A "borrowed" blog

26 Aug

It’s not that I am lazy but it is the end of summer and the Fall is always a busy time for sailmakers. So instead of writing a blog this week I am “borrowing” one from my friends at Sailing Magazine in South Africa who I am sure also “borrowed” it. And because it’s Friday I have included a joke that I also “borrowed.”  

Here’s a list of 10 everyday phrases that you may not have realized were born in the days when sailing made the world go round… wait… is that a nautical phrase?

“A clean bill of health”....
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Going small, going now

25 Aug


Aside from one rather unfortunate dinghy-sailing adventure as a teenager, I have managed to steer clear of smaller boats for most of my life. This was a conscious decision; I didn’t defect from power to sail till my late 20s, and since I learned on a J/24 and not a dinghy, I quickly became accustomed—not to say addicted— to the feeling of security engendered by a large lump of lead counteracting the forces of wind and waves. The boats were sporty enough to be exciting, especially in a big breeze, and there seemed little chance of going for an involuntary ...

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158: Sailing to Cuba

23 Aug

This episode is sponsored by Weather Routing Inc., the forecasters we use on Isbjorn.

Click here for all the photos from this trip.

Cuba is huge, over 600 miles from east to west. We’d be at seen almost six days from Fajardo, Puerto Rico, and took the opportunity on a particularly calm day for one last swim and shower before landfall. The guys had a shaving party in the cockpit – a bucket full of fresh water and lathered-up faces.

Signs of civilization abounded. Fish pots we had to dodge (they were lit at night, amazingly, with fluorescent green ...

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Eight years down: how we fund the cruising life

23 Aug

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How can we afford the cruising life? Everybody wants to know, but few ask. Cutting to the chase: we’re not independently wealthy. How we’ve supported ourselves has changed over time. Today marks the first day in our ninth year of cruising (holy cow!): retracing those years in terms of our finances tells the tale.

On August 21, 2008, we untied the lines from our slip behind the pub in Eagle Harbor and set off to go cruising with a pocketful of savings from about a decade of anticipation, and six years of more intent planning. We never expected to be ...

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RAINMAKER FOR SALE: Used Gunboat 55 On the Block For Just $15K

20 Aug


No kidding! Though she is in rough condition. This is Gunboat 55 hull number one, which was dismasted and abandoned by its owner and crew 200 miles off Cape Hatteras in January 2015. She was spotted and recovered off Bermuda this past March. Now she’s on the hard and is being auctioned off, with the starting bid pegged at $15K. Bids must be received by September 6. Check this link for details.


The bridgedeck, with a mere stub of a wheel hub left on the steering pedestal. The teak decking doesn’t look half bad!


An engine, I’m guessing...

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A Camden boat grounding dissected, can crowdsourcing help?

18 Aug

Written by Ben Ellison on Aug 18, 2016 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

aground_in_Camden_mooring_field_blurred_cPanbo.jpgThe identities of the yacht and its operators are irrelevant. But how did they go hard aground in a highly used harbor during a clear summer day? Was it just a dumb mistake or was a lack of chart detail partially to blame? Should the USCG or the town of Camden better mark the danger? Did marine electronics somehow contribute to what was at least an embarrassing incident? Can crowdsourced data help? I’m not sure about the answers but I have assembled a lot of information ...

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LUNACY UPDATE: Prospective Buyers and Poop On the Foredeck

16 Aug

Nav desk

I was surprised, flattered even, when I heard from some of you that you’ve missed my appearances here. And yes, it has been unprecedented, my neglect of WaveTrain of late, but I do have an excuse. I have been pouring my wordsmithing energy into finishing a book I’ve been working on, which should be out in the world sometime next spring. Loyal readers here can do me a YUGE favor and buy the damn thing when it appears (don’t worry I’ll tip you off when it’s time). Meanwhile, if you haven’t already, you really should buy my first book....

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Privileged cruisers

16 Aug

beautiful png

Turquoise water, white sand, the stretch of a tropical island…contrast of our dinghy and a local outrigger. We are so tremendously privileged in our experiences. But our privilege extends far beyond this: most importantly, our privileged lives stem from the place in the world we were just plain lucky to have been born in. A place with a wealth of opportunities and support. Not always easy, but nearly endless possibilities.

My last post, about how cruising wrecks lives, speaks plain truths of uncomfortable differences in the way we look at our culture now, through the lens of the last ...

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Some Classic Yaahting

16 Aug

I did some classic yachting over the weekend, you know the kind where sailors show up in bowties for the race and sip champagne and feast on finger sandwiches once the action is over. And classic it was. I was on a friend’s Alden Challenger, a lovely 38 foot yawl with plenty varnish and a set of brand new Great Circle Sails (yes I had to get that plug in there). I enjoyed the sailing even if the race committee were morons and set impossibly long courses with no way to shorten them once the wind died. But other than ...
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John Harries, Round 2

15 Aug

Episode 157 is John Harries, the founder of morganscloud.com, AKA ‘Attainable Adventure Cruising,’ and in my opinion the foremost authority on safe and simple ocean sailing boats & equipment. He’s an accomplished high latitudes sailor with over 150,000 miles under his keel. Mia and I met him for a round 2 on the podcast in Lunenburg, where he dinghied out to Isbjorn for an in-person chat.

We discussed sailing in the Arctic, Isbjorn’s original owner Warren Browne, who John sailed with, Skip Novak, batteries for offshore cruising boats, the Adventure 40 project, podcasting and media in general and much, ...

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