April 9th

Pacific Weather Seminar Seats Open

Posted by // April 9, 2014 // COMMENT (0 Comments)


Lee Chesneau reports that he still has a few seats open for his weather seminar on Sunday, April 13, 0800-1600, at the Strictly Sail Pacific boatshow in Oakland, California.

The one-day intensive is on the calendar in particular for entries in the 2014 Pacific Cup, but anyone serious about ocean voyaging can get something out of this. Lee describes it this way:

forecastverification“The course reviews some important meteorological principles that govern what one will experience routinely on a day to day basis such as pressure and wind. The review also extends to the structure of surface middle latitude weather systems and their features (e.g., lows, highs, fronts, troughs, squall line & ridges), along with the specific symbols commonly found on surface pressure weather charts.…

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March 17th

Making instead of buying: fizzy drinks

Posted by // March 17, 2014 // COMMENT (4 Comments)

Cruising, Techniques, ,

Making our own lotion lends itself nicely to cruiser self-sufficiency, but is mostly born from my skepticism about common ingredients in commercial products.

Fizzy drinks are a little different. I like a nice sharp Reed’s Ginger Beer, but I haven’t seen one in a store shelf since we left the US. Making our own has helped fill the occasional craving.

Brewing our own kombucha satisfies both self sufficiency and personal health. This fermented tea hasn’t been on the shelf anywhere during our travels except in the US and Australia. I’m not a fan of sweet carbonated drinks, and it’s just the right amount of a little fizzy, a little sweet, but not too much of either- the perfect refreshing drink or something to settle a queasy stomach.…

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February 27th

Surviving a Cyclone in the Marina

Posted by // February 27, 2014 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Cruising, Techniques, , ,

March is almost upon us, and with it comes New Caledonia’s big cyclone month.  We have been very, very lucky up until now; only Cyclones June and Ian have come anywhere near us.  But the weather has gotten rainier and rainier, and I’m reminded that the country was rocked by Cyclone Erica in March a decade ago.  As Mad Eye Moody would say: constant vigilance!

The old wisdom tells us that, in a storm, a boat is safer at sea than in a harbor.  And I can see the point: there is less to hit out there.  But, as the sad story of the Bounty shows, being out at sea isn’t always the greatest strategy.  …

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February 26th

RUNNING INLETS: How Not to Fall Down and Get Hurt

Posted by // February 26, 2014 // COMMENT (2 Comments)


Inlet 1

I’m thinking about this (again) after watching an exciting video (see below) of a sailboat wiping out trying to enter an inlet at Zumaia in northern Spain. The photo above shows a different boat entering the same inlet successfully, which should give you an idea at a glance of how hairy this can be when conditions are uncooperative.

I can’t make out what type of boat this is in the video:

Velero volcado en Zumaia from Gabi on Vimeo.

But it looks like they’re just coming back from a race. They’ve got laminated sails, a spinnaker pole poised on the foredeck, and a large crew.…

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February 14th

DIY on board: making instead of buying

Posted by // February 14, 2014 // COMMENT (4 Comments)

Cruising, Techniques,

double reefed under blue skies

There are a host of reasons why it makes sense for cruisers to make things that are normally purchased in a store. The most obvious is that you might be out in the middle of a big piece of water, double reefed under blue skies- but no option for a store.

Or maybe you’ve made landfall. Beautiful island, but no store!

Fun with Panoramas!

Or maybe there IS a store, but supplies are limited, and may not have anything like what you’re seeking…
the "everything" store

…or it might not have labels or ingredients that you can understand (or want to!).

You could have other reasons, too.…

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February 10th

This past weekend’s nav workshop was a big success. We kicked off the weekend with a couple of Guinness and some sea stories at Galway Bay pub on Friday night, and then hit the books hard over Saturday and Sunday (with a nice dinner with Matt Rutherford at Ram’s Head Tavern on Saturday night). See some photos of the weekend below.

Thanks to all who attended – it was a great time getting to know you guys and enlightening you a little bit on the history and practice of celestial navigation. The US Sailing Hall of Fame donated the space (which was a perfect setting right on City Dock in Annapolis), and the course was supported by Bacon Sails (who loaned some sextants to practice with) and Weems & Plath, who supplied the plotting tools and a place for Andy to sleep over the weekend!…

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January 29th

59º North Live Podcast with Paul Exner

Posted by // January 29, 2014 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

People, Techniques, ,

Paul Exner of Modern Geographic sat down with Andy at the Strictly Sail Chicago boat show and recorded the first-ever LIVE 59º North podcast! Andy and Paul talked all things ocean sailing, from boat design and gear selection to how to handle heavy weather offshore. Thanks to everyone who came to the show, and we look forward to doing more of these in the future!…

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January 28th

Skip Novak’s Storm Sailing Videos

Posted by // January 28, 2014 // COMMENT (2 Comments)

People, Techniques, , ,

If a picture is worth a thousand words, videos are worth millions. Skip Novak’s series of storm sailing videos are great for learning technique and outfitting. Skip Novak crewed and skippered multiple Whitbreads, and was among the first generation of yachtsmen to cruise and explore Antarctica. I’ve never met Skip, but I got friendly with his crews while down in Tierra del Fuego and Antarctica, and enjoyed a few meals aboard Pelagic Australis, his 74-foot expedition beast (Thanks, Skip). I also got a tour of Pelagic, his original, 54-foot steel cutter. Both vessels embody the ethos of simplicity and robustness.…

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January 20th

Kids and Cyclones

Posted by // January 20, 2014 // COMMENT (6 Comments)

Cruising, Techniques, ,

“Are we really going to get a cyclone?  A real one?”  The girls looked at me with shining eyes, as though I had brought Christmas back eleven months early.
“Yep.”  I shoved the awning onto the spare bunk.  “It’s a real cyclone.  Tropical Cyclone June.”
“Tropical Cyclone Juin,” said Indy.
“Do we have to go to the cyclone shelter?” asked Stylish.
“Is the wind going to blow the boat over?” Indy made wind hands, puffing out her cheeks and destroying an imaginary fleet.
“Do we get to use the cyclone lines?”
“When is it going to get here?”
“Guys,” I said, pausing in my struggle with the awning, “it is a cyclone, but not a big one. …

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