ICEBEAR OFFSHORE // Towards Tobago Cays, Grenadines

6 Jan

ICEBEAR at rest in the Saintes.

ICEBEAR at rest in the Saintes.

We’re back at sea again after about 30 hours in Terre de Haut. New Year’s Day was lazy. The crew set off on a long, steep hike to the top of the island and the old abandoned fort that Mia, Lisa & I had explored back in February last time we were in the Saintes. The road to the top is steep and winding – at every switchback corner it feels like you must be at the top, but it just keeps on going.

Mia & I were less ambitious. We meandered across the ...

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ICEBEAR OFFSHORE // New Year’s Eve at Sea

6 Jan

Double rainbow as the crew joined ICEBEAR in Antigua! Good omen!

Double rainbow as the crew joined ICEBEAR in Antigua! Good omen!

ICEBEAR departed Falmouth, Antigua, right on time, at 1630, December 31, 2019. The last day of the decade, and the first time we’d ever spend New Year’s Eve at sea.

That was on purpose. I’ve never liked big parties regardless of the time of year, and I didn’t want to have any temptations for the crew to spend a (late) night ashore. So we sailed.

Andy nighttime navigatin’.

Andy nighttime navigatin’.

The sun set as we crossed the open-water pass between Antigua and Guadaloupe, a gentle easterly breeze propelling us south. In ...

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Cape to Rio Race

3 Jan
Part of the fleet with beautiful Table Mountain

 

 
The Cape to Rio race started this past weekend. It’s one of the world’s iconic sailing events first raced back in 1971. Perhaps it’s more iconic to me than other sailors because I grew up with the race. When I was a kid in South Africa the Rio Race was a big deal. Before the race started the local newspaper would have a supplement ...
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Bilge pump switches, tough boats, and safe 2020 wishes to all

1 Jan

 

“NO ELECTRONICS” as a product feature? Is that where we’re at as the decades turn? But I also deduced evidence that these new-to-me USS Ultra bilge pump switches actually are ultra reliable. Despite premium pricing, the excellent marine chandlery in Rockland keeps plenty of Ultras in stock, and so they’re probably installed on some of the many nearby commercial vessels. Which especially includes the growing fleet of tough, handsome, and well-equipped offshore lobster boats that I’d like to tell you about.

USS Ultra bilge pump switches at Hamilton Marine
USS Ultra bilge pump switches at Hamilton Marine in Rockland, Maine

I somehow missed them, but USS Ultra ...

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SiriusXM and Garmin GXM 54 add Fish Mapping to satellite weather

31 Dec

Garmin GPSMap 8612 displaying SiriusXM Fish Mapping chart

SiruisXM has expanded on their satellite delivered weather options with their new Fish Mapping plan for anglers. Does Fish Mapping deliver the goods for the offshore angler? With sea temperature, plankton, weed line, sea surface height and fishing recommendations there’s a lot of data to help you find fish and Garmin makes it easy to display on their MFDs.

Hardware

Fish mapping requires a new generation of receiver to collect the extra data included in the package. So far, ...

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CRASH AND CAPSIZE: Team New Zealand Flips Their Foiling AC75

20 Dec

Dec. 20/2019:  Someone had to do it first! And the Kiwis certainly seem pretty laid back about the whole business. This happened yesterday. Watch the viddy the team posted and you’ll see it was actually a fairly undramatic event. Their boat Te Aihe had completed a jibe and was flying its hull in about 10 knots of true wind, moving at around 30 knots, when the boat suddenly reared up, then fell down again, landing safely upright on its hull. Then, oddly, she just slowly rolled over to leeward, in spite of her windward keel and foil being fully canted ...

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ScanStrut Rokk Wireless phone charging, testing the first generation

17 Dec

 

The Scanstrut Rokk Wireless charging pad I tested practically disappears under my phone, and obviously there’s no USB charging wire involved either. But that’s the idea, and there’s even a model that I could have completely hidden under that varnished cherry surface, or the similar  counter at Gizmo’s pilothouse helm. Just put the phone down in the right spot and charging happens!

I was new to wireless charging and this was a nice place to start. Scanstrut is the only company on earth developing waterproof 12/24v wireless chargers for boats, to my knowledge, and their various Rokk Wireless models...

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The Joy of Sailing

17 Dec
Sailing Rich Wilson’s IMOCA 60

Yes I know the title is a bit of a play on the title of another well known book, but there really is so much joy to be had from sailing and sometimes it’s hard to express just how much sailing means to us. I tried to do so in an essay I wrote a few years ago and I am sharing it with you here in part to celebrate sailing as well as to celebrate the holiday season. Also, to be perfectly honest I am also using this as a bit of self-promotion (which ...

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Reflections from Shore: Ben’s Story P. 1

16 Dec

A sunny shakedown sail after relocating ISBJORN to Annapolis Harbor! Photo by James Austrums (2019)

A sunny shakedown sail after relocating ISBJORN to Annapolis Harbor! Photo by James Austrums (2019)

November 30th, 2019

Today I said goodbye to an abbreviated 59 North family – Andy, Mia, August, Emma, Ben & Jenni. All of them will be greeting new crew today at 5pm, except for Ben who will fly back to Bainbridge Island with his young family. I too will be going my own way – which feels exciting but strange after spending four months eating, sleeping, wearing, sweating and bleeding 59 North! 

My name is Ben Soofer, or Andy is fond of calling me, ‘Liz ...

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Aqua Map Version 20, fast scrolling and new features

12 Dec

 

Aqua Map 20 showing the Port Everglades inlet with ACOE surveys, satellite images, and gauge data from WiFi

Aqua Map has already established itself as an excellent app for boaters supplying valuable data at your fingertips. But one weakness has been the relatively slow rendering of charts. This made scrolling slower than you would like, but now Aqua Map is out with version 20 and an all new charting engine. The result? Lightning fast scrolling and several nice updates to make one of the leading navigation apps even better.

Aqua Map version 20 with satellite images set to about
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