July 23rd
Amy: Girls, they are going to be here in half an hour.  I need you to tidy up the cockpit.
Indy: Who?
Amy: Those people… Dave’s friends. Like we talked about at breakfast? It doesn’t matter. Just tidy up.
Indy & Stylish: Okay, Mom.
Papillon: Hee hee hee.
Amy: Why are you laughing?  Let’s see, I need to cut up some baguette–
Papillon: I have a surprise for you.
Amy: What? No. No surprises. I have an unknown quantity of Kiwis arriving in thirty minutes.  I have to finish getting ready.
Amy: What is that dripping noise?
Papillon: Chortle!
Amy: Girls!…
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July 17th

Another essay episode for your Friday! This one is a bit more serious than last week, and looks at some of the ‘rules’ of ocean sailing from the perspective of two events from last fall – the Caribbean 1500 rally, and the Salty Dawgs. You’ll recall that six Salty Dawg boats issued distress calls last year, two of which were later rescued by the Coast Guard. The incident made national news, and was a hot button issue among the offshore sailing community. I wrote down my own thoughts immediately afterwards, but didn’t publish them until now, after lots of time to think it over and make a fair assessment of what happened.…

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July 17th

It is a strange truth that, the longer you stay in a country, the more irritating their bureaucracy becomes. Maybe the French are just tired of me and want to speed me on my way.  Maybe I’m just burnt out on doing taxes and taking ever-more-hideous passport photos for visa applications.  Or maybe I just don’t see eye to eye with these upholders of the Napoleonic Code.

A few weeks ago, I found a notice in my mailbox that a registered letter was waiting for me at the post office. I was bound to need some iron-clad identification, so I scooped up my passport and carte de sejour, waited for the designated pick-up time, and wandered over.

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July 15th

Charlotte and Eric Kaufman

Charlotte and Eric Kaufman, who brought the Wrath of the Mass Media down on their heads when they evacuated their Hans Christian 36 Rebel Heart back in April, have filed suit in San Diego against Whenever Communications LLC (doing business as Satellite Phone Store), their Iridium satellite phone service provider. As they described in their radio interview with Ira Glass on This American Life in May, they were using their phone to seek medical advice for their sick 1-year-old daughter when their service was intentionally terminated by the provider. Believing their HF radio had been disabled by a deck leak and that they had no other means of seeking help for their daughter, they set off their EPIRB and so ignited the chain of events that has since made them notorious.…

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July 11th

The Evils of Cockpit Flooring

Posted by // July 11, 2014 // COMMENT (2 Comments)

Cruising, Maintenance, , ,

There are many things I love about my boat.  It is a comfortable home. It sails beautifully in heavy weather. It is very pretty.  But even Papillon has its flaws.

The girls and I were playing a game in the cockpit. Stylish rolled, and the die skittered off the table. All of us shrieked and grabbed for it, but it was too late. It fell through the cockpit floor.

What, you might wonder, is the big deal? Our floor is painted aluminum with a teak grid overlay. It is a good concept: when water gets into the cockpit, it falls through the grate and disappears down the drains in the corners.…

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July 11th

The best sails for downwind cruising

Posted by // July 11, 2014 // COMMENT (7 Comments)

Boats and Gear, Cruising,


What’s the difference between a drifter, a gennaker, a code zero, and a screecher? Where does a spinnaker fit in? And if you’re a cruiser, what sail should you use for downwind sailing, anyway?

There is no single “best,” because everything on a boat is a compromise, and individual styles/needs vary, but we have some opinions on the optimal choice for most cruisers.

This question came up on a women’s sailing forum I participate in recently. Because Jamie is a sailmaker, I asked him for help with a response that would be useful to differentiate the options for downwind sails. Differences between these sails aren’t difficult to understand, but get confusing because the names are mixed up or misused.…

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July 10th

Naked in Public Podcast

Posted by // July 10, 2014 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Cruising, , ,

Welcome! New concept this week borrowed from Tim Ferriss and his podcast, which I’m a huge fan of (check it out). Every Friday I’ll be recording an essay of sorts – stories, opinions, ideas, Q&A if we can get some folks involved, that sort of thing. It’ll be a nice compliment to the interviews I do with guests, which will be out earlier in the week. So enjoy this story of my first experience being naked in Scandinavian-style with my wife Mia, her best friend Johanna, and my best friend Clint in the sauna in Finland.…

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July 9th

Here’s another rerun from Two Inspired Guys…new episode out this Friday, July 11!

Yves Gelinas of Cape Horn Marine Products was on the show last year, coming to us from his office on the Ottawa River in Quebec. Andy was in Sweden and Ryan in Pittsburgh, so it’s the first three-country podcast! Yves is a wonderful guy, a solo sailor, artist, inventor and businessman who gave up a successful career in filmmaking to pursue his dreams of sailing. In 1983 he completed production on ‘With Jean du Sud Around the World’, the film account of his solo circumnavigation via the Roaring Forties.…

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July 7th

Landfall in Sweden (Redux)

Posted by // July 7, 2014 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Cruising, ,

In lieu of my recent arrival to Sweden today (I flew overnight from Newark-Oslo-Stockholm, and am going on one hour of sleep and four cups of strong Swedish coffee), I wanted to re-post this blog from two years ago when Arcturus made her first arrival in Sweden. It was an emotional moment for Mia and I (especially Mia), and it seems simultaneously like yesterday and ages ago.

Arcturus has spent all of last winter hauled out in Öregrund – we’ll launch her next week, and get back to living aboard for the remainder of the summer here in Scandinavia. No plans yet on where we’re headed, but stay tuned.

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