My ultimate low in travel-related illness came when Stylish was three years old. The two of us were on our way back to Canada from Spain, and we both had rotavirus. Every ounce of liquid I forced into her came right back out. Waiting for a connecting flight in Philadelphia, Stylish went Exorcist on our last clean clothes. As I stood in the airport bathroom in my underwear, washing my preschooler in the sink and wondering what shirt I could rinse well enough to wear home, I knew I had hit bottom. Parenthood is a humbling reminder that even the most elegant and cool among us will smell of baby vomit from time to time.…Read More
After writing the posts about Coast Guard Boardings, I was wondering when my number would come up again. It came up last weekend.
The boarding and paper-checking were routine, but some of the things the boarding officer told me were not.
To backtrack a bit, from some of the comments from my posts, some think I’m taking a crack at the Coast Guard, but this is NOT the case. I’m taking a crack at Title 14 section 89 of the United States Code, which I think should be repealed or revised, especially with regard to recreational craft in domestic waters.…Read More
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:
“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.…Read More
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. …Read More
Anchoring involves a set of skills and knowledge that is often overlooked. Too often the ability to anchor properly is taken for granted. The feeling that all you have to do is “toss the anchor into the water and tie it to the boat” is far from the truth and can be dangerous. Here are a few suggestions that may help you to anchor successfully:
1) Select a location with a good holding ground. Remember, most anchors work by digging into the bottom. If you do not take steps to make sure this happens then your anchor will not hold regardless of how big it is.…Read More
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:
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.…Read More
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!
…or it might not have labels or ingredients that you can understand (or want to!).
You could have other reasons, too.…Read More
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!…Read More
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!…Read More
(Sydney, Australia)- For the second season in a row the Sydney Harbour based J/97 KNOCKABOUT has won the Australian Measurement System (AMS) pointscore of the Sydney Amateur Sailing Club Super 30 Gold Cup. The Super 30 division is a mixed fleet of high performance keelboats of approximately 30ft length, some of them highly modified and is hotly contested.
The race series included a wide variety of weather from drifters to howling gales. In the final tally KNOCKABOUT dropped a 4th and a 6th to come home with an impressive score line of five 1sts, three 2nds and two 3rds.
It was a tight finish.…Read More
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.…
“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. …