Our Only Real Scare During an Entire Circumnavigation

26 Jan

Back in 2005, during our sail around the world, everything was new to us, including river bars. They seemed harmless enough, especially after that first one in Australia that was smooth as glass. Well, the second one caught us. The Clarence River Bar. i'll never forget that one. It very nearly ended our trip and has given Ali an unconditional fear of following seas. If I have to hear one more time how the six-foot following seas are "huge!" I'm going to do something drastic, like have her hypnotized and her Clarence River memory permanently erased. If hypnosis doesn't work ...

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Dock Line Death Test

25 Jan

In the book The Bad Girl, by Mario Vargas Llosa, a character named Arquimedes has a preternatural ability to tell where breakwaters and groins should be built. He can tell just by meditating on the sea whether the breakwater will serve its purpose or make matters worse. The best hydrologists and engineers in Lima always hired Arquimedes, because if they didn't their projects often ended up as expensive failures.

Pier 39 Marina, where I keep my boat in San Francisco, did not hire Arquimedes. It's hard to figure out the mechanics, because there are breakwaters and sea walls every which ...

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Pirate Smackdown! (Grab Your Popcorn)

25 Jan

Courtesy of the US and Royal Navies.

It's hard to know what the Volvo Ocean Race suits were so worried about, when you have these guys on the scene. Check out this video of the RN Fort Victoria and the USS Carney forcefully putting a gang of Somali pirates out of business. (Note to pirates: a hail of bullets means "STOP")

I have to admit the the determination of the pirates in the face of machine gun fire and two warships is pretty

impressive. But this was never a fair fight, and the result was 13 pirates retired to ...

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Royal Royal Yacht?

24 Jan

Well, seems the English people, or at least the Daily Mail, yearn to see their Royal Family once again conducting their royal business from aboard a Royal Yacht.

So the Daily Mail is campaigning to build a new Royal Yacht that, I have to admit, is veddy, veddy, impressive. And if only the Queen will give her endorsement, the Royal Mail will magnanimously gather a wide assortment of donors and build her Royal Highness a new barky.

Here's the Daily Mail, waxing romantic about its patently self-promoting, I mean patriotic, idea:

It will be a great tribute to one

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Laura Dekker: Teen Circumnavigator (For Real)

24 Jan

Forget about whether Guinness and other record-keeping organizations will "officially" consider Dutch teenager Laura Dekker the youngest person ever to sail a boat around the globe. The race for "youngest ever" was getting silly, and even a little dangerous, so perhaps that's understandable (though when did it become a record-keeping outfit's responsibility to decide what is dangerous and what is not?).

Instead, focus on the fact that late last week Dekker, just 16, completed a remarkably seamanlike, and drama-free, solo circumnavigation in just under one year. How many 16-year olds do you know that have the

skills and maturity to do ...

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Boat Work with Kids Onboard – An oxymoron?

23 Jan

It's strange for me to look up out of the engine compartment and no longer just see one face staring down at me. I foresee having a lot of "help" on the boat projects soon. Today Ouest and I worked on a project that included both of us using our spanners at the same time. Soon it'll be time to get Lowe a set of tools too.

(Jan. 20) When I say I've got a list a mile long of little projects to get done this is the sort of project I'm referring to. It doesn't mean much in the ...

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Anatomy of a Water Damaged Deck Part II – Repairing and Sealing Minor Damage

21 Jan

In this continuation of our examination of cored deck saturation I’ll be taking about dehydration and perspiration. Which is to say I’ll explain how we sweated gallons while drying out and repairing some minor areas of damaged deck in the ‘ideal’ situation of a New Orleans summertime!

If you didn’t read it before it might be worth jumping back to my previous post Anatomy of a Water Damaged Deck which sets the stage for our repairs on the leaky decks of my 37-year-old boat. Our work roughly fell into three categories: sealing deck fasteners which showed minimal or no leaking, ...

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Looking for a Ship

20 Jan

I'd just finished reading John McPhee's excellent book, when I had to go looking for a ship myself.

I am a member of the Clipperton Project, which embarks from La Paz, Mexico for Clipperton Island this March.

We have one boat, the Lucia Celeste, which is a sturdy craft, but as the numbers wax and wane with camera crews, turtle savers, ham DXers, and others whose functions I don't understand, we might want some additional capacity.

We stayed aboard the Lucia Celeste while in La Paz, and we were quite comfortable, but it's hard to imagine her loaded down ...

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Circumnavigation – Red Sea Pt. II

20 Jan

Part Two of our Red Sea Sailing Adventure, Eritrea, Africa – We are often asked, “What was your favorite part?” when people hear that we sailed around the world. And while the standard answer is that every country had it’s high points for us, the best area we cruised, or the best and most interesting memories at least, came from sailing the Red Sea. Which is why it is so disappointing to hear that these days, just six years later, cruisers are facing such a tough decision when it comes to choosing whether or not to sail these waters.

march 31 ...

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