18 Oct

You may have seen this video a couple of years ago back when the collision, during Cowes race week, took place. They’re having a trial about it now, as the skipper of the yacht, a Corby 33 named Atalanta of Chester, insists that he was not negligent. Watching what happened per the viddy, I’d say what it was, in law-school lingo, was negligence per se. As in: you should never try to cross in front of another vessel, particularly one that is much, much larger than yours, unless you are about 1,000 percent sure you’re going to make ...

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Hauling Out and Back in Time

14 Oct
I hate to admit it, but after sailing two-thousand odd miles to get to Maine this summer I hardly did any sailing when I got there. Almost from the first day I got caught up in land life and before I noticed its passage summer was at its end. So instead of trying to gather a crew to head right back where I came from, I decided to winter the boat in Maine and take the time next summer to explore the coast. I got very lucky with the haulout.
The mooring I’ve been on for the summer is owned ...
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How Wild Is Your Wildlife? Part I: Fins in the Water

11 Oct

Q:  I’d like to go cruising, but I’m not so keen on sharks.  Do you see many?  Are they a problem?

A:  Ah, sharks.  On my list of Things People Worry About On Our Behalf, they sit second only to pirates.  And I understand that.  They are strong, fast, and have those excellent triangular teeth that just scream out “higher predator!”  The media doesn’t help this image.  If you go watching shows with names like Ten Deadliest Sharks, then you are feeding your fears.  As my mother would say, don’t put beans up your nose.

Short answer: you do not ...

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9 Oct

attachment 1317880630
I just read Sailing Alone Around the World, by Captain Joshua Slocum, for about the tenth time. On this reading I noted that Captain Slocum careened several times on his voyage, usually to paint the bottom. This was long before travel lifts, but being a budget cruiser, Captain Slocum wouldn’t have paid for one anyway. He just found a suitable beach with an adequate tidal range and let nature do the work.

Why don’t we careen anymore?

If we careened on our local American swimming beach to slap on a few coats of Micron we’d undoubtedly end up in ...

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Angering the sailing gods

26 Aug


Well, thanks for the comments on that last post, Tom Trump, but I think you jinxed us! Or, more accurately, I think I jinxed myself.

I’m warm now, drinking a hot cup of coffee (decaf!) in the sommarstuga, after having eaten about 10 ounces of wild smoked salmon and having had 30 minutes in the sauna. Not a bad afternoon, but I’d say deserved after this morning’s near bout with hypothermia.

You see, here at 60º north, when something goes wrong, you pay for it. Thankfully it was a small price, in the big picture, but I paid ...

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Summer bummer, please don’t blame charts or electronics

10 Aug

Written by Ben Ellison on Aug 10, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

East_Goose_Rock_wreck_courtesy_Leonard_Lookner.jpgWhile my friend Leonard Lookner was first to come upon this distressing scene Wednesday afternoon, he too was sailing and thus, a powerboat just behind him was first to offer assistance. But it was Leonard’s iPhone photos that fueled a local PenBay Pilot news piece, which then prompted an interesting SailNet discussion. Of course, it was suggested that marine electronics or digital charts were somehow to blame – allegations I’d like to refute, and I also want to report on how well this worse-than-it-even-looks ...

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COCKPIT CONTROL LINES: Fight the Spaghetti Madness

31 Jul

Cockpit lines

Just as all roads once led to Rome, many cruising sailors now believe that all working lines should lead to the cockpit. The result, unfortunately, is often a pile of multi-colored spaghetti that is hard to manage and actually makes it more difficult to sail your boat.

On aft-cockpit boats the most common scenario now is that almost every line coming off the mast or deck forward of the cockpit is led back through blocks and organizers to a battery of rope clutches arrayed around two winches on either side of the companionway under the cockpit dodger. The more active ...

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Matt Rutherford encounters abandoned Swan 48 during Ocean Research Project expedition

23 Jul

Holy moly. All this chatter from Charlie Doane about abandoned sailboats, and look what Matt Rutherford has turned up in mid-Atlantic. He’s apparently the second person who’s found – and boarded – Wolfhound (ex Bella Luna)  in the last two weeks.

Matt – famous for his record-breaking Solo the America’s voyage – and Nikki have been at sea since early June on Matt’s new steel Colvin schooner on their first research voyage for their newly minted Ocean Research Project. It was in the midst of this voyage that they spotted the Swan (and were offered a bounty to tow ...

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SALVAGE LAW: Do You Get to Keep an Abandoned Boat?

15 Jul

Boat on beach

I’ve been posting a bit lately about abandoned boats, and my SAILfeed colleague Clark Beek has rightly pointed out that it is high time I bloviated on the subject of salvage rights. Many people believe that if you find an abandoned boat it automatically belongs to you, and yes, I intentionally played into and exploited that popular misconception in the title of my first post on Wolfhound, the abandoned Swan 48 now adrift 600 miles east of Bermuda. But in fact the law isn’t that simple.

Salvage law is very old and dates back to medieval times, when ...

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A Brush with Beauforts

30 Jun

I’ve just finished A Voyage for Madmen, Peter Nichol’s excellent chronicle of the original Golden Globe race. In it he recounts an exchange between a young Robin Knox-Johnston and the attending customs officer when Knox-Johnston returns from his round-the-world sail. Asked his port of embarkation and his port of last call he answers, for both, Falmouth, England.
Well, we’ve met no customs officers and only gone a couple hundred miles but last night I recalled this line with a smile as we bowled into Beaufort Harbor under our tiny storm jib alone. Two days before we had left another ...

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