There’s Something About Wood And Canvas

27 Apr

Hi-tech carbon fiber boats have their own beauty. But why is it that classic boats, built of traditional materials, have the power to evoke such a powerful yearning for simplicity and a simpler time? 

That's the question that comes to mind when I watch this video that marks the vanishing of traditional boat design in the Caribbean. It's impossible not to feel that we are losing something very important.

Here's the backstory, via Pressure Drop:

This "trailer" is for a documentary film that is still in production, estimated completion by winter 2013.

Shot in Carriacou in the Grenadines, where

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NEEL 45: Living Large on a Trimaran

27 Apr

Neel 45 under sail

Theoretically, I was to spend all day Monday testing boats after the “multi-cocks” show in Lorient, but the weather was so foul everyone cancelled on me. Instead I managed to cram in a couple of short tests during the last day of the show, including one on the new Neel 45, an intriguing trimaran that tries to fit cat-sized cruising accommodations into a three-hulled format.

This is not a new concept. Early cruising tris, those slab-sided beasts built of plywood back in the 1960s, tried to pull off this trick by pushing sleeping spaces into the bridgedecks connecting the ...

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A new cockpit sole in plywood and epoxy

27 Apr

My last really major fiberglass job is repairing the gaping hole in the cockpit sole:

The sad remains of a once majestically overbuilt cockpit sole

I decided this could be a sort of test-case for the near-magical properties of epoxy. I was really blown away when doing my deck core repair by how easily thickened epoxy can be used to craft a solid surface and I wanted to see how far I could take this.

I started this repair with a few support stringers made from eighty cents’ worth of oak from the recycled lumber store. I cut holes so ...

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Chesapeake Bay = Boating Nirvana?

26 Apr

Is the Chesapeake Bay the top sailing destination on the planet? The blog Bone In Its Teeth makes the case, here.

I mean, how many sailing locations feature boating ospreys?

Of course, The Mariner knows no favorites, and the Chesapeake is not necessarily the first location sailors think

of in response to the phrase "cruising paradise." But I certainly admire the spirited case Bone In Its Teeth lays out:

As a sailor, what is the draw for me in the Bay?  Let me offer up a list…

  • Spectacular sailing and gunkholing — I know of no other region
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Somali Piracy By The Numbers

25 Apr

Everything you need to know, in one awesome graphic, courtesy of

Average ransom: $4.97 million (which explains why piracy is a growth industry)

Percent of piracy hijackings which nab non-commercial vessels (like cruising sailors): 15%

Click "Read More" to go to graphic…

(Click image for full-res view):


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Hold Fast

24 Apr

I don't watch many videos but this one I particularly liked. It's a group of friends buying a beat up boat, outfitting it the best they can with basically no money, and cruising the Bahamas. It's one of the best produced cruising videos I've watched, sort of like a PBS documentary almost.




I think a lot of wannabe cruisers could take a lesson from this one. It doesn't take the dream boat and loads of cash to get out there and cruise....

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Farallones Tragedy: A Survivor’s Tale

24 Apr

Bryan Chong, one of three survivors from Low Speed Chase, which went on the rocks at the Farallones and lost 5 of 8 crew, has released a letter to explain what happened. Chong was the mainsheet trimmer, and this is the first detailed account which has come from one of the surviving crew.

It can't be easy for Chong to relive in detail such a sorrowful and searing experience, but he doesn't hesitate to provide a full account of what he saw and witnessed throughout that terrible afternoon.

Chong writes about why he races, how Low Speed Chase got ...

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Matt Rutherford’s Epic Voyage

24 Apr

There are very few voyages these days that truly earn the superlative "epic." Matt Rutherford, an Annapolis sailor, just delivered one. Non-stop, and solo, around the Americas, via the Northwest Passage and Cape Horn. More than 27,000 miles in 310 days. Incredible.

Rutherford arrived in Annapolis over the weekend, and received a hero's welcome:

“Long time, no see,” Rutherford, 31, said into the mike, with the same familiar combination of awkwardness and comedic timing that those who know him best had missed these last 309 days. He was still barefoot, his toenails brown and gnarled, and thick shocks of

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Baja at Last

24 Apr

ensenada de los muertos. baja, mexico.
Oh glorious Baja. I love Baja, always have. Love it even more than the mainland. Last night I loved it because you could have heard a mouse skitter through the engine compartment it was so quiet. In other words, no swell! This morning I loved it for the ultra clear blue skies and crisp desert mountain landscape, and this afternoon I loved it for clear water. So clear and refreshing you are tempted to take a swig. I've known that I've wanted to cruise Baja for a long time, and I am happy to ...

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A question for Sailfeed readers

24 Apr

Hi there! It has been very interesting these past few months to see which blog posts have attracted attention vs. those that have been less interesting for you folks. I was quite surprised to see that my post raving about West System and Hamilton Marine, which I really wasn’t sure anyone would find interesting, was ‘shared’ on facebook quite a few times (well, relatively, that is. I’ve still got a little ways to go before I catch up with Lady Gaga…). It might be nice to imagine my stories are so enthralling that everyone is just dying to share the ...

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