Some light holiday reading?

15 Dec

It’s rare that I use this blog to self-promote – but today I make an exception…:)  I have been writing the Great Circle Sails blog for a number of years and it has been gratifying to see how the readership has steadily grown and now numbers close to 5,000 subscribers. At least that’s the number on the mailing list. Who knows how many people actually read what I write? In any event I wanted to let you know that I have also written a number of books and the two that I am most proud of are my memoirs.
Grabbing
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In the Eye of the Depression

15 Dec

Last night we endured the warm front and strong winds of this depression. The barograph plummeted, the wind got up to 35-40 knots. We started with 3 reefs in the mainsail and the staysail. At 35 knots, our sail charts say that the staysail is still ok, but borderline. So to save the sail for the rest of the race, we went with the storm jib.

Earlier in the day, I had rigged the storm jib, and hoisted it to make sure everything was led properly. But then I lowered it and put it back in its deck bag. At ...

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Chapter 7 – The Devil is in the details – Part 1

14 Dec
Chapter 7 is close-up look at the individual parts of a sail. We will examine all the bits and pieces that go into making a good sail from whether you should add a foam luff and sunshield to a headsail or have full length battens in your mainsail. Understanding the make-up of your sails is key to getting the most use and performance out of them.
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Iceberg Watch

14 Dec

After the big 2 hour sail change effort last evening, I zipped myself into the 20° F / -6.6° C sleeping bag, and had several hour long sleeps through the night. I got up to look around a few times, but only did minor trimming of the sails.

We continue east, toward the northern end of the Kerguelen Shelf. When we get there, likely about dinnertime tonight, we’ll probably bear off and head a little East Southeast, just depending on the latest weather forecasts, to try to be in the least wind, and least headwind, area that we can find ...

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Pushing East

13 Dec

We are pushing very hard to get east across the top of the Kerguelen Shelf before the big depression gets here in 36 hours. Our plan is to then head southeast to get to where the strong winds will be at least less as the center of the depression passes over us. The Shelf is an area where it is more shallow, and so the waves will build up bigger there. If we can get across and then get into deeper water it will help.

We have never gone this fast. We hope that everything holds together. We are within ...

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Shore Power Cord Economics

13 Dec

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Unfortunately, as in the photo above, the connectors on shore power cords often get toasty. It always seems to happen on the neutral connector (white wire in the US system) and I don’t know why. Maybe the electrons get all gummed up and dirty from being on your filthy boat, then get stuck on the way off?

Sometimes it happens on the male side too, and the guts of the shore power inlet have to be replaced:
IMG_2490

At any rate, a burned/melted shore power cord is bad, and should be repaired, but therein lies the rub. The new connector for ...

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172: Recycled: Don Street 2013

13 Dec



I’ve called a lot of people ‘legendary’ on the podcast, but Don Street truly fits the bill. Now deep into his 80s, he’s seen & done it all. He’s been instrumental in creating modern cruising as we know it. Street pioneered cruising the Caribbean on his engineless yawl Iolaire, and to this day continues updating charts of the region. He helped design the Caribbean’s first charter yacht, the CSY 44 and was ousted from Grenada during the US invasion. And the list goes on. Don told me these stories & many more in person a few years back.

For show ...

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A Very Cold Night

12 Dec

Yesterday I was happy to make a nice repair on the hydrogenerator leg pull down rope. But it was a bit scary. The hydrogenerator is like a reverse outboard that you put in the water and it generates electricity for the batteries. I couldn’t reach the leg from deck, but we have 2 hatches in the stern where I might, if I opened one and leaned out as far as I could, reach the leg. I would only have to get at it for a minute or two. The risk was that a big wave crest into the stern of ...

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How to fit a 64’4″ rig under a 64′ bridge

12 Dec

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We’re never going down the Intracoastal Waterway, I said. We’re too tall for the ICW, I said. Totem’s rig is about 68’ over the water, when everything is attached. The ICW is sprinkled with bridges; many of them open, quite a few do not. The controlling height over water for those fixed bridges is 65’ (and, there’s a 64’er in there just for fun). Totem doesn’t fit, but that’s fine, we’d rather sail anyway. Besides being more fun than motoring, it’s faster. We’d get to Charleston in two and a half days going offshore; motoring down the ICW takes a ...

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Extra: Chart Table Tour

12 Dec

Ever wonder what the chart table looks like, on an Open 60, that racing in the Vendée Globe? Skipper Rich Wilson gives you a tour of some of the instruments that are critical for his navigation, communication, and maneuvering, while sailing around the world.

 

 

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