Carnage in the OSTAR and TWOSTAR

12 Jun
There was a little bit of carnage out there on the open ocean toward the end of last week as the OSTAR and TWOSTAR fleets dealt head-on with an intense low pressure system. The boats racing solo and double-handed from Plymouth, England to Newport, Rhode Island had no way to escape the depression which registered a low of 967 mb at it’s center and packing sustained winds topping 60 knots. One yacht sunk, two yachts were dismasted, and five crew were rescued while other boats sustained enough damage to force them to retire.

Furia – Luffe 37 – sunk
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AMERICA’S CUP 2017: Catching Some Live Action in Bermuda

11 Jun

AC race village

It’s only a coincidence that I happen to be here while AC35 is going down, but it is a happy one. Yesterday I took full advantage of it and hopped on the special weekend ferry ($10 round trip) that runs direct from Ordinance Island in St. Georges out to the America’s Cup race village in the Dockyard. It’s a 45-minute run, all the way from the eastern to the western tip of the island. As we were pulling into the race village I could see the Defender Oracle’s boat was out on Great Sound, running through her paces in ...

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NEW LUNACY TRANSAT: Phase Three, Big Jump to Bermuda

10 Jun

Lunacy sailing

This was a hard one this. For one thing it was a bigger jump than I had sketched out in my head. For some reason I had fixated on 2000 as the rough mileage between Porto Santo and Bermuda (see last blog post), but in fact it is 2,400 and change, even via a great circle route, as the chartplotter dourly informed me once I plugged in the distant waypoint. In all, due both to contrary winds and aggravating technical problems (more on that coming up), it took us 23 days and about nine hours to transit the gap, ...

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Beautiful everyday Bahamas

9 Jun

sailboat in clear blue water

pinterest beautiful bahamasTotem floats in water so crystalline she almost looks suspended in air; her shadow paints a dark splotch on the sand below. One anchorage after another, the incredible water of the Bahamas is the stuff of magazine covers that were surely photoshopped (maybe not, after all!); so beautiful it defies belief.

High clouds chasing the horizon serve as reminders for the march forward and the factors out of our control. The goal to reach Grenada in July feels remote, as the easterlies–which should be backing off–have sent up one day after another of 15+ knots coming out of the exact ...

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HARD TRAVELIN’: Mac’s Atlantic Crossing Part 2

9 Jun

This is Isbjorn crewmember Kevin ‘Mac’ McMahan’s second installment about his trans-Atlantic with us, taken from his blog Mac is on a solo, round-the-world by land and sea journey, and one of his ‘rules’ was to cross at least one ocean by sailboat…

Mac will claim not to be a sailor, but after what he’s been through from Bermuda-Azores, and what he’s about to go through to get to Scotland, he’ll have some saltwater running through his veins for sure! Honestly, Mac truly evolved as a sailor over the course of our 12-day crossing, and I can now ...

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HARD TRAVELIN’: Isbjorn Crew ‘Mac’s’ Trans-Atlantic Blog #1

9 Jun

The following is an excerpt of our crewmember Kevin ‘Mac’ McMahan’s travel blog, Mac joined Isbjorn in Bermuda to sail across the Atlantic with us, all the way to Scotland. But the sailing passage was just a tiny portion of his larger plan – to travel around the world by land and by sea. Mac is a Texan, through and through, a gentle, kind-mannered and mellow soul with a smooth southern drawl that seems to match his smooth, mellow pace.

“I walked out of my ranch on May 1 with my pack on my back, hitch-hiked to the train ...

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LED headlamp beanie, your boat may need one

9 Jun

Written by Ben Ellison on Jun 9, 2017 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Ben_w_LL_Bean_LED_Beanie_cPanbo.jpgThis LED beanie has gotten a lot of use since a knowing Secret Santa gifted it to me at our family Chrismakah celebration, and I think it would make an excellent Father’s Day gift for many dads I know. Or maybe you just need to buy one for yourself, in which case the magic words apply: “I need it for the boat”…

LL_Bean_n_Panther_Vision_LED_beanies_cPanbo.jpgThe headlamp cap I’m still using when working in Gizmo’s dark and cool engine “room” is the $30 L.L. Bean Pathfinder Lighted Beanie. ...

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Riding the Tides in Baja

8 Jun

Yes, I like crossing oceans and making great landfalls, but I’m obsessed with the smaller crevices of our watery world.

My mom built a shack on the beach in Baja 35 years ago, and passed it on to me. The shack sits about 20 miles south of San Felipe, near the top of the Gulf of California (Sea of Cortez). The tidal range is over twenty feet. During the highest tides the desert floods, and what is normally dry land becomes accessible by water. It’s very bizarre and heady to paddle a kayak or sail a windsurfer across mud flats ...

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The Thirty Hour Haul

2 Jun

Since the boat was last hauled back in 2015 before the start of the Caribbean trip, we thought it was about time to haul her again and check on everything. It would be nice to look at the hull and fittings without holding my breath. 

The plan was simple, a new coat of bottom paint, clean and wax the hull, new coat of paint on the boot stripe, and new zincs all around. 

At Old Bay Marina we paid $10 a foot for haul, power wash, blocking, and launch. 

I bought 3 gallons of West Marine (Pettit) CPP Ablative bottom paint, $99 ...

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NMEA to WiFi gateways: TeamSurv’s & FloatHub

2 Jun

Written by Ben Ellison on Jun 2, 2017 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

TeamSurv_NMEA_Tools_NMEA0183-WiFi_bridge_collage_cPanbo.jpgWhen it rains, it pours (particularly at Panbo HQ this “spring”). NMEA-to-WiFi bridges are quite useful — mainly for getting basic boat data like depth, GPS, and wind into the wonderful world of marine mobile apps — and there have been numerous choices for a while. But yesterday TeamSurv started offering an interesting and notably inexpensive new bridge on KickStarter, and the intriguing FloatHub bridge and monitoring system will join it there soon…

TeamSurv_NMEA_Tools_NMEA0183-WiFi_bridge_comparison_cPanbo.jpgSince 2010 TeamSurv has been involved in crowdsourcing depth survey data, and thus ...

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