Tasks During the Calm

1 Feb

Yesterday was a very difficult day. From morning to nighttime, essentially zero wind, the boat going in circles, or at 2 knots if we had 2 knots of wind. I’d change from genoa to solent, and even to the staysail thinking that it might stand whereas the genoa and solent were too big for no wind.

Several times we’d get caught aback, and then, in no wind, have to somehow get the boat going in the right direction again. Many times we ended up going south. It was very discouraging. And it was blazingly hot, 98°F (36.6°C) in the cockpit,with ...

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177: Lin & Larry Pardey RECYCLED

31 Jan

Lin & Larry Pardey need no introduction. They’re cruising legends, inspiring generations of sailors to ‘go small, go simple, and go now.’ I first discovered them through books I found in my parent’s basement – indeed it was the Pardey’s that primarly inspired my mom and dad to first set off on their 32’ sloop for a winter in the Bahamas in 1979. Mia and I read their books in detail when preparing Arcturus for the Atlantic crossing we made in 2011. What follows is a ‘recycled’ chat about their cruising careers that I had with Lin & Larry back ...

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BE GOOD TOO REVISITED: The EPIRB Question, Why She Didn’t Sink, What Happened to Gunther, and a Shameless Book Plug

30 Jan

BGT abandoned

There has been much less furor online about the rediscovery of the Alpha 42 catamaran Be Good Too (hull no. 1) on a beach in Scotland than there was when we abandoned her three years ago. Which is a good thing for sure. I was disappointed to see, however, that Gregor Tarjan of Aeroyacht, formerly president of Alpha Yachts, has seized on the boat’s reappearance to again malign her crew. If you take a moment to read his full rant here, you’ll see his primary accusation, the “worst” thing that happened, was this: “The crew DID NOT leave ...

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Chapter 7 – The Devil is in the details – Part 2

30 Jan
Chapter 7 is close-up look at the individual parts of a sail. We will examine all the bits and pieces that go into making a good sail from whether you should add a foam luff and sunshield to a headsail or have full length battens in your mainsail. Understanding the make-up of your sails is key to getting the most use and performance out of them.


It used to be simple. In the
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30 Jan

Another challenging night, not as bad in terms of miles lost as the previous night where we went in circles essentially for 4 – 5 hours, but difficult nonetheless. This time the culprit was a line of clouds and intense rainstorms and massively shifting wind, both in direction and velocity.

Sunrise, January 29th

We could see the big rainstorms on the radar, coming for us. And with the night sky being clear yet moonless, we could see the clouds coming. Some might not have rain. But they would still have the big windshifts, and the drop in velocity from 10 ...

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Going in Circles

29 Jan

We are almost up to the latitude of Rio de Janeiro, which will be a good milestone. After we get there, we’ll have to go through a series of areas where there may be quite a few oil rigs. We have them marked out in a broad region on the chart, so will have to be on high alert for about 75 miles or so, south to north.

Making pretty good time, today, with the genoa and full mainsail. It’s a beautiful sailing day, which we had last night also, all the way up until we didn’t. In the early ...

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Sparkling Night Sky

28 Jan

It was promised in the brochure! And finally we had it! A sparkling night sky, no clouds for the first half, no moon either, so the stars were just leaping out at you. And the Milky Way looked like it had been painted with a giant white paint brush! Amazing… I got out my Star Book by H.A. Rey (yes, the Curious George author/illustrator) and found the Southern Cross plus Centaur, which has my two favorite Southern hemisphere stars – Alpha Centauri and Beta Centauri. I just love how they sound when you say their names.

We had smooth seas, ...

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Proper Nutrition & Hydration

27 Jan

Finally, the promised wind to get across the eastern part of this depression has arrived. The torrential downpours, and regular downpours, have been replaced by bright blue sky and blue seas.

Dragonfly, a long way from land

When the wind did not occur as forecast yesterday evening, I tried to make a fast sail change to the big genoa. Whenever one does something in haste, mistakes are likely to occur, and they did. First, I hoisted the sail around 2 pieces of shock cord that come from the daggerboard to the mast. Instead of lowering the sail after the arduous ...

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Eight Bells: Cartoonist Mike Peyton

27 Jan

Peyton drawing

I never met Mike Peyton, but I always wished I had. In my younger days I drew a lot of cartoons, and I also enjoyed sailing of course, and when I got older and somehow fashioned a career of sorts out of writing about boats I always thought it would be super-cool to draw cartoons about them too. The only guy I ever knew of who actually did that was Mike Peyton, who passed on last night at age 96. I knew his work mostly from the many issues of the British magazine Yachting Monthly that I devoured over the ...

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Slow Progress North

26 Jan

We’re about 900 miles east northeast of Buenos Aires, so we’re making slow progress north. We are trapped in a big depression, yet again. We keep finding the 35 knot, upwind parts of the South Atlantic. We bailed out last night into the center of it, just to get less wind, and try to make our way up the inside edge of it, a little bit. As the depression diminishes, we are hoping we don’t get overtaken by the very low wind in the center. We want to get to the 25 knot winds that we can use to get ...

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