Isbjorn Offshore: Squalls, Calms & Navigating by the Stars

9 May

8 May, 1600

Isbjorn is running wing on wing on the starboard tack, the genoa poled out to catch the SE’ly breeze. The wind is steady and she’s making 5-6 knots, but the sea is confused and the sails slat hard in the worst rolls. There’s a NW’ly swell rolling in from our left, opposing the wind-driven SE’ly swell and corkscrewing the boat around at times.

The sky off of our port quarter is a fearful shade of grey, and there’s rain in the clouds behind us. Up to now, all the weather has come from the E, as it ...

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190: How to Sail Across the Atlantic

8 May

Crossing the Atlantic is at the top of my mind at the moment – by the time you hear this, we’ll be at-sea, en route to Bermuda, the first leg of what will be my 3rd, Mia’s 4th trans-Atlantic passage. I recorded this seminar about our two previous trans-Atlantic experiences the Toronto Boat Show in 2016. Mia & I discuss weather routing, seasonal route options and best practices, and call on our friends David & Isabelle, who completed an Atlantic Circle on their Hunter 42 ‘Morning Haze’. To follow along with the slides, go to the show notes page at ...

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Isbjorn Offshore: A Good Day’s Run

8 May

6 May, 0800

An early morning for Isbjorn’s crew. We’re all rested after a night of teetotaling in preparation for today’s departure. The boat’s ready to go…the afternoon before we basically completed the pre-departure checklist. All that’s left this morning is to top up the water tanks, unplug the shore power and pay our bill at Nanny Cay.

The crew’s assembled in the cockpit for the morning briefing, our last at the dock. Mia & I complete the orientation now that we’ve finished stowing all the provisions. I assign roles for the start – Mike & Tom will be job ...

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ISBJORN OFFSHORE! Bound for Bermuda

6 May

It feels like we’ve been in the Caribbean forever. The heat in Nanny Cay Marina is oppressive. We’ve been dockside since Monday morning, and with no air conditioning aboard Isbjorn, it’s impossible to be inside the boat during the daytime, and only slightly more possible to get comfortably to sleep at night.

We’re berthed nose-to-nose with Sojourner, my dad’s boat, whose also headed north to Bermuda. Once in St. Georges, however, Sojourner will head northwest, bound for her home waters in Annapolis, while Isbjorn will point the bows east for points unknown to her in the Azores, Scotland & ultimately ...

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The Maiden Factor

2 May
Ok, so this story is very close to my heart. I have known this boat for almost four decades. I first met her during the 81/82 Whitbread Round the World Race. It was painted in colorful horizontal stripes and for a period we sailed up the Atlantic together. I think that we were in sight of each other for about a week and it was fun to come on deck each morning and there she was. Like a friend. Back then the boat was named Disque d’Or and was skippered by the Swiss sailor Pierre Fehlman. They ended up coming ...
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189: Clint Wells RECYCLED

1 May

Clint Wells is one of my best friends, and Isbjorn’s first mate when Mia can’t make a passage. He was there when I first met Mia in New Zealand, and he sailed across the Atlantic with us on Arcturus back in 2011. Clint is NOT a sailor – or at least wasn’t, until joining us. I spoke to him a few years back about our Atlantic crossing together and the challenges he faced – both physically, and even more so mentally – as a new-to-sailing crew member stuck on a 35-foot boat for 23 days in the North Atlantic. For ...

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Lick WHAT?

30 Apr

April 30, 2017

The close of springtime high school sailing over the weekend coincided with the opening day of a heat wave on the San Francisco cityfront. Race one of the city championship was delayed, and so we find that a skateboard can be an important component of a complete sailing kit.

Anyone not local might struggle with the notion that temperatures in the high sixties Fahrenheit – almost seventy degrees – would qualify as a heat wave, and that just means they’re not local to the San Francisco cityfront. But the weather hold was mercifully brief. Soon enough the ...

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Chapter 8 – All About Spinnakers – Part 1

25 Apr
Chapter 8 is a close-up look at spinnakers. A bit about the history of the spinnaker, different panel layouts, symmetrical versus asymmetrical and a whole lot more. In Part 1 we look back at how the spinnaker was developed and how we got from cross cut spinnakers to radial spinnakers.

There is nothing quite like a day in the trades with a warm wind at your back and the horizon ahead stretched in a wide arc like open arms just waiting for you. You are romping downwind with
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188: Hammarberg Family Circumnavigation

24 Apr

Linda Hammarberg & her husband Ludvig recently returned to Sweden after a multi-year circumnavigation with their two young kids, Otto & Lovis, onboard ‘Mary af Roverhamn,’ their Joshua-type steel ketch. During parts of the voyage they were followed by a film crew from Swedish television for the first season of the show ‘Familjer pa Äventyr’ – which basically translates to ‘Families on Adventure.’ The Hammarberg’s are typically Swedish, in that they’re very humble, and yet very accomplished sailors. Mia & I spoke to them in their shoreside home in Marstrand in January about their adventures sailing around the world and ...

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News+: Victron Venus, CruzPro SOG2, DY WindSense, Vaavud Ultrasonic, & Panbo “News+”

21 Apr

Written by Ben Ellison on Apr 21, 2017 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub


Victron’s new Venus GX is a dauntingly complicated looking blue box, but it could beautifully simplify and improve the monitoring and control of a boat’s electrical power system. Essentially, Venus is a Color Control GX without the screen, which makes it less expensive, and it also has extra goodies like 3 tank level and 2 temperature inputs, built-in WiFi, and yet more I/O that hasn’t been enabled yet. The Color Control has evolved (and been used) a lot since I wrote about it in 2014, ...

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