New route for the Volvo Ocean Race

29 Jun
There are going to be more days like this in the next Volvo Ocean Race
I was lucky enough to race around the world in the Whitbread Round the World Race  back in the days when the world was flat (except around the edges) and we had wine with dinner every night. Yes, and we slept in cabins, not on cots. This was in the 80’s back when boats were unwieldy and surfing down a Southern Ocean wave at 20 knots felt like riding the six-o-clock train into Shanghai; noisy, scary and  never quite sure that we would come out ...
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Gizmo 2016, Pettit Hydrocoat Eco round 2 and Gadget redo

28 Jun

Written by Ben Ellison on Jun 28, 2016 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Gizmo_2016_Pettit_HydroCoat_Eco_2_cPanbo.jpg“You’re pretty late, aren’t you? I heard that a lot recently! There are many reasons for Gizmo’s late launch last week — travel, getting old, boatyard miscommunications, etc. — but perhaps the most interesting one is what it took to properly retest Pettit Hydrocoat Eco bottom paint. Modern anti-fouling paint can be more of a technology than I realized and I’ll also have to admit to some classic boat owner denial. Plus, I’d like to show off some improvements to the good tender Gadget

HydroCoat_Eco_n_Prop_Zinc_18_months_wet_n_hauled_4.jpgYou ...

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After years as nomads, returning to the USA

28 Jun

1 anchored fishers island

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Dun colored cliffs on the back side of Block Island emerged from a hazy marine layer: our first sight of land as we approached New England. With each mile, landmarks and islets and buoys along the way tickled old memories of these waters where Jamie grew up racing, and where we met. Names remembered, but now unfamiliar enough they take a few beats to put into context. What’s the best channel east of Fishers Island? How close are the rocks off that point? What Jamie could have navigated blindfolded in years gone by needed careful chart references as we pointed ...

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Chapter 4 – A Primer on Panel Layouts – Part 2

27 Jun
In Part 2 of Chapter 4 – A Primer on Panel Layouts – we will look at radial sails and how laminated fabric is used to build a much better engineered sail. At the end of this blog is a link to subscribe so that you get all posts and can educate yourself on the subject of sails and sailmaking. There is also a great free gift when you subscribe. Thanks for reading.

Radial Sails
While cross-cut sails were built from woven Dacron, laminated fabrics allowed sailmakers to build both cross-cut ...
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The Truth About Watermaker Membranes…

24 Jun

IMG_1994
…is that they’ve gotten pretty cheap.

In not-too-distant past replacing a single membrane on a small watermaker was a $600-$800 hit. Now, as with so many other things, you can go online and buy a membrane for $150-$220. And it doesn’t matter whether you’re replacing a 20-inch membrane or a 40-inch – the two most common sizes – the price is the same.

Before I go any farther, when a watermaker is performing poorly it is seldom the membrane, but the membrane is the first thing people want to blame. You must first ensure that everything else is within spec ...

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Who Sails ARC DelMarVa & Why?

24 Jun

Family boats. Fathers & sons. Friends. Folks out for a weeklong summer adventure, and those looking to go further afield. Lots of people join ARC DelMarVa and for lots of different reasons. Here’s a few of the 2016 fleet’s stories.

SuChing – Tayana 55

SuChing is the largest yacht in this year’s ARC DelMarVa fleet. At 55 feet, she dwarfs many of the other boats. 

SuChing’s owner Susan bought the boat new from the factory in Taiwan where she was originally built. Susan was aboard for part of the voyage back to the US with her first husband, so has ...

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Thoughts On Leaving

23 Jun

puertobelo_panama

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We hoist the dingy onto the deck and separate the two halves, nest them together and lash it amidships. Each of us knows the procedure by heart at this point – there’s no point in talking. Our thoughts lay to the north and in the future. The routine of departure settles upon the boat as the sun sets in the west. Always a contemplative time – the night before setting out on a voyage on the open ocean. No matter how well you hedge against the unknown, the sea is an expanse of wilderness that can never quite ...

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ARC DelMarVa Fleet Headed Offshore

22 Jun

Sojourner departs Portsmouth in the pre-dawn darkness, bound offshore for Cape May.

Sojourner departs Portsmouth in the pre-dawn darkness, bound offshore for Cape May.

It was a nighttime mission for the ARC DelMarVa fleet leaving the dock this morning. Just before the dawn, 22 boats of the 24 boat fleet fired up their diesels and prepared to cast off the dock lines to head out on this, the most exciting leg of the ARC DelMarVa. As of 0830 Wednesday morning, the fleet is strung-out at the mouth of the Chesapeake, poised to head through the Bay Bridge-Tunnel and out into the Atlantic. Scarecrow made their arrival into Cape May early today after ...

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DeLorme inReach gets weather & goes to Cuba

21 Jun

Written by Ben Ellison on Jun 21, 2016 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

DeLorme_inReach_weather_feature_cPanbo.jpgI’ve long felt that the DeLorme inReach is a valuable safety and communications tool for boats that sometimes go beyond reliable cellular (and/or VHF) contact with friends, families and rescue centers. But one gripe for skippers hoping to use an inReach as their only offshore communications device was the lack of weather forecasting. There were some necessarily crude third party solutions, but now DeLorme itself is offering easy-to-use and understand forecasts, both marine and terrestrial. I’ve just been testing this and many other inReach features in ...

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