NORTHWEST PASSAGE CRUISE: Crew Wanted

4 May

Nick Kats on Teddy

UPDATE to the UPDATE: He’s on again! My cousin Nick (that’s Nicolas Kats, a naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist currently residing in Ireland, depicted above on the vessel in question) has in fact decided to move back to Portland, Oregon, and wants to take his boat along with him. Having studied the charts, he has concluded that the most logical route from A to B leads through the Northwest Passage, and he is looking for crew to come along on the journey.

Here’s the voyage precis he sent me:

Trip – Clifden, Co Galway, Ireland – W Greenland – NW Passage ...

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La Paz, Mexico

4 May

The kids' Grandma has been in town the past few days so we've been tied to the dock and not accomplishing anything on the boat list, which whenever we are in port seems to grow rather than shrink. Well with Grammy gone we're back to pushing to get out of here and head up into the Sea of Cortez a bit further.

la paz, mexico.
The two guys sanding and scraping our boat's varnish off finished up today. They looked defeated. I swear when they quoted me a price they hadn't really taken a good look at the boat. That ...

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Plugging away at the cockpit sole

4 May

It has been a distracting week what with friends visiting from out of town and new flooring in my house but I still got out to the boat a couple days. The end of the fiberglass work is in sight and it’s an exciting prospect. I definitely won’t be shedding any tears when I discard this uniform!

Mainly I’ve been working on finishing up the cockpit sole, which means lots of fairing. Here’s what it looked like after my last post:

That’s the new plywood sole sealed in place with plenty of epoxy. There was a seriously low spot ...

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ENSENADA RACE: Mysterious Destruction of Aegean

3 May

Aegean SPOT track

This is pretty weird. I previously mentioned the tragic loss of Aegean in the Newport Ensenada Race off southern California last weekend, and since then have been following developments with interest. The original presumption was that the boat, a 37-foot Hunter, had been run down by a ship, and this seemed to have been confirmed by at least one eyewitness on another boat. But Aegean‘s SPOT track also shows the boat running directly into the north end of North Coronado Island at a speed of about 7 knots.

The debris from the wreck reportedly looks as though it has ...

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Volvo Ocean Race: Match Race To Miami

1 May

Don't look now (or, rather, start looking!), but another tight boat-on-boat race to the finish is developing nicely on Leg 6 to Miami. And when I say "to the finish," the finish is still more than 2000 miles away.

For all the mishaps, miscues, and boat breakage, there is one thing this edition of the Volvo Ocean Race is delivering in spades: super-tight, tense, racing among the boats that happen to stay in the game. After crossing the equator for the fourth and final time, PUMA, CAMPER, and Telefonica are all within 11 miles of each other, fighting hard ...

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JOHN GUIDER: Barebones Cruiser With a Camera

1 May

John Guider photo

Beautiful photos these. Taken by a man, John Guider, who is currently rowing and sailing his way, in stages, through a circumnavigation of eastern North America aboard a 14-foot Expedition Skerry from Chesapeake Light Craft that he built himself. Right now he’s in the South Carolina sea islands, a little north of Beaufort. By July he expects to be in New York City.

John, an engineer from Nashville, Tennessee, first started mucking around in boats in a big way back in 2003, when he paddled down to New Orleans from the creek in his backyard in a common canoe, snapping ...

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30 Apr

There’s more to it, I think, but that quote from reigning world champion Johnny Heineken is not a bad start for explaining why kites are hot.

Heineken continues to dominate the course-racing scene with a combination of raw speed and the tactical smarts developed out of growing up racing dinghies and skiffs. How long can the man stay on top? It’s a young sport. The first course racing championships were held on San Francisco Bay, where the game was developed, and the first Worlds was held in 2009.

On to the Olympics? I wouldn’t bet against it.

Here’s a look ...

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Buy Mediocre Tools

30 Apr

A good piece of advice for any aspiring mechanic would be, "Buy the best tools you can afford." Quality tools will last a lifetime, and pay for themselves with jobs well done.

If the aspiring mechanic happens to work on boats, I dare say this strategy should be revised.  I'm careful with my tools, but looking over my tool bag there are very few that were there four years ago. Some, like my hammer, have been with me forever. You're always hanging onto a hammer, and it's not likely to go flying. With screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers, and the like you're ...

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MORE CALIFORNIA YACHT RACING FATALITIES: And Deaths Averted in Melbourne to Port Fairy Race

29 Apr

Trybooking.com arrives in Port Fairy after rescue

Trybooking.com arrives in Port Fairy carrying survivors from Inception 

It’s been an awful month for racing sailors in California. First came the well-publicized loss of Low Speed Chase in the Farallones Race off San Francisco, which resulted in five fatalities and an unprecedented Coast Guard ban on further offshore races in the area. Now this weekend comes word that a Hunter 376, Aegean, has been lost in the Newport Ensenada Race, presumably in a collision, with four apparent fatalities.

Less remarked on has been the dramatic night rescue of six crew Down Under in the Melbourne to Port ...

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Baja. On to La Paz.

27 Apr

puerto ballandra. baja, mexico.
We moved on first thing this morning after another peaceful night broken only by a thirty minute gusting of twenty knots or so shortly after dark. I know Baja is notorious for these, usually much stronger, and that they have a name that completely escapes me at the moment. While twenty knots is usually no cause for concern, when we've been bobbing around for two days without once tugging at our anchor, we start to wonder if all of our anchor chain is just wrapped right up around the anchor.

Our trip today took us north ...

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