Land Ho

17 Feb

Day 95

Noon Position: 46 48S  50 31E

Course/Speed: ESE7

Wind: NNE20 – 25

Sail: two reefs in working jib and three in the main

Bar: 1012

Sea: N6 but steep

Sky: Overcast with rain

Cabin Temp: 52

Water Temp: 41

Miles last 24-hours: 151

Longitude Miles Made Good: 143

Miles since departure: 12,921

0750 Land Ho. Ilse Crozets. First the upraised clouds and then the smudges on the horizon. Isle Cochon, surprisingly big and round; quite high because I’m 39 miles south of it. Then to the east, Isle Pingouins, much smaller and just shy of 20 miles distant....

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Suddenly without steering in the Caribbean Sea

16 Feb

Jamie at the helm sailing by yacht M5

Losing steerage is stressful at the best of times. Losing it when hand-steering gnarly seas that threaten to broach the inattentive sailor, on day one of a four-day sail between countries where the sea state is likely to be worse before it’s better? Hectic! Here’s what happened when steering failed on our recent passage from Colombia to Panama.

The event

Motoring out of the protection in Santa Marta bay (with a small deviation from course to rubberneck the 185’ yacht, M5, pictured above), we quickly entered more boisterous conditions outside the protection of the bay. Steep waves were better managed ...

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Missed Opportunity

16 Feb

Day 94

Noon Position: 46 45S  47 02E

Course/Speed: E7

Wind: NW20

Sail: Big Genoa, poled out (damn but it looks huge)

Bar: 1014

Sea: NW6

Sky: Overcast

Cabin Temp: 57

Water Temp: 45

Miles last 24-hours: 159 (I set ships clock back an hour, so this was a 23-hour day)

Longitude Miles Made Good: 147

Miles since departure: 12,770

Yesterday, Valentine’s Day, my wife posted an article on this site remembering warmly how things began for the two of us and what we have in common, even when proximity is not one of those things. Meanwhile, from the other ...

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Evolution of a Plan

14 Feb

Day 93

Noon Position: 46 33S  43 26E

Course/Speed: E7

Wind: W20+

Sail: Twin headsails poled out

Bar: 1015

Sea: W8

Sky: Clear

Cabin Temp: 54

Water Temp: 42

Miles last 24-hours: 176

Longitude Miles Made Good: 162

Miles since departure: 12,611

The difficulties of the night have been balanced out by the joys of the day. In the night, wind came into the middle 30s, and I struggled to get the twin headsails reefed right down without putting undo strain on sheets and the poles. When I went to bed, it was with the feeling that things still weren’t ...

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Airmar 2018 part 2: Ultrasonic and EM speedo mysteries unraveled, plus new UDST800

14 Feb

Written by Ben Ellison on Feb 14, 2018 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Airmar_UDST800_ultrasonic_triducer_for_real_2-2018_cPanbo.jpgAirmar’s newly announced UDST800 Ultrasonic Smart Triducer is real! I’ve held one in my freckly hand and even installed it on Gizmo. The reality of a new product would not normally be news, but the history of Airmar’s high tech ultrasonic and electromagnetic speed sensors has frustrated boaters wanting the promised precise and reliable Speed through the Water results, which should be many boaters, I think…

Airmar_DST900-EM_and_ultrasonic_ST900_never_shipped_cPanbo.jpgTo be brutally frank, neither of the Airmar products described above ever materialized as presented, and the same is true ...

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A love note 11,000+ miles apart

14 Feb

We were both working at OpenTable. I remember turning to Andy and saying “Wait! You have a boat? Team building activity!” Poor Andy, I was his new boss, and I don’t think he knew the tornado of energy that had descended into his life. Fortunately for both of us this tornado also understood that while I had been brought up on boats also defiantly entered a junior racing week even though I hadn’t taken a lesson or soloed a boat in my life, that other people would be on the boat and we really should have someone other than Andy ...

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Passing Beneath Marion

14 Feb

Day 92

Noon Position: 47 18S  39 28E

Course/Speed: E6+

Wind: SWS 15-20

Sail: Full working jib

Bar: 1027

Sea: SW8, steep

Sky: Overcast

Cabin Temp: 50

Water Temp: 38

Miles last 24-hours: 169

Longitude Miles Made Good: 155

Miles since departure: 12,435

This morning at 8 o’clock we passed beneath Marion Island, the larger of two in the Prince Edward Island group. When I came into the pilot house early, it was evident that something had changed as bird numbers were way up, especially prions, of which there were so many one had to think in terms of flocks. ...

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Love Letter to Sailing

13 Feb

It’s such a common phrase, such a common feeling, that we take it for granted. The romance of the sea. Even those who dwell far from the sea are not immune to it. Red sails in the sunset. The very notion of sailing away to paradise. Those who heed the call, those who love the sea and sailing, will not find it strange that a sailor would choose Valentine’s Day to write a love letter to the sport.

Once upon a time there lived a young man so enamored of sailboat racing that he couldn’t look out from the deck ...

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Tactical brilliance, or not?

13 Feb
Team Sun Hung Kai Scallyway and AkzoNobel off on their own flier
I am often criticized about the points of view that I take with my blog and sometimes that criticism is warranted. I often get praised for what I write and sometimes that praise is not warranted. At the end of the day I try and do my best and I am grateful to those who take the time to read what I write. This blog post should come with less hate mail, let’s just put that out front.
At the end of Leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean
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Chores on a Sunny Day

13 Feb

Day 91

Noon Position: 48 11S  35 41E

Course/Speed: ENE7

Wind: SW20

Sail: Working jib out full

Bar: 1015

Sea: SW7


Cabin Temp: 47

Water Temp: 39

Miles last 24-hours: 171

Longitude Miles Made Good: 163 (We made 4 degrees of longitude–only the second time so far.)

Miles since departure: 12,266

Mo’s motion woke me at dawn. Winds had backed into the southwest, driving the boat north and Mo lurched and shoved her way into a sea leftover from yesterday’s blow. I gybed to the northeast and that eased things.

I had thought to return to my bunk ...

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