June 17th

Paul Exner & Brian Duff

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

Paul Exner sits down with Brian Duff in Tortola. Brian’s old friends with both Paul & Andy. Brian started Southbound Rigging in Annapolis, MD a few years back, where Andy first started working as a rigger in 2009. Brian sold the shop to Mike Meer (who’s been on the podcast!) and sailed his Westsail 32 south to the BVI to start a new life as a boat broker. Paul of course lives in the BVI, and soon became friends with Brian. They chat on this episode about Brian’s work as a boat broker, his life as a rigger, how he moved south from Annapolis and his new venture as a restaurant owner at The Island Last Resort in Trellis Bay.…

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June 15th

Lessons learned at night, ‘Schooner Weather’ today

Posted by // June 15, 2015 // COMMENT (1 Comment)

Position: 39° 34’ N, 072° 11’ W

Mia has informed me that the last article I wrote about our little run-in with the Navy ship was shared something like 22 times on my Facebook page. Apparently it struck a cord with some people, so that’s cool. Given that, and having had time to think about what happened some more, I thought I’d type a little followup.

As I write it’s real ‘schooner weather’ outside today, blowing 25 from the south, grey all around and a steady rain falling on Blue Heron’s salt-caked deck. We’ve got full sail flying. Never waste a fair wind.…

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June 14th

Position: 37° 45’N, 069° 24’W

UPDATE Tuesday, June 23: To hear what Doug, the owner of the HR43, had to say about his experience from the story below, listen to him on the latest ’59º North’ podcast episode. Click here.


I was sleeping on the port settee, the first time since we started this trip back in NYC that we were on starboard tack and I wasn’t hanging in the lee cloth. So a nice cozy sleep, and I was out cold. We’d been motor sailing all night, and the wind was veering around from SW to an expected NE as we passed through a very weak cold front.…

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June 13th

Oh Dark Thirty

Posted by // June 13, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Saturday 2015.06.13
osition: 35° 28’N, 067° 50W

Photo by: Jen Lawinski

Photo by: Jen Lawinski

‘I went down to Captain Tony’s
To get out of the heat.
I heard a voice call out to me
Son come have a seat.
I had to search my memory
As I looked into those eyes.
Our lives change like the weather
But a legend never dies…’

That’s of course from Jimmy Buffett’s ‘Last Mango in Paris’ song. There’s a line later in there about ‘It was somewhere past dark-thirty…’, the inspiration for my coffee brand of course. And as I write this, the actual time of day (or night I suppose).…

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June 12th


Posted by // June 12, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

2015.06.11, 11.18PM
Position: 33° 19’ N  65° 33’ W

11:18pm. We’re back on NYC time since departing Bermuda this morning. After only one full day ashore, we’re back to sea again on Blue Heron for the return journey to the USA mainland. The short respite was pretty nice actually – not enough time to get fully acclimated to land life again, so we still have our sea-legs.

Jen left us in Bermuda to be replaced by her friend Alyce, who flew out on Monday and met us on arrival. Both girls went to college together and met Doug & Tasha, Blue’s owners, at a sailing class they all took together a few years back in NYC.…

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June 9th

Land Ho!

Posted by // June 9, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Tuesday June 9th, 2015. 06.00

Less than ten miles to Town Cut now and St George’s harbor. It’s the first real calm morning we’ve had the entire trip, or at least since turning the corner off Hatteras and aiming for Bermuda. We’re unfortunately motor boating this last home stretch. There is a boat behind us under spinnaker, part of the Bermuda 1-2 Race. He’s putting us to shame, and he’s sailing solo!

Yesterday the wind began to ease in the late afternoon. We hoisted our own spinnaker, yet another ‘simulation’ that went off without a hitch. The wind was a bit too strong and a bit too far forward to really sail it.…

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June 8th

Hank Schmitt

Posted by // June 8, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Hank and Andy go back several years, having continually bumped into each other in various landfalls around the US and Caribbean. Those of us who work in sailing full-time are few and far between, so it’s a small world. Andy sat down with Hank in Bermuda during the ARC Europe stopover and chatted for almost an hour and a half! Hank talked about his career working on offshore oil rigs, how he got into racing as a teenager (and lived a sailing bums life in the 70s), & how he started OPO and the NARC Rally. Towards the second half of the episode, Hank discusses candidly some scary stuff – the loss of a crew member in the NARC Rally in 2010, and the abandonment of the Alpha catamaran during an ill-fated delivery last January.…

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June 8th

Blue Heron – 2015.06.08

Posted by // June 8, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Monday morning 2015.06.08:
33° 34’N, 067° 08’ W


Last night was ROUGH! We’d expected the wind to clock more to the east and increase as the low moving offshore is interacting with the high behind it. Well, it did!

Yesterday afternoon Doug, Blue Heron’s owner, wanted to practice putting up the inner forestay and hoisting the staysail. A ‘simulation’ as he jokingly likes to call it (he’s already had several of these with the generator which has been acting up. It’s a 12-year old Panda model with over 16,000 hours on it! Yesterday it nearly caught fire, but that’s another story…).…

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June 8th

Blue Heron 2015.06.07 Update

Posted by // June 8, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Quick email from Andy this morning:

“We’re at 35° 08’N, 070° 00’ W as of 0400 Sunday morning. Flying along on a nice smooth reach at 7 knots, with another lightning show behind us. Really fantastic sailing since we turned towards Bermuda. -Andy”

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June 5th

The Weather Gods

Posted by // June 5, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Day 3. Indecision aboard Blue Heron, both from the weather and the crew. We were supposed to be sailing towards Bermuda – and I made it a point to emphasize ‘towards’ when explaining the route to the gang (an old sailors superstition – you never truly know where you’ll end up!). Now were 130 miles northeast of Hatteras and sailing southwest! So much for plans. It wasn’t the bananas – we got rid of then at the dock!

After sailing down from West Chester and through the East River and Hell Gate and Manhattan and all that, we got offshore around 3pm on Wednesday, immediately close hauled in an easterly breeze.…

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