The Transat bakerly

2 May
IMOCA 60’s at the start of The Transat bakerly

The Transat bakerly started this afternoon from Plymouth on the south coast of England. A cold rain and building breeze greeted the 25 sailors as they docked out and made their way to the start area off Plymouth Hoe, the same place where Sir Francis Drake played his famous game of bowls in 1588 while waiting for the tide to change before sailing out with the English fleet to engage with the Spanish Armada. While Drake may have been facing a life or death situation, the Transat sailors are facing their own kind of hell.
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Mercury & Navico: new VesselView Link, VesselView 702/502 displays and MFD engine interface

30 Apr

Written by Adam Hyde and Ben Ellison on Apr 30, 2016 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Simrad_VesselView_via_Mercury_VesselView_Link_cPanbo.jpgPerhaps the most remarkable aspect of this collage is what you can’t see. There were no Mercury gauges or displays whatsoever on this Navico demo boat thanks to a new Mercury black box called the VesselView Link that offers complete gauge and control integration. Simrad and Lowrance VesselView engine interfaces have also been vastly improved, and Mercury is offering similar full MFD integration on its own new VesselView 702 and 502 displays. So a clean single-brand helm electronics setup is now available under three different brands, and seems reasonably priced even for a relatively small boat.…

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Crew’s view: joining Totem for a passage

30 Apr

santas bag

This post is penned by our crew across the Atlantic, Ty Anderson. We’ve known Ty for a long time (backstory in this post); he’s also been aboard for legs in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. He wanted to share some of his perspective on life aboard Totem; this also seemed like a great opportunity to let readers get an alternate opinion on some questions!

What’s it like traveling with a family that’s not your own?

Six years ago when we crossed the Pacific to Hiva Oa I was a stranger. Today I’m an old friend of the family, bringing Santa’s bag of goodies when I visit the boat [see top image!].…

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29 Apr
Sometimes you have to wonder how these high priced designers come up with something so absolutely wrong. This is (apparently unless someone scammed this as an Internet joke) a long sleeve shirt from Louis Vuitton, yes the same Louis Vuitton that has been a sponsor of the America’s Cup for the last decade or two. You would think that since they hitched their wagon to sailing that they would know something about boats. How then can their designers come up with such an abomination?
Take a closer look. The boat on the right has the mast on backwards. The boat on the left has a mast that looks like it is about to fail and the two boats are tied together by some kind of funky line that serves no purpose.
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Top 10: The Good and Bad of Being a Live-Aboard Newlywed

28 Apr


Rachel and I in Sadie

People said we were nuts when we got married then hopped on a boat together literally the day after getting married.(Setting sail the morning after our wedding from the eastern shore of Maryland) I feel like the internet is littered with stories of marriages and relationships not surviving the first year cruising, I thought we should share a positive tale for a change.  Here’s our list of the best and worst aspects of living on board when being newlywed.

1. Learning quickly to respect each other’s space – I’ve come to the decision that every newlywed should be put through a test of living together on a boat, or in a similar remote small space together.

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Looking back at Antigua Sailing Week

28 Apr
Antigua Sailing Week is currently underway and in the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea dozens of highly strung yachts are duking it out. It’s the 49th time that the regatta has been held with a promise that the big 5.0. next year is going to be a bumper event. If you look at the sailing calendar you will see that there is no shortage of Caribbean regattas from the Les Voiles de St. Barth which just ended, to the BVI Regatta a few weeks ago, but it was Antigua Sailing week that started it all and changed the area from a cruisers paradise to a racers dream.
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Passage notes: Ascension to Barbados wrap

27 Apr

pw path

pinterest sailboat ocean atlanticSeventeen days (and five hours) after leaving Ascension, we made landfall in Barbados on a sunny afternoon. Impending arrival was heralded by small fishing boats: wooden runabouts with a small cabin and a miserable radar footprint. It made the first one a little extra exciting, as it barreled towards us at dawn about 50 miles south of the island. In the following hours, several more passed close by and we and had to maneuver (or be maneuvered around) to avoid a boat-vs-net situation with a couple.

This was the fastest, most comfortable passage we’ve made…ever? In years, anyway. Averaged out, Totem put away more than 180nm per day.…

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SSECN and MITA cruising info apps, Doyle Bon Voyage, and Cuba Ho!

26 Apr

Written by Ben Ellison on Apr 26, 2016 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub


If I was once again in New Bern, North Carolina, about to cruise north with spring — instead of watching late April freaking snow fall in Maine — I’d certainly have the new Cruisers’ Net app loaded on my iPad and might well use it all day every day while I was still in the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW). It’s absolutely loaded with solid, well presented information, and I’m happy to add that the Maine Island Trail Association (MITA) has done something similar for my local cruising waters…

SSECN_app_Bridge_Pointe_marina_cPanbo.jpgWhile the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net website has long offered a vast trove of ICW cruising info that’s edited by obviously caring professionals, the ambitious-yet-free SSECN iOS app may display all the info even better (especially on a fast iPad).…

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Repairing Your Boat in Exotic Places

26 Apr

The definition of cruising as repairing your boat in exotic places entered the realm of clichés long ago, but that doesn’t make it any less true. There’s no end of irony in the fact that while you can pay $20,000 for a new car and be shocked and upset if it breaks down a few days later, no one is really surprised that a boat that costs as much as a house, in some cases a mansion, can have technicians swarming over it for weeks after it’s launched.

The aptly named punch list—so called because an owner feels like he’s been punched several times in the wallet after reading it—can be dauntingly long, especially in today’s systems-heavy boats.…

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Matt Rutherford, Paul Exner & Mark Baummer

25 Apr

Episode 147 is a fun one. Back in March, I had planned to do another podcast with Matt Rutherford to get an update on what he’s doing with his Ocean Research Project. As it were, Paul Exner was also in town to speak at a seminar Mia and I hosted in Annapolis. AND, ship’s pilot Mark Baummer was around, and had asked me for some advice to help him plan a passage to Bermuda on his Gemini catamaran. So, the inklings of an idea sprang to life – why not get the three of these guys together, all former podcasts guests, and have a little roundtable chat?…

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