Update from ISBJORN: Friday Nov. 15

16 Nov

Photo by: James Austrums

Photo by: James Austrums

Skipper August
November 15, UTC 02:15 // 25˚47’ N, 65˚51’ W

An eerie, absolute stillness disturbs me at the nav station, and I look up from the charts. Not a sound is to be heard onboard. No melancholy tunes from Ben’s guitar, the galley is deserted, and even the trusty snoring from the off-watch is nowhere to be heard. And every bunk seems to be empty. Only the slightest whisper of water along Isbjørn’s hull, as she glides fast through the night with the warm breeze well abaft her beam.

Even the usual banter from the ...

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NOAA will sunset traditional nautical charts, sad but inevitable

16 Nov

 

NOAA will stop updating charts that look like this, paper and electronic, by 2025 or sooner
NOAA will no longer update charts that look like this, paper and electronic, by 2025 or sooner

Things are just things, right, and they don’t really die. But during a recent conference call with Capt Chris van Westendorp, Marine Chart Chief John Nyberg and several their colleagues at NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey, a genuine feeling of grief bubbled up within me. And since I can’t keep my mouth shut, I learned that some of our “Nation’s Nautical Chartmakers” are also feeling it. The demise of the traditional chart is going to be sad for many of us, no ...

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Update from the sea: Thursday Nov. 14

14 Nov

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ISBJORN & ICEBEAR are now south of Bermuda and are pointing south towards the BVI! I have gotten a few updates from both of the boats and would like to share it with you all

Yesterday the boats were expecting the front to pass over them and ahead of the front was SE winds so both boats made great progress to the east!

Before the front, August on ISBJORN wrote this message on the tracker page: “Whomever came up with the saying “gentlemen don’t sail to weather” never sailed on Isbjörn! Choo choo! Last upwind sprint before the wind is ...

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Inside the DAME Design Awards, and a lovely TBS Electronics battery switch

14 Nov

METSTRADE opens next week at the huge RAI Amsterdam Convention Center, which also owns the show. I again look forward to joining a global crowd of marine equipment folks amidst a forest of manufacturer stands and other exhibits. But actually I already spend two October days in a RAI warehouse with fellow jurors carefully examining an interesting selection of new gear, and the goal of this entry is to shed some light on the DAME Design Awards choices that resulted.

Of course, the winners must remain confidential until the show-opening breakfast event, but the 2019 Nominees are already announced ...

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Female sailing legends

14 Nov
Clare Francis – skipper of ADC Accutrac in the 77/78 Whitbread Race

I have always been a fan of women in sailing. Some of the very best sailors that I have sailed with have been women and they were all a darn sight better than many of the men that I have sailed with. My fondness goes all the way back to Clare Francis who skippered ADC Accutrac in the 77/78 Whitbread Race. Claire, it could be said, loved to chat on the phone, well back then it was the single-sideband radio and all conversations were broadcast for all to ...
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Foulfree from Propspeed, clean transducers without biocide

13 Nov

Boats that spend a lot of time in the water typically have bottom paint applied to reduce fouling growth. Transducers are in the same water as the rest of the boat, but most bottom paint can’t be used on transducers. Unfortunately, the paints compatible with transducers aren’t as effective. Propspeed, the New Zealand based company that makes coatings for props, shafts, and underwater lights, has introduced Foulfree for transducers. Foulfree is a foul-release product, not a biocide and it’s the first product certified by Airmar for use on their transducers.

Transducers are made from materials that can be harmed by ...

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There’s No Such Thing as a One-Year Cruise

13 Nov
My first solo ocean crossing in Murre.

This week I am reminded of the observation, “The more things change, the more they stay the same,” this courtesy of my wife.  

“I have a challenge for you,” said Joanna over Sunday morning coffee. “Do you remember when I wrote the following remark to friends?”

And he’s off… Randall sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge this morning at 8:56am. Now I start the countdown to his return 365-ish days from now.

That I could recall, I had provided but one occasion for such a note, that being the first Figure 8 Voyage ...

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Update from ISBJORN, Tuesday Nov. 12

12 Nov

Schralpin.jpg

SV Isbjörn
UTC 2020
33˚28’N, 67˚18’W

A drop of sweat forms on my frowning brow as the temperature onboard Isbjörn surpasses 30 degrees. I have no more layers to shed without my dignity decency going with it, and there are still many degrees of latitude until we reach our tropical destination.

There are numerous reasons for these horrendous temperatures. One is the gulf stream, bringing up hot water from the Gulf of Mexico all the way to my distant homeland of Norway. There are also these winds out of the south that we’re currently trying to beat around. They bring ...

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What’s in the water over there?

12 Nov
Jann Elies and Charlie Dalin win the Transat Jacques Vabre aboard Apiva

Right now there are three major ocean races taking place in the Northern Hemisphere, the Transat Jacques Vabre, the Mini Transat and the Brest Atlantiques and they all have one thing in common; they all started from France. Either there is something in the water over there or their love for racing sailboats has seeped into their blood but the French people can’t seem to get enough of it. The lead boats in the Transat Jacques Vabre finished in Bahia, Brazil over the weekend, the Mini Transat fleet ...
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A few valuable boating apps, and what’s your favorite?

11 Nov

 

Most boaters carry around an impressively powerful and easy to use computer in their pockets: their smartphone. Smartphones have enough processing power, sensors and capabilities to augment or possibly even replace dedicated navigation equipment onboard your boat. Mobile phone and tablet apps for boating have steadily improved and today offer a compelling set of functionalities that can make boating both safer and easier.

To me, one of the key benefits of mobile apps at the helm is the ability to use multiple brands of charts. Using different chart providers helps avoid falling victim to any issue with your charts. ...

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