Always Getting Ready to Cruise

8 Nov

This sure looks like a boat that is going places doesn't it? This life of leisure can feel like anything but, sometimes. It's almost impossible to believe that we'll pull out of here sometime in the next few weeks; certainly before Ouest's third birthday. Somehow we always manage to get our act together, throw everything aboard, turn the key, and float on out to sea. Small miracles.

 

At the moment Lowe is obsessed with strollers. He wakes up in the morning, walks out of his bedroom door, climbs the steps into the cockpit, walks around to the gate, and ...

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SOUTHBOUND LUNACY: Triple Gulf Stream Crossing

7 Nov

Lunacy in Gulf Stream

HAVING SUFFERED NO DAMAGE while lying in port during Superstorm Sandy, Lunacy at last departed New Hampshire at 1000 hours last Thursday. Aboard with me were two pick-up crew enlisted through Offshore Passage Opportunities: Minnie Burke, 23, a young adventuress from Virginia, and Chris Salas, 41, a doctor from Rhode Island. Neither had much, if any, offshore sailing experience, and I was careful not to sugarcoat our prospects. I told them what I tell anyone who proposes to sail from New England to Bermuda in the fall: this is normally a difficult passage; you will be sailing in ...

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SailRocket Diary: Inside The Search For 60 Knots

7 Nov

Paul Larsen and his Vestas SailRocket team have been stymied by two weeks of light winds in Namibia. But in a quest for record speed, the tinkering never stops. You solve one problem and discover another. It's like a giant puzzle, and you don't really know whether you will ever put allthe pieces together.

Here's a very good look at what it is like from the inside. This is the sort of stuff that needs to be remembered if the champagne ever gets popped.

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Back Aboard Bumfuzzle

7 Nov

We've been off the boat for four months. We spent two of those downtown here in Puerto Vallarta, one in Portland, OR, and another in St. Paul, MN. By the end of our two months back in the States we were both Jonesing for Mexico again. Happy to be back on the boat and moving at our own pace.

The kids are happy to be back. The first day we were all sitting out on deck when Ouest, my two year-old said to the boat in all sincerity, "Me missed you boat." She actually talked about the boat the whole ...

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The Weather Window

6 Nov

Here we are, anchored in Tonga. We are surrounded by coral reefs and tropical vegetation. Sharks and rays swim lazily by. We can snorkel into caves filled with fish below and bats above. And there are boats aplenty. And what are all of these people doing in this natural paradise? Let's listen in to the chatter around the harbor.

"Did you get a grib file today?"

"Hmm, what do you think about that low that's forming? Is it going to hit us squarely, or push off to the west?"

"I don't like the look of those isobars."

"Did you see ...

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Requiem For HMS Bounty

5 Nov

Lots of HMS Bounty tragedy follow-up for you.

Let's start with National Geographic, which has some spectacular (and now poignant) footage of the doomed HMS Bounty's first voyage, as she sailed off to star in the Hollywood version of "Mutiny On The Bounty."

Next, the Coast Guard blog has a detailed and gripping account of the rescue. Here's a taste, but you'll want to

read the whole thing:

It didn’t take long before they spotted a survivor in the water, adrift and alone. The survivor was wearing an insulated suit and co-pilot Lt. Jane Pena spotted the

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Shark And Man

5 Nov

Sometimes we need to rethink what we think we know. And great photography can help us do that.

A good example is the photopraphy of Daniel Botelho, who has been spending time diving with Great White sharks off Guadalupe island off the coast of Baja, Mexico. The results are pretty stunning.

And here's a little film clip of Botelho's work with Great Whites. Try to imagine the feeling of being in the water with such extraordinary animals. 

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Making Cockpit Coamings – Fun With Fire Edition

5 Nov

Here’s a fun project to add a little something extra to your woodwork. For months now, on and off, I’ve been plugging away on a new set of cockpit coamings. Coamings, being little more than a couple flat planes, seem easy enough to maintain so I decided to finish them bright (against my father’s typically utilitarian recommendations). For this we bought a couple very nice mahogany planks.

My coamings-to-be after shaping and sanding. The light in my shop is terrible so you’ll have to bear with the photos..

After a bit of shaping these planks sat for months while I ...

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Caribbean 1500: The Decision to Depart Early

5 Nov

I'm writing this from my hotel room in Hampton on Sunday night, the day after the Caribbean 1500 fleet went to sea (the day it was supposed to go to sea). I need to confirm this with Steve Black, but I think it's the first time in the event's history that it actually left the Chesapeake early. 

Fall on the US East Coast is always a difficult time for weather forecasting, and this year was perhaps the best (or worst, depending on your perspective) example of that. The challenge in planning an offshore voyage this time of year is the

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The Impossibilty of Weather Forecasting

5 Nov

Note: this is re-printed from the March/April 2012 issue of Yacht Essentials Magazine. Thanks to Chris Kennan and Brad Kovach for permission!

“This is complicated.” That is what scientists in the 1960s and 1970s decided a simple graph depicting a chaotic curve – the ‘Lorenz Attractor’ – was trying to say, without having to speak a word.

Fifty years ago, long-range weather forecasting was already a scientific impossibility, and Edward Lorenz proved it. In 1962, Lorenz published his definitive work on meteorology in Volume 20 of the Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, a paper made public to little fanfare

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