Winch Overhaul and Repair

27 Apr

Winches, especially the older non-self-tailing type, are very simple machines, and quite easy to overhaul. This is also a VERY important job. If your winches are crudded up it may cause the pawls to stick which can lead to the winch snapping back dangerously under load. A few months back a friend of mine suffered a nasty head injury from exactly this (Well, and from standing in the wrong place. You should never, ever, place your body in range of a winch handle when it is in use!). Winches are even easy to repair. As long as damaged wasn’t caused ...

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The Container

26 Apr

Come my children who love the sea, and all who sail upon her,
A tale I would tell of a wayward thing, a truly vexing bother,
Lost, not quite, nor forgot, not at all, for I speak of the one, The Container.
‘Tis known she rests on a shipping dock. Good news? You could sight her,
But this dock, this day, was meant I must say for shipping some other
Danged container to some frikking place other than the frikking 5O5 Worlds.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to rhyme “Worlds?”

Below we see Paul Von Grey ...

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FREE SWAN 48: More Info And A Plan

25 Apr

Swan 48 in storm

Just figured something out. That Irish-owned Swan 48, Wolfhound, currently adrift twixt Bermuda and the W’Indies, is ex-Bella Luna, the same Swan 48 that my buddy, A.J. Smith, skippered through Tropical Storm Sean (see photo up top) during the ill-fated 2011 NARC Rally (the one in which Jan Anderson lost her life aboard the Island Packet 38 Triple Stars). Check out Bella Luna‘s brokerage listing, and you’ll see she had a very comprehensive equipment list and some unique features, including a coffee-grinder in her midship cockpit, just like Wolfhound.

A.J., who ...

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Fish My Wish

24 Apr

“Who wants fish?”
“Yes, please!”

Fishing, like most cruising pastimes, is easier than it looks.  Every morning on passage, Stylish tours the decks and clears the scuppers of the unfortunate tiny squid and flying fish that have landed overnight.  We don’t eat these morsels, but the message is clear: for the most part, the fish come to us.

We only fish when we are ready to eat fish.  As our friend in the Tuamotus says, the sea is our refrigerator.  When we stayed on his motu, Erik and Olivier would get the dingy out in the late afternoon ...

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Accidental Layday

24 Apr

The magic word is “Friday.”

Unless you go to someone else and ask when the wayward West Coast container will arrive at or near the site of the SAP 505 Worlds, and that person tells you “Saturday.”

It’s “at or near” because even when it lands there will remain the matter of getting the container unsealed, through customs and down the road and over a stone wall to the compound of the Barbados Yacht Club. With a first warning at 1300 Saturday, Friday is hardly comfortable, and that container contains some of the sails for the guy responsible for ...

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Sailors and Spelunking

23 Apr

Photo KL

Psst, if you stumble across a wayward container full of boats, marked 5O5 Worlds, please, please send it fastest way to Bridgetown, Barbados.

The, uh, California container is awol.

It could arrive on the 25th . . .

It could arrive on the 26th . . .

Let’s go ask that guy over there, the one with the fishing pole. His guess is as good as any.

As the hours ran down to the opening ceremonies of the 2013 SAP 505 World Championship, Northern California 5O5 stalwart Jeff Miller strolled into the Barbados Yacht Club after a ...

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Party! Ocean Research Project at J/World Annapolis, April 27 – Now with Clipper City ‘Heavy Seas’ Beer!

23 Apr

UPDATE! Clipper City Brewery has signed on as a sponsor for ORP’s going away party, and is giving us some of their Heavy Seas beer for the event! It’s FREE, so come out and enjoy it on Saturday!





Click the flyer pictured for details on Matt Rutherford’s Ocean Research Project party, set for April 27 at J/World Annapolis from 6pm. Schell’s is sponsoring the food, and we’ll have free Heavy Seas beer from Clipper City Brewery in Baltimore! Come hang out with Matt and the ORP team, hear about the new 42′ steel research vessel Ault...

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Verizon LTE nirvana, can it last?

22 Apr

Written by Ben Ellison on Apr 22, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub


I lucked out. Just look at all the data I’ve been slurping through my Verizon Galaxy Nexus cell phone while living and working afloat. Up until this month I didn’t think that using 21,482 megabytes on a $60 data plan was possible without repercussions — like Verizon throttling me down or even saying “bye-bye, buster!”  But apparently it’s perfectly OK for me to keep right on slurping at this piggish pace. Am I just enjoying a short term sweet spot?

When describing my three-layer data strategy ...

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22 Apr

James Island, Gambia River

WHEN IT CAME TIME to leave Dakar, I found we were, almost literally, hanging by a thread. I had anchored Crazy Horse, my Alberg 35 yawl, on about 100 feet of three-strand nylon rope, plus there was a 30-foot chain leader. On hauling back all the rope, which I had to do by hand, as we had no windlass, I discovered the rode, just a few feet back from the chain, had almost chafed right through. Two strands were severed entirely; the third was cut in half.

On making this discovery I was, of course, both shocked and ...

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A Fork In The Road

18 Apr

The Papillon crew is a family divided at the moment.  While the girls and I visit long-lost friends and relatives, Erik is on the boat, hard at work welding fuel tanks and replacing swage fittings.  It is a little disconcerting to be so far apart after 2.5 years of togetherness.  The girls and I miss him.  But I also worry.  Because I get emails like this:

Subject: Think I just bought a car…

Of course, the car turned out to be free, but why put that in the subject line when you can give your wife a heart attack instead?...

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