Camaraderie Among Solo Sailors

9 Dec

Last night the next front came through, about 3-4 hours earlier than forecast. I was taking a nap, and suddenly the boat started pounding – crash crash – crash – as if going upwind, or at least into the waves, which we were. The wind had shifted with the front by 100 degrees, and so we were sailing due North. I got my foul weather gear on to go on deck, and then went through the protocol that I had thought through earlier. Gybing will be more dangerous than tacking, so I rolled up the staysail (we had the staysail ...

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A Kindly Boat

8 Dec

recent offshore delivery on a high-performance catamaran got me thinking about the things that really matter in a sailing boat—specifically, the design, build and equipment elements that combine to make a boat a pleasure (or not) to sail. For a cruising boat, especially, these attributes are encompassed by the term “seakindliness,” which is not quite the same as “seaworthiness.”

When creating a new boat, a naval architect first provides a hull form that will give the best all-round performance possible under the terms of the design brief provided by the builder. The builder then makes sure the ...

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FUNDRAISER: a loan to change a family’s life

8 Dec


Cruising offers the chance to meet people of vastly different experience in different corners of the world and find common ground. Sometimes the exchange is bounded in a single encounter.  Sometimes it’s stretched over a few days, and sometimes for years as we stay in touch. One family in Papua New Guinea is particularly special to us: once or twice a year since our visit four years ago we trade letters with Mollina and Wesley when a cruising boats stops at their island in Ninigo, Papua New Guinea (PNG).

They’re typical of many in PNG: family needs are met by ...

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35 knots of Wind Through the Night

8 Dec

Last night, with 25-30 knots of wind, we went down to the staysail and mainsail with 3 reefs. Into the dark night, the wind increased, until we had a steady 35-38 knots. Fortunately, we had the best sail combination up, our smallest sails essentially, before extraordinary jumps to the 4th reef or the storm jib. It’s not quite clear where we would be at a steady 50 knots for a sail combination, since our options begin to be limited. Nonetheless, last night’s combination was the correct one for us.

The boat was still flying with that reduced sail and 35 ...

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A record setting lap of Antarctica

8 Dec
Tomas Coville aboard Sodebo
While the recent focus in the sailing news has been on the boats racing in the Vendée Globe and the epic battle between Armel Le Cléac’h racing Banque Populaire and Alex Thomson on Hugo Boss, we are missing what is quite possibly an even greater story. I am talking about Tomas Coville aboard Sodebo vying for the single-handed, non-stop circumnavigation record. Coville rounded Cape Horn at the tip of South America yesterday and is currently turning his bow north as he deals with the strong currents in the Estrecho de le Maire, or the Straits of ...
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More Work on the Hydrogenerator

7 Dec

Another full day, and the days and nights run together in one long continuous cycle, so that sometimes its hard to remember what happened today and what happened yesterday.

After yesterday’s near catastrophe with the fractional gennaker in the white squall, I re-hoisted it this morning and went to unroll it. It unrolled halfway. Somehow, in the chaos of yesterday, some part of the roll caught on itself. I headed the boat into the wind to hope that it would shake itself free. It did, and unrolled, and then I could see that it was undamaged by yesterday.

A big ...

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Caught in a Squall

6 Dec

What a day. Although we had crossed the significant Prime Meridian a few days ago to enter the Eastern Hemisphere, today we crossed 20 degrees East, which goes through Cape Agulhas, the southern most tip of Africa, and signals to the mariner the entrance to the Indian Ocean.

As a depression to the south was moving past us to the east, we would get the northern of the winds, and their strength and changing direction. In the morning, to be a good mariner, I went to lower the rolled up fractional. It likely would have been fine in the stronger ...

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Same question again – tether or not?

6 Dec

French sailor Seb Josse racing in the Vendée Globe 
I can totally appreciate that many (most?) people have a contrary opinion on this subject, but I am going to bring it up here again if for no other reason than it’s good to talk about things. Take a look at this pic of Seb Josse racing in the Vendée Globe. He is in the Southern

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171: German Frers

6 Dec

The legendary yacht designer German Frers…He earned his chops working for S&S under Olin Stephens himself, but it was only through a chance meeting that he got to sketch his first namesake yacht. Frers’ one-off designs quickly began attracting the best production builders like Swan & Hallberg-Rassy, who hired him to design their bluewater cruising boats, and some of the most iconic super yachts ever built came off of his drawing board. I spoke to German on Skype from his office in Argentina about all this & much more.

Show Notes

Topics discussed in the podcast:

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Learning New Protocols

5 Dec

Last night and today, after the fractional gennaker was put back in service, our education continued.

It is essentially impossible to put a reef in the mainsail while going downwind. One can winch down on the luff reef lines, but one is putting a huge load on them while trying to get the sail down. It is being blown against the rigging. We have tried heading up so that the sail will flag back away from the rig, but with one of the gennakers, we can’t get close enough to the wind.

So I thought that perhaps the protocol should ...

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