Flash Low

5 Mar

March 3, 2019/Day 150

Noon Position: 47 25S  129 33W

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

Wind(t/tws): WNW 25

Miles since departure: 20,572

Avg. Miles/Day: 137


Mo rode out a flash low today. That’s not, that I’m aware of, a meteorological term, but rather is how I describe a low that appears to develop and dissipate quickly right on your position. This one dropped down on us from just to the north and brought northerlies in the high 20s.

I cancelled an interview with Matt Rutherford for this morning so I could deal with a day of dynamic happenings and felt bad ...

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ISBJORN Trans-Atlantic p. 10 // Fixing Broken Things

5 Mar

How many ISBJORN crew does it take to fix the genoa track?

How many ISBJORN crew does it take to fix the genoa track?

Today’s title was inspired by David Byrne. Yesterday annoyed me. I was tired, having not slept well the night before (it was my own fault – I had a cup of coffee an hour before bed while helping Mia do the first half of her 2000-0000 watch. I slept, but not deeply. Mia mostly paid for it with my ‘being in a grump,’ as Nicky, crew on the previous passage, said about her husband Mark when he’s similarly annoyed). Then, as I was sitting on the foredeck ...

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Pro sailing in France: Ultime trimaran Sodebo launched for Thomas Coville

5 Mar
Thomas Coville atop his brand new spaceship


So this is how it’s done in France when it comes to sailing sponsorship. Take a mainstream company, one that started out specializing in frozen pizzas which are consumed broadly across France on a daily basis, and have their marketing people decide that the best way to increase brand awareness is to get involved with sailing; yes ...
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ISBJORN Trans-Atlantic p. 9 // Time!? You’re Talking Time Man?!

5 Mar

19.01.31_Windy Sea_2.jpg

Time, dude. I sat down to write thinking it’s been a couple of days since I put anything down here. Guess what the date of the last sheet is? – February 1. The day before YESTERDAY! Here I was all prepared to write about how time just goes on and on and on and one offshore on these extra long passages, how several days go by without you really noticing, how, as our friend Tom puts it, ‘the minutes and hours go by slowly, but the days go by fast.’ All of that is true of course, I just had ...

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You Can’t Get There from Here

4 Mar

March 2, 2019/Day 149

Noon Position: 42 29S  132 03W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): SExS 4

Wind(t/tws): ExN 11

Miles since departure: 20,470

Avg. Miles/Day: 137


Wind veered into the east slowly but steadily overnight. By 6am, our heading was ESE and by noon, SExS, this though we were close hauled. Worse, on that course, we were bound for a rendezvous with 48S.

Getting “trapped” too far south is a danger-to-be-avoided that was carved into my skull after the Indian Ocean knockdown last year. There I’d let headwinds push us all the way to 50S before tacking around. This meant Mo ...

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ISBJORN Trans-Atlantic p. 8 // A Pre-Dawn Cry to Celebrate Mom’s Birthday

3 Mar

Natural beauty at sea always makes me think of my mom. This rainbow came to us just before landfall in Antigua and was even more beautiful in person.

Natural beauty at sea always makes me think of my mom. This rainbow came to us just before landfall in Antigua and was even more beautiful in person.

My mom would have turned 69 today had she lived. Today marks the second birthday I’ve celebrated at sea on this trans-Atlantic passage – mine, with Mia’s birthday balls dessert on Jan 25; and mom’s this morning, where on my 0200-0400 early morning watch I shared a quiet cry and contemplated the sea and the stars for two hours by myself in the cockpit, gazing out at the vastness and just ...

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A Three-Reef Kind of Day

3 Mar

March 1 , 2019/Day 148

Noon Position: 46 49S  134 51W

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

Wind(t/tws): NxW 20

Miles since departure: 20,349

Avg. Miles/Day: 138


Rhumb line course to Cape Horn, 2,574 nm. About the distance from San Francisco to Hawaii, a route I’ve run several times. Such a comparison makes the Horn seem close. But those “to Hawaii” miles and our “to the Horn” miles are very different: the Horn is still quite far off and the intervening weather and requisite southing, a big challenge.

But it’s March, MARCH! I remember distinctly doing the around-the-bottom math just after Mo’s ...

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Day Ninety in the Roaring Forties

2 Mar

February 28, 2019/Day 147

Noon Position: 46 44S  138 22W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): Up/Down and Sideways…

Wind(t/tws): SW to NW 9

Miles since departure: 20,205

Avg. Miles/Day: 137


Day ninety in the Roaring Forties demonstrates that the forties do not roar every day.

Overnight we were becalmed. When the WHAP WHAP of the main is continual and invading one’s dream, then it’s time to put the dear out of her misery. I lowered sail at 3am. We drifted until dawn.

The variability of wind direction this morning has been stunning. I set the poles early, when the wind suggested it ...

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Full duplex wireless headsets, truly marriage savers

1 Mar


I’ve often heard wireless headsets referred to as marriage savers but before cruising full time I didn’t realize the accuracy of the nickname.  Now after several years of regular use, I wouldn’t want to cruise without them.  But there are multiple brands and types of headsets, and two we’ve used extensively each has its own strengths and weaknesses.

Before getting into the details, I’ll explain when the headsets became important to us. Early on, it was fairly easy to tie up at our home slip in Chicago with dock lines preset and a well-understood plan, and unfamiliar docks were ...

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RORC 600 #2 – Cheeseburgers and Making Lemonade

28 Feb

When I left off in the last post, the team and I on Isbjorn were preparing for the start of the RORC 600 offshore race in the Eastern Caribbean.

On the Saturday before the start of the race, the crew arrived and we went out for the first of two days of practicing. In Antigua, and really all the Eastern Caribbean Islands, the ocean is only a 10-minute boat ride away, unlike my native Chesapeake Bay where it’s 100 miles or more to find the open ocean. This was the first time I had been in the ocean since our ...

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