Volvo Stealth Zone Explained

21 Dec

For anyone who is as confused as I am by the Volvo Ocean Race anti-piracy Stealth Zone, this is just the video for you:

Unorthodox, but I understand the concern. Hard for the VO70s to carry bow cannons, which weigh an awful lot and would definitely affect trim....

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Volvo Update: The French Gamble (Again!)

21 Dec

As I watch the strange doing of the the sailors in Volvo Ocean Race, I can't help but admire the Gaullic flair Franck Cammas and his Groupama crew are bringing to this Anglo race. Eschewing the careful, conservative tactics of the rest of the fleet, Cammas has taken big flyers on both legs. His tour of the African coast did not work out so well in Leg 1 (though Groupama still came in third since half the fleet broke down).

In the current Leg they took off again, sailing around a sticky trough that trapped the rest of the ...

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The Storms Of Brittany

21 Dec

No one loves a tempest as much as The Mariner. And when I want to see the ocean at its most beautiful, and its angriest, I go to the coast of Brittany. It is there that the mighty Atlantic, whipped by storm force winds, piles into the puny edifices erected by humans to help keep them off the rocky coast. It is a spectacular show, made more sublime by a soundtrack supplied by Mozart, a  non-sailor, but a human genius and a distant pre-mutation cousin of mine. 

Click "Read More" to see the great ocean in all its furious glory.

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2011 ARC: Bubble Gum And Rubber Band Award

20 Dec

ARC leader Andrew Bishop

Though I've participated in the ARC before, this was the first time I was able to attend the prizegiving. What a bash! The wind-up to the 2011 ARC this past Saturday was a celebration of epic proportions. After plying the assembled multitude of sailors with rum (clever tactic that), master of ceremonies Andrew Bishop (see photo up top) proceeded to hand out a multitude of awards for all manner of achievements.

My personal favorite was the Award for Having Your Entry Number Coincidentally Match Your Order of Finish Number. Amazingly, it was shared this year by the crews of three ...

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Margaret: An Unusual Launch

20 Dec
Preparing Margaret for (re)launching

Welcome to SailFeed! The website launched today but as you can see most of us blogging here have already been going at it for a bit. My blog is one of the newest so if you’re interested it won’t take long to peruse my previous posts and catch up. At the moment it’s a bit technical as we’ve been chronicling progress on the refit of my Cape Dory 28 but in the spirit of SailFeed’s first day I thought we could lighten things up a bit with a launch story of my own.

Meet Margaret:
Margaret ...
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A Lot of Wind Video

19 Dec

As I've said many times, sailors are notorious exaggerators, and the wind and waves always seem to get a little higher and stronger after a few drinks. The video below is what I consider a lot of wind. I posted this video on YouTube a few years ago as an experiment, and I'm shocked that over twenty thousand people have watched it, which I guess isn't that many in the YouTube world.

To answer nitty-gritty questions, this was at Peninsula Tamar, at the Boca Occidental of the Straits of Magellan, with a typical low pressure system blowing through. Captain Slocum ...

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William Faulkner, Sailor Man

19 Dec

© Floating around the net

Being on a Southern sojourn, I counted it high time to renew acquaintance with my friends Eudora Welty, Robert Penn Warren, William Faulkner

And so it came about that in a five-pounder of an anthology I found a piece by Faulkner that was new to me, an autobiography of sorts in 19 pages posing as an investigation of swamps and Snopses and small towns called cities and tiny black women of fortitude and loyalty who lived and died surrounded by admiration and slow tragedy: out of that welter emerged a few nuggets of the 1949 ...

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GUNBOAT 66 PHAEDO: Shifting Into Cruising Mode

18 Dec

Paul Hand and Lloyd Thornburg

When I first stepped aboard the bright orange Gunboat 66 Phaedo while chatting up ARC sailors here in Rodney Bay, I had no idea at first who I was talking to. A soft-spoken not-quite-clean-shaven young man in a t-shirt invited me aboard after I hailed the boat from the dock, and I naturally assumed he must be crew. He eagerly pointed out the skipper (Paul Hand, on the left up top) and some of the other folks aboard, and it was only after I inquired directly as to his own identity that he admitted, a bit bashfully, that he was ...

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Iceberg Alley

16 Dec

Ice in the Southern Ocean at 30 knots is a scary prospect. And Banque Populaire has an ice field astride the fast route to Cape Horn, so it is diverting north and headed for a region of light winds.

That's the bad news. The good news is that the descent to the Horn after that is looking good. It's all about keeping the boat in one piece, and they are in a zone of maximum risk. So for the moment it's better to be smart than daring.

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