Charles Doane

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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BELUGA BOOGIE: Whales Dig Naked Lady?

22 Nov

Swimming with beluga whales

We’ve already discussed how beluga whales like to groove to mariachi music, so I’m not too surprised to learn that they might also enjoy swimming with naked ladies. The lady in question here is Natalia Avseenko, a yoga expert capable of free-diving for extended periods in sub-zero water temperatures. The goal of this exercise is to “tame” the whales.

The venue is the Utrish Dolphinarium in northwest Russia, an entirely suspect organization that apparently domesticates wild cetaceans for export.

Swimming with beluga whales

Swimming with beluga whales

If you ask me, these whales don’t seem to be enjoying Natalia as much as that other whale enjoyed the ...

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HERB HILGENBERG: Is His Advice Too Conservative?

16 Nov

Herb Hilgenberg

For some sailors this is simply a rhetorical question, but to many others it may seem like heresy. It is, however, a question worth discussing given recent events in this year’s NARC rally. It should also help put some comments made by NARC rally organizer Hank Schmitt, which I published earlier here on WaveTrain, into a larger, more useful context.

Let’s start by noting that Herb is, without doubt, one of the more reliable weather forecasters working the North Atlantic. Though he is a self-taught amateur, his forecasts often prove more accurate than those generated by NOAA and are certainly ...

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