Isbjorn’s busted rudder bearing & a Caribbean 600 race recap.

27 Feb

I’m going to write a recap of the RORC Caribbean 600 – which I’ll say now, without a doubt, was one of the absolute highlights of my sailing career, even despite having to retire before the finish – but first, I’ll get straight to the higher point I want to make with this blog post. As of this morning, it’s official that Isbjorn will be back at the starting line of the 600 in 2017 in Antigua, hell bent on not only finishing the course, but winning our class. We’re changing our passage schedule to do it, and I can’t wait. 

What follows is how we got to that point, the status of Isbjorn’s rudder, what the next two weeks in Antigua will look like and how awesome and supportive our crew and fans are.…

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Cruising Namibia’s Skeleton Coast

27 Feb


It’s only a couple of hundred miles from Lüderitz to Walvis Bay, but we broke the trip up to soak in some of the remote landscape.



What started out cool and gray warmed up to… cool and sunny. At least it was warm enough to take off foulies, which Jamie and I wore even on sunny days coming out of Cape Town. We had some truly spectacular sailing along the way.


There’s a shocking contrast along this coastline from the apparently barren desert, and abundance of creatures thriving alongside in the cold, nutrient-rich waters. A  lot of “did you see that?” and “HERE THEY COME!” on Totem.…

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Ahoy Cuba!

26 Feb

Satori in santiago Cuba

We left Ragged Island the morning of the 17th. Wind out of the north was expected to fill in and then build to about 23 knots by Friday. My plan was to ride the northernly across the Columbus Bank and then scoot around the eastern tip of Cuba before the wind got up to the mid-twenties. This was mostly successful as the wind finally intensified on the southern side of the shipping lanes, south of Punta Masi (the eastern tip of Cuba). It did blow near thirty the night of the 18th. I think the localized wind coming off the mountains of Cuba combined with the forecasted wind is what was responsible for the higher than expected wind.

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Human Arm Found Floating At Olympic Sailing Venue

26 Feb

I’ve have tended to downplay all the press about the filth in Guanabara Bay, the 2016 Olympic sailing venue. I spent a few months living aboard there, and it’s on par with many large ports around the world. Finding a dead dog wouldn’t be out of the ordinary many places in the world, especially in a tropical place where the tends to be lots of flotsam and jetsam. But this kind of takes the cake. I won’t post the photo, in case you don’t want to see such a photo, but the photo is at the end of the story, here.

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Dr Sails – pocket size sail repair

26 Feb

I recently had a new product come across my desk. I was intrigued. It was a nicely packaged tube with a few different end pieces. On the packaging it read Dr Sails, The Adhesive Technology. Dr Sails huh? That’s quite a claim but I like the marketing   strategy (there is nothing wrong with being bold) and so I decided to give it a try.

What Dr Sails had sent me was a pocket sized sail repair kit that can be used not only for repairing ripped sails, but also getting at parts of the sail that are showing signs of deterioration and fixing them before things get worse.
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Imprinted on the Sea

24 Feb

By Kimball Livingston
Posted February 23, 2016
Adapted from “The Old Man and the Old Man and the Sea” published in SAIL, December, 2001
Lead photo of Wander Bird by Ben Mendlowitz

Eighty-three years ago, aboard one of the storied schooners of the age, a father was performing chores on the topmast rigging, up where the seabirds fly. Suddenly he discovered he was not alone there, with 60 feet of air between his feet and the hard.

It was a heart-stopping moment.

Then Warwick M. Tompkins, Sr. said something like, “Well, hi there son. I didn’t know you were coming up.…

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RORC Caribbean 600 update

24 Feb

Photo credit:

RORC Caribbean 600 race course

RORC Caribbean 600 race course

Isbjörn is well under way in the RORC Caribbean 600. The first 3 boats have already finished the race, with the trimaran Phadeo3 breaking the record from last year and finishing in just under 32 hours, impressive!

Isbjörn is currently to the east of Guadeloupe after a long beat from St. Martin and Tintamare. Andy had plans to send in updates to the blog but it sounds like the conditions a re far from the normal cruising we are doing. I have to make due with quick short text YB messages from him until they finish the race!…

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Chasing ghosts in the Namib desert

23 Feb

1 blue sky view

The obligatory tourist stop while in Lüderitz isn’t actually touristy at all: it’s a ghost town called Kolmanskop, a 15 minute drive into the desert. It seemed as though only a couple of dozen people besides ourselves visited over the course of a morning.

2 tour

We started with a tour to get context and history before being turned out to explore freely…with a warning to look out for snakes, and shown sidewinder tracks in several locations.

3 sidewinders

4 Pinterest kolmanskopDiamonds were first found here in 1908, and it quickly became a mining center—producing 20% of the world’s supply at the outset of World War I.…

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Tough French Cruiser Shot, Stabbed, Bashed, and Robbed off St. Croix

22 Feb

Arc en Ciel 2(1)-240x171

The whole story is here. Either local law enforcement completely bungled this case, or the victim’s story doesn’t add up. What is a matter of fact, because there were witnesses, is that this guy, at age 70, limped his boat back into port with his femur shattered by a gunshot wound, came alongside a tugboat, then proceeded to throw winch handles and sundry objects at the side of said tugboat for 45 minutes before somebody took notice. Shiver me timbers.


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