New AC75’s launched

19 Sep

Emirates Team New Zealand Americas Cup entry Te Aihe

In the last week two brand new AC75’s have been launched and they could not be more different. The first to splash was the New York Yacht Club entry American Magic later christened Defiant while on the other side of the world in Auckland, New ...
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Nome Departure

18 Sep

September 16, 2019
Nome, Alaska

I was climbing down the pier ladder to the boat when I heard a hail. “You’ve been one-upped,” yelled a man standing over where Tecla had moored the previous night.

“Not likely,” I replied before I could check myself.

Tekla is an unusual vessel, a steel-hulled gaff ketch built in the Netherlands in 1915 and recently restored. Now she’s a sail-training vessel that’s just completed the Northwest Passage. A small crowd had gathered to admire her, and among them, this man; gray-haired; short of stature and wearing a blue jacket and sock cap.

“Isn’t she ...

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Back to the Future

18 Sep

The news of Don McIntyre’s reinvention of the original Whitbread race raises some interesting questions about the psychology of modern sailing. The thought of a fully crewed race around the world employing none of the technology and little of the labor-saving equipment we now take for granted excites some people and strikes horror into the hearts of others.

McIntyre tested the waters, so to speak, with the recently concluded Golden Globe race, in which 16 redoubtable sailors set off on a somewhat quixotic rerun of the original solo round-the-world race held half a century ago. Minus mod cons like GPS, ...

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Vesper unveils Cortex – combination AIS, VHF radio and boat monitor

17 Sep

Vesper has cemented a reputation for high performance, well-thought-out, feature-rich products. So, when they tease that “The future is coming” as they have in their recent promotional material it’s worth paying attention. It turns out Vesper’s take on the future is about continuing their track record of innovative features while expanding their capabilities to VHF radios and boat monitoring.

Today at the National Marine Electronics Association (NMEA) expo and conference in Norfolk, VA, Vesper announced Cortex, VHF, AIS, and Monitor. Cortex is a modular system with a base unit, handsets, and mobile app. Cortex systems can start with just ...

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Images of Nome

17 Sep

September 15, 2019
Nome, Alaska

One thing singlehanding teaches is the beauty of uninterrupted sleep. Even if he wakes naturally a time or two on that first night, once in port, the sailor’s shedding of responsibility and an unmoving bed are the sweetest luxury.

Next day to chores. The fuel truck was called and tanks filled but not jerry cans. Their time is past, and I gave half of them away to other boats. From here on extended calm should be the least of our worries. In the afternoon, a complete oil and filter change by way of a thank ...

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Bonus Post: A return date and a podcast!

17 Sep

Hi awesome friends of the Figure 8 Voyage

Well after long conversations about logistics, weather, Fleet Week and other shenanigans we’ve landed on a return date.

Randall and Moli plan to sail under the Golden Gate Bridge sometime on Saturday October 19th 2019.

If you’d like to be there (on land or on a boat) please make sure you’ve registered with us as we’ll be sending day-of logistics through email and not on here. If you haven’t sent us your information please do so using this link.

We’ll also looking for help with a couple of things. If you’re able ...

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Night Arrival

16 Sep

September 14, 2019
Nome, Alaska

Mo makes her slow way against this implacable current and night drags on. A full moon, lights ashore glimmer across the glassy water. Two tankers appear as dark hulks on the horizon; they are anchored miles out and still only in 60 foot water. Even now tugs are ferrying their cargo of fuel to the town of Nome, which draws ever so reluctantly closer. 

Midnight. Into the fairway. Alioth has already radioed an invitation to raft alongside. “We have a group here; people want to see you,” says Vincent.

I turn the corner and there, ...

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A Northwest Passage Complete: CORRECTION

15 Sep

September 13, 2019

Days at Sea: 284
Days Since Departure: 349

Noon Position: 64 57N 167 16W
Course(t)/Speed(kts): SE 6-7
Wind(t/tws): NE 15
Sea(t/ft): NE 2
Sky/10ths Cover: Overcast 10 
Bar(mb): 1001+ and rising
On-deck Temp(f): 53
Cabin Temp(f): 57
Water Temp(f): 53
Relative Humidity(%): 63
Magnetic Variation: 8.6

Sail: Working jib and main, broad reach on port. 

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 118
Miles since departure: 36,138

Shifting winds overnight and our close approach to Cape Prince of Wales kept me up until 4am. Admittedly, I did nap in the pilot house, wrapped boots and all in a sleeping ...

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A Chukchi Blow and Crossing the Arctic Circle

14 Sep

September 12, 2019

Days at Sea: 283
Days Since Departure: 348

Noon Position: 66 54N 167 71W
Course(t)/Speed(kts): SxW 7
Wind(t/tws): E 25+
Sea(t/ft): E10+, steep and breaking
Sky/10ths Cover: Overcast 10 
Bar(mb): 995 and falling
On-deck Temp(f): 51
Cabin Temp(f): 57 (no heater today)
Water Temp(f): 48
Relative Humidity(%): 60
Magnetic Variation: 8.3 

Sail: Triple reefed main and working jib, reach. 

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 141
Miles since departure: 36,020

We had a fine sailing breeze after rounding Point Hope last night–full sail, wind abeam. But by 2am I was reefing and by dawn I had three reefs ...

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Cape Lisburne

13 Sep

September 11, 2019

Days at Sea: 282
Days Since Departure: 347

Noon Position: 69 06N  165 53W
Course(t)/Speed(kts): SSE 5
Wind(t/tws): ExS <10
Sea(t/ft): E 3
Sky/10ths Cover: Overcast 9 
Bar(mb): 1005+ and falling
On-deck Temp(f): 51
Cabin Temp(f): 68
Water Temp(f): 52
Relative Humidity(%): 53
Magnetic Variation: 9.3

Sail: Working jib and main, reaching to port

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 153 (another 26 hour day so as to get ship time into the local zone.)
Miles since departure: 35,879

Miles to Nome: 332

I’ve swung in close to Cape Lisburne for the view. When passing here in 2014, ...

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