Commerson’s Dolphins Video

6 Jan



This video shows the only friends we made on the Patagonian coast.

This pod of Commerson's Dolphins stuck with us through thick and thin for hundreds of miles of sailing. They are the cutest of all cetaceans at about five feet long. Most dolphins/porpoises swim excitedly off your bow, sometimes for hours, but if you stop the boat they lose interest quickly and drift off. No so with our friends the Commerson's Dolphins. When the weather got nasty we hove too, as we did in this video, and they hung out in the slick we left to windward…for hours. ...

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Remembrance of Things Bashed

5 Jan

The link posted by The Mariner to the Cowes Race Week boat dismating was like replaying what happened to me off the Brazilian coast in 2006. It was nighttime and the ship that hit me was moving a bit faster, but the accident was much the same: A T-bone by an 800-footer, my ketch then sliding down the ship's port side, and the ship's port anchor catching the forestay/roller furler and carrying it away. But my mast stayed up. Isn't sailing fun?

You can read my whole container ship accident story here, and scare your children into keeping a ...

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Barra de Navidad

3 Jan

Turns out we sort of jumped the gun on the big grocery stock up the other day as we still have no strong inclination to leave. We like Barra. It's a nice local feeling town that is just the right size for walking from one end to the other with a two year-old in tow. We've eaten at at least ten different restaurants and despite none of them being overwhelmingly good none have been too disappointing either. Ice cream shop, French bakery, OXXO, and a couple of hardware stores and we're pretty well taken care of these days.

The ...
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Where did all the catamarans go?

31 Dec

Something we noticed way back when we were on the boat in California, and which has carried on as true right down here into Mexico, is that there are no catamarans on the West Coast. Of the U.S. or of Mexico. You just never see them. I'm sure they exist, but it's like a rumor that you can't quite prove is true. Right now there are nineteen boats in the lagoon, all monohulls. We haven't shared an anchorage with a catamaran, and back in the marina we only saw one or two languishing in their slips. In Florida you can't ...

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Bluenose New Year

30 Dec

I’m in Nova Scotia, visiting my wife’s family for the week. I’m sorry I ever complained about San Francisco being cold. Even the lobsterman down the street says it’s too cold and rough to go out.

My in-laws live just outside of Lunenburg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and home of the Bluenose. The Bluenose is a 140-foot fishing schooner, built in Lunenburg in 1921, and famous for beating the US for the International Fisherman’s Trophy over the course of the next seventeen years.

Bluenose launch, Lunenburg, March 26, 1921 - courtesy of the Nova Scotia Archives

She was the first non-human to be inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame. She’s ...

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Landlubbers Aboard

27 Dec

Today we took Ali's mom out to see the boat. Our families are not in any way shape or form considered an aquatic people, and even a simple dinghy ride can seem like an adventure on the water. But once they get on our boats they always seem to like them. Ali's mom even said to her dad, "I could do this. Could you do this?" She was referring to the part of cruising that everybody likes, sitting on deck in the warm sun with a cold beer in hand.


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A Sailor Turns Two

23 Dec

Big birthday today! So we started the morning off with some boat work. Because no day, birthdays included, is complete without a couple hours of bloody knuckles in the engine compartment.

But soon enough the engine work was put on the back burner and the celebration kicked off. We blew up fifty balloons and threw them around the house. The girl loves her balloons. Then Mama went to work on the cake. There is a first for everything, and as we stood there with Ouest helping us stir the batter, we prayed the cake would actually work out.
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Running and Broaching Video

22 Dec

This video is a great illustration of the mechanics of running with a storm. It's hard to see this kind of thing live, becaue nobody wants to get a camera out in these conditions,  plus they're hanging on for dear life and can't film. In this case another vessel was following them to capture the action.

The waves aren't that big, but they sure are steep. You can have huge waves out there, but if they're not breaking they pose no danger. These are short, steep little monsters, and the possibilities of pitchpoling or a knockdown are obvious. 

This boat ...

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2011 ARC: Bubble Gum And Rubber Band Award

20 Dec

ARC leader Andrew Bishop

Though I've participated in the ARC before, this was the first time I was able to attend the prizegiving. What a bash! The wind-up to the 2011 ARC this past Saturday was a celebration of epic proportions. After plying the assembled multitude of sailors with rum (clever tactic that), master of ceremonies Andrew Bishop (see photo up top) proceeded to hand out a multitude of awards for all manner of achievements.

My personal favorite was the Award for Having Your Entry Number Coincidentally Match Your Order of Finish Number. Amazingly, it was shared this year by the crews of three ...

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A Lot of Wind Video

19 Dec

As I've said many times, sailors are notorious exaggerators, and the wind and waves always seem to get a little higher and stronger after a few drinks. The video below is what I consider a lot of wind. I posted this video on YouTube a few years ago as an experiment, and I'm shocked that over twenty thousand people have watched it, which I guess isn't that many in the YouTube world.

To answer nitty-gritty questions, this was at Peninsula Tamar, at the Boca Occidental of the Straits of Magellan, with a typical low pressure system blowing through. Captain Slocum ...

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