A dependable suit of sails to carry you towards the horizon is the basic tool of every cruiser. I’m sharing more of Jamie’s expertise as a sailmaker on the blog: most recently, about how to check the stitching in sails for UV damage. This time- he’s going to tell you how to evaluate the cloth.
Jamie often checks sails on the boats we’re with. The cruising boats we meet in Southeast Asia have often done hard miles, but you don’t have to cross an ocean to have sailcloth damaged by UV exposure. He’d like to empower sailors with the right information to check their own to avoid an unpleasant days on the water, or worse.… Read More
We’re in the back half of our stay at Phithak Shipyard (PSS) near Satun, Thailand, and it’s pretty exciting to see work progressing on Totem.
As soon as we arrived, we went through our required projects and the wish list with the yard management. Based on their estimates and some help from home, we decided to go forward… with all of it. I might have had some happy tears at the prospect of these improvements to our Totem! So the plan changed from “a couple of weeks” to as long as our visas allow, keeping an eye on the costs, and getting as much done as possible within time/budget limits.… Read More
A few months ago, I kissed the back of an envelope for good luck before dropping it into a mailbox in Singapore. Tucked inside was a publishing contract with my signature on it. Although it’s been years since I had my first paycheck as a freelance writer, I’ve only now had confidence to fill in the “occupation” blank on forms with WRITER. So to have a fellow blogger, Kim from SV Britican, tap me to follow her post on a tour of writer’s blogs is the kind of request that makes me sit back with a smile of wonder and amazement.… Read More
Cruisers flock towards the tropics, where all that sun exposure can be tough on sails. Short of alien ships on a bad landing approach, UV damage is the biggest culprit in ending the useful life of a sail. Jamie often checks sails on the boats we’re with, like Papa Djo next to us in the shipyard: in the last few months, a spate of them had no idea their sails suffered from moderate to severe damage.
It’s not difficult for cruisers to inspect their own sails and have a good pulse on the condition, so compromised integrity doesn’t unexpectedly turn a nice day on the water into a mess.… Read More
I don’t want to be here right now.
We’re living in Totem on the hardstand, on stilts in the shipyard. There is a lot of noise, and a lot of dirt, and a lot of chaos. Chunks of Totem’s interior are torn up. We climb a wobbly ladder with a rise that must be double a normal step to get on board. We have no refrigeration. It is hot, under tropical sun during the day and in the breeze-less yard at night. We share communal bathrooms in the yard and try desperately to avoid needing them at night.
But our present circumstance has nothing to do with my discontent.… Read More
PSS Satun, a Thai shipyard just a hop over the southern border with Malaysia, sits at the edge of a small village up a winding muddy river. Because we can only enter the river at high tide, we spend the night before our haulout at a bend where the depth drops enough to keep water under the keel through a full swing. Surrounded by mangroves, we watch fishermen wade knee-deep in the mud at low tide, pushing boxes and collecting something- crabs?- from the flats.
Crossing into Thailand to this spot retraces the same route that brought us here nearly a year ago.… Read More
With 71% of our planet covered by oceans, there is no shortage of places to explore by boat. So when I landed recently on a page for the latest campaign from LOOK, which aims to identify the world’s most exotic sailing location, well, I had two reactions. What’s their pick? And how could we possibly choose just one from among our favorites? I asked the question on Totem’s facebook page and had a slew of interesting suggestions… so we started thinking more about ours.
As we’ve done a interviews for podcasts or print, the question of a favorite place typically comes up.… Read More
How much does it cost to go cruising? How much / how long did you save in order to go? What do you spend every month as a cruiser? What about earning money while cruising? Questions along this line are among the most common that we get on Totem.
We recently had a chance to do an interview with Teddy J from SailLoot, and talk about ALL those issues. To listen in, you can stream it below, pick up on his site, or check out the SailLoot itunes channel.
Teddy has his eye on living aboard and cruising with his his wife, Megan, and their dog, Barley (yes, he likes beer!), and is asking all those questions to fuel his own planning.… Read More
In the run-up to cutting our docklines, my friend Toast and I would meet for workday lunch breaks in downtown Seattle to talk about All Things Cruising. It was a much needed outlet during a time that we weren’t very public with our plans, and could only bore close friends with for so long. One week, she reported back from a daysail with another would-be cruising family that hoped to point south soon: “they’re never going to leave Puget Sound.”
She was right. They didn’t leave, and sold the boat the next year. Most of the right cruising prep boxes were ticked, so what was the giveaway?… Read More
Jamie and I co-author the cruising column for 48° North, a Pacific Northwest regional boating magazine. He lead on this piece for their for October issue, with ruminations about what lies ahead for us with a big year coming. The complete magazine is free on newstands around the Salish Sea, and available online wherever you are.
Transition then Monsoon
Southwest monsoon season is active here in the Malacca Straits. Intense squalls with cold, biting rain, and streaks of lightning that are always too close divide the day’s oppressive heat. It is extreme weather – eerily calm, blindingly bright or catastrophically loud.… Read More