December 9th

Vincent Tangorra aboard Polaris

Here’s a puzzle. It seems Vinnie Tangorra, age 56, an ex-NYC bus driver from Bethpage, Long Island, was en route last week from New York to North Carolina aboard Polaris, a 37-foot sailboat, and was towing a jet-ski, which, according to his brother Ray, was serving as his liferaft. Ray spoke with Vinnie on the phone Wednesday and received a text message Thursday evening, in which Vinnie stated he was off Cape May. Ray tried calling back, but couldn’t get through. Friday morning the jet-ski was found adrift off Cape May; later the Coast Guard found Polaris, nine miles from shore, with no one aboard.…

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December 9th

Hauling in Thailand: part 1- a new bottom

Posted by // December 9, 2013 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Maintenance, , ,

prepping to paint

Southeast Asia is an appealing region for boat hauling and refits because of the combination of low costs and skilled workers. The Philippines, Malaysia, and Thailand have shipyards where everything from carpentry to stainless work is available and relatively expensive. Our needs were more modest- just a new bottom, a few through hulls. A combination of timing, opportunity, and economy led us to choose to haul Totem at the Phithak Shipyard and Services in Thailand.

We put time into getting prepared before arrival- the next hurdle for hauling at PSS is just getting there, winding up an inlet of unforgiving shallows with high and rising tide.…

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December 7th

I think I smell bad.  After spending three hours in the park then hiking over the hills of Noumea in 30 C heat, how could I be anything but sweaty?  I lean away from the woman sitting beside me in French class, hoping that the cool air in our basement room will mitigate my stink before it reaches her. But I know the real answer to my problem: I need a shower.  Again.  The very thought fills me with despair.

You may have noticed that cruisers are somewhat preoccupied with resource consumption.  Obsessed is a better word.  But when you carry around all of life’s necessities in what amounts to an oversized backpack, you want to be sure you have absolutely everything you need. …

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December 7th
Fun, right?

A big reason for writing this blog was to document work on my own boat. Here are links to all the posts about DIY repair and building things. Keep in mind that the way I did a repair is not necessarily the ‘right’ way to do it! This was especially true early on in the process.


Building A Cockpit Sole:

Pt. 1: Getting Started
Pt. 2: Laying Fiberglass
Pt. 3: Fairing Mistakes

Repairing Rotten Deck Core:

Pt. 1: Anatomy of a Water-Damaged Deck
Pt. 2: Repairing and Sealing Minor Damage
Pt. 3: Replacing the Core I

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December 6th

Electrical Basics: Solenoids

Posted by // December 6, 2013 // COMMENT (2 Comments)

Boats and Gear, Maintenance,

Solenoid, as an electrical term, covers a lot of ground and can get very complicated, but for boats solenoids are pretty simple. A solenoid, or solenoid relay, is a magnetic switch used for remotely switching power. Anywhere you’ve got a big electrical load that needs to be switched is ripe for a solenoid, especially if the load is in a remote location.

Every engine has a solenoid on the electric starter. This is because the starter requires a lot of amperage, so to actually switch the load to the starter would mean running cables as big as your thumb up to the helm (or the dashboard of your car) where you would have to switch the load with some gigantic knife switch out of a Frankenstein movie.…

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December 6th

STUFF TO WATCH FOR: Sub Launched Aerial Drone

Posted by // December 6, 2013 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Miscellany, ,


Sub launched drone

Coming soon to stretch of horizon near you. The U.S. Navy has just announced that it has successfully launched an aerial surveillance drone from a submerged submarine. The way it works is this: a) the drone is inserted inside a “Sea Robin” launch vehicle, which in turn is inserted into a Tomahawk missile canister; b) the Tomahawk canister is placed inside a torpedo tube and fired off; c) once outside the sub, the Sea Robin is released from the Tomahawk canister and bobs to the surface, where it looks like a common spar buoy; and finally d) the aerial drone (known as an Experimental Fuel Cell Unmanned Aerial System, or XFC UAS, in Navy-speak) shoots off into the air from the floating Sea Robin (as seen in the photo above).…

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December 5th

Moitessier on Joshua

Bernard Moitessier is remembered primarily for his famous 1968-69 Golden Globe voyage, in which he blew off a chance to win the first non-stop singlehanded round-the-world race and kept on sailing halfway around the world again to Tahiti to “save his soul.” But he is also remembered for wrecking not one, but three different boats during the course of his sailing career. As is documented in his first book, Sailing to the Reefs (Un Vagabond des Mers Sud in the original French), he lost two boats named Marie-Therese sailing on to reefs in the Indian Ocean and in the Caribbean in 1952 and 1958.…

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December 5th

ARC Record Broken by New Yacht ‘Caro’

Posted by // December 5, 2013 // COMMENT (2 Comments)

Cruising, ,

ARC Caro Finish.jpg

Mia and I are back in St. Lucia for the 5th straight year, working the finish of the ARC Rally. I’ll be posting regular updates from here, but this one is pretty big news. What follows is the official press release from WCC HQ in Cowes. And don’t miss my dad’s Sojourner in the background – he was on the finish line this morning when they crossed! Photos by Kieran Higgs and Tim Wright.

Crossing the finish line in Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia this morning at 10:10:10 UTC (06:10:10 Local time) Max Klink’s Knierim 65 Caro has earned a place in the history books, smashing the ARC course record by 08 hours 07 minutes and 20 seconds.…

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December 5th

Maintenance in exotic locations: preparing to haul

Posted by // December 5, 2013 // COMMENT (1 Comment)

Cruising, Maintenance,

making seacock bases
It’s been said that the definition of cruising is performing maintenance in exotic locations. We recently hauled Totem for new anti-fouling paint, four through hull replacements, and a few other projects. Living the definition, propped high and dry on the hard.

We had not hauled Totem since April 2008. Five and a half years is a pretty phenomenal stretch without new bottom paint, but we did a lot of barnacle scraping in the last year. Definitely overdue.

Cruising generally comes with the gift (the luxury) of time, which is a good idea when hauling out. It’s all too easy for “project creep” to set in, especially when presented with the opportunity for quality work at bargain rates.…

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December 4th

Written by Ben Ellison on Dec 4, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

long_test_2_Interlux_Pacifica_Plus_cPanbo.jpgThat’s a darn impressive photo, I think. When Gizmo was hauled on November 22, she hadn’t been out of the water since May 2012, and most of that copper-free Interlux Pacifica Plus bottom paint had already endured a seven-month test in 2011, as I wrote about then. So, after more than three seasons, most of the running surfaces are still slick (and probably still self-cleaning when the boat occasionally goes fast).  I did use the remains of the original two gallons to repaint the belly band before the 2012 launch; Gizmo lay in cleansing South Carolina fresh water from November that year through March of this year, and I scrubbed the belly band from the tender last July.…

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