Thoughts on the Approaching Doldrums

16 Apr

April 15, 2019/Day 192

Noon Position: 18 29S  22 50W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): NxW 6

Miles since departure: 26,191

Avg. Miles/Day: 136

 

Wind has stayed blessedly consistent the last 24 hours and the sky clear. On a 12 – 15 knot northeasterly we’ve made good time.

As I type, it’s approximately 1,000 miles to the line (the equator). Now the question of how we handle the approaching doldrums comes to the fore.

Conventional wisdom has it that a sailing vessel should stay to the west of that belt of calms, and a daily examination of weather at the ITCZ these last ...

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OCEAN SAILING MOVIES: The Mercy, Coyote, Following Seas

16 Apr

Decent films about ocean sailing are, alas, few and far between, so it’s worth noting there are at least three recent offerings I’ve screened that are truly worth watching. The first, unbelievably, is an A-list flick starring Colin Firth and Rachel Weisz, The Mercy, which recounts the well-worn tale of Donald Crowhurst’s tragic voyage during the 1968-69 Golden Globe Race.

I’d been looking forward to seeing this film for a long time, ever since Paul Gelder tipped me off a few years ago he’d been helping the folks making it understand what sort of boat Crowhurst had sailed ...

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#262: Pawel Motawa // Antarctic Sailor & Media Producer

15 Apr

OTW262.jpg

#262. Pawel Motawa is one of the first guests I ever interviewed WAY back in my ‘Two Inspired Guys’ days in 2012. Then, he had just completed the ARC rally in St. Lucia, and I was drawn to his bright yellow steel sloop MALAIKA, with it’s proud Polish flag flying, and thought there had to be a story here. When Mia & I sailed ISBJORN into Las Palmas in January, there was MALAIKA again, on the pontoon just a few slips down from us. Pawel immediately said hello and we reconnected for another chat in the saloon of his lovely ...

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Doane safety advice regarding Transderm patches & psychotic breaks

15 Apr

 

When the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Virgin Islands charged Rick Smith with “seaman’s manslaughter” last fall, it kicked off months of press coverage and a fire hose of sailor opinions about what exactly happened onboard Smith’s yawl Cimarron that led to the death of David Pontious, and whether Smith did a proper job as captain.

But the incident seemed fairly mysterious to me — and without any particular safety lessons — until I read THE TRAGEDY OF DAVID PONTIOUS: Did a Scopolamine Patch Drive Him to Suicide? by Charles Doane. I think it’s must-reading for all of us ...

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An update on internet options, strong cellular and variable WiFi results

12 Apr

 

My family and I have been back living and traveling aboard Have Another Day for about nine months now.  Our boat is a huge consumer of bandwidth so I’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t.   Here’s an update and some tips on what we’re doing to maintain reliable connectivity.

Verizon

Last fall Verizon started offering a $65 truly unlimited prepaid rate plan that I quickly jumped on, also purchasing the cheap MHS900L Jetpack mobile hotspot pictured above.  Let’s just say it wasn’t even worth the $50 I paid for it; several commenters on the initial article ...

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The Race is On // ICEBEAR & ISBJORN Offshore Together

12 Apr

ISBJORN, our S&S Swan 48.

ISBJORN, our S&S Swan 48.

San Juan, Puerto Rico. ISBJORN departed the marina this morning at 0500, with Simon Borjeson at the helm and our great friends Tom & Darlene as his mates. The four-man crew woke up at 0400 to get away on time. Mia set her alarm at 0415 to go and help them cast off. I’m anxious, so stayed in bed. I have full confidence in Simon and the crew, but this is the first time we’ve run both boat’s together on passage, and a little nerves are normal I’d say!

It’s 0747 as I write this, ...

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Tanked: mixology woes aboard

10 Apr

Jerry cans lined up on the dock

The dull thud of your heart sinking at that horrifying moment when you realize what you just did and consequences will follow: we all dread it. It happens anyway. Cruising comes with higher highs, and lower lows… pouring the wrong stuff in your diesel tank is one of those lower points.

In mid-2012, Totem was being prepped to move after five months mostly at a dock and a year and a half in Australia. This was the first step to depart Australia: shifting from dockside liveaboard to river mooring before sailing north to Papua New Guinea and beyond. Wrapping up ...

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Testing Blue Guard’s BG-One oil detecting bilge pump switch

10 Apr

 

In the last six months Blue Guard Innovations’ BG-One Smart Bilge Pump Switch with Oil and Fuel Detector racked up new product awards, winning an IBEX Innovations Award, a SAIL magazine Pittman Award, and a DAME design award Special Mention. So it’s great to have one now installed on Have Another Day, and so far I’m liking both its performance and the amount of information it provides.

The $220 Blue Guard BG-One can prevent your boat from pumping out oil and fuel that might be floating on top of water in your bilge, and it’s also highly configurable, ...

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A Radio Call

10 Apr

April 8, 2019/Day 185

Noon Position: 30 35S  23 41W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): ENE 7

Miles since departure: 25,405

Avg. Miles/Day: 137

 

A fast night. Somehow I found Monte’s sweet spot, and with two reefs in everything, I didn’t have to touch sail or tiller line all night. And our course, 30 degrees on the button. Excellent. Rough, but excellent.

Today has also been fast. We’re averaging 7 knots at moment, but the wind is beginning to ease. I think morning will initiate the next chapter of this northing saga: Getting Through the South Atlantic High. At moment there are nearly ...

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An Extended Complaint

9 Apr

April 7, 2019/Day 184

Noon Position: 32 25S  25 46W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): NExE 6

Miles since departure: 25,255

Avg. Miles/Day: 137

 

A godforsaken bit of water, this.

Same ritual overnight; wind accelerates; I kit up and reef. By the time I’m back in the cockpit, another reef is needed. That’s at 11PM. At 3AM I wake to find we’re doing 4 knots and headed east. Wind has dropped way off. Let out reefs. Rain. Let out more reefs at dawn. All reefs back in by noon.

A thick, light-blocking sky today such that I made the first two log ...

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