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…...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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Bumbling from Miami to Bimini and an encounter with the Powers That Be

18 Jan
Not as chummy as they look, as it turns out

In the middle of Miami’s South Beach neighborhood there is a very unique anchorage, a diminutive bastion of the ninety-nine percent adrift in miles and miles of condos and exclusive marinas. Its unique character comes not from the anchorage itself but from the free dingy dock which it abuts. A free dingy dock, I am told when I arrive, is unheard of in South Florida. It is an anachronism from a simpler time, one before it was assumed that every schmuck foolish enough to buy a sailboat would also possess ...

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18 Jan

Jan17 1

In case I left any room for doubt on the matter ( let me spell it out, C-A-T-S W-I-N. Here is why: go back through our old catamaran logs and count the number of times we complained about an anchorage because of swell (not because of other idiot cruisers). Now go through our monohull logs. Have I ever not complained about the swell in an anchorage? It feels like I do it on a daily schedule.

We’re in Chacala tonight and oh-my-holy-hell does this anchorage suck. We’ve been here three times. Once in the Porsche—had a lovely time. ...

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Mia p

17 Jan

Andy here. Just checked my email this morning and had a long one from Mia, who's posting on our blog at from at-sea. Kinship departed Las Palmas on Saturday, January 12, bound for the Caribbean. This is their latest…

Jan 17 11.00 UTC 

21° 00 ' N / 25° 57 ' W 

Wind: E 14-18 kt 

Another lovely day on Kinship

I had the morning sunrise watch, 07-10, today but unfortunately with the haze we had today and yesterday I did not see the sun come up. It is definitely getting warmer as we are getting south and ...

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Ben & Teresa Carey on Two Inspired Guys

7 Jan

I’m continuing to post my sailing-related podcast episodes on SAILfeed until my posting editor gets fixed. At the moment, these short descriptions are all I’m able to do, so for the meantime, enjoy the interviews! Ben & Teresa are amazing people and amazing sailors. After single-handing their own boats for a few years – sailing in company, and keeping a rotating watch while one person slept – they joined forces on Ben’s Bristol Channel Cutter and aimed north. The goal was Labrador to search for icebergs, and they filmed a movie about the adventure, titled ‘One Simple Question,’ which is ...

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Boats, man.

30 Dec

Dec30 1

Well the feedback I’ve gotten on the rudder post has been encouraging. Overall it doesn’t sound like something to get too freaked out about. I’ll give repacking the stuffing box a try, and if that doesn’t work we’ll just have to make sure the bilge pumps keep working. The plan is to haul out at the end of this cruising season, so we’ll deal with things then.

Today I finally got to work on the raw water pump. I bought an awesome new pump about six months ago because ours was perpetually leaking both water and oil, and at some ...

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ARC 2012: Rodney Bay Dock Walk

21 Dec

Pogo 50

I’m on the ARC beat in St. Lucia again this week, chilling with my SAILfeed compadres Andy Schell and Mia Karlsson and stalking the pontoons checking out all the peeps and boats that coagulate here in Rodney Bay as the world’s biggest bluewater cruising rally comes to an end. It was a rougher ride than usual through the trades from the Canaries to the W’Indies this year, but spirits are high and the energy, as always, is very positive.

I got here a bit late in the game, so missed some of the fastest boats. These included a sweet high-end ...

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