Circumnavigation – Red Sea Part III

29 Jan

Part Three of our Red Sea Sailing Adventure, Sudan, Africa – We are often asked, “What was your favorite part?” when people hear that we sailed around the world. And while the standard answer is that every country had it’s high points for us, the best area we cruised, or the best and most interesting memories at least, came from sailing the Red Sea. Which is why it is so disappointing to hear that these days, just six years later, cruisers are facing such a tough decision when it comes to choosing whether or not to sail these waters.

april 14 ...

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Malacca Caning

28 Jan

Well, the pain of naviagting the crowded, shifty, current-plagued Malacca Strait is well underway

Who survives to lead the feelt into the South China Sea is anyone's guess.

Here's the assessment from Groupama:

It's an area where there isn't a lot of wind: it's very hot and very humid since we're close to the equator (2° North) and there are some tidal currents which can reach five knots, in addition to the general current generated by the monsoon and hence running against us. It'll be a tedious navigation with a great deal of shipping, pirates and lots of rubbish

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Bethany Hamilton: Soul Surfer

27 Jan

The story of Bethany Hamilton–a teen surfer who lost an arm to a tiger shark off Hawaii but who has come back to become a professional surfer–is a perfect example of the truth that the sea taketh and the sea giveth. And in her case, she believes it giveth more than it tooketh, which is inspiring.

So inspiring, that of course it was made into a movie, called Soul Surfer (trailer here).

But now Bethany is out with her own trailer on the "Soul Surfer" experience. And it's a beautiful reminder of the vital importance in life ...

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It’s Still Good To Be Richard Branson

27 Jan

We've known ever since he somehow ended up with a naked supermodel on his back that Sir Richard finds kitesurfing a welcome and exhilarating diversion from any worldly woes.  

So it's nice to see him out on his board again off Necker Island, following the fire last year which burned his expansive tropical home-away-from-home down. 

You just can't stop an adventurous billionaire from having a good time (he's not a bad kitesurfer, either):


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JARLE ANDHOEY: Back to Antarctica

27 Jan

Yacht Nilaya under sail

The fanatic “Viking” sailor who lost his steel yacht Berserk and the lives of three crew members last February in a failed attempt to reach the South Pole by ATV is returning to the scene of the crime. Norwegian adventurer Jarle Andhoey, age 34, has obtained a new yacht, Nilaya, a 54-foot Kiwi-built steel sloop, and set out from New Zealand earlier this week for Antarctica, in spite of the fact that he (again) has no permits to travel there. Kiwi authorities launched an air/sea search for the vessel and reportedly located it yesterday, but could not detain ...

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VOR Turning Point: The Misery Of Malacca

26 Jan

The fleet is fast approaching a sharp right turn at the Strait Of Malacca. Sailing through it will be a nerve-wracking, sleepless, hell of endless windshifts, unyielding shipping, and a minefield of fishing gear. Sounds like fun, right?

Here's how it sets up:

And here's how VOR Race HQ describes what awaits:

At around 500 nautical miles from north to south the Malacca Strait is the longest in the world used for international navigation. Linking the Indian Ocean with the China Sea the strait is the preferred route for bulk of large scale commercial shipping in the region with

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ROUND BARBADOS RACE: 140 Gallons of Rum

26 Jan

Round Barbados Race

YES, sports fans… the number is ONE FOUR ZERO. Gallons. That’s about how much Extra Old rum I reckon the folks at Mt. Gay had to dole out at the conclusion of the Mt. Gay Rum Round Barbados Race last Saturday. Conditions for the race, now in its second year, were pretty much ideal and by the end of the day no fewer than six different boats had set course records of one description or another. Mt. Gay had pledged to award each record-setting boat its skipper’s weight in rum, which means each boat received about 23.3 gallons of rum ...

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Chi-Mac Autopsy: Anatomy Of A Deadly Storm

26 Jan

In 2011, the storied Chicago-Mackinac Race experienced its first weather-related fatalities when 2 sailors died after their sailboat, Wiingnuts, was capsized by a powerrful thunderstorm

For the weather-geeks among you, the website LakeErieWx has released a highly detailed analysis of the explosive thunderstorm cells which swept the fleet. 

It's an interesting report which emphasizes the fact that any offshore racing boat needs to be ready for pretty


The conclusion (full report is here):

The data from the base reflectivity and base velocity radar imagery suggests that the waters west of Charlevoix, MI were buffeted by

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Our Only Real Scare During an Entire Circumnavigation

26 Jan

Back in 2005, during our sail around the world, everything was new to us, including river bars. They seemed harmless enough, especially after that first one in Australia that was smooth as glass. Well, the second one caught us. The Clarence River Bar. i'll never forget that one. It very nearly ended our trip and has given Ali an unconditional fear of following seas. If I have to hear one more time how the six-foot following seas are "huge!" I'm going to do something drastic, like have her hypnotized and her Clarence River memory permanently erased. If hypnosis doesn't work ...

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Dock Line Death Test

25 Jan

In the book The Bad Girl, by Mario Vargas Llosa, a character named Arquimedes has a preternatural ability to tell where breakwaters and groins should be built. He can tell just by meditating on the sea whether the breakwater will serve its purpose or make matters worse. The best hydrologists and engineers in Lima always hired Arquimedes, because if they didn't their projects often ended up as expensive failures.

Pier 39 Marina, where I keep my boat in San Francisco, did not hire Arquimedes. It's hard to figure out the mechanics, because there are breakwaters and sea walls every which ...

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