Vesper unveils Cortex – combination AIS, VHF radio and boat monitor

17 Sep

Vesper has cemented a reputation for high performance, well-thought-out, feature-rich products. So, when they tease that “The future is coming” as they have in their recent promotional material it’s worth paying attention. It turns out Vesper’s take on the future is about continuing their track record of innovative features while expanding their capabilities to VHF radios and boat monitoring.

Today at the National Marine Electronics Association (NMEA) expo and conference in Norfolk, VA, Vesper announced Cortex, VHF, AIS, and Monitor. Cortex is a modular system with a base unit, handsets, and mobile app. Cortex systems can start with just ...

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Images of Nome

17 Sep

September 15, 2019
Nome, Alaska

One thing singlehanding teaches is the beauty of uninterrupted sleep. Even if he wakes naturally a time or two on that first night, once in port, the sailor’s shedding of responsibility and an unmoving bed are the sweetest luxury.

Next day to chores. The fuel truck was called and tanks filled but not jerry cans. Their time is past, and I gave half of them away to other boats. From here on extended calm should be the least of our worries. In the afternoon, a complete oil and filter change by way of a thank ...

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Bonus Post: A return date and a podcast!

17 Sep

Hi awesome friends of the Figure 8 Voyage

Well after long conversations about logistics, weather, Fleet Week and other shenanigans we’ve landed on a return date.

Randall and Moli plan to sail under the Golden Gate Bridge sometime on Saturday October 19th 2019.

If you’d like to be there (on land or on a boat) please make sure you’ve registered with us as we’ll be sending day-of logistics through email and not on here. If you haven’t sent us your information please do so using this link.

We’ll also looking for help with a couple of things. If you’re able ...

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Night Arrival

16 Sep

September 14, 2019
Nome, Alaska

Mo makes her slow way against this implacable current and night drags on. A full moon, lights ashore glimmer across the glassy water. Two tankers appear as dark hulks on the horizon; they are anchored miles out and still only in 60 foot water. Even now tugs are ferrying their cargo of fuel to the town of Nome, which draws ever so reluctantly closer. 

Midnight. Into the fairway. Alioth has already radioed an invitation to raft alongside. “We have a group here; people want to see you,” says Vincent.

I turn the corner and there, ...

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A Northwest Passage Complete: CORRECTION

15 Sep

September 13, 2019

Days at Sea: 284
Days Since Departure: 349

Noon Position: 64 57N 167 16W
Course(t)/Speed(kts): SE 6-7
Wind(t/tws): NE 15
Sea(t/ft): NE 2
Sky/10ths Cover: Overcast 10 
Bar(mb): 1001+ and rising
On-deck Temp(f): 53
Cabin Temp(f): 57
Water Temp(f): 53
Relative Humidity(%): 63
Magnetic Variation: 8.6

Sail: Working jib and main, broad reach on port. 

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 118
Miles since departure: 36,138

Shifting winds overnight and our close approach to Cape Prince of Wales kept me up until 4am. Admittedly, I did nap in the pilot house, wrapped boots and all in a sleeping ...

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A Chukchi Blow and Crossing the Arctic Circle

14 Sep

September 12, 2019

Days at Sea: 283
Days Since Departure: 348

Noon Position: 66 54N 167 71W
Course(t)/Speed(kts): SxW 7
Wind(t/tws): E 25+
Sea(t/ft): E10+, steep and breaking
Sky/10ths Cover: Overcast 10 
Bar(mb): 995 and falling
On-deck Temp(f): 51
Cabin Temp(f): 57 (no heater today)
Water Temp(f): 48
Relative Humidity(%): 60
Magnetic Variation: 8.3 

Sail: Triple reefed main and working jib, reach. 

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 141
Miles since departure: 36,020

We had a fine sailing breeze after rounding Point Hope last night–full sail, wind abeam. But by 2am I was reefing and by dawn I had three reefs ...

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Cape Lisburne

13 Sep

September 11, 2019

Days at Sea: 282
Days Since Departure: 347

Noon Position: 69 06N  165 53W
Course(t)/Speed(kts): SSE 5
Wind(t/tws): ExS <10
Sea(t/ft): E 3
Sky/10ths Cover: Overcast 9 
Bar(mb): 1005+ and falling
On-deck Temp(f): 51
Cabin Temp(f): 68
Water Temp(f): 52
Relative Humidity(%): 53
Magnetic Variation: 9.3

Sail: Working jib and main, reaching to port

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 153 (another 26 hour day so as to get ship time into the local zone.)
Miles since departure: 35,879

Miles to Nome: 332

I’ve swung in close to Cape Lisburne for the view. When passing here in 2014, ...

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RM 1270: Rich Wilson’s New Boat

13 Sep

Seen at Maine Yacht Services in Portland while fixing stuff on my boat: Vendée Globe two-timer Rich Wilson’s new ride from France. A step down from an Open 60 perhaps, but still a very interesting boat. I’ve seen a number of these RM boats in France; they seem to be quite popular there. Never seen one in the U.S. before.

Toby Hodges in his Yachting World viddy review of the slightly smaller RM 1260 below describes RMs as the only production-built plywood sailboats in the world, but that is not quite accurate. Waarschip in Holland has been building very ...

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Passing Icy Cape

12 Sep

September 10, 2019

Days at Sea: 281
Days Since Departure: 346

Noon Position: 70 47N 160 77W
Course(t)/Speed(kts): WSW 5.5
Wind(t/tws): ENE 12
Sea(t/ft): ENE 2
Sky/10ths Cover: Rain 10
Bar(mb): 1007, falling slowly
On-deck Temp(f): 51
Cabin Temp(f): 63
Water Temp(f): 49 (49!)
Relative Humidity(%): 49
Magnetic Variation: 11.2

Sail: Twins poled out full

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 115
Miles since departure: 35,726

Note the warm water in the above stats, 49 degrees. Just three days ago we were recording water temperatures of 31 degrees. 

Around noon, wind we had, a beautiful following wind. Not in the ...

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Diesel Engine Longevity Revisited

12 Sep

diesel-engine-rebuilding-bunbury-gts-engines-1
Some years ago I wrote this blog post about the longevity we can expect from marine diesels. I pointed out that the engines on our family ferries often went over 20,000 hours – once to 26,000 – before a rebuild. Those were the old Ford engines, which were replaced with John Deere engines about eight years ago.

We have finally had to swap out the first John Deere for a rebuild…after 46,000 hours, the equivalent of running it 24 hours per day for over five years straight.

Now these engines have a markedly different usage pattern than most marine diesels. ...

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