North to Puerto Vallarta

18 Jan

(Jan.13) So what would the problem of the day be on this fine Mexican Friday? We woke up with no problems, everyone was in a good mood and ready for some breakfast. Seeing as how the fridge didn't get very cold the night before because of the engine overheating issue we decided to fire up the engine this morning and cool it down. 

All was well for the first half hour or so, then we both started to think, "Does something sound different?" Pretty soon it was obvious something was making a weird, sort of indescribable background whistling noise. I ...
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Captain Schettino’s Conduct

17 Jan

The Costa Contadora story just gets farcically worse with every news cycle.

Is Capt. Schettino hiding under a blanket in this crowd of survivors?

If you want to know how NOT to conduct yourself as a Captain after ordering passengers and crew to

abandon ship, and hustling off yourself, audio recordings of Captain Schettino–as authorities try to save lives and complete the evacuation–are a perfect example of what not to do and say. 


A few minutes later, the port authority commander again asked Schettino where he is. Schettino, who was still on land, didn’t reply. “Go on board and coordinate the rescue operation from there,” yells De Falco. “Are you

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The Costa Concordia Story Beggars Belief

17 Jan

It is must be the season of the shipwreck. With the Rena barely broken up, the world turns its attention to the Med, and the Costa Concordia disaster. The story so far:

  • one wrecked liner
  • 6 dead (three found on board and three found drowned at sea)
  • 29 missing, but no one seems to know for sure if that's the right number
  • divers blowing holes in the ship hull to better access flooded cabins in the search for victims
  • mega-insurance claims, lawsuits, and criminal proceedings imminent

The sea will take its due, and that means shipwrecks and lives ...

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Limping Along to Chamela

16 Jan

(Jan. 10) I dove in today with scrapers in hand and found that it was amazing this boat moved at all when we left Barra. The bottom was a giant mass of growth. Hundreds of pounds of fist sized plants, quite beautiful actually, had attached themselves to our fifteen or so year-old bottom paint. Wish I knew what kind of paint it was, I'd Tweet a complaint to the company. I mean really.

Fortunately I'd bought the biggest scraper to be had at Home Depot, unfortunately my in-laws weren't able to find our snorkel gear stashed away somewhere in their ...
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Anatomy of a Water Damaged Deck

16 Jan

Part of the fun in my search for a boat was determining which of a vast roster of sailboat poxes and maladies should count as a plus on the scoresheet and which a minus. From hull blisters to fiberglass delamination, rot, soaked cores, decayed fasteners and decrepit systems, these boats had them all. But which were desirable features? (Hint: don’t pick hull blisters!) I could count my purchase budget on one hand in less than a hand’s worth of figures so I knew I was going to have to settle for a few ailments. Fortunately some common problems will greatly ...

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Minivan Aweigh

14 Jan

My dad and my brother had a very busy day at the Balboa Island Ferry, our family business in Newport Beach. Each ferry carries three cars, and for nearly a hundred years we've upheld a kind of social contract, which says that the cars will ride on the ferry to get to the other side. Today the social contract was broken.

A minivan with a Taiwanese tourist family inside was pushed off the ferry, into the bay, by an errant Mercedes. The minivan floated for several minutes, during which a few dinghies unloaded the family, their baggage, and their ...

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Bold Racing Or Bad Seamanship?

13 Jan

So it seems that some of the sailors aboard other Volvo Ocean Race boats are not happy that Team Sanya's Richard Mason and Jared Henderson were honored with the Seamanship Award at the Abu Dhabi prizegiving (for climbing Team Sanya's mast after a rigging failure, and saving the mast).

Team Telefonica's Andrew Cape, in particular, appears to be derisive of the choice, and Team Sanya skipper Mike Sanderson, apparently because he feels the only reason Mason and Henderson had to put themselves at risk up the mast is that Sanderson and his navigator, Aksel Magdahl, chose to sail Team Sanya ...

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More Iceboating!

13 Jan

Hey, why give up on a good thing?

Plus, here's a very different form of iceboating, as sailors prepare for annual "Round Kodiak Island Regatta"…


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DEKKER & STOWE: In the Same Neighborhood

13 Jan

Schooner Anne in Georgetown, Guyana

For a while I was thinking that Reid Stowe and Laura Dekker might actually bump into each other somewhere off the northeast coast of South America. But no–in spite of her slow rate of speed, Reid’s schooner Anne managed to make landfall in Guyana earlier this week (January 9) and is now tied up in Georgetown, where apparently a figurehead on her bow poked out a window on a local pilot boat.

Judging from the reports on Reid’s website, the latter part of Anne‘s voyage south went smoothly, though it seems she suffered from persistent leaks and the ...

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