You may recall I threatened to abuse you with knowledge of celestial navigation back when they shut down the Loran system in February. I have long preached the wisdom of learning and practicing a bit of celestial nav, and once upon a time I actually practiced what I preached (as you can see in the photo up top, which is of me shooting the sun on Crazy Horse while en route from the Cape Verdes to Antigua in 1997). I still keep a sextant onboard, but I realized when I sat down to compose a celestial diatribe to share with you that it actually has been many years since I ever used it. Before lecturing you, therefore, I figured I best brush up a bit and so liberated my old Plath Navistar Pro from its tomb aboard Lunacy while sailing from Tortola to Bermuda last week.
I was amazed at how much I had forgotten. Fortunately, too, I was amazed at how much I remembered again after I pondered over my sextant, my old celestial nav workbook, and the Nautical Almanac for a while. In the end, it was reassuring to know I could still more or less figure out where I was without any help from satellites.
Techniques & Tactics
Sorry to inflict more space news on you guys, but this is truly noteworthy. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) succeeded today in launching the first spacecraft to be propelled by solar sails. Described by the Japanese as a "space yacht," the craft, called IKAROS (for Interplanetary Kite-craft Accelerated by Radiation Of the Sun), will deploy a polymide membrane with a thickness of just 7.5 micrometers (or 0.0075 millimeters, about one-tenth the thickness of a human hair) that will both generate propulsive force as light photons bounce off it and electricity, thanks to the thin-film solar panels embedded on it. IKAROS both costs and weighs much less than conventional spacecraft and if successful promises to revolutionize deep-space exploration.
News & Views
Lunacy is the first boat I've ever had that is equipped with radar. Initially I didn't use it much. I know some curmudgeons who still swear it's their first choice when it comes to navigation electronics, but in the age of GPS this just seems perverse to me. Interpreting glowing globular clusters for clues as to my whereabouts has never been one of my special talents. I'm also not much good at reading chicken entrails.
During solo offshore passages, however, I've come to worhsip my radar. It solves the biggest problem any singlehander must face, which is SLEEP. As in how to get some without just rolling the dice on whether some huge freighter is going to run you down like a bug.
Only once before have I departed the W'Indies for Bermuda from the BVI. That was in '97, on Crazy Horse, out of Jost Van Dyke (or Just One Dike, as the famous Foxy Callwood sometimes refers to it). I remember Jost as being a perfect orifice from which to excrete oneself into the North Atlantic. It is very low key. Back then the one customs and immigration officer (who was also the police force) wore shorts and a T-shirt and was quite laid-back. It also offers immediate access to the Big Blue Yonder.
I thought briefly about leaving from there again this year. But this made little sense. Lunacy was already ensconced at Village Cay Marina in Road Town, ex post family cruise, waiting for me to take her away. Road Town not only has an immigration office, but also supermarkets and fuel docks (or so I thought). Logistically, if not aesthetically, it makes a better point of departure than Jost.
The Lunacy Report
This 18-minute talk (click here to watch) by reef ecologist Jeremy Jackson on the degradation on the marine environment is compelling, persuasive, and profoundly depressing. You owe it to the planet to give it a look.
Here’ s a fantastic opportunity for someone to pick up a very swell boat for a fraction of what it’s really worth. This custom one-off cruiser/racer was designed by Chuck Paine for a private client and was first launched back in 2002. I test-sailed it soon afterwards and persons involved in its creation advised me confidentially the build cost was over $800K. The boat has been listed for sale for years now, and the asking price is currently down to $399K. Even better, the original owner already has another boat.
Gusto, as she is now called, offers an excellent example of how traditional design concepts can be blended with more modern concepts and building materials to produce a very unique and appealing vessel. She is one of several “modern traditional” cruising boats Chuck Paine helped to create in latter part of his career (he is now retired and is hard at work on a book about the boats he has designed).
Boats & Gear
Page 62 of 75
Offshore Passage Opportunities
Attainable Adventure Cruising
Blue Planet Times
Father & Son Sailing
Cruising Sailor's BB
Good Old Boat
North American Sailor
Liz Clark and the Voyage of Swell
Onboard with Mark Corke
All Content © 2011-12 Wavetrain - All Rights Reserved Site Design By FortySix Web