January 13th

RIO GUADIANA CRUISE: Between Time and Portugal

Posted by // January 13, 2015 // COMMENT (1 Comment)

Guadiana aerial

I was sitting in the cockpit of Crazy Horse, my old Alberg 35 yawl, toes contracted in the thin film of cold dew that clung to the boat, cup of hot coffee in hand, watching the sun struggle to emerge from behind the distant hills and fill the river with light. Instinctively, I groped for my watch, a habit remembered from my life ashore, and wondered: what time could it be now? And at once I was struck by the absurdity of the question.

It said something of the nature of cruising under sail, I realized, that it was only the previous day, after having spent nearly a week on the river, that we finally discovered that the clocks on the west bank (in Portugal) were an hour behind those on the east bank (in Spain).…

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January 13th

Webb Chiles

Posted by // January 13, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Listen Now.

Webb Chiles is a sailing legend.  Andy and he spoke about his sailing philiosophy, what it’s like to survive for 26-hours floating in the ocean, rounding the Horn and whether or not there is a god (yep, it’s deep). 

You may not have heard too much about Webb, and that’s kind of by design. Webb is an artist as much as he is a sailor (read his work at, and he’s about as pure as they come in the sailing world. He’s been around the world a full five times, and set a myriad of records, including first American to sail solo around Cape Horn, and fastest aorund the world alone, beating Sir Francis Chichester’s record in the 1970s (which has of course since been demolished). 

In his 70s now, Webb is about to embark on his sixth circumnaviagation, this time in a 24-foot light-displacement day-racer, which he’s been sailing for a while (luxurious compared to his lap of the globe in an 18-foot open yawl).…

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January 12th

The Great Escape

Posted by // January 12, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Cruising, Miscellany

cruisAs yet another year draws to a close I am reminded once again of what a great sport, pastime, call it what you will, we sailors enjoy. A late fall delivery from Bermuda to the Caribbean proved the perfect antidote to the continuing gloom that dominated the airwaves last year; I found there’s nothing like a bracing beat into 25-knot headwinds and a rambunctious seaway to banish thoughts of Ebola-infected ISIS militants swarming across the border to behead us in our sleep. Politics, fracking, climate change, none of these meant anything compared to the struggle of merely climbing out of your bunk at change of watch and the bleak contemplation of more of the same as the wind remained resolutely in the south.…

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January 12th

Tradition for the fun of it

Posted by // January 12, 2015 // COMMENT (7 Comments)

It was just a little tickle on my neck, but something made me give it a flick instead of a scratch. Good thing, too, because instead of aggravating the little scorpion that perched there I knocked it to the cabin sole- and I ended up with a nip instead of a serious injury.

The little brown scorpion had jumped from a large stem of bananas (200+ bananas!) that I was cleaning and cutting into hands, the gift of a generous family back in Panapompom Island. It all worked out, but how could we have avoided a scorpion in the first place?…

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January 11th

Burling Rocks the Flying Moth

Posted by // January 11, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)


Peter Burling (left) and Tom Slingsby. Photo © Thierry Martinez

Sorrento, Australia

It was a crazy day on the water. The word from ISAF —

New Zealand’s Peter Burling reeled off four straight wins to take the lead on Day 2 of the McDougall + McConaghy 2015 International Moth World Championship on Port Phillip in Sorrento, Victoria, sounding the warning bell for the other 159 competitors.

With the fleet split into Blue and Yellow, Burling was in the Blue group on a course closer to shore. Defending world champion Nathan Outteridge (AUS) was in the Yellow on a course further out and on the receiving end of bumpier conditions and scored 3-2-2-1 results.…

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January 9th

Real, Synthetic & Virtual AIS AtoNs, can you see them?

Posted by // January 9, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Written by Ben Ellison on Jan 9, 2015 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub


One way to spend a frigid night in Maine is learning about AIS AtoNs, an electronic augmentation to the aids to navigation we commonly think of as nav buoys, lighthouses, beacons, etc. The US Coast Guard recently began a year-long experiment with AIS AtoNs in New York Harbor, and sure enough, there they are on Marine Traffic. MT is an imperfect tool for understanding what AIS AtoNs look like on our boat displays, but if you set up the Filter as I have above — Show Ship Names on, all vessel types but Navigation Aids off — you can see that they are now set up around many major U.S.…

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January 7th


Posted by // January 7, 2015 // COMMENT (12 Comments)

Kiwi Spirit in Cape Town

I get the sense some people out there are waiting for me to opine on the fate of Dr. Stanley Paris, who again decided to abandon his attempt at a non-stop circumnavigation and put into Cape Town aboard his custom performance cruiser Kiwi Spirit (see photo up top) a little over a week ago. As discussed previously, the good doctor was never entirely forthcoming about the gear damage he suffered during his last abortive voyage. He has been even less forthcoming this time. All we know is that “the top quarter of [his] mail (sic) sail separated along a seam from the rest of the sail.” There has been no description of any causative weather or event, no indication at all of what might have precipitated this.…

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January 7th

Raymarine Wi-Fish and FLIR One for everyone

Posted by // January 7, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)


Written by Ben Ellison on Jan 7, 2015 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub


Some days I feel like retiring, but wow, the changing technology I enjoy covering just won’t let up. Yesterday Raymarine introduced the wonderfully named Wi-Fish, which seems at least visually even more a sign than Furuno’s DRS4W WiFi radar of how mainstream marine electronics can accomodate our collective fascination with mobile computing. Wi-Fish is essentially a Dragonfly sonar display without the display but with an app that can purportedly do its job and more. And Raymarine didn’t stop there, also introducing a variety of new 4- and 5-inch Dragonfly models, including Pro versions that support the Wi-Fish app while also offering an “All weather viewable” display and GPS plotting on a great choice of chart formats…


The Dragonfly 5 model lineup tells the story, and it’s the same tale for the 4-inch models.…

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January 6th

Bruce Schwab

Posted by // January 6, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)


Listen Now. Bruce Scwab is the first American sailor to complete the legendary solo, nonstop Vendee Globe ocean race. It was his second solo circumnavigation onboard Ocean Planet, the boat he designed and developed on the west coast. 

Bruce grew up in northern California and started sailing with his dad a young age, eventually working at a rig shop for many years where he honed his skills on the owners boat as a solo racing sailor, winning the first event he ever entered.

DON’T MISS Bruce’s YouTube channel with some incredible footage from the Vendee, including a horrendous Southern Ocean storm.…

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January 5th


Posted by // January 5, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Under sail on Lunacy

Truth be told, I originally resisted the idea of basing Lunacy in St. Maarten this winter, primarily because she previously spent two other winters there, and I was hoping to check out someplace new. Also, I’ve always found the island to be a bit over-developed, with too many people, too much traffic, and too many big-box stores. Inexorably, however, it was the place that made the most sense for the sort of winter cruising we do (in short bursts of a week or so), because the airfares are reasonable and there are often direct flights from Boston. And during our just completed post-Christmas cruise, the island’s over-developedness in fact turned out to be a blessing, as we spent an inordinate amount of time attending to boat maintenance (a price one often must pay when wandering about on one’s own boat), and St.…

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