Shark Lovers

13 Sep

We may be killing tens of millions of sharks every year so their fins can be tossed into a soup pot, but for all the humans who exploit sharks (and our fascination with them–I'm talking to you Discovery Channel!) it's nice to know that sharks have some passionate human advocates.

Here's one human who wants to learn and demystify, rather than kill and scarify:

And I also want to introduce you to a friend of mine, one of the most adventurous and compassionate

defendes of the oceans, and especially sharks. His name is Scott Cassell, and he is a former ...

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Glossary for the Cold Country

13 Sep

Sailing to the deep south means learning a new language. They say the Eskimos have a hundred words  for snow. In the deep south you don't need that many, but if you call a growler an iceberg you'll be laughed right out of the Drake Passage. Many of these are the same in the far north and far south, but some are unique to   Patagonia/Tierra del Fuego and have Spanish names, then the names get carried over to the Antarctic Peninsula. Some of these aren’t easy to get correct definitions for…it took picking some expert brains:


Spanish word ...

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George Griffith: 1921-2012

11 Sep


George Griffith rocked my world. The man had a vision for a next boat, and he didn’t care about the doubters. The result was the Cal 40, arguably the most influential raceboat of the second half of the 20th century, and I have it on good authority that George, on his last day of sharing our Blue Planet, had a view of some very fine Cal 40s, moored at Catalina Island, gleaming as brightly as when they rolled off Jensen Marine’s production line in the 1960s.

George Griffith died this morning at ...

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Top Ten Pieces of Cruising Gear

8 Sep

Another Top Ten list…it’s just like David Letterman. This is my list of the best optional items on a cruising sailboat. We’ll assume you’ve got good sails, rigging, a functioning rudder etc. This isn’t a list of the basic parts of a boat, but a list of where you may or may not choose to spend your money when deciding on additional gear. These are all things you could do without, or go cheap on, but I’m recommending them, or recommending you don’t go cheap on them, for the reasons below. It’s a question of long term liveaboard comfort and ...

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A Hurricane, an ‘Evacuation’ and a Rescue Of Sorts – Weathering Hurricane Isaac

8 Sep

Here’s the story to go with those photos. I’ll have at least one more post coming up on Isaac- about what seemed to work and what didn’t for weathering the storm- and then I’ll stop flogging this particular horse (real classy turn of phrase, huh?) Here’s how the storm went for me.

Isaac wasn’t much on anyone’s mind here in the city until the night of Sunday the 26th when predictions of its erratic spirals began to settle in on Southeast Louisiana. I was leaving a noisy punk matinee when all of a sudden the storm was on ...

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Best Stops on the Milk Run

4 Sep

 “Where was your favorite place?”


Anybody who has sailed to more than three or four countries is sure to get this question over and over and over and over again. And it seems that for most of us cruisers the answer is, “Well, that depends.”


And it's true. It does depend. Are you talking favorite cruising grounds, favorite country overall, favorite experience, favorite people, favorite what? It's like asking me what my favorite sandwich is. I mean, come on, I can't answer that. There's just too many variables.


But I've gone ahead and done it anyway. I ...

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The Importance of the Dinghy

3 Sep

We tend to underestimate the importance of our dinghies, referring to them as dinks and rubber duckies, but they are one of the most important pieces of gear we've got on a vessel. They're the family car, the delivery wagon, the exploration vehicle, and in some cases, the liferaft.

A few years ago Tamarindo, Costa Rica, was having its swell of the year. Eight to ten foot surf pounded the coast for four days. It was also the season for Papagayos, fierce offshore winds that can blow up to thirty knots in the mornings. Combine the big swell with strong ...

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AEGEAN TRAGEDY: U.S. Sailing Final Report Preview

1 Sep

Aegean SPOT track

I WAS THINKING Thursday morning it was about time for more news on the awful fate of Aegean, the Hunter 376 that slammed straight into North Coronado Island during the Newport Ensenada Race in April. And bingo! Up pops a post from my fellow SAILfeed associate, the mysterious Mariner, describing how a pair of divers from San Diego, Russell Moore and Ed Harris, have found the wreck of the boat right where it should have been, under the cliff where Aegean‘s SPOT track ended.

Googling around a bit, I see another private team, led by one John Walton, ...

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Scenes From Hurricane Isaac

31 Aug


Unfortunately Isaac hit quite a bit harder than expected. As predicted Metro New Orleans seems to have few problems beyond more extensive and longer-lasting power outages than expected (72% of the city is still without power) but in many less-protected areas of SE Louisiana flooding was heavy, in places worse than Katrina. Although Isaac was not a particularly strong storm it was large and, even worse, it slowed significantly when it made landfall and spent an unexpectedly long time in SE Louisiana, all the while dumping rain and pushing massive amounts of water inland. The result was extensive flooding ...

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Pozo Omega Hot Spring, Chile

30 Aug

Sailing solo up the channels of Chilean Patagonia I was always cold. I got used to it after a while, but even after a night in a cozy bunk or warmning my bones by the diesel heater, I would always return to a basic state of coldness. My hands and feet were the worst, and parts of both heels were numb for months afterwards. I stumbled across mention of a remote natural hot spring, called Pozo Omega, and it drew me northward, even though would be a sixty-some mile deviation from my rhumbline to Valdivia.

My bad choice in cold ...

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