GROOTE BEER: Hermann Goering's Botter Jacht (Not)

Groote Beer

My association with this vessel dates back to 1992, when I sailed across the Atlantic with Cliff and Ruth Ann Fremstad aboard their Alden schooner Constellation. After we unfortunately lost Constellation in a river in Spain that summer, I was a bit surprised when Cliff and Ruth Ann, who had been living aboard the schooner for several years, announced they would have to move back aboard their other boat. My surprise morphed into amazement when they described it to me and showed me some pix. It was a 52-foot Dutch botter jacht named Groote Beer (or "Great Bear"), which they claimed had been built for Hermann Goering (yes, that Hermann Goering) during World War II.

Read more ...

Write comment (16 Comments)

NORTHWEST PASSAGE CRUISE: Crew Wanted

Nick Kats on Teddy

UPDATE to the UPDATE: He's on again! My cousin Nick (that's Nicolas Kats, a naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist currently residing in Ireland, depicted above on the vessel in question) has in fact decided to move back to Portland, Oregon, and wants to take his boat along with him. Having studied the charts, he has concluded that the most logical route from A to B leads through the Northwest Passage, and he is looking for crew to come along on the journey.

Here's the voyage precis he sent me:

Read more ...

Write comment (6 Comments)

ENSENADA RACE: Mysterious Destruction of Aegean

Aegean SPOT track

This is pretty weird. I previously mentioned the tragic loss of Aegean in the Newport Ensenada Race off southern California last weekend, and since then have been following developments with interest. The original presumption was that the boat, a 37-foot Hunter, had been run down by a ship, and this seemed to have been confirmed by at least one eyewitness on another boat. But Aegean's SPOT track also shows the boat running directly into the north end of North Coronado Island at a speed of about 7 knots.

The debris from the wreck reportedly looks as though it has "been through a blender," with most bits about 6 inches long. To me this doesn't seem very consistent with either explanation, and some have speculated there might have been a propane explosion as the boat hit the rocks.

Read more ...

Write comment (0 Comments)

JOHN GUIDER: Barebones Cruiser With a Camera

John Guider photo

Beautiful photos these. Taken by a man, John Guider, who is currently rowing and sailing his way, in stages, through a circumnavigation of eastern North America aboard a 14-foot Expedition Skerry from Chesapeake Light Craft that he built himself. Right now he's in the South Carolina sea islands, a little north of Beaufort. By July he expects to be in New York City.

Read more ...

Write comment (0 Comments)

MORE CALIFORNIA YACHT RACING FATALITIES: And Deaths Averted in Melbourne to Port Fairy Race

Trybooking.com arrives in Port Fairy after rescue

Trybooking.com arrives in Port Fairy carrying survivors from Inception 

It's been an awful month for racing sailors in California. First came the well-publicized loss of Low Speed Chase in the Farallones Race off San Francisco, which resulted in five fatalities and an unprecedented Coast Guard ban on further offshore races in the area. Now this weekend comes word that a Hunter 376, Aegean, has been lost in the Newport Ensenada Race, presumably in a collision, with four apparent fatalities.

Less remarked on has been the dramatic night rescue of six crew Down Under in the Melbourne to Port Fairy Race early this month. The fleet of 14 boats was caught in a vicious gale (winds reported at 40-50 knots, with gusts to 70) and only one boat managed to finish. One competitor, Inception, a 50-foot Beneteau, sank at the height of the tempest, but fortunately its crew was rescued by another crew competing aboard Trybooking.com, an Elan Impression 434.

Read more ...

Write comment (2 Comments)

NEEL 45: Living Large on a Trimaran

Neel 45 under sail

Theoretically, I was to spend all day Monday testing boats after the "multi-cocks" show in Lorient, but the weather was so foul everyone cancelled on me. Instead I managed to cram in a couple of short tests during the last day of the show, including one on the new Neel 45, an intriguing trimaran that tries to fit cat-sized cruising accommodations into a three-hulled format.

This is not a new concept. Early cruising tris, those slab-sided beasts built of plywood back in the 1960s, tried to pull off this trick by pushing sleeping spaces into the bridgedecks connecting the main hull to the amas. These boats proved to be a bit too heavy and unwieldy to sail as well as a trimaran should and were also fragile. You might recall the disintegration of Nigel Tetley's Piver-designed Victress during the Golden Globe Race in 1969, or the less-well-publicized fracturing of a plywood tri sailed by cruisers Val and Ernest Haigh some years later.

Read more ...

Write comment (1 Comment)

BAMBA 50: Catamaran Motorsailer

Bamba 50 under sail

Yo peeps. I'm tapping this out in the wind-blown town of Lorient, France, where I spent all day yesterday browsing through a small, but very interesting boat show, Les Salons du Multicoque. This is a special presentation of multihulls, containing some very cutting-edge boats, that flops back and forth between Brittany and the Med. Ironically, one of the boats I found most interesting was this new Bamba 50, a catamaran motorsailing trawler built right near here in La Rochelle. It serves as a trenchant reminder that the "edge" in boat design can cut more ways than one.

Read more ...

Write comment (3 Comments)

MATT RUTHERFORD: Bay Bridge in Sight

Matt Rutherford off Virginia Beach

Matt Rutherford off Virginia Beach (photo courtesy of Mark Duehmig)

Editor's note: Andy Schell, my Matt Rutherford correspondent, shot me this report just moments ago. LET'S GO, MATT!!!

You'd think that in a voyage of now 310 days--the time Matt Rutherford has been at sea since departing the Chesapeake almost a year ago--the hardest part would be far behind him.

But in fact, the hardest part is right now.

Matt has the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel in sight, and is only a handful of miles from crossing his outward track, which would make him the first person in history to complete a solo nonstop voyage around both American continents. He's already been recognized by the Scott Polar Institute as having piloted the smallest vessel ever through the Northwest Passage, and if the weather cooperates, he'll make history again in a much bigger way sometime today.

The trouble is the weather is not cooperating.

Read more ...

Write comment (2 Comments)

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.

  • Techniques & Tactics

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

Search

Subscribe

Total Cruise Control

Buy Total Cruise Control On Amazon Click Here

Buy Total Cruise Control On Amazon Click Here