Andy & Mia

What Inspires You? -or- Reflecting on the past eight years

10 Dec

"Man is not a camel – he must drink."

That's a sign I saw in a bar in New Zealand in 2004. It's also one of the very first entries in my journal from that trip, the first real length journey I've ever been on. I started reading it today on the plane ride to St. Lucia to work for the ARC Rally finish because I'm doing a 'Voice of Experience' article for SAIL and wanted to refresh my memory of that anchor debacle in Endeavor Inlet.

All it has done thus far is put a yearning in my soul ...

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ARC 2012 – 40 foot boat is first arrival after 12 day crossing

7 Dec

I just got news from the Rally Office in St. Lucia that Vaquita, a Class 40, skipper by my friend and former Volvo Ocean Race skipper Andreas Hanakamp, has just crossed the finishing line of this year's ARC, a full 20+ hours ahead of the next boat (a Swan 80 no less!). I'm thrilled by this news! Mia and I met Andreas last year at the ARC and became quick friends with he and his partner Nina over a couple of rum drinks at the marina in Rodney Bay. We head down there on Sunday to work for the ...

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Ranting about safety at sea

7 Dec

I feel like I'm decidedly in the minority when it comes to the modern ocean sailing game. My boat is from 1966, my GPS a handheld unit from 1993, we've got paper charts onboard and no electrics whatsoever besides the LED lighting. Hank-on headsails (we carry five of them), tiller steering and a 35-gallon water tank. The engine only works to charge the batteries and get us in and out of the dock.

But I feel safe aboard Arcturus. ...

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Home from the Caribbean – 60 miles on the bike, and one felled tree

27 Nov

It's way past fall now, and my sailing days are over for a while. Mia and I got back from Tortola last Sunday after an awesome week running the Caribbean 1500 cruising rally finale. We had a blast at the prize giving ceremony, the highlight of which was when Martin, skipper of the Australian-flagged JAC,  came onstage to present the 'Best Bruise' award (quick aside: Mia had created an Excel list of prize distributions before the event. I was reading down the list preparing my speech, and came across the 'Best Bruce' prize. Excuse me? I thought. Ironically, there was ...

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The Caribbean 1500 and the people that make it special

13 Nov

My favorite thing about big sailing events – whether boat shows, rendezvous', pot-lucks or rallies – used to be the boats. I love nothing more than walking the docks and looking at boats, and I like them all. Some more than others to be sure (give me an old classic over a modern plastic bottle anyway), but all of them nonetheless. 

There's just something about being around boats that lights me up inside. Looking at the subtle differences in the way they're rigged. How some catamarans have spreaders on the mast and some don't. How clever little design touches like ...

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Caribbean 1500: The Decision to Depart Early

5 Nov

I'm writing this from my hotel room in Hampton on Sunday night, the day after the Caribbean 1500 fleet went to sea (the day it was supposed to go to sea). I need to confirm this with Steve Black, but I think it's the first time in the event's history that it actually left the Chesapeake early. 

Fall on the US East Coast is always a difficult time for weather forecasting, and this year was perhaps the best (or worst, depending on your perspective) example of that. The challenge in planning an offshore voyage this time of year is the

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The Impossibilty of Weather Forecasting

5 Nov

Note: this is re-printed from the March/April 2012 issue of Yacht Essentials Magazine. Thanks to Chris Kennan and Brad Kovach for permission!

“This is complicated.” That is what scientists in the 1960s and 1970s decided a simple graph depicting a chaotic curve – the ‘Lorenz Attractor’ – was trying to say, without having to speak a word.

Fifty years ago, long-range weather forecasting was already a scientific impossibility, and Edward Lorenz proved it. In 1962, Lorenz published his definitive work on meteorology in Volume 20 of the Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, a paper made public to little fanfare

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Morning Training and Hurricane Sandy at the Caribbean 1500

27 Oct

Mia and I just got back from a short run this morning (in the dark). I'm annoyed that the clocks won't change until the day of the start – November 4 – because otherwise the sun would be up when we're out carousing around Hampton.

We set off towards Hampton University, over the bridge and down the walkway onto campus grounds, around 6:30 and it was pitch black. Hurricane Sandy is on the way, and you could feel it in the air. It's extremely humid outside this morning, and windy – but the rain isn't here yet, and that's why ...

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Why I get better sleep on the boat…

24 Oct

I've made it a point lately to read the newspaper (or a book, or a magazine) in the morning with my coffee rather than jump straight onto the computer. I was up watching the Presidential debate on Monday while simultaneously working on the podcast website, and ended up staying up until 11:30. When I did finally go to bed, it was immediately after I'd turned off the laptop and brushed my teeth. My head was spinning when I laid down. I slept horribly, and was tired all day yesterday.

Mia has started tracking my good and bad days in her ...

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Schooner Race watch onboard Rodney Carroll’s Tayana 37

16 Oct

Note: unless otherwise noted, Mia Karlsson has taken all the photos. 

We left Annapolis early and drove up to Sparrow's Point, to the Old Bay Marina where I'd been twice before to help Rodney do some work on his Tayana 37. The boat had been hauled out for over 3 years, Rodney doing the refit himself between sculpture projects. Two years ago I helped him step the mast, when the boat was on the hard. Earlier this summer, Mia and I joined him and his wife Narda (and their brown dog Brownie) on a sweltering day to help install his ...

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