September 20th

Keeping the kids in clothes while cruising

Posted by // September 20, 2013 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Cruising, ,

Chacos in Paradise

A blog reader recently asked: what clothes do kids need for cruising, and how much do they need?

Before we cut the docklines in 2008, we were well supplied in clothes to take the kids through about two years of living in the tropics. In hindsight, this was serious overkill. We brought too much. The obvious fact that escaped me when provisioning for a fundamental needs like clothes and food: remember that people everywhere need to dress and eat… you really don’t have to bring everything you need with you.

In front of Totem
They look so small! Alameda, October 2013

It did help to start with clothes that worked.…

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September 19th

59 Degrees North Podcast Launched! Episode 1: Allan Palmer

Posted by // September 19, 2013 // COMMENT (0 Comments)


Greetings! By happy accident today, I’ve launched my new sailing podcast, ’59 Degrees North: Andy Schell’s Conversations with Sailors,’ in conjunction with Talk Like a Pirate Day! Aye, the podcast! Anyway, comin’ at you with the first episode today. I talked with Allan Palmer, captain of the brig Tre Kronor  in Stockholm last week, aboard the boat. Palmer’s dad was a real Cape Horner, sailing the grain route from South Australia on the last of the big square riggers. We discussed that, as well as Palmer’s role in traditional rigging projects, what it’s like to sail a square rigger, and how he’s helping to keep traditional sailing alive.…

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September 18th

The Question Department is Open

Posted by // September 18, 2013 // COMMENT (5 Comments)


In a few short weeks, we will reach our third anniversary aboard Papillon.  Not bad for a trip that was only supposed to be two years long.  And although I’ve baked enough cakes lately to last me until the end of time, I come from a birthday/anniversary/Groundhog Day-celebrating tribe.  What to do to mark the occasion?

Lightbulb!  What better way to say: Happy Anniversary Papillon! than to make you do all the heavy lifting?  So I am opening up a Q&A.  What is it you want to know, dear reader?  Are you curious about cruising?  How to get started?  What you need to know? …
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September 18th

Natalie Wood on boat

Women have long complained about how the world is dominated by men. To most men, meanwhile, it is perfectly obvious that modern civilization is little more than a plot to make women comfortable.

The truth, of course, lies somewhere in the middle. If it were true, as men aver, that it is women who rule the world, such things as pornography and the Three Stooges would probably be outlawed. On the other hand, if men really ruled the world, as women insist, society no doubt would be organized very differently. The men most likely would live in nomad biker gangs, and all the women and children would live in villages.…

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September 18th

Tioman Island: jungles, beaches, and creepy crawlies

Posted by // September 18, 2013 // COMMENT (2 Comments)


always in a rush

Tioman island was our stunning landfall after a slightly stressful passage across the South China Sea. I learned about the lures of Tioman Island beaches when backpacking in SE Asia in the early nineties. It has only grown in reputation, so we went with pretty low expectations. I just assumed that given the reputation and the proximity to population centers that it would have been the victim of overdevelopment: resorts stuck like scabs on a natural landscape, cars of driving too fast, tourons on scooters.

What a pleasant surprise to find instead that it’s still a sleepy place of quiet beauty.…

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September 17th

America’s Cup Impressions from the Uninterested

Posted by // September 17, 2013 // COMMENT (2 Comments)

Racing, ,

attachment 4246738558
I was prepared to be unimpressed.

Living in San Francisco and sailing on San Francisco Bay I took a sidelong view of the America’s Cup. It’s not my first rodeo. I happened to be in San Diego in 1992, and New Zealand in 2003, where I checked out some of the action on the water since I happened to be there with a boat. We had a close encounter in San Diego, and I watched the dismasting of the Kiwi boat in 2003, but I’m the first to say that sailing isn’t much of a spectator sport.

Leading up to this Cup everyone assumed that because I was a sailor I was all aflutter about it.…

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September 16th

“Could Not Lift My Arms”

Posted by // September 16, 2013 // COMMENT (1 Comment)

People, Racing, , ,

Hey, Dean Barker, everybody missed one backstory item in your press conference on Sunday. You won a race, and you lost a race, and with that loss . . .

You set a record.

15/09/2013 - San Francisco (USA,CA) - 34th America's Cup - Final Match, Day 6America’s Cup/Gilles Martin-Raget

As dawn broke over the East Bay hills that morning, September 15, 2013, you were tied with Australia’s great America’s Cup challenger, Jim Hardy (Sir James to me) for a record of twelve Cup races, as helmsman, lost.

Hardy skippered for Australia in 1970, 1974 and 1980. Gretel II, Southern Cross and Australia. You’ve skippered Team New Zealand in 2003, 2007 and 2013.…

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September 16th

I’ve had a brief exchange of comments following my last full post on the Cup with a fellow named Alex D who complains he is bored by this America’s Cup and cites the lack of sail-handling as one reason for this. True enough, there are no sail changes mid-race in this new species of Cup competition, and I’ll admit I sort of miss that, too. But it’s not true that sail-handling is irrelevant, as Team New Zealand demonstrated in dramatic fashion on Saturday when they mishandled their wing during a tack and almost capsized their boat. Alex D: Pls. skip to 28:30 in the video above and describe below how boring it is.…

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September 16th

The last reef in Sarawak?

Posted by // September 16, 2013 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Cruising, , ,

Kuching bay underwater

Before taking off across the S China Sea, we anchored out near the western point of Sarawak to give ourselves an easy, early morning departure. It also happened to be a spot with, shockingly, a sweet little reef to explore. We’ve gotten used to being anchored in a marine park while local boats actively fish around us (including park rangers!?), so this was something of a pleasant surprise.

Here in Sarawak, Malaysia, overfishing and negligent fishing practices have devastated most reef environments. Despite the pretty pictures, this one was not healthy. There were no fish bigger than about 12″, and not a single shark- hallmarks for healthy reefs.…

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