News+: Victron Venus, CruzPro SOG2, DY WindSense, Vaavud Ultrasonic, & Panbo “News+”

21 Apr

Written by Ben Ellison on Apr 21, 2017 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Victron_Venus_GX_aPanbo.jpg

Victron’s new Venus GX is a dauntingly complicated looking blue box, but it could beautifully simplify and improve the monitoring and control of a boat’s electrical power system. Essentially, Venus is a Color Control GX without the screen, which makes it less expensive, and it also has extra goodies like 3 tank level and 2 temperature inputs, built-in WiFi, and yet more I/O that hasn’t been enabled yet. The Color Control has evolved (and been used) a lot since I wrote about it in 2014, ...

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“Come on Arlene!”: Facts on 2017’s 1st Tropical Storm

21 Apr

With yesterday’s classification of Tropical Storm ‘Arlene,’ an extremely rare tropical event in April, lots of discussion has been floating around Facebook and social media among offshore sailors, a lot of it drama-fueled malarkey. I wanted some facts on ‘Arlene’ – the weather in the Atlantic is top of my mind right now as we plan for our upcoming Trans-At in May – and I had some questions I wanted answered. Jeremy Davis, a lead forecaster at WRI, and Isbjorn’s primary weather-router (who is also an extreme tropical weather nerd, dating back to his childhood) – provided me ...

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Donald Crowhurst Movie Update

19 Apr

colin-firth

My original announcement of the movie is here. There has been little news since, but the production company has thrown us a few bones:

1. It’s actually happening! There is going to be a mainstream movie about Donald Crowhurst and the 1968 Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, starring Oscar best actor winner Colin Firth as Crowhurst, and Rachel Weisz as Clare Crowhurst. This is likely to be the biggest movie ever made about sailing, or at least sailboat racing. They couldn’t have chosen a more fascinating and portentous moment in our sport.

2. They released the photo above. That’s ...

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Sailing with Others

18 Apr

Sunset-on-our-cat

long time ago in an office far, far away, I received a typewritten manuscript that told a harrowing tale of a transatlantic voyage gone horribly wrong. The author and his girlfriend had answered a magazine advertisement for crew (yes, it was that long ago) for a bluewater passage on a 40ft sloop owned by a genial Slav. All was well at first, but then, as the tradewinds failed to materialize and the daily runs dropped into double and sometimes single digits, the skipper grew increasingly morose and spent most of each day in his cabin, emerging only to eat ...

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187: Matt Rutherford Charts Greenland

17 Apr

#187. Matt Rutherford is a longtime friend of the podcast and founder of the Ocean Research Project. Matt became famous, of course, for his legendary Solo the America’s voyage, during which he sailed a 27’ Albin Vega around both American continents. In our latest chat, recorded in Sweden back in January, Matt recalls the summer of 2016 in Greenland, where he & his partner Nicole piloted their research schooner Ault into the uncharted waters of the far north, nearly coming to grief in a wild Arctic storm and subsequently being rescued by the Danish Navy. Matt is one of the ...

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EASTER SUNDAY MASSACRE: First Solo Sail on New Lunacy

17 Apr

JFD on deck

It went pretty well actually, except for one part at the very end. The weather at least was fabulous. Bright and sunny with a moderate 15-17 knot breeze out of the west. I motored down the river, Le Jaudy they call it, against the dregs of the flood tide, and raised sail just before reaching the entrance. There followed a few hours of experimentation in open water. Took a reef in the main. Played with the Windpilot windvane for a while. Diddled with the electronics. Reveled in the moments and all. One of the highlights was when I turned back ...

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Sabre 66: excellence in digital switching and control

17 Apr

Written by Ben Ellison on Apr 17, 2017 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Sabre_Dirigo_66_hull_1_courtesy_Sabre_Billy_Black.jpg

Frankly, there’s no plan behind the Panbo trend of more detailed entries posted less often, but sometimes it does seem like a feature rather than a bug. For instance, Sabre gave me a long and impressive systems tour of their first Dirigo 66 while she beautifully occupied this slip at Yachts Miami Beach 2016, and while I didn’t intend to delay the write-up this long, last week I got aboard just-launched hull #3 the day before heading from Maine to Florida at about 25 knots. So ...

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PHOTOS: ’17 Leg 4 BVI – Grenadines – BVI

16 Apr

A well deserved swim in Bequia after the sail down from the BVI!

A well deserved swim in Bequia after the sail down from the BVI!


The last Caribbean trip for a while and it is a bit bittersweet! Crew joined us up in Trellis Bay, BVI and the plan to stay there for the night changed quickly. The wind swung us around a bit too close to a nearby boat and since we had to re-anchor anyway, we decided to head over to Spanish Town straight away where we had to clear out of customs before departing the BVI. 

The trip south to Bequia was very uneventful with smooth sailing and no ...

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Navigating the Tobago Cays

15 Apr

Photo by crewmember Nick W., taken from the masthead!

Photo by crewmember Nick W., taken from the masthead!

Nick’s at the helm. Harold, Rob & I hoist the mainsail, still attached to the mooring. We’re secured far into Admiralty Bay in Bequia, so it’s tight, but we’re on the outside row of boats. The big tanker that supplies the island’s diesel is anchored just opposite on the far side of the ferry channel.

The plan is to drop the port mooring line first – this ought to blow the boat to port. Once aimed into the channel, we’ll sheet home the mainsail, drop the starboard line and sail upwind, ...

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The Analysis of a Tragedy

13 Apr
The Clipper Round the World Race is one of the safest global sailing events.
I recently read the MAIB (Marine Accident Investigation Branch) report on their findings regarding the deaths of two sailors in the last Clipper Round the World Race. It’s always a tragedy when someone dies at sea (if that’s not stating the obvious then I don’t know what obvious is…:), but life at sea is a little like life on land; there are risks and potential dangers everywhere. I used to be of the mind that screw it, things are going to happen, sometimes people ...
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