Essay Friday – What I learned in two Atlantic crossings. The first, of course was in 2011 aboard Arcturus, which I discussed at length with Clint Wells in Tuesday’s episode. The second, which I haven’t written much about, was the following year, on Kinship, a Saga 43 that Mia and I skippered in ARC Europe, crossing the Atlantic via Bermuda-Azores-Portugal. Both were very different experiences and taught me valuable lessons. This is what I wrote following the second crossing in July 2012. Enjoy!…Read More
Written by Ben Ellison on Jul 31, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub
I visited Edson Marine headquarters while Gizmo was in New Bedford, Massachusetts, during my cruise home in May 2013, and one vivid memory is this old catalog that co-owner Will Keene showed me. My old sloop Alice had one of those Mahogany Steering Wheels, and while I’m sure it cost more in 1946, it’s amazing to realize that you could once buy one for $15, Ebonized Rim included. I also enjoyed seeing how well Edson has kept on keeping on since Jacob Edson invented and started manufacturing the first diaphragm pump in 1859…
Edson still makes traditional wooden wheels but also super lightweight carbon ones, too — see their wheels site here — as well as all sorts of other hardware.…Read More
The Coast Guard Boardings and Your 4th Amendment Rights posts have been spawning some lively discussion ever since I wrote them, nearly two years ago. Most recently I hear a Coast Guard Facebook page linked to the posts, so there’s been a renewed boost of comments from the Coast Guard side of things. Thanks to all who commented. I’ve been largely silent because I already had my say, but of course I’ve read what all of you had to say, most of which was constructive, and I investigated where I could.…Read More
A month ago we were headed to Borneo. Thanks to continued engine problems, we’ve been sitting in Puteri Harbour instead. Cruising plans torpedoed, Totem is shacked up at the monthly rate. A blog follower and friend wondered what happened to us the last few weeks. He nailed it, too, understanding that being parked makes my inner cruiser feel caged: I kind of lost my mojo, and the blog went quiet. So, what’s been happening in our non-cruising cruising world, besides getting our life raft re-certified?
If you’re following us on Facebook you probably know about the rat saga already.…Read More
When is a windshift shift worth tacking on? When is it better to play the shifts versus going for stronger wind? To answer questions like these it’s helpful to know how much you’ll gain in a shift. If you can quantify your decisions, they are often easier to make.
Here are some rules of thumb regarding distance gained/lost in a wind shift: If your boat’s tacking (or gybing) angle is 90 degrees then you’ll gain 12% of the distance between boats in a 5 degree shift, 25% in a 10 degree shift, 37% in a 15 degree shift and 48% in a 20 degree shift.…Read More
The newest round of names now added to the National Sailing Hall of Fame cover a range from Nathaniel Bowditch, who gave the world a new standard of navigation, to Carl Eichenlaub, who gave the world a lesson, and another and another, in how to live and give. As a mechanic, this man kept one after another US Olympic team’s boats working, and he didn’t hesitate to help out the competition, either. Because Carl loved winning, but more than that he loved the game and the people who play it. As a boat builder, he worked wonders, not the least of which was constructing Doug Peterson’s debut yacht, Ganbare, for the 1974 One Ton North Americans.…Read More
I am writing this in the obscure, once prosperous fishing port of Lockeport, not too many miles north of Cape Sable on Nova Scotia’s so-called Southwest Coast, which actually faces east. It is not foggy now, though it was when we came in here just before sunset yesterday. So thick we couldn’t see more than 30 yards and had to do a might bit of groping with chartplotter and iPad before we found the docks of the White Gull Marina (see photo up top), where we settled in for the night alongside a big turquoise Novi-style lobster boat named Newfie Kids.…Read More
“You want to go whale watching?” I asked. “On someone else’s boat?”
“Heck, yes!” said Erik, rubbing his hands together. “The season has started; there should be humpbacks in Prony by now. Come on, it’ll be fun.”
Fun Daddy was back in town. We only see Erik for a few days every month, and he is always keen to make the most of his time with us.
I looked over the brochure. With Papillon due to get hauled out and checked over in a couple of weeks, we weren’t going to make it down there under our own steam. It would be kind of fun to be purely a passenger for once.…
Written by Ben Ellison on Jul 29, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub
The press release (PDF here) for Furuno’s new color 711C autopilot control describe it as “completely redesigned to provide an excellent match with Furuno’s flagship line of NavNet TZtouch MFD’s… right down to the control knob!” There’s no denying the similar handsome styling, and doesn’t it make you wonder if Furuno will eventually offer a color NMEA 2000 instrument display with the same standard DIN size and 4.1-inch color screen? That’s 100% speculation on my part, but doesn’t it make sense as Furuno finds itself competing with Raymarine, Garmin, and Simrad over the glass style helm that the TZT Series arguably spearheaded?…Read More
(Pwllheli, Wales, England)- The inaugural ‘Spinlock IRC Welsh Championships’ is only a few weeks away and is hosted by Pwllheli Sailing Club (PSC) on 1st to 3rd August. The event has used the successful 2013 J Cup hosted by PSC as a spring board with the added award of the ‘Spinlock IRC’ regional title.
There is a strong and competitive fleet of J/Boats based in Pwllheli and in the Irish Sea, including the current Irish Sea Champion, the J/109 SGRECH, and MOJITO, the recent class winner in the grueling 700nm Round Ireland Race.
PSC Commodore Stephen Tudor said: ‘The Club is very proud to be offered the opportunity to host the first Welsh IRC Championships and is delighted to see competitors already entered from Ireland, Isle of Man, Scotland and Liverpool in addition to the local competitive fleet.…Read More
Andy sits down in person with one of his best friends in Oslo, Norway to reminisce about sailing across the North Atlantic. Clint, a non-sailor, joined Andy & Mia in Halifax for the cruise up the Canadian Maritimes and across the pond to Ireland, a 23-day passage, and the first time Clint was at sea. In between jokes and fun memories, Clint comes up with some great pearls of wisdom for anybody looking to cross an ocean, but might not know what to expect. He’s honest, funny and sincere about how the experience changed his life for the better.…Read More
How do you choose a life raft? We looked for the best raft available. That wasn’t enough.
As dewy-eyed gonna-be cruisers, we focused on choosing a superior product for that moment of (heaven forbid) dire need. We looked at independent research reports, read books and blogs about the life raft experiences of other cruisers, and met with all major brand reps at boat shows. After much deliberation, we settled on a six-man Winslow life raft as the crucial piece of safety gear that we hope to never use.
Our initial certification on the new raft was good for three years, a longer term than typical thanks to the durable vacuum packing by the manufacturer.…Read More