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Women’s Match Racing at a Boiling Point?

Thu, 2014-07-10 13:54

By Kimball Livingston

“The first boat I can remember was a Vanguard 15 . . .

“When my dad bought it, he threw me right in there because he’s a big guy . . .

“Six feet, seven inches . . .

“And with his six-year-old daughter crewing, the mix was just about right.”

Meet Madeline Gill.

And I reckon her old man did OK. Madeline Gill is one of eight skippers racing this week in the US Women’s Match Race Championship, opening Friday at her second home, Oakcliff Sailing. Which is a story in itself. Which is part of Gill’s own story. Or as Oakcliff Sailing would have us know, “Before Oakcliff, there was no clear route from dinghy sailing and college racing to high-level keelboat racing. We train young, promising sailors in every aspect of the game, from seeking sponsorship to offshore navigation. Only at Oakcliff are those sailors taught the skills they need. Elsewhere, they’re just supposed to pick them up, over time.”

As Gill puts it, “The great thing about the Oakcliff program is that it doesn’t target people who know exactly what they want to do. Be a sailmaker, race around the world, run campaigns or whatever. It shows them things. All my life I had been sailing, but it hadn’t occurred to me that working in the industry was a possibility.”

Gill did her childhood sailing on the north shore of Long Island Sound. Later, at the University of Virginia, she was part of an effort that saw the sailing team go from nowheresville to qualifying for the Nationals. Of meeting Dawn Riley, Oakcliff’s executive director, she recalls, “Dawn has this thing she calls a mind map, to focus life goals and sailing goals.” With that focus and then that focus aligned, Gill’s next move after college was to go to Oakcliff, where she was introduced to the skills that are useful for skippering keelboats inshore and offshore. And she was beset with a fever for match racing.

“It’s been around a long time,” Gill says, “but match racing is up and coming in our time, right now. A lot of young people are getting involved, getting tour cards. When I was a junior sailor, the instructors at Cedar Point Yacht Club introduced me to match racing, but it wasn’t until my college years that I really got it, that this game is different from anything else in sailing. Similar, in parts, to team racing, yes, but not the same beast.” As the first woman to graduate from Oakcliff’s development program, Gill is aware that, among those getting seriously into the game of match racing, there are “not so many girls.”

And here she is.

“After graduating Oakcliff,” she says, “Jon Hammond and I proposed to the board that we create our own racing team and represent Oakcliff. As 212 Degree Racing — obviously, we chose the name because it’s the boiling point for water — we are responsible for setting our own course and finding our own sponsorship. To save money, when we travel, we recruit local crew. Fortunately for us, Oakcliff hosts the majority of match race events in the U.S. right now.”

Which brings us back to where we started, the US Women’s Match Race Championship for the Allegra Knapp Mertz Trophy. The competition will be sailed in Oakcliff’s Swedish Match 40s. Gill describes the boat as “a 40-foot keelboat that whips around like a dinghy. I think they’re my favorite boats. I grew up in dinghies, but steering a keelboat is just plain fun. These combine the best of all worlds. And there’s a lot of overhang behind the wheel station, so close crossings can be hairy. The Chicago Match Race Center has Tom 28s, which use tillers, and it’s probably a good thing that the two big match-race centers in the U.S. have boats that are very different from each other.”

Championship racing runs Friday through Sunday, with teams of six. With that many aboard, Gill observed, “The sixth person becomes officially a floater.”

Wisconsin’s Stephanie Roble, currently ranked #1 in the USA and #3 in the world, looks to be the woman to beat. Along with engraving on the Allegra Knapp Mertz Trophy, winning earns a slot at the open US Match Race Championship to be sailed October 3-5 on San Francisco Bay. The 2013 winner, Jennifer Wilson of Chicago, is not competing, but two-time past winner Liz Baylis will be crewing this time for Nicole Breault of San Francisco. Other past winners include names you know: Sally Barkow, Genny Tulloch, Anna Tunnicliffe-Funk, Cory Sertl, Debbie Capozzi, Betsy Allison . . .

The Molly Riley shot below depicts a men’s race, but for the record, this is the look of Swedish Match 40s. By Sunday, I would expect we’ll have plenty of images of women in these boats.

A DOSE OF REALITY

Madeline’s day job for the summer is coaching junior sailing at Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club (“near enough to Manhattan to be convenient, but a world away”), which goes full circle on her kid time at Cedar Point Yacht Club, where six-foot, seven-inch Harrison Gill is the 2014 vice commodore. Sponsorship is just not easy to come by, pending a few high-profile successes. Nor is certainty in life.

At the University of Virginia, Madeline studied environmental sciences—ecology, hydrology, geology, atmospherics—and she could be going back that direction some day. Meanwhile, that background places her smack-dab in line for the sort of conundrum so many of us face in one way or another. She relates, “Dawn set up a community collaboration session about how to tap wind resources for power. That led to discussions about offshore wind farms, and there I’m stuck. The ecologist in me wants to see us using what we have. The sailor in me doesn’t want to have to slalom through a minefield of wind turbines to race around Block Island.”

To quote a certain, late, great CBS anchorman, And that’s the way it is . . .

Unlocking the Ocean

Wed, 2014-07-09 18:51

Via Sailors for the Sea

By Paul Cooper, CARIS USA, and John A. Hersey, SURVICE Engineering

Smart ocean planning using crowdsourced data

The marine and coastal zones of the world host a growing number of overlapping and at times competing uses and activities. The commercial, recreational, cultural, energy, scientific, conservation, security, and other interests of these users drive our ocean priorities. These include the protection of life and property, securing renewable energy resources, developing and sustaining ocean productivity, supporting national security and of course ensuring its enjoyment by recreational boaters.

Smart ocean planning helps guide these priorities and creates a program that organizes the demands placed on the ocean by industry and individuals. Smart ocean planning is an adaptive, integrated, ecosystem-based planning process that uses sound science and good data. It is developed for analyzing current and anticipated use of offshore, near shore and coastal space (see Figure 1). In practical terms, ocean planning provides a public process to better determine how the ocean and coasts are sustainably exploited and protected now and for future generations.

Smart ocean planning provides the evidence to support plans for development in the most suitable sites for a range or class of activities. It provides the information that will reduce conflicts among different users, reduce environmental impacts, facilitate compatible uses, and preserve critical ecosystems. Some examples of successful ocean planning include moving shipping lanes outside of Boston Harbor to prevent hitting whales and protecting the coral reefs of the Florida Keys.

Limits on ocean research capabilities

Given the size and extent of the ocean, the limited worldwide oceanographic fleet cannot adequately document navigation and environmental hazards, especially in support of smart ocean planning dynamics. Over the past several years, the scientific community has begun supplementing the work of these ships with fixed sensors. In the United States, the National Science Foundation Ocean Observing Initiative and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Integrated Ocean Observing System are establishing permanent surface and seafloor installations that allow for constant and persistent monitoring of ocean processes. The drawback is that these fixed-location sensors are relatively expensive to operate, limiting how widely they can be dispersed.

Your afternoon on the water can support smart ocean planning

Every citizen in the United States can help with smart ocean planning by encouraging legislation that supports it. However, recreational boaters and those that work in the marine industry have the opportunity to also contribute much needed data, often using the sensors already installed on their boats.

ARGUS™ is a patented, autonomous, crowdsource bathymetry (the study of underwater depth) system that provides continuous, automated acquisition and processing of depth data. ARGUS™ interfaces with vessels’ existing GPS and depth-finding systems and automatically processes the information for both data aggregation and sharing across the web. Originally demonstrated as part of a NOAA research grant, ARGUS™ has processed over 100 million depth soundings from an international fleet ranging from 18-foot bass boats to 1000-foot commercial cruise liners. The wide spectrum of users provide representation for the maritime community in the ocean planning process, and provides valuable data in support of this process for areas that may not have been surveyed in decades.

The National Ocean Policy highlights the importance of stakeholder participation throughout ocean planning. ARGUS data helps track the uses of different types of boats in Baltimore Harbor and provides indications as to the current state of shipping channels. At right, a chart of Baltimore harbor.

ARGUS™ in action

ARGUS™ is being used to great effect in one of the busiest waterways in the United States, the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW). The Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net is an online social media forum focused on the ICW, and is a treasure trove of useful reports and articles provided by and consumed by ICW cruisers. The website informs others via chart displays, enhanced with access to information such as fuel prices, marina accommodations, and navigation hazards like misplaced buoys and shoaling. These reports are also enhanced by the millions of water depth measurements made by cruisers during their routine ICW transits, autonomously delivered and processed through the ARGUS™ crowdsource bathymetry innovations of SURVICE Engineering and CARIS USA. What was previously a fleeting number on a chartplotter screen, that may or may not have been looked at and interpreted, is now useful knowledge thanks to this pioneering partnership.

How do you know that data is trustworthy?

We can all appreciate the value of repeated measurements. If my boating neighbours and I consistently measure the same depth in a location, we become confident in that depth measurement. The concept of “trusted partner” development strives to advance the crowdsource bathymetry process by certifying the incoming data and maximizing the accuracy and utility of the aggregated solutions. This is being done through the application of ever-improving hardware and scientific expertise in the field of hydrography, fueled by academic interests in big data and information visualization. Continued development will soon make information gathered from crowdsource bathymetry better than the pre-1940s “soundings” that are the basis for the majority of modern charts.

The concept of trusted partners is the perfect complement to the limited availability of both ships and fixed ocean sensors, enlisting ships of opportunity from the maritime industry along with recreational boats, to collect a wide range of oceanographic and meteorological data. This is a powerful and practical approach that inexpensively leverages an unlimited, distributed workforce that frequents, as well as relies on, the marine and coastal zones of interest

The image at right depicts global vessel traffic, which is highest in the same coastal zones in which smart ocean planning is most needed. Leveraging these vessels, of which there are millions available, insures that mariners are involved in an ocean planning process that is based on scientific measurements rather than uninformed policies.

More opportunities

Very localized weather and other environmental data from this worldwide ocean-going fleet can also be input to weather models or used for confirming the data supplied by satellite systems. Better forecasting combined with real-time dissemination to the vessel bridge will provide safest routing as vessels negotiate ocean storms. Additionally, real-time updates from the ship ahead can provide following vessels with advance warning of conditions.

Trusted partnerships are self-enabling opportunities for industry to not only collectively reap the benefit of each other’s measurements, but also to collectively influence longer-term smart ocean planning with trusted data. Industry’s contributions are matched by scientists, researchers, and the public at large, to complete the partnership. Making involvement in trusted partnerships a part of a company’s corporate social responsibility policy demonstrates a theme of contributing to society. Such responsible companies are generally welcome neighbors and are looked upon favourably by local consumers and environmental advocates.

The most effective ocean planning will come from a mature and growing marine spatial data infrastructure of traditional data sources complemented by trusted partners contributing to the greater purpose. Such partnerships will speed progress toward better environmental management, and provide for unprecedented sharing of information and costs across the base of ocean users.

About the Authors

Paul R. Cooper – CARIS USA
Mr. Cooper is the Vice President of CARIS USA and the current President of the Hydrographic Society of America. He is also Vice President of the U.S. National Section of the Pan American Institute of Geography and History and a board member of the Mid Atlantic Regional Association Coastal Ocean Observing System (MARACOOS).

John A. Hersey – SURVICE Engineering
Mr. Hersey is the Research and Technology Team Leader for SURVICE’s Applied Technology Operation, focused on the development of innovative solutions to meet the requirements of Federal and commercial customers.

The Next Big Thing

Wed, 2014-07-09 13:32

What is it about a full decade of striving?

It took Richard Jenkins a full decade of building and redesigning and rebuilding and rolling the dice to set his landsailing speed record of 126.2 knots.

It took Paul Larsen a decade and change to set his 500-meter water record at 65.45 knots with Sailrocket 2, a name that does not reflect the umpteen iterations, crashes, pratfalls and redesigns to both of the Sailrocket platforms over the years. Larsen learned very well what it means to go airborne in a machine that does not fly, and does not have a “landing” protocol. (Video)

What of the next decade? Below, Paul looks back upon the “brilliant, unrestricted canvas” that he faced in setting a 500-meter record—that’s Sailrocket 2 depicted to the right—and he thinks forward to the next big thing, an extrapolation of the same concept, He’s fishing for funding for a next-generation ocean-going speedster, and I don’t mind giving some free publicity to a man who has proved his mettle and then some.

Wed, 9 Jul 14
The Sailrocket team have been developing their concepts for an offshore sailing boat which utilizes the innovation that helped them smash the outright world speed sailing record. They believe the craft they are working on can re-define what high performance wind driven boats can do across the oceans of the world.

In November 2012, the Sailrocket speed sailing programme* delivered on 11 years of dedicated work. Whilst the last run stunned the sailing world, the deep satisfaction within the team came from the fact that the run proved not only that their theories were sound and the numbers were good… but that they, as a team, could turn them into reality.

Although speed sailing provided a great environment to demonstrate both the innovative concepts and the teams potential, the next challenge should be to demonstrate its practical application.

Whilst they will reference today’s benchmark boats, the team is looking much further down the track. They believe that these proven concepts can be used to make faster, more stable craft that can be practically sailed from A to B in the broad range of conditions you can expect to find offshore.

Paul Larsen – Our passion with sailing goes beyond just a sporting pursuit. We have a deep fascination to see what is possible with the forces of wind and water. Speed sailing offered us a brilliant unrestricted canvas. We were free to use whatever designs we figured could best get the job done. We chose a concept that could take on the challenges of the future rather than just aiming at the standards of the day. Whilst the boats we created were pretty impractical one trick ponies, they did a great job of proving a point. We learnt a lot more than just how to go fast. We know the core concepts that yielded such a huge jump in outright speed are also very efficient, stable and scalable. We know how they can be applied to ocean crossing yachts for similar gains.

After finally achieving such a long sought after goal, I personally wondered if I could muster the energy and motivation to go again. I gave myself time to let the answer come naturally. I looked around at what was out there and realised that there is so much to be done and that we are perfectly placed to take it on. Ideas that had been pushed to the side in pursuit of outright speed came flooding back. Ideas became drawings and drawings became working models. We started putting numbers into our well refined velocity prediction programs (VPP’s) and the ones that came back out are very exciting. They represent a big jump forward on many levels and I can’t ignore them. I sat there with the first scale model of Sailrocket 2 on my living room floor. Next to it was the bigger model of our next concept. We had lived and breathed every detail of turning that first model into full-scale, 65+ knot reality and it thrilled me to think that we could do the same with the new numbers on the bigger one.

On one hand it is still just a model and a concept… and a bunch of numbers in a VPP… but what it really represents is much more than that. It’s a road that beckons. On a personal level, the value of our last success was way more than the rush of the final ride or the name on the certificate that hangs on the wall. It was the thrill of the chase that we lived with every day. It was the feeling that every day we were closer to making a better world. That is what we crave and that is why when we climb one mountain we look for another.

A large part of the challenge ahead will be in navigating the path between what is theoretically possible and what is practically achievable. Whilst we need to take bold steps, they need to be done in a manner that allows logical progression. This cannot be a simple leap of faith. We have good reason to believe that the new craft provides the perfect platform to do this. It aims to be all round fast in all the conditions you can expect to encounter at sea… with a few big tricks up its sleeve. The project will be structured in a manner that gives our choices the best chance to demonstrate their merits… and then demonstrate them in the most convincing way possible.

The main purpose of sharing our plans now is because we need to find partners whose passion can help carry the burdens of the journey ahead. On one hand I would prefer to keep developing the concept in secrecy but the fact is that we now need the resource that others can bring. We have no doubt that there are people out there we have never met who understand and would like to share our journey.

It will take time, money and patience to get where we are going. Our team can only bring so much to the table however we know there are individuals and companies out there who are as keen as us to take on the responsibility of the future and make it happen… not wait for someone else to maybe do it one day. We need to connect with them.

The response we got for our speed sailing achievement was very emotive. The respect and offers of support from people we have the utmost admiration for was humbling. I realised that this journey we are on can be a fantastic focal point for a lot of very talented people to do what they are really passionate about. This will be difficult and our resolve will be tested. We need to do our homework very carefully and choose well who we travel with.

For now we will hold back on the specific targets we are aiming at and what the full-scale craft will actually look like. We need to have more in place before either is revealed. We know already what we are proposing is possible. The journey we are offering is to be the ones to make it real.

*Sailrocket 2 currently holds the outright world speed sailing record at 65.45 knots. She is designed and structured to go much faster. The project has no further sponsorship obligations and remains an ideal platform to develop the next generation of high speed foils.

Yves Gelinas, French Solo Sailor, Cape Horn Windvane designer, on the Podcast

Wed, 2014-07-09 08:16

Here’s another rerun from Two Inspired Guys…new episode out this Friday, July 11!

Yves Gelinas of Cape Horn Marine Products was on the show last year, coming to us from his office on the Ottawa River in Quebec. Andy was in Sweden and Ryan in Pittsburgh, so it’s the first three-country podcast! Yves is a wonderful guy, a solo sailor, artist, inventor and businessman who gave up a successful career in filmmaking to pursue his dreams of sailing. In 1983 he completed production on ‘With Jean du Sud Around the World’, the film account of his solo circumnavigation via the Roaring Forties. The film won numerous awards following it’s release, and is still considered by many as the finest sailing film ever produced. Yves discussed that project with us, his philosophy on art, life and sports, and how he got into the business of designing and producing the Cape Horn windvane self-steering system. Check out www.capehorn.com to learn more about that and to contact Yves. Thanks Yves!

Chicago Dropped from AC Venue List

Tue, 2014-07-08 16:19

By Kimball Livingston Posted July 8, 2014

If you’re shocked, you’re probably from Chicago.

The America’s Cup Event Authority today announced that it has winnowed its AC35 venue candidates from three to two, with Chicago out, Bermuda and San Diego still in the running.

That’s Bermuda in the pic above. San Diego below . . .

Gilles Martin-Raget/ACEA

The release did not include a pic of Chicago.

San Francisco partisans who wonder if this might be, perhaps, strong-arm negotiating toward an eventual deal with the 2013 host city will no doubt continue to wonder.

Please do not call.

I’ll let the official voices pick it up from here.

The island of Bermuda and the city of San Diego have been shortlisted as potential host cities for the 35th America’s Cup.

Chicago, which had also been under consideration, is now a likely venue for America’s Cup World Series racing in 2015 and 2016.

“Both Bermuda and San Diego have made very compelling cases to be the host for the next America’s Cup,” said Russell Coutts, Director of the America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA). “We will be in good hands with either venue.”

Bermuda is 640 miles (1,030 km) east-southeast of North Carolina. It is known to sailors for the Newport to Bermuda race, as well as the Bermuda Gold Cup match-racing event, both of which have a long history of success on the island and a sterling reputation among sailors. America’s Cup racing in Bermuda would take place close to shore, within the Great Sound.

San Diego is one of only seven cities to have hosted the America’s Cup. When the Cup was previously held there in 1988, 1992 and 1995, the race course was far offshore, on the ocean waters beyond Point Loma. But if San Diego were selected as the venue this time, racing would take place in San Diego Bay, offering incredible viewing opportunities for spectators along the city’s waterfront.

To advance the venue selection process over the coming months, the America’s Cup Event Authority will work closely with both venues to finalize logistics requirements and commercial opportunities, as well as to establish the needed relationships with private and public entities to ensure a successful event.

It is through this process that the final host city for the next America’s Cup will emerge.

“We are now able to focus on two venues that are motivated and enthusiastic at the prospect of hosting the next America’s Cup,” Coutts concluded. “I’m confident that we’re on target to finish with a venue that allows us to achieve our goal of hosting an exciting and successful America’s Cup built on a strong commercial foundation.”

The host city for the next America’s Cup will be announced by ACEA before the end of this year.

Marinebeam: Ultra Long Range LED flashlight tested, MarineKinetix wind turbine admired

Tue, 2014-07-08 14:00

Written by Ben Ellison on Jul 8, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

You really should click on the photo above to see the higher resolution version. With my camera on a tripod I was lighting up boats and mooring buoys about 500 to 700 yards away (460 to 640 meters) with only an LED flashlight powered by three D cells. What’s more, the beam is so tight that I was able to do this testing without blinding myself or (hopefully) anyone who was on their boat in Camden’s outer harbor last night. The Marinebeam Ultra Long Range RLT Illuminator is an unusual and useful flashlight as is, but it also demonstrates a promising technology…

The Ultra Long Range flashlight is big at 13-inches long and it seems to be made well enough to take down a large mammal if used as a club. Marinebeam doesn’t make claims about waterproofness, but note the double O-rings where the big lens screws onto the body. The rubber-encased switch is on the tail end and cycles between full power, half power and a strobe function that would definitely get someone’s attention if your aim is good. The heart of the beast, though, is the little LED assembly you can see next to the batteries. It uses a technique called Recycled Light Technology (RLT) to multiply and collimate the relatively modest 300 lumen LED chip into a beam with a rated usable range of 650 meters, which might normally take 2,800 lumens according to Marinebeam’s detailed write-up.

The thick reverse fisheye style lens also has something to do with how far the Ultra can throw light, as shown in this collage. Without the lens, the flashlight at least appears to have a fairly normal conical beam, but apparently the lens works with the RLT to produce that highly focused spot. Note that with the lens on, even that bit of light on the table is not spillover, but rather reflection from the white board. Note, too, that the ability to collimate 300 lumens so tightly is why this flashlight can purportedly run 12 hours at full power on three fresh D cells. According to Marinebeam’s resident geek, Jeff Field, RLT is also why this sort of long range spot beam will eventually come out in smaller, less expensive flashlights and may also work well in a high-power, pan-and-tilt marine spotlight format (stay tuned).

I had fun trying to photograph the Ultra’s special properties. Above is another composite, showing on the left what the Ultra beam looks like once it’s 10 feet or more from a white surface. It’s square and so sharply collimated that you can make out the two tiny electrical connectors that slightly block the Cree XPG2 Led’s surface seen to the right (inside the Ultra). I believe that the black lines around the LED are the back of the reflective material that’s pushing high-angle, spillover light back onto the LED phosphorus where it becomes more light focused across the harbor. RLT was invented by Dr. Kenneth Li, who’s working with Marinebeam and other niches (like bike lights).

During a long conversation with Jeff Field, I learned that’s he’s not only a self-proclaimed electronics geek, but before Marinebeam he already had a lot of big industry experience sourcing technologies around the world. Now he’s built quite a business sourcing and/or manufacturing good marine LED lighting — like the running lights recently covered here — but there are other surprises if you dig around the site. He’s quite proud of the MarineKinetix MK450 wind generator, for instance, saying that while it does not involve any breakthrough technologies, every aspect of it has been improved over other turbines out there. In fact, Marinebeam claims that their generator “seriously outperforms the Air-X, Air-Breeze, Rutland, KISS, Superwind, and other much more expensive wind systems.” I like that sort of bold competitive claim, and the details seemed impressive to me, but I have no experience with wind generators. Anyone have an informed opinion about the MarineKinetix system?

Finally, I was also pleased to learn about “energy harvesting” switches from Jeff. Just your finger clicking the switch can generate enough power to send a wireless signal to a relay module, no cables or batteries required. Jeff is working with EnOcean technology and will soon offer a 12v marine module that can handle enough LED lights and switches for even a large boat and can also work with CAN, Bluetooth, and other interfaces. Demo video here.

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

MODERN MARINE NAVIGATION: Crashing the iPad

Mon, 2014-07-07 20:53

Having decided that part of this summer’s cruising program on Lunacy will involve a two-week jaunt over to Nova Scotia and back, it dawned on me that I needed to make sure I actually have charts for Nova Scotia. In the previous century, which really wasn’t that long ago, this would have been a simple process. I would consult my ever-growing stack of paper charts, discover I had no relevant charts, and then call the Armchair Sailor in Newport. These people were personally known to me, and I was known to them. I would say: “Hi! Howzit going? I’m sailing to Nova Scotia. I need coverage from Yarmouth to Halifax.” And two days later my charts would arrive in the mail.

No fuss, no muss. Alas, the Armchair Sailor is no longer, a victim of the Internet Revolution, and procuring charts is no longer so easy.

This is how the process runs now:

Step 1: Check the current inventory. Nope. No paper charts, and the chart card in my antique (read 7-year-old) Raymarine A65 chartplotter does not cover any part of Canada. But here! That Navionics chart app I purchased for my iPad does include Nova Scotia and indeed all of Canada.

Question: Is this all I need? Answer: Say what? I have never successfully navigated anywhere on my iPad, I can’t really read its screen in daylight, and its GPS receiver (if it has one; I’m still not really sure about that) can’t work belowdeck.

Yes, I know some people navigate exclusively on iPads now. But we know what happens to them! Take, for example, the sad story of John Berg, who lost his Nordic 40 Seaquel on the coast of Hawaii just last month. He was running an iPad with iNavX software, was approaching a waypoint outside a harbor, and… Whoa! All of a sudden the tablet screen was taken over by Apple, who wanted him to log into FaceTime and iCloud for some reason. No matter what he tried he couldn’t clear the screen, and next thing you know…

He’s up on the reef! Poor Seaquel in extremis

And they couldn’t get her off, so she was destroyed by earth-moving equipment and hauled off to the dump. Apparently, the boat was also partly looted by locals beforehand

No sir! I want paper charts, plus I want a Canadian chart card for my plotter, and maybe along the way I’ll practice with that iPad thing, which I have never understood, because there are no written instructions for it, and the only way to figure out how it works is through a long tedious process of trial and error.

Step 2: To figure out what paper charts I need I google “Canadian charts” and quickly find the webpage of the Canadian Hydrographic Service. Clicking on “Paper Charts” I am led in a few more mouse clicks to a PDF chart catalogue (see image up top, which actually represents only a tiny portion of the catalogue) that is very hard to read on a computer screen. After much zooming in and out and rotating this way and that, I at last extract the numbers for the eight paper charts I would like to have onboard for my cruise.

Step 3: Actually buying the charts at first looks easy. I press the How To Purchase button on the CHS paper-chart page and I’m led to a dealer-locator function that tells me the nearest dealer to me is the West Marine store in Seabrook, New Hampshire, just a few miles down the road from my home.

Brilliant! I call them up, read them my list of chart numbers, and am put on hold. Many long minutes later I am told the store has no Canadian charts of any description and that I should instead call this particular number at West Marine HQ and they will print out the charts for me and send them on post haste.

OK. That doesn’t sound so bad. So I call that magic number, again read out my list of chart numbers, and am again put on hold. Many long minutes later I am told West Marine doesn’t really sell Canadian charts, has no ability to print out charts of any description, and that what I really need to do is check out Bluewater Books & Charts in Ft. Lauderdale.

Step 4: I am familiar with Bluewater Books. They are the people who bought the Armchair Sailor in Newport and later closed it down. I have tried to buy charts from them before, with no success, so now I am getting wary. I check their website and see they do indeed purport to sell the charts in question, but that delivery for some of them may be delayed, which suggests an inventory problem.

Best then to call and see what the situation is. So I do that and, even before I get to read out my chart numbers, I am put on hold.

Many long minutes later I am still on hold, listening to elevator music. The people on the other end still have no idea why I’m calling. This, I remember, is what happened last time, and that I never got anyone to ever help me on the phone. So I press zero a few times, trying to get back to a live person.

That doesn’t work, so I figure I might as well load a shopping basket on the website while I wait. This turns out to be incredibly difficult. The system is very balky and cumbersome, there are many steps involved in locating and depositing each chart in my virtual basket, and in all it takes about 20 minutes to complete the job.

Meanwhile, I am still on hold on the phone. I hang up, dial the number again, and I am once again put on hold before I can explain that I have already been on hold for at least half an hour.

What the hell. Let’s just buy this stuff and see what happens. So I attempt to buy the eight charts I have placed in my basket, and at the end of the process I am stuck on a frozen page, with no acknowledgement that I have purchased anything. I know better than to press Buy again, so I wait about an hour to see if an e-mail confirmation comes through. Nothing comes, so I have to assume I have not purchased the charts.

Step 5: I resolve never again to buy anything from Bluewater Books for as long as I live and figure I might as well try Boxell’s Chandlery in Boston. Many moons ago I bought charts from them, and they were reliable, knowledgeable, and courteous. I find their website online, and though they do claim to have Canadian charts, and there is a mechanism for buying them online, I note the online shopping function looks positively neolithic and the site hasn’t been updated in seven years. So I dial their phone number to do a reality check. No answer. The phone rings forever, and there isn’t even voice-mail. I dial several more times over the course of the day. Same result.

Step 6: Having now spent a few hours on the problem without getting anywhere, I give up for the day. The next morning, however, I get a promotional e-mail from Landfall Navigation and am reminded by this that they too sell charts. I check their website and find a complete list of Canadian charts with no warnings about delivery delays.

I try loading a basket with my eight paper charts. It is a relatively easy process, and when I click Buy at the end I actually get an acknowledgement. Thirty seconds later another acknowledgement appears in my e-mail box.

Greatly heartened by this, I search their site to see if they have Canadian chart cards for my A65 plotter. Yes, they do! So I plop that in another shopping basket, along with a Canadian tide-table book and a copy of the 2014 Nautical Almanac, press Buy again, and again receive appropriate acknowledgements.

Step 7: Four days later I have received no follow-up notice from Landfall telling me my items have shipped, so (with some trepidation) I try calling them on the phone. Bingo! I’m talking to a human within seconds, and they don’t put me on hold. What a thrill that is.

What I learn is that three of my paper charts, the tide tables, and the almanac are not in stock and have been back-ordered. Hopefully they’ll be ready to ship in five days. Meanwhile, the chart card and five paper charts are good to go.

“Will I have everything within 3 weeks?” I ask, as this is when I plan to leave.

“You should,” comes the answer.

So here I am, keeping my fingers crossed.

The old Raymarine A65. I’m quite fond of mine actually, as the controls really are pretty intuitive, and I rarely need to consult the manual, which does actually exist. I have mine mounted below, simply because there really is no room for it in Lunacy’s cockpit. In the cockpit I just keep a paper chart handy and eyeball stuff with that, the old-fashioned way

An iPad nav display. It looks like a plotter, but isn’t. It comes with no instructions, and the software is often updated, so functions often change, which means sometimes you have to figure out how to use it all over again. And apparently you don’t have control of what’s on the screen; Apple does

During this arduous quest, I was of course asking myself, do I really need all this stuff? And I decided I do. I want it all–the paper charts, my chartplotter, and of course I’ll take the iPad and its charts. I might go without the plotter, if push came to shove and for some reason that card I bought doesn’t actually work, but I’d feel very uncomfortable going without paper charts.

As for poor John Berg, former owner of Seaquel, I should give you a little more background on him. He really does rely on electronics to navigate, as he is blind. Evidently all his electronics are rigged to talk to him. He did have one sighted crew member on board when he lost the boat, but apparently what happened was the two of them got lost in tunnel-vision trying to clear the iPad screen.

Mr. Berg, though blind, has been cruising his boat for 14 years and is highly experienced. To his credit, he takes complete responsibility for what happened to Seaquel

I should note, too, that Berg evidently wasn’t relying solely on his iPad. The story in Latitude 38 I linked to above says there was also a chartplotter onboard displaying NOAA charts, but these, for reasons not specified, “proved inadequate.”

I don’t know about you, but I’d sure like to know what that means.

PS: Berg isn’t the only one to have lost a boat due to iPad reliance. Please remember the story of the Swan 48 Wolfhound, which was abandoned (at least in part) due to a lack of iPad battery power.

PPS: The modern retail experience–and this is true of everything, not just charts–truly does suck. I could prove this by describing all I had to go through to purchase my current iPad, but that would be cruel and unusual punishment. I can only pray that this is only a phase we’re going through and that someday retailers will rediscover the concept of customer service.

PPPS: I nearly forgot to mention–I assume the trick to avoiding Berg’s fate iPad-wise is to turn on Airplane Mode while navigating so Apple can’t contact you. But would this also turn off the iPad’s GPS? Can anyone tell me that?

MODERN MARINE NAVIGATION: Crashing the iPad

Mon, 2014-07-07 20:53

Having decided that part of this summer’s cruising program on Lunacy will involve a two-week jaunt over to Nova Scotia and back, it dawned on me that I needed to make sure I actually have charts for Nova Scotia. In the previous century, which really wasn’t that long ago, this would have been a simple process. I would consult my ever-growing stack of paper charts, discover I had no relevant charts, and then call the Armchair Sailor in Newport. These people were personally known to me, and I was known to them. I would say: “Hi! Howzit going? I’m sailing to Nova Scotia. I need coverage from Yarmouth to Halifax.” And two days later my charts would arrive in the mail.

No fuss, no muss. Alas, the Armchair Sailor is no longer, a victim of the Internet Revolution, and procuring charts is no longer so easy.

This is how the process runs now:

Step 1: Check the current inventory. Nope. No paper charts, and the chart card in my antique (read 7-year-old) Raymarine A65 chartplotter does not cover any part of Canada. But here! That Navionics chart app I purchased for my iPad does include Nova Scotia and indeed all of Canada.

Question: Is this all I need? Answer: Say what? I have never successfully navigated anywhere on my iPad, I can’t really read its screen in daylight, and its GPS receiver (if it has one; I’m still not really sure about that) can’t work belowdeck.

Yes, I know some people navigate exclusively on iPads now. But we know what happens to them! Take, for example, the sad story of John Berg, who lost his Nordic 40 Seaquel on the coast of Hawaii just last month. He was running an iPad with iNavX software, was approaching a waypoint outside a harbor, and… Whoa! All of a sudden the tablet screen was taken over by Apple, who wanted him to log into FaceTime and iCloud for some reason. No matter what he tried he couldn’t clear the screen, and next thing you know…

He’s up on the reef! Poor Seaquel in extremis

And they couldn’t get her off, so she was destroyed by earth-moving equipment and hauled off to the dump. Apparently, the boat was also partly looted by locals beforehand

No sir! I want paper charts, plus I want a Canadian chart card for my plotter, and maybe along the way I’ll practice with that iPad thing, which I have never understood, because there are no written instructions for it, and the only way to figure out how it works is through a long tedious process of trial and error.

Step 2: To figure out what paper charts I need I google “Canadian charts” and quickly find the webpage of the Canadian Hydrographic Service. Clicking on “Paper Charts” I am led in a few more mouse clicks to a PDF chart catalogue (see image up top, which actually represents only a tiny portion of the catalogue) that is very hard to read on a computer screen. After much zooming in and out and rotating this way and that, I at last extract the numbers for the eight paper charts I would like to have onboard for my cruise.

Step 3: Actually buying the charts at first looks easy. I press the How To Purchase button on the CHS paper-chart page and I’m led to a dealer-locator function that tells me the nearest dealer to me is the West Marine store in Seabrook, New Hampshire, just a few miles down the road from my home.

Brilliant! I call them up, read them my list of chart numbers, and am put on hold. Many long minutes later I am told the store has no Canadian charts of any description and that I should instead call this particular number at West Marine HQ and they will print out the charts for me and send them on post haste.

OK. That doesn’t sound so bad. So I call that magic number, again read out my list of chart numbers, and am again put on hold. Many long minutes later I am told West Marine doesn’t really sell Canadian charts, has no ability to print out charts of any description, and that what I really need to do is check out Bluewater Books & Charts in Ft. Lauderdale.

Step 4: I am familiar with Bluewater Books. They are the people who bought the Armchair Sailor in Newport and later closed it down. I have tried to buy charts from them before, with no success, so now I am getting wary. I check their website and see they do indeed purport to sell the charts in question, but that delivery for some of them may be delayed, which suggests an inventory problem.

Best then to call and see what the situation is. So I do that and, even before I get to read out my chart numbers, I am put on hold.

Many long minutes later I am still on hold, listening to elevator music. The people on the other end still have no idea why I’m calling. This, I remember, is what happened last time, and that I never got anyone to ever help me on the phone. So I press zero a few times, trying to get back to a live person.

That doesn’t work, so I figure I might as well load a shopping basket on the website while I wait. This turns out to be incredibly difficult. The system is very balky and cumbersome, there are many steps involved in locating and depositing each chart in my virtual basket, and in all it takes about 20 minutes to complete the job.

Meanwhile, I am still on hold on the phone. I hang up, dial the number again, and I am once again put on hold before I can explain that I have already been on hold for at least half an hour.

What the hell. Let’s just buy this stuff and see what happens. So I attempt to buy the eight charts I have placed in my basket, and at the end of the process I am stuck on a frozen page, with no acknowledgement that I have purchased anything. I know better than to press Buy again, so I wait about an hour to see if an e-mail confirmation comes through. Nothing comes, so I have to assume I have not purchased the charts.

Step 5: I resolve never again to buy anything from Bluewater Books for as long as I live and figure I might as well try Boxell’s Chandlery in Boston. Many moons ago I bought charts from them, and they were reliable, knowledgeable, and courteous. I find their website online, and though they do claim to have Canadian charts, and there is a mechanism for buying them online, I note the online shopping function looks positively neolithic and the site hasn’t been updated in seven years. So I dial their phone number to do a reality check. No answer. The phone rings forever, and there isn’t even voice-mail. I dial several more times over the course of the day. Same result.

Step 6: Having now spent a few hours on the problem without getting anywhere, I give up for the day. The next morning, however, I get a promotional e-mail from Landfall Navigation and am reminded by this that they too sell charts. I check their website and find a complete list of Canadian charts with no warnings about delivery delays.

I try loading a basket with my eight paper charts. It is a relatively easy process, and when I click Buy at the end I actually get an acknowledgement. Thirty seconds later another acknowledgement appears in my e-mail box.

Greatly heartened by this, I search their site to see if they have Canadian chart cards for my A65 plotter. Yes, they do! So I plop that in another shopping basket, along with a Canadian tide-table book and a copy of the 2014 Nautical Almanac, press Buy again, and again receive appropriate acknowledgements.

Step 7: Four days later I have received no follow-up notice from Landfall telling me my items have shipped, so (with some trepidation) I try calling them on the phone. Bingo! I’m talking to a human within seconds, and they don’t put me on hold. What a thrill that is.

What I learn is that three of my paper charts, the tide tables, and the almanac are not in stock and have been back-ordered. Hopefully they’ll be ready to ship in five days. Meanwhile, the chart card and five paper charts are good to go.

“Will I have everything within 3 weeks?” I ask, as this is when I plan to leave.

“You should,” comes the answer.

So here I am, keeping my fingers crossed.

The old Raymarine A65. I’m quite fond of mine actually, as the controls really are pretty intuitive, and I rarely need to consult the manual, which does actually exist. I have mine mounted below, simply because there really is no room for it in Lunacy’s cockpit. In the cockpit I just keep a paper chart handy and eyeball stuff with that, the old-fashioned way

An iPad nav display. It looks like a plotter, but isn’t. It comes with no instructions, and the software is often updated, so functions often change, which means sometimes you have to figure out how to use it all over again. And apparently you don’t have control of what’s on the screen; Apple does

During this arduous quest, I was of course asking myself, do I really need all this stuff? And I decided I do. I want it all–the paper charts, my chartplotter, and of course I’ll take the iPad and its charts. I might go without the plotter, if push came to shove and for some reason that card I bought doesn’t actually work, but I’d feel very uncomfortable going without paper charts.

As for poor John Berg, former owner of Seaquel, I should give you a little more background on him. He really does rely on electronics to navigate, as he is blind. Evidently all his electronics are rigged to talk to him. He did have one sighted crew member on board when he lost the boat, but apparently what happened was the two of them got lost in tunnel-vision trying to clear the iPad screen.

Mr. Berg, though blind, has been cruising his boat for 14 years and is highly experienced. To his credit, he takes complete responsibility for what happened to Seaquel

I should note, too, that Berg evidently wasn’t relying solely on his iPad. The story in Latitude 38 I linked to above says there was also a chartplotter onboard displaying NOAA charts, but these, for reasons not specified, “proved inadequate.”

I don’t know about you, but I’d sure like to know what that means.

PS: Berg isn’t the only one to have lost a boat due to iPad reliance. Please remember the story of the Swan 48 Wolfhound, which was abandoned (at least in part) due to a lack of iPad battery power.

PPS: The modern retail experience–and this is true of everything, not just charts–truly does suck. I could prove this by describing all I had to go through to purchase my current iPad, but that would be cruel and unusual punishment. I can only pray that this is only a phase we’re going through and that someday retailers will rediscover the concept of customer service.

PPPS: I nearly forgot to mention–I assume the trick to avoiding Berg’s fate iPad-wise is to turn on Airplane Mode while navigating so Apple can’t contact you. But would this also turn off the iPad’s GPS? Can anyone tell me that?

2nd-Generation Battles

Mon, 2014-07-07 17:24

USA & GBR take Gold at 7th World University Match Racing Championship

Posted July 7, 2014 via the International University Sports Federation

The U.S. crew skippered by Nevin Snow is the winner in the Open Category of the 7th edition of the World University Match Racing Championship competed on Lago di Ledro, the Alpine lake in Trentino, Italy. Despite the opposing team – led by the Australian Samuel Gilmour – who was the favourite of this WUC as well as title holder from the last edition in Nice in 2012, the Americans competed in a magnificent race winning the final.

“We have been favoured by optimal weather conditions”, said the U.S. Skipper. “We have captured the best wind, we went faster and reached the finish line first. The satisfaction of winning, fighting a sailor of the calibre of Gilmour is really great. Congrats to my crew, with whom there was a great team effort.”

“I have to recognize that the Americans have been able to sail with great speed”, commented Gilmour. “And theirs is therefore a deserved victory. Despite the second place, my crew and I return home happy. It was really an exciting Championship.”

The bronze medal went to the French team of Pierre Quiroga while 4th place went to the team of Japanese Ichikawa Kohel. The Italians of Valerio Galati, in the match for 5th place, lost competing against the second team of Singapore (Sean Lee), resulting in the 6th position for the host team in the final ranking.

In the Women’s Category, the gold was captured by the British crew of Annabel Vose, leaving the French headed by Pauline Courtois in second place, while third place went to the Brazilian team of Juliana Motta Poncioni, winners of the WUC in Nice in 2012. The fourth spot was for Singapore (Denise Lim). Fifth place finally went to the Italians (Federica Wetzl).

Student-Athletes from 14 participating countries (Australia, Brazil, France, Great Britain, Singapore, Canada, Finland, Germany, Japan, Poland, Turkey, Russia, the United States, Italy), involved 27 teams (19 in the Open Category and 8 in the Women’s Category) for a total of 128 people in this FISU Championship.

The next edition of this WUC will take place in Perth, Australia in 2016.

The Yachts of SF Bay

Mon, 2014-07-07 16:35

As seen in Marin Magazine, July, 2014


By Kimball Livingston

AMONG THE GOOD things in life are boats. They please the eye. They please the senses. Use the word yacht if you like. A yacht is any boat, great or small, meant for pleasure, and here too it’s often true that good things come in small packages. Little Freda is a case in point. Built in 1885 on Beach Road when Belvedere Cove still opened to the bay, she is the oldest West Coast yacht sailing, and we’ll come back to that.

Many of Northern California’s most beautiful boats are harbored in the county, but even those berthed elsewhere are part of Marin’s view of San Francisco Bay. They come for reasons we already understand: shelter, sunshine, panoramas. Rare is the San Francisco Bay cruise that does not include at least one passage through Raccoon Strait, and that makes for quite a parade.

There’s a strong boatbuilding heritage here. In the shallows of Hurricane Gulch in Sausalito, for example, you can still see pilings from the Nunes Brothers Boat & Ways Company, builders of the doughty little Bear Class sloops still with us, 80 years on, and builders of the grand schooner Zaca, which banking heir Templeton Crocker sailed around the world in 1930. Zaca later figured in the scandals of the actor Errol Flynn and today happily soaks up euros as a restored indulgence on the waters of the Mediterranean. Time marches on.

Back in the day, a sailorman could gaze across the bay and name any boat on sight. Every yacht was a custom build, probably a specimen of the woodbutcher’s art, and even with the occasional steel hull, there just weren’t that many. In the 1960s, fiberglass and deficit financing generated a population explosion, and plastic composite boats are good, very good, but the hand-built, hand-kept boat has an aura, and perhaps a soul, that cannot be punched out on a production line.

Read on for “Her Stories”

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

Clint

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.

Citrus

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.

Floral

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!

Spicy

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.

Astringent

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 StarWorld2014.com

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.”

Living With Less

Tue, 2014-07-01 20:38

Travel is an exercise in discovering many other wonderful ways of life.  Everywhere we have been, we have found something that we loved.  It is tempting to grab our favorite ideas from these various places and weld them into a sort of Frankenlife.  Cruising only exacerbates the issue, because cruisers definitely do things their own way.  And that’s all well and good – I’m comfortable with my TV-less, underscheduled, more-spontaneous life.  It’s only when you go home that you really get the reality check of How Weird Have We Become?

While I was home, I spent a day helping a friend sort through her clothes in preparation for moving house. I used to do the same thing every time I moved: cull the clothes you will never wear again, and pack them up to be donated. Everybody wins.

But as we got started, and kept going, and kept going, and… kept going, I started to get chest pains.

“Did you realize that you own forty pairs of pajamas?” I asked, pawing through a heap of nightwear.
“I do not.” She looked. “Huh. Well, I like pajamas, they’re comfy.”
“If you wore a different pair every night, it would take you more than a month to get through them all.”
“Well, how many pajamas do you own?”
“Three pairs.” I thought for a moment.  “No, wait, I’m lying.  Four.  Two for hot weather, two for cold.”
She limited herself to a nod and moved on.  (Whatever she really thought of me, my friend fell back on her Canadian politeness.  Sadly for her, I think mine fell overboard in Colombia somewhere.)

Business clothes, casual clothes, nice clothes, old maternity clothes (“It’s an insurance policy.”) – everything had a good reason to be in her collection. My friend is a sensible person. She isn’t a crazy spender. She doesn’t fall into the revolting, mysteriously-persistent stereotype of Woman as a shoe-obsessed clothing acquisition machine. Nonetheless, she had a crazy volume of clothes hiding in various closets and drawers.

“Did you know that you own twenty-eight bras?”
“Don’t count my bras!”

I’m not trying to pick on my friend, or anyone else for that matter. I realize this is just me experiencing culture shock. But I have to wonder, dear reader: do you know how many shirts you own?  How many pairs of pants? If you went to your closet and counted, I think you’d be astounded.  Like my friend and her pajamas, how long could you hold off doing laundry if you wore a different outfit every day?

Erik’s locker: actual size

And I was the same. I know I was. This is a photo of Erik’s locker, with a small fire extinguisher for scale.  He has three shelves, and freely admits he doesn’t need most of that space.  My locker is more than twice as large but, I also use it to store birthday and Christmas presents, spare school books, and all of our luggage. My clothing is allotted a space the size of a refrigerator crisper. So I couldn’t be a clothes horse if I wanted to – there is no room. A quick inventory shows I own seven t-shirts (on a descending scale of: “nice”, “work”, and “swimming”), three pairs of shorts, three long-sleeved shirts, one pair of pants, five bathing suits, a few dresses and two weeks-worth of undergarments.  I have three fleeces in a storage bag from my New Zealand days, and some wool socks my grandmother knit me for the same purpose.

Let me be clear: I am not sitting on my high horse, wagging my finger at people who own a second pair of pants, or even a ninth.  I know that my tendency to keep it small means I cut things a little fine sometimes. For example, I lost the seat out of my jeans just before we flew home to Canada. Knowing I could more easily replace them there than here, I just sewed in a massive denim patch and wore them home anyway.  Erik informs me this was well over the line of acceptable travel wear. When a man who spends his days in safety oranges tells you your sartorial choices aren’t up to snuff, it is probably time to listen.

Nonetheless, the experience of owning few things has shown me that I need few things.  I sort through our clothes and toys a few times a year, and always find things to give away.  We replace what we need to, but the pile doesn’t grow. Some of our travel-acquired habits may be questionable, but this isn’t one of them.  Boat life makes you ruthless about what you allow to share your space, and I’m glad we have learned not to acquire (or keep) things we don’t need – clothes, furniture, kitchen implements, stuff of all sorts.  My apologies for not helping to keep the economic engine running, but if I don’t need it, I don’t want it.

Hopefully I won’t forget that when I have a grown-up-sized closet again someday.

GARCIA PASSOA 47: French Metal Surfboard

Tue, 2014-07-01 19:24

Aluminum centerboard cruisers like this are not often seen in North America, but they are common in Europe, particularly in France. Garcia Aluminum, a highly respected French builder, now reorganized as Garcia Yachting, often works on a custom basis but also builds to several standard designs. This Passoa 47, drawn by Phillipe Harle, is very representative of its species. Unlike the keel/centerboard boats most Americans are familiar with, these French boats have integral centerboards descending directly from their bilges. They draw very little water when their boards are up and make great coastal gunkholing boats. They stay upright when aground and can be driven straight on to a beach if desired. They also carry a great deal of fixed internal ballast in their bilges and are self-righting, thus are also suitable for ocean sailing.

Garcia is renowned for its workmanship and builds only in marine-grade 5086 H3 aluminum alloy. The Passoa 47 has a robust construction with 10mm plate down low that decreases in thickness as it climbs the hull. The chainplates are supported underneath by curved I-beams girding the breadth of the hull’s mid-section and are strong enough to lift the boat with. The fuel and water tanks, including the tank baffles, are integral parts of the boat’s bilges and form, in effect, a series of collision compartments that provide extra security when scraping over reefs and rocks. The ballast, consisting of 11,000 pounds of iron pigs (preferred over lead for galvanic security), is sheathed in glass and fixed in place in sealed bilge tanks filled with an insulating bed of tar.

What it’s about. Yes, you can beach the boat if you want

The boat is reasonably light for its size, but is driven by a conservative rig. A standard Passoa 47 has a relatively short deck-stepped mast (just under 60 feet from the waterline) supporting a cutter rig that yields an SA/D ratio that seems timid for a modern design. This helps the boat’s stability, as does its relatively wide hull form, but its theoretical AVS, about 110 degrees, is still a bit low compared to most conventional boats. In the real world, however, a Passoa with its board up will skid away from breaking waves that send conventional boats tripping over their keels. Several Passoas have circumnavigated and have cruised in high latitudes and there is no record of any significant capsize problems.

In spite of its non-aggressive sail plan, the boat can be very fun to sail. In addition to the centerboard, there is a daggerboard between the skeg that supports and protects the propeller and the low-aspect spade rudder. By adjusting these two underwater foils you can precisely balance the boat against the pressure in its rig and, of course, can also vary the hull’s wetted surface area.

The rudder is very shallow, so the boat can be beached, but there’s also a retractable daggerboard aft between the rudder and prop to help increase directional stability

On an offshore passage I once made aboard a Passoa 47 from Massachusetts to Virginia, I was amazed at how much balance can be introduced into the helm by playing the boards a bit. In moderate wind with the sails and boards set right you can leave the wheel to itself with no brake on. I often found the cleanest, quickest way to steer was almost totally hands-off, with just a touch on a spoke from time to time to make small corrections.

The boat can also significantly outperform its numbers sailing off the wind in a good breeze. Pull up the centerboard, leave down the daggerboard, and what you’ve got is a big metal surfboard with a nice fin aft to keep everything lined up straight. With 20 knots apparent wind on a dead run under the main and a poled-out jib with the board up we maintained a steady 9 knots of boat speed during my passage and frequently hit 14 knots surfing in moderate seas. Best of all, because all the ballast is right up in the hull, the boat has a much smoother motion than its comfort ratio suggests.

Garcia built 60 of these boats between 1983 and 2000, but no two are exactly alike. Metal construction, unlike fiberglass construction, does not depend on molds, and this allows for a great deal of customization. Most of the boats have an integral solid-aluminum stern arch abaft the cockpit, some of which are sharply raked and have lifting arms for hoisting tenders aloft as though on stern davits. These stern arches, of course, are great for mounting radomes, solar panels, and various antennas.

This is a more-or-less stock cockpit, but with a custom hard dodger added. The super-secure companionway hatch is standard. Climbing in and out is a bit harder, but you can dog it down tight in severe conditions

Some boats also have smaller integral arches forward of the cockpit, and these provide a great foundation for a dodger and can support a mainsheet traveler if desired. Having solid vertical supports to grab on to at either end of the cockpit makes it very easy to move around this normally busy space in a seaway; they also make it easy to rig an awning over the cockpit when anchored out under a tropical sun. At least one boat I inspected also had a unique super-large flush bridgedeck instead of a conventional cockpit, with just one small foot well all the way aft for the helmsman behind the wheel.

The interior accommodations likewise are extremely variable. Garcia in the past built boats to any stage of completion and there are a few Passoas with owner-finished interiors. Most, however, were finished for Garcia at their yard by the respected French firm Rameau. The standard layout has two small staterooms aft with a large master stateroom forward of the galley/saloon area and a large forepeak forward of a watertight collision bulkhead. The galley/saloon is situated within the short raised trunk cabin and on all Passoas I’ve seen this is the only area with full (over 6 feet) standing headroom, though Garcia may have extended the trunk cabin by request on some boats.

On most Passoas the saloon table is forward of the companionway, opposite the galley

On a few the saloon table is abaft the companionway, under the cockpit. The engine is under the table and can be completely exposed

On two boats I’ve been aboard (one owner-finished, the other yard-finished) the saloon table is situated all the way aft right under the cockpit and is surrounded by an enormous wrap-around settee. I thought this worked extremely well, though it does cost two aft staterooms. It allows for a very large galley and nav desk under the trunk cabin and turns the entire after half of the boat into an enormous social space that can serve as party central in amiable anchorages. As a bonus, the settees also make great sea-berths while sailing.

Specifications

LOA 46’11″

LWL 38’0″

Beam 14’1″

Draft

-Boards up 3’5″

-Boards down 8’1″

Ballast 11,000 lbs.

Displacement

-Light ship 26,200 lbs.

-Loaded 32,000 lbs.

Sail area 797 sq.ft.

Fuel 180 gal.

Water 250 gal.

D/L ratio

-Light ship 213

-Loaded 260

SA/D ratio

-Light ship 14.43

-Loaded 12.62

Comfort ratio

-Light ship 29.17

-Loaded 35.63

Capsize screening

-Light ship 1.89

-Loaded 1.77

Nominal hull speed

-Light ship 9.0 knots

-Loaded 8.3 knots

Typical asking prices $200-480K

GARCIA PASSOA 47: French Metal Surfboard

Tue, 2014-07-01 19:24

Aluminum centerboard cruisers like this are not often seen in North America, but they are common in Europe, particularly in France. Garcia Aluminum, a highly respected French builder, now reorganized as Garcia Yachting, often works on a custom basis but also builds to several standard designs. This Passoa 47, drawn by Phillipe Harle, is very representative of its species. Unlike the keel/centerboard boats most Americans are familiar with, these French boats have integral centerboards descending directly from their bilges. They draw very little water when their boards are up and make great coastal gunkholing boats. They stay upright when aground and can be driven straight on to a beach if desired. They also carry a great deal of fixed internal ballast in their bilges and are self-righting, thus are also suitable for ocean sailing.

Garcia is renowned for its workmanship and builds only in marine-grade 5086 H3 aluminum alloy. The Passoa 47 has a robust construction with 10mm plate down low that decreases in thickness as it climbs the hull. The chainplates are supported underneath by curved I-beams girding the breadth of the hull’s mid-section and are strong enough to lift the boat with. The fuel and water tanks, including the tank baffles, are integral parts of the boat’s bilges and form, in effect, a series of collision compartments that provide extra security when scraping over reefs and rocks. The ballast, consisting of 11,000 pounds of iron pigs (preferred over lead for galvanic security), is sheathed in glass and fixed in place in sealed bilge tanks filled with an insulating bed of tar.

What it’s about. Yes, you can beach the boat if you want

The boat is reasonably light for its size, but is driven by a conservative rig. A standard Passoa 47 has a relatively short deck-stepped mast (just under 60 feet from the waterline) supporting a cutter rig that yields an SA/D ratio that seems timid for a modern design. This helps the boat’s stability, as does its relatively wide hull form, but its theoretical AVS, about 110 degrees, is still a bit low compared to most conventional boats. In the real world, however, a Passoa with its board up will skid away from breaking waves that send conventional boats tripping over their keels. Several Passoas have circumnavigated and have cruised in high latitudes and there is no record of any significant capsize problems.

In spite of its non-aggressive sail plan, the boat can be very fun to sail. In addition to the centerboard, there is a daggerboard between the skeg that supports and protects the propeller and the low-aspect spade rudder. By adjusting these two underwater foils you can precisely balance the boat against the pressure in its rig and, of course, can also vary the hull’s wetted surface area.

The rudder is very shallow, so the boat can be beached, but there’s also a retractable daggerboard aft between the rudder and prop to help increase directional stability

On an offshore passage I once made aboard a Passoa 47 from Massachusetts to Virginia, I was amazed at how much balance can be introduced into the helm by playing the boards a bit. In moderate wind with the sails and boards set right you can leave the wheel to itself with no brake on. I often found the cleanest, quickest way to steer was almost totally hands-off, with just a touch on a spoke from time to time to make small corrections.

The boat can also significantly outperform its numbers sailing off the wind in a good breeze. Pull up the centerboard, leave down the daggerboard, and what you’ve got is a big metal surfboard with a nice fin aft to keep everything lined up straight. With 20 knots apparent wind on a dead run under the main and a poled-out jib with the board up we maintained a steady 9 knots of boat speed during my passage and frequently hit 14 knots surfing in moderate seas. Best of all, because all the ballast is right up in the hull, the boat has a much smoother motion than its comfort ratio suggests.

Garcia built 60 of these boats between 1983 and 2000, but no two are exactly alike. Metal construction, unlike fiberglass construction, does not depend on molds, and this allows for a great deal of customization. Most of the boats have an integral solid-aluminum stern arch abaft the cockpit, some of which are sharply raked and have lifting arms for hoisting tenders aloft as though on stern davits. These stern arches, of course, are great for mounting radomes, solar panels, and various antennas.

This is a more-or-less stock cockpit, but with a custom hard dodger added. The super-secure companionway hatch is standard. Climbing in and out is a bit harder, but you can dog it down tight in severe conditions

Some boats also have smaller integral arches forward of the cockpit, and these provide a great foundation for a dodger and can support a mainsheet traveler if desired. Having solid vertical supports to grab on to at either end of the cockpit makes it very easy to move around this normally busy space in a seaway; they also make it easy to rig an awning over the cockpit when anchored out under a tropical sun. At least one boat I inspected also had a unique super-large flush bridgedeck instead of a conventional cockpit, with just one small foot well all the way aft for the helmsman behind the wheel.

The interior accommodations likewise are extremely variable. Garcia in the past built boats to any stage of completion and there are a few Passoas with owner-finished interiors. Most, however, were finished for Garcia at their yard by the respected French firm Rameau. The standard layout has two small staterooms aft with a large master stateroom forward of the galley/saloon area and a large forepeak forward of a watertight collision bulkhead. The galley/saloon is situated within the short raised trunk cabin and on all Passoas I’ve seen this is the only area with full (over 6 feet) standing headroom, though Garcia may have extended the trunk cabin by request on some boats.

On most Passoas the saloon table is forward of the companionway, opposite the galley

On a few the saloon table is abaft the companionway, under the cockpit. The engine is under the table and can be completely exposed

On two boats I’ve been aboard (one owner-finished, the other yard-finished) the saloon table is situated all the way aft right under the cockpit and is surrounded by an enormous wrap-around settee. I thought this worked extremely well, though it does cost two aft staterooms. It allows for a very large galley and nav desk under the trunk cabin and turns the entire after half of the boat into an enormous social space that can serve as party central in amiable anchorages. As a bonus, the settees also make great sea-berths while sailing.

Specifications

LOA 46’11″

LWL 38’0″

Beam 14’1″

Draft

-Boards up 3’5″

-Boards down 8’1″

Ballast 11,000 lbs.

Displacement

-Light ship 26,200 lbs.

-Loaded 32,000 lbs.

Sail area 797 sq.ft.

Fuel 180 gal.

Water 250 gal.

D/L ratio

-Light ship 213

-Loaded 260

SA/D ratio

-Light ship 14.43

-Loaded 12.62

Comfort ratio

-Light ship 29.17

-Loaded 35.63

Capsize screening

-Light ship 1.89

-Loaded 1.77

Nominal hull speed

-Light ship 9.0 knots

-Loaded 8.3 knots

Typical asking prices $200-480K

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