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 arrives in Port Fairy after rescue 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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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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