Those of you who sail and cruise in the Atlantic Ocean will probably not be pleased to learn that scientists have confirmed there is a vast patch of floating plastic debris in a band between 22 and 38 degrees north that rivals the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in size and density. Kara Lavender Law, a researcher with the Sea Education Association (SEA), shared this depressing revelation with scientists gathered at the Ocean Sciences Meeting in Portland, Oregon, earlier this week. According to Law, most of the debris picked up in surface trawl nets over the course of a 20-year SEA study consisted of fine bits of plastic up to one centimeter in size. The maximum density observed was 200,000 bits of plastic per one square kilometer.
News & Views
One of the highlights of my recent trip to Miami was getting to meet Jeremy Wurmfeld, a young, personable designer who is co-founder (with Robbie Doyle of Doyle Sails) of e Sailing Yachts. I was hoping to sail with Jeremy aboard his e33, the sweet-looking daysailer he and Robbie introduced a few years back, but at first he demurred. He'd just returned from taking a group of five neophyte show-goers out for a hair-raising spin in quite blustery conditions and wasn't anxious to head out again.
Fortunately, I spied Steve Pettengill loitering about nearby. Just the man to have aboard when conditions are dicey! I at once press-ganged him into joining us and assured Jeremy all would be fine. But as we cast off lines and nosed out of the marina, Jeremy (seen on the right above) seemed puzzled and asked who Steve (on the left) was. I might have explained about the solo round-the-world racing career, or about the time he flipped a trimaran off Cape Horn, etc., etc., but instead I cited Steve's current job title. "He's Director of Destructive Testing for Hunter Marine," I answered enthusiastically. Jeremy, to his credit, did not look (too) alarmed.
Boats & Gear
I'm sure a few Hollywood agents are already wrangling over the rights to this one. It's got everything needed for a blockbuster movie script: a crowd of innocent kids, some seriously mortal danger, plus a big fat happy ending. The scary part of the tale concerns the fate of the Canadian school ship Concordia, a 188-foot square-rigger with 48 high-school students aboard, that sank in a matter of minutes last Wednesday after being struck by a savage microburst 300 miles off the coast of Brazil. The miraculous part of the story is that everyone aboard--all the students, plus 16 other crew--escaped alive and was brought safely to shore.
Smack dab in the middle of this drama we find one huge unanswered question: why did it take Brazilian authorities over 24 hours to respond to Concordia's distress signal???
One big bummer for sailing show-goers at Miami this year was that the sail side of the show was split between two venues. Most boats were at Sea Isle Marina next to the Venetian Causeway, but a handful of larger ones were at the old Miamarina Bayside location. To see all the sailboats you therefore had to spend a lot of time waiting in line for shuttle buses. One big bonus, however, was that there were at least four different boats at Sea Isle that were continually taking folks out sailing on Biscayne Bay. One of these was the new Presto 30 from Ryder Boats in Maine. I'd seen drawings of this modern reinterpretation of the classic shoal-draft sharpie in a number of magazines and was anxious to go for a ride.
Having recently been involved in some annoying funky fuel adventures on my boat Lunacy, I was very interested in this new Parker Racor FPM-050 fuel-polishing "module" I found at the Miami show. The b
lack box you see here is basically a pump that can continually pull a low volume of fuel through a Racor fuel filter when your boat is idle. Though you can also purchase a timer/controller unit that automatically turns the pump on and off at set intervals, its power draw is so low you can in fact leave it running unattended for indefinite periods of time. It seems an ideal way to keep fuel from getting wet and funky during an extended winter lay-up or when you are otherwise away from your boat for longer than you'd like to be.
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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
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