“Hey! It’s been super windy with big seas! The real deal!”

8 Nov

This blog has nothing to do with politics. We’re just all curious on the big day today!

0545. I’m taking my first solo watch of the trip. Typically I don’t stand watches – rather, our crew pair up, Mia takes a solo watch & I’m on-call, the crew doing three-on, six-off rotations. Tom, though, is majorly seasick and hasn’t taken a watch since Day 1. For a while Ed & David and Mia & Bruce did 4-on, 4-off, but it’s finally calmed down a bit so they’re getting a needed break.

We predicted it’d be gnarly out here for the ...

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What Is It?

8 Nov


I was working on a boat in a dry storage area in San Leandro, California, when I saw the boat above. What this strange aperture in its side? On closer inspection the outside of the aperture has fixed vents, made out of plywood:

This outside part does not rotate. In the middle is a galvanized steel pipe, which is designed to rotate, as it is supported by several carrier bearings athwartships:

But on the other side of the boat this axle just sticks out an inch through another hole in the topside, with nothing like the contraption on the starboard ...

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WOW – A Glen-L Riviera

7 Nov
WOW - Glen L Riviera

By Mike Barnard

Epoxyworks 43 Cover Large

Cover Photo: WOW, a 20′ Glen-L Rivieria built by Mark Bronkalla

In June of 2000, Mark Bronkalla launched his nearly complete but unnamed boat. The boat turned heads wherever Mark took it and the reaction from bystanders was a universal “WOW.” This is how the beautiful home built 20 foot Glen-L Riviera got its name.

Mark had never built a boat before, and found lackluster information from first-time boat builders like himself. Websites or blogs with good information tended to end once the structure was built. Mark used his background in woodworking, marketing and computer science to ...

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Departure & First Night

7 Nov

What a 36 hours it has been! We arrived at Great American IV in the dark, anticipating heavy traffic, and downloaded a weather GRIB file for analysis of our route. Then our friends arrived and the emotions started flowing. Too many hugs and handshakes to report, and then, 0954, our slot for departure, and off we went down the canal, with an estimated 300,000 cheering, cheering, cheering, wishing every skipper well.

How many tears flowed in the fleet? A lot I’m sure. And then, suddenly you have to sail the monster boat around the world, alone, a big task, but ...

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Caribbean 1500: Isbjorn to Sojourner

6 Nov

Hey Everyone! Liz here! Andy, Mia, and Dennis are on their way to Tortola in the Caribbean 1500 (as you may have heard). This is the first time Andy, Mia, & Dennis have done a rally on different boats! Here is an email from Isbjorn to Sojourner!

Howdy boys! How’s life on Sojourner? Pretty nice night last night, eh? We motored for like three hours around sunset, then set the pole and started sailing again, and have been doing so ever since. Gybed the whole rig over this morning, so we’re on port tack now, and expect to be for ...

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Distance is relative: upriver to Washington DC

5 Nov

Family walking by Capitol building

You’re going to Washington DC with your boat? You know that’s going to take days, right? It’s really far away!

We heard this from nearly every individual around Annapolis that we told of our plans to take Totem up the Potomac. From Annapolis, it’s about four days of motoring (if you’re lucky, some sailing).  I’m sure that once upon a time, when our cruising life was contained in long weekends or vacation trips, we would have regarded the time it takes to go south in the Chesapeake Bay, and then north again, as “really far” too.


Our bigger issue ...

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2016 VENDEE GLOBE: A Mob Scene and Then Some

4 Nov

Vendee dock

About 16 years ago I wrote a story for SAIL Magazine about sailing in the Sydney-Hobart Race and dropped a line about having died and gone to heaven, as at last I’d found a place where ocean sailing was considered a top-tier sport. Well, this week it’s like I’ve died all over again and heaven is even grander than before. It’s also very French. Before I left to travel here to Les Sables d’Olonne I told some non-sailing friends of mine I was going to the start of the world’s most popular sailboat race. “Like the America’s Cup?” they asked. ...

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Back to Sea: Caribbean 1500 Passage South

4 Nov

Andy's Dad Dennis on Isbjorn during last year's landfall in Tortola.

Andy’s Dad Dennis on Isbjorn during last year’s landfall in Tortola.

A very short update – as of Saturday, November 5th, Isbjorn will be headed back to sea with the Caribbean 1500 rally! Follow our progress on 59-north.com/logbook, or view the entire fleet on carib1500.com. Our crew for this leg is Ed, Bruce, David, Tom, Mia & Andy!

See you in Tortola!...

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Richie Wilson and the Vendée Globe

4 Nov

I am going to start this with an anecdote, a really good one. It’s an old story but I have never found the right place for it so I am just going to chuck it out there before I segue into what I really wanted to write about. In the 1992-1993 Vendée Globe there was a French sailor by the name of Bertrand de Brock. He was sailing through some rough seas in the Southern Ocean with his boat slamming into a short chop when he suddenly hit a square wave. The boat crashed down into a trough and as ...
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Advanced Electrical: Galvanic Isolator Case Study

4 Nov

Once I was buying a galvanic isolator in a West Marine store, when a West Marine employee, of all people, was really insistent that I shouldn’t buy it: “Those things are a scam! They don’t do anything. I have it on good authority that they’re a big waste of money!” He had that look in his eye, so rather than get all marine electrician on his ass, I just said, “Well, my customer wants it, so I think I’ll buy it all the same.” There are a lot of misconceptions about the purpose of a galvanic isolator, and what it ...

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