Charles Doane

EYE OF THE STORM: Cleaning Up the Mess in the Caribbean

18 Sep

Maria satellite image

Here we go again! Hurricane Maria, now a Category 5 storm, has reportedly devastated the island of Dominica and is expected to clobber Puerto Rico on Wednesday, give the Dominican Republic a glancing blow early Thursday morning, and then run right over the Turks and Caicos on Friday.

Maria track

Meanwhile, the islands of Barbuda, St. Barts, St. Martin, Anguilla, Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke, and St. Thomas are still reeling from the direct hits they so recently suffered from Hurricane Irma.

Irma track

Irma infrared

An infrared image of the eye of Irma directly over Barbuda, where she first made landfall. The beginning of ...

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TANIA AEBI’S VARUNA: Abandoned and Up for Grabs in the Eastern North Atlantic

5 Sep

Varuna at dock

I have this straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak, as Tania just dropped me an e-mail to help scare up some publicity. Though it no longer belongs to her, she’d really like the boat to be recovered. The boat (seen in a recent photo up top) being her old Contessa 26, Varuna, in which she sailed around the world alone as a teenager back in the 1980s.

Varuna was last seen on August 25, some distance west of Gibraltar, per Tania’s succinct missive:

Contessa 26, sloop, burgundy hull. Tony is the fourth owner since me–all men ...

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DRYING OUT: Not Afloat Aboard the New Lunacy

16 Aug

Anchor and boat

I’ve been looking forward to doing this ever since I got this boat. Mind you, I’ve done it before on another boat. My old Golden Hind 31, Sophie, conceived by Maurice Griffiths, a true shoal-draft aficionado, had three keels (one shallow full keel on centerline, plus two small auxiliary bilge keels) and was designed to take the ground with impunity. So I tried drying her out, once, in the St. George River off Thomaston in Maine. I did not know the ground there, and it turned out the mud flat I grounded her on was composed of very ...

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TANDA MALAIKA: Lost on an “Unmarked” Reef in French Polynesia

6 Aug

Tanda wrecked from air

I noticed this story a few days ago and finally found the time to study the available facts. This takes some concentration as the writing style of Belinda Govatos, the sailor/blogger who suffered through these events with her family and diligently recorded them on her website, Adventures of a Tribe, doesn’t seem to involve paragraphs. The story begins on the night of July 18, when according to Belinda’s account her husband Danny was keeping close watch on deck while she prepared dinner as their Leopard 46 catamaran Tanda Malaika, outbound from Mo’orea in French Polynesia, approached the atoll ...

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EDWARD ALLCARD (1914-2017): A Life Well Lived

2 Aug

Edward 1958

Sad news from the mountain fastness of Andorra: Edward Cecil Allcard, born October 31, 1914, died last week on Friday, July 28, at age 102, of complications related to a broken leg he suffered on July 3. He was the very last of what some have termed the “Ulysses generation” of bluewater sailors, which included such notables as William Robinson, Miles and Beryl Smeeton, Bill Tilman, John Caldwell, and Ernle Bradford, among others, who took up the sport in the immediate aftermath of World War II. Edward, who I had the honor of visiting with last year, was himself quite ...

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LONGSHOREMANSHIP: How to Load a Truck on a Sailboat

25 Jul

Loading the truck

I get queries about this all the time. There’s definitely a right way and a wrong way. The video below shows the right way. It’s a good idea to practice using someone else’s truck until you get the hang of it.

The guys in this video, allegedly, have never screwed up and lost a truck. Evidently this is the only way to get vehicles on and off Île de la Gonâve, which is 15 miles off the Haitian coast in the middle of the Golfe de la Gonâve. Here’s another video demonstrating the same technique with a significantly larger ...

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AMERICA’S CUP TAKE 35: In Defense of Larry Ellison

6 Jul

Larry Ellison

No, I was not rooting for Oracle Team USA in this just-concluded edition of the America’s Cup. And yes, like many others, I am quite happy to see the Cup go back to Auckland with Emirates Team New Zealand, and I am looking forward to seeing a new chapter open in the ever-evolving story of the oldest competition in sports. But I do not understand why everyone is now trashing Larry Ellison. Most of the post-event commentary I’ve seen would have it that Ellison is almost the devil incarnate, and that but for ETNZ he would have destroyed modern-day Cup ...

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NEW LUNACY TRANSAT: Phase Four to Newport; Phase Five to Portsmouth; All Done Now!

26 Jun

Self in new shorts

It’s over… at long last! My seventh transat done and dusted. This has been true for nearly a week now and still I’m waking up in a bed in a house every morning in a confused wobbly-footed fuzzy-headed daze feeling like I just stepped ashore.

I must be getting old or something.

I ended up doing the last open-ocean leg, from Bermuda to Newport, all on my own as my stalwart crew was running low on time by the time we got our various problems sorted out in St. Georges. With the engine again fully operational (no word yet on ...

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AMERICA’S CUP 2017: Catching Some Live Action in Bermuda

11 Jun

AC race village

It’s only a coincidence that I happen to be here while AC35 is going down, but it is a happy one. Yesterday I took full advantage of it and hopped on the special weekend ferry ($10 round trip) that runs direct from Ordinance Island in St. Georges out to the America’s Cup race village in the Dockyard. It’s a 45-minute run, all the way from the eastern to the western tip of the island. As we were pulling into the race village I could see the Defender Oracle’s boat was out on Great Sound, running through her paces in ...

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NEW LUNACY TRANSAT: Phase Three, Big Jump to Bermuda

10 Jun

Lunacy sailing

This was a hard one this. For one thing it was a bigger jump than I had sketched out in my head. For some reason I had fixated on 2000 as the rough mileage between Porto Santo and Bermuda (see last blog post), but in fact it is 2,400 and change, even via a great circle route, as the chartplotter dourly informed me once I plugged in the distant waypoint. In all, due both to contrary winds and aggravating technical problems (more on that coming up), it took us 23 days and about nine hours to transit the gap, ...

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