INTEGREL GENERATING SYSTEM: Nigel Calder's Frankenstein Comes Alive!

Dr. Calder

I wrote about this in my regular column in the current issue of SAIL (the February issue, which of course comes out in mid-January), but it’s something EVERYONE should know about, so I’m pimping it here too. This is a new system for managing electrical power on sailboats that Nigel Calder has been helping to develop for many years. It consists of an engine-driven DC generator--effectively a high-output “alternator on steroids,” as Nigel has put it--and a very sophisticated black-box controller that harvests untapped energy in a marine diesel propulsion engine’s power curve. It produces scads of electrical power when you run your engine to push your boat, or if necessary at idle speed, AND increases your engine’s overall health and fuel efficiency by running it at optimum load levels at all times.

A very neat trick! The Integrel system, which is being produced and marketed by Triskel Marine, has scored a perfect trifecta in this season’s marine technology awards sweepstakes. It was the overall winner in the Dame Design Awards at the METS trade show in Amsterdam last November; it is the overall winner in SAIL’s Freeman K. Pittman Innovations Awards (announced in the current issue); and it has also won Ocean Navigator’s Chuck Husick Marine Technology Award.

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IN IRMA'S WAKE: Xmas/New Year's Cruise from St. Maarten to St. Thomas

Oyster Pond damage

We descended en famille into SXM two days after Christmas to find a) the airport was no longer running out of tents and the regular terminal had (sort of) reopened; and b) the Christmas winds, as Don Street likes to call them, were in full effect. Blowing out of the east, as always, these were tradewinds, but “fortified” with lots of ugly rain squalls and big long gusts of breeze up to 35 knots or more. They trapped us on the island for a couple of days, which gave us time to rent a car and explore in detail.

We were particularly interested in visiting Oyster Pond, as this was our favorite place to base the boat on previous visits here. I’d heard the pond and Capt. Oliver’s Marina, once the Sunsail charter base in these parts, had suffered unduly when Hurricane Irma clobbered the island back in September 2017; I’d also heard there’s been little or no reconstruction since the storm. This proved true on both counts, as you can see in the photo up top (taken during one of those fortified squalls). Though I’m sure much debris and many ruined boats have been removed, we saw no evidence of any rebuilding at the marina or its eponymous resort. I had to wonder: will they ever rebuild here? I’d be a little surprised if they did.

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GOLDEN GLOBE RACE: Back in the Atlantic, Attrition, Bending the Rules

GGR tracker

There’s certainly been no lack of drama in this year’s “remake” of the first non-stop round-the-world Golden Globe Race of 50 years ago. As one would expect the attrition rate has been high, with dismastings, rescues at sea, injuries, including one broken back, and very thankfully (so far) no fatalities. Of the 18 sailors who set out on this adventure back in July, only eight are still sailing. Or wait… that may be seven now, as word comes this morning that Susie Goodall, on DHL Starlight, has just set off her EPIRB. Bummer!

Amazingly, two GGR boats have already turned the corner at Cape Horn and are back in the Atlantic Ocean with their bows pointed north toward the finish line. At this same point in the original race, Robin Knox-Johnston and Bernard Moitessier were still in the neighborhood of Australia and New Zealand, with all the Pacific Ocean in front of them. However this turns out, I think the race has been a great success. As I’ve been following it, however, I’ve raised my eyebrows a few times at how the race organizer, Don McIntyre, has meddled with things, granting dispensations to sailors who have violated the rules and changing the rules in mid-race.

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2018 SOUTHBOUND LUNACY: Annapolis to St. Maarten

Lunacy doghouse

What with swapping out old Lunacy for new Lunacy and last year’s jaunt down to Florida and back it’s been a few years since I pilgrimaged to the W’Indies for the winter. It’s past time to revisit old haunts, I decided, what with last year’s awful storms, plus I have some business to attend to down there. Having again pimped out new Lunacy to her builder to be shown at Annapolis, it was preordained I should depart from the Chesapeake, which is something I hadn’t done before. I assumed it would be easier than leaving from New England.

I made the run from Annapolis to Norfolk last year (with crew), before diving down the rabbit hole of the ICW, and had not forgotten how long the bay is. I’d hoped to have crew again this time, but another un-named boat magazine editor (different from the last one) who volunteered to come along, unvolunteered on short notice, and I was left on my own. I thus felt some urgency and hastily left Spa Creek in Annapolis on the afternoon of October 22, same day I flew in, and motored 10 miles down the bay to the West River before sunset. A small first step down the long road south.

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NICK SKEATES ON WYLO II: The Ultimate Barebones Cruiser and his Ultimate Dirt Simple Boat

Nick Skeates

Dang it. I was going to write a post about the boats I test-sailed after the show in Annapolis, as has been my custom these past years, but I lost my freaking camera and have no pix for it. Ah, well. This gives me a chance to change the subject and point you at a fantastic viddy posted on Vimeo by Byrony Stokes a couple of months ago. About the intrepid Nick Skeates, a dumpster-diving barebones cruising legend and his tough-as-nails self-designed and self-built boat Wylo II.

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JVD Airways: Fly Foxy to the Virgin Islands


By far the most interesting piece of news I picked up while wandering the show in Annapolis the last two days came from this man, Foxy Callwood, renowned owner of Foxy’s Bar on Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands. During the course of a rambling conversation, Foxy complained of the lagging effort to revitalize his home island after last year’s devastating hurricane. He also let slip with a sly smile that he was working on a scheme to launch a new airline, JVD Airways, that he hopes will help rekindle the local economy by offering direct flights from all over the U.S. straight to the Virgin Islands.

Foxy being Foxy, I thought at first he must be kidding. But no, he is very serious. I asked if he has secured funding, and he dropped a name that would raise anybody’s eyebrows. Foxy is still working on putting this deal together, and asked that I not divulge the identity of his prospective partner, but you heard it here first folks: this could really happen.

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2018 SOUTHBOUND LUNACY: Back to the Boat Show Solo Delivery Trip

Lunacy in slings

This truly was touch and go. I’d had the boat hauled in early September to attend to a fairly discrete list of chores: 1) put on fresh bottom paint; 2) have some nice handrails sent by my friends at Boréal welded on to the stern arch; 3) make sure the engine’s running gear was OK after that run-in with a pot warp. It was the last item, of course, that created problems.

Turned out that wrapped pot warp (remember?) had ruined the cutless bearing, and to change that out the prop shaft had to be pulled, and as long as the shaft was out: why not send it on to get it checked to make sure it’s still perfectly straight??? It made sense at the time, but it unfortunately took much longer than it should have. Then there was some head-scratching over Lunacy’s exotic Vetus transmission coupling after the shaft came back, and a missing shaft key, and before I knew it the guys at Maine Yacht Center were relaunching Lunacy (see above) the very morning I planned to take her away south to Annapolis to be in the show again.

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UNMANNED: First Robot Sailboat Completes Transatlantic Voyage

Sailbuoy Met

Who needs crew? Not the Sailbuoy Met, a 2-meter long sailing robot, which recently arrived in Ireland after sailing 80 days non-stop from Newfoundland. Created by a Norwegian company, Offshore Sensing AS, Sailbuoy is the first robot vessel to cross the Atlantic and the first to complete the Microtransat Challenge, a transatlantic race for autonomous vessels. Twenty previous attempts by different teams had ended in abject failure.

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