Crashing, Crashing, Crashing

25 Jan

We’re making some progress north, or, we’re trying to. We just got clobbered through the night, with 30 knots of wind, upwind, into the big building seas, and crashing and crashing and crashing. This morning, we’re at the edge of a big low pressure system. We had gale warnings yesterday and we’re a little bit just past north of the area for the gale, but it doesn’t make any difference. This stream of wind continues very far north, and is strong. What we’re trying to do, degree by degree, is move to the west.

We’re hard on the wind, steering ...

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Guns and cruising

25 Jan

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“What kind of guns do you have on board?” This was the opening question from a new acquaintance at a cocktail party. Loaded with assumptions from someone who doesn’t know us, and who has no intention of traveling the way we do. Walking down the dock the other day, a woman was overheard talking about practicing at the range because they were going to Mexico, and she’d need her gun there. It’s a big scary world out there, gotta protect yourself!

Or…it isn’t, and you just have to ditch the paranoia and think about it a little. The reality of ...

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HOG TIDE Deck Repair

25 Jan
HOG TIDE's transom was repaired with WEST SYSTEM Epoxy

By Greg Bull

Last summer Gougeon Brothers, Inc. partnered with Sail Magazine to produce a series of short videos showing how to repair a 1983 J22 sailboat that was brought into the Tech shop. The boat, named Hog Tide, needed the types of repairs we wanted to cover. The videos can be found at both westsystem.com and sailmagazine.com.

Hog Tide’s deck was spongy around the chain plates, so I decided to fix the core in the deck. Because the main bulkhead was being replaced, it made it easier to do the deck repair from the underside. I started by ...

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Shredding the Planet

25 Jan
Jean-Pierre Dick crosses the finish line in France

There is too much awesome sailing going on out there to not write about it. Just moments ago Jean-Pierre Dick crossed the finish line in Les Sable D’Olonne, France to take fourth in the Vendée Globe behind Jérémie Beyou who finished third. In a couple of hours my old mate Jann Elias will finish and shortly thereafter Jean le Cam will cross the line. It has been hand-to-hand combat for these three sailors who battled it all the way up the Atlantic from Cape Horn. These three skippers will have completed their
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Another Gale Warning

24 Jan

January 23, 2017: Sunset

A good night last night as well. I was able to get the sails set well, and the boat went upwind well. We were not going fast enough to catch up, but the boat was sailing well, and sometimes that must be reward enough.

I slept a variety of naps, getting up as usual about very hour to take a look. My best time for sleeping is in the early morning, 0400-0800 approximately. When I awoke to a different motion of the boat, I knew I had to get up, but I just wanted to cry ...

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A Much Better Night

23 Jan

A much better night than the previous one. We found a slot going northeast on our targeted course, at high speed and easy on the boat. Genoa and full mainsail, then solent and one reef, pulled us along at 12 knots, surging to 14 or 15 knots, and in the middle of the night, we had bioluminescence in the wake, not bright as it can be, but there nonetheless. The sea temperature in today’s daily data may explain it – 78 degrees F. Swimming temperature!

It all came to a screeching halt this morning though, as I knew it would. ...

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PanPan CrewWatcher, smart MOB beacon for smartphones, plus Sea Tags & Fell MOB+

23 Jan

Written by Ben Ellison on Jan 23, 2017 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

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Does it make sense to use smartphones and tablets for a man overboard alarm and recovery system? I can testify that the first reaction of Sail magazine’s Pittman Innovation Award judges was skepticism. Nonetheless we found PanPan’s CrewWatcher so well thought out and potentially so useful that we gave it an award in the safety category, and then an independent second set of judges picked it for the Overall Winner. And truth be told, the finished CrewWatcher personal beacons and apps don’t actually exist yet!

man_overboard_courtesy_Sail_magazine_Steve_Sanford_aPanbo.jpg“Everyone’s ...

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Exhausted & Demoralized

22 Jan

A very bad night last night. Our weather GRIB files, 2 different models, predicted big areas of 20 knots or 25 knots of wind from the north. Instead we had 35 knots of north, steady, up to 38, which created a big wave situation, with cresting seas 12-15′ high. This went on most of the afternoon. And then suddenly, nothing. The wind dropped to zero in just a few minutes. We knew we were approaching a front (even though the special fronts section of our weather website didn’t show it). The boat, with full keel, and 4 ballast tanks full, ...

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Making Good Miles

21 Jan

Back into the fog last night, solent and full main, and finally solent and one reef as the breeze increased. We have a radar but it seems to not be very effective, we have a radar detector, which is effective, but it only alerts when another vessel has their radar on, and we have AIS. Still, bit unnerving sailing at 12 knots without knowing exactly what may/may not be around.

So making good miles, and now have another strong wind session. We have a strange beep at the chart table that only occurs from time to time. I think it’s ...

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