FURLING HEADSAILS: Stowed Properly, Please

Shredded furling headsail after a storm

This is a common sight in marinas and mooring fields after some heavy weather blows through. Conscientious sailors either don't have time to strip their sails off their boats, or they figure the weather won't really be that bad. So they furl their headsails and take a few extra wraps around the clew to make sure the sail is secure. All is safe, they figure. But when they return they find their headsail somehow managed to shred itself anyway.

Read more...

Write comment (0 Comments)

BAD NEWS FRIDAY: Japanese Tsunami, Danish Hostages, Dad

March 11.11 Tsunami Screen Shot

Given the name of this blog I would be remiss if I failed to mention the massive tsunami that trashed northeastern Japan today. You can watch an absolutely horrifying video of the big waters sweeping through the city of Sendai here.

In other unrelated bad news, the Danish Cruising Family Johansen (including three children and a crew of two others), who are currently being held hostage by pirates in Somalia, were NOT rescued yesterday by a mysterious indigenous armed force that launched a raid on the pirate stronghold in the mountains of Puntland. The news today is that the Johansens have now been moved aboard a ship somewhere on the coast and the pirates are threatening to put caps in their heads if any more rescue attempts are made.

Read more...

Write comment (0 Comments)

TANTON 37: Lunacy's Alter Ego

Tanton 37

To give you a clearer idea of Lunacy's provenance I thought I'd share these pix of one of her sisterships, which is currently for sale up in Montreal. This design by Yves-Marie Tanton features Lunacy's hull form, but with a perfectly flush deck and a freestanding cat-ketch rig. You'll also note that this version of the boat does not carry the two-foot scoop on the transom that makes Lunacy a 39-footer instead of a 37-footer.

My understanding is there are four other cat-ketch sisterships like this one, all built, like Lunacy, by Kingston Aluminum Yachts in Ontario during the 1980s. Lunacy is the only example with a conventional cutter rig. To get an idea of how the ketch-rigged boats sail, you can take a peek at this YouTube video.

Read more...

Write comment (1 Comment)

NOSE JOB: The New Sprit in Wood

Lunacy's mock sprit

Lunacy's new bowsprit continues to evolve from concept to reality. I stopped by Maine Yacht Center this past Thursday to check out the latest wooden mock-up and was very pleased with what I saw. This latest iteration, as you can see, incorporates the vertical plate that will support the underside of the structure. (After pondering a bit, I've realized the best name for this piece is "bob-plate," as it does the same job as a bobstay.) We've also added the extra foot of unsupported sprit forward of the anchor rollers from which my A-sail will someday fly. I was worried all this would make Lunacy's prow look a bit odd, especially given her raked bow, but in fact I think it looks pretty cool.

Read more...

Write comment (2 Comments)

SOMALI PIRACY: Cruising Family Held Hostage

The Johansen family aboard ING

As if the murder of four American cruisers last week wasn't enough to shine a big spotlight on the Indian Ocean's Somali piracy problem, the big crisis this week is that the Somalis have grabbed a Danish family of five, including three kids (ages 12 to 16), who were en route to the Red Sea aboard their 43-foot boat ING. Jan Quist Johansen, his wife Birgit Marie, their two boys Rune and Hjalte, and their daughter Naja, together with two other adult crew members, were reportedly captured last Thursday. As of today it is believed that ING is anchored near the northern Somali village of Hafun and that the hostages are all ashore.

Funny how Somali piracy seemed only a back-burner issue when it was a simply a case of 30 commercial vessels and 660 merchant mariners being held prisoner. Now that some recreational sailors have been dramatically victimized, pundits are talking darkly of a "9/11 moment" and are insisting that something must be done to solve this horrible problem.

Read more...

Write comment (4 Comments)

HUNTER 18: Test Sail with Dr. Destructo

Hunter 18

I made it up to St. Augustine and met Steve Pettengill, Director of Destructive Testing for Hunter Marine, at his R&D shed at 7:30 sharp yesterday morning. He had a brand new Hunter 18 fresh off the production line and we at once set about commissioning it for a test sail. The forecast was for a strong breeze from the south.

Being on the water in St. Augustine brought back some dramatic memories, as it was almost 20 years ago that I arrived here one fateful morning aboard the schooner Constellation. Just as we were entering the inlet, a huge pillar of black smoke suddenly came pouring out the midship hatches. It turned out we were not on fire, but we did have to shut down the engine. So it was that we sailed Constellation, a 78-foot vintage wooden vessel with a long full keel, into the Matanzas River, through the Bridge of Lions (a drawbridge), and finally landed on a dock at a private fish camp (which has since become Fish Island Marina). Later that same day a pilot in a small private plane buzzed the camp, waggling his wings hello, clipped a tree, and crashed and died.

I was half expecting my sail with Steve might be nearly as interesting, and I was not disappointed.

Read more...

Write comment (1 Comment)

SAILING INTO DANGER: Pirates and Ice and Obama's Big Chance

 

Berserk in Antarctica

I'm still up to my eyeballs in Miami. I've sailed three boats here over the past two days, and tomorrow I'm driving five hours to sail two more up in St. Augustine. But in between boats I have been following the news and thought I better throw in my two cents on the latest big rumpus in the cruising world.

Everyone and their mother now knows that Somali pirates have killed four American voyagers they took hostage off the coast of Oman. But I reckon fewer people are aware that Norwegian adventurer and madman Jarle Andhoey has gone missing off Antarctica on his 47-foot steel sloop Berserk.

Read more...

Write comment (5 Comments)

MIAMI VICES: More Tin Boats

Tupelov N007

Confession first: I did not locate the folding EzyBoat here at the Miami boat show. It is a very large show! But I did find this crazy amphibious Russian thing made out of aluminum, the Tupelov N007, designed by Aleksei Tupelov at the behest of the Russian military.

As the owner of an aluminum boat, I can easily relate to vessels like this. The design brief was for something that could be carried in a helicopter and could cross lakes and frozen tundra under its own power to retrieve cosmonauts who landed in Siberia.

Read more...

Write comment (0 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