161: John & Amanda Neal in Sweden

19 Sep

John & Amanda Neal have run sail-training expeditions on their Hallberg-Rassy 46 Mahina Tiare for over 20 years. They’ve sailed 220,000 miles on the boat, taking her quite literally to the ends of the earth. We chatted in-person at the Hallberg-Rassy boatyard in Sweden about their recent summer in the Arctic.

In case you missed it, in last week’s newsletter Mia and I officially published our 2018 offshore passage calendar. Isbjorn is headed north! That’s right, we’re Arctic bound in summer 2018, with passages to Scotland, Norway, Spitsbergen & Iceland. Visit 59-north.com/arctic for details & to register. As a nod ...

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2016 NEWPORT INTERNATIONAL BOAT SHOW: The Resurrection of Gunboat and Other Developments

18 Sep

Xavier Desmarest

I can say without doubt the most interesting conversation I had while cruising the docks at Newport on Thursday was with this man, Xavier Desmarest, one of the principals of Grand Large Yachting, seen here closing his eyes and tapping his toes and wishing perhaps he were back in Kansas, or France, as the case may be. Grand Large, you’ll recall, is the French firm that recently purchased the bankrupted remains of Gunboat at auction. And to give you an idea of what a quirky guy Xavier can be: immediately after I snapped this shot he popped open ...

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Tether of not? That’s the question

16 Sep

It has been a while since I wrote that piece about lifejackets and whether or not they should be worn at all times. It certainly caused a stir and I even got my very first death threat. I am not sure if the person would have actually gone through with it but he seemed pretty riled up. He was for wearing lifejackets at all times in case you were wondering. So, since it has been a while I thought that I would stir things up once more. This time it’s about the use of life harnesses. Yup as you might ...
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Chapter 6 – Where Art and Science Meet – Part 1

15 Sep
Chapter 6 is an in-depth look at the sailmaking process from how sails used to be made to how they are made these days in a modern sail loft. There is a lot to cover from basic design elements like sail geometry and engineering to a look at the manufacturing process. There will be four parts to Chapter 6 starting with this one that covers some of the elements of sail design.

You can download this chapter as a pdf here

The basic tools of sailmaking are no longer the stuff of charm and tradition. Where bolts of sailcloth, spools ...
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CATANA 58: A Luxury Cruising Cat With Speed Potential

14 Sep

Catana 58

This is a high-end performance cruising catamaran from France that tries to split the difference between high-speed sailing and posh liveaboard comfort. The design by Christophe Barreau includes all the important features that keep cats sailing their best–narrow hulls, high bridgedeck clearance, very little solid structure forward of the mast, plus high-aspect daggerboards instead of low-aspect keels.

The boat’s construction is also pretty high-tech, with an emphasis on lightweight strength. The hull and deck are fiberglass laminate set in vinylester resin vacuum-bagged over a Divinycell PVC foam core. The hull has an inner skin of Twaron aramid fabric laminated over ...

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Cruising or Racing?

14 Sep

We’ve all heard the old saw that all it takes to turn a cruiser into a racer is the sight of another boat catching up to us. Sometimes true, sometimes not. Casting a critical eye up the sails to check the trim is hardly racing, it’s sailing your boat well. In fact, the very mention of the R-word leaves many sailors cold, which is a shame because you can have an awful lot of fun getting out on the water in the company of like-minded souls.
Plus, not all races are created equal. More and more clubs are responding to ...

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160: Brian Porter

12 Sep

Click the small ‘square’ icon with the ‘down arrow’ in the player above to download today’s show.

Brian Porter was on the build team for the record-breaking supermaxi ‘Comanche,’ and continues to work on owner’s Jim & Kristy Clark’s shore crew. He came on the podcast to talk about his boat-building beginnings, getting a dream job building Comanche, working alongside pro sailors Ken Red, Stan Honey & Jimmy Spithill, Comanche’s recent trans-Atlantic record, the America’s Cup and much more.

Sponsored By:

Weather Routing, Inc. (WRI) is a private forecasting company specializing in marine weather for over 50 years. WRI provide ...

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Navico NASA moves tech support to the cloud

10 Sep

Written by Bill Bishop on Sep 10, 2016 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

navico_nasa_logo_aPanbo.jpgMarine electronics tech support is a ritual I’m all too familiar with. Dial the phone, wade through the metaphorical press one for yes, two for no and wait until the tech picks up. For the average boater this can quickly turn into a button pushing slog with unsatisfactory results. Tech: “What version of software are you running?” Boater: I don’t know, where do I find it?” Tech: “Go to the System tab.” Boater: “Where’s the system tab?” Tech: “It’s in Settings.” Boater: “Where’s Settings?” I won’t ...

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FIGURE-8 VOYAGE: Solo Round Antarctica and the Americas All in One Go

8 Sep


Speaking of aluminum boats, some of you may be wondering whatever happened to Taonui, the 41-foot German-built full-keeled expedition vessel that Tony Gooch sailed on a solo non-stop circumnavigation back in 2002-03. It was an impressive voyage, the first-ever non-stop circuit via the great capes sailed from the west coast of North America (Victoria BC in Canada to be precise) and also a very impressive boat (see image up top). I know I admired her intently and in fact it was my respect for Taonui that inspired me in part to acquire Lunacy, my aluminum Tanton 39...

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More sex appeal for the Volvo Ocean Race?

8 Sep
IMOCA 60 Safran showing off her Dali Foils
There has been a lot of coverage of the new generation IMOCA 60’s leading up to the start of the Vendée Globe which gets underway in a couple of months, and there is just no doubt about it that those boats are among the most sophisticated pieces of machinery ever devised for a single purpose. The new Dali foils are some of the sexiest pieces of equipment to be added to a boat in years and believe me sailing can use more sex appeal. 

Now, I know that I need to tread ...
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