March 3rd

Chapter 2 – Aramids and Liquid Crystal Polymers

Posted by // March 3, 2016 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

In this chapter 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 don’t see paneled Kevlar sails much anymore
A Look at all the Fibers used to Make Sails – Part 5 – Aramids and Liquid Crystal Polymers


Kevlar used to be the grand-daddy of racing fabrics.…
Read More
March 3rd

There’s this boat: Nalukai

Posted by // March 3, 2016 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

, ,

catamaran opti silhouette with clouds on the ocean

Every now and then I write about a boat that strikes us. They represent a spectrum of styles (the classic plastic Mary Powell; the rocket boat Relapse; the traditional teak Kalalau; bamboo schooner Coracle) but all have a common thread: they probably aren’t the boats you’ll see promoted at a boat show or glossy mag, and they’re all solid cruising boats.


Raja Ampat’s Wayag Archipelago, Indonesia

Our experience with Nalukai goes back to late 2012, when we met each other the way many families afloat do: boats who know you’ll be in the same area start telling each boat about the other, knowing how much kid boats value like company. …

Read More
March 2nd

OPB CARIBBEAN CRUISING: Circumnavigating Martinique

Posted by // March 2, 2016 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Lifted cat

Phase Two my OPB (Other People’s Boats) cruising season (completed this past Saturday) began at the Dream Yacht Charter base in Le Marin on Martinique, where I encountered a few random nautical oddities, including this very interesting technique, employed by a rival charter outfit, for hauling out a catamaran without actually hauling it out. Is this freaking ingenious, or what?

All you need to try this at home is a super-huge inflatable fender and a small Shopvac. While studying this scene I was of course pondering the various things that might go wrong. For example: giant fender suddenly pops out from under boat (you can see there is a light retaining line taken to a winch that presumably is intended to prevent this, but I doubt it would actually be up to the job).…

Read More
March 1st

Solid state radar #2: the Doppler effect

Posted by // March 1, 2016 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

, ,

Written by Ben Ellison on Mar 1, 2016 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Furuno_NXT_demo_w_Eric_Kunz_cPanbo.jpgWhy is this guy grinning? At the end of the solid state radar #1 entry, I suggested that the Doppler target speed discrimination feature just introduced by Furuno and Garmin is truly game changing. Now I’ll try to break that down. While Doppler effect is a seasoned and fairly well known concept, I suspect that its sudden and intriguing arrival to marine electronics is going to effect change…

AN-APN-81_Doppler_Radar_Navigation_system,_General_Precision_Laboratory,_mid_1950s_-_National_Electronics_Museum_-_DSC00313.JPGIf you’re not a pilot or meteorologist or similar, you too may appreciate the Doppler radar pages in Wikipedia.…

Read More
March 1st

Mummy remains

This is an incredibly grim photograph, but it belies an end-of-life scenario more than a few cruising sailors might actually welcome. These are believed to be the mortal remains of a German cruiser, Manfred Bajorat, age 59, whose boat, a Jeanneau Sun Magic 44 named Sayo, was found about 40 miles off the Philippine coastal town of Barobo by two fishermen over the weekend. The current best guess on a cause of death is a sudden heart attack, and so far no one has any clear idea when this might have happened. According to published reports, Bajorat was last heard from either one or seven years ago, take your pick.…

Read More
March 1st

Racing the Caribbean 600

Posted by // March 1, 2016 // COMMENT (1 Comment)


This episode is sponsored by Forbes Yachts. Visit to find your dream bluewater boat.

Episode #139, if not THE BEST one yet, it’s certainly the one I’m most proud of, for a number of reasons. It’s the highly-produced, onboard audio, musically-enhanced storytelling podcast of Isbjorn’s crew racing in the RORC Caribbean 600, only last week. Behind skipper Paul Exner, the crew of Dan, Charly, Vanessa, Keith, Ken & Michael and I charged around this most grueling of racecourses. We were in third place until I noticed a structural failure in the rudder bearings, forcing us to retire.

This is the story, narrated by Andy and interspersed with live audio from onboard the boat during the race and music by Blaggards throughout.…

Read More
February 29th

Weird just gets weirder

Posted by // February 29, 2016 // COMMENT (5 Comments)

The yacht Sayo being recovered
Things just keep getting stranger and stranger. Last week the hull of the IMOCA 60 Hugo Boss was discovered washed up on a stony beach in Tierra del Fuego after being abandoned a decade earlier and some 20,000 kilometers away. It was eerie to view pictures of the boat and to think what it must have gone through out on the  open ocean. But this latest story takes weird one step deeper into weirdness.

This past weekend two fishermen found an abandoned boat in the seas off Surigao del Sur province which is about 50 miles off the Philippines.
Read More
February 29th

Kicking out to the Atlantic: Caribbean or bust!

Posted by // February 29, 2016 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

, , ,

Pacific, 2010. Indian, 2015. 2016 is the year our little crew points across the Atlantic, and we couldn’t be more excited about it!

Yesterday morning we left Namibia, bound for the island St. Helena – about 1,200 miles mostly to the west, and thankfully a little to the north as well (we’re ready to shed our fleece and get closer to the equator again!)…no, this isn’t being posted from our Iridium, I’m writing as we prepare to raise the anchor and will schedule with the last bit of our internet service. Ahead of these mostly-offline-miles, there’s a refresh of look and content on…

Read More
February 27th

I’m going to write a recap of the RORC Caribbean 600 – which I’ll say now, without a doubt, was one of the absolute highlights of my sailing career, even despite having to retire before the finish – but first, I’ll get straight to the higher point I want to make with this blog post. As of this morning, it’s official that Isbjorn will be back at the starting line of the 600 in 2017 in Antigua, hell bent on not only finishing the course, but winning our class. We’re changing our passage schedule to do it, and I can’t wait. 

What follows is how we got to that point, the status of Isbjorn’s rudder, what the next two weeks in Antigua will look like and how awesome and supportive our crew and fans are.…

Read More
February 27th

Cruising Namibia’s Skeleton Coast

Posted by // February 27, 2016 // COMMENT (4 Comments)

, , , , ,


It’s only a couple of hundred miles from Lüderitz to Walvis Bay, but we broke the trip up to soak in some of the remote landscape.



What started out cool and gray warmed up to… cool and sunny. At least it was warm enough to take off foulies, which Jamie and I wore even on sunny days coming out of Cape Town. We had some truly spectacular sailing along the way.


There’s a shocking contrast along this coastline from the apparently barren desert, and abundance of creatures thriving alongside in the cold, nutrient-rich waters. A  lot of “did you see that?” and “HERE THEY COME!” on Totem.…

Read More