The Volvo Ocean Race: How Did We Get Here?

3 Apr

The seas may be rough, and the boats may be breaking, but at least this edition of the Volvo Ocean Race appears, at the halfway point, as if it will go down to the wire, with Groupama and Telefonica dueling to the finish.

And if you want to know how it came to this, the media team at race HQ have put together a handy-dandy video summary of all the action to date:

 ...

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JARLE ANDHOEY: Busted in Chile

2 Apr

Jarle Andhoey and Nilaya

The drama of the Wild Viking continues. Last we checked in on Norway’s Antarctic adventurer Jarle Andhoey, he and his crew aboard the 54-foot Nilaya had suffered a broken boom after leaving the Ross Sea and were bound to an unspecified Argentine base on the Antarctic peninsula to make repairs and take on fuel. It has not been widely remarked upon (nor has the helpful Argentine base ever been identified), but this evidently was successfully accomplished sometime around March 23.

Now comes word that Andhoey and company were detained on Saturday by the Chilean navy as they were passing through ...

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The Clever Clevis

1 Apr

With the Clever Clevis™, you’ll be the hit of any sailboat!!!

Simply wait for an appropriate moment, toss the Clever Clevis™ onto the cabin top, and let the mirth unfold!!!

Note: Nobody must see you toss the Clever Clevis™. It must seem like it just “fell from the sky.”

Watch your shipmates scramble around, looking aloft! See how long it takes before someone looks at the rig through binoculars! See if you can get every single shipmate to look aloft at the same time!

For added fun, deploy the Clever Clevis during a race!

For maximum enjoyment, deploy the Clever Clevis ...

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How some barnacles saved my boat: Galvanic corrosion in the real world

30 Mar

Every now and then trying to fix the boat degenerates into rushing around in circles between the boat and  my workshop and I begin to feel like some sort of frenetic, freshly-decapitated chicken. It does not help when the whole yard loses power just as I’ve finally assembled the correct piles of detritus for the task at hand. That happened twice this week. On the bright side, I (re)found the bolt that could easily have sunk my boat:

I wrote about this in my last post but when noticed the offending fastener in a pile of bits it reminded me ...

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ANN DAVISON: Solo Transatlantic on Felicity Ann

29 Mar

Ann Davison on Felicity Ann

Cast into the past to find the founding figure of bluewater feminism, the first in the line that leads to such modern-day heroines as Isabelle Autissier, Ellen MacArthur, and Samantha Davies, and you bump up hard against a woman named Ann Davison. She is remembered today, when she is remembered at all, as the first woman to sail solo across the Atlantic. She is also something of an enigma, wrapped up in a few ironies. Chief among these being the fact that she probably never would have gone to sea in the first place had she not fallen in ...

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La Cruz (rough) to Punta Mita (calm)

29 Mar

28-Mar-2012 punta mita, mexico.
Last night we talked about getting an early start today, heading to town for some leg stretching and breakfast, then straight back to the boat to get out of La Cruz before the wind picked up. So with an early start in mind it's no surprise that Lowe would sleep until eight-thirty. He's never slept late like that in his life.

So we rumbled in to town, went to YaYa's for chilaquiles, which for a non-egg eater like me is pretty much the greatest breakfast item ever invented, Ouest played with the dogs, fed the birds, ...

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La Cruz Anchorage, She Looks Nice in the Morning

28 Mar

27-Mar-2012 la cruz de huanacaxtle, mexico.
This morning we took advantage of the calm to head in to town. La Cruz is a nice little place though at eleven o'clock in the morning there isn't a whole lot happening. We found a restaurant open and serving breakfast, got Ouest a heaping plate of french toast and spent an hour perusing the book exchange. It's getting harder and harder these days for us Luddites without a Kindle to find a book so any opportunity is greatly appreciated. We wandered around until about one, had a couple of beers and then headed ...

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FEAR OF DRAGGING: Anchoring Tips for Scope Nazis and Other Scaredy Cats

27 Mar

Anchoring a sailboat

If you’re paranoid, anchoring out can be a validating experience. On the one hand, it seems rather simple. You walk up to the bow of your boat, drop a lump of metal overboard, let out some rode, and secure it somehow. Then you stroll back to your cockpit and admire your surroundings while enjoying a libation or two.

On the other hand, it can often seem fraught with danger. The closest equivalent I can think of, in terms of destroying a good night’s sleep with raw anxiety, are those guys who sleep out on mountains they are climbing in sacks ...

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On the High Seas of Banderas Bay

27 Mar

26-Mar-2012 la cruz de huanacaxtle, mexico.
And we're off. We left this morning very close to the time we said we were going to leave, which these days is quite a feat. We motored out of the marina and headed for Yalapa, a small town only accessible by boat on the south side of the bay. It was only about fifteen miles, or two hours. When we were about a mile out a boat came racing out to us to try and sell us a mooring. Apparently there are two competing mooring fields in Yalapa and they are serious about ...

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Clipperton Island Still Uninhabited

26 Mar

I’ve just returned from Clipperton Island, a French atoll lying 800 miles off the Mexican coast. I went as part of the Clipperton Project, an art/science/environmental/documentary expedition, but I was involved more with boats, landings, and communications. They tasked me with a survey of sea turtle nesting sites, but I walked around that whole island (about seven miles) and there didn’t seem to be any nesting sites, or I’ve got really bad eyes.

Masked Boobie with chick

I left La Paz on the mother ship, the Lucia Celeste, a 48-foot expedition dive boat. I returned to Baja on a Downeast ...

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