ERNEST K. GANN: Song of the Sirens

18 Feb

Song of the Sirens book cover

Yesterday was the second anniversary of the sinking of the Canadian school ship Concordia, a tragedy I will always relate to the controversial sinking just over 50 years ago of Chris Sheldon‘s school ship Albatross. This is a story that ties into a strong tide that has long flowed through my mind. It in fact first started flowing about 40 years ago when, at age 13, I found a paperback copy of Ernest K. Gann‘s Song of the Sirens stashed on the shelves of a lending library in a U.S. Army hospital in Bangkok, Thailand. The ...

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The Art Of Sailboat Video: Keith Brash

17 Feb

Maybe you think a sailboat video is a cinch to make? Well, it is, I guess. Water, boat, camera, done. Fourteen views on YouTube. Nice job.

But making a good one, like anything else, takes something called talent. And in the world of high-end sailboat racing, there are few better at capturing the action, mood, and excitement than Keith Brash.

I was reminded of that when I saw this recent update on Artemis.

But to see all the different aproaches he takes, take a quick tour of his work for Quantum TV

You'll see vids like this:

And this:...

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Ultimate Cruiser’s Skill? Welding.

17 Feb

16-Feb-2012 puerto vallarta, mexico.
Here's a hot tip for the would be cruiser: Learn to weld stainless steel and you'll never be wanting for money or work in your travels. In all of our years aboard we have hired welders seven times that I can think of off hand. Mechanics, twice. Refrigeration guys, twice. Nope, welding is where it's at. If you can weld stainless you'll be working in every exotic anchorage the world over.

The davits are coming along nicely. They are big strong beasts and I'm pretty sure they bring Bumfuzzle's overall length to over fifty-two feet. We'll ...

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What Is It?

16 Feb

Check out these pictures and see if you can figure out what they show. It's like a Rorschach test for humanity.

Beautiful, yet also disturbing, no? 

If you haven't figure it out they are from a series of photos taken in the water column of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Read all about the photo series, and the artist behind them, here

What would it be like to swim down through the estimated 100 million tons of trash swirling around in the Great Pacific Garbage PatchMandy Barker's photographs bring viewers probably as close as they'd

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Davits, Refrigeration, Almost Cruising Again

16 Feb

14-Feb-2012 puerto vallarta, mexico.
Welders were out today to get started on the davit install. They basically came out, lined them up, tac welded them to the mounting plates, and took them back off to the shop to finish up properly. Back in a couple of days to install those and fit the two reinforcement bars. Hopefully a couple days after that this project will be in the books.

Bumfuzzle Davits

Lowe got himself a play station stand-up toy thing-a-ma-bob the other day. He's digging it. The house continues to be overrun by brightly colored Made in China toys. The nice thing ...

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WAUQUIEZ PRETORIEN 35: A Well-Built Euro-Cruiser

15 Feb

Wauquiez Pretorien

This French-built cruiser-racer, designed by Holman & Pye, a British firm, first appeared on the market in 1979, just as the IOR rule was peaking in popularity. The Pretorien 35 thus exhibits features common to many boats of this era: it is beamy amidships with somewhat pinched ends and has a smallish high-aspect mainsail and a large foretriangle. It is not, however, an extreme example of its type. Nearly half the boat’s design weight is contained in its lead ballast keel, which makes it rather stiff and stable (its AVS is a very respectable 124 degrees), it does not have ...

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How NOT To Finish A Race

14 Feb

We've all done it. The finish whistle welcomes you across the line, your race is over, so you ease sheets, crack the cooler, and head toward the barn. And sometimes you suddenly realize you are interfering with boats that are still racing.

In the best case you are just disturbing their air, and you get out of the way quickly, with an apology. In the worst case you get….this.

Here's a summary of what happened (and a long version of the video is here):


The finish line was skewed by somewhere around 10-15 degrees. You can see the

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Wedding Ring Recovered

14 Feb

Yesterday I dropped my wedding ring off a dock.

I got back to the marina in San Rafael at 7 a.m., and indeed the tide was very low, only a few feet deep where I’d dropped my wedding ring. I forgot a towel or anything else to make me comfortable after my early morning swim, which made jumping into freezing San Francisco Bay, in the middle of winter, that much worse.

I dropped a fishing weight tied to some 1/8” Dacron to mark the spot. Without a weight and a line, I get disoriented underwater, and my search becomes ...

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