Charles Doane

REID STOWE: Rudderless in the North Atlantic

23 Dec

Rudder repair on schooner Anne

Well, I was wrong about one thing. I wrote earlier I expected there would be little news of marathon sailor Reid Stowe as he and his crew made their way down to South America aboard the schooner Anne. But lo, reports have regularly appeared both at Reid’s site and at a blog maintained by crew member Andy Cronin (via his girlfriend Paulina). This has resulted in mega-traffic at the Reid-hating thread at Sailing Anarchy. Indeed, rumor now has it that SA founder Scot Tempesta secretly sponsored the voyage so as to titillate his thralls and boost the site’s metrics....

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2011 ARC: Bubble Gum And Rubber Band Award

20 Dec

ARC leader Andrew Bishop

Though I've participated in the ARC before, this was the first time I was able to attend the prizegiving. What a bash! The wind-up to the 2011 ARC this past Saturday was a celebration of epic proportions. After plying the assembled multitude of sailors with rum (clever tactic that), master of ceremonies Andrew Bishop (see photo up top) proceeded to hand out a multitude of awards for all manner of achievements.

My personal favorite was the Award for Having Your Entry Number Coincidentally Match Your Order of Finish Number. Amazingly, it was shared this year by the crews of three ...

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GUNBOAT 66 PHAEDO: Shifting Into Cruising Mode

18 Dec

Paul Hand and Lloyd Thornburg

When I first stepped aboard the bright orange Gunboat 66 Phaedo while chatting up ARC sailors here in Rodney Bay, I had no idea at first who I was talking to. A soft-spoken not-quite-clean-shaven young man in a t-shirt invited me aboard after I hailed the boat from the dock, and I naturally assumed he must be crew. He eagerly pointed out the skipper (Paul Hand, on the left up top) and some of the other folks aboard, and it was only after I inquired directly as to his own identity that he admitted, a bit bashfully, that he was ...

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2011 ARC: Dock Walk

15 Dec

ARC fleet at St. Lucia

I'm hitting the rally beat hard these days. After recently not sailing in the Caribbean 1500, I'm now down in Rodney Bay, St. Lucia, checking out the end of this year's Atlantic Rally for Cruisers. To get a feel for things, I took a long stroll yesterday around the docks. I don't know about you, but walking around a marina or boatyard ogling boats is something I never get tired of.

There were two in particular I was looking for. The first was a Class 40 Akilaria named Vaquita. She turned in a stellar performance, crossing the ...

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GUNDALOW LAUNCH: Piscataqua Goes For A Swim

11 Dec

Gundalow launch ceremony

I'd never actually seen this before–the christening and launching of a new vessel. This was on Saturday, here in Portsmouth, NH, just down the street from where I live. After a bit of speechifying by my good friend and neighbor Molly Bolster, a bottle was busted and the good ship Piscataqua, the first new gundalow launched in 30 years, was pushed with some ceremony into the briny.

Gundalows, as I've mentioned before, are the old sailing barges that once were the lifeblood of local commerce here in the Piscataqua watershed. The last one launched, the Edward Adams, ...

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2011 HURRICANE SEASON: Gone in 270 Seconds

6 Dec

This is very cool, IMHO. An accelerated four and a half minute animation, courtesy of NOAA, that depicts the entire 2011 hurricane season as viewed by one of NASA's GOES satellites.

One thing that strikes me as I watch this is how beautiful and striking the Bahamas are when viewed from space. They also look great from airplanes. Every time I fly over on a clear day, I'm blown away. Note to self: I really must spend more time there before I depart this luscious planet of ours.

I'm also struck by how stable the atmosphere appears from this ...

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REID STOWE: Sailing to Guyana

4 Dec

Crew of Schooner Anne

I haven't been able to confirm it, but at this point I have no reason to believe that Reid Stowe has not set out for the jungles of Guyana aboard his 70-foot schooner Anne. He announced via press release early last week that he would be leaving last Friday, and later advised me by e-mail that he in fact expected to depart Hoboken, New Jersey, for Guyana on Thursday.

Things have not turned out the way Reid hoped since he returned from his record-breaking non-stop 1,152-day voyage back in June 2010. He enjoyed a brief blaze of publicity, ...

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KARVER FLYING CAM CLEAT: Multiple Uses

30 Nov

Karver flying cam cleat

All the info I have right now on this new widget from Karver is what you see in these two photos. The concept is pretty self-explanatory. Presumably it was developed for dinghy racers who want to get a better grip on skinny control lines, but I find it’s not too hard to think of other things to do with it.

For example, I can see using it to help tie down gear real tight and in other situations where you want to pull real hard on something. But mostly I see it as a sort of instant rolling hitch that ...

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CARIBBEAN 1500: Katahdin Checks In

25 Nov

Katahdin

Good news: I’ve heard back from my people and can now share some pix and verbiage on how the voyage south went for Katahdin.

Rather than paraphrase, I thought I’d share the raw dispatches.

The first e-mail I received was from crew member Tom Trump (who also provided all these pix):

Onboard Katahdin

The Katahdin story is pretty vanilla. We had light stuff until we had motored through most of our diesel. We were actively discussing contingency plans, but picked up the trades in the nick of time. They were SE for the first 2-3 days and we were sailing just off of close-hauled, ...

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CARIBBEAN 1500: The Fate of the Fleet

24 Nov

Caribbean 1500 fleet in Hampton

Having been left behind on the dock, I’ve been obsessively following the progress of this year’s Caribbean 1500 via the rally’s online tracking page. For much of the fleet it has been slow going. After prudently waiting the better part of a week for Tropical Storm Sean to go away and then for a cold front to pass through, the rally organizers launched their ducklings the Friday before last (Nov. 11) into the heart of a big high-pressure cell. The fleet enjoyed one good day of wind, but then burned much diesel fuel as it worked its way south looking ...

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