REID STOWE: Out of South America

Reid Stowe's mom, RIP

Here's a titillating bit of synchronicity. It seems that marathon voyaging champ Reid Stowe, who has spent much of the last year living with his family in the jungles of Guyana working to refit his schooner, will soon be leaving South America, just as his old buddy Ivo van Laake sails in from Europe on a cruise with his family. Reid's mom Anne (see photo up top), after whom his schooner is named, died recently, and Reid's current plan is to sail north to North Carolina via the West Indies and move in with his dad. Meanwhile, Ivo, a Dutch sculptor living in France, has acquired a rugged metal cruising boat, which he has named Vlaag, after the tiny plywood boat he cruised the Pacific on when he was young. He cast off his lines last month and is currently en route to Madeira and ultimately to Brazil.

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ULTRASONIC ANTIFOULING: Second Full-Season Results

Lunacy hauled

Lunacy was hauled at Maine Yacht Center last week, just for a quick scrub and zinc replacement, as I plan on taking her south to Puerto Rico for the winter. This is the second full season she's had her Ultrasonic Antifouling system clicking away trying to keep her private parts clean. As you can see in the photo up top, the results from a distance look pretty good.

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BOAT GIRL: New Book by Melanie Neale

Boat Girl book

I first met the Neale family--Tom, his wife Mel, and their two young daughters, Melanie and Carolyn--in November 1993 on the Virginia shore in Chesapeake Bay. I was sailing south with Nim Marsh, then a once-and-future editor at Cruising World magazine, aboard his boat Breakaway, a Bristol 29, and he was anxious to visit the Neales, who were aboard their Gulfstar 47 Chez Nous, preparing to embark on their annual pilgrimage from the Chesapeake to the Bahamas. I remember pulling into an anchorage past the marina where Chez Nous was docked and running aground in a tricky channel. Nim was frantic and declared we had to get off before Tom had a chance to come over in his dinghy to help us out.

"If he has to pull us off, I'll never hear the end of it," he insisted.

You never saw two guys set an anchor and kedge a boat off a shoal so fast in your life.

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2012 ANNAPOLIS CATAMARAN TESTS: Leopard 58 and Fountaine Pajot Sanya 57

Leopard 58

Both the cats I tested after the Annapolis show this year are super-sized production boats designed mostly to serve in the charter trade. The Leopard 58, a.k.a. the Moorings 5800, is the more extreme example of this species, fully three stories tall, topped with an enormous covered flybridge on which it is possible to entertain and feed a dozen or more people while simultaneously driving the boat.

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EVIL EYE OF THE OCEAN: What the Heck Is It?

Swordfish eyeball

Gino Covacci found this object on the beach in Pompano Beach, Florida, this past Wednesday.

The web has since been abuzz with speculation as to what it might be. Do you think it is:

A) An alien probe sent from a distant planet?

B) An eyeball from a squid?

C) Some kind of sexual organ?

D) An eyeball from a whale?

E) A fetal bowling ball?

F) An eyeball from a swordfish?

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2012 ANNAPOLIS MONOHULL TESTS: Hunter 40 and Zen 24

Mark Pillsbury

After departing the Annapolis show on Sunday morning, I returned to Annapolis Tuesday morning to test-sail boats with my colleague and partner-in-crime Adam Cort from SAIL magazine. We each got in four boats in less than 48 hours, which, believe it or not, is a semi-easy schedule when it comes to post-show testing. On one of the two monohulls I sailed, the new Hunter 40, I shared a test with Cruising World's editor-in-chief Mark Pillsbury, thus continuing the bilateral cooperation initiated by Elaine Lembo and I this past summer. Mark didn't want to cooperate for too long, however, and hopped off the boat about 15 minutes into the sail. In that photo up there you can see the mysterious black RIB that swooped in to steal him away from us.

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LAGOON 380: An Entry-Level Cruising Cat

Lagoon 380

The Lagoon 380 is not the smallest Lagoon catamaran ever built--both the Lagoon 37, its immediate predecessor, and the Lagoon 35CCC were smaller--but it is the smallest Lagoon currently built and one of the smallest dedicated cruising cats that succeeds in combining both reasonable performance and a "big cat" accommodation plan in a single package. It is a carefully balanced exercise in moderation. Designed by Marc Van Peteghem and Vincent Lauriot Prevost and first introduced in 2000, the Lagoon 380 is intended to serve both as a charter fleet workhorse (it is co-branded as the Moorings Lagoon 380) and as a serious entry-level cruising cat for private owners. Several hundred of these boats have been built over the years, and it is probably the most successful contemporary cruising cat currently on the market.

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2012 ANNAPOLIS BOAT SHOW: Be Here See That

SAIL Booth at Annapolis

Me and everyone else at SAIL magazine have been running about like the proverbial headless chickens doing what we do here in Annapolis in early October. Most important news first: SAIL has a new location at the show, en plein air (we used to be buried in a tent), directly across from Catalina's in-the-water boats, so be sure to stop by and pick up a pen and a hat and a calendar and subscribe (if you haven't already) and sit in one of our comfy new chairs. The photo here depicts our own Sarah Johnston (with head recently reattached) setting up the new space just before the show opened Thursday.

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  • Boats & Gear

    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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    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.

  • Techniques & Tactics

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



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