You know, you can buy a boat for remarkably cheap these days…

7 Jun

Really, you can. Alongside the ones rebuilding cheap houses I’ve got a whole group of friends here in New Orleans who are working on or sailing boats they bought for a few thousand dollars. It’s about the best market there’s ever been for buying high-maintenance things like a half-collapsed house or a sailboat (which, as a rule, is nearly always in some state of half-collapse).  So you’ve only got a few thousand dollars, and  like many of us new boatowners, are trying to buy a boat with only a vague idea of how to judge a good deal. Maybe you ...

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It’s starting to look like a sailboat!

6 Jun

Not bad, huh? Once again my mom and dad came down to New Orleans for a working visit and once again we worked 10+ hours every day that they were here, which was just shy of two weeks this time around.

As I write this it’s just after 10am and I’m listening to tapes in the bicycle shop with an hour before we open. For the first time in two weeks I started my day with a leisurely chat at the coffee shop and although technically it’s my first day back at ‘work’ after a two week break this feels ...

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AIRPORT MASH-UP: Loose Sailboat Paralyzes Logan Runway

6 Jun

Logan Airport

SCORE ONE FOR THE SAILBOATS! This happened Monday morning, when a 37-foot boat busted loose from its mooring in Winthrop and blew down on Logan airport in East Boston. It landed on the rocks at the end of an active runway and mashed up Logan arrivals for half the day.

I’m wondering a) why it took so long to get a line on the boat to drag it off; and b) why they couldn’t just go ahead and keep using the runway anyway. I once spent a week anchored off the end of the airport runway in Gibraltar and ...

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Ever wonder what happened to PlayStation?

4 Jun

PlayStation, adventurer Steve Fossett's 125-foot catamaran, smashed many records just 8-11 years ago, including the 24-hour speed record, the trans-Atlantic record, and the Jules Verne Trophy, circumnavigating in 58 days, 9 hours.

How fast things happen–and how fast boats sail–in this crazy sailing life. I think all of those record have since been broken again, and in the case of the Jules Verne, twice broken, now down to 45 days, 13 hours.

Steve Fossett died when his plane crashed in the Nevada desert in 2007. One of the many record-breaking projects he left behind was his submersisble, designed to take ...

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Foiling Across an Ocean: It

3 Jun

“Five corsairs on a dream boat” is Alain Thbault’s description of himself and crew as they prepare for the first-ever transoceanic sailing record attempt on foils.


Los Angeles-Honolulu.

Their 59-foot trimaran, L’Hydroptere DCNS, has never before been far from France, but this flagship of all foilers worldwide holds the absolute speed record over one nautical mile—50.17 knots, 57.7 mph—and for a time it took the 500 meter record away from the kites. There’s nothing else quite like it.

At play in the Med Photo © Francis Demange

The mojo: L’Hydroptere’s in-water foils are angled at 45 degrees, and ...

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3 Jun

Alida under tow

HAVING REMARKED in my last post on how my first outing this season was free of mishaps, I suppose it was inevitable something would go wrong the second time I got afloat. Fortunately, I was floating on someone else’s boat. My good friend Phil Cavanaugh (fellow SEMOSA founder and officially certified Better Person) enlisted me and our mutual poker buddy, Charlie McCleod, to help him bring Alida, his Baltic 35, to Falmouth Foreside all the way from Rockland. Ironically, to finish the delivery we needed help from TowBoatUS, which is precisely what happened during my second outing of ...

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Volvo Ocean Race Shakeup

1 Jun

Folks, what we have on our hands here is the closest Volvo Ocean Race in my memory. Here's why:

  • Abu Dhabi held off the pack to bring it on home to Lisbon and take their first Leg victory
  • Groupama, who almost snuck by, grabbed 10 more points than previous race leader Telefonica, to take the overall lead.
  • PUMA, which has gotten better and better, grabbed third to pull into overall contention (despite a dropped rig in Leg 1)
  • Telefonica broke CAMPER's heart by getting past to take 4th into Lisbon, which keeps them in close contention for the overall despite
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How I upgraded my main and now enjoy sailing more

31 May
Is raising your main time-consuming and exhausting?
Do you sail with just your headsail to avoid the hassle of raising the main?
If you are using half your sails, you are having half the fun.
In November 2009, instead of following the New England tradition of hauling our boat for the winter, we departed our usual cruising ground of Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts and sailed our boat down to the Caribbean.

For short sails between anchorages we would frequently sail under headsail alone. The process of raising the main would not outweigh the benefits of raising the main ...
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Volvo Ocean Race: Final Sprint To Lisbon

30 May

It couldn't really set up any better. The Volvo fleet has 300 miles to go to Lisbon. The top 5 boats are within 30 miles of one another after racking up some 500-mile days. There is a ridge of high pressure blocking the route, which will throw all the placings into chaos. And, depending on how Telefonica finishes, there could be a new leader atop the placings.

And you can watch it all unfold live on the tracker (click the LIVE button on the dashboard).

Here's the latest update, setting the scene:


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A Pilgrimage

29 May

My wife Alison and I just took a vacation (by plane) to the Big Island of Hawaii, where neither of us had ever been. We stayed in Kealakekua, famous for the My Little Grass Shack In Kealakekua, Hawaii song (I like the Don Ho version).

More importantly, it is where Captain James Cook was killed. His memorial is fitting to the great circumnavigator, since it lies across Kealakekua Bay, a mile or so from the nearest habitation. To get there you've got to go by boat. We rented a two-man kayak late in the day and had the memorial, ...

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