The Case Against TBT Antifouling

10 Aug

Much of the antifouling used in the Caribbean is still TBT-based

Ok, my last post gave you some (rather long-winded) background information. I’ll try to make this a bit shorter. Having thought Tributyltin (TBT) was something of relic off the past I was quite surprised to learn that it is not uncommonly used by cruising sailors, particularly those in the Caribbean. This post is a look at the arguments for and against such use.

First a quick recap. TBT, which used to be the number one antifouling compound, is a ‘pervasive marine pollutant’ (per the EPA). It is particularly ...

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Top Ten Cruising Destinations

8 Aug

I'm always asked my favorite stop on my circumnavigation, and it’s hard to give a short answer. This is the long answer, but it’s still hard not to ruminate, equivocate, and qualify. To make my list they must be outstanding all-around places to sail, anchor, live aboard, go ashore, and all the things that cruising entails:

1. Andaman Thailand (photo above):

Cruising, ten. Natural beauty, ten. People, ten. Food, ten. Safety, ten. Hundreds of karst limestone islands dot the 120 miles between the Malaysian border and Phuket. Each is its own little paradise. Many have hongs (literally rooms): tunnels, chambers, ...

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A blast from the (not quite) past – Why Tributytin (TBT) Antifouling should concern us all

8 Aug

The other day I was poking around the paint department of my local recycled materials store when I came across this relic:

That’s an old, old can of antifouling using Tributyltin, or TBT, as an active ingredient. As I mentioned a while back in my antifouling post this stuff has been banned in the US and EU (among others) because of its extreme toxicity to marine life. Still I have to admit that I considered squirreling it away in my shop, visions running through my head of painting the hull in the dead of night in some secret cove away ...

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Cat vs. Mono – The Verdict

7 Aug

Part II of the great Catamaran versus Monohull debate. Part I is posted here, Cat vs. Mono – The Great Debate.

So we've covered a lot of ground so far. Cost, Maintenance, Engines, Heeling, Deck Space, etc. Now we just need to take a look at a few more variables and then we can come to a decision. Or rather, I will come to a decision and tell you what it is and you will have to live with the truth of it for all time.



Living accommodations. This is a tricky one. Indoors the monohull wins hands ...

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CAPSIZED CATAMARAN: How Exactly Did This Happen?

6 Aug

MAYBE MY SAILfeed COLLEAGUE Pat Schulte of Bumfuzzle, who is in the midst of comparing cats and monohulls, can help us out with this one. The viddy comes courtesy of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, which reported last week that a volunteer crew from the Mallaig Lifeboat Station in Scotland rescued seven survivors off the bottom of a 52-foot catamaran that became “completely inverted” due to “adverse weather conditions” off the Isle of Skye.

The rescued crew reportedly were French–two women, five men–and according to at least one other published report were trapped inside the cat when ...

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The Pacific Cup: Know When to Turn Back

6 Aug

Three weeks ago we saw Juanita off at the start of the Pacific Cup. Five intrepid sailors headed toward Hawaii; a boatload of well-wishers waved goodbye at the Golden Gate. By that night Juanita was completely becalmed, drifting within half a mile of the thundering breakers on the Southeast Farallon, which claimed five racers’ lives earlier this year.

The race committee puts some kind of tag on your transmission, and if you put your engine in gear during the race you’re disqualified…or have time added and some explaining to do. It was a nervous night for Juanita, hearing the ...

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Cat vs. Mono – The Great Debate

6 Aug

All right, so this subject has never been broached before. Right? Cat versus Mono? No? Good, then I'll be the first to discuss it.


Ali and I sailed around the world on a 35' Wildcat Catamaran. We returned, sold the boat, drove around for a couple of years in a '58 VW Bus, and then had a baby. Now the question was how to raise the baby. Suburbia? Yeah right. In the VW? Yeah right. In a boat? Yeah ri…wait, hmmm, that sounds pretty good.


{Disclaimer: I am talking solely of my experience on my two boats. That's ...

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Inside l

2 Aug

Photo © Kimball Livingston

When she’s flying, the most prominent features of the French trifoiler, l’Hydroptere, are the angled foils that lift her clear of the water surface. When you get close, you see massive cylinders braced between foils and hulls and you might wonder, are those for adjusting angle? Nope, those are shock absorbers.

Port shock absorber. Photo © Kimball Livingston

And the boat doesn’t look like other boats, under the water, so you’d expect some differences in maneuvering. Still, you might be surprised when it turns out that standard tacking procedure is to roll the headsail, put ...

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My Favorite Cruising Injuries

30 Jul

Injuries never happened on my boat during my circumnavigation, because on the boat we were always careful and conservative. It’s off the boat that we did stupid things and got hurt.

In the photo above you’ll see my friend Philippe getting stitches in my cockpit. Like all good Frenchmen, he’s having a smoke too.

This was in Thailand on Ko Phi Phi, the Island of a Thousand Delights, when we were on our way to Malaysia to compete in the Royal Langkawi International Regatta. We went out on the town, heard some live music, had more than a few drinks, ...

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Watching Olympics Sailing

30 Jul

You wouldn't know that there is a thing called Olympic sailing from NBC's network coverage–which seems to think ther eis an unlimited audience appetite for gymnastics and swimming. But that's no surprise. Sailing is pretty niche, and it's also pretty boring for anyone who doesn't sail themselves.

So if you are a sailor you have to find your way through the back alleys of the internet to watch your sport. And US Sailing is there to help you, with this guide to watching Olympic Sailing.

The most important tip they have is to follow the NBC Olympics Sailing page...

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