August 4th

Written by Ben Ellison on Aug 4, 2015 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Bliss_anchoring_in_Pulpit_Harbor_cPanbo.jpgBehold the 39-foot trawler Bliss about to anchor behind Gizmo in Pulpit Harbor. She’s a custom Jay Benford design (based on a Cascade sailboat hull) that already turns heads, but note the cabin top presence of both Inmarsat FB150 and Iridium Pilot antennas (the latter formerly known as OpenPort, and tested for Panbo on VOJ). The serious satellite communications — and there are more devices less visible — are because owner/operators Luis and Kim Soltero have spent much of their thirty year marriage creating a remarkable portfolio of satcom services and devices, and they’re still at it.…

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August 4th

Einstein on the Water

Posted by // August 4, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)


We can all be grateful that Einstein was a better physicist than he was a sailor

We can all be grateful that Einstein was a better physicist than he was a sailor.

While the academic community celebrates the 100th anniversary of Albert Einstein’s presentation of his theory of relativity in August 1914, the sailing community should not forget that the great scientist was one of us.
Although the wild-haired mathematician could not swim, he had a great love for the water. He learned to sail on a Swiss lake as a student in the 1890s, and in 1929, on his 50th birthday, a group of wealthy admirers presented him with a custom-built sailboat. Tümmler, German for porpoise, was a centerboarder with a kick-up rudder and (at Einstein’s insistence) a Bermudian rig rather than the more usual gaff.…

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August 4th

Getting mail in Seychelles

Posted by // August 4, 2015 // COMMENT (5 Comments)

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Cruising is often described as routine maintenance in exotic locations, and like many turns of phrase is well-rooted in common experience. We’ve been mired in more of the fix/repair end of the spectrum lately, an occasionally more frustrating twist. While parts or consumables needed for maintenance can be pretty well anticipated, you can’t carry every spare part you might need for repairs.

The first hurdle to fix our watermaker, a Spectra Ventura, was just figuring out what was wrong: we had it serviced at the certified Spectra service center back in January, but had been producing rapidly saltier water. JT Halden, who runs a marine service business in Florida, was a rock star: I can’t recommend him enough (and am so grateful to Patricia for the introduction!).…

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August 3rd

Paul Exner on Heavy Weather Sailing

Posted by // August 3, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Paul Exner speaks at the World Cruising Club’s ‘Ocean Sailing Seminar’ in Annapolis, Maryland in March on what it’s like to sail offshore in strong conditions. Paul touches on heavy weather in theory and mixes in his own experiences from his varied career as an ocean sailing skipper.…

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August 3rd

New Steering Wheel Adventure: Part 3

Posted by // August 3, 2015 // COMMENT (3 Comments)

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After many deviations, diversions, and delays, the steering wheel project is finally finished (see part 1 and part 2). What started as buying a new steering wheel on Ebay turned into rebuilding the entire teak console, re-wiring much of the boat, servicing and adjusting much of the steering system (installation of the new wheel changed the geometry of things just a tad), building a new instrument panel, and all new senders on the engine to go with the new instruments.

I’ve blogged about instruments, senders, and instrument panels before (see Gauge of Confusion), but now we’ll go in a little deeper.…

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August 3rd


There’s a rumor going around that the only reason I’ve been looking to sell Mimi, my beloved Drascombe Dabber, is because she’s not competitive in the Round Island Regatta, an anarchic free-for-all involving small sailing and paddle/rowing vessels that is convened each summer on the back channel here in Portsmouth. And yes, it is true we did very poorly in Mimi last year. And I will confess it had crossed my mind that the Melonseed skiff I had set my heart on as Mimi’s successor might just get me on to the podium.

And, in fact, it almost turned out that way.…

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August 1st

How use less internet data

Posted by // August 1, 2015 // COMMENT (4 Comments)


Computer lessons

Before we went cruising, we took unlimited internet access for granted. Traveling full time means relying on pre-paid plans for internet, which is almost always metered data, and that data can be really expensive sometimes. [above: Jamie gives lessons on a new computer to islanders in Papua New Guinea. Computers and the internet are part of life, even in the disconnected Hermit islands]

It’s been a somewhat painful stretch in Seychelles as we’ve spent a multiple of our usual monthly expenditure for typical activity online. Hearing the frustrations of a my friend Melissa (check out her blog: Little Cunning Plan!), who was dinged with the painful cost of international access when she and Mike sailed their beautiful Olympic 47 ketch, Galapagos north of the border to cruise in Canada recently, pushed me to organize a few notes on how we deal with reducing data to keep expenses down.…

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July 30th

The Outlaw Sea in NYTimes

Posted by // July 30, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Simon Ager/Sea Shepherd Global via NYTimes

Has anyone been following this series in the New York Times about the ‘Outlaw Ocean‘? It’s some of the best reporting I’ve ever read about the oceans by one of the last few papers which has the budget for this kind of reporting. The series reports on smuggling, illegal fishing, abusive working conditions and forced labor, even slavery and murder and paints a damning picture of wide scale abuses in shipping and fishing industries. It’s also full of riveting stories, like the chase of the Thunder, where a vigilante conservation organization ended the career of one of the world’s most notorious poaching vessels.…

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July 30th

Golden Globe Race revisited

Posted by // July 30, 2015 // COMMENT (1 Comment)


Bernard Moitessier was one of the competitors in the first Golden Globe race. Nearing the finish he decided that he didn’t want his time at sea to end so he turned around and sailed to Tahiti.

Has some of the true adventure been lost from modern day ocean racing? My first long offshore race was the Parmelia Race, a 13,000 mile jaunt from England to Australia. Nothing compares with rolling through the Southern Ocean trying to snatch a sun sight after five days of grey skies knowing that you are fast approaching the coast of Western Australia, but not really sure where you are.

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July 29th

OPEN 60 DELIVERY: From Portland to Marblehead with Rich Wilson

Posted by // July 29, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

On deck GA4

I narrowly missed my last chance to sail on an Open 60, way back in 2001 at the Heineken Regatta, when Josh Hall and Gartmore turned up a last-minute no-show due to family issues, so I was pretty psyched about getting aboard Great American IV (ex-Mirabaud) with her skipper Rich Wilson late last week. This was his first outing on the boat this summer, a delivery jaunt from Maine Yacht Center in Portland to her home mooring in Marblehead, a distance of about 100 miles. Also onboard was Jonathan Green, a local Massachusetts racing sailor (on the left in the image up top) who is assisting Rich in tuning up the boat for next year’s Vendeé Globe start in France.…

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