Charles Doane

GUNDALOW GATHERINGS: Dinner With a Twist This Sunday

1 May

I’ll be giving a presentation on behalf of the Gundalow Company this Sunday at 6 pm at the home of Ida McDonnell in Portsmouth, NH. Anyone who’ll be in the area this weekend can sign up here to get a ticket and join in the fun. The event is one of a series, called Gundalow Gatherings, wherein you get fed fine food and drink while listening to marine/historical folks like me bloviate about whatever. It costs some $$$, of course, all of which are fed into the maws of the Gundalow Company’s non-profit enterprise.

Gundalows, FYI, are the sailing barges ...

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OCEAN SAILING MOVIES: The Mercy, Coyote, Following Seas

16 Apr

Decent films about ocean sailing are, alas, few and far between, so it’s worth noting there are at least three recent offerings I’ve screened that are truly worth watching. The first, unbelievably, is an A-list flick starring Colin Firth and Rachel Weisz, The Mercy, which recounts the well-worn tale of Donald Crowhurst’s tragic voyage during the 1968-69 Golden Globe Race.

I’d been looking forward to seeing this film for a long time, ever since Paul Gelder tipped me off a few years ago he’d been helping the folks making it understand what sort of boat Crowhurst had sailed ...

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THE TRAGEDY OF DAVID PONTIOUS: Did a Scopolamine Patch Drive Him to Suicide?

27 Mar

I know I’m not the only one interested in the legal adventures of skipper Rick Smith, recently acquitted in federal district court in St. Thomas on a manslaughter charge in the death of David Pontious (see image above), one of his crew members. This truly was a horrible situation. Smith, who sails a 43-foot vintage yawl Cimarron back and forth between Maine and the Virgin Islands each year, took on Pontious as pick-up crew, and within three days of heading offshore Pontious was hallucinating madly and was effectively psychotic. After brutally assaulting Smith–both punching him in the face and strangling ...

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DEAD GUYS: Phillip “Phoopa” Anderson, Paul Gelder

18 Mar

Just prior to my leaving for St. Thomas, and again soon after I arrived there, I received sad news of the passing of two old friends. The first blow was a bit more disturbing, as Phillip Anderson (see image up top), known popularly in St. Georges, Bermuda, by his “street” name Phoopa, was in fact younger than me and died unexpectedly of a heart attack. There’s nothing better, I’m afraid, to remind you of your own mortality.

I first met Phillip in 1995, when I sailed into St. Georges aboard my Pearson Alberg 35 yawl Crazy Horse. I ended ...

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IN MARIA’S WAKE: Cruising From St. Thomas to Puerto Rico

13 Mar

On flying into St. Thomas on the third Sunday of last month Clare and I were pleased to find Lunacy resting peacefully in her slip at the Crown Bay Marina in Charlotte Amalie. We were not so pleased however to discover that she was covered in a thick layer of grimy soot. This had come from the very large diesel-powered forklift that is forever trundling up and down the container ship dock just upwind of the marina. We were even less pleased on Monday when we went into the office to pay the bill. This was, bar none, the most ...

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GOLDEN GLOBE RACE: Jean-Luc Van Den Heede First to Finish in 212 Days; Mark Slats is Penalized

29 Jan

GGR First Across

This happened this morning at Les Sables D’Olonne. A really great achievement, to win a non-stop RTW race at age 73. HATS OFF to Jean-Luc!!!

If you’ve been following you also know that Mark Slats, on The Ohpen Maverick, isn’t far behind. To avoid a huge winter gale blasting into the Bay of Biscay, Slats diverted toward La Coruna, Spain, after consulting with Dick Koopmans, his race manager, via sat-phone. This violation of the race rules has drawn a 36-hour time penalty from race organizer Don McIntyre. This is twice as long as the 18-hour penalty Jean-Luc received after ...

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GOLDEN GLOBE RACE: Jean-Luc Van Den Heede First to Finish in 212 Days; Mark Slats is Penalized

29 Jan

This happened this morning at Les Sables D’Olonne. A really great achievement, to win a non-stop RTW race at age 73. HATS OFF to Jean-Luc!!!

If you’ve been following you also know that Mark Slats, on The Ohpen Maverick, isn’t far behind. To avoid a huge winter gale blasting into the Bay of Biscay, Slats diverted toward La Coruna, Spain, after consulting with Dick Koopmans, his race manager, via sat-phone. This violation of the race rules has drawn a 36-hour time penalty from race organizer Don McIntyre. This is twice as long as the 18-hour penalty Jean-Luc received after ...

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HENRI DE MONFRIED: Cruising the Red Sea With Style and Purpose

26 Jan

De Monfried steering

One thing that never ceases to amaze me is that the literature of the sea is nearly as vast as the sea itself. It seems there are always new landfalls to make. Here for example we have yet another fascinating character I never dreamed existed. Henri de Monfried, son of a minor French artist who associated with Gauguin, was a devotee of sailing since childhood and as an adult roamed the Red Sea in various native craft before, during, and after World War I. He supported himself trying to cultivate pearls and by fishing for them, but mostly ...

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INTEGREL GENERATING SYSTEM: Nigel Calder’s Frankenstein Comes Alive!

18 Jan

Dr. Calder

I wrote about this in my regular column in the current issue of SAIL (the February issue, which of course comes out in mid-January), but it’s something EVERYONE should know about, so I’m pimping it here too. This is a new system for managing electrical power on sailboats that Nigel Calder has been helping to develop for many years. It consists of an engine-driven DC generator–effectively a high-output “alternator on steroids,” as Nigel has put it–and a very sophisticated black-box controller that harvests untapped energy in a marine diesel propulsion engine’s power curve. It produces scads of electrical power when ...

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INTEGREL GENERATING SYSTEM: Nigel Calder’s Frankenstein Comes Alive!

18 Jan

I wrote about this in my regular column in the current issue of SAIL (the February issue, which of course comes out in mid-January), but it’s something EVERYONE should know about, so I’m pimping it here too. This is a new system for managing electrical power on sailboats that Nigel Calder has been helping to develop for many years. It consists of an engine-driven DC generator–effectively a high-output “alternator on steroids,” as Nigel has put it–and a very sophisticated black-box controller that harvests untapped energy in a marine diesel propulsion engine’s power curve. It produces scads of electrical power when ...

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