December 20th

How to get a perfect fit in an odd-sided, curved, enclosed space?

Posted by // December 20, 2014 // COMMENT (0 Comments)


It’s been a while since I’ve done a boat repair tip. Here’s one I used yesterday on a friend’s boat.

        Have you ever found yourself trying to duplicate a particularly odd four-sided shape, maybe in an enclosed area or on a curved surface? I ran into this problem when working on an icebox. The box is going to be built into a cockpit seat. It’s basically going to be a drink cooler so in order to make the best of a very small space it will be built with minimal insulation and directly against the hull. I started by epoxying the insulation directly to the hull, keeping the curvature.…

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December 10th

The Many-Headed Hydra

Posted by // December 10, 2014 // COMMENT (5 Comments)

Cruising, People

     I am, finally, back home in New Orleans after a long jaunt down the East Coast. The crew and I were completely out of touch with the world for the past few weeks as we explored some of the more remote reefs in the Florida Keys and made the jump out to the Dry Tortugas and home to New Orleans from there. Now we’re surrounded by friends, airing out stale projects, re-combobulating the trappings of life on land. There’s a bicycle hanging in a wharehouse on St. Ferdinand, a few boxes from the attic of a house on Urquhart, some clean clothes.…

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November 6th

Kedging in the ICW

Posted by // November 6, 2014 // COMMENT (11 Comments)

Boats and Gear, Cruising

Photos Courtesy of Mon Iker
After a bit of an absence I would like to return with a bang, or at least a soft thud. I am currently cruising South from Maine with a crew of friends, headed for New Orleans. We’ve made it as far as Florida, always a good place for adventure.

I (maybe unfairly) tend to think of the ICW as slow, expensive, and often dull, so we’ve been staying offshore most of the time. But there are exceptions, most recently the stretch between St. Augustine and Lake Worth when we decided, for once, to avoid one of the big cold fronts which are usually our mile-makers.

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March 21st

Freediver ‘Base Jumps’ at Dean’s Blue Hole

Posted by // March 21, 2014 // COMMENT (2 Comments)

Miscellany, ,

I’ve never quite understood the appeal of competitive freediving, in much the same way that I don’t get why people choose to run marathons through a desert in the middle of summer. My friend George Stoyle once told me about his fleeting obssession with freediving quarries in England and and for a moment I was three years old again, standing open-mouthed and asking ‘Why?, Why?, Why?’ while he described diving into pitch black, freezing cold water where you only know you’ve hit bottom when your hand sinks into icy black muck, you come up with a nosebleed as often as not, and every now and then people die.…

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March 8th

Sailing Through Mardi Gras

Posted by // March 8, 2014 // COMMENT (0 Comments)


It’s no surprise to me that so many sailors are also writers, nor that the best of these often live out secluded lives. Not a few classics in the genre include passages about the glorious solitude of sailing singlehanded over great distances, of living alone in a small cabin with only an oil lamp, a molding library, and a notepad for company. For us who have never crossed an ocean, but want to, have yet to single-hand, but quietly carry big plans, have barely started books, but dream of finishing them, these sea stories carry a fair weight, amplified of course by certain moods.…
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December 7th
Fun, right?

A big reason for writing this blog was to document work on my own boat. Here are links to all the posts about DIY repair and building things. Keep in mind that the way I did a repair is not necessarily the ‘right’ way to do it! This was especially true early on in the process.


Building A Cockpit Sole:

Pt. 1: Getting Started
Pt. 2: Laying Fiberglass
Pt. 3: Fairing Mistakes

Repairing Rotten Deck Core:

Pt. 1: Anatomy of a Water-Damaged Deck
Pt. 2: Repairing and Sealing Minor Damage
Pt. 3: Replacing the Core I

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November 26th

Coral Graveyards in Antigua

Posted by // November 26, 2013 // COMMENT (5 Comments)

Miscellany, ,

Bob Steneck and George Stoyle doing coral and fish surveys in Antigua
We’ve been in the Caribbean nearly a month now and for the past ten days we’ve been in full research mode, diving and snorkeling each day, usually at two separate sites. This is my cruising ideal- poring over charts to select potential reef sites, poking our way into remote anchorages with a spotter balanced on the bow pulpit as we pick our way through patch reefs and narrow cuts. Then, dinghying out to the fore-reef to snorkel and dive. 
Alaria at anchor near Greens Island, Antigua
That’s the great part.…
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November 19th

Cocaine, Guns and Yachts

Posted by // November 19, 2013 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Miscellany, ,

Photo Credit: The Royal Gazette / Glen Tucker

It’s not just cute cruising families and well-intentioned retirees out there, folks. Charlie has written a few fascinating posts on crime at sea. Here’s my contribution. I wrote a few days ago about our experience clearing customs in Bermuda and the story we were told about a cruiser who was discovered with an undeclared gun and $48 million dollars worth of cocaine on his boat. Sailfeed reader Steve Burrows then pointed me to some newspaper articles on the trial. They make for fascinating reading.

The circumstances were these. In July of 2011 Latvian single-hander Janis Zegelis limped into Bermuda on his 38′ sloop after encountering heavy weather and breaking his mast.…

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November 14th

How Not to Clear Customs

Posted by // November 14, 2013 // COMMENT (6 Comments)


They are watching you

A few days back, we cleared customs in Sint Maarten (Also, known as Saint Martin, but we’re on the Dutch side of this tiny, amiably divided island so I’ll honor their spelling). There was no inspection of the boat so this took just a few forms and a handful of minutes. It was a world of difference from our Bermuda entry. Here we are on our way into St. George’s Harbor, Bermuda:

That’s a local police boat, making sure we don’t pitch any drugs overboard

Per protocol we called on the VHF when we were a few hours out of the harbor but at that distance communication was a bit garbled.…

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November 11th

Geopolitics in the South China Sea (Atlantic Interlude)

Posted by // November 11, 2013 // COMMENT (0 Comments)


The Spratly Islands: hotly contested, and far from me

I’m somewhere in the Atlantic at this point, bobbling contentedly along (if we judged the weather right). While I’m out there, let me shift your attention to an entirely different sea. The body of water south of China, east of Vietnam and and west of the Philippines is known by nearly as many names as there are countries surrounding it. It’s a confusion of nomenclature which reflects a variety of conflicting geopolitical perspectives. To the ‘western’ world this has long been known as the South China Sea and to call it the West Philippine Sea or the East Sea reveals as much about the one naming as the thing being named.…

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