August 21st

Fastnet Force 0

Posted by // August 21, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Rambler 88 drifting around Fastnet Rock

There is a single word that sums up the Fastnet Race currently underway from Cowes on the Isle of Wight, around the Fastnet Rock off the coast of Ireland, and back to Plymouth on the south coast of England, and that word is breathless. Yup breathless as in no wind and definitely not from too much breath taking action. The 90th anniversary of this iconic event has been a driftathon of gigantic proportions, an epic event of just about nothing.

The race attracted a record fleet of 356 boats among them some of the most spectacular sailboats afloat including the giant 40 meter Spindrift, the impressive Multi 80 Prince de Bretagne as well as a couple of notable monohulls including the VPLP100 Comanche, the Farr100 Leopard and Rambler 88, big guns all.
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August 20th

Written by Ben Ellison on Aug 20, 2015 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Allied_42_Furly_B_cPanbo.jpgFull disclosure: a major motivation for this entry is to help sell my old friend Joe McCarty’s boat by describing how well he rebuilt it, particularly in terms of reliable systems. The Furly B is being brokered by Robinhood Marine, where Joe was general manager for 20 years, and I had a good look at her just before the Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors Show opened last Friday. The visit confirmed what I pretty much already knew; Joe bought an excellent old boat and he made her better than new.…

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August 19th

It’s a long way to Nuuk

Posted by // August 19, 2015 // COMMENT (1 Comment)

Fort Ross anchorage

After the excitement of having reached the Eastern Arctic, we were rewarded by a quiet night at anchor. But the euphoria was soon dampened by the prospect of the 1200 miles long passage to Nuuk, the capital of Greenland. As I knew from last year, we could expect both strong winds and flat calms in the area ahead of us.

In due course we had both.

Jimmy, Dunbar, Martin and Chris at Fort Ross

Before we left Fort Ross, we went ashore to explore this remote location, once a trading station of the Hudson’s Bay Company.

Two of the original cabins have survived and are still in good order.…

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August 18th

MAINE COAST CRUISE: Up and Down the Damariscotta River

Posted by // August 18, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Lunacy under sail

During our “adult cruise” (i.e., sans offspring) last summer, Clare and I harbored wild ambitions of ascending the Damariscotta River, but suffered a lack of breeze (and an intolerance of motoring) so settled instead for a perambulation about Knubble Bay and the lower reaches of the Sheepscot River. This summer, having once more disposed of children, I was determined to try again, and we were fortunately favored with some brisk wind early on.

This was last Tuesday. The cruise actually began the day before, when we departed Portland late Monday afternoon, at which point our sole goal was to a) get as far east as possible in the few hours we had; and b) spend the night somewhere not too far north, so as to get back in open water as quickly as possible the following day.…

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August 18th

Indian Ocean cruising bloggers

Posted by // August 18, 2015 // COMMENT (1 Comment)

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Delos Totem Chagos 640

I love sharing our experiences sailing across the Indian Ocean. Along the way from Malaysia to South Africa, we’re hanging out with some other really terrific bloggers. I want to give a shoutout to a number of them for additional views into the places we’ve been visiting: they are a mix of thoughtful perspectives, good writing, lush photographs, cool videos, or just plain fun.


Towards the end of our month in Chagos, we met the crew of Shakespeare. The four French women on this speedy 47’ sloop boat are doing a seven month loop of the Indian Ocean from their home on Reunion.…

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August 17th

Capt. Jan Miles

Posted by // August 17, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Episode 116 is one of the best yet! Yan Miles, captain of the tall ship ‘Pride of Baltimore II’ is full of stories, and boy can he tell them! Yan and Andy spoke from the captain’s quarters onboard the ‘Pride’ itself, docked in Annapolis at City Dock. He has been involved with the ‘Pride’ since it’s inception in the 1980s. Yan tells the story of how he got involved in sailing, worked his way up in the private and classic yachting scene, the story of the ‘Pride’s’ inception, the first ‘Pride’s’ tragic sinking, the building of the second ‘Pride’ and what it’s like barreling down the Bay during the Schooner Race and overtaking the schooner Woodwind, which Andy was aboard!…

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August 17th

Thank you!

Posted by // August 17, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Sunset 16 August

In the last two days I have received many messages of congratulations for Aventura and her crew’s successful voyage. I want to thank all of you who have written, as well as those who have accompanied me on this exciting adventure.

Dawn 17 August

As the sun set last night at 2143 local time we still had some scattered ice about. But it was all gone by the time it rose again at 0145 this morning. The nights are still short here at 74 degrees north but they start getting longer and darker as we make our way south.…

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August 17th

Pilot Line autopilot, unfinished business

Posted by // August 17, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)


Written by Ben Ellison on Aug 17, 2015 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Pilot_Line_autopilot_patent_aPanbo.jpgI hesitate to write about a marine technology that isn’t an actual product yet, especially when I don’t understand it! However, there may be a story here worth telling. At the end of his career, a very experienced engineer came up with what he believes to be a superior autopilot technology, but it will never become available to boaters unless someone new carries the project forward…

Pilot_Line_autopilot_claims_aPanbo.jpgI first heard about Pilot Line a few years ago when Will Pease and his family hired a guy quite experienced in the current marine electronics industry to market Pease’s 2012 patent.…

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August 16th

Southbound from Seychelles

Posted by // August 16, 2015 // COMMENT (1 Comment)

seychelles sunset

Finally (FINALLY) we can leave: all the packages we’ve been waiting for are on board, after 18 bus rides and enough face time to be on a first-name basis with clerks in the post office, officials in the Seychelles Revenue Commission, EVEN a bus driver (total count: 18 bus rides). Clearance could have been done in ~24 hours, but took three days… because, like receiving packages, working with officialdom on formalities was an extended reminder of the importance of patience as painfully layered bureaucracy and island time combined to make every step take significantly longer than necessary.

I’m not complaining. OK, not THAT much.…

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August 15th

A Happy Anniversary

Posted by // August 15, 2015 // COMMENT (4 Comments)

Aventura route 2015

Exactly one year ago, on 15 August 2014, I was forced to take the painful decision to abandon my attempt to complete a transit of the Northwest Passage, and turn around. The central section of the Northwest Passage is accessible by one of two gateways: Peel Sound and Bellot Strait.

This time last year both were still blocked by ice and although one or the other may have opened later in the season, the prospect of being forced to spend the winter in the Arctic convinced me to give up… and hope that I would be luckier next time.…

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