#252: Haakon Vatle // Storm Weather Shanty Choir

1 Jan

252 Haakon Art.jpg

#252: Haakon Vatle has, as far as we can tell, the world’s ONLY master’s degree in sea shanties. He’s the founder and leader of the Storm Weather Shanty Choir, who fans of the show will know as the group of Norwegian musicians who have mastered the art of the modern sea shanty. And Haakon is a REAL sailor – he’s heavily involved with Norway’s tallship Statsraad Lehmkul and has sailed her trans-Atlantic 4 times, practicing his shanties in real life aboard the ship. I traveled to Bergen to meet Haakon for this interview and to see the Shanty Choir live....

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Happy New Year from Team Figure 8 + Questions answered.

1 Jan

“I love what I’m doing, and miss you terribly all at the same time.”

Randall and I had an in-person chat at 12.01am Pacific Standard time January 1st, 2019. The rest of the conversation was mostly Randall laughing at me as I shared with him some of the antics I’ve been up to and a “fight” about how mad he was when I heard I went up on our roof (of a flat one-story house) to fix the twinkle lights. “Jo, you scare me. It’s so dangerous.” he said. I pointed out the hypocrisy.

Hi readers, this is Jo, for ...

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Problems and Fixes

31 Dec

December 29, 2018/Day 86

Noon Position: 46 20S  20 20E

Course(t)/Speed(kts): E 5

Miles since departure: 11,701

Avg. Miles/Day: 136

Long day; short post.

Several hours of moderate rain this morning. Tried to catch with my main cover system. Caught little. Drains are in the wrong place with main down. Lost best bucket over side. Spilled half of catch. Drank other half. Didn’t die; so, that’s good. But need to figure better system and soon. In hindsight, likely trying to catch in a rough Force 7, decks awash, isn’t best.

In rain all morning. Discovered that my foulies have lost ...

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30 Dec

December 28, 2018/Day 85

Noon Position: 45 45S 16 51E

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

Miles since departure: 11,551

Avg. Miles/Day: 136

I let Mo drift SE overnight on twin headsails poled out, three reefs. Pretty fast, but wind continued to veer north, so mid morning I took the leeward pole down and ran that sail, the number one genoa, free for a few hours. This gives Mo another ten to fifteen degrees to windward while still running both headsails. In the afternoon wind increased to the high twenties and low thirties, and I’ve gone all the way down to the number ...

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Front Coming

29 Dec

Front Coming

December 27, 2018/Day 84

Noon Position: 44 32S  13 19E

Course(t)/Speed(kts): SExS 6

Miles since departure: 11,385

Avg. Miles/Day: 136

Light winds and slow going these last two days, but that should change tonight. As I type, there’s a large front approaching from the W. Right now we’re racing under poled out twins; winds are W in the teens. Tonight they’ll shift to the N and bump up to thirty. I intend to ride these winds at an angle and slowly drop down a couple degrees of latitude so as to avoid more calms up here later in ...

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Thoughts on Rain Catchment and The Brownie Batch

28 Dec

December 26, 2018/Day 83

Noon Position: 44 18S  10 20W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): SxE 3

Wind(t/tws): ENE 7


Miles since departure: 11,256

Avg. Miles/Day: 136

I kept the twins up overnight even though the wind went into the N in the wee hours. Switching from poles to main and jib in the dark is easy to rationalize as better done in the morning when one is full of hot mutton stew, fresh brownies, and a bit of red wine.

Besides decidedly cold and rainy, the day has been one of constant attention to the sheets as we work down through the ...

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This Time Last Year

27 Dec

December 25, 2018

Day 82

Noon Position: 43 24S  07 34E

Course(t)/Speed(kts): ExN 6

Wind(t/tws): SWxW 14 – 17

Sea(t/ft): W 6

Sky: Light Cumulus alternating to clear

10ths Cloud Cover: 10

Bar(mb): 1006, steady

Cabin Temp(f): 61

Water Temp(f): 48

Relative Humidity(%): 65 (51 by end of day. Can feel the dryness in my hands.)

Sail: Twins poled out full. Dead run.

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 164

Miles since departure: 11,125

Avg. Miles/Day: 136

Ran all night with two reefs in the poled-out twin headsails. Winds were mostly 17 – 25, but a few times we had squalls ...

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Merry Christmas Dinner (Video)

26 Dec

December 24, 2018/Day 81

Noon Position: 43 50S  03 51E

Course(t)/Speed(kts): E 6-7

Miles since departure: 10,961

Avg. Miles/Day: 135

Slow overnight in moderate winds as we wait for the sea to subside. It did, and I’ve flown the twins today. Now we race on light west winds.

Today a longish video discussing Christmas dinner and why we won’t be doing any gift exchange this year on Mo.


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Across the Prime Meridian

25 Dec

December 23, 2018

Day 80

Noon Position: 43 21S  00 42E

Course(t)/Speed(kts): ExS 6+

Wind(t/tws): WNW 20 – 27

Sea(t/ft): NW W SW to 12

Sky: Thin stratus

10ths Cloud Cover: 4

Bar(mb): 1002, steady

Cabin Temp(f): 61

Water Temp(f): 50

Relative Humidity(%): 75

Sail: Double reefed working jib

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 153

Miles since departure: 10,821

Avg. Miles/Day: 135

At 0800GMT this morning, Mo and I crossed the Prime Meridian and in an instant passed from West to East. Marked on charts as zero degrees longitude, the Prime Meridian is a semi great circle that runs from ...

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The Definition of Unsettled Weather

24 Dec

December 22, 2018

Day 79

Noon Position: 43 05S 02 45W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): E 5

Wind(t/tws): WxN 25 (40 in squalls)

Sea(t/ft): W 10 – 12

Sky: Clear, then squalls

10ths Cloud Cover: 8

Bar(mb): 1000

Cabin Temp(f): 61

Water Temp(f): 50

Relative Humidity(%): 69

Sail: Working jib full or reefs, depending on squalls

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 151

Miles since departure: 10,668

Avg. Miles/Day: 135

Winds were 35 gusting 45 by 3am. I’d gotten enough sleep early and didn’t mind being up, and dawn was on the make, so I could see. By 6am, winds had backed ...

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