HERB HILGENBERG: Is His Advice Too Conservative?

16 Nov

Herb Hilgenberg

For some sailors this is simply a rhetorical question, but to many others it may seem like heresy. It is, however, a question worth discussing given recent events in this year’s NARC rally. It should also help put some comments made by NARC rally organizer Hank Schmitt, which I published earlier here on WaveTrain, into a larger, more useful context.

Let’s start by noting that Herb is, without doubt, one of the more reliable weather forecasters working the North Atlantic. Though he is a self-taught amateur, his forecasts often prove more accurate than those generated by NOAA and are certainly ...

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16 Nov

San Diego, California
Future Sailing: Imagining a Single-Skin Wing

Inspiring as it is, and yes, it is inspiring, to see the one-design AC45s racing in US waters, it stirs my appetite for the custom AC72s yet to come.

Baby, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Whenever I do a public program about the America’s Cup, I run people slapdash through the history, because it’s a brilliant history. Consider how many times in its first 132 years—the longest winning streak in sports—the America’s Cup was defended against a faster boat. Consider how unlikely it was that Dennis Conner and company would push ...

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LAURA DEKKER: Arrived in South Africa

14 Nov

Laura Dekker under sail

Did I call it, or what? In my last post on the mysterious whereabouts of Dutch teen sailor Laura Dekker I predicted she would next appear in Durban or Port Richards, South Africa. And now comes word that she has in fact safely arrived in Durban after sailing 47 days non-stop (over 5,500 nautical miles) singlehanded from Darwin, Australia.

First things first: Good on ya, Laura! This is a very significant achievement for any sailor, regardless of their age or gender. I encourage all WaveTrain riders to read the blog on Laura’s website for a (more or less) complete account ...

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The Good/Bad Old Days of Hand Drafting

14 Nov


I’m often asked if I miss the days when the design drawings were all done by hand.ct_54_drawing.jpg I don’t. The convenience and accuracy of acad along with the ability to email drawings to a client or builder is way too handy to go back to drawing by hand and then mailing prints. When I designed ICON I sent a set of beautiful hand drawn drawings to the builder only to get an email that they wanted everything in acad so they could convert it to metric. So it was time for me to quit just playing the acad and get ...

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CARIBBEAN 1500 RALLY: They Leave Without Me

11 Nov

Caribbean 1500 rally start 2011

I decided I had to pull the plug on my participation in this year’s Caribbean 1500 on Wednesday afternoon after rally HQ announced they were postponing the start once again until this morning. I was reluctant to do this, but the “squash zone” between my prospective arrival time in the BVI and the Thanksgiving holiday was getting a little too tight for comfort. I flew home yesterday, and today I’m following the rally start a bit wistfully via the tracking feature on the rally website.

I felt especially bad leaving Larry and Cathy on Katahdin short one crew member ...

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An Introduction in Two Parts

10 Nov

Hello, and welcome to my blog. I’ve created this as a space for musings on low-budget sailing, DIY sailboat repair, and to follow the evolution of my sailboat, a Cape Dory 28 which needs rather a lot of work. I’ll be introducing her in my next post but I suppose I should start with a little about me, and what got me into this boat project.
 Though not quite born at sea, my sister and I have lived on sailboats, on and off, since we were just a few months old. Until high school when we were no longer allowed ...

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The Meeting, My Report

8 Nov

From the time the America’s Cup landed in Don’t-Call-It-Frisco, plenty of people were wringing their hands over whether or not the 2013 match would really be sailed on San Francisco Bay.

No guarantees, but nothing in the proceedings of this week’s meeting of the Design Review Board, Bay Conservation & Development Commission, raised any alarms. BCDC has been instrumental in controlling what once was rampant landfill in San Francisco Bay. Here the commissioners were more concerned with making sure that America’s Cup spectator facilities not block the Bay Trail that, piece by piece, is being linked along the bay shoreline. ...

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CARIBBEAN 1500 RALLY: Departure Delayed

8 Nov

Surface chart for Sean

I’ve never seen this before… a subtropical storm with a name. But there you have it–sub-storm Sean, reportedly packing max winds of 40-50 knots, is stalled right over the Caribbean 1500 route and is going nowhere fast.

By midday yesterday we had word aboard Katahdin that the rally start was officially postphoned until Wednesday. The skinny then was that the low squatting north of the Bahamas had a 40 percent chance of going tropical (according to the National Hurricane Center), or maybe even 50 percent (according to Jeff Masters at Weather Underground). This morning it has officially achieved ...

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CARIBBEAN 1500 RALLY: Imminent Departure

7 Nov

Katahdin ready to 1aunch

I should mention that I’m in Virginia right now, and will depart today (maybe) in this year’s Caribbean 1500 cruising rally to Tortola, BVI. I’m crewing on a Cambria 44, Katahdin, which you see here, as of yesterday evening, all ready to go. Sort of.

We launch this a.m. at 0900 and will be praying that the new rudder bearing packing gland does not leak.

Larry and Cathy Clough, Katahdin‘s owners, have been running around all over Chesapeake Bay like the proverbial headless chickens trying to cope with this rudder problem for a couple of weeks now. As ...

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6 Nov

Antifouling test

Lunacy was hauled for the winter on Friday, which means at last I have answers and evidence to share with the several people who’ve been asking me about the Ultrasonic Antifouling system I installed toward the end of the season last year. When Lunacy was hauled last year, after two months with the Ultrasonic unit running, there wasn’t a speck of growth on her anywhere. This year, after a full five months in the water, the results are decidedly different.

I couldn’t attend the haul-out, but once again, Jeff Stack, the service manager at Maine Yacht Center, was ...

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