MOLLY MALONE: Dead Chick Sells Live Seafood

Molly Malone statue in Dublin

I've been in Ireland with the family this week visiting my wife's family in County Kerry. We took a few days for a jaunt over to Dublin, where we encountered this famous statue of the legendary Molly Malone on Grafton Street. No doubt you are familiar with the song. Personally, I've always been struck by its remarkable irony, which I am certain must have been intentional. My wife, however, thinks I'm crazy.

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TACKING UPWIND: How An Albatross Flies To Windward

The late-breaking news from the world of oceanography is that Phil Richardson, scientist emeritus at the Wood's Hole Oceanographic Institute, has discovered how it is albatrosses manage to glide upwind. Apparently, this question has baffled scientists for some time. The answer, it turns out, as divined by Richardson, who learned to sail as a boy during summers spent in Maine, is pretty simple: just like sailors, the birds glide at an angle to the wind and tack back and forth as needed to fly directly to windward.

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CATALINA 355: Little Sister to 445

Catalina 355 under sail

This is another of the boats I sailed after the Annapolis show that I've been meaning to hold forth on here. You'll recall about a year ago I mentioned its predecessor, the award-winning Catalina 445, and raved about that boat's very versatile aft cabin. This new 355, intended to be a scaled down version of its bigger sister, obviously doesn't have the space for the same sort of accommodations, but it does share many other attributes.

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LE PAPILLON: Teenager Crashes Dad's Pinky Schooner?

Papillon Aground

All kinds of rumors have been swirling about regarding the mortal remains of this 48-foot Thomas Colvin pinky schooner, Le Papillon, that went aground on Fire Island back on March 31. The photo you see here, from Will Van Dorp's Tugster blog, was taken just a few days ago and shows how the boat is being consumed by beach sand.

The gist of the rumors is as follows: Bertil Haney, 19, of Harrington, Maine, with two others as crew--Daniel Bolander and Victoria Parsons, both 20--borrowed Le Papillon, which purportedly belongs to Haney's father, from a marina in Baltimore and took off for Maine sometime last month. Reportedly, they ran aground soon after leaving the marina, again on the New Jersey shore, and finally much more permanently on Fire Island. Reportedly, too, Haney did not have permission to take the boat. The boat's documentation, it should be noted, lists one Bertil James Haney as the owner, and cites Bertil James Haney and Thomas Francis Lemm as previous owners.

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SPRING PROJECTS: Masthead Halyard Leads

Lunacy's masthead

I went to visit Lunacy yesterday, ostensibly to witness the unveiling of the completed aluminum prod that hopefully will be welded on to her bow later this week. The welder who created the prod was unfortunately running late, and pressing magazine and tax deadlines prevented me from waiting too long for him to appear, so in the end I did not get to meet the new appendage. Still, I did enjoy mucking about on the boat, pondering the advent of spring.

Another thing I pondered are the halyards running off the top of Lunacy's mast, a subject I've been fretting about for some time. Having gone to the trouble to create an Almighty Sprit strong enough to support the tack of a powerful Code-0 sail, I also need a masthead halyard up to the job of holding the sail aloft. Lunacy's existing masthead arrangement, as you can see up top, is fairly conventional: two headsail halyards with exits on centerline below the tang that supports the headstay, and two spinnaker halyards running through blocks hanging from offset cranes.

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TO THE SHORES OF TRIPOLI: Winning the War in Libya

Scurvy Bastard drawing

Editor's note: Some more true adventures of and by Lt. Scurvy Bastard, USN. The sequel and conclusion to the recently discovered 19th century Barbary War memoir the first part of which was published here on March 22.

WHEN we fetched back to Sicily the morning of 19 February 1804, three days after torching the frigate Philadelphia and so depriving the Pasha of Tripoli of his most potent weapon against us, we was immediately hailed as brave heroes by all of Commodore Preble's squadron. They spied our canvas out of Syracuse harbor about 10 a.m. and owing to the light airs was immediately out in boats to help haul us in. Weren't but half an hour before they had us in the harbor proper, whereupon the crews on all three ships come up on deck to give us three big cheers as we sidled by.

"Weren't never nothing like this in the Indies," I exclaimed to Mr. Skull. Me and me boys being all up on the taffrail gaping at it, excepting old Doc Plague, who were lashed to a belaying pin as he were delirious from celebrating.

Skull was beaming all over, and I could tell he ain't never been plauded in such a manner before. Same with young Billy Breeze, whose eyes was all moist from the grand emotion of the moment.

Soon as we set our hook there were a boat straight over from Constitution to take me and Lt. Decatur for an interview with the commodore. There were an honor watch to pipe us aboard proper and two midshipmen to escort us right down to the great cabin.

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SO BEAUTIFUL: Amazon River Stingrays

X-ray of Amazon River stingray

The point of this post really is just this image, which is so beautiful I've been staring at it now for days. Tis an X-ray of a new species of freshwater stingray discovered earlier this month in the Amazon River in Peru. Struggle as we might to create beauty ourselves, we'll never top nature, most particularly the soggier side of it that exists in water.

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MISSING (AND MISSED) PERSONS: Dickie Lemont, Mike Harker, Spike Perry

Richard Lemont

My mom always said these things come in threes. I don't really believe that, but it does often seem that way.

First up: Richard Lemont, age 43, gone missing from his boat near the mouth of the Kennebec River in Maine last Thursday. By now, alas, he must be presumed dead. Dickie, as he was always called, launched his skiff upriver at Phippsburg late Thursday morning, did some clam digging, then went downriver to Popham Beach to cut up a tree that was obstructing the town dock there. After completing that job, he evidently somehow fell overboard on his way back up to Phippsburg. His skiff was found empty, motoring in circles, not far from Parker Head that same afternoon. An extensive search of the area by the Coast Guard, the state Marine Patrol, and a horde of volunteers has thus far proved fruitless.

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Subcategories

  • 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.

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    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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