SAILBOAT PROPELLERS: Damned If They’re There; Damned If They’re Not

18 Apr

Boat hauled

Though they seem like very simple devices, propellers are in fact quite complicated. More often than you’d expect, problems with a boat’s performance under power can be traced to poor propeller selection. To drive a boat well a prop must be properly matched to whatever engine and transmission is turning it, and numerous variables–the engine’s horsepower, its operating and maximum potential rpm and shaft speed, the boat’s speed potential, and the dimensions and specifications of the prop itself–must be balanced against each other to achieve good performance over the broadest range of circumstances.

Even professionals sometimes get this wrong. The very best resource on the subject that I know of is Dave Gerr’s very helpful and comprehensive tome The Propeller Handbook (International Marine/McGraw Hill, 1989).…

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South Africa in hindsight

18 Apr

ostrich in suburbia

Pinterest South Africa sunset lakeSouth Africa leaves an indelible impression. During our three month stay we fell in love with it for a multitude of reasons, but frequently felt uncomfortable. The answer I came up with, again and again, when asked by locals how we like it: “South Africa is a beautiful, complicated place.” Very complicated.

In the “pro” column, landscape is diverse and magnificent. We joked on our first road trip- a couple of thousand kilometers from Richards Bay to Johannesburg and then nearly to Botswana and back again- that every few hours, it looked like a different US state. We went through parts of Montana, Kansas, western Massachusetts in succession.…

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Garmin demos: GPSMAP 8600, ForwardVu, Fantom, Virb XE, Quatix3 & more

15 Apr

Written by Ben Ellison on Apr 15, 2016 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Garmin_GPSMAP_8617_on_Contender_25_aPanbo.jpgAt this moment in time, the Garmin GPSMAP 8600 multifunction display announced in February may be the most powerful premium MFD available. That’s the “little” 8617 model of the series above — apparently now shipping at $7,500 retail — and that Quatix 3 smart/fitness/boat watch is not trivial technology either. So even given two full days with four Garmin-loaded boats, I feel like I only grazed the surface of all that’s going on. And frankly, the story is similar across the four major electronics brands and beyond.…

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Mainsail Features: loosefoot versus attached foot

15 Apr

reef reefed main mainsail sailing

This post comes from Jamie, one in a series where he shares his knowledge as a tenured sailmaker. For more about Jamie’s experience in the field, see Sailmaker SAYS!. 

My friend just bought a new mainsail and the foot isn’t attached to the boom. Her sailmaker said it’s the way to go, but I’m not convinced? Forever the skeptic, but I understand your concern because sailmakers are easily confused. So it is a bad idea, thought so. Actually, her sailmaker is right. Oh…

Grey Matters
Foot: the bottom edge of a sail.Loosefoot: This refers to a mainsail with foot not attached to the boom.

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Chapter 3 – From thread to finished fabric – Part 3

14 Apr
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.
Stable Fabrics at Last
In Part 1&2 of this chapter we looked at the process of making woven dacron and the steps that go into making a fabric that resists bias stretch and holds its shape.
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Passage notes: Ascension to Barbados, part II

14 Apr

Continuing notes from the passage… from just beyond the halfway mark. Our crew, Ty, is working on a guest post: what do you want to know about life on Totem from his point of view? Ask in the comments here, or through the Contact form (they’ll both reach us on passage).

Day 6

This passage has one big routing decision point: where should boats cross the ITCZ? This ribbon of doldrums- sprinkled with squalls- runs generally along the equator. The basic options from Ascension are to pick a likely spot to jet north, get through the ITCZ as fast as possible to the NE trades…or sail nearly due west to Brazil, then pick up the coastal current and head north along the edge of South America.…

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French Fried

14 Apr
Nicolas Jarossay sets off to SUP his way to Martinique

You gotta love the French. If there is someone pushing the edges of sport you know it’s going to be a frenchman, or frenchlady for that matter. A couple of months ago it was Volvo Ocean Race winner Frank Cammas foiling his Nacra 20 catamaran around Cape Horn. Before that there have been any number of extraordinary nautical feats carried out by someone French. But the latest exploit by a Frenchman just about takes the cake. This past Sunday Nicolas Jarossay set off on a 3,000-mile (5,000 kilometer) odyssey to become the first person to cross the Atlantic solo – on a stand-up paddleboard.
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March 2016 Monthly Cruising Budget: Jamaica and Panama

12 Apr

satori swimming pool

For the month of March we came in under our $1400 budget! $17.82 under actually. I attribute our frugality this month to being anchored out in Guna Yala, Panama where there is nothing to spend money on. Also, a case of beer from the vegetable boat is $19, delivered! Compare that to $44 or $67 per case we paid in the Bahamas! Anyway, here are the totals:

Total spent: $1382

Health Insurance: $280

The Good, Bad and Ugly (non-essential spending): $237.41

Groceries: $108.08

Alchohol: $53.86

Boat Supplies/Cruising permits: $618.48

Cell Phone and Internet: $84.25

We didn’t buy any diesel or gasoline this month, so we will need to fill up once we return to Panama.

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A week in Walvis Bay, Namibia

12 Apr

1-flamingos in flight

1-Pinterest dunes namibiaA month in Namibia felt like a month less than we should have spent in this wild and beautiful and interesting country. But we went, and a lot of boats crossing the Atlantic from Cape Town seem to skip right by on their way to the Americas. In all fairness, we’ve had to make plenty of “can’t see everything” calls ourselves, but Namibia is so easy to roll in. Going north coastwise to Namibia offers a better wind angle when heading out in to the Atlantic. It’s also a good shakedown before big passages for boats that have been sitting around Cape Town marinas for a couple of months.…

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Tory Salvia

11 Apr

Episode 145 is Tory Salvia, founder and executive producer of The Sailing Channel. Tory and I sat down in person in Annapolis a few weeks ago and had a fascinating conversation. We talked about Tory’s sailing career in general and how he got started, his love of good old boats, how he’s been influenced over the years, and more recently, his starting 

Tory made his career in media production, making videos for the Navy for a long while as both producer and director on many of his projects. He has a love for film, which has shaped his career all along, but eventually he wanted to combine that with his love of sailing, and so The Sailing Channel was born.…

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