First Time For Everything

8 Nov

Yacht porn is a well-established artistic genre, so it is harder and harder for directors to find something new to impress the audience. 

This video starts out pretty–like so many other sailing videos that blend music, slo-mo, and a cool boat–but at the one minute mark the director manages to come up with something creative and different, something that even Alex Thomson would be proud of.

All I will tell you is that it is sort of a William Tell thing, and involves a woman in a bikini.

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Requiem For HMS Bounty

5 Nov

Lots of HMS Bounty tragedy follow-up for you.

Let's start with National Geographic, which has some spectacular (and now poignant) footage of the doomed HMS Bounty's first voyage, as she sailed off to star in the Hollywood version of "Mutiny On The Bounty."

Next, the Coast Guard blog has a detailed and gripping account of the rescue. Here's a taste, but you'll want to

read the whole thing:

It didn’t take long before they spotted a survivor in the water, adrift and alone. The survivor was wearing an insulated suit and co-pilot Lt. Jane Pena spotted the

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Making Cockpit Coamings – Fun With Fire Edition

5 Nov

Here’s a fun project to add a little something extra to your woodwork. For months now, on and off, I’ve been plugging away on a new set of cockpit coamings. Coamings, being little more than a couple flat planes, seem easy enough to maintain so I decided to finish them bright (against my father’s typically utilitarian recommendations). For this we bought a couple very nice mahogany planks.

My coamings-to-be after shaping and sanding. The light in my shop is terrible so you’ll have to bear with the photos..

After a bit of shaping these planks sat for months while I ...

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Caribbean 1500: The Decision to Depart Early

5 Nov

I'm writing this from my hotel room in Hampton on Sunday night, the day after the Caribbean 1500 fleet went to sea (the day it was supposed to go to sea). I need to confirm this with Steve Black, but I think it's the first time in the event's history that it actually left the Chesapeake early. 

Fall on the US East Coast is always a difficult time for weather forecasting, and this year was perhaps the best (or worst, depending on your perspective) example of that. The challenge in planning an offshore voyage this time of year is the

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The Impossibilty of Weather Forecasting

5 Nov

Note: this is re-printed from the March/April 2012 issue of Yacht Essentials Magazine. Thanks to Chris Kennan and Brad Kovach for permission!

“This is complicated.” That is what scientists in the 1960s and 1970s decided a simple graph depicting a chaotic curve – the ‘Lorenz Attractor’ – was trying to say, without having to speak a word.

Fifty years ago, long-range weather forecasting was already a scientific impossibility, and Edward Lorenz proved it. In 1962, Lorenz published his definitive work on meteorology in Volume 20 of the Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, a paper made public to little fanfare

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HMS Bounty Captain Speaks

2 Nov

Until we hear more from survivors it is hard to know just what the HMS Bounty Captain, Robin Walbridge, was thinking when he sailed his vessel and crew into the teeth of Hurricane Sandy

And, of course, Walbridge is missing and presumed dead, so we'll never hear directly from him. But via Sailing Anarchy comes this extended, and perplexing, interview with Walbridge, conducted in August. The discussion of bad weather and storms starts at 10:30. And the casual and naive attitude regarding hurricanes Walbridge diplays is either a misguided attempt to sound cool and crusty for an interview. Or ...

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ETNZ Uber Alles?

2 Nov

Yes, it's almost a year before the actual America's Cup match. And, yes, there is a whole new generation of AC72 boats to come. But amidst all the glitches, setbacks, and catastrophes of Artemis and Oracle, and the late start of Luna Rossa, there is one team that just keeps sailing on, looking good, learning from its training, and getting better. And that team is Emirates Team New Zealand. 

It was always going to be hard to get the AC72 right, because it is an entirely new beast. But just look at the clips of ETNZ's AC72 in ...

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Coast Guard Boardings and Your Fourth Amendment Rights, Part 3

31 Oct

Continued from Part 1 and Part 2.

Various parties have challenged Coast Guard boardings and suspicionless searches in the highest courts, but the courts have consistently upheld the Coast Guard’s right to board vessels under the Revenue Cutter Act of 1790, and its subsequent variations.

Unfortunately, the highest profile cases have been for drug busts. Plaintiffs who really are drug smugglers are less sympathetic to the public.


A major drug seizure. All photos courtesy of US Coast Guard

A boater who’s a bit miffed about a Coast Guard search usually gets over it after a few weeks and ...

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PSA: Watch That Winch!

30 Oct
No, we didn’t catch a fish…

It’s been a wild ride these first few months. Between the greenness of my boat, my very rusty sailing skills and the generally amateur nature of my ever-rotating crew we’ve run into quite a few snags. Most we’ve been able to laugh off. A couple, like my ripped genoa, I’ve had to work off, but overall there’s been nothing too serious. Until yesterday. Yesterday we had an accident which scared the hell out of me. (Spoiler: everyone’s ok now, but I’ll warn you that the photos after the jump get a bit gruesome.)...

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In Non-Sandy News: Steve Jobs Built A Superyacht

29 Oct

The Mariner is hunkered down on the Chesapeake Bay, waiting to see if Hurricane Sandy is going to have mercy on his fine vessel. The worst will occur tonight and tomorrow, so with nothing more to do to prepare it's a good time for a little escapist fantasizing.

For that let's turn things over to the man who has helped millions, maybe even billions, of people escape via his various electronic devices: Steve Jobs. Because one of Steve Jobs' last great design projects was a superyacht, called Venus.The lead architect was Philippe Starck, but Jobs being Jobs you ...

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