The current (November 2013) issue of Yachting World contains a nice feature story I wrote about all the sailing I did on Lunacy last winter in the Spanish Virgin Islands. The theory, of course, is that this will inspire people to sail there this winter. When preparing the story, I therefore made a point of including an accurate map showing which parts of Vieques (a former U.S. Navy gunnery range) are still closed to the public due to the danger of unexploded ordinance. Believe it or not, I did have some trouble coming by this information when I was in the Spanish Virgins, and I impressed upon David Glenn, editor-in-chief at YW, that anyone visiting the area should find it very useful.…
Since the World Cruising Club took over management of the Caribbean 1500, one of the main goals was to get more involved in the local communities that the rally calls home, both here in the USA and in the Caribbean. 2013 marks the first time the event is being held in Portsmouth, Virginia on the USA end, and thus far it’s been both challenging and very rewarding working with the City and the people and businesses that call it home.
I first discovered Portsmouth in 2005 when I sailed aboard the schooner Woodwind in the annual Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race.…
Written by Ben Ellison on Oct 30, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub
It’s quite unusual to illustrate a Panbo entry with an advertisement, but I think this one has editorial content. Isn’t it great to see three separate companies state in print that their electronics will work together to accomplish a complex task? Won’t that make it harder for any one of the three customer service departments to point the blame for operational problems elsewhere? Plus, the task in this case — to put the control and output of yacht cameras onto the Internet so owners or crew can access it anywhere — is pretty impressive.…
The last ten days have been a lush departure from normal life on Totem. There may not be a great deal of predictability in our lives, but there is a rhythm. That rhythm was happily interrupted when my parents came to visit.
This was a big event, because it’s the first time they’ve come to Totem since we left Bainbridge Island more than five years ago. The kids last saw their grandparents when we drove up from Mexico to their summer home in Michigan, a retreat from the fiery hurricane season in 2009 and a chance for a grand road trip to visit friends and family before sailing away from North America.…
October was Visitor Month aboard the good ship Papillon. And it was really fun. But I am really tired. Having friends and family around is always a treat, but it also carries a responsibility. Not only are we trying to entertain the people we care about in our piece of floating aluminum, we are also trying to reassure them that a) we aren’t crazy for living on a boat, and b) see point a. This isn’t inherently difficult – anyone willing to visit us has either already wrapped their head around the peculiarities of onboard life, or they like us (read: the kids) enough to overlook the less comfortable bits.…
A few notes from my journal:
10/16 N 36°13.89′ W 73°44.29 - Day two of our offshore passage dawns bright, with clearing skies. From Long Island Sound till yesterday we had a single day with sunshine, a week of overcast skies and drizzle. There were a couple good days of sailing in the Chesapeake but they were blustery fall days: chilly, a bit rough. Yesterday was absolutely perfect. We set out from Norfolk, past hulking Navy warships and submarines and as we pushed out the channel the sun broke through the clouds and remained there, at last. By afternoon we were running six knots on a broad reach.…
Written by Ben Ellison on Oct 28, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub
The test scene is admittedly messy, but having the Wilson AG Pro Quint cell booster out at the helm made it easier to read and photograph. I could also monitor the screen on the Medusa Power Analyzer that the 12v feed is running through (the Quint pulled about 11 watts with two of its amps turned up to about 70db and the other two at about 50 and 55). The best part, though, is how real the testing was. Gizmo is anchored in a wicked cell hole that also happens to be beautiful (mapped here via the test DeLorme InReach SE mounted to the windshield) and only about 11 miles from Camden.…
This is a fantastic feature from our friends Eric and Pat Fulmer from s/v Cutter Loose, participants in the 2012 edition of the Caribbean 1500 last year. We just received this email this morning from Eric, offering to share their experiences in the 1500 and cruising down-island last winter. This is the story of their 195-day cruise. See their full blog – and lots more photos – at cutterloose.com.
Aboard American Airlines Boeing 737 flight 2154 bound from Grenada to Miami on May 8, 2013, the Caribbean Sea is a beautiful sight to behold. In the morning sun, the view from 36,000 feet captures the eloquent contrast between the aquamarine-colored reefs and the darker blue hues of deeper water.…
A common boatyard misdeed is to install a thru-hull like this,
All images courtesy of Groco
then screw on a ball valve like this,
with an appropriate tailpiece connected to some item of plumbing below the waterline. This is done all the time, but it’s bad practice for several reasons:
1. The threads don’t match. I’m not the first to write about this: If you go here, on Compass Marine’s excellent technical blog, he has even cut a fitting in half to show the difference in the threads.
The thru-hull has straight threads (NPS, National Pipe Straight) and the ball valve has pipe threads (NPT, National Pipe Taper).…
Andy giving the C1500 0900 morning broadcast at Ocean Marine.
Good morning from the Carib 1500 office at Ocean Marine Yacht Center! 2013 marks the first year the event’s 24-year history that it has started in Portsmouth, VA – the city, marina and local businesses in town have thus far given us a remarkable welcome.
The office opened yesterday at 0900. Ocean Marine cleared out an office for us upstairs in their main building, and kept weekday staff on hand all day Saturday to help with the first day. Ten yachts checked in and received their welcome packs, and safety inspections began.…