March 28th

The $500 day trip

Posted by // March 28, 2015 // COMMENT (3 Comments)

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DSC_5256Experiencing some of Sri Lanka’s ancient cities was one of our goals during a month-long stay. Two of the outstanding examples are within day-trip distance of Trincomalee: the 9th century city of Polonnuwara, and the 1500+ year old fortress of Sigiriya. If you’re a product of the 80s (*cough*), you know these ancient sites- trust me! If your memory needs a jog, watch the Duran Duran video for “Save a Prayer.”


Climbing to our view of Sigiriya

So while we waited to embark on more extended touring, we organized a jaunt to the sites with two other boats, looking for good company…and, looking to mitigate one of the few really unpleasant things about Sri Lanka: how surprisingly expensive many things are, and the huge markup for foreign visitors.…

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March 27th

Florida Anchoring Battle – We Need YOU to Speak Out Please

Posted by // March 27, 2015 // COMMENT (1 Comment)

Time to fight for anchoring rights!
Fellow boaters – I promised I would keep you up to date, and aware of what you can do to fight back against the unjust and unfair attempts in Florida to restrict anchoring rights. Well, the time is now!
I’ve just been speaking to SSCA not five minutes ago. Scott Berg, and Phil Johnson are in Tallahassee, fighting for us on the Florida Anchoring issue. They cannot do this on their own – they need ALL of us, and they have asked me to speak to you directly.
Everyone – right now please – send a letter regarding your opposition to the Senate anchoring bill.…
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March 26th


Posted by // March 26, 2015 // COMMENT (5 Comments)

Aventura aerial

O how fickle the Wind Gods! A couple of weeks ago while aboard Lunacy with the family in St. Martin you’ll recall we had far too much of it. Wind, I mean. Then just two days after returning from that venture, I sallied forth to join Jimmy Cornell aboard his new Garcia Exploration 45 Aventura (same name as his last three boats) to crew on a 1,300-mile passage across the entire breadth of the Caribbean during prime-time tradewind season, and what do I see on prognosticatory WX charts while waiting to board a flight to Florida? A most emphatic lack of wind, 10 knots or less, all the way from the shoal-spangled Bahamas to the chicken-neck isthmus of Central America.…

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March 25th

Written by Ben Ellison on Mar 25, 2015 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Madman_ap_control_for_Raymarine_cPanbo.jpgSome people think it’s crazy to run an autopilot with a smartphone, so maybe it’s fitting that a company called Madman Marine is the first to make this possible with Raymarine pilots. But then again Madman’s AP-WRC3iF comes with two fobs that run on a separate wireless frequency and that can also make course changes, initiate autotacks and change pilot modes. And it only costs about $235 U.S. plus shipping from Australia (with the fob-only model at about $190)…


What Madman has done is to figure out the autopilot commands in regular SeaTalk so that the installation only requires 12v power and a three wire ST connection to a (hopefully) spare ST terminal block on an older Ray course computer like the STx000 or SPX series.…

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March 24th

Sri Lanka’s wild side

Posted by // March 24, 2015 // COMMENT (2 Comments)



Traveling Sri Lanka’s interior meant some long days on the road (or railway tracks). Between that, and the likelihood of many “educational” stops, we thought the best way to end our adventures on a high note with potentially templed-out kids was to splurge on a safari. This isn’t a big country- the land area is similar to West Virginia- but it has the greatest biodiversity density in Asia, including the truly exotic, the beautiful and endangered, and a high proportion of endemic species. We especially hoped for a glimpse of the endangered Sri Lankan leopard. So we took a slightly circuitous path back to Trinco via Wilpattu National Park


This strategy succeeded beyond our expectations: in hindsight, the safari stands out as a family favorite.…

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March 23rd

Victor Hempel

Posted by // March 23, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Paul Exner talks to single-handed sailor Victor Hempel aboard Paul’s boat ‘Solstice’ in Tortola. Paul and Andy also announce their partnership between 59º North & Modern Geographic to offer sailing expeditions aboard the Swan 48 ‘Isbjorn’ and Paul’s ‘Solstice.’

Paul will be regularly co-hosting ’59º North’ during the normal Tuesday releases. What do you think of the new co-host?

Want to go ocean sailing with Andy or Paul? Book a berth on the Swan 48 ‘Isbjorn’ or the Cape George 31 ‘Solstice’ at and

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March 23rd

Exploring Sri Lanka

Posted by // March 23, 2015 // COMMENT (8 Comments)



It’s very rare for us leave Totem to travel inland in countries we visit. This is mostly a function of money: we can’t afford the higher costs of living off the boat with restaurant meals and accommodations. It’s costly to buy the peace of mind of putting Totem in a marina instead of leaving her anchored out. It’s also about security. What if something happened when we were far away? Nobody looks after her like we do. So the decision to spend eight days traveling around the interior of Sri Lanka was a big deal. But our anchorage in Trinco was very well protected in this season, and the Utopia crew kept an eye on her for us.…

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March 17th

New Island Formation In Tonga

Posted by // March 17, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)


The formation of this new island, Hunga Tonga, is getting worldwide publicity. In the diptych above you can see two unconnected islands in the image to the left, now nearly joined by the new eruption in the image on the right. If you haven’t seen the photos taken by GP Orbassano, an Italian expat who lives in Nuku’alofa, you can see them here.

All along I thought this eruption/new island must be the same as one that made the rounds years ago. In 2006 a cruiser, Fredrik Fransson of s/v Maiken, motored through a sea of floating pumice, then came upon the eruption, and the nascent island.…

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March 16th


Posted by // March 16, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

You know that intro music you love from the podcast? It’s Blaggards! Andy spoke with lead singer and co-founder of the band, Patrick Devlin just in time for St. Paddy’s Day. Patrick’s story is a classic one of following your passion into a passable career, and he’s had remarkable success with it. Patrick talks about not drinking, starting a band, U2, growing up in Ireland, sadness in his family, touring and playing all-day shows on St. Paddy’s Day! Check out Blaggards music at or on…

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