How cruising wrecks lives

10 Aug

1 mystic river sailboats

It’s become profoundly clear that we’ll never be normal again. Is it unsettling? A little. We were a poster family for Normal, and utterly happy. Sitting in Totem’s cockpit from our mooring in the Mystic River, looking towards Noank in the fading light, that normal life—and the security that came with it—is lost to us.

Traded it all for the excitement of boat plumbing

Traded it all for the excitement of boat plumbing

The feeling germinates being back in a sped-up world, where there’s more of a rush to the finish than an appreciation for what’s around. Close traffic, fast cars. Foul language over the VHF, disrespect for rules ...

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Into Deep Ocean

9 Aug


Hey all, friend of the crew Rory Finneren writing. I was pleasantly surprised when Andy contacted me yesterday via his YellowBrick from offshore. He asked if I could post blogs during this passage since Liz, who would normally do so, is currently onboard. Recently having returned home to Taiwan after my own 5500 nm offshore voyage from Tahiti to Alaska, I’m happy to help. Here is the latest from Andy & the crew of Isbjorn, homeward bound to Annapolis from the cool fog of Nova Scotia.  — Rory

We’re off soundings now. A quick look at the chart shows Isbjorn just off the ...

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Articulating display pods tested: SeaView, ScanStrut & NavPod

8 Aug

Written by Ben Ellison on Aug 8, 2016 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Gizmo_Glass_Bridge_II_August_2016_cPanbo.jpgThe latest multifunction displays (MFDs) look smashing on Gizmo’s flybridge, I like to think. And it’s not just that Raymarine, Simrad, Furuno, and Garmin — that’s the lineup, left to right — have almost all further evolved the black glass style that promises to be with us for a long time. Those two articulating pods also contribute to the clean look, plus they make it easier for me to use the podded MFDs from different spots on the bridge. It’s time to discuss the SeaView, ScanStrut ...

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30-Hours Under Spinnaker

6 Aug

We last left off after a magical ‘recce’ past mythical Sable Island. While the scenery was dramatic and the mood aboard Isbjorn at perhaps an all-time high, the actual sailing left much to be desired. We’d been motoring for almost 24 hours through a very flat calm and very heavy fog. That all changed after our visit to Sable.

Click here to see a selection of photos on our Facebook page from Leg 8.

At 2100, David & I took over the watch from Mia. The sun was setting in the west, already over the horizon but the sky was ...

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2016 ROUND ISLAND REGATTA: Racing In No Wind At All

3 Aug

Melon seeds

This photo right here tells much of the tale of my bid to ascend the podium at this year’s Round Island Regatta (held last Saturday). Note first that I did not succeed in getting daughter Lucy to crew for me in our Melonseed skiff MiMi2 (seen on the right in this image), as she has come to question my abilities as a sailor after we shipped some water in a near-capsize while sailing MiMi2 in strong conditions a few weeks ago. Instead I lured my wife Clare aboard, whose faith in me remains unshaken. Note next there was another Melonseed ...

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RIP one of sailing’s best

2 Aug
RIP Derek Hatfield
Sailors around the world, especially those from the short-handed sailing community, lost a great friend and sailor when the Canadian solo sailor Derek Hatfield died suddenly this past weekend. Derek was a very close friend of mine and his death is a sudden and tragic loss. I was lucky enough to ghost write a memoir for him and I know about his life as a RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) before he chucked it all in in search of a career as a solo sailor. I knew of the drug busts that he carried out in the ...
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Florida ICW Cruising: It’s Really Hot

2 Aug

It’s hot out here! Imagine that – Florida in the summer!

We spent almost a week anchored north of the Las Olas Bridge in Fort Lauderdale. Rachel’s Aunt took delivery of our sailrite binimi kit and brought it with her when she came over one night for dinner (thanks Stacie)! We spent the next 3 days building the frame, patterning the binimi, and sewing the thing up. It turned out fantastic and now we have a refuge from the unrelenting sun during the day.

We got in contact with Pam Wall during our stay in Fort Lauderdale and ended up ...

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Testing Furuno DRS4D-NXT solid-state Doppler radome, “Radar Redefined” most definitely

2 Aug

Written by Ben Ellison on Aug 2, 2016 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub


After many hours testing a NXT radome on Gizmo in often busy Maine waters, I believe that Furuno’s bold “Radar Redefined” claim is completely justified. This radar is so smart that it makes sense to run it in broad daylight. Brightly highlighting the one vessel (above) moving toward me in Camden Harbor’s forest of moored and moving boats is just one example of its highly automated and intelligent features. I fear that many readers will suffer radar jealousy as I detail what I’ve seen so far, ...

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Ocean Sailing Forum Toronto

1 Aug

Click here for direct download link.

Episode 156 is another World Cruising Club ‘Ocean Sailing Forum,’ this one recorded back in January at the Toronto International Boat Show. In the Forum, I moderated a panel of experienced ocean sailors including Les Suter, who you’ll recall from episode 97, Toronto native Colin Kilgour, Sheryl Shard of the Distant Shores TV show, Caribbean 1500 and ARC Europe vets Joy & Ian Winterborn, and finally, drumroll please, Mia Karlsson! I give a thorough introduction to who all of the panelists are in the actual episode. Towards the last third, there is also a ...

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An Afternoon ‘Recce’ to Mythical Sable Island

1 Aug

“It’s like hearing about this legendary place, and not totally trusting that it’s really there. Then when you see it for yourself, and it really does exist, what a cool feeling!”

Those were Mia’s excited words this evening as Isbjorn ghosted along the beach just off Sable Island, that mythical sand spit at the confluence of the Gulf Stream and Labrador currents, 150 miles from mainland Nova Scotia. Even the Sailing Directions, normally straight and to the point, reserve a bit of hyperbole for the place. After explaining how the wild horses that Sable is known for got here in ...

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