NORTHBOUND LUNACY: Morehead City, NC, to Atlantic City, NJ

9 Jun

Peter at work

I had not one but three crew for the next leg of this year’s homecoming odyssey: my brother Peter, an engineer (see photo up top), and two engineer buddies of his, Steve and Greg. They didn’t know much about sailing, so to help them feel useful and appreciated I staged a mechanical emergency within moments of our departure from the Morehead City Yacht Basin last Wednesday. This is not too difficult: all you need do is forget to open your engine’s intake valve.

I was surprised at how long it took my engine to start overheating. As soon as the ...

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Speed and Shooting in Bad Weather

9 Jun

Day 167/46

Noon Position: 15 06N 151 58W

Course/Speed: NNW7+

Wind: E20+

Bar: 1017, steady

Sea: E8+

Sky: Clear, a few inconsequential cumulus, so thin as to be translucent

Cabin Temperature: 88

Water Temperature: 85

Sail: #1 and Main, one reef each

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good: 161

Miles this leg: 5928

Avg. Miles this leg: 129

Miles since departure: 23,033

Speed. The last 24-hours have been NE trades at their finest; that is fresh and fast and at an angle that Mo adores. Yesterday we flew the big genoa while winds slowly built, and Mo slid along at 7 and ...

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Unsatisfactory Conversation with a Flying Fish

8 Jun

Day 167/45

Noon Position: 12 36N 151 02W

Course/Speed: NNW7

Wind: E12 -15

Bar: 1014, rising before noon, falling after

Sea: E3

Sky: Overcast, solid deck with heavy cumulus under

Cabin Temperature: 86

Water Temperature: 82

Sail: #1 and Main, full, reaching at between 7 and 8 knots

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good: 149

Miles this leg: 5,767

Avg. Miles this leg: 128

Miles since departure: 22,827

Cloud rolled in as the sun set. I had planned a whole series of sextant star shots, but in the end was only able to nab Jupiter and Arcrux before I lost the horizon ...

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Rough Night and Reefing

7 Jun

Day 166/44

Noon Position: 10 18N 150 04W

Course/Speed: NNW6-7

Wind: E5

Sky: Overcast. High haze to windward; clear to leeward

Cabin Temperature: 88

Water Temperature: 83

Sail: Working sail, single reefs

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good: 130

Miles this leg: 5,618

Avg. Miles this leg: 125

Miles since departure: 22,723

A night worthy of ridicule, of scorn, of vituperate contumely squared.

I couldn’t see them as there was no visibility, but we must have continued working through squalls after dark. And though it was the greatest good fortune to have wind at all, the wind we got was a torture: ...

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Departure & Into the High Arctic

7 Jun

  Isbjorn on anchor as we readied for departure towards Svalbard.

Isbjorn on anchor as we readied for departure towards Svalbard.

The weather for the past week is the coldest it’s been – by far – since we crossed the Arctic Circle. High’s in Tromsø during our short stopover never got above 5ºC (41ºF), and only for a short period in the afternoon. The fact that the sun hasn’t set since May 26 gives the environment a warmer ‘feeling’, at least mentally, but it’s cold. It snowed in town, on and off for the past few days, and above about 200 meters in the surrounding mountains, a fresh coat of white ...

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TIN CANOES & OTHER MADNESS: The Genius of Robb White

6 Jun

Robb White

How could I have lived so long without discovering this man? He is such an improbably entertaining writer, and all he wrote about, pretty much, is boats, the water surrounding them, and the life that is in it. Hats off to crew member (and erstwhile Boréal shopper) Nat Smith, who handed me a copy of White’s first book, the only one published in his lifetime, How to Build a Tin Canoe (Hyperion/Theia, 2003), and promised me I would like it.

Some of you are clucking your tongues now. For Robb White wasn’t exactly flying under the radar. He ...

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TIN CANOES & OTHER MADNESS: The Genius of Robb White

6 Jun

Robb White

How could I have lived so long without discovering this man? He is such an improbably entertaining writer, and all he wrote about, pretty much, is boats, the water surrounding them, and the life that is in it. Hats off to crew member (and erstwhile Boréal shopper) Nat Smith, who handed me a copy of White’s first book, the only one published in his lifetime, How to Build a Tin Canoe (Hyperion/Theia, 2003), and promised me I would like it.

Some of you are clucking your tongues now. For Robb White wasn’t exactly flying under the radar. He ...

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The Doldrums, Now and Again

6 Jun

Day 166/44

Noon Position: 08 16N 149 19W

Course/Speed: NNE3

Wind: SE9

Bar: 1013, rising

Sea: NE 6-8; SE 3-4. Vile combo in such little wind.

Sky: Partly cloudy; squalls to windward.

Cabin Temperature: 88

Water Temperature: 84

Sail: All plain sail. Slatting terribly.

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good: 136

Miles this leg: 5,488

Avg. Miles this leg: 125

Miles since departure: 22,593

“I told you not to talk,” said Monte., who is in lather, “Did I not say you never ever talk about the Doldrums or making your fine escape until you are almost home, not until you can see ...

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235: Sara Hastreiter #2 // Life After the Volvo Ocean Race

4 Jun

OTW235.jpg

#235. Sara Hastreiter is of course one of the members of Team SCA, the all-female crew in the previous edition of the Volvo Ocean Race. Sara was on the podcast back in 2015, immediately following that Volvo to talk about how she went from horseback riding in Wyoming to sailing in one of the world’s premier ocean races. I got to speak with her again in March about what it felt like to be left off the Volvo race this time, her mountaineering expeditions in the Himalayas and her ‘Seven Seas, Seven Summits’ project, speaking at the Explorer’s Club ...

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Change is Comin

4 Jun

Day 164/42

Noon Position: 03 53S 149 46W

Course/Speed: NNE6+

Wind: SE14. An hour later EXS 20 – 25

Bar: 1011, falling

Sea: E4

Sky: White cumulus cover the sky. An hour later, low and gray squall clouds.

Cabin Temperature: 89

Water Temperature: 84

Sail: All plain sail;

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good: 145

Miles this leg: 5,221

Avg. Miles this leg: 124

Miles since departure: 22,326

Prior to noon, I had nothing new to report. It had been a lovely day in the trades. But it’s been that for a week. How many odes to the color blue can one ...

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