One of the boats I test-sailed after the Annapolis show last month was the new Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 409, which happens to be the first production sailboat equipped with Harken's new Radial Rewind winches. These electric winches, you may recall, can both reel in lines under load AND ease them without the user having to take the line off the winch.
Just how convenient is such a delicious innovation? In that I am among the first in North America to have sailed a boat equipped with these puppies, I thought I better share some impressions with you.
Boats & Gear
Sailing from Jewell Island to South Freeport was my last proper outing on Lunacy this year. I've delayed sharing details with you, I suppose because I'm still in denial about having the old girl hauled this winter. I chose to sail to South Freeport only because of the weather report. I had dismissed it as a destination in the past, because the entrance on the chart looks a bit protracted and involved, and because in season I've always assumed it would be crowded there.
But we were now distinctly out of season, and I needed a place to spend the night that a) offered decent shelter from the howling northwest wind forecast on the NOAA weather radio; and b) was north of Portland, so I could comfortably ride that howling breeze down the bay the following day. After studying the chart for some time, I concluded South Freeport might be my best bet.
The Lunacy Report
I first met Poppa Neutrino (aka William David Pearlman) in the summer of 1995 on Long Island Sound, when both he and I were preparing to cross the Atlantic to Europe. He was aboard a 50-foot raft made of floating debris he called Son of Town Hall; I was on my Alberg 35 yawl Crazy Horse. We both eventually made it across, and though I made much better time, he was the one who got all the attention. Little wonder. Poppa's peripatetic life and his unique perspective on the universe have been the focus of a documentary film (Random Lunacy), a literary biography (The Happiest Man in the World), and countless newspaper and magazine stories.
So I wasn't too surprised this morning when I found that Poppa once again made news yesterday when his latest homemade raft, called Grace the Dancing Dandelion, was destroyed at the foot of a cliff in Charlotte, Vermont, on the shores of Lake Champlain. Seems that Poppa, now aged 77, and two crewmembers--Scott Masear, 52, and Julie Rockwell, 30--were just one day into a voyage they hoped would take them all the way around the world.
News & Views
I've had great fun watching (and rewatching) this trailer for 2010: Moby Dick, a hilariously updated movie version of Herman Melville's classic 19th century novel, due to be released later this month. Except for the fact the setting is absolutely contemporary--e.g., Ahab drives a submarine armed with nuclear weapons and the whale is inclined to tangle with vessels like Grand Banks trawlers (see photo up top)--it seems remarkably true to the original. Ahab is called Ahab, the sub is called Pequod, and Ishmael ends up clinging to a coffin at the end (sort of). Seems they've even pilfered some of Melville's language: I'd strike the sun if it insulted me!
Those who followed the near-tragic loss of the Canadian school ship Concordia (on which I blogged back in February) will probably want to check out this 22-minute documentary that aired yesterday on CBC's Land & Sea program. To refresh some recollections: Concordia, a 188-foot square-rigger with 48 high-school students aboard, was sunk by a microburst off Brazil and all aboard were rescued after spending about 30 hours in liferafts.
Every once in a while my useless law school education becomes temporarily useful again. For example, I've followed with some interest recent exchanges on the Waterway Guide discussion board re a police boarding of a Gulfstar 50 that took place this week on the ICW in Florida. Take a gander at these two accounts of the very same incident from opposite sides of the coin and see what you think.
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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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