January 22nd

Written by Ben Ellison on Jan 22, 2016 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Icom_M93D_DSC_VHF_prototype_aPanbo.jpgI’m slightly reluctant to mention this Icom M93D announcement because it’s only “scheduled to be available in the second half of 2016” with price unknown, but, dang, it sure looks like an interesting DSC VHF handheld radio. I still think that many boaters don’t realize the added safety, tracking, and navigation capabilities possible when GPS is integrated with portable VHF, though the Standard Horizon HX870 (that Icom is clearly gunning for) has been earning great reviews for a while. Also, note the lovely color-screen Icom GM600 fixed VHF “coming soon” with an SSB sibling.…

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January 22nd

Four women on a mission

Posted by // January 22, 2016 // COMMENT (2 Comments)

Four women on a mission
Ok this is not strictly a sailing story but it is a marine story and it’s a great story. This weekend a small boat will arrive on the shores of Australia. They will make landfall in Cairns on the east coast up near the Great Barrier Reef. What’s remarkable about this story is that in the boat will be four women in their 20s and 30s that will have just rowed all the way from San Francisco. Yup round about 9,000 miles across the Pacific. Think about that for a moment. For the last six months, while you and I have been going about our daily lives, these women have been in a mostly open boat hauling on oars to get to Australia.
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January 21st

“Uh, how is the boat going to behave when that thing hits us?”

Contrary to all the focus on new boats, their features, and their performance, the captain’s knowledge and intimacy with said boat is probably more important. In fact, when it comes to heavy weather sailing, what resides in the captain’s head is probably the most important piece of safety gear aboard. What some might call “getting to know your boat” may accurately be called the most intimate relationship a human being can have with an inanimate object.

The Cliff Notes version of getting to know a boat is a shakedown cruise.…

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January 20th

Watch Captain

Posted by // January 20, 2016 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Cruising, People, , , ,


Our friend Ty has accompanied Totem on significant passages . We’re very excited that he’s booked a flight to Namibia next month, and will join Totem again to cross the Atlantic to the Caribbean. A little backstory on Ty and our history together seems appropriate: this is a piece Jamie wrote about our indomitable seafaring companion. It first appeared in last December’s issue of 48° North.

You can take the man out of the boat, but you’re nuts if you think his boating days are over.

Last year, Captain Ty Anderson retired after 30 years of service with the Washington State Ferry system.…

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January 19th

PETER JOHNSTONE: No Longer at the Helm at Gunboat

Posted by // January 19, 2016 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

There were a lot of subterranean rumors flying around the show in Annapolis last October about big trouble at Gunboat, so I wasn’t too surprised when the company announced the following month that they were filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy (to reorganize rather than liquidate). Boatbuilding has always been a skin-of-the-teeth business and Gunboat had suffered a string of misfortunes, what with its messy legal dispute with its ex-build partner in China, the tragic abandonment of hull number one of the new Gunboat 55 series, and the dramatic capsizing while racing of the hot new foiling G4. I figured they’d cut a court-supervised deal with their creditors and get on with it.…

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January 19th

Kees’ cool sloop Merrimac, home of CANboat and more

Posted by // January 19, 2016 // COMMENT (0 Comments)


Written by Ben Ellison on Jan 19, 2016 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Kees_Stadtship_Merrimac_cPanbo.jpgA memorable moment of 2015 was waking up in Kees Verruijt’s attic guestroom in Harlingen, Netherlands. If my lens were wider, you’d see the thick thatch capping his sturdy brick home. And if I’d waited a bit, the photo might include one of the family-owned-and-operated cargo vessels that often motor by enroute to or from the Wadden Sea. What you can see clearly, though, is Kees’s own dream boat Merrimac, which I would soon tour. I’d been following this boat project for years, knew that it motivated Kees’s valuable CANboat work, and given that CANboat helped birth Signal K, I figure that Merrimac may earn a special spot in marine electronics history…


Before the electronics, though, let’s have a look at an impressive cruising vessel.…

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January 19th

Rick & Julie Palm

Posted by // January 19, 2016 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Episode #136 is Rick & Julie Palm, live from Cruiser’s University in Annapolis way back in October. Rick & Julie Palm have been mentors of sorts for Mia and I. They had the role of event managers for World Cruising Club before we took over and have been active in the Caribbean 1500 basically since its inception under Steve Black, who was a dear friend of theirs. And they are consummate ocean sailors. If you want to follow the lead of a successful and humble ocean sailing couple, you can’t beat these two. They started cruising on a Tayana 37 and then upgraded to a Tayana 52 and completed a circumnavigation.…

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January 17th

SEA GYPSY: Early Adventures of Peter Tangvald

Posted by // January 17, 2016 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Sea Gypsy cover

I continue to be fascinated by the Tangvald family: young Thomas, who sailed with his young son and pregnant wife from Puerto Rico to Brazil aboard an engineless 34-foot nativo racing sloop and was subsequently lost at sea off the South American coast sailing the same vessel singlehanded in 2014; and his father Peter, who lost two wives at sea and was himself killed along with a 7-year-old daughter after he piled up on a reef off Bonaire in 1991. So I have purchased and recently finished reading Peter Tangvald’s first book, Sea Gypsy, which was published in 1966 and has long been out of print.…

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January 16th

Canning meat on board

Posted by // January 16, 2016 // COMMENT (1 Comment)

Cruising, , , , , , ,

canning chicken jars bowl

At some point, canning food makes sense for a lot of long-distance cruisers. Totem is a boat full of omnivores, and with five people on board, canning meat has been a useful skill to acquire. For those times we need to boost our provisions with canned food, doing it yourself is cheaper and tastier than commercially canned meat.

I’ve been water-bath canning for years before cruising, but meat requires pressure canning. This process intimidated me for a long time, but I got over the hurdle when we anticipated about three months in Papua New Guinea without access to stores. Now, ticking down the days we have left in South Africa, We have a lot (LOT) of ocean miles ahead of us; the longest leg will probably be from Ascension Island to Grenada, about 3500 miles.…

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January 15th

The Sixth Annual Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image Award

Posted by // January 15, 2016 // COMMENT (7 Comments)


And The Winner Is …

The sixth annual Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image awards were given out last December. Here is a look at the top five photos from the competition as chosen by the public.


Photographer: Jesus Renedo

Number 5




Photographer: Martina Orsini

Number 4



Photographer: Stefan Coppers

Number 3



Photographer: Brian Carlin

Number 2


Winner: Rick Tomlinson


Photographer Rick Tomlinson took home the Public Award for this shot of Team Brunel sailing past Cape Horn during the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race.


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