Behan Gifford

After years as nomads, returning to the USA

28 Jun
Dun colored cliffs on the back side of Block Island emerged from a hazy marine layer: our first sight of land as we approached New England. With each mile, landmarks and islets and buoys along the way tickled old memories of these waters where Jamie grew up racing, and where we met. Names remembered, but […] Read More

Passage notes: Bermuda to Connecticut

17 Jun
“This is turning into an expensive passage.” Those were Jamie’s words to me after the latest breakdown on our third day at sea. A large block, used for the genoa sheet, had permanently parted ways with the track on deck. The passage started benignly enough, once we got going. Although the weather watch to depart […] Read More

Making friends with Bermuda blues

10 Jun
Bermuda made a late appearance into our cruising plans. Before we’d giving our routing back to New England much critical thought, the seed was planted with an email from a Bermudian. We have a few things in common; if we’d be visiting Bermuda, he’d love to meet up. It took a little while for this […] Read More

Passage notes: St Martin to Bermuda

2 Jun
Only one more passage separates Totem from landfall in the USA. The proximity is palpable, and conversation about what it’s going to be like has dominated dinner table conversations. The comfortable passage north from St Martin to Bermuda fostered cockpit discussion and navel-gazing under the stars, too. Here’s how it went. Passage metrics Distance: 872 nautical miles Duration: 5 days […] Read More

I admit it: I was wrong about the Caribbean

28 May
I’ll be honest: I didn’t think I’d like sailing the Caribbean very much. Too many people. No unique experiences. Credit-card captains on holiday. Commercialism. Surly locals. I have no problem admitting that my negative preconceptions were mostly shot down, as these islands have proven to offer a string of wonderful experiences. Here’s a smattering of […] Read More

Scruffy cruisers, coming soon to New England

25 May
Tomorrow morning begins the last chapter of our journey back to the USA. We’ll leave St Martin for Bermuda, and at the first weather window from Bermuda, we’ll aim for Connecticut. It’s been a lot of miles since departing South Africa in January! Too soon, western sunsets over the water like this one will be […] Read More

Skipping through the Caribbean

23 May
Slow travel is one of the benefits of cruising. Lingering weeks or months in a place let us better understand the cultures we encounter along the way. Getting to know people opens the door to experiences beyond the guidebook highlights or tripadvisor lists. To pass by nine different countries or colonies (right, actually “overseas territories”) […] Read More

Mainsail Trim: luff tension

16 May
This post comes from Jamie, one in a series where he shares his knowledge as a tenured sailmaker. For more about Jamie’s experience in the field, see Sailmaker SAYS!.  Hey sailmaker. Tell me about luff tension. Hey dude, this isn’t Dear Abby. I won’t cover love tension or any other emotional instability you may have… […] Read More

On not playing tourist in Barbados

10 May
Across many of the countries we’ve visited most recently—South Africa, Lesotho, Namibia, the British Overseas Territory islands—we stepped into the role of tourist with happy abandon. Taking massive road trips in South Africa, hitting up TripAdvisor hotspots in Namibia. Hiring a guide for day tripping in St. Helena. Renting a car and touring around Ascension […] Read More

Mainsail Features: headboard vs head ring

3 May
This post comes from Jamie, one in a series where he shares his knowledge as a tenured sailmaker. For more about Jamie’s experience in the field, see Sailmaker SAYS!. Pictured above, Jamie replaced a corroded headboard with a ring on the mainsail of Solstice in Madagascar last year. Why does the head of a mainsail have a […] Read More

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