Death in the Clipper Race

10 Sep
This past weekend there was a tragic death aboard one of the boats competing in the Clipper Round the World Race. A crew member, Andrew Ashman, was struck on the head by either the mainsheet or the boom, or both, and died of his injuries. It was the first fatality in an around-the-world race in a long time and it begs the question “is it safe to race around the world with paying amateur crew?”  I am going to answer that right up front and say yes, but let’s take a look at the issue.

Crews competing in the ...
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9 Sep

From the nice folks at DORADE.ORG

Defying critics who said it couldn’t be done, Dorade has completed a four-year campaign to repeat all of the major ocean races she won in the 1930s, finishing up on the podium at the 2015 Rolex Fastnet Race, where she took second in IRC Class 4 and seventh overall out of 356 boats. A 52’ wooden yawl built in 1930 by Olin and Rod Stephens, Dorade was the oldest boat to compete in this year’s Fastnet and took home three of the event’s most prestigious trophies: the Sparkman & Stephens Trophy, the Iolaire Block, ...

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9 Sep

Harken intro

Which started out with a bang yesterday, as we journos were lured to Harken’s booth, where Harken’s Davide Burrini (up top) introduced the new Assisted Sail Trim system Harken has developed in cooperation with Jeanneau. This is the Holy Grail of an automatic sailing system we’ve been hearing builders talk about for going on ten years now. Now it’s happening! The boats will sail themselves! All we have to do is press buttons.

According to my friends at Jeanneau, there won’t be a boat with an AST system installed here in the States for us to test until spring.

Should ...

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Cruising the East Africa islands of Comoros

8 Sep


Comoros might just be my favorite stop in the Indian Ocean. I’ll readily acknowledge that it’s on departure after a too-short stay that I’m likely to look at a place through the most favorable and wistful lens, but our two weeks here surfaced challenges, beauty, culture and wonders like we’ve not seen so intensely in quite a while. Given how exotic our Totem’s track is this year, that’s significant!


Cruising lets us experience some places that are truly picture-postcard perfect, the kind of paradise that would feel contrived if it weren’t real… turquoise water and white sand and all that. ...

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Joe Reed

7 Sep

Going to the way-back machine for this week’s show, re-releasing episode #10 of my old Two Inspired Guys show. This is Joe Reed, multi-time Caribbean 1500 sailor and NASA scientist, recorded in Tortola after the rally in 2012.

For those of you who have listened to 59º North for a while now, you’ll notice a BIG difference in this episode! I’m slightly embarrassed to even release this again, but it is fun to go back and hear how far the podcast has come in terms of both my hosting and the production quality. Plus, Joe’s a super guy, and has ...

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CLIPPER ROUND THE WORLD RACE: Pay-to-Play Crew Dead in Reefing Accident

7 Sep


Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think this has ever happened before. With all the many bluewater pay-to-play crewing opportunities out there these days (some of which I’ve been involved with), I think this is the first time anyone has actually died doing it. According to the official statement released by Clipper Ventures, organizers of the Clipper Round the World Race, Andrew Ashman, 49, a British paramedic who had been sailing since he was a teenager, died onboard the Clipper 70 IchorCoal two days ago after being knocked out by the mainsheet and perhaps the boom ...

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On The Water ICW ChartGuides, more great work from Mark & Diana Doyle

7 Sep

Written by Ben Ellison on Sep 7, 2015 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

OTW_ChartGuide_ICW_vol1_ed1_aPanbo.JPGMy expectations for the recently announced On The Water ChartGuides were high, but darn if checking out a whole 120 page review copy didn’t blow me away (and I’m already familiar with most of the Intracoastal Waterway that Volume 1 covers). The two new ChartGuides are also remarkably inexpensive in print or electronic formats, just like OTW’s other ICW guides. My only complaint? The Doyles are such skilled and prolific communicators that I feel like a piker!

OTW_CruiseGuide_n_AnchorGuide_aPanbo.JPGWell, there is potential confusion with the “ChartGuide” name, ...

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Farewell Cape Farewell

7 Sep

I always wondered why the southernmost point of Greenland has attracted this attractive name. After nine days of struggling to get out of its grip, I know. Whoever named it, never wanted to see it again.

It took us all that time to reach a point of about 500 miles to the southeast of it, a distance we normally cover in three days. The immediate area to the south of Cape Farewell is notorious for the large concentration of ice in late spring and early summer but even more so for the breeding ground of depressions throughout the year.

The ...

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5 Sep

“Oh, ho!” you say, sipping your morning coffee. “Amy has finally written something new. That slacker. Took long enough.”

And you’re right. My record has been more than a little spotty this past year. And I owe you, my loyal readers, a short explanation.

Let’s face it: this is, at heart, a family travel blog. And while the family part remains intact, the travel aspect has ground to a halt. Not forever, but for now.

The other issue I face is that we currently live in a teeny-tiny community. And while I could record many (many, many) funny stories about ...

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TackingMaster Wrist Tool

4 Sep

TM_FRONTThe new TackingMaster is a wrist-worn tool that’s designed to help provide tacticians with an easy-to-read wind overview that also provides a visual reminder of recent shifts. The TackingMaster ($75, is worn like a wristwatch, but instead of a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connection, its movements are manually entered based on information that’s generated by the boat’s anemometer and compass. The TackingMaster uses an external locking ring (red), a moving outer bezel (the “compass ring”), a rotating watch face (the “wind dial”) and a mark ring (the two yellow arrows). To use, set the wind dial to the 0-degree ...

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