Sail Feed

Syndicate content
Brought to you by Sail Magazine
Updated: 57 min 23 sec ago

How do you stay fit while cruising?

Sun, 2014-08-03 07:53

Cruising is a healthy lifestyle, where exercise is a natural part of every day. What a great lifestyle to stay fit and feel great! Right? Right?


Yeah…it’s not quite like that. There’s truth in it, but staying physical fitness doesn’t just happen: it still takes effort, and commitment.

Before we left

Pre-cruising, I was in pretty good shape: jogging and practicing yoga a few times a week, and walking a lot (my commute to work involved a few miles every weekday). I traveled routinely for work and just tracked down local yoga studios or explored a new place on an early morning run. Traveling and fitness were easy, so I thought the segue into cruising would be a breeze too. I’d just stay in decent shape without having to think about it too hard. More time for running, and yoga, and lots and lots of walking, right?

My shorts shrank, I swear

That’s not how it worked out for me at all. We had been cruising for about a year when I looked very jealously at Jamie’s six pack, and my encroaching pudge, and though… huh.  What’s happening? And whoa, is HE looking so good! Jamie’s had gone from trim surburban dad to hot cruising husband. Why him, and not me? We were both walking a lot, but he did the brunt of heaver physical labor on Totem. I wasn’t running (have you seen the roads and sidewalks in Mexico?!). I wasn’t practicing yoga (it turns out having a class to participate in is a big motivator for me). On the other hand, I was eating a lot of fantastic Mexican food washed down with icy Pacifico beer. He was exercising more than previously. I was exercising less and definitely not fitter than our “old life.” Flabbier. It was a sobering realization.

possibly afternoons of cards with calorie-laden snacks and a cocktail had something to do with it, too

Fitness equipment

Should you get equipment to help you with fitness on board? I don’t know; do you have a dusty NordicTrack in your basement? Before leaving, I had gotten elastic bands. They seemed like a great way to get some exercise in a small space, especially on a passage. I finally gave them away after they sat virtually un-used for two years.

If you can add gear and will actually use it, there are options ranging from portable stair-steppers that fit in the cockpit to kettlebells- some cruisers even manage a TRX system. I think it’s mostly superfluous: as Jan Irons (Commuter Cruiser) shows, your boat IS a gym: her companionway makes a fine built in stair-stepper. Or, take a look at the Facebook page for fitness afloat wonderwoman, Rebecca Sweeney: she knows how to get a workout anywhere, whether it’s the deck of a boat or the beach (while her charter guests are in the beachfront bar no less). She has some workout-specific gear, but overwhelmingly, simply uses what’s around her. She’s a phenomenal role model for fitness afloat, and I especially love how much she just looks like she’s having so much FUN- if/when we get to the Caribbean, I want to do workouts with Rebecca!

Now what?

It took me a while to find what worked best, and even then, it takes regular adjustment based on our location, or the weather, or other factors. Sometimes, there just aren’t roads to run on. Other times, we’re in places where it’s inappropriate to show a lot of skin by wearing a tank top and shorts to workout public.

It’s not socially acceptable to show a lot of skin here, and I can’t imagine working out in one of these tents

What works for me

I still run, although not as much as I’d like. My MP3 player and our ipod have both succumbed to salty air (RIP, but they did last more than seven years each!), and I don’t do well without a soundtrack. On the other hand, being tune-less gives me even more motivation to find running partners, because the best advice EVER is “if you’re running too fast to talk, you’re running too fast.” It’s a two-fer: good exercise, and time to catch up with a friend. And, it’s a huge motivator. When Kathy says she’s picking me up in the dinghy at 7:30 so we can hit the trails at the bottom of this mountain in Langkawi, I am ready to go at 7:30. I might be barely functional and toting my coffe mug, but I’m decent and I’ve got my shoes.

I practice yoga whenever I can. We have a perfectly mat-sized spot on the bow, but it’s often covered with an awning- great shade to cool the cabin below but no room for me. So, I’m always looking for the alternatives: here in peninsular Malaysia, there’s a paucity of anchorages but many reasonable marinas, and those marinas often have attached hotels with fitness facilities. We’re currently at Puteri Harbour, Malaysia, where I can sign up for gym and pool time. My standing “booking” for a morning slot in the Fitness Center is another excellent motivator: I can’t miss it, so I don’t, and I get a great practice in with a pretty view besides.

I walk. A lot. I’m always looking for an excuse, whether it’s for fun or to get a job done. Is there a hill near the anchorage? I must climb it and see the view! No special equipment required, and often a new friend or two to make- like the two guys below who helped me find an obscure trail to a temple above Jayapura, Indonesia. And then, there are groceries to lug. Since we’re not piling them into the back of the van on a run from the grocery store, but carrying everything by hand, we shop more often and in smaller quantities. Little bits of exercise, all the time.

I get in the water: swimming is great exercise, and kayaking is good too. Sometimes (and lately, a lot) the water isn’t exactly conducive to a swim, like in a marina (stray current, and lots of nasty stuff being pumped over, deliberately and inadvertently), but we spend most of our time at anchor. Laps around the boat are a great way to burn up some energy and have fun at the same time. Maximizing down time on a pretty reef is even better: when we’re in a place with cool marine life, we all spend hours underwater most days, tearing through calories. Adding a SUP to Totem is high on my wishlist, in great part because it looks like such a fun way to stay fit on the water (bonus: additional yoga platform!).

What works for you? You’ll find out. And maybe, like me, it will take a learning curve, and some tighter shorts, before you find the routine and habits that work best for you.

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

 

The DIY lithium battery bank; Bob Ebaugh has 330 cycles so far

Fri, 2014-08-01 15:09

Written by Ben Ellison on Aug 1, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Bob and Elaine Ebaugh did it, leaving Florida in April, 2011, on their DeFever 44 Mar Azul and spending more than two years cruising a big Caribbean loop. Their blog, Mar Azul Adventures, is a good read, but you might miss the fact that during the cruise Bob managed to research, assemble, test and install a 1,200 amp hour do-it-yourself lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery bank to replace the 12 golf cart batteries they’d worn out. He also wrote a thorough white paper about why he chose DIY lithium and how he put the system together…

Here is Bob’s lithium battery blog entry, but you really should download the 14-page PDF mentioned there. Even if you’re not ready to build your own LiFePO4 battery bank — and most of us probably shouldn’t at this point — Bob seems to have done a fine job of analyzing the pros and cons of different battery types, particularly for fairly heavy power users like Mar Azul (at 400-600 Ah per liveaboard day on the hook).

This photo shows the DeFever’s “workshop” (forward cabin). Bob’s first task was to assemble forty-eight individual 3.2V cells made in China by GB Systems into twelve 100 Amp hour 12V batteries, and here I believe he’s bench testing the Elite Power battery management system (BMS) whose components are seen below. His PDF gives specifics about where he sourced the GBS cells and BMS and why, as well as a link collection for further research.

There’s a lot to managing lithium batteries properly, and there’s a definite safety concern. Their wonderful ability to take a large charge quickly, thereby reducing generator and/or alternator times, also means that they can release their charge very quickly, which means intense heat in the wrong circumstances. There have apparently been boat fires that originated in lithium battery banks, though the facts usually seem hard to come by (possibly because most marine lithium installs so far have been high-end projects).

At any rate, I’d suggest that anyone (including myself) who doesn’t thoroughly understand Bob’s well-written explanation of how he set up his BMS, diagrammed above, and adjusted his various charging sources for their new LiFePO4 target should not consider a DIY lithium bank. But I’m really glad that guys like Bob are trying such things and sharing their findings. Note also that since coming back ashore, Bob has been doing marine electronics professionally and hopes to write a Panbo entry about a substantial ePlex distributed power system he’s working on, which will join his earlier pieces on bridging NMEA to Ethernet, his Chetco engine monitoring system, and testing various sat phone systems. Meanwhile, here’s the latest on Mar Azul’s lithium batteries:

The lithium bank is still functioning well. But I have not done any cruising for almost a year now, maybe 2 Saturday nights. I really like the operational characteristics, but the cards are still not all on the table.
About the only thing additional I completed {since writing the white paper} is a benchmark test on capacity. My theoretical 1200 Ah bank is really more like a 1050 Ah bank. So in one year of cruising, theoretically I lost about 15% of rated capacity. What I don’t have is an actual pre-installation benchmark, though the importer suggested that as shipped, and tested the way I did, they would have shown 95% of the rating; so maybe we only lost 10%. We did have 330 cycles in that timeframe.
Some research indicates capacity loss is also very related to calendar life and storage temperature. The end of August gives me another 12 months so I will run another test and see what we have now, with the bank essentially in storage.
There is so much we don’t know. Not only about “life”, but exactly how volatile they are if severely overcharged. This winter, I may buy a few 40Ah cells and do some destructive testing.

RC Collins is apparently also testing lithium marine batteries and he, Bob, and several other marine power luminaries sit on a ABYC subcommittee studying LFP (another name for LiFePO4) battery technology under the chairmanship of Bob’s current boss/mentor Charlie Johnson. Thanks to them all, and don’t we look forward to hearing the results?

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

Podcast, Essay Friday: Lessons from 2 Atlantic Crossings

Thu, 2014-07-31 16:30

Essay Friday – What I learned in two Atlantic crossings. The first, of course was in 2011 aboard Arcturus, which I  discussed at length with Clint Wells in Tuesday’s episode. The second, which I haven’t written much about, was the following year, on Kinship, a Saga 43 that Mia and I skippered in ARC Europe, crossing the Atlantic via Bermuda-Azores-Portugal. Both were very different experiences and taught me valuable lessons. This is what I wrote following the second crossing in July 2012. Enjoy!

Edson Marine: old school, new school

Thu, 2014-07-31 13:35

Written by Ben Ellison on Jul 31, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

I visited Edson Marine headquarters while Gizmo was in New Bedford, Massachusetts, during my cruise home in May 2013, and one vivid memory is this old catalog that co-owner Will Keene showed me. My old sloop Alice had one of those Mahogany Steering Wheels, and while I’m sure it cost more in 1946, it’s amazing to realize that you could once buy one for $15, Ebonized Rim included. I also enjoyed seeing how well Edson has kept on keeping on since Jacob Edson invented and started manufacturing the first diaphragm pump in 1859…

Edson still makes traditional wooden wheels but also super lightweight carbon ones, too — see their wheels site here — as well as all sorts of other hardware. They also apply their 155 years of experience to repairs and custom solutions. When I noted how much cable room is in the helm pedestals being assembled above, Will Keene sighed knowingly. He wishes electronics manufacturers would make narrower cable connectors and would also like to see more right angle adapters for easier fits into display housings. I know that a lot of boaters, especially sailors with skinny pedestals, agree.

Now that is a drill press! And notice the heavy duty (rudder?) shaft arms in the background. Some of the machinery at Edson is vintage, but certainly not all…

You can see that this Matsuura CNC machine was turning out pretty complex aluminum parts while I was visiting, and next to it was a neat stone tumbler finishing them. By the way, I was reminded of my Edson visit because I’m working with some beautifully machined Vision Series electronics mount components that I will detail soon.

Jacob Edson would probably be proud that his company is still making pumps. In fact, Edson has diversified into industrial pumps and when you get your boat pumped out, it’s quite possibly one of theirs is doing the job. But this was the work of the Keene family, mainly Will and his brother Hank, who grew up in the business (and in boats) and purchased it from their dad in 1989. The prices aren’t what they used to be — and if Edson does discount, it’s probably to their many boatbuilder clients — but the company has a tremendous reputation for quality and customer support. The Keenes have also actively supported the marine industry and related organizations like the first class New Bedford Whaling Museum. (And you can enjoy some Off Center Harbor videos thanks to Edson support.)

Also classy, I thought, is how Hank (left below) attributed his recent retirement to his advancing Parkinson’s disease. Such honesty may encourage others to deal with their symptoms sooner and hopefully, some clever genetics engineers will find a fix.

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

Coast Guard Boardings and Your Fourth Amendment Rights, Part 4: Longer and Legaler

Wed, 2014-07-30 15:05

…continued from Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

The Coast Guard Boardings and Your 4th Amendment Rights posts have been spawning some lively discussion ever since I wrote them, nearly two years ago. Most recently I hear a Coast Guard Facebook page linked to the posts, so there’s been a renewed boost of comments from the Coast Guard side of things. Thanks to all who commented. I’ve been largely silent because I already had my say, but of course I’ve read what all of you had to say, most of which was constructive, and I investigated where I could.

Here I’ll revisit the topic, make some corrections and clarifications, and add what I’ve learned through relentless research of case law and law review articles, which contained many words I had to look up.

First of all, the point of the posts was not to criticize the Coast Guard, but to inform boaters and to question Title 14 section 89 of the United States Code (and associated laws, more on this later). Many boaters, at least many I’ve spoken with, simply aren’t aware that they can be boarded at any time. It’s safer for all involved if we’re informed and on the same sheet of music.

It’s hard to separate the message from the messengers, and I realize that my posts, from the title on, are guilty of this. The message is the law and the messengers are the US Coast Guard boarding parties. Don’t shoot the messengers! It’s not their doing, and as I’ll point out later, it appears that the Coast Guard’s policy is actually to be less intrusive than the law allows. Many commenters – former Coasties, Coast Guard wives, et al – pointed out the dedication and good intentions of Coast Guard personnel, which certainly isn’t in doubt. “We’re not the Gestapo, man,” was one comment. We know you’re not the Gestapo! The worry is that these laws give the authorities the right to behave like the Gestapo if they want to, and they might want to someday, and certain bad apples might want to behave that way right now, on my boat of all places.

Department of Corrections

I said, “By the way, the average Coast Guard vessel has advanced optical equipment and digital cameras: When you can barely make out individuals aboard their cutter, they’re reading the numbers off your iPhone.”

This was obviously an exaggeration, and perhaps a bad choice of words. I know they can’t actually read the numbers off your iPhone, but I also know that powerful optical equipment, digital cameras with extreme telephoto lenses and image stabilization, and night vision scopes have become fairly cheap, and are common equipment for all law enforcement these days. Every day I look at a photo of a certain vessel that was taken from a Coast Guard cutter on the open sea, at a distance of one mile. You can’t read numbers off an iPhone, but you can see the expressions on people’s faces (worried).

I also said, “They can look through your bedsheets, in your lockers, in your bilges, in your jewelry box, or in your pockets,” and many took issue with this, saying the Coast Guard boarding parties can’t or don’t do this.

The short answer is that under the law they can, but most of the time they don’t…but there are exceptions.

Coast Guard officers are also Customs officers, so in addition to the grant of authority they have under Title 14 Section 89, they also have full powers under Title 19 Section 1581:

“Any officer of the customs may at any time go on board of any vessel of vehicle at any place in the United States or within the customs water of, as he may be authorized, within a customs-enforcement area established under the Anti-Smuggling Act, or at any other authorized place, without as well as within his district, and examine the manifest and other documents and papers and examine, inspect and search the vessel or vehicle and every part thereof and any person, trunk, package, or cargo on board, and to this end may hail and stop such vessel or vehicle, and use all necessary force to compel compliance.”

Did you get that part?: “…examine, inspect and search the vessel or vehicle and every part therof and any person, trunk , package, or cargo on board…” (My italics added).

They also have the full authority of Fisheries officers, Immigration officers, et al, but I think we’ve clearly established that Coast Guarding boarding parties have “one of the most sweeping grants of police authority ever written into US law,” and we don’t need to belabor the point further.

Coast Guard commenters (by which I mean mostly former Coast Guard officers) said that spaces with a “reasonable expectation of privacy” are not searched without probable cause or a warrant, and they said this is the directive from the Commandant. I haven’t seen the directive, which is an internal Coast Guard document and not public, and I probably won’t see it unless somebody wants to be Edward Snowden (ha ha). But I’ve heard about it enough times that I believe it exists, and I applaud the Commandant for respecting our privacy and scaling back from what the law might allow.

Also, several said, essentially, please don’t give us any reason to go beyond a routine search (Hide the weed, people!) because we don’t want to get into your personal spaces. I also applaud this attitude, but unfortunately it’s not the attitude or the Coast Guard policy in question here, but the boundless search and seizure powers they have under current laws, which contradict our Fourth Amendment protections and subject law abiding seafarers to unreasonable searches.

And this reasonable expectation of privacy is sort of moot on a small boat. On a big freighter the boarding team might search the bridge, decks, etc., and check documents and safety gear, but treat staterooms and offices as private. On a small boat like mine everything’s in plain view right from the get-go: The moment the boarding party steps into the cockpit they’ve got a clear view to where we sleep, where we eat and prepare our meals, my wife’s clothes, and our kid’s dirty diapers. If they check the Y-valve on our toilet, then they’re in our bathroom, the holiest of holies. I suppose I could close the hatches and companionway doors before my next boarding, but I’m guessing this would look suspicious and be grounds for further investigation.

As to the exceptions to respecting personal spaces within the context of Coast Guard policy, my guess is that the main exception is if they’ve received a tip. Once on our family boat we were boarded a mile or two off the backside of Catalina Island. It was just my dad, a friend, and me, and we certainly weren’t doing anything suspicious, but the boarding party looked in drawers and searched our bags, definitely places with a reasonable expectation of privacy. My guess is that they’d received a tip that there was going to be a drug rendezvous on the backside of Catalina, and were shaking down the vessels in the area. If the police received a tip about such activity on land they’d have to convince a judge that the tip was valid enough to issue a search warrant. We’ll never know what happened on the backside of Catalina, and we got the ubiquitous “I’m not at liberty to say,” when we asked.

Coast Guard commenters said that boardings are limited to safety inspections – that’s it – and they won’t do anything but check for safety gear unless indicated otherwise. This is probably the case much of the time, but in the Coast Guard’s own words, “Of particular interest are laws dealing with the 200-mile Fishery Conservation Zone, drug smuggling, illegal immigration, and safety and water pollution.” My boarding a few months ago was strictly an anti-terrorist sweep, and they didn’t do any safety check whatsoever. And of course they’re always interested in your level of sobriety.

Several pointed out that the Coasties don’t like these boardings either, that most of them dread boarding private boats because it’s uncomfortable to intrude on people’s day, and boarding strange vessels is fraught with uncertainty and risk. They don’t like it. We don’t like it. Nobody likes it. We can all agree on that, but what good comes from it?

I still maintain that 90% of what is accomplished through surprise boardings could be accomplished without trammeling our 4th Amendment rights. The other 10%, the surprise safety inspection part, would have to be covered somewhere else, like a scheduled inspection, or my preference, personal responsibility. There is no doubt that these surprise inspections, or the potential for these inspections, keep boaters safer, and reduce the number of distress calls to some extent. To what extent, we don’t know. Some boaters have never been boarded their entire lives, while I’ve been boarded seven or eight times over the years. It’s hard to say what the effects of such random, willy-nilly searches are on the public, much of whom isn’t even aware they can be boarded in the first place.

What is the most dangerous place in America, the place where you are most likely to die from an accidental death? Okay, it’s your car, but second to your car it’s your home, and within your home it’s your bathroom. Many thousands of deaths could be averted by surprise inspections of our homes for proper and up-to-date smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, carbon monoxide detectors, safe wiring, adequate railings, grab bars in showers, tripping hazards, etc., but we place a value on privacy in our homes, especially in our bathrooms.

This is something that we’ll never all agree on. Some people believe in safety at all costs; others, like one of the commenters, say “I’ll take my dangerous freedom over your safe slavery any day.”

Now, on to the case law that has brought us to this state of affairs. If, from our courts, you’re hoping for a careful analysis of constitutional law and an even-handed balancing of our freedoms versus the public good, get ready to be disappointed. Some of the comments on these posts could be swapped for the courts’ opinions and nobody would know the difference. The legal opinions are just that, opinions, and don’t seem to be anchored in any cost-benefit analysis. And to establish case law you must have a case, and to have a case you must be a drug smuggler or rum runner (for the case law established during Prohibition).

The law review papers all have pithy titles like “Smugglers Blues or Boater’s Nightmare?,” “Constitutional Barriers to Smooth Sailing,” “Reasonableness Gone Overboard,” and “At Sea with the Fourth Amendment” and they all seem to love the quote about the shield against unreasonable searches not rusting on exposure to salt air, which is attributable to Judge Alvin Benjamin Rubin in his concurring opinion on United States v. Williams (1980). There doesn’t seem to be a single law scholar who supports suspicionless searches. My favorite law scholar, Megan Jaye Kight, even adds in a footnote, “I wish to express my appreciation to the United States Coast Guard for stopping me and my family in the middle of the night in order to search our vessel and sparking my interest in the subject of this Note.”

The Coast Guard says, “The courts have consistently upheld this authority,” but that’s not quite true. (I said it too, in Part 3…oops.) There has been a lot of flip-flopping over the years, and the courts have often found in favor of a defendant on constitutional grounds (the Fourth Amendment litmus test of reasonableness) but again, we’re just dealing with drug smugglers and not the rest of us.


Image Courtesy of US Coast Guard

It troubles me that the constitutional freedoms of 75 million American boaters, and the day-to-day job requirements of innumerable Coasties, are being decided by a small handful of criminals and judges, most of whom probably aren’t seafarers of any flavor. Whether the boardings are a good idea in general has never been the question: The question is always limited to whether the evidence is admissible in a particular bust. Why and how this translates into nationwide policy seems strange and a bit, well, crazy. And supposedly “no act of Congress can authorize a violation of the Constitution,” but here these laws are, in the Federal Code.

In United States v. Villamonte-Marquez a Coast Guard search uncovered 5800 pounds of marijuana on the 40-foot sailboat Henry Morgan II. The defendants’ motion to suppress evidence under the Fourth Amendment was denied at trial. The decision was reversed by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which allowed the motion to suppress, but then the Supreme Court overturned this and the defendants were convicted of too many crimes to list. This happened in Louisiana in 1981.

In United States v. Piner a Coast Guard boarding party found 4000 pounds of marijuana aboard the 43-foot sailboat Delphine. The 9th Circuit Court upheld the defendants’ motion to suppress the evidence under the 4th Amendment, as did district court before that, and the defendants went free. This happened on San Francisco Bay in 1978.

First lesson, if you’re going to get caught with thousands of pounds of pot on your sailboat, do it in San Francisco where you fall under those free-wheeling hippies on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Those 5th Circuit Court of Appeals guys are hangin’ judges! The Circuit Courts of Appeals are regional (The 9th Circuit covers the nine Western states) and they are the second-highest courts in the land, second only to the United States Supreme Court. Usually the buck stops at the Circuit Courts of Appeals, as the US Supreme Court selects only about 100 cases per year to review.

The Piner decision mainly dealt with whether a boarding was more intrusive at night than in the day, which seems like a red herring. Later decisions reversed this, and nighttime boardings are now treated just the same as daytime boardings. But the Piner court opined (per Greg Shelton) that “the law enforcement stop is a “subjective intrusion” that results in a “particularly unsettling effect upon the ordinary person.”

Much of the legal discussion hinges on Delaware v. Prouse, which held that the random stop of an automobile by state police for a driver’s license and registration check was an unreasonable intrusion on the automobile traveler, and therefore violated the Fourth Amendment. Prouse established that police may only stop a motorist if they have “an articulable and reasonable suspicion” that the motorist is in violation of the law.

Comparing Piner to Prouse, the Piner court reasoned: “If the stop of an automobile upon a public highway by an identifiable police car is felt to create such subjective intrusion as to require the use of potentially less intrusive alternatives, surely the stop of an isolated boat after dark, followed by a physical intrusion upon the boat itself, would have an unsettling effect immeasurably greater, placing a far greater demand upon the government to come forward with balancing factors.”

At least somebody’s taking into consideration the “particularly unsettling effects” of surprise searches by armed men.

Back to United States v. Villamonte-Marquez, an often-cited watershed case. In his excellent paper in the St. Johns Law Review, Searching the Parameters of the Fourth Amendment Requirement-Reasonableness Gone Overboard: United States v. Villamonte-Marquez, Lawrence A. Levy provides a complete analysis. Keep in mind that throughout these analyses the terms Coast Guard officer and Customs officer are interchangeable:

“The circuit courts have upheld warrantless boardings that fell within two categories: (1) a border search at the functional equivalent of the border if the officers are reasonably certain that the vessel crossed the border; and (2) an investigatory stop if the customs officers have a reasonable suspicion that there is unlawful activity aboard the vessel. These criteria are not mutually exclusive and the Court could have adopted both, thus affording the necessary protection to fourth amendment rights. Instead, the Court held that the exercise of unlimited authority pursuant to the plain language of the statute was acceptable under the fourth amendment. Creating an exception to the warrant requirement permits customs officers unlimited discretion to stop and board any vessel they choose. The Court may have overlooked the dangers of improper use of such authority as a device to circumvent the protections of the Constitution. Under the facade of a section1581(a) documentation check, overzealous customs officers may board vessels indiscriminately with vague hopes of obtaining evidence of such serious violations as smuggling. Never before has the Court permitted law enforcement officials such unlimited discretion to conduct “fishing expeditions.” Indeed, Villamonte-Marquez represents yet another extension of the recent trend of Burger Court decisions weakening the fourth amendment.”

Levy goes on to say, “As the dissent (in Villamonte-Marquez) observed, a vessel commonly serves as a dwelling for its occupants. Therefore, if a distinction is to be made between automobiles and vessels, it should be recognized that the occupants of a vessel have a greater expectation of privacy than those of an automobile. Although this expectation of privacy must be balanced against the Federal Government’s interest in enforcing the smuggling and vessel documentation laws, it is suggested that the Government’s interest in recreational vessels is less compelling than its interest in commercial vessels. It is further suggested that the correct balancing of interests mandate that the standards employed for the stopping and boarding of pleasure vessels at least be set at the level of those governing automobile stops.”

Judge Anthony Kennedy dissented in Piner: “Vessels are not entitled to the same Fourth Amendment protections as their landlocked counterparts.” It was a dissenting opinion (he lost) but there it is in black and white from a current Supreme Court Justice.

Another watershed case was United States v. Williams, about which Levy says:

United States v. Williams (5th Cir. 1977) involved the boarding of houseboat by customs agents pursuant to section 1581(a). The court held that customs enforcement applied only to vessels which normally carried cargo or persons subject to the customs laws. Indeed, the customs laws maintain a distinction between recreational and commercial vessels. For example, American vessels arriving from a foreign port or place and all foreign vessels are required to make entry at the appropriate customhouse. However, “licensed yachts or un-documented American pleasure vessels not engaged in trade nor in any way violating the customs or navigation laws of the United States” are not required to make entry at the customhouse. Nevertheless, though not required to make entry at the customhouse, pleasure boats now are subject to random boardings by customs officers. With respect to the Federal Government’s interest in assuring compliance with the federal documentation laws, it should be noted that the federal documentation law for pleasure vessels is optional.”

Levy, continued:

“Today, recreational vessels are the predominant type of boat on the water. When the Legislature enacted section 31 (the predecessor to 14, 89) it could not have envisioned the nature and extent of recreational boating as it is engaged in today; nor would the random search of pleasure crafts have been consistent with the commercial orientation of the statute. Therefore, the historical pedigree of section 1581(a) should extend, at most, only to commercial vessels.”

I pointed this out in Part 3, that the original intent of the Revenue Service Act of 1790 was to collect tariffs from cargo ships, but this argument hasn’t seen the light of day in court since Prohibition. Fish v. Brophy (1931) was illustrative:

Per Levy, “Fish involved the boarding of the plaintiff’s pleasure boat in New York Bay, and a subsequent warrantless search of the vessel. The court held that section 581 of the Tariff Act of 1922 (current version at 19 U.S.C. § 1581(a) (1982) did not apply to pleasure boats. The district court reasoned that manifests were required only in the case of vessels carrying cargo from foreign ports. In addition, the court believed that the Legislature could not have intended to place pleasure boats in the same category as commercial vessels. Two years later, in Olsen v. United States, (2d Cir.1933), the Second Circuit held that the statute applied to pleasure boats as well as to commercial vessels. Although the court acknowledged that pleasure boats were treated as a distinct class under federal law, it held that federal regulation of such vessels mandated that they be subject to examination under section 581. It should be noted, however, that the court’s holding did not address the intent of Congress in enacting the statute.”

Levy concludes, “By subjecting the fundamental rights of boaters to the unlimited discretion of customs officers, the Court has eviscerated the fourth amendment, not only as it applies in the maritime setting, but with respect to inland waters as well.”

It’s hard to say, historically, how this has played out. Most of it was before my time, but several of the law scholars cite increased intensity during Prohibition, and from the start of the War on Drugs:

“The Coast Guard’s emphasis on law enforcement changed dramatically after the end of Prohibition. The onset of World War II, the postwar emergence of the United States as an economic power with increased marine commerce, and the wars in Korea and Vietnam all forced the Coast Guard to focus on missions other than law enforcement until well into the 1970s.”

“The struggle to keep drugs from our streets and homes has fostered a judicial tolerance for the exercise of Coast Guard authority that hardly qualifies as Fourth Amendment analysis. Indeed, the trend in court cases analyzing Coast Guard boardings demonstrates that deference has increased over time. This trend stands in stark contrast to the increase in restrictions upon land-based enforcement methods in this century.” (Greg Shelton, 1993)

I have no personal sense for this, as the War On Drugs has been hot my entire life.

Again, those issues, the case law, and national policy comes from the legal wranglings of a few smugglers. As for the rest of us law-abiding seafarers, I think Shawn Hall’s story, posted as a comment, is representative of the intrusion, inconvenience, and even danger we face with these boardings, no mater how polite and routine they may be:

“Actually, from what I have seen they are boarding to see if someone is drunk or check for drugs. Honestly they endangered my whole family recently. They did it respectfully but it was a waste of time.

They pulled us over nearing dusk, I had 4 miles to go, easy 2 foot waves and sunlight. My father was driving and had had 2 glasses of wine approximately 4 hours beforehand, he is over 60 and not an often drinker.

They were very polite, asked us for all of our paperwork, checked our toilet Y valve? and everything else on the check list of safety. While of course they made a point to look in our bathroom, in our cabin, and in the engine compartment (Checking that Y Valve, or looking for drugs more likely). They then gave my father a sobriety test that took forever, then breathalyzed him, he was well under the legal limit. They also gave me the sobriety test ( I literally asked for one out of curiousity, I could not do tip to tip finger to nose perfectly, that is harder than it looks) They breathalyzed me 0.000.

It was a respectful event but it took over an hour long. The problem being that by this time dusk was to full dark and the cooling of the evening started kicking up the sea (Lake Erie goes from calm to dangerous in a blink) We can of course navigate at night but it is always easier and safer to enter harbor and dock with the sun.

The reality is that they were looking for drugs, looking for someone over the legal limit, looking for anything they could arrest someone for.

So yes, nothing bad happened to us, but I was severely inconvenienced, my family put in danger, and for what purpose? We were on a motor boat, under way, 4 miles from shore in calm waters, lights were on and visible.

Engine runs good and clean. Numbers on side of the boat are professionally done, registration is up to date.

So, how is this helping us? How is this about safety? It is true that if you haven’t done anything wrong, being stopped won’t get you arrested, but what does that matter, why is that any better? What if I just came into your home, asked you questions (you have to answer) very politely of course, but you have to answer me, you have to be polite to me, you have to let me look through all your things.

I walk upstairs in your home go through your wife’s underwear drawer. You pay taxes, you haven’t done anything wrong, you just came home from work and were getting ready for dinner.

I now politely ask you some more questions, I rummage through your bathroom, your dinner is getting cold.

An hour later I say you’re good to go and I politely leave.

Are you okay with this? Why are you more okay if it is a police officer, a DNR agent, or the Coast Guard?”

Since we recreational boaters use our boats in our leisure time, delays like Shawn’s aren’t often the focus of complaints. If we were were using our boats to get to work or go to appointments these twenty minute to one hour delays would wreak havoc with our schedules and cost us money.

For the foreseeable future, Coast Guard boarding parties will remain “America’s supercops.” It is a great power, and a great responsibility. They say absolute power corrupts absolutely, but incidents of abuse of this power are rare but present. Coast Guard personnel are well-trained, and I’m pleasantly surprised at how little abuse there is. If what’s been said is true, I encourage the Coast Guard to continue to undershoot the scope of what they can do under Title 14 section 89 and associated laws, and respect citizens’ privacy wherever possible. Meanwhile, we’ll hope the law is overturned on constitutional grounds, or by an Act of Congress.

Finding bliss in stagnant cruising

Wed, 2014-07-30 09:14


A month ago we were headed to Borneo. Thanks to continued engine problems, we’ve been sitting in Puteri Harbour instead. Cruising plans torpedoed, Totem is shacked up at the monthly rate. A blog follower and friend wondered what happened to us the last few weeks. He nailed it, too, understanding that being parked makes my inner cruiser feel caged: I kind of lost my mojo, and the blog went quiet. So, what’s been happening in our non-cruising cruising world, besides getting our life raft re-certified?

dock sundowners have also been happening

If you’re following us on Facebook you probably know about the rat saga already. I wish this was a reflection with 20/20 hindsight but it’s three weeks today since I was awakened at night by a rat running up my body, and the rodent is still on board somewhere. We have deployed three live traps, two snap traps, an ultrasonic rodent repellent ipad app, invited neighboring cats on board, and distributed a variety pack of poison to catch the rat and his/her suspected friend (please don’t let them make baby rats!). They mock us making noise at night, streaking through the cabin, leaving gifts of ratty poo, and cleverly stealing bait from traps- even bait that is TIED DOWN. So sadly, I’m not here to share what worked, but to say we’re trying everything we can and just hope to evict them before they do enough damage to wiring or plumbing to drain our savings.

one of the pictures the kids took, a project to learn about Ramadan

Meanwhile, it’s been Ramadan. This month-long Islamic observance is most apparent to an outsider through daily fasting, which stretches from 5:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. in this corner of the world. That’s not just abstaining from food, but also drink, cigarettes, sex, or other behaviors that might be considered sinful. I felt for the mechanics visiting Totem, sweating in the heat down below, who couldn’t have a drink and were clearly missing their regular smoke break. They were still smiling and helpful, but their energy flagged. I had to fast for one measly half day to do some bloodwork, and was completely grumpy about it: I have nothing but respect for people who cheerfully manage this practice for a month in order to remember those who suffer, or are simply less fortunate than they are.

meeting Madrona after quite a few miles (and emails!)

Although it isolated (transportation required for anything outside the hotel/marina complex) and confining (oh, Borneo!), staying in Puteri Harbour has plenty of upside. It’s been a pleasure to meet several boats we have corresponded with, but not previously had tracks intersect.

Many memorable evenings have passed sharing nibbles on the dock while the sun sinks behind the waterfront hotel and shops. The staff is friendly and helpful, even delivering gifts of a rice dish traditionally eaten as iftar- the light meal to end fasting after sunset- to residents in the marina.

Siobhan with Jana (SV Momo) and onlookers

Three other “kid boats” mean a raft of new friends. The girls play Musical Boats for sleepovers, swing from Momo’s rigging, and race their scooters around the docks.

performance by kids from four boats

Dock sundowners have typically been parleyed into an occasion for theater, where the kids command attendance to elaborate their choreographed and costumed dance performances.

I’m taking full advantage of the managed access we have to certain hotel facilities. Yoga practice is so much easier when I have a large space, a beautiful view, a pleasant temperature, and no interruptions! When I need a quiet place to write, an air conditioned chart room has cushy chairs and a shaded view of the marina. It’s lovely.

Meanwhile, Jamie’s found more customers for rig checks and sail orders. The Indian Ocean is next for many, and nobody wants to go into that with any doubt about their setup. This is work he genuinely enjoys and a nice boost for our cruising kitty: a win all around.

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

BLUE PLANET TIMES 2014-07-30 02:13:17

Wed, 2014-07-30 03:13

The newest round of names now added to the National Sailing Hall of Fame cover a range from Nathaniel Bowditch, who gave the world a new standard of navigation, to Carl Eichenlaub, who gave the world a lesson, and another and another, in how to live and give. As a mechanic, this man kept one after another US Olympic team’s boats working, and he didn’t hesitate to help out the competition, either. Because Carl loved winning, but more than that he loved the game and the people who play it. As a boat builder, he worked wonders, not the least of which was constructing Doug Peterson’s debut yacht, Ganbare, for the 1974 One Ton North Americans.

(One Tonners were a big deal at the time. Trust me on that.)

Ganbare was a San Diego-home town boat with San Diego Yacht Club hosting the NAs. The boat was a touch smaller than some of the others and definitely rougher in the finish. It had the hallmarks of a hasty backyard job, and with all the celebrity names on hand, and with all the shiny new battleships on hand, Ganbare garnered little regard. I think that’s putting it kindly. Garnered little regard, that is, until the first leg of the first race, sailed in the typical light chop off Point Loma, and the Yankee 38 that I was crewing, and every other boat in the fleet, went hobbyhorsing our way toward mark one and—

Actually, every other boat in the fleet except one. Ganbare just leveled away from us, hobbyhorsing either not at all or so little that the comparison was moot. Doug Peterson’s design career was launched. At the end of the regatta, at the awards, with Peterson and Eichenlaub featuring prominently, and a lot of hair flying, one Breton red-wearing observer remarked to the Breton red-wearing fellow next to him, “They don’t look like that back East.”

Eichenlaub’s signature quote chosen by the NSHoF: “Winning sailboat races isn’t about boat handling, or tactics – you just need a faster boat.” There was also that moment when he came walking down the dock and discovered that his crew, unbeknownst to him, had given his latest Cadenza one of the very first exotic paint jobs in the history of yachting . . .

Jim Kilroy, who set a standard for how to run an international Maxi program, becomes the Hall of Fame’s first winner of a lifetime achievement award. Here’s the word:

Annapolis, Md. (July 29, 2014) – The National Sailing Hall of Fame (NSHOF) today announced the eight people
who will make up its 2014 class of inductees into the National Sailing Hall of Fame: Yachtsman, historian and
senior statesman of the sport Henry H. “Harry” Anderson, Jr. (Mystic, Conn.); mathematician and navigator
Nathaniel Bowditch (Salem, Mass.); boat builder and U.S. Olympic Sailing Team boatwright Carl Eichenlaub (San
Diego, Calif.); brothers Olaf Harken and Peter Harken (both Pewaukee, Wisc.), respectively, boat builder and
sailing hardware designer; naval architect and prolific writer L. Francis Herreshoff (Bristol, R.I./Marblehead,
Mass.); 1960 5.5 Metre Olympic Gold Medalist and boat builder George O’Day (Brookline, Mass./Dover, Mass.);
and Grand Prix yachtsman John B. “Jim” Kilroy (Marina del Rey, Calif.), the recipient of the NSHOF’s first Lifetime
Achievement Award.

“When the National Sailing Hall of Fame was formed in 2005, a central piece of its mission was to focus
attention on Americans who had made outstanding contributions to the sport of sailing,” said Gary Jobson,
President of the NSHOF. “The eight members of the class of 2014 are joining 34 previously-recognized
individuals whose achievements – whether on-the-water, at a drafting table or in the administration of the sport
– have impacted recreational boaters and competitive sailors alike. By recognizing them and sharing their
stories, the NSHOF is preserving the history of the sport and its impact on American culture while inspiring the
next generation of sailors.”

Following a two-month period this spring during which sailors from all corners of the country nominated their
choice for induction, a selection committee – made up of representatives from US Sailing, the sailing media, the
sailing industry, community sailing, a maritime museum, a previous inductee, and the NSHOF Board – reviewed
the broad spectrum of nominations.
Inductees are American citizens, 45 years of age or older, who have made significant impact on the growth and
development of the sport in the U.S. in the categories of Sailing, Technical/Design and Contributor(coach,
administrator, sailing media). Nominations of non-citizens were also considered if they influenced the sport in
the U.S., and posthumous nominations were also accepted. The undertaking to recognize Americans who have
made outstanding contributions to the sport of sailing is central to the mission of the NSHOF which was formed
in 2005 and has completed phase one of its plan to establish a permanent facility on the historic waterfront of
Annapolis, Maryland.

The Lifetime Achievement Award will induct an American citizen, 55 years of age or older, who has had
consistent involvement in sailing for a majority of his or her life and had success in the sport while also becoming
successful and achieving noteworthy stature in a non-sailing career.

The 2014 class of inductees will be formally celebrated on Sunday, September 28, 2014. The invitation-only
Induction Ceremony will be held at the Detroit Yacht Club (Detroit, Mich.) and is sponsored by Rolex Watch
U.S.A. and Condé Nast.

NOVA SCOTIA CRUISE: Fog With Everything

Tue, 2014-07-29 21:39

I am writing this in the obscure, once prosperous fishing port of Lockeport, not too many miles north of Cape Sable on Nova Scotia’s so-called Southwest Coast, which actually faces east. It is not foggy now, though it was when we came in here just before sunset yesterday. So thick we couldn’t see more than 30 yards and had to do a might bit of groping with chartplotter and iPad before we found the docks of the White Gull Marina (see photo up top), where we settled in for the night alongside a big turquoise Novi-style lobster boat named Newfie Kids.

We’ve been out eight days now and barring some unforeseen disaster while recrossing the Gulf of Maine, I can say this little voyage has been an unmitigated success. Even with the fog. And in part because of it.

It took us two and a half days to sail from Portland across the Gulf and up the coast to Lunenburg and of those for one and a half at least we were buried in the thick stuff. We were off Cape Sable, an uncomfortable place to be in the best of circumstances (due to fast current, shoal water, and vast fleets of fishing boats), when at last it dissipated. I was on watch alone, at night–a moment I’ll remember until the end of my life.

Night sky revealed, studded with brilliant stars; lights on shore visible in the distance, evidence of our arrival somewhere; lights in the water, electric, everywhere, bioluminescence so vivid that the boat carved out a brilliant deep valley of light behind it and every wavelet for as as far as the eye could see was capped with a bright brilliant light of its own. So many twinkling lights, above and below, it was impossible to say where the sea stopped and the sky began.

Clear at the outset. Crew member Charles “May I Cast Off Now” Lassen lounges sur la cockpit as we set out from Portland in light wind

Ferry sighting. The new Nova Star, now running twixt Portland and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, is fully equipped with guest cabins, shops, restaurants, and (of course) a casino

Whale sighting! In the fog, mais oui. They have dolphin-sized dorsal fins, but the rest is much bigger. During our transit I saw three whales up close and in person, one of which went flukes up, and spotted two spouts at a distance

The day after the Revelation of the Night Lights we screamed up the coast at speeds of up to 9 knots (that’s me doing the screaming there), running down the Nova Scotia trades (20-knots-plus SW’ly) wing-and-wing under a double-reefed main and headsail

My ultimate goal during this cruise was to visit Lunenburg and Mahone Bay. Lunenburg, of course, has a vast reputation among the Nautical Illuminati, and Mahone Bay, just to the north, has the highest concentration of islands and islets per square mile of anywhere in Nova Scotia and so seems attractive by default.

Lunenburg was much what I expected, a fabulous destination to arrive at by boat. Young ladies sailing bright classic daysailers waved and bid us welcome as we entered the harbor. Inside we found all manner of traditional craft, perfectly primped, with a high preponderance of schooners.

Fortuitously, we happened to arrive just in time to witness the annual Wooden Boat Reunion, during which all types of perfectly maintained old wooden boats (many of them schooners) carom around the harbor under sail like pinballs

Now that’s what I call a bowman

The Bluenose II, a fine replica of the famous fishing schooner, was undergoing maintenance up at the far end of the harbor. Her boom is incredibly long! Nearly as long as her foremast (sans topmast) is high

Her worm-gear steering revealed

Her immaculate foredeck, with a modern hydraulic windlass. On the old boats you had to crank those puppies by hand

Lunenburg has many churches. This Anglican church is the fanciest one. It was badly damaged by fire in 2001, but has since been restored

A special surprise. I knew, but had forgotten, that my old Pearson Alberg 35 Crazy Horse currently resides in Lunenburg! She is now called Eventide and is exceedingly well cared for

Mahone Bay was something else entirely. Studying charts at home, I had marveled at its vast archipelago of islands and imagined they were all uninhabited. I pictured myself gunkholing among them, stopping often to go ashore and explore their virgin interiors.

Our first day in the bay, thanks to the fog, which rolled up and down like a tease, I was able to maintain this fantasy, as I couldn’t really see the islands. On the second day, bright and clear, with a light northwesterly that allowed us to sail in and amongst the islands with ease, we found in fact they are all covered with summer homes. Some of them quite fancy! On a par with anything you’ll see on the Gold Coasts of New England.

Charles steers with his butt as we wend our way through Mahone Bay wing-and-wing under full-blown screecher and mainsail

Some swank summer homes in Chester, toward the north end of the bay

Even the trailer parks are swank! This deluxe mini-park in Mahone Harbor features an over-the-top custom rip-rap shoreline (a very common feature on Mahone Bay) plus a brightly colored wooden lawn chair (also quite de rigeur in these parts)

The Chester Yacht Club looks like many nice clubs I’ve seen on Long Island Sound, except Mahone Bay (I have to say) is much nicer than the Sound

And yes, you can find secluded spots to call your own. Here we are anchored off Heckman Island the night before we returned to Lunenburg

The Big Experiment during this cruise was the Importation of the Ferry People. My wife Clare, daughter Lucy, and Charles’s bride Susan (the Sooks), all came via Nova Star with a car and joined us for the weekend in Lunenburg.

I had many anxieties about this–the ferry ride would be uncomfortable, the drive from Yarmouth to Lunenburg would too long, etc., etc.–but in fact it all went perfectly. The Ferry People had a fabulous time, both on the ferry and with us, and the Experiment, in the end, was popular with all concerned.

The Ferry People hang tough: Clare, Lucy, and the Sooks

Lucy climbs the mast to check out our flag display

Charles wins the Toenail Painting Contest

Alas, the Ferry People had to head out at O-Dark-Hundred yesterday morning to catch their ride home, and Charles and I sailed out of Lunenburg not long afterwards to take advantage of a southerly breeze. We didn’t know where exactly we were going, except that we wanted to get as far down the coast as possible.

It was a fantastic piece of luck–we covered 60 miles or more, closehauled the whole way on one starboard tack, in the fog, and made it in here just before dark.

Slashing through the fog

Lockeport is nothing like Lunenburg or Mahone Bay. They’ve lost their fishing industry, but haven’t managed to remake themselves as a successful touristy summer-people destination, though they are trying their best. What they do have in common with everyone else here is that they are extremely friendly, polite, and considerate. Canadians truly are NPOE (Nicest People On Earth), which is reason enough, I reckon, to sail over for a visit.

What You Need to Know: Bring an extra jerry jug or two. For some reason they don’t have fuel docks over here.

The only waterfront fuel pump we’ve found, here at the White Gull Marina (just $37.50 a night for a 39-foot boat!), has long since given up the ghost. Even in Lunenburg, where they have many yachts, you have to schlep fuel in jugs if you’re buying less than 100 gallons, which is how much it takes to lure a truck to a wharf.

NOVA SCOTIA CRUISE: Fog With Everything

Tue, 2014-07-29 21:39

I am writing this in the obscure, once prosperous fishing port of Lockeport, not too many miles north of Cape Sable on Nova Scotia’s so-called Southwest Coast, which actually faces east. It is not foggy now, though it was when we came in here just before sunset yesterday. So thick we couldn’t see more than 30 yards and had to do a might bit of groping with chartplotter and iPad before we found the docks of the White Gull Marina (see photo up top), where we settled in for the night alongside a big turquoise Novi-style lobster boat named Newfie Kids.

We’ve been out eight days now and barring some unforeseen disaster while recrossing the Gulf of Maine, I can say this little voyage has been an unmitigated success. Even with the fog. And in part because of it.

It took us two and a half days to sail from Portland across the Gulf and up the coast to Lunenburg and of those for one and a half at least we were buried in the thick stuff. We were off Cape Sable, an uncomfortable place to be in the best of circumstances (due to fast current, shoal water, and vast fleets of fishing boats), when at last it dissipated. I was on watch alone, at night–a moment I’ll remember until the end of my life.

Night sky revealed, studded with brilliant stars; lights on shore visible in the distance, evidence of our arrival somewhere; lights in the water, electric, everywhere, bioluminescence so vivid that the boat carved out a brilliant deep valley of light behind it and every wavelet for as as far as the eye could see was capped with a bright brilliant light of its own. So many twinkling lights, above and below, it was impossible to say where the sea stopped and the sky began.

Clear at the outset. Crew member Charles “May I Cast Off Now” Lassen lounges sur la cockpit as we set out from Portland in light wind

Ferry sighting. The new Nova Star, now running twixt Portland and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, is fully equipped with guest cabins, shops, restaurants, and (of course) a casino

Whale sighting! In the fog, mais oui. They have dolphin-sized dorsal fins, but the rest is much bigger. During our transit I saw three whales up close and in person, one of which went flukes up, and spotted two spouts at a distance

The day after the Revelation of the Night Lights we screamed up the coast at speeds of up to 9 knots (that’s me doing the screaming there), running down the Nova Scotia trades (20-knots-plus SW’ly) wing-and-wing under a double-reefed main and headsail

My ultimate goal during this cruise was to visit Lunenburg and Mahone Bay. Lunenburg, of course, has a vast reputation among the Nautical Illuminati, and Mahone Bay, just to the north, has the highest concentration of islands and islets per square mile of anywhere in Nova Scotia and so seems attractive by default.

Lunenburg was much what I expected, a fabulous destination to arrive at by boat. Young ladies sailing bright classic daysailers waved and bid us welcome as we entered the harbor. Inside we found all manner of traditional craft, perfectly primped, with a high preponderance of schooners.

Fortuitously, we happened to arrive just in time to witness the annual Wooden Boat Reunion, during which all types of perfectly maintained old wooden boats (many of them schooners) carom around the harbor under sail like pinballs

Now that’s what I call a bowman

The Bluenose II, a fine replica of the famous fishing schooner, was undergoing maintenance up at the far end of the harbor. Her boom is incredibly long! Nearly as long as her foremast (sans topmast) is high

Her worm-gear steering revealed

Her immaculate foredeck, with a modern hydraulic windlass. On the old boats you had to crank those puppies by hand

Lunenburg has many churches. This Anglican church is the fanciest one. It was badly damaged by fire in 2001, but has since been restored

A special surprise. I knew, but had forgotten, that my old Pearson Alberg 35 Crazy Horse currently resides in Lunenburg! She is now called Eventide and is exceedingly well cared for

Mahone Bay was something else entirely. Studying charts at home, I had marveled at its vast archipelago of islands and imagined they were all uninhabited. I pictured myself gunkholing among them, stopping often to go ashore and explore their virgin interiors.

Our first day in the bay, thanks to the fog, which rolled up and down like a tease, I was able to maintain this fantasy, as I couldn’t really see the islands. On the second day, bright and clear, with a light northwesterly that allowed us to sail in and amongst the islands with ease, we found in fact they are all covered with summer homes. Some of them quite fancy! On a par with anything you’ll see on the Gold Coasts of New England.

Charles steers with his butt as we wend our way through Mahone Bay wing-and-wing under full-blown screecher and mainsail

Some swank summer homes in Chester, toward the north end of the bay

Even the trailer parks are swank! This deluxe mini-park in Mahone Harbor features an over-the-top custom rip-rap shoreline (a very common feature on Mahone Bay) plus a brightly colored wooden lawn chair (also quite de rigeur in these parts)

The Chester Yacht Club looks like many nice clubs I’ve seen on Long Island Sound, except Mahone Bay (I have to say) is much nicer than the Sound

And yes, you can find secluded spots to call your own. Here we are anchored off Heckman Island the night before we returned to Lunenburg

The Big Experiment during this cruise was the Importation of the Ferry People. My wife Clare, daughter Lucy, and Charles’s bride Susan (the Sooks), all came via Nova Star with a car and joined us for the weekend in Lunenburg.

I had many anxieties about this–the ferry ride would be uncomfortable, the drive from Yarmouth to Lunenburg would too long, etc., etc.–but in fact it all went perfectly. The Ferry People had a fabulous time, both on the ferry and with us, and the Experiment, in the end, was popular with all concerned.

The Ferry People hang tough: Clare, Lucy, and the Sooks

Lucy climbs the mast to check out our flag display

Charles wins the Toenail Painting Contest

Alas, the Ferry People had to head out at O-Dark-Hundred yesterday morning to catch their ride home, and Charles and I sailed out of Lunenburg not long afterwards to take advantage of a southerly breeze. We didn’t know where exactly we were going, except that we wanted to get as far down the coast as possible.

It was a fantastic piece of luck–we covered 60 miles or more, closehauled the whole way on one starboard tack, in the fog, and made it in here just before dark.

Slashing through the fog

Lockeport is nothing like Lunenburg or Mahone Bay. They’ve lost their fishing industry, but haven’t managed to remake themselves as a successful touristy summer-people destination, though they are trying their best. What they do have in common with everyone else here is that they are extremely friendly, polite, and considerate. Canadians truly are NPOE (Nicest People On Earth), which is reason enough, I reckon, to sail over for a visit.

What You Need to Know: Bring an extra jerry jug or two. For some reason they don’t have fuel docks over here.

The only waterfront fuel pump we’ve found, here at the White Gull Marina (just $37.50 a night for a 39-foot boat!), has long since given up the ghost. Even in Lunenburg, where they have many yachts, you have to schlep fuel in jugs if you’re buying less than 100 gallons, which is how much it takes to lure a truck to a wharf.

Whale Watching in Baie du Prony

Tue, 2014-07-29 19:58

“You want to go whale watching?” I asked.  “On someone else’s boat?”
“Heck, yes!” said Erik, rubbing his hands together.  “The season has started; there should be humpbacks in Prony by now.  Come on, it’ll be fun.”
Fun Daddy was back in town.  We only see Erik for a few days every month, and he is always keen to make the most of his time with us.
I looked over the brochure. With Papillon due to get hauled out and checked over in a couple of weeks, we weren’t going to make it down there under our own steam.  It would be kind of fun to be purely a passenger for once.  And, let’s face it, I’m a sucker for marine mammals.

The day was clear but cold.  By six a.m. we had boarded the catamaran, because early is how these New Caledonians roll.  The dozen of us scrunched around the table as the captain began his departure talk.

I leaned over to Erik.  “My money is on this being 50% about not breaking the toilet.”
Sure enough, after glossing over such important safety information as “don’t fall off”, the captain brought out a Jabsco pump assembly.  He gave the crowd a beady-eyed look.  “Now,” he said, “I am going to explain the toilet facilities to you.”
I grinned as he laboriously went through the finer points of using marine facilities. This is always our first talk with visitors, too. Marine toilets are finicky beasts, and there is nothing worse than having to take one apart. I can’t imagine having to impress this information on charter guests day after day – a group of people you know full well couldn’t identify a joker valve if you paid them.
After a final dark warning as to the fate of anyone who misused the single toilet aboard, we were off.
No whales for a few hours; let’s play cards. Sunrise southeast of Noumea


I’ve never been able to get used to the motion on a catamaran. I know some people love them, and not heeling over has its appeal. But a cat always feels choppy to me, at anchor and underway. Whereas my monohull has a smooth, rolling motion through the waves, a cat makes me feel like I’m a Fremen crossing the sands of Dune.  Maybe the random, uneven gait of a catamaran helps it hide from sandworms.  But I was armed with my seasickness medication, so the chop was bearable, if less than ideal.

The coast slid by, but the day did not warm up thanks to a cold South wind. As our French compatriots huddled in their fashionable scarves, we sought shelter.  The interior was off-limits (except for the strictly-controlled toilet, of course). So we improvised. The girls discovered that the entryway over the port-side hull was delightfully roomy (ie. about 2.5 ft x 4.5 ft). The four of us piled in, and started reading.

As the morning wore on, people would walk past, do a double-take, then pretend they hadn’t seen us. I think they were all secretly jealous that we were so toasty out of the wind.  Yes, that must be it.

And, finally: whales. We abandoned our hidey-hole, emerging like a troupe from a clown car, and crowded onto the trampoline with the rest of the whale-watchers.  We spent a delightful time watching a juvenile humpback breach, swim, and be whale-like.

What is Indy looking at? A whale tail,of course

Full of excitement and fun, everyone flaked out on the trampoline for the return journey.  And when it got too cold, back into the clown car. 

I was a little wistful as we sailed away, wishing we were on Papillon and could stay in the bay for days on end if we wanted to.  But being a passenger for a day was fun, and I know our long, lazy days will come again.

Furuno 711C Navpilot head & MCU002 remote keypad, TZT style

Tue, 2014-07-29 12:00

Written by Ben Ellison on Jul 29, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

The press release (PDF here) for Furuno’s new color 711C autopilot control describe it as “completely redesigned to provide an excellent match with Furuno’s flagship line of NavNet TZtouch MFD’s… right down to the control knob!” There’s no denying the similar handsome styling, and doesn’t it make you wonder if Furuno will eventually offer a color NMEA 2000 instrument display with the same standard DIN size and 4.1-inch color screen? That’s 100% speculation on my part, but doesn’t it make sense as Furuno finds itself competing with Raymarine, Garmin, and Simrad over the glass style helm that the TZT Series arguably spearheaded? The MCU002 remote TZT keypad, also now official and shipping, seems like another step in keeping TZT competitive.

Furuno USA lists the 711C as a complete autopilot system, but in fact it uses the same NavPilot Processor Unit as the existing 700 autopilot. That’s a good thing as you can purchase a 711C Control Unit for use with an existing Navpilot system, which already has a lot going for it. For instance, check this 2013 Miami Show entry for some detail on the Navpilot 700 series Safe Helm and Power Assist features. You’ll also get to compare the old monochrome control screen with the 711C’s bold new color graphic screens.

I found the most detail about the new 711C Control Unit at Furuno’s Navpilot site, particularly from the brochure you can download there. The diagrams below, for instance, explain the “FishHunter” mode in action on the screen above and also what “Advanced” means on the top screen. The 711C strikes me as a good autopilot — anyone out there tried the 700 series? — and it sure looks like it would fit nicely with most any glass style displays. Note, though, that if the 700 series is fitted with a TZT system, you’ll also have autopilot control on your MFD. Same brand MFD autopilot control is now true for all of the Big Four electronics brands.

Similarly, the advent of the Furuno MCU002 remote control means that all four multi-touch glass helm systems have an optional keypad. As noted in my recent shakedown cruising entry, I think these remotes can be quite valuable. Furuno’s version seems compact and simple — 2.3- by 4.5-inches with USB interface and power — yet quite fully functioned. There’s good overview document available on the product page, but better yet is this Eric Kunz demo video.

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

59º North Podcast: Trans-Atlantic with Clint Wells

Tue, 2014-07-29 05:25

Andy sits down in person with one of his best friends in Oslo, Norway to reminisce about sailing across the North Atlantic. Clint, a non-sailor, joined Andy & Mia in Halifax for the cruise up the Canadian Maritimes and across the pond to Ireland, a 23-day passage, and the first time Clint was at sea. In between jokes and fun memories, Clint comes up with some great pearls of wisdom for anybody looking to cross an ocean, but might not know what to expect. He’s honest, funny and sincere about how the experience changed his life for the better.

Life raft: more than two four letter words

Sat, 2014-07-26 07:48

Examining raft contents. Photo (c) Michelle Elvy

How do you choose a life raft? We looked for the best raft available. That wasn’t enough.

As dewy-eyed gonna-be cruisers, we focused on choosing a superior product for that moment of (heaven forbid) dire need. We looked at independent research reports, read books and blogs about the life raft experiences of other cruisers, and met with all major brand reps at boat shows. After much deliberation, we settled on a six-man Winslow life raft as the crucial piece of safety gear that we hope to never use.

Our initial certification on the new raft was good for three years, a longer term than typical thanks to the durable vacuum packing by the manufacturer. Fast forward a few years, and we’ve arrived in Australia with a soon-to-expire certification. It didn’t trouble us initially, because we planned to park in Oz for a while while working to refuel the cruising kitty. The service could be done shortly before we planned our next ocean voyaging when it was time to depart; Winslow’s website listed a center near us where the raft could be serviced and re-certified. Except that as departure time approached, we tried contacting the nominated service center. The number was disconnected, and eventually, it became apparent that our options for certification in Australia were …zero. Winslow’s website offered a “404″ (page nto found) error on their list of service centers. It was not encouraging.

In port, the life raft stows under a custom bench

In Malaysia now with our eyes on next year’s Indian Ocean passages, servicing has been back up on the priority list of projects. There are multiple life raft service providers along the Malay peninsula, from Singapore to  Using a “Winslow Certified” provider suddenly felt less important, since there were several to choose from. We wanted to observe, we wanted to see the facility, we could talk to other cruisers about their experiences. Those experiences told us a lot! One cruiser friend cracked open their raft to find out that the registered agent who had serviced it in New Zealand had repaired seams with duct tape. Another boat, Crystal Blues, used a facility in Thailand and started noticing trouble when the re-certified raft wouldn’t fit back in the cradle… and then saw that simple cloth tape was used to hold the case together- they spent more than $1400 and discovered later that personal items supposed to be packed inside “went missing” at the Bangkok facility. Another friend used the Winslow certified agent in Singapore for their (non-Winslow) raft, and ended up with a surprise bill at three times the original quote (from line items like: inflated raft floor)-  at that point, it’s nearly enough to justify buying a new raft instead of servicing an older one.

We were preoccupied with other projects when a new arrival to the marina, Bernie and Michelle and family on Momo, ferreted out a local agent with liferaft servicing- it turns out, they also needed re-certification and have exactly the same raft. We didn’t have a lot to go on besides the obvious volume of business in their shop and the marina’s referral, but they were willing to let us participate in the process. Honestly? I wanted to see that raft blown up!

So we did.

It wasn’t a perfect process. The cost jumped from the original estimate (although the final price arrived at a reasonable level, once it was clear what we did, and didn’t, want). We were assured the raft would fit back into our case, were assured throughout that it would- no problem!- and then told mid-process that it wouldn’t fit. With our built-to-spec storage spot, yes, that was a problem! Ultimately it did meet our  needs: proper work, right price, and back in the case. Not to mention, we had the very satisfying experience of seeing what it would really be like to get into that raft… and how much we wanted to avoid that ever being necessary.

The moral, for us? When we purchased our life raft, we focused myopically on “the right raft”. We have a new appreciation for the availability of trusted service providers to re-certify the raft. If we’d just done a short sabbatical cruise or a few years, it wouldn’t be such a big deal, but… well, we’re not. Servicing is generally an annual affair, and when you tackle Slow Living Afloat and purchase from a raft manufacturer with exactly FIVE outlets outside the USA for servicing, you’re probably going to be stuck at some point.

Well certified people know we love it when you read this on the Sailfeed website.

Shaken and Stirred?

Fri, 2014-07-25 11:54

Posted July 25 by KL

The announcement that the America’s Cup Challenger of Record, Australia’s Hamilton Island Yacht Club, will withdraw from further participation shook things up and unloosed an avalanche of negative press.

That stirred up a counter-push that is now under way, and it is being led by other challenging teams.

The joint statement reproduced below affirms a commitment to race, and if I read it correctly, holds open the likelihood of some serious horse trading yet to come, behind closed doors, shades drawn. But where in the “joint statement” is Team New Zealand?

JOINT STATEMENT FROM THE TEAMS LUNA ROSSA CHALLENGE, ARTEMIS RACING, BEN AINSLIE RACING AND TEAM FRANCE, WHO WILL BE CHALLENGING FOR THE 35TH AMERICA’S CUP.

Following the announcement of Team Australia – representative of the Hamilton Island Yacht Club, Challenger of Record of the 35th America’s Cup – of its intention to withdraw from the competition, the teams Luna Rossa Challenge, Artemis Racing, Ben Ainslie Racing and Team France – jointly with the yacht clubs they represent – confirm their full support to the event, regardless from the host venue that will be selected.

The four teams, who have so far made clear their involvement, also reiterate their commitment to co-operate in a constructive way with the Defender to the sporting and commercial success of the 35th America’s Cup, with the aim of bringing this event to the peak of the world’s professional sport in terms of media, show, public and the intense sporting competition which has always characterised the America’s Cup.

The teams look forward to establish a constant dialogue with the Defender Oracle Team USA with the intent to fully preserve the principle of “friendly competition between foreign countries“ – one of the core elements of the Deed of Gift that rules the America’s Cup – and to co-operate actively with the Defender to adapt the rules where need be and outline the America’s Cup World Series calendar, as well as the format of the Challengers’ Selection Series and of the America’s Cup finals.

Max Sirena, skipper of Luna Rossa Challenge, declared: “All the elements for the success of the event are there: after the 34th America’s Cup it is no longer questionable how spectacular the full foiling wing-sail catamarans are! Neither is questionable the excitement, intense competition and high-adrenaline this racing offers! ”

Ben Ainslie, Team Principal of BAR, commented: “We are really focussed to help build a successful and sustainable America’s Cup for the future. The America’s Cup is about pushing the technical boundaries of the sport through continued innovation. The AC62 will again be incredibly exciting to watch, both on and off the water, all the ingredients you need for a great sporting event.”

Iain Percy, Team Manager of Artemis Racing, stated: “The next America’s Cup is likely to be the most competitive, exciting and sustainable ever. We cannot wait to compete.”

Franck Cammas, skipper of Team France, declared: “We believe that the format of the next America’s Cup will bring a friendly but fierce competition between the best sailors on the most spectacular machines the America’s Cup has ever seen. The 35th America’s Cup will confirm a new era for sailing, but also for the sport in general and the related technologies, with the most intense competition possible and Team France will be proud to be part of it !”

Cagliari, Portsmouth, Alameda, Paris, 25th of July 2014.

‘Sailing Down the Years’ in Sweden, Podcast

Fri, 2014-07-25 00:10

Essay Friday – I read today the first chapter of a book I just found yesterday in downtown Stockholm on the history of the Royal Swedish Yacht Club (KSSS) and the sailing culture here in Sweden and how it’s evolved over the past 200 years. It’s something I’m interested in myself, and it has a lot of good quotes about sailing in general to take away from it. These Friday essays will be a mix of my own thoughts and opinions, and excerpts like this when I find interesting stuff I’d like to share. Enjoy!

Gizmo’s awning AC and Muvman sit-stand stool

Thu, 2014-07-24 13:22

Written by Ben Ellison on Jul 24, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Today it’s wet and gray here on a mooring float in Northeast Harbor, but we’re enjoying a distinctly non-electronic improvement to Gizmo’s gear list. It’s a new awning that stretches from the cabin brow to the bow pulpit, letting us keep the hatches open despite the rain bursts. Yesterday, when it was sunny and fairly hot, the awning shaded the forward cabin top and the main cabin’s large forward windows. If it gets really hot, I’m pretty sure that the combination of the awning plus the see-through “Florida curtains” over the other big windows and maybe a small fan will make the boat as comfortable as the air conditioning unit. Actually, more so at anchor or moored, since we won’t have to run the generator (that’s no longer aboard anyway)…

Sailors, especially those who’ve spent time in the tropics, know all about the value of awnings, but for some reason you rarely see anything like this on a powerboat. I’m proud to have designed it with lots of help from Will Dennett of Aurora Sails & Canvas, who then proceeded to build it super strong and with a perfect fit out of light gray Sunbrella. I can put it up or take it down in about 10 minutes, and I’m confident that it will handle quite severe weather.

Now for some side notes called for by a full photo of Gizmo 2014: The Pettit Hydrocoat Eco bottom paint and Ocean Armor topsides polish are still looking good after two months. The former has collected just a shadow of the waterline slime that proliferates in Camden Harbor and the latter is still gleaming except for that surprising yellowing near the bow, which I’ll monitor and hit with Davis FSR at some point. Yesterday’s project was installing the trailboards with their new Aqua Signal Series 33 LED nav lights. Unfortunately, installing them made me like them less than when I wrote about them (see comment on that entry). Finally, the antenna mast is nowhere near finished. Soon I’ll be installing a custom aluminum cap plate along with an Edson Vision Series mount for the FLIR M-Series nav camera, and there will also be a Garmin 24xHD radome, new cellular antennas, and more to test. And I’ll be reviewing the powerful WiFi Ranger Marine2 that’s up at the spreaders now.

Back to the awning: A benefit I hadn’t anticipated are the dry, clear forward windows I can see well out of even in the rain. I took this photo at my 5’10″ standing eye height; sitting at my desk or at the lower helm I can see the horizon in all directions and might even drive the boat a modest distance with the awning up…

which is a heck of a good segue to discussing Gizmo’s fabulous new Muvman sit-stand stool. I’ve been struggling with a possibly arthritic left hip over the last year or so, which led me to investigate a sit-stand desk for my home office. I bought an ErgoDepot AD125 and while I was at it, thought I’d try their Muvman (with a 45 no-hassle return policy). Well, now I’m a sit-stand desk zealot! Even if lots of sitting isn’t causing any obvious pain (yet), I believe that standing is a natural way to work at a desk for at least part of the day.

I also kept the Muvman despite the $600 price tag. It was great to use part of a desk day, between standing and my Aeron chair, but also seemed perfect for the boat. And so it is. The 20- to 33-inch seat height adjustment means it works at both desk and helm, its springiness means I’m getting a little exercise with my feet spread and firmly planted — it is just right on an underway rolling boat. It’s also quite compact and has a built-in handle. I suspect that Muvman has a boat market the German manufacturer Swopper may not know about.

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

J/133 BLACKJACK Wins Cowes-Dinard-St Malo Race

Thu, 2014-07-24 05:30

(Cowes, Isle of Wight, England)- A favorite of the RORC offshore sailing community is the annual Cowes-Dinard-St Malo Race.  After starting off the famous Royal Yacht Squadron starting line, the fleet heads off around a 150nm triangle that ends up in St Malo, France- a wonderful seaside town on the north coast of France steeped in history and a place that offers the weary sailors delicious seafood delicacies enhanced by the equally impressive wines from the local vineyards.

The big story for this year’s race were the fact that two J’s swept the top two spots both overall and in IRC 2 Class.  The overall winner of the race was Eric Gicquel’s J/133 BLACK JACK skippered by Nils Boyer. François Lognoné’s J/122 NUTMEG- SPARKLING CHARTER, also from St.Malo, was second.

Nils Boyer, BLACK JACK’s skipper, was born in St.Malo and, under the tutelage of Franck-Yves Escoffier, is one of the rising stars in French solo sailing. Nils Boyer’s goal is to participate in the Route Du Rhum and his dream is to win the transatlantic race that starts from his hometown of St.Malo. Nils Boyer will be racing across the Atlantic this November in L’eau de là, from St.Malo to Guadeloupe, West Indies.

“Winning the Cowes-Dinard-St.Malo is magical,” smiled Nils. “BLACK JACK is a young team all from the Sociéte Nautique de la Baie de St Malo and the champagne will be flowing with all our family and friends tonight. I have been part of teams that have won a class in the race on four occasions but this is the first time that I have won the trophy overall. L’eau de là is an association of young sailors, 16-20 years of age, and to win this prestigious trophy in our home town is fantastic”.

IRC Two was highly competitive with J/Teams taking five of the top seven spots. The top seven yachts finished the 150 mile race within half an hour after time correction. BLACK JACK was the winner with J/122 NUTMEG- SPARKLING CHARTER second and fourth was Ian Dewhirst’s J/133 JUMP.  Sixth was Nigel Passmore’s J/133 APOLLO 7 and eighth was Chris Radford’s J/122 RELENTLESS ON JELLYFISH.

IRC Three was the largest class with 22 yachts competing and there was less than an hour on corrected time between the winner and 14th place. J/teams enjoyed the conditions, taking 4 of the top 10 places.  Taking 6th in class was Nick Martin’s J/105 DIABLO-J (they also took 6th in IRC Double-handed class).  Eighth in class was Chris Palmer’s J/109 J-T’AIME, ninth was Fred Nadaud’s J/105 VERONIKA and tenth was Kevin Armstrong’s JAZZY JELLYFISH.

In IRC Four the top eight yachts were all from France, including Francois Boue’s J/109, FIROUZEH 4 taking the bronze and in eighth was Jean-Pierre Briand’s J/97 JJ L’AMOROSSO.  For more RORC Cowes-Dinard-St Malo Race sailing information

Tackling Leaks and Selling the Dream

Wed, 2014-07-23 23:08
Amy: Girls, they are going to be here in half an hour.  I need you to tidy up the cockpit. Indy: Who? Amy: Those people… Dave’s friends. Like we talked about at breakfast? It doesn’t matter. Just tidy up. Indy & Stylish: Okay, Mom. Papillon: Hee hee hee. Amy: Why are you laughing?  Let’s see, I need to cut up some baguette– Papillon: I have a surprise for you. Amy: What? No. No surprises. I have an unknown quantity of Kiwis arriving in thirty minutes.  I have to finish getting ready. [pause] Amy: What is that dripping noise? Papillon: Chortle! Amy: Girls! I need to take the companionway stairs off.  Don’t come down this… girls? [Looks outside. The girls are playing with friends on the dock.] Amy: Stylish and Indy! Get this cockpit tidied!  And don’t come down the… never mind. [Puts in boards to avoid a fall. Removes stairs. Removes floorboard. Locates drip with a flashlight.] Amy: Why is it dripping there? The water isn’t running.  The sump pump is off.  Everything is off. [Removes two more floorboards. Sticks head into bilge.] Amy: Okay, it is coming from somewhere forward on the port side. Hmm. I did laundry earlier; maybe the hose leaked. [Checks laundry locker. Dry as a bone.] Amy: Let’s try the galley. [Removes galley floorboard. A small river is running aft.] Amy. Aha.  By which I mean, unprintable. [Looks at the salon.  Removing the port side floorboard necessitates removing two other floorboards first and judicious use of a shim.] -creeeaaaak- Amy: [balancing the six-foot board]  There we go.  And let’s see what we UNPRINTABLE! [Runs aft. Empties out the locker under the navigation desk. Opens seacock. Changes bilge valves to forward bilge. Turns on bilge.] Amy: Those floorboards were almost floating! Papillon: Tee hee! I told you I had a fun surprise! Watch your toes – you’re right beside the bilge pump. Amy: So what is leaking? Papillon: Uh uh! That would be telling. [Glances at the clock.  Guests are due in five minutes.] Amy: Unprintabley unprintable. Papillon: Tsk, tsk. Your kids are going to pick up that language, you know. Amy: Quiet, you. [Bilge pump finishes. Turns off switch. Sticks head down forward bilge.] Amy: Well, wherever it is, it is a slow leak. Nothing is rushing in. I can leave this for an hour. Papillon: Can you? Amy: Yes, I unprintably well can! Papillon: Ha ha ha! We’ll see! You can’t ignore me for lo-ong! [Replaces companionway stairs.] Indy: Mom, some people are here.  Why are the floorboards up? [Enters the cockpit. Notices the girls have 'tidied' by shoving everything in a corner. Picks up the mess and throws it down the back hatch.] Amy: [Smoothing hair and emerging on deck] Hello! Welcome. Sorry about that. I’ve just been dealing with a small leak. [Guests look nervously at one another.  Amy notices how very clean they all look.] Amy: But don’t let that stop you! Ha ha! Please, come in. [Guests settle in the cockpit. Amy gets drinks and snacks, while keeping up witty banter.] Amy: …Oh, no. Leaks and mechanical issues happen all the time on a boat. It’s nothing to worry about. Amy: …Our worst injury? I suppose when Erik had to stitch up Indy’s eyebrow.  What happened was… Amy: …No, it’s quite safe. Well, yes, I did have a thief aboard a couple of months ago.  I woke up… Amy: …Sure I get seasick, but it only lasts for the first four days… Amy: …Actually,we’ve had lots of people stay aboard.  Of course, we usually have floor down. Ha ha ha! [Guests polish off their beers and escape. Amy pauses to contemplate that she has just convinced six nice people that cruising is only for the certifiably insane.] Papillon: Oh Aaaaa-myyyyyyyy! Amy: Yes? Papillon: You haven’t found my leak yet. Amy: Don’t worry, you’re next on my list. Papillon: I can make some more surprises if you like. You didn’t have any plans for tomorrow, did you? Amy: Only with you, baby. Only with you.

J/Fest Southwest Announcement

Wed, 2014-07-23 14:30

(Seabrook, TX)- The final Lakewood YC sponsored regatta of 2014 will again be one of the regatta highlights of the year: the 5th Annual J/Fest Southwest will be held on November 1-2 and promises to be the biggest and best yet! The previous editions of this unique event have each seen strong increases in participation, as the quality of the regatta has become better known in the region and beyond.

The City of Seabrook is again the title sponsor of the event. The city’s contribution allows us to put on a very special event with amenities and services for participants and spectators that set the event apart from other area regattas. J/Fest Southwest attracts a large number of boats that travel from other areas of the state and as far away as Colorado. We’re still working on getting the travel happy crews from the Northeast to come down and extend their racing season. What could be better than to take your boat to a great event instead of putting it on the hard for the winter?

We are again expecting a record attendance in 2014. The super popular J/70 has seen its local fleet grow substantially, with several LYC members getting into this great speedster. Last year we were very successful attracting a number of J/Boats that don’t currently have strong one-design fleets but came out to race in PHRF handicap classes. We’re hoping to again expand our reach in these classes. To all you racers and crew members: talk it up with the J/Boat owner friends! Every J/Boat is a race boat, even if it’s a ‘cruising J’! We also expect strong participation for the J/22, J/24, J/80, J/105 and J/109 classes as well as several J/120s.  We have a new J/122 SECOND STAR in our LYC family. New members J.D. and Susan Hill will be at the starting line as ‘scratch boat’ that everyone else will chase. It will be exciting for sure! We hope to give participants an event that will put it onto their ‘can’t miss’ list.

Further to Seabrook, a number of returning sponsors have committed to supporting this regatta: Hayes Rigging, UK Sails, North Sails, The Sundance Grill II, Rejex, Blackburn Marine, Harken to name a few. I know that the racers appreciate their support! You can help by thanking them when the opportunity arises. Use their services, and when you do, mention their support for this regatta!

As always, J/Fest Southwest is co-sponsored by Scott and Terry Spurlin of J/Boats Southwest. Scott was instrumental in developing the concept of this unique regatta and the Spurlins have every year invested countless hours in the promotion and preparation of the event, prominently including the event’s informative web site at www.jfestsouthwest.com. Scott and Terry are also using their considerable network of J/Boat owners to spread the word about the regatta and bring in new crews from around the country.

This event is also designed to reach out to those who want to watch the regatta: Family members, friends and other sailing enthusiasts can board LYC member Paul Dunphey’s Liberty Belle, which is again serving as our spectator boat. Thank you Paul and Amy!! Another excellent way to follow the racing is to volunteer on the water: run or crew a mark-set boat or help out on the signal boat. Contact Kathy Goethe (281) 844-7010 if that’s interesting to you. Of course, it is still best to hop on a J/Boat and mix it up with the others! It’s friendly competition at its best!! See you there! I can’t wait!   For more J/Fest Southwest sailing information

J’s Perform In Bayview Mackinac Race

Wed, 2014-07-23 08:00

(Mackinac Island, MI) – This year’s Bell’s Beer 90th Bayview Mackinac Race began on July 12 in Southern Lake Huron, with 9-11 knots of breeze offering the 227 boats in 14 classes a swift downwind leg along the two courses offered, either to the Presque Isle Lighthouse (on the Michigan shoreline), where the Shore course begins taking a left, or the Cove Buoy where the Cove Island Course does the same (about 130 miles away from the start).

The shorter Shore course covers 204 nm along the Michigan shoreline before heading west to Mackinac Island Bell’s Beer finish line. The longer Cove Island Course is 259 nm and takes sailors around a buoy off the tip of the Bruce Peninsula in Canadian waters before heading west toward the finish line.

A westerly breeze of 9-11 knots allowed an initially mellow downwind spinnaker run to the first turning points in each of two courses. During the evening, however, “a lot of everything” happened when it came to weather and wind, including rain, dense fog and gusts up to 36 knots.  The front continued to move and produced a brisk westerly breeze that kept the fleet “on its nose” throughout Saturday evening and into Sunday. That meant the Cove Island course had the unfortunate task of playing windshifts for nearly 90nm upwind to Mackinac Island after rounding the Cove Buoy.

This year, the J/120 one-design fleet sailed the longer Cove Island Course with a big fleet of ten boats participating.  All the usual suspects from the Great Lakes J/120 fleet were sailing, including most past winners in class.  The big class winner was HOT TICKET (Mike & Bob Kirkman), beating the next set of boats by over one hour!  No question there was a duel all the way to the finish for the next two boats, both finishing within 45 seconds of each other!  Taking second was FUNTECH RACING (Charlie Hess) and at the short end of that stick was CARINTHIA (Frank Kern).  The balance of the top five was NIGHT MOVES (Henry Mistele) in fourth and FLYIN IRISH (Bill Bresser) in fifth.

In PHRF A on the Cove Island Course were also two J/111s, Tim Clayson’s UNPLUGGED took 5th and Don Hudak’s CAPERS took 7th.

The Short Course had the largest contingent of J’s sailing.  In the Level 35 Division, there are nine J/35s sailing in the fleet of eleven boats!  Taking the class honors was PAPA GAUCHO II (Keith Stauber) with the Bayer/ Bayer/ Barnes trio on FALCON only 1:50 sec behind them!  In fourth was MR BILL’S WILD RIDE sailed by Bill Wildner and fifth was MAJOR DETAIL (Bill Vogan).

Sailing into fourth overall in the 12 boat PHRF C Division was the classic navy-blue J/44 SAGITTA sailed by the team of Jon Somes and Larry Oswald from Bayview YC.

PHRF D division had an eclectic, diverse group of boats in their fleet of 16 entries.  The J/105s swept the class. The resounding winner by over 1.5 hours on elapsed time was the J/105 PTERODACTYL (Mary Symonds).  A country furlong behind was the J/105 SEND IN THE CLOWNS (Terry Timm) in second place.  Fourth was SNAKE OIL (Don Harthorn) and a J/92 took 7th- KOHATSU (John Stromberg).

Top J in the PHRF E division was the J/33 SHENANIGAN skippered by the team of Dick & Dan Synowiec from North Cape YC, placing a respectable third place.  Then in PHRF G, the J/30 CONUNDRUM skippered by Donald King from Lake Shore Sailing Club took 4th place.

On the Shore Course Cruising (white sails) division, Cruising A class saw the J/42 DOS MAS sailed by Gary Gonzalez from Grosse Pointe YC finish second!  Then, in the Division IV Shore Course Double-handed group the J/29 PATRIOT led by Lyndon Lattie took second place followed by the J/100 VANQUISH sailed by Don Fick in sixth.   For more Bayview Mackinac sailing information

  • facebook
  • twitter