MAINE COAST CRUISE: Brimstone Island

16 Aug

Brimstone Island

ALTHOUGH THIS IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE SPOTS on the coast, I haven’t been here in almost 10 years. All that time I have been dreaming of coming back. On the chart it doesn’t look like anything special–just another tiny uninhabited islet in the small archipelago that stretches around the southern end of Vinalhaven Island on the outer edge of Penobscot Bay. The instant you get ashore, however, you realize you’ve arrived someplace very special.

Brimstone Is. chart

What is apparent from the chart is that there is a small anchorage here, between Brimstone Island itself and its lesser satellite, Little Brimstone, directly ...

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Human Week

15 Aug

Discovery's Shark Week is all about pumping up ratings by scaring the crap out of humans regarding the big bad shark. It's a sick farce since humans kill approximately 1,460,000 times as many sharks every year as sharks do humans.

It always makes me wonder why one of the networks doesn't start an annual series called "Human Week." It  would be devoted to graphically portraying the merciless predatory extremes of the most dangerous and violent animal on the planet. It would be really scary, and surely that would make for some good ratings.

Anyhow,with regard to the dangers humans pose ...

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Diesel Engine Longevity

14 Aug

The meter on my Perkins 4-236 diesel engine just turned over 12,000 hours, and I'm only responsible for about 4000 of this. Over the course of forty-five years and a circumnavigation Charlene (I don’t know why my diesel engine is named this) has had routine maintenance, and lots of components replaced, but she’s never been rebuilt.

In the fifteen years I’ve owned the boat, the engine has only failed to start with a touch of the key twice: once because it was too cold in New Zealand, the other a few weeks ago when the starting battery was shot. That’s ...

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Lifeboat Freefall

14 Aug

Whenever I see lifeboats suspended high on a container ship, seemingly ready to drop into the sea from two-stories up. I wonder what that lifeboat freefall must look like, and how reliable it is.

Well, it turns out that lifeboat designers spend an awful lot of time thinking about those very issues. And when they are confident that they have it right (and because container ships are getting bigger and bigger), they go for record drops. Like this new world record….from 60 meters up (though if they were REALLY confident, they'd put live people in the thing instead ...

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Young Inspirational Cruisers

13 Aug

I don't follow many cruising websites. Even people we know tend to just rehash the same old stories from paradise. But some sites compel me to check in every now and then to see how things are going. Liz Clark's is one of them.


Her story is fun and amazing in itself. She was introduced to sailing young. Her parents took her on a six-month cruise when she was ten. At fifteen she started surfing and within just a few years was the College Women's National Champion. Just a couple of years out of college the opportunity to become

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13 Aug

CXL 160

HERE’S YET ANOTHER CONCEPT YACHT that may or may not exist someday. The Ultraluxum CXL 160, according to its creator, watchmaker Jean-Francois Ruchonnet, will be the “most extreme fusion of architecture, design, comfort, performance, economy and technology ever created in in a luxury sailing yacht.” Which may be debatable. If this monster ever gets built, it will however most certainly be the first ever superyacht trimaran with folding amas.

The dimensions are insane: LOA is 158 feet; air draft is 197 feet; the beam is 75 feet (amas extended) or a mere 36 feet (amas folded). Construction is carbon fiber. ...

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More of Summer Life in Puerto Vallarta

13 Aug

We've spent the past couple of summers in Puerto Vallarta. It's where both of our kids were born and it's where we're happy. So when we aren't on the boat cruising Mexico this is where we call home. Ouest calls both the boat and the condo we rent for the summer months, "Home."


I always go into the summer with grand plans to bang out the boat list. Get lots of work done and be ready for next season. Of course once summer rolls around and we're off the boat I find it awfully hard to get motivated to ...

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Tree Murder In the Chilean Channels

10 Aug

I cruised solo from Terra del Fuego through Chilean Patagonia. You can seldom anchor in these parts because the water is too deep. You have to tie your boat in every night with lines led to trees or rocks ashore. This is simple in theory, but it always took at least an hour, sometimes two if I had to make the dreaded four-point tie-in. When I asked Ken, another solo sailor who'd come south through the Chilean channels, what you do with yourself in the channels. He answered, "Mess with your shorelines."

One night I thought I’d be real tricky ...

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The Case Against TBT Antifouling

10 Aug

Much of the antifouling used in the Caribbean is still TBT-based

Ok, my last post gave you some (rather long-winded) background information. I’ll try to make this a bit shorter. Having thought Tributyltin (TBT) was something of relic off the past I was quite surprised to learn that it is not uncommonly used by cruising sailors, particularly those in the Caribbean. This post is a look at the arguments for and against such use.

First a quick recap. TBT, which used to be the number one antifouling compound, is a ‘pervasive marine pollutant’ (per the EPA). It is particularly ...

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The l

10 Aug

l’Hydroptere in close-up. Photo by Kimball Livingston

They missed an opportunity in early July, but they weren’t ready in early to July to take off on a Los Angeles-Honolulu record. Today Alain Thbault and crew are looking at a weather pattern over the Pacific that doesn’t convince them to push the Launch button, but they’re still hopeful. What’s below was released today by the teams communications manager, Thomas Lesage:

lHydroptre DCNS in weather-watch mode: interview with Jacques Vincent

What is the main weather parameter that will trigger the start procedure?

“Were targeting a phase when the North Pacific High is ...

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