Charles Doane

BOATHANDLING: Secrets of a Sensuous Sailor

18 Jan

Couple sailing

It wasn't until I first sailed on a boat with an engine that I understood precisely what is most seductive about sailing. Any who have cursed the din of a motor while afloat will know exactly what I mean. We feel it the very instant we switch our engines off, as the awful over-riding sound of internal combustion dies away. I call it the orgasm of silence, that moment in which it seems all of our senses have suddenly been turned on.

Considered purely on an aesthetic basis the sensuality of sailing is hardly unique. Any mode of transportation, particularly ...

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DEKKER & STOWE: In the Same Neighborhood

13 Jan

Schooner Anne in Georgetown, Guyana

For a while I was thinking that Reid Stowe and Laura Dekker might actually bump into each other somewhere off the northeast coast of South America. But no–in spite of her slow rate of speed, Reid’s schooner Anne managed to make landfall in Guyana earlier this week (January 9) and is now tied up in Georgetown, where apparently a figurehead on her bow poked out a window on a local pilot boat.

Judging from the reports on Reid’s website, the latter part of Anne‘s voyage south went smoothly, though it seems she suffered from persistent leaks and the ...

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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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MATT RUTHERFORD: East of Cape Horn

6 Jan

Matt Rutherford

Editor’s note: Matt Rutherford, currently sailing solo non-stop around the Americas aboard a very small boat, snuck around Cape Horn this morning. Here’s an update I received from a buddy of his, Andy Schell, who maintains a blog at Father & Son Sailing.


It’s round Cape Horn we all must go, Bring ’em down;

Arms all stiff to the ice and snow, Bring ’em down;

Oh, rock and roll me over boys, Bring ’em down;

And get this damn job over boys, Bring ’em down.

Matt Rutherford finished his blog post, which he uploaded via sat phone to ...

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DEAD GUY: Sumner “Huey” Long

5 Jan

Huey Long racing aboard Ondine

Editor’s note: This news is a month old, but I just heard it yesterday. There will be a memorial service this Saturday at 2 pm at the Kings Point Merchant Marine Academy in New York. The following obit is from Huey’s son Russell:

Sumner “Huey” Long, an international yachtsman, shipping executive, and winner of every one of the world’s most challenging and dangerous ocean races, died of lymphoma on Dec. 4, at age 90.

Creating a succession of hi-tech racing sailboats named Ondine, and spanning the decades from the 1960s to the 1990s, Mr. Long won every major ocean ...

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ANCHORING QUIZ: Big Boat Butts in St. Bart’s

4 Jan

Gustavia waterfront

From water level it is impossible to capture with a camera the visual cornucopia that is the anchorage at Gustavia, the main town on St. Bart’s, when the New Year rolls around. Like a vast army come to camp on the outskirts of a tiny village, yachts of all description plunk down their hooks to await the turn of the calendar. A large proportion are very large yachts. Some are very, very large. At night the cumulative blaze of anchor and cabin lights, each echoed in a wavy scribble in the wake-chopped water beneath it, is like that of a ...

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SUNSAIL CHARTER: Ile Fourchue

30 Dec

Sunsail charter

This is a lesson I’ve learned before: when sailing with children in the West Indies, the most desirable point of sail is to windward. The most desirable place for them to sit is on the bow, clinging to the lifelines, where they will scream in rapture as they are plunged into steep tradewind seas… over and over and over again.

(As you can see in the photo up top, there are also some adults who enjoy this.)

So this is us (me, wife Clare, daughters Una and Lucy, plus our good friends Lindsey and Denise) sailing from St. Maarten upwind ...

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SUNDEER 60: An Ideal Bluewater Cruising Boat

26 Dec

Sundeer 60 under sail

This innovative bluewater performance cruiser was one of a series of designs developed by offshore sailing guru Steve Dashew starting in 1978. Dashew’s basic concept of a long, narrow, fast boat designed to be sailed long distances by a couple first saw fruition in his Deerfoot line, which he built in fiberglass and in aluminum on a sporadic basis at several locations. The Sundeer line was more refined and focused and consisted of three boats–the Sundeer 64, 60, and 56. These were the only Dashew designs ever built on a true production basis.

The ketch-rigged Sundeer 64 boasted three double ...

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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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