Charles Doane

ENERGY OBSERVER: A Sailboat Turned Hydrogen-Fueled Powerboat Turned Sailboat Again

14 Feb

Here’s an unlikely tidbit from the Where Are They Now Department. The old maxi racing cat known variously since its 1983 launch as Formula TAG, Enza New Zealand, and Daedulus (among others) has more recently been transformed into a unique high-tech hydrogen-powered vessel that looks to push the envelope on carbon-free marine transport. Now called Energy Observer, the big cat has been lengthened from 24.4 meters to 30.5 meters and carries an amazing array of bleeding-edge energy technology.

When originally launched in 2017 Energy Observer carried no rig and was primarily powered by a huge solar array ...

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SOURCING PARTS IN GAMBIA: From the Fixing Your Boat in Exotic Places Department

30 Jan

Jan. 30/2020: Anyone who has ever tried to fix anything on a boat knows full well that the hardest part normally isn’t the actual fixing itself, but the gathering of the tools and parts and other bits and pieces required to perpetrate the fixing. Metaphorically, it’s something on the order of wanting the nail to shoe the horse for lack of which the king lost his kingdom. Logistically, of course, it’s nothing but a huge pain in the ass.

Here in the Land of West Marine, where boat bits can be had so much more easily than anywhere else, it ...

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MYSTERY BOAT ABANDONED: Pascha the Dog and Four Humans Evacuate to a Freighter

22 Jan

Jan. 22/20:  I’m dying to learn more about this. Seems a commercial vessel, a “geared bulker” in merchant marine vernacular, name of M/V Sunda, stopped to rescue the crew of a certain sailboat, along with a dog, somewhere in the mid-Atlantic, on January 10. The lack of facts is striking. We don’t know the location where the rescue took place, or the name of the stricken sailboat, or the names of any of the crew.

But yes, we do know the name of the dog–a French bulldog, Pascha–and that the crew, who were uninjured, claimed to require an ...

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CRASH AND CAPSIZE: Team New Zealand Flips Their Foiling AC75

20 Dec

Dec. 20/2019:  Someone had to do it first! And the Kiwis certainly seem pretty laid back about the whole business. This happened yesterday. Watch the viddy the team posted and you’ll see it was actually a fairly undramatic event. Their boat Te Aihe had completed a jibe and was flying its hull in about 10 knots of true wind, moving at around 30 knots, when the boat suddenly reared up, then fell down again, landing safely upright on its hull. Then, oddly, she just slowly rolled over to leeward, in spite of her windward keel and foil being fully canted ...

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IRON BARK FOR SALE: Award-Winning Wylo II Gaff Cutter Available in W’Indies

2 Dec

Dec. 2/2019:  Accept no substitutes. This is the ultimate low-budget high-latitudes expedition yacht right here. Tried and tested! Believed to be the only boat anywhere to have spent unsupported winters frozen into ice in both the Arctic and Antarctic. A Wylo II cutter, 35 feet on deck, designed by Nick Skeates (who we have discussed before), built in steel and launched by her current owner, Trevor Robertson, in 1997 in Queensland, Australia. Asking price is $45K US.

Trevor has cruised Iron Bark all over the world for the past 22 years, including extended sojourns in high latitudes, and has ...

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BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE: Sailing La Vagabonde and the Greta Thunberg Effect

21 Nov

Nov. 21/2019: Here’s a bit of synchronicity. I was only vaguely aware of the La Vagabonde YouTube phenomenon, then became much more interested after I saw how rabid their fans are at the Annapolis show last month. And, of course, like everyone else I’ve been hearing and seeing a lot about Greta Thunberg, the teen climate activist from Sweden who has been touring the U.S. scolding adults for trashing the planet. So you can imagine that my attennae perked up a bit when I learned that Greta is now sailing transatlantic aboard La Vagabonde in a desperate bid to ...

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SOUTHBOUND LUNACY 2019: Coast-Hopping and Further Maintenance Adventures

9 Nov

Nov. 9/2019: During the early summer, you’ll recall, we dealt with two big maintenance items: Lunacy’s wobbly rudder and her “ovalized” autopilot/steering quadrant connection. Another adventure, not previously mentioned, was replacing the turbocharger on my 55hp Nanni diesel, as it had seized up solid through lack of proper exercise. There were two lessons learned in this last instance: a) I need to run the engine at 2,400 or higher rpm much more frequently; and b) Nanni is positively evil when it comes to replacement parts. One reason I wanted a Nanni is that they are simply marinized Kubota ...

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REID STOWE: Art Inspired by His Voyaging on Display in Chelsea (Plus a Big Thumbs Up for Randall Reeves!)

21 Oct

Oct. 21/2019: I was in New York City last Thursday after test-sailing boats in Annapolis and stopped in to see this show. All I can say is: WOW! Reid was there to greet me, first time I’d seen him live and in-person since we sailed up New York Harbor together on his schooner Anne after he completed his record-breaking 1,152-day voyage in June 2010. Mostly what Reid has been doing since then is taking care of his aging dad in North Carolina, raising his son Darshen with his partner Soanya Ahmad, and making art. Lots of art!

Coincidentally, this ...

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2019 ANNAPOLIS SAILBOAT SHOW: The Eagle Has Landed (And Got Its Feet Wet)

12 Oct

Oct. 12/2019: Just back from Phase One of my annual boat show dive in Nap Town. The most interesting new boat I saw there by far is the Eagle Class 53, a foiling (there’s that word again) all-carbon catamaran with a “hybrid” wing-sail rig. Coincidentally, I saw this very same boat while at the Crown Bay Marina in St. Thomas last winter and wondered what the hell it was. Evidently the creators of this craft, Fast Forward Composites, were tuning up the beast there prior to unleashing it on the world.

It is now unleashed.

The Eagle’s hard wing main ...

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2019 SUMMER CRUISING: More Fooling Around on Lunacy

24 Sep

Sept.  24/2019: I haven’t kept you all up to date re my doings aboard Lunacy since the end of the Deth Cruz so I thought I’d share some glimpses of what’s been going on. A lot of it has been Maintenance and Modifications, which we’ll discuss later. Right now we’ll focus on more fun stuff.

Not long after the Deth Cruz in July I headed down the Maine coast again, on my own to start, with two weeks in hand to play with. Plan A was to get as far Down East as fast as possible, so I blitzed out ...

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