A few valuable boating apps, and what’s your favorite?

11 Nov


Most boaters carry around an impressively powerful and easy to use computer in their pockets: their smartphone. Smartphones have enough processing power, sensors and capabilities to augment or possibly even replace dedicated navigation equipment onboard your boat. Mobile phone and tablet apps for boating have steadily improved and today offer a compelling set of functionalities that can make boating both safer and easier.

To me, one of the key benefits of mobile apps at the helm is the ability to use multiple brands of charts. Using different chart providers helps avoid falling victim to any issue with your charts. ...

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Update from the sea: Sunday 8 am

10 Nov


Update from the sea, Sunday 09.00!

Hi everyone, Mia here! I am getting emails via the sat phone from Andy & August and will post some fun updates here on the blog for you all! They departed already on Friday, the window was too good not to catch it and they had a fast ride down the bay and past over the Bay Bridge tunnel and entered the ocean yesterday morning.

“We just got done eating dinner – Lee made my favorite, the pesto chicken broccoli. We’re motor-sailing now with just the jib. The wind started dying at around 1200 ...

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SOUTHBOUND LUNACY 2019: Coast-Hopping and Further Maintenance Adventures

9 Nov

Nov. 9/2019: During the early summer, you’ll recall, we dealt with two big maintenance items: Lunacy’s wobbly rudder and her “ovalized” autopilot/steering quadrant connection. Another adventure, not previously mentioned, was replacing the turbocharger on my 55hp Nanni diesel, as it had seized up solid through lack of proper exercise. There were two lessons learned in this last instance: a) I need to run the engine at 2,400 or higher rpm much more frequently; and b) Nanni is positively evil when it comes to replacement parts. One reason I wanted a Nanni is that they are simply marinized Kubota ...

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VIDEO: Passage South // Weather Routing to the Caribbean

7 Nov

As ICEBEAR & ISBJORN prepare to depart Annapolis on the Chesapeake Bay, bound for Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, Andy and August brief the passage route and the weather they expect to encounter en route.

(August Sandberg is ISBJORN’s new skipper going forward).

The 1500-mile passage starts in Annapolis, and both boats will sail down the Bay, where at Norfolk we’ll go offshore, aiming for a waypoint about 120 miles south of Bermuda, then we’ll hang a right turn and sail due south, bound for the Virgin Islands.

This is one of the toughest passages we do at 59 ...

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Course and Speed: Uncertain

6 Nov

November 5, 2019

Days since return: 15

Noon Position: 37 46N 122 08W

Miles Since Last Noon: 5 (a walk in the Oakland Hills)

Course and Speed: uncertain

I thought I had re-entry figured out.

After a longish cruise for home, I anchor awhile in Drakes Bay before proceeding on to civilization. From here the city is close but still at arm’s length. On a clear day, I can see Twin Peaks and the Richmond District; at night the glow of San Francisco fills the southern sky, obliterating even the constellations. 

But my near view remains dominated by the more ...

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Snagging lobster pots & a DIY hookah solution

5 Nov


With winter setting in fast, it’s nice to remember summer, even a cruising hassle like snarling lobster trap gear around Gizmo’s running gear. During my 48 years in Maine waters, the catch has increased from 20 to 120 million pounds and the pot buoy systems have gotten significantly tougher; so snagging one has become much more of a hazard. But the grin above is not just because I’d finally cut away this particular mess; I think I’ve found a reliable snarl solution that will even work out in the remote Maine islands that lobsters, lobstermen, and cruisers all appreciate....

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#278: Kass Schmitt // The OSTAR Gale

5 Nov

Kass 278 Art.jpg

#278. Kass Schmitt is a solo sailor who has had a dream of completing the OSTAR Race, the original single-handed trans-Atlantic race, which back in the 1960s, began the solo racing scene we know today. Kass, unassuming and thoughtful, set out to make that dream a reality in 2017 on her cold-molded sloop ZEST, but was thwarted halfway across the Atlantic by an unusually strong early summer storm that swept through the fleet, forcing the abandonment of three boats and forcing her to retire. Kass & I sat down in London where she told me the tale.

Show Notes:


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The Brest Atlantiques set to get underway

1 Nov
Four Ultime trimarans ready to race


Here is another big sailing event that is likely to go unnoticed anywhere outside of France. The Brest Atlantiques. Ever heard of it? Well me neither until recently and I follow the international racing scene quite closely. This one they were keeping a secret I guess. The Brest Atlantiques is limited to Ultime multihulls only, Ultimes being those behemoth trimarans that can only be sailed ...
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A Thank You to Figure 8 Virtual Voyagers!

31 Oct

It began as a simple enough idea–to solo circumnavigate the Americas and Antarctica in one season. A boat, a sailor, a big sea, some ice and a double loop of the globe in roughly the shape of an eight.

But as time went on and as the idea developed, it came required the help of more and more people until, in the end, this ostensibly singular endeavor took an entire village to pull it off.

Though I am eager to express my gratitude to everyone involved, it is with some trepidation that I sat down today to publish a list. ...

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ICW Southbound October 30, 2019

30 Oct

We are southbound in the ICW once again. So far, the fall 2019 trip has been very easy. I’m reminded that those of us who study and write about the ICW use terms like “problem stretches,” “trouble spots,” the “Rock Pile” and “Hell Gate”, all of which can give an air of danger and  cause unwarranted apprehensions about making this trip.   Boats have been making this trip for over 100 years, long before we had near real time depth readings for our charts and before the advent of the wonderful electronic navigation tools that we have today.

So far this ...

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