We’ve been in Penang for a couple of days now, catching up on projects. This afternoon, after the sun disappeared behind the condos backing the marina and the air cooled, Jamie and I took a walk around and looked at the other boats. Primary takeaway: the sun, she is strong!
Many boats had some degree of the damage shown here: a protective cover worn thin from UV (see the tear?), with stitching so rotted it’s literally breaking apart in place. Is the UV strip material a low quality knockoff? Not sure. Was UV resistant PTFE thread used? Highly unlikely. Sailmakers don’t like this thread because it’s expensive and difficult to work with.… Read More
When engine issues took priority over adventuring, we needed a place at the southern end of the Malay peninsula to park Totem for a while. Puteri Harbour Marina, in Johor (just west of Singapore), made sense for a variety of reasons. It was a rigging job for Jamie that initially brought us there in June, and the friends that made coming back instead of looking elsewhere an easy decision.
Isn’t it always the people that make the place? During the weeks we spent there, we met a host of cruisers who are now cemented into great memories. Half a dozen other boats with kids came through, including Momo.… Read More
Two months and change. 71 days, actually (who’s counting?). During the last six years of cruising the only other times we’ve stayed in one place more than two months were when we parked in Australia, and earlier this year in Langkawi. That’s it. Even the places we’ve stopped for more than a month only amount to a handful: we may not move quickly, but we like to be moving. Nomadic living is our baseline.
Of course, we didn’t have much of a choice this year. Sitting in the marina was a far cry from our grand plans of cruising in Borneo and the Philippines, but it’s great peace of mind to have worked through our engine troubles.… Read More
I’ve been thinking a lot about safety at sea lately, as we get ready for next year’s Indian Ocean transit- waters that have a well earned reputation as dangerous to mariners. So when Bracken Foam Fabricators sent me this infographic on maritime safety, it got my attention. (Mum, I promise we will stay away from any “piratey” waters, even though the trend is in our favor- as the graphic shows!) Thanks Max, for sending this along! When we make it to Ireland, I hope you’ll come visit Totem.
Safety conscious folks know we love it when you read this on the Sailfeed website.…
How do you get online as an active cruiser?
On one hand, the prospect of cruising means freedom from the always-on, always-connected world. Liberating, right? It can be. But if you’re like me, you might get kind of twitchy. I admit: the first year was hard. It was used to instant gratification for simple tasks. Before long, though, we became accustomed to going without access, and changing the way we consume media to minimizing our use when we could get online.
At the moment, we’ve lucked into a great internet connection. Scoring a login to wifi from the hotel fronting Totem’s marina berth means we have a window of unlimited data on a pretty good signal.… Read More
A few months back, we were nominated for a Liebster award. This award is a personal nod from one blogger to another in appreciation of their work, asking them to answer questions and share the names of blogs they in turn find inspiring. I was flattered, but I ducked (wha…? me?). But then there was a successive nomination, and when a third came in conjunction with a flurry of new visitors to the blog this last week- it seemed the right time to step back, look to the source, and answer some questions about who we are, what we’re doing, and why.… Read More
Flag etiquette rules aren’t required as a cruiser, but you should know the basics to avoid embarrassing yourself or offending others. Beyond that is up to you, but there’s a whole language to flags that is interesting to learn. As a fan of flag etiquette. I like to think I know a few things about flags, but I learned so much from this great infographic that reader John Tissot of the East Freemantle Yacht Club emailed!
Eleven years ago this month, we sailed with a group of fellow Seattle Yacht Club members on an organized cruise. It was our first time clearing into another country, and we were so excited to use our snappy new Canadian courtesy flag when we cleared in at Ganges.… Read More
This week we hit our six year cruisaversary. On August 21, 2008, friends sailed us out of the entrance to Eagle Harbor, Washington, and on our way to adventures afloat. We did not anticipate that we’d be out this long, not knowing at what ages the children might pine for “normal” land lives, how the life would meet our expectations, or we’d string together our finances. With lumps in the road, it still has stuck together, and I am grateful every day to live this life afloat with my family.
To celebrate six years, Jamie pulled a digital track of our travels since departure (and a small party of fellow sailors!).… Read More
It takes many years of diligent saving and personal sacrifice to afford the boat of your dreams and cruising adventure. Or, you can limit your selection set to what fits into a ready budget, and trade years of anticipation for years of cruising.
That’s what Steve Dolman did. His modest sloop, Mary Powell, was not a candidate for swagging at a boat show or splashing across a magazine cover. But the simple monohull was kinder to the budget, and it meant he could go- soon. We met Steve in Mexico, hung out again in Tonga, and caught up recently once more in Malaysia.… Read More
What do you want to know about downwind sails? It turns out, more than we expected! Last month’s post on the best sails for downwind cruising was an answer for a friend, but it prompted other questions in responses- here on the blog and on Totem’s Facebook page. Jamie has many years of experience as a sailmaker, and is happy to help clarify or do Q&A.
This isn’t about light air sails, but downwind sails. Of course, that gets a little complicated because genoas, jibs, and Code Zero sails are upwind or downwind sails. The punchline, to spare rereading the old post: for cruisers, Jamie likes the “Cruising Code Zero” (CCZ) as the most versatile of downwind sails.… Read More