November 5th

Podcast: Erik de Jong #3

Posted by // November 5, 2014 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Andy chatted with Erik for a third time about a month ago now, just after Erik had returned from 4 months in the Arctic on Bagheera. They discussed why he’s drawn to sailing in the ice, how he made it all the way to 78º north, how he rebuilt his engine in Nuuk, Greenland, and his design ideas on the Adventure 40 he’s working on with John Harries. Follow Erik on…

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November 4th

25th Caribbean 1500 Heads to Sea

Posted by // November 4, 2014 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Updated Tuesday, Nov 4, 0730: Lucky Strike, despite being the last boat out of the marina and over an hour behind the fleet, has taken the lead offshore as the boats enter the Gulf Stream. Lucky Strike, the 50′ Newick trimaran, is cruising along at 10 knots. If conditions persist, they should be WAY ahead over the next 24 hours at that pace!

Conditions were much more favorable for the start of an offshore passage today with the sun shining and winds 12-15 knots out of the NW. Crews mentioned they were pleased that the start had been delayed 24hrs.

The morning of the start there is always plenty of activity on the docks with everyone wishing each other well and getting those last phone calls in to home.…

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November 3rd

Standard Horizon HX870, handheld VHF/GPS/DSC powerhouse

Posted by // November 3, 2014 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

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Written by Ben Ellison on Nov 3, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub


I was impressed with Standard Horizon’s original HX850 and I’ve been happily using the slightly upgraded HX851 model above for several years. It’s a fine handheld 6 Watt VHF (if you don’t mind the size) plus it’s always ready to place a DSC distress call and/or navigate a life raft (or tender or kayak or…). But, wow, look what they did with the new HX870 model: The screen is at least twice as large, the interface seems usefully updated with soft keys and icons, the battery is substantially larger, and more…


Despite the change from 1,380 to 1,800 milliamp internal lithium-ion rechargeable batteries, the HX870 still floats.

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November 3rd

2014 SOUTHBOUND LUNACY: Hard On the Wind Forever

Posted by // November 3, 2014 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Lunacy under sail

Sorry I’ve been AWOL from the blog for so long, but I’ve been struggling to get Lunacy south to the W’Indies for the winter. This process actually started nearly two weeks ago, on October 20, when Phil “Snake Wake” Cavanaugh and I brought Lunacy down from Portland to Portsmouth during a long daysail, motorsailing into a light, but contrary southerly breeze. Then there was a gale, and after that my brother Peter and I sailed the boat from Portsmouth down to Newport, during which we spent one day reaching and one day beating into vicious headwinds. Then there was a gale, and after that OPO crew-member Richard Holbrook and I spent five days sailing from Newport here to St.…

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November 2nd

It was a windy night at Ocean Marine Yacht Center. At 10:30 last night, Rally Control received a call from Delphinus, a catamaran headed to Marsh Harbor with the ARC Bahamas fleet.

“It’s pretty bouncy down here on the outside of A dock,” said a concerned Pete Davenport. “Lucky Strike, the trimaran, is getting knocked around pretty good. Every so often a bigger wave comes along and her inside hull comes out of the water. I’m afraid it’s going to hit on the dock.”

Despite the time, we quickly rang up Lucky Strike’s skipper, and within a few minutes the crews were working together on the dock to get the boats secured for the night.…

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November 1st

Tips for Crewing Offshore

Posted by // November 1, 2014 // COMMENT (0 Comments)


As someone who is new to the offshore sailing world, I had many questions before going on my first offshore passage. What do I pack? How much time should I budget?  I thought I would share some things I have learned about being a crew that will help you be more prepared, less annoying to the skipper and other crew, and hopefully get invited back.

Limit your luggage to one bag. A large duffel bag should be all you need for a 3-5 day passage, more than that is not only unnecessary but more to move to and from the boat and more stuff the other crew members have to deal with on the passage.…

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October 31st

“Every incident offshore could have been prevented before they ever left the dock. It’s all about preparation. Even in bad weather, it’s the preparation that will determine the outcome.”

-Mario Vittone

The five rules of boating:

1. Keep the water on the outside of the boat
2. Keep the bad stuff inside the boat (oil, etc).
3. Keep the boat from catching fire or blowing up.
4. Keep everyone on the boat, on the boat.
5. If any of that stuff goes wrong, call us!

“Sailors get into trouble primarily for this – the failure to recognize when they’re in trouble.”

On Calling a ‘MayDay’

“You don’t have to call Mayday first – I’ve never heard a mariner of any variety say ‘Pan Pan’ over the radio.…

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October 31st

Written by Ben Ellison on Oct 31, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub


Garmin introduced lots of new products in Fort Lauderdale yesterday along with the promise that all of them will be shipping by mid-February. There’s even a special Marine 2015 website, while this Garmin blog entry offers a succinct overview of the whole lineup. At the press conference the line that seemed to neatly frame Garmin Marine 2015 was “not necessarily ground breaking, but easier to select, easier to install, and easier to use.” I noticed evidence of all that along with a few features that do indeed seem unique and valuable…


Perhaps the most important new line is the GPSMap 76xx/74xx series, a portfolio of 7-, 8-, 10- and 12-inch displays with the look, feel, and underlying software base that was introduced in the 8000 Glass Helm.…

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October 30th

LIVE Podcast: Caribbean 1500 Mental Preparations

Posted by // October 30, 2014 // COMMENT (0 Comments)


Andy gives a seminar on Tuesday at the Caribbean 1500 on mentally preparing to go offshore. This is similar to the one that was up previously, but is specific to the Caribbean 1500 and more generally the route from the Chesapeake to the Caribbean, regardless of whether or not you’re with a rally. This was recorded at Roger Brown’s on High St. in Portsmouth during the pre-departure program in front of a live audience. Follow the 1500 on

Direct download.

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October 30th

8+ at 93+

Posted by // October 30, 2014 // COMMENT (0 Comments)


Does anybody really think that America’s Cup 35 belongs anywhere but San Francisco Bay?

San Diego, a great sailor town, has released its final promotional video, as if Russell Coutts or anyone else in AC management could care.

Better San Diego than Bermuda, I’d say, but the phrase that jumps out at me is the enthusiastic promise of winds “over eight knots, 93 percent of the time.”

Yes, the next-generation cats will foil in that, but they won’t thunder, baby, they won’t thunder.

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