Sail Feed

Syndicate content
Brought to you by Sail Magazine
Updated: 19 min 9 sec ago

Many thanks folks!

Mon, 2014-09-15 13:07

Thanks for all the kind and encouraging words about my early drawings. They were labors of love.  The “client” names you see in some of the title blocks are usually names of my friends or people I made up. I was trying to look “official”.

People have been asking if the drawings are for sale or are prints available. Yes on both counts. The original will sell for $2,500 each and prints can be had for $100 a print. While I am not keen to part with the originals I’d rather see them mounted and framed rather than just to roll them up and stick them back in a tube in my archives to be forgotten again. I’m thinking about my next blog entry. I have received some requests to tell the entire NIGHT RUNNER story. It’s a good story and an ongoing saga. I usually write my pieces in my head while walking my dogs. A few more dog walks and I’ll be ready to write about NIGHT RUNNER.

Up And Down Mountains Named "Beer"

Sun, 2014-09-14 18:16

I huffed and puffed my way up the trail. I had forgotten how little I like walking uphill. I assume this is some sort of self-preservation mechanism, because I get marched up mountains with depressing regularity. Erik and I, sadly, are walking-incompatible. I can walk forever on flat or gently rolling terrain. And I enjoy it. But when things get steep, the fun factor drops dramatically. Erik, on the other hand, hates walking on flat land.  This is because he is secretly a mountain goat. The steeper the grade, the happier he is, and he will gladly spend a day (or weekend, or month) skipping from crag to crag, pausing only to land in the odd cow pat.

We were exploring the Glass House mountains north of Brisbane. The mountains are old lava plugs, exposed when the softer sandstone around them eroded away. Which is cool – who wouldn’t like to hike on a hunk of frozen mantle? We tried to get the girls excited about going to the mountains, but whether they were jaded from years of visiting impressive landscapes or just tired after yet another weekend of birthday fun, they played it cool.

Of course, the girls always play it cool until we arrive at Destination X, and then they are always full of enthusiasm. Not necessarily for whatever is supposed to impress them at that moment, but still. Indy and Stylish dutifully spent a good three seconds looking out from the lookout point, and then began to play Fire Dragon and the Two Bridges. Indy explained it to me later; it appears to be a tag-like game involving a dragon and a fish running across a pool of lava. I note proudly that lava was involved, so the kids clearly internalized something about the Glass House mountains – daily dose of education managed.

Erik and I took a look at the map. “Let’s try the hike at Mount Beerwah,” I said. The summit was closed due to rock slides, but a simple stroll through the forest would be just the ticket.

Mom’s idea of fun. Mount Beewah plus attractive family.

As we admired the pretty basaltic structures of Mount Beerwah, Erik began to get antsy. It is difficult for him to look at a mountain without being on said mountain. Back at the carpark, he marched over to the posted map and stabbed a finger at another walking trail.
“There’s a good one,” he said. “We’re going there next.”
“Mount Beerburrum. Another beer mountain*?” I looked at the description. 1.4 km, grade 4 track. “Bushwalking experience recommended,” I read. “Tracks may be long, rough and very steep. Moderate level of fitness and ankle-supporting footwear required.” My natural optimism took over. Steep, sure, but a moderate level of fitness meant it couldn’t be too bad. The track was paved, for goodness sake.

We arrived at Mount Beerburrum. Erik was 50 m up the track before I had even unbuckled my seatbelt.

Up, up, up we go.

Indy took immediate possession of a too-tall walking stick, and worked her way up the hill like Gandalf wrangling the Fellowship. Occasionally she would sweep the stick to one side, hoping to irritate carpet pythons hiding in the grass, perhaps. The stick also served to punctuate her conversation. She was an absolute menace, and I soon fell back to avoid serious injury. Being last in line definitely had nothing to do with my huffing and puffing. Certainly not. I can’t comment on Stylish’s experiences up Mount Beerburrum, because she, like her father, moved forward like the Terminator following John Connor. Single-minded ascent.

Our reward for a steep climb: a beautiful view. Looking out from Mount Beerburrum

Not to suggest that we were so disgustingly healthy as to simply dance up and down mountains all day. We also enjoyed a very civilized lunch, a silly number of snacks, and on the ride home, a delicious pineapple crush (which was simply a pineapple run through a blender, no water added).

You would think, at this point, that we had had enough for one day. And we had. Everyone was a little dopey on the ride home, whether from the walking or the sugar crash. But we had borrowed the car from an acquaintance, and had to get it back to her before we could take our weary selves home.
“There is supposed to be a nice park down the street from Gayle’s apartment,” I said. “Do you girls feel like stopping there for a little while?”
Like magic,the girls straightened in the back seat. “Yes, yes, yes!” I don’t think I ever ever seen them tired enough to refuse a visit to the park. And so we joined the hundreds of other kids in the park that afternoon.

Spinning, spinning, spinning Spider-in-training

We dropped the car as the sun set. And even though we were all genuinely tired now, no one really wanted to admit the day was over.
“You know,” I said, “they just fixed up the movie theatre down the street. Anyone want to see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?”
A quick meal of butter chicken and lamb vindaloo later, we were enjoying the (wafer-thin) adventures of Leonardo & co. The girls curled into the enormous bean bag chairs at the front of the theatre, and Erik and I sat behind them like the grow-ups we are. This was purely practical on my side – if I had claimed a beanbag, I would have been asleep within minutes.

So comfy.

Today, we are back to our regular routine: school, swimming, park. Unless something really good comes along. Which, I’m glad to say, it almost always does.


* From the Dungidau language “birra”, meaning “sky”. This makes much more sense than the English “beer”, because climbing and alcohol don’t tend to mix successfully.

50 Years on San Francisco Bay

Sat, 2014-09-13 12:52

The S&S yawl Athene, winner of the inaugural St. Francis Perpetual Trophy

Posted September 13 courtesy of RegattaNews.Com

There is one person who can tell the full story of the Rolex Big Boat Series, in amazing detail, starting from its humble beginnings. It is the man whose idea it was to start it back in the 1960s: St. Francis Yacht Club’s Staff Commodore (1975) Robert C. Keefe, who at the age of 84 has been a member for 65 years and remembers the early days of the then-called St. Francis Perpetual Trophy Series as if it were yesterday.

As a traveling sales manager for (and eventually President of) Barient Winches, Keefe spent plenty of time in Southern California, getting to know the area’s principal yachtsmen. Recognizing that the respective collections of fine yachts there and in northern California should get together, he suggested establishing a race. It was 1963, and there would be time to organize it for 1964.

“The Commodore said it wasn’t the worst idea in the world, but we needed an organizer, someone to ramrod this,” said Keefe, who was the natural choice for filling the role. “The Southern California sailors said ‘we’d really like to do it, but we have to stay on our home waters for the events on our sailing calendar. When it tapers off later in the year, we’ll come to San Francisco.’ That’s how September came about.”

That first year, the yacht club invited 25 boats to sail in its series, the vast majority of them over 60 feet long. “They were mostly from Southern California but we asked some from New York, Florida, Boston…not so much because we thought they’d drop in, but we wanted to play with the big boys. We ended up with four from here and four from Southern California.”

The inaugural regatta was raced on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, so the out-of-town sailors could go back and forth to their offices. “That worked well, and in ’65 a few more boats came from San Diego, some from Seattle…even Storm Vogel arrived from Holland, sailing through the Golden Gate. In ’67, the regatta ran a little out of gas only because California boats began going to the Eastern Seaboard to race, but we still had a big fleet of 50 footers (about 20), so we created a second trophy for them. Then in 1970, big boats matriculated back to the West Coast.” (Today, specially engraved Rolex timepieces are traditionally awarded to winners of the St. Francis Perpetual Trophy; the City of San Francisco Trophy; the Richard Rheem Trophy; the Keefe-Kilborn Memorial Trophy; the Atlantic Trophy; and the Commodore’s Cup.)

Keefe continued “ramrodding” the event for ten years, and it was his and his fellow club members’ fine salesmanship that convinced some of the greatest boats of all time to compete. They included the 67’ yawl Chabasco from Newport Beach and John B. (Jim) Kilroy’s various Los Angeles-based Kialoas (Kialoa II competed in the inaugural event, finishing second to Jim Wilhite’s 63-foot Sparkman & Stephens yawl Athene, which won the original St. Francis Perpetual Trophy.)

“Jim was the guy who would say ‘this has got to be the best place in the world for this kind of sailing,’” said Keefe. “This is no hurricane gulch, but certainly we have 15, 18, 20 knots every day. Then if you want light air, you can go over to Marin County and on the same day have 10-12 knots of breeze. The range of wind the gods gave us here in San Francisco did wonderful things for us. We had this wonderful asset.”

Keefe recalls the very first race of the first series, which started at noon and went out under the Golden Gate Bridge into the ocean. “We didn’t get back until midnight. God love it out there, but besides being cold, wet and miserable, that’s not what the sailors had come for. They wanted to have good, fair racing in our little puddle right out there, between the bridges and on the waterfront here,” said Keefe, pointing to the water that famously laps at the club’s northern facing side and presents the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island in one sweeping glance.

Keefe also remembers the endearing moments that are typical of those that keep many participants coming back year after year, if not decade after decade. “Roy Disney had many occasions to have his boats here (Shamrock and various Pyewackets). The first year Rolex was a presenting sponsor, it was opening night and there was a watch display out front. When I went by, what was sitting on top of the glass case but a Mickey Mouse watch, with a nice little stand and a big dial. That really kind of broke everyone up. I thought it was hilarious, but Roy never admitted to it; maybe his crew cooked it up.”

“We have a lot of fun,” said Keefe. “That’s one reason these guys come back. It’s an enjoyable experience—the racing, the club and San Francisco itself.”

Here is a gallery of racing in 2014, the 50th edition of what is now the Rolex Big Boat Series, courtesy of Rolex and photographer Daniel Forster.

All color images © Rolex/Daniel Forster

2014 NEWPORT INTERNATIONAL BOAT SHOW: Gunboat 55, Varianta 37, Salona 33, C&C Redline 41

Fri, 2014-09-12 19:34

I spent yesterday cruising the docks at the show in Newport and was particularly pleased to have a chance to get aboard the new Gunboat 55. You’ve got to hand it to Peter Johnstone–he is not one to rest on his laurels. After sailing the Gunboat 60 last year at Annapolis, I was impressed by how willing he’s been to rethink what a Gunboat might be. Given the great success of the first generation of boats, a lot of builders would have been very happy to just do more of the same. The 60 is definitely a different sort of Gunboat, but the new 55, a very elegant open-bridgedeck design, is something else entirely.

As I’ve mentioned before, I really like open-bridgedeck catamarans. To me they are the distilled essence of what a cat is supposed to be. In this boat, Johnstone adheres to the simplicity of the concept, but takes it to a whole new level in terms of execution.

The open bridgedeck looking forward. This is the first Gunboat without an open cockpit forward of the house

The helm and controls are still right behind the mast. You can step right outside to the mast through sliding glass doors either side of the wheel if you want to, but in most cases you won’t need to. A big moonroof over the helm station gives you a clear view of the mainsail

The bridgedeck looking aft. This boat is all about the al fresco lifestyle. All the canvas back there can be quickly removed

Accommodations are in the two hulls, which can be sealed off with totally weatherproof doors, or with sliding screen doors, when all you want to keep out is the bugs

On this boat the galley is down aft in the port hull and is about as spacious and filled with light as an in-hull catamaran galley can be. Alternatively, you can order the boat with the galley up on the bridgedeck

House systems are controlled and monitored with this discrete touchpad located just off the galley

Each hull has a full-on stateroom with an athwartship double berth and en suite head and shower

All foils are fully retractable. The rudders slot into cassettes and can be pinned in place at different depths. The major foils are centerboards that can kick up without suffering damage when they hit something

The Gunboat 55, designed by Nigel Irens, is the first boat to come out of Gunboat’s new production yard in North Carolina. Production of the Gunboat 60, formerly built in China, is also being moved here.

Wandering over to the opposite end of the show’s new-boat spectrum, I was particularly intrigued by the Varianta 37, a very stripped-down version of the German-built Hanse 375.

This baby is as basic as a modern fiberglass cruising boat can be. You don’t even get a cove stripe!

The Varianta’s cockpit. That big wheel says “performance,” and in fact I do expect this boat to sail fairly well. In spite of having an all solid-laminate hull, so much stuff has been removed it’s about 1,000 pounds lighter than the 375, which is cored above the waterline

The barebones interior. There’s as little joinery as possible, canvas slings for storage, an uninsulated engine space, very simple systems, etc. Construction is also basic and robust, with seven bulkheads fully tabbed to the hull

Base price here in the U.S. is $153,400. The boat is intended for use in sailing schools, membership sailing programs, and charter fleets, but I imagine individual owners could have quite a bit of fun personalizing a “blank canvas” like this.

Like Varianta, Salona is another Euro-brand that has just migrated to the States. These boats are from Croatia, and I thought this 33-footer had a lot of style.

Base price is $150,736, including working sails. Properly equipped, the boat should make a comfortable/competitive cruiser-racer

As that big traveler suggests, this a boat for people who are into sail trim. It can be ordered with twin wheels, or with a tiller. It carries an aggressive T-keel that draws a full 7 feet of water, or 5’9″ if you opt for the “shoal” version. Either way, there’s a lot of keel down there for a boat this size

The interior is spacious, with a surprising amount of storage space. There’s full headroom for a 6-foot guy like me

And you needn’t worry about the keel falling off for no good reason, a la Cheeki Rafiki. There’s a beefy stainless steel grid glassed into the bilge that carries both the rig and keel loads

Yet another craft that caught my eye was this latest interpretation of what a contemporary C&C yacht should be. U.S. Watercraft has licensed the brand name from Tartan and is building this C&C Redline 41 in Warren, Rhode Island.

This is what I’d call a racer-cruiser, with a very business-like cockpit. Base price is $424,900

The interior is very civilized. Clean and functional for racing, but attractive enough to actually live in for a while

The saloon looking forward. The settee backs pivot up and can be hung from the overhead as an extra pair of berths

Of course, these aren’t the only boats in the show. These are just the ones that jumped out at me hardest. There’s still plenty of time for you to get down there and check out the scene for yourself. The show closes Sunday; be sure to tell them I sent you.

2014 NEWPORT INTERNATIONAL BOAT SHOW: Gunboat 55, Varianta 37, Salona 33, C&C Redline 41

Fri, 2014-09-12 19:34

I spent yesterday cruising the docks at the show in Newport and was particularly pleased to have a chance to get aboard the new Gunboat 55. You’ve got to hand it to Peter Johnstone–he is not one to rest on his laurels. After sailing the Gunboat 60 last year at Annapolis, I was impressed by how willing he’s been to rethink what a Gunboat might be. Given the great success of the first generation of boats, a lot of builders would have been very happy to just do more of the same. The 60 is definitely a different sort of Gunboat, but the new 55, a very elegant open-bridgedeck design, is something else entirely.

As I’ve mentioned before, I really like open-bridgedeck catamarans. To me they are the distilled essence of what a cat is supposed to be. In this boat, Johnstone adheres to the simplicity of the concept, but takes it to a whole new level in terms of execution.

The open bridgedeck looking forward. This is the first Gunboat without an open cockpit forward of the house

The helm and controls are still right behind the mast. You can step right outside to the mast through sliding glass doors either side of the wheel if you want to, but in most cases you won’t need to. A big moonroof over the helm station gives you a clear view of the mainsail

The bridgedeck looking aft. This boat is all about the al fresco lifestyle. All the canvas back there can be quickly removed

Accommodations are in the two hulls, which can be sealed off with totally weatherproof doors, or with sliding screen doors, when all you want to keep out is the bugs

On this boat the galley is down aft in the port hull and is about as spacious and filled with light as an in-hull catamaran galley can be. Alternatively, you can order the boat with the galley up on the bridgedeck

House systems are controlled and monitored with this discrete touchpad located just off the galley

Each hull has a full-on stateroom with an athwartship double berth and en suite head and shower

All foils are fully retractable. The rudders slot into cassettes and can be pinned in place at different depths. The major foils are centerboards that can kick up without suffering damage when they hit something

The Gunboat 55, designed by Nigel Irens, is the first boat to come out of Gunboat’s new production yard in North Carolina. Production of the Gunboat 60, formerly built in China, is also being moved here.

Wandering over to the opposite end of the show’s new-boat spectrum, I was particularly intrigued by the Varianta 37, a very stripped-down version of the German-built Hanse 375.

This baby is as basic as a modern fiberglass cruising boat can be. You don’t even get a cove stripe!

The Varianta’s cockpit. That big wheel says “performance,” and in fact I do expect this boat to sail fairly well. In spite of having an all solid-laminate hull, so much stuff has been removed it’s about 1,000 pounds lighter than the 375, which is cored above the waterline

The barebones interior. There’s as little joinery as possible, canvas slings for storage, an uninsulated engine space, very simple systems, etc. Construction is also basic and robust, with seven bulkheads fully tabbed to the hull

Base price here in the U.S. is $153,400. The boat is intended for use in sailing schools, membership sailing programs, and charter fleets, but I imagine individual owners could have quite a bit of fun personalizing a “blank canvas” like this.

Like Varianta, Salona is another Euro-brand that has just migrated to the States. These boats are from Croatia, and I thought this 33-footer had a lot of style.

Base price is $150,736, including working sails. Properly equipped, the boat should make a comfortable/competitive cruiser-racer

As that big traveler suggests, this a boat for people who are into sail trim. It can be ordered with twin wheels, or with a tiller. It carries an aggressive T-keel that draws a full 7 feet of water, or 5’9″ if you opt for the “shoal” version. Either way, there’s a lot of keel down there for a boat this size

The interior is spacious, with a surprising amount of storage space. There’s full headroom for a 6-foot guy like me

And you needn’t worry about the keel falling off for no good reason, a la Cheeki Rafiki. There’s a beefy stainless steel grid glassed into the bilge that carries both the rig and keel loads

Yet another craft that caught my eye was this latest interpretation of what a contemporary C&C yacht should be. U.S. Watercraft has licensed the brand name from Tartan and is building this C&C Redline 41 in Warren, Rhode Island.

This is what I’d call a racer-cruiser, with a very business-like cockpit. Base price is $424,900

The interior is very civilized. Clean and functional for racing, but attractive enough to actually live in for a while

The saloon looking forward. The settee backs pivot up and can be hung from the overhead as an extra pair of berths

Of course, these aren’t the only boats in the show. These are just the ones that jumped out at me hardest. There’s still plenty of time for you to get down there and check out the scene for yourself. The show closes Sunday; be sure to tell them I sent you.

This week in ocean sailing (and other cool stuff)

Fri, 2014-09-12 05:59

As we head towards the re-launch of 59-north.com in the next few weeks, I’m starting something today that I plan to continue and make a feature of the new site/newsletter. In short, I learn a lot about what I talk and write about when it comes to offshore sailing by voraciously reading others. I’d like to share that. Here’s new original content from 59-north.com, plus what I found most interesting this past week around the web and in print:

On Ocean Sailing

Other Inspiring & Thought-Provoking Reads

Dig it? Share with a friend, or sign up below to get this each Friday at 7am, straight into your email. The reimagined newsletter will feature the best curated content from around the web, but new and original stuff by us at 59º North. Enjoy.

 

 

 

Subscribe

This week in ocean sailing (and other cool stuff).

Email Address

Sign Up

We respect your privacy.

Thank you!

Podcast Essay: Fit & Healthy Onboard

Fri, 2014-09-12 04:09

Andy discusses how he and Mia stay fit and healthy onboard. From eating right and paying attention to ingredient labels, to why German beer is better for you, to how to create a workout around a deck of cards, Andy covers his own methods of keeping fit and healthy on Arcturus. Have your own ideas? Share them with us!

Boats are meant to move

Thu, 2014-09-11 14:55

Two months and change. 71 days, actually (who’s counting?). During the last six years of cruising the only other times we’ve stayed in one place more than two months were when we parked in Australia, and earlier this year in Langkawi. That’s it. Even the places we’ve stopped for more than a month only amount to a handful: we may not move quickly, but we like to be moving. Nomadic living is our baseline.

Of course, we didn’t have much of a choice this year. Sitting in the marina was a far cry from our grand plans of cruising in Borneo and the Philippines, but it’s great peace of mind to have worked through our engine troubles.

Pulling out of Puteri Harbour a couple of days ago was an incredible, liberating feeling. Being on the move again, listening to water swish along the hull, feels SO GOOD! Sailing would have been cathartic, but there wasn’t  wind to work with. On the other hand, we needed the all-out long motoring days to test the engine. It passed: no overheating, and the coolant levels remained perfect. FINALLY.

Anchoring off islands in the Strait of Malacca, a weight is lifted. The call to prayer echoes from a mosque as our home once more rocks gently, lulling us to sleep. The sun sets behind the Liberty 458 Solstice, followed by a spectacular full  moon in brilliant jack o’lantern orange, reminders that we’re back at the whim of the natural world instead of pinned to a manufactured one.

We’re now on a slow march northbound. Solstice is traveling with us, which aside from offering great company, means we get picture of Totem- that’s Bill’s picture at the top. Thanks, Bill, for having a camera ready during the five minutes we actually got to sail yesterday! OK, almost sail. Fine, we were motorsailing. But it looked good, and we picked up speed and fuel efficiency. Right? Well, at  least we didn’t have any of the infamous Sumatras, although the squall-dodging was “interesting” and some of the lightning too close for comfort.

Our days were uneventful enough to goof around with photos of the commercial traffic that’s on a constant flow along the Strait; our younger mermaid practices her tanker-lifting technique below. I start writing down the different destination ports showing up on their AIS data: Mumbai, Futong, Sikka, Nazira, Yangon, Columbo. Far off destinations, the kind that get your mind wandering.

You know about the five gyres, right? How much comes from this corner of the world? How much floats in? We see it constantly. There is trash around the boat, in volume, most of the time. I played with the contrast to pull them out in this photo…commercial vessels in the Malacca shipping lanes in the distance.

Then there was tanker under a Zanzibar flag, oddly parked outside the port zone, AIS turned off, small boats (with more crew than the normal local fishing boat) in close quarters. The ship didn’t answer when hailed by name over VHF 16. We’re not far from a major global piracy zone, and it stood out as odd, so Jamie reported it when we arrived in Port Dickson a short while later.

I’m grateful to the marina friends in Puteri who gave us an unforgettable sendoff. Gifts for the girls from the kids on Madrona and Capricorn Dancer. At departure, an alpine horn salute at the dock, and kazoos and pompoms from shore. Cruisers are a fun bunch! Seriously, though, the kazoo gets bit points for style and eardrum friendliness compared to an air horn (adds to list for boat inventory…).

 

Next stops: playing tourist in Malacca, Kuala Lumpur, and Penang!

Followers on the move know we love it when you read this on the Sailfeed website.

Volcanic Eruption and Shockwave in Papua New Guinea

Thu, 2014-09-11 11:09

This is something you don’t see every day while cruising along. Full story here.

Antenna masts: Edson Vision & more

Thu, 2014-09-11 10:00

Written by Ben Ellison on Sep 11, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

So far, so good. Finishing up Gizmo’s antenna mast was the last minute task before heading south, but nothing fell on our heads during the often lively passage to the Cape Cod Canal and around into Long Island Sound. Most of the new installs up there worked too, though we experienced a couple of very odd MFD issues that I’ll write up once I understand them better. For the time being I’ll just repeat a venerable adage: Do not rely on any one source of navigation information. Now let’s discuss the Edson Vision and custom mounting hardware I used for the antenna farm…

So Gizmo now has two antenna platforms bolted to the spreaders as well as a new mast cap, all custom made in aluminum by Maine metal wizards Rockport Steel. The concept is to get a lot of antenna mount options fairly clear of the steel shrouds without adding a lot of weight. By extending the cap in four directions I also got better positions for the LED flood lights and the two ultrasonic wind sensors, as well as a flag hoist further abaft the mast.

I also used an Edson Vision series six-inch mount to get the Flir camera a little higher and also to make it easier to install, troubleshoot, or (sadly ;-) return. My initial Edson order, though, wasn’t well thought out. Working through all the Vision options you’ll find at that link I got intrigued with adding a curved arm with a combination Perko LED steaming/anchor light on top. Above you can see the 10.6-inch plate needed to hold the camera as well as the light arm bracket. It all goes together nicely and Edson includes the bolts needed to attach camera and bracket to plate and then plate to mount, plus containers of the anti-sieze gunk you should use where stainless meets aluminum.

But when I saw the big plate and light arm in the flesh I realized that combining them with Gizmo’s peace-sign-like Electrotechnologies lightning inhibitor was too much. That’s when the Vision modularity — and also the great Edson service I recently wrote about — came into play. I sent back everything but the mount while they shipped me a 7-inch plate that matches the camera diameter.

Here’s the mast cap going together. It’s thicker (and heavier) than needed — I gave Rockport Steel lot’s of latitude so they could use material in stock — but I made lemonade out of lemons by tapping threads for many of the fastenings. It may have been a little quick and dirty to spray on Rustoleum Professional Aluminum Primer and topcoat but the paint certainly went on easily and seems to have adhered well. Time will tell…

Here’s the cap yesterday afternoon here in Northport, Long Island, about 330 miles down the road to Baltimore. Maybe I’ll get around to sawing off those bolt ends eventually, but then again maybe they’re a further discouragement to the birds who seem to avoid Gizmo’s mast anyway. Note the nice high view, which of course is available via the Flir or any pan-and-tilt camera.

As a bit of an experiment I had standard 1″-14 thread marine antenna base nipples welded on to minimize weight and hopefully improve the looks. You can see on the starboard platform that the idea worked fine with a Globalstar Sat-Fi antenna (I’m testing Iridium GO too), a WiFiRanger Marine, and the Wilson marine cellular stick. Some antennas won’t work with my scheme, though, like the Digital Antenna 695-3000 MHz Bullet below (first discussed after the Miami Show). It comes with that custom stainless base which has enough internal diameter to fit an LMR400 cable with an N connector. So you make the connection with the cable run through the base and then finish the install with those tiny screws between base and bullet, which is possibly tricky business when you’re up a mast. But then again I think the Bullet combined with a Wilson Sleek 4G cradle booster is partially responible for the very fast cell data connection I’m enjoying right now.

At any rate, we’re underway now and it’s just dumb luck that we’ll be going through New York Harbor on 9/11. You see where we are via DeLorme InReach satellite tracking and often via Marine Traffic. Rest assured that Gizmo will be flying more than the flag of Maine.

Click here to read comments about this Panbo entry, or add your own.

3 for 3 in 86

Wed, 2014-09-10 15:27

Paul Todd/OUTSIDEIMAGES.COM

Catapult-ed to the Top of the Standings
Opening Day Action of Inaugural J/70 World Championship. By Jan Harley/Media Pro

NEWPORT, R.I. (September 9, 2014) – It may have been mostly cloudy for the opening day of the 2014 J/70 World Championship presented by Helly Hansen, but one standout bright spot was the performance of Joel Ronning of Minneapolis, Minn. Sailing Catapult with long-time crew Victor Diaz De Leon of Venezuela, and San Diego sailors Willem Van Waay and Bill Hardesty – the latter the 2011 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year – Ronning drove to win three out of three races sailed on a lumpy Rhode Island Sound.

New York Yacht Club’s Race Committee started the 86-strong fleet in a 18-20 knot ENE breeze which moderated slightly over the subsequent two races. Between the strong breeze and the sea state – the swells did not subside until the tide change late in the day during the third and final race – competitors were given a healthy workout.

Ronning holds the lead in the standings with three points over local sailor Tim Healy (Jamestown, R.I.) on Helly Hansen who posted a consistent 2-2-2 for six points.

Healy, the current J/70 North American Champion, is sailing with Geoff Becker, Gordon Borges and Paula Abdullah. Having long been a dominant force in the J/24 class, Healy got into the J/70 because of the family atmosphere. “Everyone is willing to share ideas on how to sail the boats better and how we can make a stronger J/70 class. The competition is fierce but the focus for sure is to have fun racing and to make good friends along the way.”

Healy summed up the hurdles facing competitors who will be racing in Newport for the first time during this championship. “The biggest challenge will be figuring out how to sail the boats in the open water of Rhode Island Sound. The current is difficult to figure out (I am not sure anyone has it figured out) and predicting the wind shifts is also difficult. In early September we usually have good wind but it can come from just about any direction. Air temperatures can be anywhere from the high 50s to the low 80s.”

“Our biggest challenge will be to keep working as a team through the difficult times,” added Healy. “In a large fleet like this and on a big racecourse, there will be many difficult situations when we will need to stay focused on just getting up the course as fast as we can, and not dwelling on mistakes.

2013 BACARDI® Miami Sailing Week class champion Brian Keane of Weston, Mass., at the helm of Savasana, is one point behind Healy, in third overall, followed by Brazil’s Mauricio Santa Cruz on Bruschetta with 15 points. Rounding out the top-five is San Francisco’s Jim Cunningham on Lifted with 16 points.

The September 8-13 competition is being hosted by New York Yacht Club at Harbour Court, with regatta headquarters at Sail Newport, Rhode Island’s Public Sailing Center.

About the J/70 – The J/70 introduces a new dimension of fun, fast sailing in a stable, easy to own boat. A natural evolution of its J pedigree, the J/70′s 22-foot long waterline with high aspect, all carbon rig and deep, lifting bulb keel provides spirited performance and stability that feels like a much larger boat. Since its introduction, in March 2012, the J/70 has quickly established itself worldwide with 600+ boats sailing in 20+ countries. The J/70 Class was awarded ISAF One Design status in November 2013.

International Canoes and the Individual Touch

Wed, 2014-09-10 12:16

Here’s a class that holds a world championship every three years—only.

Here’s a class that’s not right for everyone.

And here’s a class that’s addictive for a certain few. Their newsletter is called The Sliding Seat.

Erik Simonson/PressureDrop.US has been following the action, hosted by the Richmond Yacht Club. There’s a “Richmond Riviera” thing going on, but the breeze has touched twenty at times, so everyone will go home knowing they have sailed on San Francisco Bay . . .

This video is a few years old, but if you’re intrigued, here’s where you will find the International Canoe story.

Maritime industry and safety at sea: infographic

Tue, 2014-09-09 20:20

I’ve been thinking a lot about safety at sea lately, as we get ready for next year’s Indian Ocean transit- waters that have a well earned reputation as dangerous to mariners. So when Bracken Foam Fabricators sent me this infographic on maritime safety, it got  my attention. (Mum, I promise we will stay away from any “piratey” waters, even though the trend is in our favor- as the graphic shows!) Thanks Max, for sending this along! When we make it to Ireland, I hope you’ll come visit Totem.


Safety conscious folks know we love it when you read this on the Sailfeed website.

Podcast: Chris Museler, Round 2

Tue, 2014-09-09 12:58

Chris Museler is back for another inspiring chat with Andy. Last they talked, Chris had just returned from an Atlantic crossing aboard HUGO BOSS, covering the double-handed race as a media crew for the NY Times. Chris explains what’s happening with all the video footage he took (it’s very cool). They continued to chat about how he got into sailing journalism, the big-time sailing he’s done competitively, and lots more. 

BLUE PLANET TIMES 2014-09-09 11:30:15

Tue, 2014-09-09 11:30

G’day. As many of you know, there was a press conference last night (I mean, today) in London (London?) regarding plans for the next competition for the alleged America’s Cup, allegedly held in trust by the Golden Gate Yacht Club of San Francisco.

The affair was attended by the skipper of the defending team, Jimmy Spithill, and the skippers of five challengers representing Italy, France, New Zealand, Sweden, and the UK. Apparently the organizational structure of the event does not presently support someone who could deliver a summary of events. Meanwhile, I have other matters on my plate and little interest in sitting through a video of the proceedings. I’ll find out soon enough. But for those who must have it now, here it is:

Of more interest to some of us, frankly, Sailing Anarchy today published the SFPD report on the death of Andrew Simpson (the Artemis breakup) along with a defense of its, shall we say, underwhelmed reporting of America’s Cup Progress.

Timing is everything.

I said that—Kimball

SINGLEHANDED CRUISING WOMEN: Liz Clark and Nike Steiger

Mon, 2014-09-08 22:32

Just because I’m aware of (and somewhat amused by) the fact that many, if not most women on cruising boats have been lured aboard by the men in their lives doesn’t mean I think this is proper or desirable. Au contraire. It is not nearly as common as I wish it was, but it is certainly not unheard of for women to sail boats of their own alone and unaided. Of course, we can all tick off the names of several solo women racers, but there are also a few solo women cruisers out there who aren’t nearly as well known. Everyone remembers names like Tania Aebi and Laura Dekker, but they gained their notoriety setting records. I bet not too many remember women like Julia Hazel, who built herself a boat and quietly cruised around the world on her own during the 1980s and ’90s.

Women like this are important, I think, because they serve as real-world role models for both women and men who aspire to cruise under sail–for women, because they demonstrate that women are clearly capable of sailing and maintaining a boat on their own, and for men, because they demonstrate it is possible to bring a very different mind-set to the game.

Two of the solo women cruisers I’m most interested in these days are Liz Clark (see photo up top), who sails an old Cal 40 called Swell, and Nike Steiger, who sails a twin-keeled aluminum Reinke Super 10 named Karl.

This viddy clip here, from a film called Dear & Yonder, about women surfers, gives a good sense of Liz Clark’s adventure. She was a top competitive surfer in California–the 2002 collegiate Women’s National Champion–who also had spent six months cruising Mexico with her family when she was a child. After graduating from school with a degree in Environmental Studies, she pursued a dream of skippering and cruising aboard her own boat so she could explore remote surf breaks and minimize her footprint on the planet.

Liz took off from California in 2005, has been cruising around the Pacific ever since aboard Swell, and has been blogging about it since 2008. In case you’re wondering about the “Love and the Single Cruising Girl” aspect of Liz’s journey, I recommend you start your perusal of her blog with this post here, which describes a disturbing relationship she got involved in in French Polynesia. It gives an idea of how courageous and level-headed she is.

Liz with her boat and boards, basking in the Big Blue

Another sort of aerial shot: Nike installs her homemade mast-steps

Nike Steiger is an entirely different story. She didn’t have the serious sailing and water-sports experience starting out that Liz had, but she still had a big dream about doing some cruising on her own. I wrote a bit about her last year, so check out this previous post to learn about her background and details.

I’m bringing her up again, because I’ve been faithfully following her YouTube viddy channel and continue to be amazed by her resourcefulness and tenacity.

In this installment here she tells about learning that Karl, her beloved boat that she has been struggling to prepare for sea for months, is badly corroded and riddled with holes that need repairing. She admits she’s about ready to throw in the towel, and if it had been me, frankly, I probably would have.

But she persisted! And in her most recent viddy we find her afloat and out of the boatyard at last, living the cruising life, about to strike out on a passage on her own.

What fun. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

1 Year. 25 Years. Remembering Blackaller

Sun, 2014-09-07 19:11

It was one year ago as of September 7 that race one of the 34th America’s Cup launched on San Francisco Bay.

It was 25 years ago on September 7 that Tom Blackaller died of a heart attack at the wheel of a race car. Being Tom, he got the car off the track and safely shut down, first.

And it was Blackaller who agitated for catamaran racing for America’s Cup, and it was Blackaller who told us, “If we ever get the America’s Cup to San Francisco Bay, we’ll show the world how good sailing can be.”

He was right.

Six-time AC competitor and two-time winner Brad Webb on Sunday took Tom’s daughter, Lisa, and her family for a fast-cat ride on San Francisco Bay. The boat, a ProSail 40 of a type that Tom raced in the 1980s, now carries the name Tomcat and on other occasions carries paying passengers on thrill rides not to be forgotten. This day was different, more focused, but also not to be forgotten. Getting under way, Lisa said, “My kids have never seen the Blackaller Buoy.” AKA YRA-16, everybody’s weather mark off Crissy Field. Later I watched Tomcat round the Blackaller Buoy, so I can tell you, that’s taken care of now.

BLACKALLER

I’ve had other occasion to recall Tom. It was the women, not Tom, who named him the Silver Fox. The first time I ever saw the guy, he was flipping a coin with Dennis Conner to decide who was the greatest sailor in the world, and it doesn’t matter how the toss came out. There were no concession speeches. In a history of his yacht club I wrote:

“He was larger than life, and there was an air of danger that followed him, like the danger surrounding the handsome, popular boy in high school who drove too fast and loved mischief; the boy that others followed because some part of them yearned to be that bold, that free, that reckless, that good.”

Tom would have been 74 now, had he lived. Lisa mused, “I wonder what he would have been like?” Leaving unspoken the thought that, like the rest of us, she cannot imagine an old, mellow Thomas David Blackaller. The Tom we knew had to go out like a meteor, leaving a trail of memories of things he had done right, and things he had done wrong. If Tom was no saint, he never committed the sin of being boring. Creating a bio for the National Sailing Hall of Fame, Roger Vaughan recalled the time that Tom finished dead last in an ocean race in Florida and deadpanned to the raised eyebrows waiting on the dock, “Oh, we stopped in Cuba for cigars.”

There also was the rivalry that carried over from Star boat racing to the America’s Cup, when Blackaller and Conner both took up the gauntlet of racing 12 Meters in Newport. And there was that night in Conner’s syndicate house when the fire alarm was ringing and sirens were blaring and Conner looked up at the anxious crew who had come to wake him and declared, “It’s Blackaller.” And he rolled over and went back to sleep.

And he was right, too.

Catamaran footage from back in the day . . .

Space on Tomcat being limited, additional guests sailed on USA 76, the Oracle Racing Boat that made it to the finals of the 2003 America’s Cup challenger eliminations, but lost to Alinghi, which went on to take the Cup. Both boats operate under Webb’s acsailingsf.com. USA 76, in particular, is out almost every day. It was a good day—Kimball

Getting online while cruising

Sun, 2014-09-07 10:59

How do you get online as an active cruiser?

On one hand, the prospect of cruising means freedom from the always-on, always-connected world. Liberating, right? It can be. But if you’re like me, you might get kind of twitchy. I admit: the first year was hard. It was used to instant gratification for simple tasks. Before long, though, we became accustomed to going without access, and changing the way we consume media to minimizing our use when we could get online.

At the moment, we’ve lucked into a great internet connection. Scoring a login to wifi from the hotel fronting Totem’s marina berth means we have a window of unlimited data on a pretty good signal. The options were suddenly overwhelming, and I posted a “what should we read/watch/download” plea to Totem’s Facebook page, because really, we’re just not in tune with popular media. Among the responses (great ideas, thank you!) was a question: how do we usually get online? So Andrew M., this is for you!

Hello, mobile world

This isn’t intended as a review of all options available, but a window into what we do- as cruisers who want to stay connected. What we do has evolved a lot over the last six years, and I expect it will continue to change with technology. For the last few years, we’ve gotten online almost exclusively by purchasing pre-paid data plans from the mobile network of whatever country we’re in. It’s easy to pick up a SIM card and a data package on arrival, and here in Southeast Asia, cell towers are nearly ubiquitous. With access to that network, it’s not a problem to get online just about everywhere.

You need to have something to put that SIM card in, of course. We use a small portable modem that creates wifi on board for multiple devices to connect. With a smartphone, you can turn it into a hotspot and use a single SIM to get both local phone and online access. Otherwise, a cheaper option is a dongle that just plugs into your computer. The modems are easy to find at retail outlets for mobile service.

What does it cost? The SIM cards are usually just a few dollars, and for about $20 in this region, we get a 30-day data package of four or five gigabytes. There’s no streaming Netflix or ESPN at that price (and often, at the available bandwidth), but it’s fine for weather, news, email, and a good dose of surfing. And, it works just about everywhere we’ve sailed from Indonesia through Thailand.

What about at sea?

When we’re at sea, or countries like Papua New Guinea where mobile networks are scarce, we use our HF radio.  With Airmail and a Pactor  modem, we can get weather from internet sources, pick up news, send and receive email, and update our blog, Facebook, twitter, etc. It’s text only- no pictures!- and the speed is excruciatingly slow, but it gets the job done. It is tremendous to be able to stay in touch from literally the middle of nowhere.

computer lessons on an island without roads, power, water, or a mobile network – PNG

Then there’s Wifi

In 2008, one of the last things we did before sailing south of the border was buy a wifi booster antenna. This was really helpful during our first year in Mexico, since we were often near areas with wifi signals (gringo tourists and hotspots go together) and if we stayed in a spot more than a few days, we could suss out a good network. Most are locked, but buying access directly or patronizing the host business translated internet at anchor later. Then, the Banda Ancha (broadband) service started. When you’re on the move, it’s easier to go with this mobile network service than hunt a decent hotspot when you move to a new place.

finding wifi at a restaurant fronting the anchorage – Mexico

The wifi booster antenna was really helpful for us in parts of the Pacific. French Polynesia had private services with coverage in popular anchorages. It wasn’t cheap, but it was internet access, and anchor in some of the most spectacular places we’ve cruised! I didn’t look into mobile broadband plans back then, and it might be an option now- but from what we hear, most boats do the same thing we did four years ago.

Atuona, Hiva Oa. Insanely expensive and slow, but hey, there was wifi!

In Australia, there weren’t any wifi networks to take advantage of (at least, not affordably) so we switched to broadband mobile. At some point the wifi setup succumbed to the marine environment and we took it down.

Don’t you have a satellite phone?

There’s also an Iridium phone on Totem but buying plans for it come at a high cost, so casual use just isn’t in our budget. However, we anticipate getting a data package before we head across the Indian Ocean next year. For now, we just charge it up once a month and then stash it back in a locker.

If I could add to our setup…

We’re thinking about getting a wifi booster on Totem again, although we haven’t decided yet. Data is relatively inexpensive around here, but I believe the costs and complications will hike when we’re in the Caribbean and Mediterranean. It could also coe in handy next year when we hop through a few countries more quickly than we have been lately, as an alternative to picking up a SIM. I’m also thinking about a booster for cellular signals, to get better use from local networks. For now, though, these are both luxury items that don’t fit in our budget.

Bottom line

If your habits today include streaming entertainment, online gaming, or other high bandwidth fun…there’s a change waiting for you when you start actively cruising! Unless you have deep pockets, the kind of access that’s a basic utility in most suburban homes will go away. If you’re in a country or locality long enough you can tap into postpaid plans that are more affordable, but then you’re probably not cruising anymore.  But for the active cruiser, it’s not such a big deal. You’ll have plenty of new ways to satisfy your needs, and that twitch will go away eventually.

Connected followers know we love it when you read this on the Sailfeed website.

  • facebook
  • twitter