DRAKEN HARALD HARFAGRE: Viking Raid on Great Lakes Repelled by Ruthless Bureaucrats

18 Jul

Vikings at Detroit

Legend has it the first time Vikings came to North America they were driven away by irate natives, called skrælings by the Norse. Now more than 1,000 years later it’s the U.S. Coast Guard who are handling the job, wielding regulations rather than weapons. This time the Viking raiders, who’ve come from Norway on the 115-foot longship Draken Harald Hårfagre, got as far as the Great Lakes (see image up top, which depicts them cruising past Detroit) before they were stopped in their tracks by bureaucrats demanding they pay up to $400-an-hour in pilot fees.

The non-profit organization ...

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Fast forward three decades

18 Jul


It’s been 30 years since I sailed around the world aboard Drum in the Whitbread Round the World Race.  I was a baby faced 28 year old with long blond hair, a puka bead necklace and not a care in the world. I was looking for adventure and found it one night very deep in the Southern Ocean. We were caught with too much sail up as a front approached and the boat was careening down the face of a massive breaker. There was a yell from the helmsman and the rest of our watch bolted forward to drag in ...
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NOAA introduces Zones of Confidence; mind your ZOC

18 Jul

Written by Ben Ellison on Jul 18, 2016 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

NOAA_chart_18622_w_new_ZOC_table_cPanbo.jpg

Yikes! Did you know that some areas of the U.S. coastal chart you’re using may only show land and bottom features accurate in position to +/- 1,600 feet, and you shouldn’t be confident about the depth soundings either? NOAA has a new way to show boaters how old and inaccurate much of its survey data is, and it will surely give pause to those who pay attention. The concept is called Zones of Confidence and it’s slowly rolling out as diagrams on paper-style raster charts ...

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Isbjorn Offshore: Newfoundland-Ho! Rounding Cape Race

18 Jul

The rain poured down this morning. Lightning struck in the distance and the thunder rolled on and on through the fog, a deep groaning like a distant freight train, at once a little frightening, but more so overwhelmingly beautiful

The rain poured down this morning. Lightning struck in the distance and the thunder rolled on and on through the fog, a deep groaning like a distant freight train, at once a little frightening, but more so overwhelmingly beautiful

The rain poured down this morning. Lightning struck in the distance and the thunder rolled on and on through the fog, a deep groaning like a distant freight train, at once a little frightening, but more so overwhelmingly beautiful. We’re rounding Cape Race as I write, only a few miles offshore, though we don’t yet have land in sight. Birds surround ...

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Isbjorn Offshore: Fog-Bound for Newfoundland

16 Jul

Well that was the right decision. Sitting out Friday in Louisboug seemed such a tough call while we were still at sea. When I wrote that last blog post about our diversion, the weather was perfect - Isbjorn was broad reaching in 15-20 knots of wind from the SW and a gentle swell lifted the boat as it glided past.

Well that was the right decision. Sitting out Friday in Louisboug seemed such a tough call while we were still at sea. When I wrote that last blog post about our diversion, the weather was perfect – Isbjorn was broad reaching in 15-20 knots of wind from the SW and a gentle swell lifted the boat as it glided past.

Well that was the right decision. Sitting out Friday in Louisboug seemed such a tough call while we were still at sea. When I wrote that last blog post about our diversion, the weather was perfect – Isbjorn was broad ...

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2016 ROUND ISLAND REGATTA: Tickets On Sale Now!

15 Jul

Lucy and I

The time has come for Lucy and I to wreak our revenge. We were quite competitive in our Melonseed Skiff in last year’s Round Island Regatta (see image up top), but were denied our rightful second-place finish (not that there was a trophy to win or anything) by the incompetent race committee, who sent us round the course four times and our competitors only three. (In spite of this handicap we still finished fourth!) Yes, I know that anarchic management has historically been a hallmark feature of the RIR, but it seems those days are coming to an end. The ...

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The Wind is Still Free

15 Jul
Beautiful sails on Velsheda – photo credit Marc Heupers


Here is something that all sailors should know. The science behind how a boat sails to windward. Yup, we all know that boats can sail close to the wind but very few actually know how it all works both above and below the waterline.


Well here is my gift to you. I came across this great little video that explains it all in very simple terms. It’s worth ten minutes of your time to watch the video. If you understand the forces that are at work you will be a much better
...
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Isbjorn Offshore: Tough Decisions, Heavy Weather

14 Jul

Isbjorn is bound for Louisbourg, a small former French outpost on the tip of Cape Breton Island to wait out tomorrow’s forecast heavy weather. At one point in history, in the 1700’s, Louisbourg was the 4th busiest port city in North America after New York, Boston & Philly. That’s something. We plan to go back to sea in the wee hours of Saturday morning, after the worst of the weather has blown itself out but while there is still a favorable breeze. Here’s what WRI had to say:

“Latest observations indicate winds have veered to SW’ly along E’rn Nova Scotia, ...

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Passage From Providencia, CO to Key West, FL

12 Jul

kissing on satori

We left Providencia, Columbia, which is located off the Nicaraguan coast on July 2nd. We hoped to arrive in Key West, Florida on July 8th. The window planning is tricky with this passage, trying to time a decent window to get across the most vigorous of the trade winds that set up north of Providencia while avoiding undue amounts of tropical moisture and also transiting while no tropical development is expected is no small order. For this entire trip north we’ve been consulting with WRI (Weather Routing Incorporated). The stakes are too high to misread internet weather information and put ...

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Appendicitis Offshore

11 Jul

Andy gets appendicitis on Isbjorn’s Leg 6, from Annapolis to Lunenburg. They were 90 miles south of Newport when the symptoms got bad enough to warrant a diversion. Here’s the story of what happened onboard, how the surgery went, where the business stands and how Andy made it back onto the boat only 12 hours after entering the hospital....

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