Sailfeed
July 13th

Of course one of the greatest things about ocean voyaging is exploring your landfall! My dad and I used to wonder, especially after particularly challenging passages, if we did it for the sailing, or did it for the payoff at the other end. I’m still not sure there is a clear answer to that. It’s obvious a bit of both, and the challenge of getting to that far-off land under your own effort over such a comparatively long time is what makes it so cool, and so unique in our modern time. The average air traveler will never have any concept of how large the world actually is.…

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July 13th

The First Voyage of Isbjörn: Arrival in Canada!

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

I love sailing into a harbor, especially at night. Moitessier once wrote that he prefers sailing into a harbor at night because nobody is watching, and you don’t have to worry about folks thinking you’re showing off. Sometimes you are, of course, but to me, it’s more about the joy and challenge of coming in under sail than anything else.

Alas, it was a motorboat ride for the last 30 miles or so, the water so flat the stars reflected in it. One cool side effect of this was the incredible phosphorescence in the water – the wavelets coming off the bow were glowing brighter than I’d ever remembered seeing, the water just alight with the little sparks of plankton.…

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July 13th

The First Voyage of Isbjörn: Land Ho!

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Time Travel

Sailing from the hot & humid Chesapeake northeast past New England & on towards Canada has been exceptionally exciting in terms of the changing weather and the cooling water temps. We’re at sea now for almost five days. You could fly the route in a few hours, but experiencing the gradual change in climate as we cruise along at a jogging pace is what truly makes ocean voyaging a special thing. It really IS a long way from home when you realize how much the weather’s changed and watch it do so gradually. We’re not in Kansas anymore.

And the fog!…

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July 13th

The First Voyage of Isbjörn: Offshore (Eventually)

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

After the rescue, we continued motor boating for nearly the next 24 hours. Unlike the previous week on the DelMarVa rally, where we scooted out the Canal and down the Bay at a cool 8 knots, riding a fair tide the whole way, we bucked the tide this time, making only 4-4.5 knots under power nearly all the way to Cape May. When we did finally get within site of the ocean itself, the wind was on the nose and light.

We started tacking anyway, taking advantage of the calm seas to teach the gang how to sail by the telltales efficiently, and keep the boat moving to windward.…

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July 13th

The First Voyage of Isbjörn: A Rescue on the Chesapeake

Posted by // July 13, 2015 // COMMENT (2 Comments)

It was a mixed blessing that the wind was non-existent on that Sunday motoring up the Chesapeake. We still had myriad things to attend to onboard – lashing the dinghy down on the foredeck, putting the finishing touches on some preventer lines and spinnaker sheets, and other things, so the calm weather allowed for all that to get done.

A few miles north of the Bay Bridge, just south of Fairlee Creek, we heard a Mayday call on the VHF. I didn’t get all of it on the first listen, but when they announced their position, it was apparent with a quick glance on the GPS that we were only a mile north.…

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July 13th

The First Voyage of Isbjörn: Setting Forth

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

I’m writing this from the nav station on Isbjörn, laying alongside the fisherman’s wharf in Lunenburg. We just took on 221 liters of fuel from the truck that came by to fill us up. I was chatting up Jamie the driver and telling him about our trip.

“Do you know John Kretschmer?” he asked me, when I mentioned we were doing offshore passages. “Yeah, he’s been a mentor of mine!” I said.

“My brother Allen is on his way to Fortuna in Newfoundland to join John,” Jamie continued. “He was here last week, docked over by the Zwicker wharf and asked if I could come by and give him fuel.…

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July 10th

CRUISING SAILBOAT RIGS: Converting a Sloop to a Slutter

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

Sophie as cutter

I mentioned the concept of a “slutter,” a sloop that is converted to a cutter by adding a removable inner forestay, in my last post on this subject and thought I should expound a bit on the process of the conversion. It is a popular upgrade, particularly on bluewater boats, and of course being able to hoist a staysail can also be handy on a coastal boat. My old Golden Hind 31 Sophie was a sloop when I bought her, and I converted her to a cutter rig with a removable inner forestay, although she became a true cutter, as I also increased the height of the mast and added a bowsprit to enlarge the foretriangle.…

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July 10th

Boarding Bummer Off SoCal

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

Read here for this story from this month’s Latitude 38. It relates to my endless squawking about Coast Guard Boardings, but in this case there’s not much to be said or done: Someone crossing an international border (or its maritime equivalent) has no rights and is open to search. Even on land, the 100-mile border zone is called a “constitution-free zone.” However, on land U.S. Customs and Border Protection, who operate under many of the same laws and exceptions as the Coast Guard, seem to fall under a higher standard of courtesy and accountability, and a delay of five hours, during which the detainees weren’t allowed to use the bathroom, would be considered out of line.…

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July 9th

Boat Wiring: Distribution Panels and Circuit Protection

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

IMG_1594
The wiring phase of this project started with re-terminating cables and adding big fuses, then moved into battery switches and distribution. Now we’re into the final leg, which is the main distribution panel.

In the photo above you’ll see what I went with. Most distribution panels in the marine world use breakers, like this:
8084

That’s what I thought I was going to end up with, and the exact one above would have been just peachy, but I ended up going with glass fuses in fuse blocks for a few reasons. First, they’re way cheaper. Second, I’ve already got so many things aboard that take glass fuses that I’m pretty much stuck with them anyway.…

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July 9th

CruisingCartoonist

“How do you earn money while you’re cruising?” is one of the top ten questions I think I get about this life, and my friend Sarah has by FAR the coolest answer: she’s a cartoonist and can work online from anywhere that has internet, keeping her family happily on the move in their nomadic life. I’m a big fan of Sarah’s ‘toons (if you haven’t seen 12 Reasons Why I Love Living On A Boat, and then 10 of The Most Annoying Things About Living On A Boat, just click here and go read them now. I’ll wait. tap tap tappity tap…).…

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