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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FOLDING TRIMARAN: Super-Size It!

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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CUSTOM POCKET CRUISER: 30 Years in the Making

9 Aug

Paris 32 Petrel

AFTER I FINISHED UP my solo mini-cruise last week, I paid a visit to the Lyman Morse yard at Thomaston, Maine, and at long last laid eyes on Petrel afloat. She’s the brainchild of designer Jay Paris, a colleague at SAIL, who has been fiddling over her creation for almost three decades now. I first met her in utero, in a shed behind Jay’s house in West Bath, about 12 years ago, and I have to confess I never thought I’d see this day.

Jay’s basic brief to himself was for a small ocean-capable shoal-draft cruising boat with narrow ...

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Top Ten Cruising Destinations

8 Aug

I'm always asked my favorite stop on my circumnavigation, and it’s hard to give a short answer. This is the long answer, but it’s still hard not to ruminate, equivocate, and qualify. To make my list they must be outstanding all-around places to sail, anchor, live aboard, go ashore, and all the things that cruising entails:

1. Andaman Thailand (photo above):

Cruising, ten. Natural beauty, ten. People, ten. Food, ten. Safety, ten. Hundreds of karst limestone islands dot the 120 miles between the Malaysian border and Phuket. Each is its own little paradise. Many have hongs (literally rooms): tunnels, chambers, ...

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