Sublime Start to 2016 ARC DelMarVa

20 Jun

The starting gun fired at exactly 10:00 Eastern Time Sunday morning, the eve of the Summer Solstice, and 19 rally yachts took the start of ARC DelMarVa 2016. With light westerly winds, it was a mellow and easy start for the fleet of boats, many of whom had never sailed overnight before. Slice of Life, a Beneteau 45, was officially first over the starting line, with Su Ching, the big Tayana 55 – the largest boat in the fleet – over a few seconds early.

See photos from the start on the DelMarVa Facebook page by clicking here.

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Waiting On The Weather

20 Jun

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Every boat and crew has different thresholds for what they are willing to put up with. In my limited experience using GRIB files to plan voyages, I hope for the predicted winds and hedge against higher than predicted winds and seas. Even though I’m positive our boat can take just about anything, we voyage for the enjoyment of sailing. We don’t have to be anywhere at anytime. Its just not as fun to deal with 30kts and a large sea, we’ve done it – but I’d rather sit in port and drink cheap Panamanian beer. It’s important that I keep ...

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Back in Central America

18 Jun

rachel_hammock

Above all else, Panama has redefined the word “hot” for both Rachel and I. I’m not totally sure why I’m surprised though – it is Central America, its supposed to be sauna like! After a pretty decent flight (free booze on the plane), we touched down and caught a taxi to a hotel in downtown Panama City. The next morning we met our driver for the day outside the hotel. Rogelio worked for the Panama Canal Yacht Club for 20 some odd years before its sudden closure at the hands of the Port Authority. He now provides taxi and local ...

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Passage notes: Bermuda to Connecticut

17 Jun

1 sunset at sea“This is turning into an expensive passage.” Those were Jamie’s words to me after the latest breakdown on our third day at sea. A large block, used for the genoa sheet, had permanently parted ways with the track on deck.

The passage started benignly enough, once we got going. Although the weather watch to depart began the day we arrived in Bermuda, there were people to see and boat parts to fix, and a week felt sufficient. Plenty of time all around, really: there were three weeks before we needed to be in  Connecticut and our passage time, in good ...

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New Cooling System on Perkins 4.236

16 Jun

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This upgrade is common to all older Perkins diesels (the Perkins 4.108 is probably the most common Perkins found on boats). Bowman, the company that made the marinizing equipment for Perkins, has re-engineered things over the years, so that instead of having a combination header tank and heat exchanger on one part of the engine, and a water jacketed exhaust on another, they combine it all into a combination header tank/heat exchanger/exhaust manifold.

These engines were originally fitted with oil coolers. Now in some cases they say you can do away with the oil cooler unless your engine is run ...

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The high cost of mid-ocean rescues

16 Jun
Locomotion – now at the bottom of the ocean
The sinking of the yacht Locomotion and the subsequent rescue of the crew has me thinking about the cost of mid-ocean rescues and who should pay for them. Earlier this week  Locomotion, an Andrews 45, was enroute from Hawaii to California when the boat struck something and started to take on water. According to the crew they were unable to keep up with the flooding and so they took to the liferaft and activated their EPIRB. Because they were relatively close to land a Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter was
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Useful Tech to Plan & Organize Ocean Sailing Passages

15 Jun

A screenshot of the Master Planning Calendar for #isbjornsailing passages!

A screenshot of the Master Planning Calendar for #isbjornsailing passages!

If you listened to the business update podcast yesterday, you’ll know I’ve been spending a lot of the time doing ‘behind-the-scenes’ work on the business for the past week or so while here in Sweden. I love doing this kind of stuff. Figuring out financials, making crew organization easier, planning future passages, all that stuff. 

I also love finding ways to make all that work easier and more automated. I’ll admit I’m a bit of a start-up junkie, and listen to Tim Ferriss’ podcast and Alex Bloomberg’s ‘Startup’ podcasts all ...

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Gone Sailing

15 Jun

As far as I’m concerned, June is the best month of the season—with the usual caveats, familiar to all who sail in the Northeast. First, the boat must have been launched on time, which presupposes a mild winter; all it takes is the usual January/February freeze followed by a couple of late snowstorms to throw everything into disarray. Watching your launch date come and go when there is still a couple of feet of snow in the boatyard is a mortifying, but sadly not uncommon, scenario. Worse still is the knowledge that you’ve not even had a chance to paint ...

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RACING SCHOONERS: Sterling Hayden Versus Bluenose

14 Jun

Bluenose and Thebaud

Back in the 1930s the next most important match-racing event after the America’s Cup didn’t involve yachts but fishing vessels. The Sir Thomas Lipton International Fishing Challenge Cup had only a brief tenure in the annals of competitive sailing, but it commanded major media attention at the time. Effectively a grudge match sailed between Canadian and American Grand Banks fishermen, the event was run was just three times, and each time featured the same two competitors, the famed Canadian schooner Bluenose (on the right in the image up top) and the American schooner Gertrude L. Thebaud (on the left).

Bluenose...

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Chapter 4 – A Primer on Panel Layouts – Part 1

14 Jun


Aerodynamic shape and engineering
There are two equally important aspects to sail design: aerodynamic shape and engineering. Aerodynamic shape refers to the curved foil that the sail will present when it is flying under certain conditions. Engineering refers to the various fabrics and fibers that will be used in building this foil and the precise manner in which they will be put together. In fact, these two aspects of sail design go hand in hand since a perfect shape is useless if it distorts when a load comes on the sail. Similarly, an over-engineered sail is equally useless if its ...
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