Unsettled Weather and Monte Reconstruction Begins

30 May

May 28, 2019/Day 235

Noon Position: 39 17N  61 32W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): WNW 5.5

Miles since departure: 30,968

Avg. Miles/Day: 132


Tacked at sunset and again at dawn. Wind came out of the NNW early but has now swung into the NNE and will swing all the way around overnight, just like last night and tomorrow night. We’re crossing traffic–i.e. the latitudes at which lows depart the NE coast and head out to sea. Today’s low was barely noticeable. Tomorrow’s will be strong.

Once bitten twice shy. This coming low is nothing compared to the last, but still, I’m trying ...

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FloatHub, Boat Beacon and Boat Watch work with Amazon Alexa

30 May


You may realize that Amazon’s “smart assistant” Alexa is like Apple’s Siri, except that you can ask “her” questions through an Echo speaker instead of an iPhone. But did you know that some marine app developers have created Alexa skills as free and possibly useful features? The underlying technology is awesome, but you don’t have to know much to make it work.

First, play the video above to hear what’s possible. Given that FloatHub boat monitoring is already on my boat and a little Echo Spot on my office desk, all I had to do was follow ...

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Pay the Piper, Monte

28 May

May 25, 2019/Day 232

Noon Position: 37 08N 60 26W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): SE on drogue, 2-3 knots


Overnight, wind veers into the W and diminishes to 20 knots. I get some sleep, but Mo jumps like a startled hare on these seas, and staying wedged into my bunk is a game I lose once an hour.

By dawn wind has swung into the NW and is blowing 20 – 30 knots. On the chart plotter, Mo has passed through a perfect U-shaped course since I streamed the drogue and is now headed slowly SE. And I am relieved at the ...

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Decision Made, Drogue Out

27 May

May 24, 2019/Day 231

Noon Position: 36 45N  60 57W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): NW 6 – 7

Wind(t/tws): SSW 20+


4pm. Wind is increasing. The sky grows darker under scudding cloud. Seas are stacking up. And the barometer is still falling 2mb every two hours. I recall what David Burch says in Modern Marine Weather, that a drop of 2mb over three hours implies a strong blow coming.

I’ve made as much precious northing as I dare on the low’s SW winds, and as the day wears on, the scene becomes more intense than my read of the weather suggested....

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NORTHBOUND LUNACY 2019: Puerto Rico to Bermuda

26 May

This year’s seasonal repatriation began with a quick cruise down Puerto Rico’s south coast in company with my old compatriot Phil (P.T. Cav, formerly Snake Wake) Cavanaugh. Our departure from the marina at Fajardo, shortly after 0800 on Tuesday, May 7, was most serendipitous. We had very calm conditions extracting ourselves from our berth, and just outside while raising the mainsail, then the tradewinds promptly filled in and swept us westward.

My purpose here was to get a better sense of some Puerto Rican geography that was important to Thomas Tangvald, both when he was younger and still sailing with ...

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Migrating for hurricane season in Mexico

25 May

Cruising has seasonal rhythms; weather is the dominant factor, and for cruisers in Mexico it’s time to be in – or well on your way to – an area to spend hurricane season. From Mexico’s “Gold Coast” on the Pacific, the primary choices are south to El Salvador or beyond, north towards the Sea of Cortez, or the big passage to French Polynesia. We’re headed back to Baja and the SOC, and can’t wait to immerse ourselves in the stunning desert landscape again.

This morning, dolphins played in our bow wake as Siobhan and Mairen looked on: yes, that IS ...

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Flummoxed by the Coming Lows

25 May

May 23, 2019

Day 230

Noon Position: 36 30N 59 08W

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

Wind(t/tws): NxW 15 – 20

Sea(t/ft): NW 10

Sky: Overcast

10ths Cloud Cover: 10

Bar(mb): 1021

Cabin Temp(f): 70

Water Temp(f): 71

Relative Humidity(%): 50

Sail: #2 genoa and main, two tucks, close reaching.

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 112

Miles since departure: 30,587

Avg. Miles/Day: 133

Leg North Miles: 7,428

Leg North Days: 64

Avg. Miles/Day: 116

Though the Pilot Charts suggest my route is a fair one, reality appears to be otherwise. My sense is that I made the turn north too soon, and ...

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Heat shrink solder sleeve butt connectors, great for skinny boat wires

24 May


The small gauge wire connections usually required when installing NMEA 0183 data sharing often fail because normal boat wiring techniques don’t work well at this scale — or at least not in my clumsy DIY hands. So I was intrigued at first sight with this relatively new type of heat shrink butt connector that uses low-temperature solder instead of a crimping sleeve, and so far I’m quite impressed with the results.

The three skinny wire splices above may not look neat and tidy, but I’m confident that they’ll hold up to a lot of abuse.  And the heat shrink ...

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Welcome to the North Atlantic

24 May

May 22, 2019

Day 229

Noon Position: 36 36N  6116W

Course: ENE 6

Wind: NNW 20 -25

Sea: NNW 14

Sail: #2, three reefs, close reaching

Noon to Noon miles made good: 115

We’re biting into the underside of our first North Atlantic low. Winds are the stiffest we’ve experienced since Cape Horn, and are made to feel all the more so because I’m trying to reach to the NE in a strong northwesterly. I doused the main at noon, by which time the rail couldn’t keep its head above water. Mo is down to a triple reefed #2 ...

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Steady Wind, Book Repair, Ships

23 May

May 21, 2019/Day 228

Noon Position: 34 48N  62 05W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): NxE 5

Miles since departure: 30,370

Avg. Miles/Day: 133


Overnight, a steady wind filled in from the south. Light and weak as gossamer. On deck at 2am with the moon full overhead, I could not feel wind on my face as we made our 2.8 knots to the north.

Today is a different story. We are beginning to feed into a low coming down from the NE. Winds are 15 knots from the SSE. Mo is in lather. Though happy about this, I would be happier if the ...

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