December 15th


Posted by // December 15, 2015 // COMMENT (1 Comment)

Part of my ‘job’ which requires Internet access (and part of the reason we’ve stayed so long in San Juan, as I wrote yesterday), is managing the finances of the very small sailing career we’ve created under the guise of 59º North, Ltd. Since our night-ops mission to depart San Juan got turned back, I spent some time today back at the Hilton hotel lobby going over our accounting.

Most people flat refuse to speak about money, even (nay, especially) among friends. I am not one of them. I only wish that this sort of information had been available to me as we set up the new business.…

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December 14th

ocean friends

It was a snap decision, but pointing to the US in 2016 suddenly made sense (the kicker was learning of people we love with poor health). From that one follow a myriad of other decisions. Here’s are some clarifications, and what we know, and what’s keeping me up at night.

We aren’t going to stop cruising.

We are going home, but we’re still going to be cruising. There are no plans to fix ourselves in a place and change our way of life. We’re expecting to be in the USA for about six months—basically, the duration of hurricane season—then point towards the Bahamas and Caribbean islands for winter 2016/17.…

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December 14th

Global Match Race update

Posted by // December 14, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

The mighty Spindrift
The two super trimarans vying for the Jules Verne Trophy have already passed the halfway mark as they continue to set a blistering pace chasing the ghost ship Banque Populaire V around the world. They have covered over 14,000 nautical miles at an average speed approaching 28 knots. As I write this both IDEC Sport skippered by Francis Joyon and Spindrift skippered by Yann Guichard are both averaging speeds in the low 30s and both boats have just entered the Pacific after passing the under New Zealand over the weekend. It’s been an amazing match race since the start and just 28 miles separate the boats with Spindrift slightly ahead.
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December 13th

Culebra & the Wild West of the Spanish Virgins

Posted by // December 13, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Sunday morning. ‘God’s day’ as I like to joke with Mia. Means I can’t do any work today! That recent Mr. Money Mustache blog I referenced on Facebook the other day has inspired me to do more of this kind of writing – pursuing creativity, as he put it, rather than thinking of it as work. I’m on my second cup of coffee and beginning that pursuit.

We’ve been anchored in Ensenada Honda now, the humongous bay that frames the eponymous town on Culebra. We sailed in, as we’re wont to do. It’s a huge harbor, but there is one small bit at the entrance where you have to sneak between the edges of two reefs.…

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December 12th

Monocoque Wood-fiber Boatbuilding (ie. How To Make a Paper Canoe!)

Posted by // December 12, 2015 // COMMENT (1 Comment)

A paper boat built by the Free Seas collective in Brooklyn, NY (Photo credit: Free Seas/Mare Liberum)

The first paper boats were built by George and Elisha Waters of Troy, NY in the 1860’s, an idea born after George made himself a paper-mache mask for a fancy dress party. By the 1870’s the Waters’ paper boats were the weapon of choice for serious rowing racers due to their relatively great strength and light weight vs. the standard cedar construction of the day. Call it the carbon-fiber of the 1870’s. There were expedition models too, including one which a man named Natty Bishop famously rowed and sailed from Troy to the Cedar Keys in the Gulf of Mexico.…

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December 11th

Written by Ben Ellison on Dec 11, 2015 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Spinlock_Lume-on_DAME_winner_cPanbo.jpgIt’s easy to understand and appreciate Spinlock’s new Lume-On lifejacket illumination lights. The $20 pair should stick easily to the underside of any inflatable bladder (as long as you can get access) and then use the bladder’s translucence to nicely diffuse their flashing LEDs if and when they are water activated. It seems a small cost in money, weight, and hassle for an added aid to person overboard recovery, and thus Lume-On won a 2015 DAME Award in the safety category. It also shared the overall DAME award (the Grand DAME?)…

Gillxxx_All_Speed_Stabilisation_cPanbo.jpgThe other overall DAME award went to this Electric Stabilising Fin & Interceptor System designed by Humphree.…

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December 11th

Chapter 2 – Looking at fibers

Posted by // December 11, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

The first three blogs introduced you to the process of buying sails. Now in Chapter 2 we will look at the very basis of sails, the individual yarns that go into making sailcloth. 
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.
You can download this blog as a pdf here.

Raw fibers on a loom being woven into sailcloth
A Look at all the Fibers used to Make Sails – Part 1
In your mind’s eye, try to imagine the wind flowing across your sails.

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December 10th

Isbjorn Upwind: Making Miracles in Culebra

Posted by // December 10, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)


There is a strange disconnect between listening to dark, brooding Scandinavian electronic music and sitting in a tropical anchorage surrounded by turquoise water, green palm trees and golden sand. I’m listening to Robyn & Royksopp as I write, a collaboration between Swedish pop queen Robyn and Norwegian electronic gurus Royksopp. This particular song, ‘Monument,’ is often played over the PA system as you board a flight on Norwegian Airlines. Super moody. But I like writing with loud music on in my headphones – it creates a sort of sensory deprivation that somehow lets me focus more on putting the words down.…

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December 10th

OYSTER TELLS ALL: Statement on Polina Star Keel Failure

Posted by // December 10, 2015 // COMMENT (2 Comments)

Grid damage

Yes, that headline is tongue-in-cheek. But just a little. That Oyster has made a public statement at all is to their credit. I cannot remember any other instance where a production builder has made any sort of substantive statement after a keel failure. This one is not as substantive as it could be, but they at least admit there is (or was) a “possible” production defect.

It is worth remembering that Oyster Marine is no longer owned by its founder Richard Matthews, who sold out to a fledgling private equity company for $50M+ British pounds back in 2008. I personally tend to doubt it is merely a coincidence that the company’s first known major production problem, after many decades of building boats, occurred after vampire capitalists took control.…

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December 9th

Remembering John Lennon

Posted by // December 9, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

John Lennon went sailing in 1980 (according to some recently discovered book). He sailed from Newport to Bermuda to try and cure his writers block. Apparently it worked. 

We mark the anniversary of his death with a lot of sorrow. He was shot 35 years ago yesterday.

I hope that you enjoyed this blog. I invite you to subscribe so that you will not miss a blog post. You will get a great free gift and weekly blogs about sails and sailmaking. Click the pic to subscribe.
Brian Hancock – owner Great Circle Sails
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