Iceboat Virgin

12 Jan

It's the deep of winter, so you have to go iceboating. As a follow-up to the previous iceboating primer on what happens when you hit a hole, here is a sweet video about first-timing that's a primer on apparent wind speed sailing, and the speeds achieveble when there is no displacement and almost no resistance to forward motion.

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Tenacatita, Mexico. A Few Days at Anchor.

12 Jan

(Jan. 7) We went in and hung out on the beach today, had lunner at the only restaurant, and then went out to dinghy home. One thing about cruising in Mexico is there are a lot of beach break dinghy landings. This is something, surprisingly, that Ali and I almost never had to deal with on our previous sail. I'm not sure why that is, but here on the mainland Mexico coast we get to contend with swells that have traveled thousands of miles and are determined to break right on top of us. Today there were almost no waves so ...

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Leaving Barra de Navidad

12 Jan

We motored out of Barra this morning in calm water and hot still air. It's only a thirteen mile jaunt around the corner to Tenacatita so it should have been simple enough, but halfway I realized that the batteries weren't charging. Scratch that, they were charging, but slowly. And while the Amps were going in the Voltage wasn't rising, it was stuck at 12.0.

A peek inside the engine compartment confirmed that it was a loose belt, or actually two loose belts. The engine driven fridge belt assembly had practically worked it's way off the mount which also explained why ...

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AMERICAN PROMISE: In-Mast Furling Pioneer

11 Jan

American Promise at Kittery Point Yacht Yard

Here’s a piece of trivia from the Where Are They Now Department: American Promise, the Ted Hood-designed 60-footer that Dodge Morgan sailed around the world non-stop back in 1985-86, is spending the winter at Kittery Point Yacht Yard, just across the river from where I live. I cycled over during the weekend to pay her a visit and found her nicely buttoned up for the season.

I’ve been thinking a bit about Promise and Morgan ever since he died in September 2010, and the one thing that struck me most when I reviewed the boat’s design and original sail ...

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Driving Into A Tsunami

9 Jan

A remarkable view of the Japanese tsunami–from inside Yu Muroga's car. Filmed by his dashboard camera. 

Ten years ago you rarely heard the word "tsunami." Now it is a phenomenon that probably exceeds hurricanes in terms of global awareness and global wariness.

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Remembrance of Things Bashed

5 Jan

The link posted by The Mariner to the Cowes Race Week boat dismating was like replaying what happened to me off the Brazilian coast in 2006. It was nighttime and the ship that hit me was moving a bit faster, but the accident was much the same: A T-bone by an 800-footer, my ketch then sliding down the ship's port side, and the ship's port anchor catching the forestay/roller furler and carrying it away. But my mast stayed up. Isn't sailing fun?

You can read my whole container ship accident story here, and scare your children into keeping a ...

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Sea Shepherd Goes High-Tech

4 Jan

You have to hand it to Sea Shepherd's Capt. Paul Watson and his ragtag team of whale defenders: they never give up. And this year, as the Japanese whaling fleet arrives in the Southern Ocean to start taking whales for "research," Watson is deploying aerial drones to keep track of where the whalers are. (Apparently, they never think to simply ask The Mariner, who keeps tabs on all human destruction of the sea and its creatures).

The drones helped Watson locate the whaling fleet well before they started whaling, and with the Japanese fleet using ships to aggressively run ...

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Barra de Navidad

3 Jan

Turns out we sort of jumped the gun on the big grocery stock up the other day as we still have no strong inclination to leave. We like Barra. It's a nice local feeling town that is just the right size for walking from one end to the other with a two year-old in tow. We've eaten at at least ten different restaurants and despite none of them being overwhelmingly good none have been too disappointing either. Ice cream shop, French bakery, OXXO, and a couple of hardware stores and we're pretty well taken care of these days.

 
The ...
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Never-ending Boat “Want List”

31 Dec

We sort of set this cruising season aside as our trial run to decide what things we're going to need on this boat if we want to live happily onboard long term. Mexico is the perfect place to do this since the sailing isn't all that difficult. Distances aren't too far, marinas are plentiful if needed, labor is relatively inexpensive, and if we really really need something it's only a quick flight to the States, or better yet, we have family bring it with them on one of their many trips. 

 
So far we're coming to the conclusion that ...
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Where did all the catamarans go?

31 Dec

Something we noticed way back when we were on the boat in California, and which has carried on as true right down here into Mexico, is that there are no catamarans on the West Coast. Of the U.S. or of Mexico. You just never see them. I'm sure they exist, but it's like a rumor that you can't quite prove is true. Right now there are nineteen boats in the lagoon, all monohulls. We haven't shared an anchorage with a catamaran, and back in the marina we only saw one or two languishing in their slips. In Florida you can't ...

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