Charles Doane

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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LAURA DEKKER: Arrived in South Africa

14 Nov

Laura Dekker under sail

Did I call it, or what? In my last post on the mysterious whereabouts of Dutch teen sailor Laura Dekker I predicted she would next appear in Durban or Port Richards, South Africa. And now comes word that she has in fact safely arrived in Durban after sailing 47 days non-stop (over 5,500 nautical miles) singlehanded from Darwin, Australia.

First things first: Good on ya, Laura! This is a very significant achievement for any sailor, regardless of their age or gender. I encourage all WaveTrain riders to read the blog on Laura’s website for a (more or less) complete account ...

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CARIBBEAN 1500 RALLY: They Leave Without Me

11 Nov

Caribbean 1500 rally start 2011

I decided I had to pull the plug on my participation in this year’s Caribbean 1500 on Wednesday afternoon after rally HQ announced they were postponing the start once again until this morning. I was reluctant to do this, but the “squash zone” between my prospective arrival time in the BVI and the Thanksgiving holiday was getting a little too tight for comfort. I flew home yesterday, and today I’m following the rally start a bit wistfully via the tracking feature on the rally website.

I felt especially bad leaving Larry and Cathy on Katahdin short one crew member ...

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CARIBBEAN 1500 RALLY: Departure Delayed

8 Nov

Surface chart for Sean

I’ve never seen this before… a subtropical storm with a name. But there you have it–sub-storm Sean, reportedly packing max winds of 40-50 knots, is stalled right over the Caribbean 1500 route and is going nowhere fast.

By midday yesterday we had word aboard Katahdin that the rally start was officially postphoned until Wednesday. The skinny then was that the low squatting north of the Bahamas had a 40 percent chance of going tropical (according to the National Hurricane Center), or maybe even 50 percent (according to Jeff Masters at Weather Underground). This morning it has officially achieved ...

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CARIBBEAN 1500 RALLY: Imminent Departure

7 Nov

Katahdin ready to 1aunch

I should mention that I’m in Virginia right now, and will depart today (maybe) in this year’s Caribbean 1500 cruising rally to Tortola, BVI. I’m crewing on a Cambria 44, Katahdin, which you see here, as of yesterday evening, all ready to go. Sort of.

We launch this a.m. at 0900 and will be praying that the new rudder bearing packing gland does not leak.

Larry and Cathy Clough, Katahdin‘s owners, have been running around all over Chesapeake Bay like the proverbial headless chickens trying to cope with this rudder problem for a couple of weeks now. As ...

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ULTRASONIC ANTIFOULING: Full Season Test Results

6 Nov

Antifouling test

Lunacy was hauled for the winter on Friday, which means at last I have answers and evidence to share with the several people who’ve been asking me about the Ultrasonic Antifouling system I installed toward the end of the season last year. When Lunacy was hauled last year, after two months with the Ultrasonic unit running, there wasn’t a speck of growth on her anywhere. This year, after a full five months in the water, the results are decidedly different.

I couldn’t attend the haul-out, but once again, Jeff Stack, the service manager at Maine Yacht Center, was ...

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MARTEN 65: Canting-Keel Cruiser by Owen Clarke

4 Nov

Marten 65 under sail

That’s right–this is a dedicated cruising boat with a canting keel. Not only that, the keel lifts, too. Not only that–this puppy’s for sale right now. All yours for just a tad over $2 million.

It is, needless to say, a quite sophisticated one-off job. The commissioning owner, a big fan of Ellen MacArthur and IMOCA Open 60 racing, initially sought to acquire an existing Open 60 and convert it to a cruising boat, but then turned to Owen Clarke Design, which had designed MacArthur’s Kingfisher, to create a new purpose-built vessel. Constructed by New Zealand-based Marten Yachts...

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PIRATE BAIT: Laura Dekker v. Johansen Family

31 Oct

Laura Dekker map Indian Ocean

I haven’t mentioned teen sailor Laura Dekker in quite some time, because, as I expected, her voyage–a standard westabout milk-run circumnavigation–has so far been largely uneventful. But now she’s in the Indian Ocean. She left Darwin, Australia, headed west over a month ago and soon should be arriving at her destination.

Only thing is… we don’t know where that is.

On leaving Darwin, Laura refused to say where she was going, and since leaving has not posted position updates on her website. She has maintained a written blog, but publication of her posts has been intentionally delayed by ...

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CRASH TEST BOAT: Onboard Propane Explosion

28 Oct

In case you had’t noticed, the staff at the British sailing comic Yachting Monthly have been having some fun over the past year torturing a 40-foot Jeanneau Sun Fizz to death. The denouement, featured in this BBC news report, came earlier this month when they blew the boat up with propane gas.

Previous adventures included setting the boat on fire:

onboard boat fire

And intentionally dismasting it:

dismasting a sailboat

As well as holing it, capsizing it, disabling the steering, and running it aground.

This has all been the brainchild of Yachting Monthly‘s editor-in-chief, Paul Gelder, who is due to retire early next year. ...

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