Mason Inlet Crossing  STM 280

13 Apr

Little River SC, to Cape Lookout NC

The coastline between Little River and Cape Lookout faces south and east.  Whether it is the prevailing southeasterly or stormy nor’easters, this coastline is a lee shore with big waves and surf.  The shallow grade of the beach creates a wave break which is much sought by surfers. These same conditions, create longshore sediment transport, and as the sand moves along the coast, propelled by the relentless wave action, at each break in the beach sand is pushed inland towards the ICW. Veteran ICW cruisers have watched for years as sediment was pushed ...

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Chapter 10 – Sail inventories – Part 2

13 Apr

Chapter 10 deals with sail inventories. In Part 2 we look at the different categories of sailors. It’s important that you define where you are as a sailor. If you race an occasional weekend you might not need the very latest (read super expensive) membrane sail. Something more durable might be a better option.

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Isle of Palms STM 460

12 Apr

There is a 5 foot shallow spot in the ICW about 0.3 miles south of G117A near Sullivans Island, SC. Heading south last November we found the shoal and marked it on our charts.  Coming north March 28, I was looking for it to get an update.  I was proceeding at about 4 knots because the state of the tide was 0.1 foot below MLLW (Mean Lower Low Water), and we draw 4.5 feet. A sailboat from Maine was catching up to me.  I called him on the VHF to let him know there was a shoal ahead.  He said ...

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CZone Signal Interface module long test, replacement impressive

11 Apr

In early 2013, installing a CZone Signal Interface to put Gizmo’s tank levels on my NMEA 2000 network was a very pleasing experience. In fact, I’ve kept it installed for long testing and have become quite dependent on its reliable performance. So it was bad news in January when I somehow bricked the module while trying to update its firmware after all these years — hey, the CZone system isn’t really meant for DIY use — and even worse when I didn’t get back to the boat until just before heading north. But, dang, replacing the Signal Interface also turned ...

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New River Inlet Crossing STM 247

10 Apr

Pay close attention as you cross the New River.  This is a really deceptive trouble spot. This ICW inlet crossing is both visually confusing and has a significant shoal.  Visually, whether you are northbound or southbound N”12A” appears to line up with the Red ICW aids.  The ICW aids are numbered 70, 72, 74, and 76.  Unless you are watching the marks and reading off the numbers you will be lulled into running over to N “12A” thinking it is the mark where you turn.  This will put you aground on the shoal which has built across the ICW from ...

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Where did all the seamanship go?

10 Apr



There are times when things have to be said and if no one else is prepared to say them, I will and yes I am fully aware that some people are not going to be happy but that just too damn bad. Let me start by saying that I am a fan of the Volvo Ocean Race (even though some would beg to differ). I
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230: Goran Rutgerson // America’s Cup Sailor, Inventor & Entrepreneur

9 Apr

230 Art Goran.jpg


#230. Goran Rutgerson is the founder of the eponymous Rutgerson company, who design & fabricate rigging and deck hardward in Marstrand, Sweden. Goran grew up in a sailing family and went on to pursue his passion in the sport, rising all the way to the America’s Cup ranks. Back in the day, he was good buddies with Peter Harken, and both Harken & Rutgerson evolved as businesses alongside one another on opposite sides of the Atlantic. I spoke to Goran at his office at the Rutgerson Factory in Marstrand in January.

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Marine internet, a connected year on the water

9 Apr

Diagram of boat, router and internet connections

My family and I just spent a year on the water.  When we left, some members of our crew were hesitant about the whole idea, so I knew we needed as many comforts of home as possible.  High on that list was an always-on (almost), always-available (almost) internet connection.  It turns out this isn’t a simple or one-size-fits-all issue.  It’s also something I’m most frequently asked about.  What follows is a primer on marine internet and the start of an article series about the myriad tech options to keep your boat connected.

There are three basic ways to get internet ...

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How to be the one they leave behind.

9 Apr

Hey virtual voyagers!

First, thanks to all the people who’ve reached out about Randall’s news to check in and see if I’m ok with the decision to basically extend the project by a whole extra year. I’m 100% in support of the plan. And for those of you who know me well, you know that I make the best of the situation when Randall is out at sea. Don’t tell Randall! 🙂

Second, a while back I asked the Figure 8 Facebook community if I should speak at the upcoming West Coast Boat show about what it’s like to be the ...

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St Andrews Sound. STM 689

9 Apr

St. Andrews Sound.  This sound is to be respected.  It is often rolly with swells coming in off the ocean. When there is a strong east wind and outgoing current, it is not unusual to see 4 foot waves at times.  If the conditions are poor on your northbound leg, stay an extra day at Fernandina Beach or Cumberland Island.  If southbound spend a day or two at Jekyll Harbor Marina and let the conditions improve.  Jekyll Island is  beautiful.  It is easy to bike and explore.  The marina has a golf cart for transients to borrow.   CAUTION: R30 and ...

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