2016 NEWPORT INTERNATIONAL BOAT SHOW: The Resurrection of Gunboat and Other Developments

Xavier Desmarest

I can say without doubt the most interesting conversation I had while cruising the docks at Newport on Thursday was with this man, Xavier Desmarest, one of the principals of Grand Large Yachting, seen here closing his eyes and tapping his toes and wishing perhaps he were back in Kansas, or France, as the case may be. Grand Large, you’ll recall, is the French firm that recently purchased the bankrupted remains of Gunboat at auction. And to give you an idea of what a quirky guy Xavier can be: immediately after I snapped this shot he popped open his eyes and asked if he should take his clothes off. Which started a whole riff between us on whether there might be a market for a photo calendar filled with month-by-month shots of naked boatbuilders, kind of like the old Pirelli calendar, only weirder.

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CATANA 58: A Luxury Cruising Cat With Speed Potential

Catana 58

This is a high-end performance cruising catamaran from France that tries to split the difference between high-speed sailing and posh liveaboard comfort. The design by Christophe Barreau includes all the important features that keep cats sailing their best--narrow hulls, high bridgedeck clearance, very little solid structure forward of the mast, plus high-aspect daggerboards instead of low-aspect keels.

The boat’s construction is also pretty high-tech, with an emphasis on lightweight strength. The hull and deck are fiberglass laminate set in vinylester resin vacuum-bagged over a Divinycell PVC foam core. The hull has an inner skin of Twaron aramid fabric laminated over the core to increase stiffness and impact resistance. The deck joint is bonded then glassed over to form a monocoque structure. The only solid laminate is in areas where hardware is mounted. All furniture components and floor sections are also cored with Divinycell foam; the internal bulkheads--21 in all--are laid up with Nida-Core honeycomb coring.

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FIGURE-8 VOYAGE: Solo Round Antarctica and the Americas All in One Go

Taonui

Speaking of aluminum boats, some of you may be wondering whatever happened to Taonui, the 41-foot German-built full-keeled expedition vessel that Tony Gooch sailed on a solo non-stop circumnavigation back in 2002-03. It was an impressive voyage, the first-ever non-stop circuit via the great capes sailed from the west coast of North America (Victoria BC in Canada to be precise) and also a very impressive boat (see image up top). I know I admired her intently and in fact it was my respect for Taonui that inspired me in part to acquire Lunacy, my aluminum Tanton 39, going on 10 years ago.

So I was a little jealous when I got a note last month from an online acquaintance, Randall Reeves, tipping me off that he had recently purchased a 41-foot full-keeled aluminum boat built by Dubbel & Jesse in Norderney, Germany, in 1989, now called Gjoa, but formerly named Taonui. The very same vessel. Randall first got in touch last year, seeking advice on tin boats, as he wanted to find one to take on what he calls the Figure-8 Voyage, a solo non-stop circumnavigation of first Antarctica and then the Americas via the Northwest Passage, all in one year. Now he has a perfectly appropriate boat and is training up for a departure from San Francisco next fall.

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CAPE COD CIRCUMNAVIGATION: We Go To Come Back Again

Clare in cockpit

For going on ten years now Clare has each summer broached the idea of cruising down south of Cape Cod to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, as she has never been to those places and so has felt culturally deprived. But she normally can only get a week off work at a time, and I have consistently urged that this makes for a tight schedule when sailing from Portsmouth, or worse from Portland, where Lunacy is normally moored. This year, however, we decided at last to give it a try, emboldened by the fact that we’d been offered a mooring in Wood’s Hole, where we could leave the boat for a while if necessary.

With the help of our prospective boat-buyers, Nico and Amy, I sailed Lunacy down to Portsmouth from Portland the Friday before last, thus deleting 40 miles off the distance Clare and I would have to sail to reach the anointed cruising ground. We set off late the following morning from Pepperell Cove in Kittery, just across the river from Portsmouth, bound for Provincetown, first motorsailing then beating under sail against a contrary southerly breeze that eventually topped up to just over 20 knots.

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RAINMAKER FOR SALE: Used Gunboat 55 On the Block For Just $15K

rain1

No kidding! Though she is in rough condition. This is Gunboat 55 hull number one, which was dismasted and abandoned by its owner and crew 200 miles off Cape Hatteras in January 2015. She was spotted and recovered off Bermuda this past March. Now she’s on the hard and is being auctioned off, with the starting bid pegged at $15K. Bids must be received by September 6. Check this link for details.

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LUNACY UPDATE: Prospective Buyers and Poop On the Foredeck

Nav desk

I was surprised, flattered even, when I heard from some of you that you’ve missed my appearances here. And yes, it has been unprecedented, my neglect of WaveTrain of late, but I do have an excuse. I have been pouring my wordsmithing energy into finishing a book I’ve been working on, which should be out in the world sometime next spring. Loyal readers here can do me a YUGE favor and buy the damn thing when it appears (don’t worry I’ll tip you off when it’s time). Meanwhile, if you haven’t already, you really should buy my first book.

It’s summer, too, so I have been messing around a lot on the boat, which also means working on the book on the boat (see image up top). There have been two outings I’ve failed to document here, both of which have involved sailing with Prospective Buyers. (The boat is for sale, remember???)

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2016 ROUND ISLAND REGATTA: Racing In No Wind At All

Melon seeds

This photo right here tells much of the tale of my bid to ascend the podium at this year’s Round Island Regatta (held last Saturday). Note first that I did not succeed in getting daughter Lucy to crew for me in our Melonseed skiff MiMi2 (seen on the right in this image), as she has come to question my abilities as a sailor after we shipped some water in a near-capsize while sailing MiMi2 in strong conditions a few weeks ago. Instead I lured my wife Clare aboard, whose faith in me remains unshaken. Note next there was another Melonseed for us to compete against, sailed by one Mike Driscoll (on the left), and yes, you can see he was barely ahead of us here. And this shot unfortunately was taken just before we crossed the finish line.

As I’ve always said: I’d much rather sail a close race and lose than sail a boring race and win.

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DRAKEN HARALD HARFAGRE: Viking Raid on Great Lakes Repelled by Ruthless Bureaucrats

Vikings at Detroit

Legend has it the first time Vikings came to North America they were driven away by irate natives, called skrælings by the Norse. Now more than 1,000 years later it’s the U.S. Coast Guard who are handling the job, wielding regulations rather than weapons. This time the Viking raiders, who’ve come from Norway on the 115-foot longship Draken Harald Hårfagre, got as far as the Great Lakes (see image up top, which depicts them cruising past Detroit) before they were stopped in their tracks by bureaucrats demanding they pay up to $400-an-hour in pilot fees.

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Subcategories

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    Evaluations of both new and older sailboats (primarily cruising sailboats) and of boat gear.

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    Updates on what’s going on aboard my own sailboat Lunacy: breakdowns, maintenance jobs, upgrades, cruises and passages undertaken, etc.

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