#isbjornsailing Passage Calendar Changes

28 May

Greetings friends and Happy Memorial Day weekend! Mia and I are aboard Isbjorn in downtown Annapolis, tied up to City Dock after a 6-day passage north from Ft. Lauderdale. Not a bad place to spent a weekend! On Tuesday Isbjorn gets hauled out at Eastport Yacht Center where my friends Micah & Marty will be doing some fiberglass work in the bow at Osmotech. Mia and I are off for a quick trip to Sweden to hand over Arcturus to her new owner. And on July 1, we head north!

Schedule Changes

Alas, Isbjorn will not be crossing the Atlantic this summer as was planned.…

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I admit it: I was wrong about the Caribbean

28 May

DSC_7068

I’ll be honest: I didn’t think I’d like sailing the Caribbean very much. Too many people. No unique experiences. Credit-card captains on holiday. Commercialism. Surly locals. I have no problem admitting that my negative preconceptions were mostly shot down, as these islands have proven to offer a string of wonderful experiences. Here’s a smattering of things we loved about our first foray into Caribbean cruising.

umbrella drink

why yes, that is a rum punch with an umbrella in it.

Lots of (good) company. Sure, there were a few crowded spots—but they were generally the hubs, obvious locations that are easy enough to skip through if that’s not your thing.…

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New York-Vendée race starts on Sunday

27 May
Manhattan will provide the backdrop for the start on Sunday
This coming Sunday New York City will be the backdrop to one of the newest ocean races on the calendar. The New York-Vendée race is essentially a feeder race for the Vendée Globe which starts in five months from France. It will provide an opportunity for the skippers to complete their qualifying voyage in order to take part in the Vendée Globe. The turnout for this inaugural event is very good with 14 IMOCA 60s lining up for the start. Among them are the who’s who of solo sailing including previous Vendée Globe winner Vincent Riou on PRB and Armel Le Cléac’h on Banque Populaire.
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Chapter 3 – From thread to finished fabric – Part 5

27 May
In this chapter we will look at how fabric is made from basic weaving to laminating layers together to building whole sails in one piece as with a membrane sail . At the end of this blog is a link to subscribe so that you get all posts and can educate yourself on the subject of sails and sailmaking. There is also a great free gift when you subscribe. Thanks for reading.


LAMINATED FABRICS

In Part 4 we took a closer look at laminates and what goes into making good laminated sailcloth.

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Richie Wilson and the Vendée Globe

26 May
Great American IV – getting ready for the Vendée Globe 
Every four years in Les Sable d’ Olonne, France there is a gathering of some of the most talented sailors in the world. These are the extreme athletes of our sport, the skippers of the Vendée Globe. Long gone are the days of sailors fueling themselves on black coffee and filterless Gauloise cigarettes. These days the top sailors have a strict gym regime and put in lengthy hours sailing alone on their highly strung IMOCA 60s. I have sailed an IMOCA 60; it’s a terrifying experience. The boats are so powerful and so quick to respond to even the slightest puff of wind that if you are not fully engaged you could be in for a whole lot of hurt.…
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THE INVASION OF ANGUILLA: A Comedy of Errors, Caribbean Style

25 May

Anguilla beach

I first learned of the British invasion of Anguilla, which took place in March 1969, while studying Don Street’s Transatlantic Crossing Guide several years ago. In his classic tome (which I can still recommend as a great general reference if you are cruising the islands of the North Atlantic), Don mentions the event in passing and cites two books treating it. One, The Mouse That Roared, he claims is a fictionalized account of the invasion; the other, Under An English Heaven, he cites as a factual account.

The Mouse That Roared, by Leonard Wibberley, which I read as a boy, in fact was published in 1955, 14 years before the invasion of Anguilla took place.…

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You’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat (shoe)

25 May

S16_160209_B_Sperry-x-Jaws_product_STS14334_3-4_FNL

Sperry Topsider teams up with Jaws for the must-have shoe of the summer

As a young man who spent their summer days gently plying the waters of the Massachusetts coast in a Beetle Cat, listing along without a care in the world, when I first saw the movie Jaws it was all too real for me. Did I think that I was going to get eaten by a big shark? No, not really. Did I take a closer look at the shadows beneath the boat, wondering if maybe, just maybe, Jaws was on the way? Honestly, yea, a couple of times.…

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Scruffy cruisers, coming soon to New England

25 May

western sunset

Tomorrow morning begins the last chapter of our journey back to the USA. We’ll leave St Martin for Bermuda, and at the first weather window from Bermuda, we’ll aim for Connecticut. It’s been a lot of miles since departing South Africa in January! Too soon, western sunsets over the water like this one will be out of our lives for a while.

This map is modified from our PredictWind tracking map, which produced the blue route history

This map is modified from our PredictWind tracking map, which produced the blue route history

This isn’t the last chapter in our cruising book, however—we’re only planning to be in the States for about five months, coastal cruising.…

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Isbjorn Offshore: Hove-to!

24 May

Another beautiful, sun-drenched morning! And yet another day of headwinds! So much for leaving on a Friday…Etienne, this is your fault ;) All kidding aside, we’ve had a pretty good trip thus far, it’s just been painfully upwind!

Last evening was sort of the culmination of our frustration and exhaustion. We started the morning off up with full sail, close-reaching in about 12-15 knots of breeze and right on course. But in what’s been the story of this passage, the wind just kept veering and heading us, and building all the while. By 1800 it was blowing 25-30 again from the NNW.

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Cuba! With Chris Museler

23 May

 

Episode 149 is a fascinating conversation I had recently with sailing journalist Chris Museler, comparing and contrasting each of our recent passages to Cuba. You’ll most likely know of course that Mia and I just visited Havana aboard Isbjorn last month, sailing over from Fajardo, Puerto Rico on what was truly the adventure of a lifetime, both for us and for our crew. 

Chris sailed to Cuba by another means back in January of 2015, aboard the wooden schooner Charlotte, a custom boat built by Gannon & Benjamin on Martha’s Vineyard. On that voyage, they took a more circuitous route – Chris actually flew in to Haiti, where he met the boat (only after a frightening and exciting four-hour journey from Port au Prince to get there).…

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