Using your PLB/EPIRB better & testing ACR’s ResQLink View

9 Aug


In this dangerous world, most types of boating are quite safe activities. But when things do go wrong afloat, getting the needed help can be a lot harder than it is ashore because of poor communications. So I was pleased to learn about an easy way to make the excellent safety communication tools known as PLBs and EPIRBs a little more effective.

The situation captured on the screen above was ACR’s Mikele D’Arcangelo briefing Ben Stein and I after their ResQLink View PLB was announced last spring. It’s a superb PLB, I think, and I’ll detail that opinion below. ...

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A Fill-Up in Sondre Upernavik

8 Aug

August 5, 2019
Anchored Sondre Upernavik
72 09N  55 31W

Past the Vaigat, the concentration of icebergs thinned. Most were hidden behind a merciless fog, but the radar warned of a steady five to ten within its range. What it could not see were the growlers that swung off from behind the larger bergs like comet tails. For these, I had to remain on watch.  

By 3AM, the predicted N wind began to fill over what had been a flat calm sea. We were due another 50 miles of climbing before reaching Upernavik, miles that would soon become a slog. ...

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Monte Registers a Protest and the Bergs of Vaigat

7 Aug

August 4, 2019

Days Since Departure: 308

Noon Position: 70 11N 55 19W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): NNW 6.5

Miles since departure: 33,116

Monte: I now know how felt your botanist, Sir Joseph Banks, when Cook refused his requests to stop and explore the land.

Randall: Oh? Do you not recall our recent visit to Fortune Bay, where we hiked the hills, smelled the flowers, and ate the berries?

Monte: Yes, yes, the berries were just fine, but two nights in one anchorage! Along this whole coast! It’s simply unsupportable that we have come all this way so as to do nothing but ...

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Stopped by Headwinds

6 Aug

August 3, 2019

Departed Fortune Bay at 1200 today. Aiming for Upernavik. Heavy fog right down to the water. Wind N at 5 knots. Temperature 50 degrees. Bergs are visible at less than half a mile, and from what I can tell, they are the size of city blocks. We pass four or more an hour, but they are ghosts in the mist.

By 1800 fog has lifted, but we are pushing into a stiff NNW wind, and Mo is plunge diving. When our average speed falls to two knots, I turn to the E for an anchorage, Kuanit, just ...

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GFCI and ELCI breakers can be confounding, but heed their warning

6 Aug

I recently met cruisers who have been having trouble connecting their mid-80s boat to shore power pedestals equipped with GFCI (ground fault current interrupters) or ELCI (electric leakage current interrupters). Many months of working with electricians allowed them to plug into GFCI breakers without tripping them but still not ELCIs. So, what’s the problem, why did it take months to get it fixed, and what serious safety issues were uncovered? Read on…

In 2011 the National Fire Protection Association changed the national electric code (NEC) to require marina shore power systems be equipped with ground fault protection (GFP). These code ...

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#271: John Harries Round 3 // Live Onboard ICEBEAR

5 Aug

John Harries 271 Art.jpg

#271. John Harries, the founder of, AKA ‘Attainable Adventure Cruising,’ and in my opinion the foremost authority on safe and simple ocean sailing boats & equipment. He’s an accomplished high latitudes sailor with over 150,000 miles under his keel. Mia and I met him for a round 3 on the podcast in Lunenburg harbor aboard Ice Bear.

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On The Wind is the evolution of 59º North, and is, quite simply, long-form conversations with sailors from around the world. ‘On the Wind’ Sailing Podcast is informal chats with people ...

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The View from Fortune Bay

5 Aug

August 1, 2019

Fortune Bay, Disko Island

69 15N 53 45W

One cannot have too many books aboard. By way of a proof: this morning I would like to know why my anchorage on S Disko Island is named Fortune Bay. I can guess it is something to do with whaling, but not a single volume on the shelf answers the question, and the only hint comes from Andrew Wilkes in his sailing directions, ARCTIC AND NORTHERN WATERS:

“Fortune Bay is a ragged bight with many islands and rocks, lying 5 miles W of [the village of] Qeqertarsuaq. Many of ...

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The new Hugo Boss launched

5 Aug

The new Hugo Boss IMOCA 60 was revealed over the weekend and all I can say is WOW.  Actually I said something much stronger than that but let’s just say that I said wow. Either Alex Thomson and his team have got it really right or really wrong. My money is on them getting it really right. They have been doing this for a long time and along with their own in-house team led by Design Manager Pete Hobson, they have collaborated with French naval architects VPLP who are in my opinion among the best, if not ‘the best’ design ...
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Entering Disko Bay

4 Aug

July 31, 2019

Departed Sisimiut at 1900 hours and motored due north overnight for Disko Bay. Another uneventful passage of 140 miles, remarkable only for utter calm and a sea so smooth that boat motion was imperceptible.

Disko Island came into view in the late afternoon of the next day, as did the progeny of the glaciers that surround it. One big berg at first and then a train of them, slowly making their way toward dissolution in the open sea.

Anchor down at the E end of Killiit (Fortune Bay), S Disko Island, at 2000 hours. 35 feet. Rocky, ...

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Oil Leak in Sisimiut

3 Aug

July 30, 2019

The leak came from between the engine and the transmission and was black as coal. At its height, there were but five seconds between drips of this indispensable fluid, and upon arrival in Sisimiut, I found that we’d drained ten percent of the engine’s lube oil into the bilge in twenty hours.

“That’s a lot,” said my friend Gerd from his office in Florida. “It sounds like a rear seal failure; shouldn’t be too bad a job. First you remove the universal joint so you can push the propeller shaft back; then the bell housing and gearbox ...

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