THE TRAGEDY OF DAVID PONTIOUS: Did a Scopolamine Patch Drive Him to Suicide?

27 Mar

I know I’m not the only one interested in the legal adventures of skipper Rick Smith, recently acquitted in federal district court in St. Thomas on a manslaughter charge in the death of David Pontious (see image above), one of his crew members. This truly was a horrible situation. Smith, who sails a 43-foot vintage yawl Cimarron back and forth between Maine and the Virgin Islands each year, took on Pontious as pick-up crew, and within three days of heading offshore Pontious was hallucinating madly and was effectively psychotic. After brutally assaulting Smith–both punching him in the face and strangling ...

Read More

A Klatch of Albatross

25 Mar

A Klatch of Albatross

March 23, 2019/Day 170

Noon Position: 53 30S  61 04W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): NNE 4.5/Wind(t/tws): E 10

Miles since departure: 23,242

Avg. Miles/Day: 137

What a strange turn of days. To come from the windiest place in the world to a place where the breeze’s only commitment is to a light contrariness! I feel like Scott and his polar party, trapped under an inversion layer that never lets them go.

Mo is close hauled in winds 6 – 10 on the nose and is averaging, at best, 4 knots. Even with the big sails up, there is just ...

Read More

Totem’s Coppercoat application

25 Mar

Coppercoating Totem’s hull was a thrilling prospect, but pressure to do the application correctly gave me more anxiety than any boat project in memory. The product features are substantial: a strong environmental case (nothing toxic ends up in the water, as with conventional antifouling paints), and solid financial value (the epoxy bottom should last for many years, a significant savings). But long term success relies on nailing the application. We did NOT want to screw this up.

Totem started from bare fiberglass bottom (no gelcoat) because a prior owner peeled it, presumably to resolve a blister problem. A clean gelcoat ...

Read More


24 Mar

March 22, 2019/Day 169

Noon Position: 54 41S  62 23W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): ENE 1

Wind(t/tws): SWxS 5

Miles since departure: 23,168

Avg. Miles/Day: 137


The wind has abandoned the field these last two days. For a time yesterday when it wafted almost due west, I ran with all plain sail flying, main and #1 genoa out to port, #2 jib poled to starboard. On this plan we made what felt like a handy three and four knots. Today, wind is so light, all those same sails do is thrash. I put them out of their misery at noon and we ...

Read More

Under The Cape

23 Mar

March 20, 2019/Day 167

Noon Position: 56 03S  67 58W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): E 7

Miles since departure: 22,959

Avg. Miles/Day: 138


Hour after hour we run in towards the shallows below Tierra del Fuego and hour after hour the barometer remains fixed at 1008mb and wind at 30 knots. I know this is how the low will come on: isobars will trend east/west until the slanting wave of more powerful winds arrive. But those more powerful winds have been due for some time.

I train the flashlight on the barometer: it reads 1008. Count to three hundred. Click the light ...

Read More

Decision Made

22 Mar

March 19, 2019/Day 166

Noon Position: 56 11S  72 34W

Miles since departure: 22,805

Avg. Miles/Day: 137


We rode the twins for almost twenty-four hours in fast following winds and on which Mo has turned in her best mileage in a couple weeks. I’m pleased that it appears the approach to the Horn will go out with a bang, not a whimper.

The low is close now; winds are intensifying and pulling north. Just after the noon post, the anemometer struck 30 knots at almost NW. So, down came the poles, and we race onward under the working jib ...

Read More

The Ocean Race rolls out new branding

22 Mar


I am really not sure what to make out of the big new branding rollout of The Ocean Race, formerly known as the Volvo Ocean Race and before that the Whitbread Round the World Race. Their big event in Alicante, Spain was nothing more than a snooze fest with a logo that my 10-year old could have designed and a whole lot of nothing said. OK to be fair the logo was probably purposely simple in the hope that it can be easily rebranded if/when they find a new title sponsor. The race, under new ownership, still retains ...
Read More

Istvan Kopar claims 4th – Golden Globe race

22 Mar
Istvan aboard his Tradewind 35 Cutter Puffin crosses the finish line


There was another huge welcome for the fourth place finisher in the Golden Globe. American Hungarian solo yachtsman Istvan Kopar ...
Read More

The Bermudes 1000

21 Mar




The IMOCA class, operated mostly out of France, is one example of how a class association can really grow an idea into an international movement. IMOCA, which stands for the International Monohull Open Class Association, was originally formed in 1998 as a way to promote the rapidly growing Open 50 and 60 classes as well as ...
Read More

Aqua Map Master adds AIS, WiFi instrument data, USACE surveys and route explorer

20 Mar

Aqua Map has added a premium tier called Aqua Map Master that adds AIS overlays, data via NMEA-0183 and SignalK over WiFi, US Army Corp of Engineers survey data overlayed over charts and a new route explorer.   With Master, Aqua Map adds several features I haven’t seen on any other mobile app that I’m excited to try out.

Aqua Map Master is a $10 per year subscription that Aqua Map says will get all their new premium features.  Aqua Map already has a nice suite of features including support for both Waterway Guide and Active Captain Community crowdsourced data, a ...

Read More

More from the AIM Marine Group