The source of inspiration

7 Oct
Sunset in La Cruz

A boat we met during our Pacific crossing recently finished their circumnavigation. That happens more frequently now as we have gone slowly, and those with fewer diversions or specific goals to complete a loop continue their march to the west. The post by M/V Emily Grace’s skipper reflecting on their completion sounded eerily familiar: the original source was easy to find, and it’s worth sharing again with appropriate attribution.

This trip was about simple discovery, venturing out to see the world and the people in it. Along the way we faced obstacles and challenges that only a trip like

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59 Degrees North Podcast #4: Lin & Larry Pardey

2 Oct

Lin & Larry Pardey are on the podcast! Two of my sailing heroes, whose voyages, articles, books and advice has spanned at least two generations of sailors. I spoke to them from Sweden – they were half a world away in New Zealand – and we chatted Baltic sailing, what it feels like to stay (more or less) in one place after a lifetime of ocean voyaging and what they think of the modern voyaging sailor. Check out Lin’s new edition of ‘The Care & Feeding of Sailing Crew’ on their website at, and catch them at the ...

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RAW FAITH: The Movie

2 Oct

George McKay

I was a little worried when filmmaker Greg Roscoe got in touch and offered to send along a copy of his new documentary, Raw Faith: A Family Saga. The film follows the story of George McKay and his bizarre mock galleon, Raw Faith, and my fear was Roscoe would seek to romanticize both him and his boat. As I remarked here three years ago when Raw Faith finally sank off Cape Cod, though I always admired McKay’s tenacity, his parody of a vessel made my skin crawl. She was, very obviously, a disaster waiting to happen.

Roscoe, fortunately, ...

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59 Degrees North #2 & #3: Matt Rutherford

27 Sep

It’s been all over SAILfeed here, the story of Matt Rutherford’s encounter with the abandoned Swan 48 Wolfhound and his subsequent attempt at salvaging her.  Here it now from the man himself, on the second installment of my ‘59 Degrees North‘ podcast. Episode 3 is also Matt, discussing the specifics of his first Ocean Research Project expedition to study the Atlantic Garbage Patch with scientist Nicole Trenholm onboard the Colvin 44 Ault . Enjoy!...

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59 Degrees North Podcast Launched! Episode 1: Allan Palmer

19 Sep

Greetings! By happy accident today, I’ve launched my new sailing podcast, ’59 Degrees North: Andy Schell’s Conversations with Sailors,’ in conjunction with Talk Like a Pirate Day! Aye, the podcast! Anyway, comin’ at you with the first episode today. I talked with Allan Palmer, captain of the brig Tre Kronor  in Stockholm last week, aboard the boat. Palmer’s dad was a real Cape Horner, sailing the grain route from South Australia on the last of the big square riggers. We discussed that, as well as Palmer’s role in traditional rigging projects, what it’s like to sail a square rigger, and ...

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“Could Not Lift My Arms”

16 Sep

Hey, Dean Barker, everybody missed one backstory item in your press conference on Sunday. You won a race, and you lost a race, and with that loss . . .

You set a record.

15/09/2013 - San Francisco (USA,CA) - 34th America's Cup - Final Match, Day 6America’s Cup/Gilles Martin-Raget

As dawn broke over the East Bay hills that morning, September 15, 2013, you were tied with Australia’s great America’s Cup challenger, Jim Hardy (Sir James to me) for a record of twelve Cup races, as helmsman, lost.

Hardy skippered for Australia in 1970, 1974 and 1980. Gretel II, Southern Cross and Australia. You’ve skippered Team New Zealand in ...

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Annapolis Boat Shows Sold to Local Maritime Business Executives with Deep Community Roots

6 Sep

Greetings! The news release below if of particular interest to me because one of the new owners of the Annapolis Boat Show is Mary Ewenson, my publisher at SpinSheet. I also worked with Mary a bit last year on the DelMarVa rally (and participated with my dad on Sojourner). Mary is awesome, and this should be a great opportunity. Interesting news if you’re an Annapolitan too.

Annapolis, Maryland  (September. 6, 2013) —- Paul Jacobs, General Manager of the Annapolis Boat Shows, has announced that he and a team of four local business owners have a contract to purchase the Boat ...

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DEAD GAL: Ruth Wharram

6 Sep

Wharram and women

Another multihull pioneer bites the dust. Unfortunately, I just received an e-mail this morning from Hanneke Boon, Jim Wharram’s design partner, regarding the passing of another of Jim’s partners, Ruth Wharram, who crossed the Atlantic and back with Jim and Jutta Schultze-Rohnhof (see photo up top) back in 1955-58 on the catamarans Tangaroa and Rongo. She always played an integral role in the development of Wharram’s career and business and was an accomplished ocean sailor.

Wharram, in his classic memoir of his early voyages, Two Girls Two Catamarans, described Ruth as a very important influence right from page one:...

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ACCUSED CHILD MOLESTER: Wanna-Be Cruising Couple Nabbed With Arsenal On Boat In Miami

30 Aug

Van Gundys

Van Gundy boat

The “cruising dream” can manifest itself in many strange and different ways. Say, for example, you’re living in Arizona and are due to appear in court to face 16 counts of messing around sexually with an underage boy. Might be a good time to take a little road trip to Florida with the wife and the dogs and the assault rifles and look for a boat to buy, wouldn’t you say?

This apparently made sense to accused sex offender Robert Van Gundy, 29, who was busted with his wife Arielle at Dinner Key Marina in Coconut Grove on Wednesday. The ...

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Eight Bells: Dick Newick

30 Aug

Dick Newick

Word has it that Dick Newick, one of the great pioneer multihull designers, passed away on Wednesday night. I met Newick a few years ago here in Portsmouth (he once maintained a home across the river in Kittery Point, Maine) and was struck by a fundamental boat-design axiom of his that he shared with me. There are, he claimed, three desirable characteristics that most clients would like to see in any boat–performance, low cost, and comfort. “You can have any two,” he told me. “But you can never have all three.”

Pretty much every time I test-sail ...

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