Isbjorn is the yellow icon there in the middle of the fleet, highlighted. Taken from carib1500.com.
There is nothing like yesterday’s sail repair to authenticate this experience as a real introduction to ocean sailing. It was blowing 25+ knots but at least the sun had not yet set when Papa Bear (as at least one cruising woman calls him) noticed the middle batten was shaking out of the mainsail. It is a full batten so it was not imminently at risk, but the process of lowering the sail could shake it out to be lost forever. Our captain, Paul Exner, decided I should drop down to a broad reach while everyone else coaxed the sail down gently.…Read More
My two recent posts on the use of pfd’s seemed to have struck a cord with sailors around the world. I received plenty of harsh admonition when I advocated that wearing a pfd should be a personal choice. I even received a death threat but don’t think the person would actually have killed me if push came to shove. I then wrote a mea culpa saying that I may have been wrong about the use of lifejackets, that I had read a book about how easily it is for accidents to happen when you least expect them. Well as you can imagine I got a blasting from plenty of people who were mad at me for capitulating.
Today was the day for two “trouble spots” — those troublesome areas of the ICW that keep shoaling in. The pinch-points used to be up in North Carolina, like Lockwoods Folly. In fact, Gil Gelineau on s/v Ithaka with the Rally remembers his dad running hard aground at Lockwoods Folly decades ago. We went right through Lockwoods Folly with no problem, thanks to recent dredging and numerous drop aids that are frequently relocated as the inlet shoal shifts.
Now, some of the worst shoal areas are in South Carolina: the five-mile stretch south of McClellanville and the three miles near Isle of Palms called Meeting Reach.…Read More
12 years ago today, just about now, Mollie Fenn slipped into the world with all the innocence that comes with drawing your first breath of life. Up until the time she was actually born, my wife Kim and I didn’t know if Mollie would actually be a Mollie or someone else like a Ben or a Jack or maybe a James. Surprises after all can be a nice thing so why spoil the moment by finding out ahead of time if you’re getting a boy or girl is the way we looked at it.…Read More
Madagascar might just be the perfect mix of different things we find to love in cruising destinations. Most boats crossing the Indian Ocean stop in, unless they are on a delivery or a schedule to get around the world; I don’t need to convince any cruisers to make it a destination. But for those contemplating cruising in the Indian Ocean, consider this a teaser for the awesomeness that lies ahead.
1. Incredible sailing
I’ve raved and it bears repeating: Madagascar’s diurnal daily breezes provided simply glorious sailing. Swells that have traveled across the Indian Ocean get blocked by the island, so there’s flat water to move us even more comfortably and swiftly along.…Read More
Isbjorn is firmly in the Gulf Stream now, making good headway in the middle of the fleet. While I’ve not heard directly from the boat, I’m guessing (and hoping) that Paul and the crew were patient enough during last night’s calm spell to wait out the wind and not turn the motor on. Yesterday they were at the front of the pack that started early Wednesday morning, but today they’ve drifted back towards the middle, probably because everyone else motored through the calm.
I wrote yesterday that Tom cut his finger and needed stitches. I got the full story from my dad, who called yesterday afternoon while they were still in cell phone range off the Virginia Beach:
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Not ten minutes out of the marina Tom asked if he could take down the number banner.
When this story first came out there was some skepticism in the press because the guy looked too healthy. Now his story has been corroborated and confirmed, and he indeed survived 438 days in a panga, drifting from Mexico to an atoll in the Marshall Islands. A professional fisherman, adrift in a fishing boat, might have found some way to survive at sea, but his crew didn’t fare so well. The story is both sad and inspiring.
Written by Ben Ellison on Nov 12, 2015 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub
Imagine running Coastal Explorer, or your favorite charting program, on a 55-inch multitouch display with 3840 x 2160 pixel resolution — also known as UHD or 4K — secured to a sturdy base with pushbutton up/down and tilt controls. I’ve never so enjoyed tapping out a route, and the Hatteland 4K Chart Table is way sexier than that…
This electronic “chart table” can respond to as many as 40 points of touch. In my little video Hatteland’s Scott Lenz fingerpaints with all 10 of his didgits, and at one point three of us were simultaneously working on a jigsaw puzzle, each with two hands.…Read More
By Bruce Niederer
I hear it said increasingly often in the last couple years as I meet people during my travels “Who will be the next generation of tradesmen? Who is going to work on our cars, boats and homes?” This is a serious lament posed by today’s tradesmen, potential employers who have a very hard time finding apprentices and workers to learn their trade. The U.S. is in dire need of men and women willing to work with their hands and develop the skills necessary to build and repair all our…stuff.
On Sunday morning, the disturbance in the tropics that we here at the rally office and WRI, our weather forecasters, were monitoring, officially became Tropical Storm Kate, and suddenly our decision to delay was vindicated. Despite the cabin fever that was about to set in, the fleet was supportive.
So for two days, we waited. Mostly in the rain. Quite serendipitously however, we managed to pull together a pretty good delayed-departure program, including extra seminars, a fantastically fun trivia night, and a visit to the USCG’s District 5 Command Center.
On Saturday morning (the delay was made official Friday evening) Mia, Jake, Lyall and myself took the starting line with 8 other rally participants at the first-ever USCG 5k run in town.…Read More
When it comes to tides and shoal areas, you can’t always get what you want. Sometimes the tidal cycle just doesn’t time out perfectly with the limited autumn daylight hours. But if you take some time, you get what you need. In our case, just over six feet to clear our deepest draft vessels. More tomorrow on these perennial low-water “trouble spots”—tonight is too beautiful to dwell on the negative.
Today’s miles, in my opinion, are some of the most beautiful along the ICW: the Waccamaw River, the Santee River Delta, and Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge. We left Osprey Marina in dank, cold fog, and over the day, the light changed with the sun burning through, ultimately ending at a spectacular sunset at anchorage, overlooking the old Cape Romain lighthouse and a big-sky vista with almost no man-made lights.…Read More