Clipperton Island Still Uninhabited

26 Mar

I’ve just returned from Clipperton Island, a French atoll lying 800 miles off the Mexican coast. I went as part of the Clipperton Project, an art/science/environmental/documentary expedition, but I was involved more with boats, landings, and communications. They tasked me with a survey of sea turtle nesting sites, but I walked around that whole island (about seven miles) and there didn’t seem to be any nesting sites, or I’ve got really bad eyes.

Masked Boobie with chick

I left La Paz on the mother ship, the Lucia Celeste, a 48-foot expedition dive boat. I returned to Baja on a Downeast ...

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DIY Disasters -or- Crazy things people do below the waterline!

23 Mar

Being nearly finished with a bunch of big boat projects I’m at a bit of a lull with the blog at the moment.  I have plenty keeping me busy but little to write about until I’ve actually completed some of them. In the meantime I dug up some photos of failed hardware and the scariest DIY ‘repairs’ I found on my boat. I’m all for fudging things a little when I think I can get away with it, but this stuff is crazy!

Exhibit A: The Through-hulls
After buying my boat in Florida my original plan to sail her back ...

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How Not to Install a Shaft Coupler

23 Mar

21-Mar-2012 puerto vallarta, mexico.
The diver showed up yesterday after all. After scraping the hull he pulled the prop shaft back and I slipped off the old shaft coupler. Then it was simply a matter of sliding the new one on. Simple. Except it wouldn't slide on. I eventually hammered it on a couple of inches before having to give up and let the diver go. I'm not happy with it though, it really needs to slide on another two inches. So today I went to the store and bought the biggest steel mallet I thought I'd be able to ...

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ALLIED PRINCESS 36: A Robust Cruising Ketch

23 Mar

Allied Princess 36

The Princess 36, built by the long defunct Allied Boat Company up the Hudson River in Catskill, New York, is a robust character ketch that does not pretend to be anything other than a simple, comfortable cruising boat. In truth, it is a boat only a cruiser could love. Designed by Arthur Edmunds and first introduced in 1972, the Princess enjoyed a 10-year production run during which about 140 hulls were built, which likely makes it the most successful boat produced by Allied during its 22 years of existence (1962-84).

Of all the boats Allied built–including the Luders 33, ...

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A Boundary Every 90 Seconds

22 Mar

© Sander van der Borch/Artemis Racing

That’s the prospect for Louis Vuitton Cup racing and then the America’s Cup, as the competitors imagine it, and that would include Artemis Racing skipper Terry Hutchinson. If I could summarize what the man had to say, on the phone from the Artemis base in Valencia, it would go:

It’s not what you got, it’s what you can use.

Terry posed the question, “How do we maximize the talents of Juan K and the rest of the design team but keep things reasonable when you’re going to be running into a ...

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Volvo Ocean Race: The Southern Ocean Brawl Is On

22 Mar

Finally, the big Southern Ocean leg. And though just 5 days in, we've already had two major breakdowns.

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing lost a structural bulkhead just out of Auckland and returned for repairs. Now they are desperately trying to claw their way back to the fleet.

And last night Sanya suffered a critical failure of their starboard rudder (cause unknown), which opened a major leak. So they are heading back to New Zealand

Plus, PUMA had two serious injuries, including a dislocated shoulder.

And now the whole fleet is bracing for a serious pasting.

In ...

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The Oceans = Great Video

21 Mar

Sometimes the best way to understand the incredible wealth of experience offered by the watery realms is to watch….some great video.

Here are five good ones that I threw into the vault over the past few weeks.

1) Gone Sailing (Backstory)

2) Gone Sailing, Part 2

3) Gone Sailing, Part 3

4) Day At The Beach

5) Foot In Mouth (Backstory)

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BLUEWATER SAILING ON A BUDGET: Selecting and Preparing a Boat

20 Mar

Pearson Alberg 35

Much has been written on the subject of preparing a boat to go offshore. It seems most of this literature is now focused on affluent types who aspire to live as profligately afloat as they do ashore, but it’s important to remember you can in fact explore the watery parts of our planet in a boat of your own without spending huge sums of money. As an illustration of what’s possible, I thought I might tell the sordid tale of how I bought and equipped my first bluewater sailboat.

I purchased Crazy Horse in Connecticut in the fall of 1994 ...

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‘Upgrading’ a mystery masthead LED tricolor/anchor light

19 Mar

My LED combination masthead tri-color and anchor light (whew!) recently arrived. It came from an ebay source that seems to have disappeared and strangely enough ebay won’t even show me the transaction history.  The light itself bears no identifying markings and came with no papers, not even a receipt. Unsurprisingly, it’s not perfect.

Electrically it seems convincingly constructed with a heavy, solid casing for the LED bulbs and proper fasteners but the construction of the housing has a couple seriously weak spots. The heavy bulbs are held on by just these two tiny screws going through the copper sockets ...

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