 11 teenagers, a month long sailtraining camp starting in St. Martin and finishing in Trinidad. We truly fell in love with the smaller islands in the southern Caribbean, but since then I have not been south of St. Lucia. It was about time!
The Butler family joined us in Antigua for a 10-day trip down the islands to Grenada. As usual, sailing makes you flexible and this trip was ... Read More