SPLASHED: In Early May! First Time Ever

Lunacy launched

Lunacy got launched and rigged at Maine Yacht Center on Monday. I was up there yesterday and managed to get all the sails on before the rain squalls started up. As you can see from the photo up top, I've scored some new canvas, courtesy of Richard Hallett: a replacement purple dodger, a new bright red sail cover, and a new bright blue sunshield on the headsail. At last this is close to the canvas-color configuration I envisioned when I first got the boat, lo these many years ago. (Please note: the canvas multi colors match those of the name graphic, the logic of which I've explained before.)

Every spring I've launched a cruising sailboat in New England, I always swear I'll be afloat as early as possible in May. But something always happens--endless varnishing projects (back when I had boats with brightwork), or some awful unforeseen time-consuming repair (most commonly), or simple mission creep (stuff taking much longer than expected)--and usually I'm lucky if the damn boat is in by mid-June. So I'm feeling pretty pleased about this. Apprehensive, too. As predicted in my last post on this subject, the blizzard should be hitting any day now!

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EXPLODING BLUE WHALE: They're Standing By in Newfoundland!

Bloated dead whale

What do you do when a dead 81-foot blue whale washes up on your beach? Hold your nose and wait for it pop. So it goes in Trout River, Newfoundland, when the local population of 600 souls has been has been waiting on pins and needles for their whale to burst since it washed up in town last week. There's even a dedicated website: hasthewhaleexplodedyet.com

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DUTCH BARGE RACING: Demolition Sailing

Racing barge

Who says you need a modern go-fast boat with foils to make sailing really exciting? Check out these video clips of traditional Dutch barges, called skutsjes, which were originally used for hauling cargo in Friesland and are still actively raced today. What blows me away in the first one are the guys to leeward with the sounding poles. Looks like a much dicier job than bowman! Note also the major TV sports coverage. Very impressive that. You can tell the Dutch have their priorities straight. Also... there's a nice collision at 3:21.

Funny thing about Dutch, I tried translating the YouTube video description in a couple of different online translation programs, and Dutch translated into English looks just like Dutch in the original Dutch. Maybe someone who speaks Dutch can explain that to me.

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MID-ATLANTIC CRUISE: Bareboat Chartering in the Azores

Sailing to Sao Jorge

While dawdling about the North Atlantic in my old Alberg 35 yawl Crazy Horse I spent nine months in the Azores in 1995 and '96. The beautiful nine-island archipelago just sucked me right in. With its dramatic volcanic topography, verdant sub-tropical foliage, sumptuous mid-ocean cloud formations, amazingly friendly people, low food prices, and exquisite architecture it seemed to me a paradise on earth. But if you had told me back then there would one day be a successful bareboat charter operation in the islands, I would have laughed at you.

Not that the sailing is bad. Much of the time it is perfectly splendid, with interestingly variable breezes and occasionally challenging conditions to keep you honest. The big problem was parking. The islands have virtually no natural harbors, anchoring along the steep-sided shore is usually impossible, and the few moorings you were apt to find in those days were grossly unreliable. During my time there I did manage to visit and explore seven of the nine islands, but I had a few skin-of-my-teeth experiences in some of the tiny man-made harbors, and one acquaintance of mine actually lost his boat after he left it in the harbor at Vila do Porto on Santa Maria on a seemingly solid mooring that failed.

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MAINE CAT 38: Minimalist Performance Cruising Cat

Maine Cat 38 quarter view

Speaking of catamarans, this is a new Maine Cat launch coming up this year that I'm looking forward to. I love cats like this--lean and mean and simple, with enough accommodations that you can really go somewhere in them, but not so much that the boat gets fat and slow. This is an open bridgedeck design, similar to the Scape 39 Sport Cruiser I sailed across the South Atlantic a few years ago, but not quite as severe, with some serious hardtop shelter on deck. Basically it looks to be an open-air saloon. Or a huge pilothouse. Take your pick.

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REBEL HEART EVACUATION: Another Internet Sailboat Rescue Tornado

Eric Kaufman with children

Goodness gracious. Do I feel sorry for Eric and Charlotte Kaufman! Not only have they lost their home, Rebel Heart, the Hans Christian 36 they've been cruising on for two years, which they had to abandon yesterday when they boarded a U.S. Navy warship about 900 miles west of Mexico, and which the Navy subsequently scuttled and sank. Not only have they had to cope with the unthinkable stress of having their 1-year-old daughter, Lyra, come down with some mysterious illness in the middle of a long Pacific passage. But now they have a good chunk of the global population lambasting them online for getting into all this trouble in the first place.

Isn't modern technology wonderful?

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CAT PPALU: Great Salvage Video

Ppalu sunk

Gotta hand it to Randy West. He knows how to bounce right back after getting slapped down hard. You'll recall his classic 75-foot Peter Spronk catamaran, Ppalu, sank last month in St. Maarten during the Heineken Regatta. (This right after Randy got done with a 7-month refit of the boat.) Now you can watch a properly produced Rick Moore video on how the old girl was salvaged:

You'll also learn a bit about the history of the boat, starting with when Randy was one of 200 people who helped pick her up and walk her into the water when she was first launched in St. Maarten over 30 years ago.

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Subcategories

  • Boats & Gear

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

  • The Lunacy Report

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

  • News & Views

    Updates on what’s going on in the sport of sailing generally (most usually, but not always, relating to cruising under sail) and in the sailing industry, plus news nuggets and personal views on all manner of nautical subjects.

  • Lit Bits

    Longer articles by me that treat sailing and the sea in a more literary manner, short reviews of nautical books I think readers might enjoy reading, plus occasional excerpts from nautical books that I’d like to share with readers.

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    Tips and diatribes regarding boathandling, sailhandling, seamanship, navigation, and other realms of nautical expertise.

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