Ascension Island: remote South Atlantic

4 Apr

ascension island view from green mountain

ascension pinterest postUninhabited before it was encountered by Portuguese sailors in the 1500s, Ascension’s lonely position in the middle of, well, more or less nowhere in the South Atlantic made it a place of strategic importance since. In the age of commerce under sail, it was a place to water up (once a source was found) and provision (initially by hunting green turtles, which nest in Ascension by the thousands; goats were left later, and farms cultivated).

A British Overseas Territory, Ascension has never technically been settled, as St Helena has, but has hosted residents since the English installed garrisons in the early 1800s as a precaution against attempted escape by Napoleon from his nearby exile.…

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TALES OF JOHANNE REGINA: In Andorra With Tom Cunliffe and Clare and Edward Allcard

3 Apr

Johanne under sail

Sorry the blog’s been dark so long! But I do have an excuse. I’m in France right now, having come by way of Ireland (where I was visiting family for Easter) and Barcelona and then Andorra, where I stopped in for a few days to visit Clare and Edward Allcard, the well-known liveaboard cruiser-authors who wandered far wide for many years on an old 90-ton Baltic ketch named Johanne Regina (see Clare’s books A Gypsy Life and The Intricate Art of Living Afloat). Johanne has since been adopted by a Catalonian non-profit group, has been rechristened Ciutat Badalona (after the Catalonian municipality of the same name), and is now flawlessly maintained (see photo up top).…

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Journey: A boat with the right attitude!

1 Apr

Written by Adam Hyde on Apr 1, 2016 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Mente Marine ACS automatic trim tab control systemFive years ago when I told a friend that I was purchasing an attitude control system he said “does it bolt to your head?” Perhaps it should but I’m happy it didn’t! I’d recently purchased Journey, a 1976 26′ Tollycraft Sedan that I found time consuming to trim properly, even for a boat guy in love (and still so). Purchasing Mente Marine’s automatic trim tab control system was at the top of my list of improvements but would it stand the test of time and be worth the installation effort and cash?…

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The Future Is Here: Bottom Cleaning Nanobots

1 Apr

150127124327-nanobots-mc1-super-169
With copper-based antifouling paints just being banned in Washington state, the writing is on the wall. We’re going to have to figure out an an environmentally-friendly way to keep the critters from growing on the bottoms of our boats. That’s where BottomBot comes in.

Dan Stein, BottomBot’s CEO says, “We took our technology from the medical industry, where nanobots have long been in development. There is a family of nanobots designed to be released in the blood stream to remove plaque from the insides of your arteries. These nanobots aren’t quite ready for prime time in medicine, for safety reasons, but the bottom of a boat is much less sensitive than say, your aorta.”
nanobots-red-graff

BottomBot’s first product in in beta testing on 25 boats in the Pacific Northwest.…

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Passage notes: St Helena to Ascension

30 Mar

sunset sailing underway to ascension south atlantic ocean

Graying dawn had barely begun to lighten the sky when we left St Helena under a nearly full moon. The distance to Ascension – a little over 700 nautical miles – was slightly awkward. Leave in the daytime, and we’d arrive at night, something we really did NOT want to do. So we departed in darkness, to assure a daytime arrival.

Totem’s 75hp Yanmar chugged through the first hour and a half, but the genoa was rolled out by the time the sun began to rise and the breeze filled in. It’s light, so rather than put up the main and bang gear around slatting, we make way under headsail alone.…

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West Marine Expo, ACR LED Searchlight, Scanstrut USB, Navico Compass & Triton Gills

29 Mar

Written by Adam Hyde on Mar 29, 2016 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

West Marine Expo Cover 2016West Marine’s first ever Marine Electronics Expo will kick off in four states (NY, FL, CA, CT) on April 8th (thru 9th) and also online. Besides some deals on electronics gear, there will be live educational seminars from Icom, Shakespeare, Lowrance, Fusion, Uniden, Lowrance, Simrad, B&G, Spot, Delorme, and maybe more at the select stores…

West Marine Electronics Expo sample store seminars

This looks like a good opportunity to learn about radar, 3D sonar, managing a MFD and a variety of other topics (but note that the schedule above is tentative and only apply to a sample store location).…

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Adventures of a Sailmaker

29 Mar
The beautiful Nirvana
Dateline Rome, August 1983:

I was heading home from the Maxi Yacht World Cup in Sardinia where I had been sailing on the Dave Pedrick designed maxi boat Nirvana. We had just finished a successful regatta in the land of Prince Shah Karim Al Hussaini, known to his friends as the Aga Khan, one of the richest Royals in the world. It was a plush regatta sailed back in the days when a maxi yacht was a manageable 80 feet long, not two hundred. It was also back in the days when kevlar was first introduced into sailmaking and Hood Sails, where I was working as a sail consultant at the time, was at the forefront of high tech sails.
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Emma Louise Wyn Jones

28 Mar

Episode 143 is Emma Louise Wyn Jones, a very charming and inspiring 22-year-old sailor and yachting photographer from the UK. I met Emma during the recent Caribbean 600 Race. If you happened to catch that video that the race media posted about Paul & I discussing the weather for the race, it was Emma who shot it. If you didn’t see it yet, check out this episode’s show notes page for the link.

I was interested in talking to Emma about how she decided to go into yachting photography, her sailing history in general, and about what it’s like starting from scratch and trying to move up in the sailing world.…

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What Happened to Isbjorn’s Rudder?

27 Mar

This post is long overdue, but it’s the first chance I’ve had to sit down and write it. I’m typing this from the nav station on Isbjorn. We’re anchored in Grand Case, a pretty little bay on the French side of St. Martin. The wind is gusting down over the hills to the east, hitting the mid 30’s in the big puffs and whirling us around on the anchor. It’s Easter Sunday. Note: Scroll down to the bottom for detailed photos with captions on the whole repair.

We sailed up from Antigua overnight on Thursday, leaving around 10pm to avoid the superstition of not leaving on a Friday.…

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