Welcome to Malaysia!

3 Jul

Sailing into the beautiful islands in the bay off Kuching, we talk about what seems new and different in Malaysia compared to Indonesia. It’s impossible to resist making comparisons like this when we arrive in a new country. The transition from Papua New Guinea to Indonesia was particularly stark. The shift as we travel Indonesia to Malaysia is more subtle, but still markedly different considering we’ve only just moved a little way around the same big island.

The immediately obvious observation is how much cleaner the water is. There’s hardly any plastic floating around. It’s shifted back to a pretty ...

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Adiós Tías

2 Jul

It was great having Ali’s sisters out for a few days. The kids don’t see them enough, but when they do they can’t get enough of them. Ali and I will be hearing about their visit for days to come.

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‘Arcturus’ Beta Engine Refit: It’s moving day in Sweden!

2 Jul

emilbeta.jpg

Big day today on Arcturus!  Mia and I have been patiently (read ‘impatiently’) waiting for several things to happen that are totally out of our hands before we can earnestly get to work on anything. In a strange turn of events, however, I am actually okay with this – we’ve got the whole summer here and no real plans to ‘have’ to be anywhere. I’m taking coffee breaks (‘fika’ in Swedish) and quitting early – the work stays fresh and I’m enjoying the pace.

So in one day today, the new engine arrived, Lars from the yard came and ...

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POOL TOYS: Aquatic Drones and Submarine Automobiles

2 Jul

Ziphius drone

Nearly 10 years ago SAIL magazine asked me to write a speculative story on what cruising sailboats might be like in the year 2040. In response I created a boat I called the DreamAway 408, which was equipped with, among other things, a mooring and anchoring exploratory probe named MAX. This was a little remote-controlled submarine robot that could roam into a harbor or anchorage ahead of its mothership to hunt for vacant moorings and anchoring spots–a critical function, I figured, in a future world with a much more crowded coastline. Once MAX found you a likely place to park, ...

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AF Race 2013, learning AIS Swedish style

2 Jul

Written by Ben Ellison on Jul 2, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

AF_race2013_Stockholm_SeaPilot_cPanbo.jpg

The AF Offshore Race 2013 — in which all boats are required to carry AIS — began in Stockholm Harbor on Sunday and the screen above shows how it looked on the Swedish-made ipad app SeaPilot. Note how the group at the right, already racing, is hard on the (light) wind while the next class stalks the starting line. SeaPilot was even set up to show the race marks as well as the country’s many AIS weather-reporting bouys. But actually my iPad went largely ignored ...

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Beat the Heat

1 Jul

Portland, Oregon is feeling like San Carlos, Mexico at the moment, getting swept up in the heat wave rockin’ its way through the West. Instead of hibernating with the air-conditioner cranking we spent most of the day at a couple of different parks around town. Mexico needs more of these fountain parks—the kids have a blast, and it takes a lot less commitment (compared to taking the kids swimming) on the part of the parent.

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You know you’re in a rolly anchorage when…

1 Jul

We dropped the hook in a roadstead anchorage, somewhere along the coast of Sarawak. This part of Borneo has been littered with oil rigs and little fishing boats, so we take coastal day hops instead direct passages to work northward.

Totem at sunset
They can’t all be this flat! Photo from Nalukai.

Hoping to pick up a decent signal from a cell tower on shore, I sat up in the cockpit with the iPad in my lap for a skim of email- when the screen started to auto-rotate, flipping back and forth, thanks to our increased roll as Totem moved and the swell ...

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Running from the Fashion Police

1 Jul

Yesterday was laundry day.  The dryers here are a little slow, so I spent the entire day wandering around the boatyard in my laundry day clothes: a red long-sleeved t-shirt, a green fleece, a pink fleece, a black fleece (it was cold, I’m telling you), and a pair of black long-winter-underwear pants.  And my formerly-white flip-flops.  I admit, it was a grim picture.  I must have talked to a dozen people over the course of the day.  But did I get a single funny look?  A raised eyebrow?  A muffled snicker?  I did not.  Because this is how cruisers look....

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Ted Hood: 1927-2013

1 Jul

Sailmaker, designer, builder, skipper of 1974 America’s Cup defender Courageous, Ted Hood in 1994 bought back his 1959 ocean racer, Robin (“Sue, my wife, wouldn’t let me name any of the kids Robin, so it had to be the boats”) for $4,000. If anybody needs a reality check regarding the cost of old, wood boats, consider that this one, in Ted’s hands, had been fully restored, was still winning races, and over time had soaked up about $200,000. Ted kept her dry in winter, but not warm.

This was taken while driving through a Massachusetts snowstorm toward the Mount ...

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More Andrew Simpson Tragedy Detail

1 Jul

The San Francisco Chronicle weighs in with an in-depth story, that adds some details to what we know about what happened:

At this point, a confidential Artemis report says, the boat was steering into position to put the wind at its back – “bearing away” in yachting parlance. It’s a tricky maneuver, a 180-degree turn known as “the zone of death,” because the boats may accelerate out of control, while shifting from upwind to downwind.

As the Artemis AC72 attempted its downwind turn, downward pressure was put onto the front of the twin hulls, pushing them into the water. As

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