RAINMAKER ABANDONED: Gunboat 55 Hull No. 1 Dismasted, Crew Evacuated by Helo

31 Jan

Rainmaker rescue

For me this is like déjà vu all over again. All this month I’ve been thinking about where I was a year ago, dangling from a wire beneath a Coast Guard helicopter many miles offshore with a busted catamaran beneath me. For SAIL Magazine’s story click here. This year’s victim, unfortunately, is an award-winning Gunboat 55, hull no. 1, Rainmaker, which got dismasted yesterday after getting raked by a 70-knot whiteout squall about 200 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras. The five-member crew elected to abandon the vessel and was evacuated by a Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk ...

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RAINMAKER ABANDONED: Gunboat 55 Hull. No. 1 Dismasted, Crew Evacuated by Helo

31 Jan

Rainmaker rescue

For me this is like déjà vu all over again. All this month I’ve been thinking about where I was a year ago, dangling from a wire beneath a Coast Guard helicopter many miles offshore with a busted catamaran beneath me. This year’s victim, unfortunately, is an award-winning Gunboat 55, hull no. 1, Rainmaker, which got dismasted yesterday after getting raked by a 70-knot whiteout squall about 200 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras. The five-member crew elected to abandon the vessel and was evacuated by a Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter operating near the limit of its range....

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GoFree goes online & Insight Genesis Social Mapping goes free

30 Jan

Written by Ben Ellison on Jan 30, 2015 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

GoFree_gets_online_cPanbo.jpgThe 2015 Navico writers event was in the same Florida Keys location as last year’s spectacular, which only seemed to highlight the rapid development pace we witnessed. For instance, fishing in a now familiar place and style with the new Lowrance HDS Gen3 multifunction display really showed off the phenomenal variety and quality of functions built in. It may even qualify as a “revolutionary” MFD feature set, despite my earlier skepticism, and it wasn’t even mentioned at the 2014 event. But that story will ...

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Preparing for passage making

30 Jan

up the rig

How do you get ready for a passage? We’ve done it enough, but we’re rusty. And the upcoming ~1,200 nm from Malaysia to Sri Lanka is our first passage in a year of big passages. Even though we keep Totem in shape, after more than two years of mostly coastal sailing important to avoid complacency and make sure we’re on top of all systems aboard before taking off. Of course, life on a boat is a constantly scrolling list of repairs and maintenance, but the miles ahead add extra pressure.

So, what are we doing before we leave? Here’s a ...

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TOPPLED: Sloop Providence Replica Falls Off Jackstands in “Historic” N.E. Blizzard

28 Jan

Providence toppled

Ouch! This happened yesterday in Newport, Rhode Island, at the Newport Shipyard, where Providence was blocked up for the winter. Though the yard staff evidently stuck in some extra jackstands before the storm, they weren’t up to the job. The vessel’s mast is busted and her fiberglass hull has been punctured. She also, coincidentally, is for sale, so now’s the time to come in with a super lowball bid if you’re interested.

Here are some more pix:

Providence toppled front

Providence toppled quarter

Providence toppled side

(Top 2 pix are by Dave Hansen, the bottom 2 are by Rocky Steeves, courtesy of the Associated Press)

The original Providence was ...

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Why we love cruising in Thailand

28 Jan

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We’ve checked out of Thailand, and don’t know when we’ll be back. While we wrap up pre-passage projects on Totem in Malaysia, it feels like the perfect time to reflect on what we loved (and didn’t) about the nearly six months we’ve spent in Thailand between 2013 and 2014.

The landscapes are breathtaking. The Andaman coast is peppered with stunning spots. From the surreal archipelago of limestone spires in Phang Nga bay to the sparkling water of the marine park islands offshore, there’s one beautiful anchorage after another. There should probably be a whole separate post of favorite places!...

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MARINE LIGHTNING PROTECTION: Getting Z-Z-Z-Zapped on a Sailboat

27 Jan

Lightning strike

I have to admit I don’t normally think about this too much. As is true of many sailors I suspect, I have subscribed to the philosophy that lightning and its effects are so random and poorly understood that you can get royally screwed no matter what you try to do about it. Which is a great predicate, of course, to going into denial and doing nothing at all. But the death in Florida last summer of Noah Cullen, a most promising young man who presumably was killed in a lightning strike while out singlehanding on his pocket cruiser, got ...

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Liza Copeland

27 Jan

Listen now!

Andy sat down in person with Liza Copeland at the Toronto Boat Show not too long ago. In fact, they shared a booth alongside Paul & Sheryl Shard, who were all part of the seminar program at the show. Liza has sold an astounding number of her books, all about the cruising lifestyle, which has made her a household name in the sailing world. She first circumnavigated with her young family aboard a production Beneteau, and has since sailed over 100,000 miles in that boat, called ‘Bagheera.’

Andy & Liza discussed how she got into cruising and what ...

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Digigone DigiMed telemedicine kits & more Pittman Innovation Award winners

26 Jan

Written by Ben Ellison on Jan 26, 2015 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

digigone_DigiMed_Mini_aPanbo.jpgSail’s 2015 Pittman Innovation Awards were just announced and one of several interesting winners is a series of DigiMed wireless kits that work with Digigone’s existing telemedicine service. Even the smallest DigiMed Mini above can teleconnect you to a 24/7 emergency medical center via Android tablet and Bluetooth headset and I’ve seen how the included wireless macro camera allows the experts to examine the victim down to skin pore level…

I first saw the DigiMed tablet and camera system demonstrated last February in Miami and in ...

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Finding and Fixing Dinghies

25 Jan

“Do you feel like checking out some sailing dinghies this weekend?” asked Erik.
“Sure,” I said. “Sounds fun.”
“Great. They’re in an old container down at the dock; someone abandoned them years ago.”
I looked up. “Abandoned” is usually a deadly adjective for a boat.
“It’s all supposed to be in pretty bad shape.” he continued. “The sails are probably going to be full of rat poop, and who knows if anything will still float.”
“Boy, Erik, why didn’t you lead with that? You know I can’t resist a rusty old container full of broken boat parts.”
“And rat poop,” ...

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