AC World Series Venice: ETNZ Scrapping

18 May

Emirates Team New Zealand seems to have the trouble magnet on. Here they lose their observer overboard. He just manages to hang on, and scramble back aboard (heart racing, no doubt).

And here they plow into Oracle Racing, which failed to give them room as inside boat. Just another crazy day

out on the water, racing in AC45 cats.

Okay, enough bloopers. If you want the real action, here is the summary of Day 1 highlights:

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Boating Deaths: How Many, Who, and Why

17 May

The Coast Guard is out with its annual report (PDF) on death by boat. Last year, there were 758 fatalities, the most since 1998.

Here are the key stats, from the press release:

From 2010 to 2011, total reported accidents decreased less than one percent from 4,604 to 4,588, deaths increased 12.8 percent from 672 to 758 and injuries decreased 2.3 percent from 3,153 to 3,081. Property damage totaled approximately $52 million. The fatality rate measured 6.2 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels, a 14.8 percent increase from last year’s rate of 5.4 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels.

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The ELCI – A Good Idea

17 May

The ELCI (Equipment Leakage Circuit Interrupter) is a new-ish device in the US, which will be part of the ABYC (American Boat and Yacht Council) standards in a few weeks. They've been around in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand for 25 years or so, but I guess we yanks are slow to catch on.

We all know the little GFCI outlets, the ones we have in our bathrooms with the little test and reset buttons? The ELCI is like one of these, but it protects your whole boat. The ELCI would be the first thing in the AC wiring after ...

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Secrets Of The Gulf Of Mexico

17 May

If you send a Remotely Operated Vehicle to the seafloor of the Gulf, you will see all sorts of amazing things. This was shot in April by NOAA's "Little Hercules." We got some salt volcanoes, brine pools, and oil and gas seeps–along with some pretty cool fish (full dive report is here).

And, hey, we've also got a shipwreck!

(h/t GCaptain)...

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Hans Klaar Will Sail The Seas Again

16 May

Hans Klaar is an extraordinary sailor, a modern-day Moitessier, who has built and cruised a series of Polynesian-style catamarans over vast swathes of the world's oceans. Early last year his life took a dramatic and tragic turn when he was jailed in South Africa for rape, as my SAILFeed buddy Charlie Doane chronicled. After fighting the charge, Klaar was released in July and began the fight to rebuild his name and rebuild his life.

Naturally,one of the ways for him to do that was to go build a new boat, and set out for the distant horizons. So ...

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ABANDONED BOAT: Cha Cha Up For Grabs in Newport?

16 May

Cha Cha in Newport

Cha Cha at anchor in Newport. She seems very secure (note deployment of twin chain anchor rodes) (Photo from

THE UNFORTUNATE SAGA of CHA CHA, the 52-foot steel cutter I first encountered in Bermuda back in the fall of 2009, continues. According to an article published earlier this month, the city of Newport, Rhode Island, is now seeking to seize the boat, which reportedly has been lying at anchor in Newport untended since sometime last year. If the city succeeds in this and decides to sell Cha Cha at auction, it could be a good score for ...

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BERMUDA RADIO: Masters of All They Survey

15 May

Bermuda Radio, view from

The view from on high. Bermuda Radio’s perspective on the world

I FLEW HERE INTO BERMUDA on Sunday to catch the start of the World Cruising Club’s ARC Europe rally, which departs tomorrow afternoon for the Azores and Lagos, Portugal. It is not the first time I’ve flown to Bermuda, but this will be the first time I’ve both flown into and out of Bermuda, as I normally come (or leave, or do both) by boat. Which means I normally get to chat with the guys at Bermuda Radio (ex-Bermuda Harbor Radio), who are keenly interested in the comings ...

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Testing the diesel tank

14 May

Yesterday was more puttering around working on a handful of projects. I started out with the diesel tanks that I pulled out a while ago. They’ve been sitting around the shop and I’ve been fervently hoping that they don’t have any holes in them. To find out I put together a little pressure testing rig out of a couple pipe fittings and a bike pump:

That’s plugs in two of the holes and the third is just a threaded fitting with a bike tube clamped to it, like so:

Tying off the other end of the tube makes the whole ...

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13 May

Avon inflatable valve

The valve, rehabilitated

SOME MAY RECALL that last year’s sailing season aboard Lunacy began with a series of amusing mishaps, one of which involved my inflatable dinghy, a 9-foot Avon with a roll-up floor. The very first time I tried to inflate it, the stem of the valve for the keel compartment popped out like a jack-in-the-box and went flying into the water. I simply ignored the problem and spent the whole season puttering about in a dinghy with a flabby keel. This year, however, I resolved to fix the valve and so paid a quick visit last week ...

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