Captain Cook and Star Trek

8 Feb

When I started reading Blue Latitudes I thought the author was a poser. Here he was retracing the voyages of the great Captain Cook, and he flew to most of the destinations. Aside from a week on the Endeavor replica and a few weeks on some charter sailboats, Tony Horwitz isn’t a sailor. He is, however, a great writer, formerly of The New Yorker. Blue Latitudes is researched meticulously and Horwitz succeeds in giving us a more human portrait of Cook.

I thought I was into Captain Cook, but now realize I’m a complete dilettante. The Captain Cook Society publishes ...

Read More

Oracle Is Sailing Again

6 Feb

Well, the rebuilt Oracle AC72 (with substantial mods) is back out on the water, and Artemis and Team New Zealand are messing about in their boats as well, so I guess I'll start paying attention to the America's Cup again. 

After all, this is the year. What is stunning, and conveys the intensity of the setback Oracle suffered when they trashed their AC72 last October, is that they are just now working into double digits in terms of AC72 sailing days. That is a long, long way behnd the other teams, especially Team New Zealand, in ...

Read More

Keel-less 2

5 Feb

The Vendee Globe is always a lottery. Example: JP Dick lost his keel and somehow sailed home. Javier Sanso on Acciona wasn't so lucky. His Open 60 lost its keel and rolled over. Sanso took to his life raft and happily was airlifted to safety. 

His account of the capsize and rescue is here. This is what he had to say about the initial moments:

It all happened so quickly.  At around midday yesterday I was sailing upwind in around 20 knots from the NE and had just sent a report to the Race HQ giving my position

... Read More


4 Feb

Landing fish

A LOT OF BLUEWATER SAILORS I know complain that they never catch fish while on passage. I once had this problem, too, but since perfecting my technique I've never once been skunked on a passage during which I have tried to catch fish. It's really not very hard and is a great way to vary your diet at sea.

Some hardcore "veggie-lantes" I know do like to argue that it is immoral to catch and eat fish. But the way I see it you have to look at things from the fish's perspective. A fish that is bigger than you ...

Read More

More on Sailboat/Tug Collision at Golden Gate

29 Jan

Still no names on the vessels involved in the tug/sailboat collision/sinking under the Golden Gate Bridge. For better or worse, there's a lot of loose talk bouncing about, mainly in the comments to the online article in the San Francisco Chronicle 

Gee whiz, people really take some cheap shots when emboldened by the anonymity of the Internet. Some suggest that one of those arrogant sailors (who should be banned from San Francisco Bay and required to get licenses) was pushing for right of way against a tug and tow. There is no indication that any such thing happened. I'm ...

Read More

Tug Sinks Sailboat Under Golden Gate

27 Jan

Yesterday at about 3:30 p.m. a tug and barge struck a sailboat near the Golden Gate Bridge. The two crew of the sailboat were thrown into the water, rescued by the Coast Guard, and treated for hypothermia. The sailboat itself didn't fare so well, and went to the bottom.

It isn't clear whether it was the tug or the tow that struck the sailboat, and the Coast Guard isn't revealing any other details, nor the names of the vessels, until they complete their investigation. The sailboat was supposed to be a 20-30 footer.

Out my window (I live in San ...

Read More

Antarctica Memories

27 Jan

In a prior post, Glossary to the Cold Country, I talk about ice in all its forms. Brash ice, in particular, makes a jaunty popping sound as it melts. This video clip demonstrates this very well, if you turn up the sound. It looks way better on YouTube than on the crappy viewer I've got on my computer, but I still wouldn't go full screen:



Yes, the weather is always like this in Antarctica. There's never any wind or snow, just still air and bright sun…...

Read More

2012-13 VENDEE GLOBE: Hats (and Keels) Off To The Winner

25 Jan

Francois Gabart

BARRING THE UNFORSEEN, this is the face of the next winner of the Vendee Globe, Francois Gabart, who should reach Les Sables d'Olonne aboard MACIF very early Sunday morning, thus setting a new race record of 77 days, give or take a few hours. I hope you've been following this one, as it's really been a doozy. For a significant portion of the race Gabart and his (now) second-place competitor, Armel Le Cleac'h on Banque Populaire, were more or less in sight of each other, and at several different points different sailors broke the record for miles covered ...

Read More

Wire Styling

24 Jan

What sets the pros apart from the hacks on a wiring job is neatness and organization. We’ll assume you’re using the right kind of wire, in the right gages, colored appropriately, labeled copiously, crimped properly, protected with heat shrink tubing, and we'll assume all the wires go the right places according to ABYC standards. (Yes, that’s a lot to assume.) Beyond this, it all comes down to wire styling.

What not to do:

Wire styling isn’t just vanity. Properly bundled wires are protected from flex and vibration. And when it comes time to troubleshoot or change the system, the whole ...

Read More

Pump-off!: The SUREflo diaphragm pump vs. the Medela Freestyle Breast Pump

23 Jan

Let’s put these two hard-working pumps side-by-side for a real look at performance:

Power: The SUREflo diaphragm pump runs off ship’s 12-volt power. The Medela Freestyle can run off a rechargeable 12-volt rechargeable lithium battery or 110-volt AC.

Mechanism: The SUREflo converts rotational energy from its 12-volt brushless motor into suction through its nitrile rubber triple diaphragm. The Medela has two diaphragms (one for each side) also made of medical quality, hypo-allergenic nitrile:


Intake: The SUREflo comes with fittings for either ½” or ¾” hose: obviously the larger hose size provides greater throughput.

The Medela has available intakes ranging ...

Read More

More from the AIM Marine Group