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Good News, Bad News

Mon, 2014-07-07 12:19

By Kimball Livingston Posted July 7, 2014

For decades, sailors crossing between the West Coast and Hawaii have observed a steady increase in “stuff” that doesn’t belong in the ocean. Of the three east-west races currently under way, the fleet farthest along is the Singlehanded Transpac that left San Francisco Bay on June 28. Those 20 boats are now grouped around the halfway mark, en route to Hanalei Bay. They got pounded for a bit, and becalmed for a bit, and now we have Brian Cline reporting from his Dana 24, Maris, “And just like that, the spinnaker goes up, there’s steady stream of garbage floating by, and it’s too warm for clothes.”

Good news, bad news.

On the morning race tracker (racetracker with a three hour delay), Al Germain was looking to be closest to Hanalei in his Wyliecat 30, Bandicoot. He was one of a notable handful of skippers in the southern group who took a right turn overnight to work back closer to the rhumb line.

With the “cruising” division of the Pacific Cup one day at sea, marine weather pro Lee Chesneau delivered the second of his briefings on Monday morning—electronically, via phone and internet—and delivered a generally thumbs-up prospect for further starts continuing this week from a line on the San Francisco cityfront.

There is a developing gale in play, close to the coast and driven by conditions inland, but forecasts top out at 30 knots, with the biggest winds to the north of the Gate and the fleet, of course, digging south and west. Small craft advisories remain in effect through Jult 8. Zipping past a lot of detail that navigators will have to consider as they position their boats, depending upon speed, speed potential, and starting dates, there is a pretty nice High forming up, a little to the west of its ideal position at 140° west but slipping east as time gets along. At this point, nothing south of 30° north has any forecast below 15 knots, but it could be a “choppy ride” for a while, Chesneau said, with a southerly swell dominating northwest waves.

Down Mexico way, “The remnants of Douglas do not have a future,” so once again, Pacific crossings seem to be dodging the threat of the statistically-inevitable tropical storm.

Today’s starters had the first “race” division (eight boats, including three Cal 40s) and the first of two doublehanded groups eight boats, including four Santa Cruz 27s) departing the St. Francis Yacht Club line at 1030 and 1045, respectively. “Today,” Chesneau said, “the farther out you get, the better the breeze. You have to get to the synoptic wind ten miles out and beyond.”

The good news regarding fog: You could see the bridge, just not very well, and not all of it.

The scene was so grayed out, I’m not sure which of the Cal 40s I have here, though I’m told it’s our husband/wife duo aboard the Green Buffalo . . .

On the ocean, more fog. The motto, we know, is onward, but lack of visibility adds challenges for all, especially doublehanders in small boats.

Starting from considerably farther up the coast fifteen entries in the Vic-Maui out of Victoria, British Columbia have had a slow start, but I believe they’ll see some breeze and plenty of it.

Here you can find the Vic-Maui race tracker showing all the boats south of rhumb, but still, with some different opinions as to how far south to commit. The C&C41 Turicum at 1912 miles to go is closest to Lahaina, but until the boats get into the trades and pick a lane, numbers like that mean very little compared to the news that Turnagain and Passepartout have been dining on freshly-caught tuna, the ultimate in sushi.

Landfall in Sweden (Redux)

Mon, 2014-07-07 12:16

In lieu of my recent arrival to Sweden today (I flew overnight from Newark-Oslo-Stockholm, and am going on one hour of sleep and four cups of strong Swedish coffee), I wanted to re-post this blog from two years ago when Arcturus made her first arrival in Sweden. It was an emotional moment for Mia and I (especially Mia), and it seems simultaneously like yesterday and ages ago.

Arcturus has spent all of last winter hauled out in Öregrund – we’ll launch her next week, and get back to living aboard for the remainder of the summer here in Scandinavia. No plans yet on where we’re headed, but stay tuned. I’ll be writing about it. In the meantime, enjoy this revisited post…scroll down for the photo gallery.

If you missed Part 1, click here.

If you missed Part 2, click here.

If you missed Part 3, click here.

Originally written in August 2012

August 11th, my last evening watch before we’d make landfall in Marstrand. I had one more dawn watch – 0500-0900 – the following morning. We were less than 100 miles from Marstrand.

It was easily the nicest day of the passage – blue sky, bright sunshine and shorts-and-t-shirt warm. A welcome reward after the ‘eventful’ night before.

On the evening of the tenth, I had predicted that the wind would die with the sunset and it did, in the middle of Mia’s watch (she has a knack for making the wind die). But before it did, it had kicked up a feisty sea. I was asleep on the starboard settee and the boat was sailing on a broad reach, the genoa on starboard and no mainsail. Earlier in the day a big wave slewed the stern round hard enough to disengage the windvane paddle (cleverly, Yves had designed a breakaway feature into the paddle for just such scenarios, or if the paddle were ever to hit a log or a turtle or something. Rather than break the paddle, it simply pops loose from it’s mount, and is held to the boat by bungee cord and an emergency piece of lashing line that normally just hangs loose when the vane is engaged). I hung off the transom to reattach it (see photo above).

When the wind eased off, the sea remained. Mia was sitting on the galley countertop and watched as a wave larger than the rest crested over the port stern quarter, filled the cockpit and cascaded down the companionway. I woke up with the boat pinned down to starboard and the splash having doused my sleeping bag. The water reached all the way to my head, which was facing forwards, and about amidships. It was nice out otherwise, so all we could do was laugh about it. I discovered later that the bilge under the engine was overflowing – the cowl vent over the lazarette had been open to the wave, the water filling that locker and the bilge.

An hour later Mia woke me again to furl the sails and start the engine when the wind finally gave up for good. The next eight hours and two watches were spent gripping the tiller and steering through sleepy eyes. The wind returned the next morning, around nine, and we started sailing again, fast, wing-on-wing, a welcome respite from duty at the helm. The windvane cannot steer when the boat is motoring until we get a tiller pilot to adapt it, so for the time being, we have to hand-steer when motoring. Otherwise, good old Sune the Driver has the helm in the lightest of breezes, so long as we ca keep moving. 

Mia had made some extraordinary almond-apple-cinnamon muffin/cookie things earlier that day. They were supposed to have been muffins, but without a proper muffin pan, they became more like cookies. The smell had woken me from my afternoon nap. I ate all four of mine (they were big, too) in on go.

North Sea – Aug 2012

Rain, fog and strong current as we left Inverness in Scotland.

North Sea – Aug 2012

Many oil rigs as we sailed across the North Sea.

North Sea – Aug 2012

Coffee break in the cockpit.

North Sea – Aug 2012

Message in a bottle half way across the North Sea.

North Sea – Aug 2012

“Sune the Strong” (the strong wind version of our wind vane) did a great job taking us to Sweden.

North Sea – Aug 2012

Mia sleeping while Andy is on watch.

North Sea – Aug 2012

Great sail across, here the jib on the pole and main on the other side.

North Sea – Aug 2012

Andy is playing with our new GoPro Camera.

North Sea – Aug 2012

Mia taking the helm

North Sea – Aug 2012

Sweden in sight, this time the Swedish flags get raised on our starboard side!

North Sea – Aug 2012

First stop: Marstrand, Sweden!

Marstrand, Sweden – Aug 2012

How you pay for your dock space… :)

Marstrand – Aug 2012

Andy and Mia out for a run around the island.

Marstrand – Aug 2012
The beautiful island of Marstrand.

Marstrand – Aug 2012

Refreshing swim after the run, followed by a 2 hr breakfast at the hotel!

Sweden – Aug 2012

Great sailing- great weather!

Island of Ven, Sweden – Aug 2012

Clint came visiting, together we explored the island of Ven by bikes.

Ven to Landskrona, Sweden – Aug 2012

Clint, who sailed across the Atlantic with us, had a great time!

Landskrona to Malmö – Aug 2012

Clint taking a nap.

Malmö, Sweden – Aug 2012

Pizza time…

Landskrona to Malmö – Aug 2012


Malmö to Visby – Aug 2012

We sailed under Öresundsbron, the bridge that connect Sweden and Denmark.

Malmö to Visby – Aug 2012

Andy up the mast.

Visby – Aug 2012

A 3 day sail from Malmö to Visby. Visby is a popular summer destination but as you can see, we had the harbor to ourselves (end of season)!

Visby – Aug 2012

Laundry Day!

Visby – Aug 2012

Windy day with 40 kt, those fenders have plenty of air in them!!

Visby – Aug 2012

To get us off the dock a bit, Andy kedged us off with one of the mooring balls. 

Visby – Aug 2012

A bit tricky to find someone who can fill our american propane tank. After a long hike, Mia found a junk yard that could do it!

Sweden – Aug 2012

The masthead on the main mast.

Sweden – Aug 2012

The Colligo roller furler we have for our big reacher.

Visby to Sthlm – Aug 2012

Great sail from Visby to Stockholms skärgård.

Visby to Sthlm – Aug 2012

Great shot by Andy from the top of the mast.

Visby to Sthlm – Aug 2012

Great sail as you can see! :)

Sthlm skärgård – Aug 2012

Anchored in Lindskär, our first stop in the Sthlm archipelago.

Sthlm Skärgård – Aug 2012

Mia enjoying a glass of red and a book in the Sthlm archipelago.

Sthlm Skärgård – Aug 2012

Arcturus, the bow is tied to a tree ashore, and an anchor is set from the stern.

Sthlm Skärgård – Aug 2012

Lindskär, our first stop in the Sthlm arcipelago.

Sthlm Skärgård – Aug 2012

The stove and folding table, great to use as a dish rack!

Stockholm – Aug 2012

Entering Sthlm, pouring down rain and no wind, not the entry I had expected.

Wasahamnen, Sthlm – Sept 2012

A 3 day stop in Wasahamnen, the island of Djurgården in Sthlm.

Stockholm – Sept 2012
Friends came visit us on the saturday and the family and cousins on sunday, great fun to show off the boat!

Stockholm – Sept 2012

Family day in Sthlm on Arcturus, a bit chaos but tons of fun!!

Stockholm – Sept 2012

Andy is eating breakfast as we are leaving Wasahamnen with the island of Skeppsholmen. in the background.

Stockholm – Sept 2012

To sail in to Mälaren, you have to go through the city of Sthlm.

Årstaviken – Sept 2012

Going through the city of Sthlm. This part is called Årstaviken, my favorite running spot in town.  In the wintertime, the water is frozen and you can run on the ice here.

Mälaren – Sept 2012

A great sail close to the islands on the way from Sthlm to Enköping.

Enköping – Sept 2012

Mias parents, grandmother and family friend AnneMarie visited Arcturus in Enköping. Unfortunately, the wind was strong so no sail that day. 

Enköping – Sept 2012

Mia’s dad Börje casting off our lines as we are leaving Enköping early in the morning. 

Västerås – Sept 2012

“Do it yourself” crane for stepping your mast.

Västerås – Sept 2012

Getting Arcturus ready for the winter, sails off and folded up.

Västerås – Sept 2012

Mia was the crane operator when we stepped the mast. One question when the mast was high up- how does it go down again?

Västerås – Sept 2012

Andy getting the mast down.

Västerås – Sept 2012

We found a mast cart and a storage area, hope it will still be there next year. :)

Västerås – Sept 2012

Gullbergs Marina in Västerås, ready to get the boat out of the water.

Västerås – Sept 2012

Very interesting travel lift.

Västerås – Sept 2012

Arcturus spot for the winter. Cover is now on and she is ready for the cold and the snow.

And then we made landfall. All of a sudden Mia announced that she could see Sweden, and our ultimate goal was in sight. The weather cooperated, sort of. It was beautiful outside, crystal clear and warm, but the sea was flat and there was no wind to speak of. Knowing we’d make it in by nightfall no matter how slow we sailed, we were content to tack the remaining few miles, making only a knot or knot-and-a-half. There was no sign of the wind on the water – it was glassy – but there must have been some air aloft, because we kept moving. Had there been any sea at all we’d have gone nowhere.

About two miles offshore, we stopped the boat (actually, the wind died altogether and the boat kind of stopped on it’s own accord), and we took bucket showers, our first seawater baths since leaving Ireland, and our first washing since leaving Scotland, five days earlier. You can never fully appreciate a shower until you go several days without one. Standing on deck in the warm sunshine, completely naked, and dousing your body with icy buckets of North Sea water is one of life’s ultimate refreshing experiences. After the shock of the first bucket, the next few are simply invigorating. The sense of cleanliness one gets after air-drying in the sun, shaving and putting on clean clothes is euphoric.

So we sailed the rest of the way into Marstrand, clean and fresh, physically and mentally, arriving at the crowded guest harbor late in the afternoon and finding a place among the holidaymakers at the marked

Gästhamn, with its friendly blue-and-yellow sign welcoming our arrival.

It took us three or four passes by the dock before we realized how everyone was tied up – bow-to on the floating pontoon, with fixed lines that hold the stern away from the dock, kind of like Med-mooring but without an anchor – and we took our place next to a big motoryacht and went ashore.

And with those first footsteps, we had made it to Sweden.

Do You Want To Build A Snowman?

Sun, 2014-07-06 20:11

My girls love the movie Frozen. They sing the catchy songs. They play dress up. They act out their own fanfic. But, when they play, are they Elsa and Anna? They are not. They are Elsa and Olaf. Because Indy has become obsessed with snow.

The last time Indy experienced a real winter, she was a year and a half old.  Stylish remembers building snow forts and sledding, but Indy was too little that year to do much more than get toted around in a fluffy pink snowsuit.  And she resents it.

“Mom, the next time we visit Canada, can we see snow?” Indy posed the question over breakfast.
I swallowed a bite of toast to stall.  “We can try,” I said.  “We’ll definitely be home for winter sometime. Just probably not this year.”
“Because there was no snow when we went there last time,” she said accusingly. “It was hot.”
“It was June,” I said for what felt like the thousandth time.  “That’s summertime in Canada.  I told you before we went there wouldn’t be snow – you just didn’t want to believe me.”
“I wanted snow,” she grumbled into her cornflakes.

This is where the rubber of I Like To Make My Kids Happy meets the road of I Hate Winter Because Being Cold Stinks. I can’t relate to her snow dreams. Yes, snow is beautiful. And I’d love winter if it were a two-week-long country-wide holiday, with ice skating, tobogganing, cross-country skiing and free hot chocolate on every corner. No icy roads, no shovelling, no -30 C days, no cold fingers and toes. Alas. But Indy doesn’t know any of that – all she knows is that snow looks like fun, and she is being denied that fun.

Indy is not one to be denied.

So she has been busy making her own winter. The Olaf costume. Little paper snowflakes.  Playdough snowmen. And she asks, and asks, and asks: when can we go see snow?

“How about at Christmas?” she asks.
“Sorry, I checked – it would cost a fortune to fly home.”
“Well, then maybe we can go to New Zealand.  They have snow on the mountains.”
“Maybe,” I say.
“When you say ‘maybe’, you always mean ‘no’.”
Busted. Time to shift the conversation. “Don’t you like the warm weather?  We get to go snorkeling, see turtles and fish…”
“Mom.  I get to do that all the time.  I want to play in the snow.
“How about you just play with the frost in the freezer?” jokes Stylish.
“Stylish,” says Indy severely. “You can’t leave the lid open.  That would kill the batteries.”
“Sweetheart,” I break in, “we’re just too close to the equator.  You’ll have to wait for snow.”
“There has to be snow around here somewhere.  Does Noumea have an ice skating rink?”
I try to picture a New Caledonian hockey team. “No, afraid not.”
“Are you sure?  Adelaide had a skating risk.”
“I know,” I say. “And that remains one of life’s great mysteries. They don’t skate here.”
“And there is no snow on these mountains,” mutters Indy. She makes a face. “I am going to find snow somewhere.  I will.”

I hope that, when the time comes, Indy loves real snow as much as the snow in her imagination. Who knows – maybe she will devote her life to extreme snowboarding or high-latitude search-and-rescue.

As for me, I’m going to enjoy the heat.  Any day I don’t have to scrape ice off the boat is a good day.
These days will come again.

Stanjek and Kleen Clean Up the Star Worlds

Sun, 2014-07-06 19:44

Malcesine, Italia – July 5th 2014

On Saturday, July 5th, the International Star Class World Championship was decided in dramatic style on the last leg of the last race. GER 8340 Robert Stanjek with crew Frithjof Kleen led by ten points going into the last race and held on in a nervy final race to become the new world champions and the first German world champion for seventeen years.

Clouds above The Dolomite Mountains and clear blues skies above Lake Garda provided classic Ora conditions, with 12 knots of warm breeze pumping from the south. The first Saturday in July meant plenty of windsurfers and kite boarders out on the lake and sky divers forming arial acrobatics riding the thermal wind from Mount Baldo. Hundreds of spectators watched the drama unfold from the pristine Lake Garda beaches and thousands more watched the action, via Virtual eye, broadcasting the event live for the first time.

Once again, the first start resulted in a general recall and the race committee hoisted the Black Flag for restart. Nine boats were still over, resulting in their disqualification and yet another general recall. Third time lucky, the fleet got away clear with ITA 8491 Diego Negri with crew Sergio Lambertenghi making the best start showing great pace on the first upwind leg. GER 8340 Stanjek/Kleen made a conservative start but failed to get into good pressure and slipped back to 16th position. GRE 8434 Emilios Papathanasiou with crew Antonis Tsotras rounded the first windward mark with a significant lead. In second place at the top mark, ITA 8491 Negri/Lambertenghi played the shifts well to take the lead at the first bottom mark, as did NOR 8317 Eivind Melleby with crew Bruno Prada. By the end of the third leg three teams were in the hunt for the world championship. ITA 8491 Negri/Lambertenghi. NOR 8317 Melleby/Prada and GER 8340 Stanjek/Kleen.

In clear air, ITA 8491 Negri/Lambertenghi extended their lead on the water and finished the race well ahead of the fleet but a win in the last race was not enough. NOR 8317 Melleby/Prada showed spectacular speed on the last downwind leg, overtaking GRE 8434 Papathanasiou/Tsotras and attacked SUI 8364 Flavio Marazzi with crew Anouk Marazzi. The two teams crossed the line overlapped but the Marazzi husband and wife team was just ahead by barely one metre. Meanwhile GER 8340 Stanjek/Kleen were in a desperate struggle to secure the world championship title and with a last gasp effort, the German team moved up to 12th, enough to win the International Star Class World Championship by two points. ITA 8491 Negri/Lambertenghi were second on countback from NOR 8317 Melleby/Prada.

GER 8340 Stanjek/Kleen became the fourth German pair to lift one of sailing’s most prestigious trophies after: Kuhweide/Meyer in 1972, Hagen/Hoesch in 1981 and Hagen/Ferreira in 1997.

“We made a mistake on the first beat and put ourselves under a lot of pressure.” Admitted Frithjof Kleen. “The first downwind leg was very one sided and we had little opportunity to make any gains but a good second beat put us back in contention but we really didn’t know the overall position on the final downwind leg, so we concentrated on taking 12th position, which we thought would be enough. We dared not believe it when we crossed the line but when were told that our provisional result had been enough, we were so delighted. We came second in 2011, so to win this year has finished that feeling.”

The official Prize Giving was held at the Fraglia Vela Malcesine, shoreside at Lake Garda, which had provided a stunning venue for the regatta, which will go down in history as one of the closest contests in the 92 editions of the International Star Class World Championship.

2014 International Star Class World Championship final results:

# number name pts 1 2 3 4 5 6
1 GER 8340 Stanjek/Kleen 25 1 6 -43 2 4 12
2 ITA 8491 Negri/Lambertenghi 27 -16 2 5 12 7 1
3 NOR 8317 Melleby/Prada 27 4 11 7 -14 2 3
4 USA 8465 Diaz/Baltins 30 6 -10 10 6 1 7
5 BRA 8398 Fuchs/Seifert 40 -27 4 4 10 8 14
6 USA 8320 Szabo/Natucci 42 (bfd) 7 12 1 9 13
7 GRE 8434 Papathanasios/Tsotras 43 2 24 8 -27 5 4
8 CRO 7287 Arapov/Sitic 44 -39 3 15 7 14 5
9 BRA 8210 T. Grael/de Almeida 44 -26 19 9 4 6 6
10 GER 8442 Polgar/Koy 44 -15 8 6 11 11 8

DIY: essential oils on board

Sun, 2014-07-06 07:04

We try to keep life simple on Totem: if we can make something ourselves, that’s always a better option than buying. Less waste is created, something on board is usually reused, and there’s probably more cash in our pockets.

A lot of the everyday things I use have been made with essential oils. Because, hey, if you can also make something smell really good, well, wouldn’t you?  This is easy to do with lotion, basic cleaners, heavier duty scrubs, polish, laundry, and just to  make our living space mmmmmmm good. Essential oils work around our sensitivities to commercial fragrance: Jamie and Siobhan have skin that reacts to chemical additives, and most perfume just gives me a sneezy headache. Essential oils keep us smelling sweet without ill effects.

my bin of lotion ingredients with a few favorite essential oils

It’s sensible boat living, too. Carrying the basic ingredients to make lotion and cleaners instead of buying them is easier on provisioning, generally saves space, and means you can have what you want / when you want it.

There are a myriad of ways essential oils get used on board (for a great list, see Windtraveler). Start small to keep it achievable. I’ve listed our primary uses below, organized by scent types to help break it down. A good starter kit would include one or two from each of these. Try a few, mix them up a little, follow your nose and see what sticks.


lemon, sweet orange, or grapefruit

Boat cleaning: I especially like these in cleaners, and their bright aroma brings a great clarifying smell. A shaker of baking soda is an all purpose scrub for the heads and galley; a few drops of sweet orange oil mixed in make it smell amazing. For simple wood polish, a few drops of a lemon essential oil mixed with olive oil is simple and good.

Seasickness: nausea can also be addressed with the sharp tang of citrus. I learned during extended bouts of “morning” sickness that a few drops of grapefruit oil on a cloth to sniff can help set an upset stomach right.


lavender, rose geranium, jasmine

Making lotion: I always always always use rose geranium in lotion. To keep it from being too flowery, I’ll often mix in a little something else; see what works for you.

Calming / getting to sleep: lavender is wonderfully relaxing. A little lavender oil in a diffuser (or sprinkled on a cloth) helps get little people (or their parents) off to sleep. Mix lavender with rose, and you get what I call Spa Smells… that whiff you get in a plush day spa or salon!


Cinnamon, clove

Holiday goodness: Clove is one of my favorites for seasonal aromas. When December rolls around, I put THAT in a diffuser and feel the Christmas! Balsam cedar does the same thing, transporting me to our old chilly climate life and cedar boughs on the mantle… but clove wins for multiple uses on board. Besides smelling great, it’s a topical analgesic and medical kit backup for tooth pain.

Fight bugs! Cinnamon oil is a great way to deal with ants, which have occasionally given us some annoyance on board. A few drops in a spot they traverse can help keep them away. My basic wipe down spray is a 50/50 mix of water and vinegar, and adding cinnamon before using that to wipe down the pantry abates the problem.


Tea tree, pine, eucalyptus

Fight the other kind of bugs! These oils have antibacterial and antiviral properties. I add them to homemade antiseptic cleaning sprays (a mix , and always put tea tree into lotions I made  for skin flared up with eczema. Eucalyptus and tea tree diluted in a spray make a great smelling wipe-down for things that get a little extra grunge… like my yoga mat. Ew.

making lotion with a small helper

It’s tempting to start with a raft of different oils, but start small and get used to where and how you use them. A little bit lasts for a very long time! They DO need to be used with care; Crunchy Betty has an excellent read on proper use.

People who read this on the Sailfeed website smell really, really good.

“21st Century Waterways” — have your say about the Future of Navigation in the USA

Fri, 2014-07-04 19:20

Written by Ben Ellison on Jul 4, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Hurricane Arthur is putting a damper on Fourth of July celebrations even up here in Maine. The fireworks were canceled yesterday, our family lobster dinner is postponed, and the gale watch that went up this morning may mean I’ll be minding Gizmo tonight. But once again knee-jerk criticism of weather forecasting is not standing up to reality, specifically the work of NOAA’s National Hurricane Center. Arthur made a slight left turn last night, hence the gale watch, but remains darn close to the track forecast days ago. What’s more, the NHC not only distributes voluminous detail about the science behind their forecasts, but also a running graphic tally of how their forecast and the underlying computer models compare to the storm’s actual track. No doubt some boaters will still get in Arthur trouble, but I’m also confident that the U.S. Coast Guard is wonderfully able and willing to render assistance. So what a perfect time for those of us in a dry spot with an Internet connection to spend a few minutes helping NOAA, the USCG and also the Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) to maximize their resources in the future.

In 2012 we first heard that the USCG was considering a reduction in physical aids to navigation and other initiatives that may make sense in a world where electronic navigation has gained a lot of ground on visual navigation. This apparently led to a recent series of “Listening Sessions” around the country, and now there’s an online Future of Navigation / 21st Century Waterways survey where you can share your thoughts. While the language in the introduction above is a bit stilted, “collaborative Federal Government effort to effectively integrate information to establish a framework that enables the transfer of data between and among ships and shore facilities, and that integrates and transforms that data into decisions and action information,” read a couple of times suggests a big vision, I think. And don’t be put off by suggestions that this survey is just for professionals; I believe that the USCG asked me to “spread the word/opportunity” on Panbo because they know that many readers are knowledgable recreational boaters.

I, too, will be interested to hear how readers respond to the survey and I’ll share a few opinions I came up with. First of all, I used this opportunity to plead once again for distribution of all the AIS data collected by the U.S. Government to the public. As much as I appreciate how much the Coast Guard does for us, I’m not sure they even realize that another division of DHS financed the Smart Chart AIS app system that could be a much better source of small boat tracking information if it (and related apps) could offer us the NAIS level realtime AIS monitoring. (I appreciate Marine Traffic, too, but volunteer coverage remains very spotty).

I also found a way to remind the USCG that they still have not extended AIS mandates to many commercial vessels running up and down the coasts. Many such vessels — like the Maine ferries, thank goodness — have voluntarily installed AIS but there are still many ferries, passenger boats, small tugs and fishing boats that can afford and should be regulated to adopt this valuable safety device. Heck, this impatient entry dates back to 2010!

What may get me in trouble with some readers, though, is my sense that some physical aids to navigation can be removed without significant harm to our safe navigation. But I think I came up with a clever trade off, suggesting that “the first dollars saved by reducing AtoNs should go to the rapid deployment of a secondary electronic positioning system, probably eLoran” (which is thankfully back on the table). Please take the 21st Century Waterways survey and please tell us your ideas for the future of navigation aids. Have a great holiday weekend, too, even if Arthur comes around.

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

Star Worlds: Pressure at the Top

Fri, 2014-07-04 14:29

Malcesine, Italia. July 4th 2014. Via

Today, July 4th, American team Augie Diaz with crew Arnis Baltins in USA 8465 have more to celebrate than their American holiday: Independence Day. In the pivotal, and ultimately dramatic Race 5, USA 8465 Diaz/Baltins won their first race of the 2014 International Star Class World Championship and after the calculation of a drop race, maintain a position in the top five of the overall standings.

As the 12:30 pm scheduled first warning time for Race 5 neared, the Northerly Peler wind began to die and the Race Committee was once again forced to postpone the Star fleet onshore. After one short hour, the Southerly Ora breeze had completely filled in and for the first time during this event, the fleet was all clear at the start. The intense battle for victory in Race 5 had begun with a drag race to the left shoreline of Lake Garda to avoid a foul tide. Italian team ITA 8491 Diego Negri with crew Sergio Lambertenghi and Greek team GRE 8434 Emilios Papathanasiou with crew Antonis Tsotras were the most successful in utilizing the favored, left side of the course and consistently exchanging the lead for the whole first leg.

Greek team GRE 8434 Papathanasiou/Tsotras edged out ITA 8491 Negri/Lambertenghi and rounded the weather mark in first place, however their lead was short lived.

American team USA 8465 Diaz/Baltins, with incredible speed and keen understanding of the current and wind patterns, attacked from behind and took a commanding lead. Throughout the following two legs, USA 8465 Diaz/Baltins continued to control the fleet until an unforeseeable 100 degree right shift shortly after rounding the leeward gate mark for the last time.

Several other competitors including, NOR 8317 Eivind Melleby with crew Bruno Prada and GER 8340 Robert Stanjek with crew Frithjof Kleen, received the new breeze just before rounding the gate and were able to take advantage of the right shift early by heading up the middle of the lake immediately after rounding. USA 8465 Diaz/Baltins lost all of their once 200 meter lead in a matter of seconds and fought hard to cover chasing teams NOR 8317 Melleby/Prada and BRA 8474 Lars Grael with crew Samuel Goncalves as the group sailed toward the finish line.

On their approach to the finish, NOR 8317 Melleby/Prada lead USA 8465 Diaz/Baltins by just a boat length on the port layline to the pin end of the line. Within the final three feet of the race course, NOR 8317 Melleby/Prada made an error in calling the location of the finish line marks and ended up missing pin end of the line entirely, allowing USA 8465 Diaz/Baltins to sneak in and take the winning gun at the last second. NOR 8317 Melleby/Prada was forced to circle back in order to cross the finish line properly, and luckily still managed to place second. Brazilian team BRA 8474 Grael/Goncalves finished in a respectable third place.

As the 92nd edition of the International Star Class World Championship progresses onto Race Day 6 tomorrow, the final race day in the series, German team Robert Stanjek and Frithjof Kleen in GER 8340 lead the event by 10 points over second place USA 8465 Augie Diaz and Arnis Baltins. Eivind Melleby with crew Bruno Prada in NOR 8317 currently sit in third place overall with 24 points total, and Italian team Diego Negri with crew Sergio Lambertenghi in ITA 8491 and Brazilian team Marcelo Fuchs with crew Ronald Seifert in BRA 8398 are tied for fourth place with 26 points total.

Quote of the Day:
Augie Diaz, Race 5 Winner “We are fast at the moment and that means everything in this fleet.” commented Augie Diaz. “It is difficult to put a plan in place when there are so many well sailed boats but when you get out in the front, you can stick to your game plan a lot easier. We will see how fast we are tomorrow but it is going to be tough to catch up Robert and Freda (nickname for Frithjoff Kleen). We will just try to have a good start and take it from there.”

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