August 7th

Bring it on – the origins of Le Trophée Jules-Verne

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

The mighty Spindrift  – just a stunningly beautiful boat

Fall is shaping up to be the battle of the giants. Two of the biggest racing sailboats are gearing up for one of sailing
s toughest challenges; a non-stop lap of the planet to claim the Jules Verne Trophy, or by it’s real name Le Trophée Jules-Verne. Francis Joyon, the humble French sailor who currently holds the record for the fastest solo, non-stop circumnavigation will sail IDEC, while Yann Guichard and Dona Bertarelli are readying the giant trimaran Spindrift, each with an eye to break the existing record of 45 days, 13 hours, 22 minutes, and 53 seconds set in 2012 by Loïck Peyron and his crew aboard Banque Populaire V.
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August 5th

News from the Arctic

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

Aventura’s route in the Northwest Passage

Having passed through the Western Arctic and its ice fields much earlier in the season than we had hoped or expected, and with the ice situation still unfavourable in the Eastern Arctic, we had the luxury of slowing down and turn the next stage of our voyage into a leisurely cruise.

My crew were keen to see some Arctic wildlife but apart from some birds fishing among the ice, a few seals and a couple of whales, the most exciting so far was this falcon dive-bombing us as we walked on Herschel Island.

A few days before our arrival, a ranger had shot this grizzly bear, a victim of climate change as he had strayed far beyond his usual habitat and had swum from the mainland to Herschel Island in search of food.…

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August 5th

SEASCAPE 18: Evangelist Test Sail With Andraž Mihelin

Posted by // August 5, 2015 // COMMENT (7 Comments)

Andraz astern

How’s this for convenience? I get the word from SAIL HQ that I should look into test-sailing the Seascape 18 from Slovenia, recently revealed on these shores, and it turns out the new U.S. rep is based in Kittery, Maine, mere footsteps from my home. Even better, on arriving at the anointed moment last Friday at Pepperell Cove, where said rep, Toralf Strand, a tall gangly Norwegian fellow, has assembled both a Seascape 27 and 18 for test-sailing by prospective buyers and this one journalist, it turns out I’ll be sailing with Andraž Mihelin (see photo up top), one of the masterminds behind the whole Seascape concept.…

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August 4th

Written by Ben Ellison on Aug 4, 2015 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Bliss_anchoring_in_Pulpit_Harbor_cPanbo.jpgBehold the 39-foot trawler Bliss about to anchor behind Gizmo in Pulpit Harbor. She’s a custom Jay Benford design (based on a Cascade sailboat hull) that already turns heads, but note the cabin top presence of both Inmarsat FB150 and Iridium Pilot antennas (the latter formerly known as OpenPort, and tested for Panbo on VOJ). The serious satellite communications — and there are more devices less visible — are because owner/operators Luis and Kim Soltero have spent much of their thirty year marriage creating a remarkable portfolio of satcom services and devices, and they’re still at it.…

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August 4th

Einstein on the Water

Posted by // August 4, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)


We can all be grateful that Einstein was a better physicist than he was a sailor

We can all be grateful that Einstein was a better physicist than he was a sailor.

While the academic community celebrates the 100th anniversary of Albert Einstein’s presentation of his theory of relativity in August 1914, the sailing community should not forget that the great scientist was one of us.
Although the wild-haired mathematician could not swim, he had a great love for the water. He learned to sail on a Swiss lake as a student in the 1890s, and in 1929, on his 50th birthday, a group of wealthy admirers presented him with a custom-built sailboat. Tümmler, German for porpoise, was a centerboarder with a kick-up rudder and (at Einstein’s insistence) a Bermudian rig rather than the more usual gaff.…

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August 4th

Getting mail in Seychelles

Posted by // August 4, 2015 // COMMENT (5 Comments)

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Cruising is often described as routine maintenance in exotic locations, and like many turns of phrase is well-rooted in common experience. We’ve been mired in more of the fix/repair end of the spectrum lately, an occasionally more frustrating twist. While parts or consumables needed for maintenance can be pretty well anticipated, you can’t carry every spare part you might need for repairs.

The first hurdle to fix our watermaker, a Spectra Ventura, was just figuring out what was wrong: we had it serviced at the certified Spectra service center back in January, but had been producing rapidly saltier water. JT Halden, who runs a marine service business in Florida, was a rock star: I can’t recommend him enough (and am so grateful to Patricia for the introduction!).…

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August 3rd

Paul Exner on Heavy Weather Sailing

Posted by // August 3, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Paul Exner speaks at the World Cruising Club’s ‘Ocean Sailing Seminar’ in Annapolis, Maryland in March on what it’s like to sail offshore in strong conditions. Paul touches on heavy weather in theory and mixes in his own experiences from his varied career as an ocean sailing skipper.…

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August 3rd

New Steering Wheel Adventure: Part 3

Posted by // August 3, 2015 // COMMENT (3 Comments)

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After many deviations, diversions, and delays, the steering wheel project is finally finished (see part 1 and part 2). What started as buying a new steering wheel on Ebay turned into rebuilding the entire teak console, re-wiring much of the boat, servicing and adjusting much of the steering system (installation of the new wheel changed the geometry of things just a tad), building a new instrument panel, and all new senders on the engine to go with the new instruments.

I’ve blogged about instruments, senders, and instrument panels before (see Gauge of Confusion), but now we’ll go in a little deeper.…

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August 3rd


There’s a rumor going around that the only reason I’ve been looking to sell Mimi, my beloved Drascombe Dabber, is because she’s not competitive in the Round Island Regatta, an anarchic free-for-all involving small sailing and paddle/rowing vessels that is convened each summer on the back channel here in Portsmouth. And yes, it is true we did very poorly in Mimi last year. And I will confess it had crossed my mind that the Melonseed skiff I had set my heart on as Mimi’s successor might just get me on to the podium.

And, in fact, it almost turned out that way.…

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August 1st

How use less internet data

Posted by // August 1, 2015 // COMMENT (4 Comments)


Computer lessons

Before we went cruising, we took unlimited internet access for granted. Traveling full time means relying on pre-paid plans for internet, which is almost always metered data, and that data can be really expensive sometimes. [above: Jamie gives lessons on a new computer to islanders in Papua New Guinea. Computers and the internet are part of life, even in the disconnected Hermit islands]

It’s been a somewhat painful stretch in Seychelles as we’ve spent a multiple of our usual monthly expenditure for typical activity online. Hearing the frustrations of a my friend Melissa (check out her blog: Little Cunning Plan!), who was dinged with the painful cost of international access when she and Mike sailed their beautiful Olympic 47 ketch, Galapagos north of the border to cruise in Canada recently, pushed me to organize a few notes on how we deal with reducing data to keep expenses down.…

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