SOUTH SEA VAGABONDS: The Ultimate Dumpster-Diving Boat Bum Tale

18 May

South Sea Vagabonds cover

I had always understood this book was a cult classic in New Zealand and several people over the years have urged me to read it. I never really understood how strong the cult was, however, until I finally set out several months ago to buy a copy. Scanning my favorite used-book websites, I was shocked to discover that old paperback copies were going for over $70 a pop. Clearly this was a book that people coveted. So when I eventually learned that a special new “75th Anniversary” hardcover edition from HarperCollins New Zealand had also just become available, for only ...

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Volvo Ocean 65, powered by Mastervolt Li Ion

16 May

Written by Ben Ellison on May 16, 2015 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

VOR_65_power_overview_courtesy_VOR_Roman_aPanbo.jpgI’m happy as an oyster slow cruising Chesapeake Bay with my favorite first mate, but if I had a teleporter I surely would have jumped on an invitation to check out a Volvo Ocean 65’s systems in Newport yesterday. I doubt I would have encountered a scene as tidy as the photo above — which looks forward in the main cabin of Dongfeng with most of the engine, power, battery, and keel ram covers removed, as well as the pedestal galley — but then again all ...

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Preparing for a passage: making fruitcake

14 May

two boats at sunset

If I’m making fruitcake, it’s a sure sign we have a passage ahead.

Our next passage isn’t a big one. Weather willing we’ll leave in less than a week to sail from Maldives to Chagos, about three days and two nights underway. But it’s crossing a bigger threshold than the jump between island groups, because once in Chagos, there’s…nothing. Well, nothing but empty atolls with the ruins of former structures, a whole lot of coconut crabs, and a dozen or so cruising boats hanging out at the discretion of the British Indian Ocean Territory officials.

courtesy

the edge of our Maldives

...
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LIVE: Offshore Yacht Rigging w/ Mike Meer

11 May

Despite what I say in the intro, this is actually episode #102! Episode #102 is Mike Meer, a dear friend of mine and my former employer, who taught me everything I know about yacht rigging. It’s all about yacht rigging in the context of ocean sailing, in Mike’s witty, fun-loving style. He’s a cool guy, and he gets across complex rigging issues in a very understandable manner. The slides from Mike’s talk are available at this episode’s blog page on 59-north.com/sailingpodcast, so head there to follow along.

Want to go ocean sailing with Andy? Book a berth on Isbjorn, our ...

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Offshore Yacht Rigging with Mike Meer

11 May

Despite what I say in the intro, this is actually episode #102! Episode #102 is Mike Meer, a dear friend of mine and my former employer, who taught me everything I know about yacht rigging. It’s all about yacht rigging in the context of ocean sailing, in Mike’s witty, fun-loving style. He’s a cool guy, and he gets across complex rigging issues in a very understandable manner. The slides from Mike’s talk are available at this episode’s blog page on 59-north.com/sailingpodcast, so head there to follow along.

Want to go ocean sailing with Andy? Book a berth on Isbjorn, our ...

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ST. MARTIN TO BERMUDA: Solo Passage Without Underpants

11 May

Underpants on line

I think it was Fatty Goodlander who once wrote that he is always so nervous just before starting a passage that he constantly has to pee. I can certainly relate to that. No matter how many times you’ve done it, no matter how well prepared you are, at least if you’re skipper of a vessel there’s always a vague element of fear and uncertainty to wrestle with on setting out to sea. Most particularly when you’re going alone. When sailing solo the potential consequences of stuff you forgot to attend to and of miscalculations you may have made always seem ...

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NMEA okays Signal K, a milestone in marine electronics?

11 May

Written by Ben Ellison on May 11, 2015 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

NMEA_recognizes_Signal_K_aPanbo.jpgWow! Today the National Marine Electronics Association — also known as NMEA, or IMEA for its International reincarnation — announced recognition of the Signal K open source marine data project. It’s clearly not an endorsement, but it does provide clear methods to gateway NMEA 2000 boat data to the Internet-friendly universal marine data model that Signal K is about. And that’s plenty good enough, I think. In fact, as the title above wonders, this may turn out to be a very big deal. I also ...

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Shine a light: support conservation in Southeast Asia

11 May

DSC_1826

Many of our most memorable experiences happened during the two-plus years we sailed through Southeast Asia. Most of them conjure the fascinating culture, rich history, or just plain beautiful places- like Komodo National Park, above.

Unfortunately, a lot of what also sticks wasn’t so pretty: like radical deforestation for palm oil plantations. Reefs destroyed by dynamite fishing. National parks abused when they are unable to protect their resources. The terrible plight of Papuans in Indonesia. It’s a gut wrenching feeling, to become intimate with the challenges that compromise the integrity of a place, or the basic rights of ...

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Weather watch in Maldives

9 May

DSC_9500

For the duration of the season, it seems, we’ve been chasing the weather. It’s finally caught up to us.

Boats headed from Asia to South Africa on a northerly route across the Indian Ocean, as we are, take off while the northeast monsoon gives a nice ride to the west. December is fine, although you wouldn’t want to cut too close to the end of the previous monsoon (and accompanying cyclones in the Bay of Bengal). January is great. February is fine, but the later in the season you depart, the lighter the trade winds, and the harder it is ...

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AZORES RESCUE OPS: 12 Crew Recovered Off 5 Yachts; One Young Girl Dead

8 May

Swan 44

Bummer. Here I was looking forward to telling you guys all about the singlehanded passage I just did on Lunacy from St. Martin to Bermuda and instead I think I better go into this first. Details are pretty sketchy, but it seems five different yachts caught in a bad blow about 500 miles south of the Azores all called for help two days ago. A large SAR operation coordinated out of Ponta Delgada on Sao Miguel, which involved five different aircraft and four different ships, resulted in a dozen people being rescued. Tragically, one of these, a 6-year-old French girl ...

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