MAINE COAST CRUISE: Brimstone Island

Brimstone Island

ALTHOUGH THIS IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE SPOTS on the coast, I haven't been here in almost 10 years. All that time I have been dreaming of coming back. On the chart it doesn't look like anything special--just another tiny uninhabited islet in the small archipelago that stretches around the southern end of Vinalhaven Island on the outer edge of Penobscot Bay. The instant you get ashore, however, you realize you've arrived someplace very special.

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FOLDING TRIMARAN: Super-Size It!

CXL 160

HERE'S YET ANOTHER CONCEPT YACHT that may or may not exist someday. The Ultraluxum CXL 160, according to its creator, watchmaker Jean-Francois Ruchonnet, will be the "most extreme fusion of architecture, design, comfort, performance, economy and technology ever created in in a luxury sailing yacht." Which may be debatable. If this monster ever gets built, it will however most certainly be the first ever superyacht trimaran with folding amas.

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CUSTOM POCKET CRUISER: 30 Years in the Making

Paris 32 Petrel

AFTER I FINISHED UP my solo mini-cruise last week, I paid a visit to the Lyman Morse yard at Thomaston, Maine, and at long last laid eyes on Petrel afloat. She's the brainchild of designer Jay Paris, a colleague at SAIL, who has been fiddling over her creation for almost three decades now. I first met her in utero, in a shed behind Jay's house in West Bath, about 12 years ago, and I have to confess I never thought I'd see this day.

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LOW SPEED CHASE: Farallones Race Inquiry Published

Low Speed Chase

THE INDEPENDENT PANEL APPOINTED BY U.S. SAILING to study this year's Farallones Race tragedy, in which five crew died after the Sydney 38 Low Speed Chase was capsized and driven aground by breaking waves while rounding the Farallon Islands off San Francisco, has released its final report. I urge you to spend some time examining it. The panel has done a very competent and thorough job and are to be commended for their efforts.

That said, I'm not sure I agree with their most important recommendation, or lack thereof. Having concluded, quite reasonably, that the cause of the accident was the crew's failure to stay in deep enough water while rounding Southeast Farallon Island, the panel reasons in a rather cursory manner that a recommendation that the race committee set a course in deep water is not appropriate.

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CAPSIZED CATAMARAN: How Exactly Did This Happen?

MAYBE MY SAILfeed COLLEAGUE Pat Schulte of Bumfuzzle, who is in the midst of comparing cats and monohulls, can help us out with this one. The viddy comes courtesy of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, which reported last week that a volunteer crew from the Mallaig Lifeboat Station in Scotland rescued seven survivors off the bottom of a 52-foot catamaran that became "completely inverted" due to "adverse weather conditions" off the Isle of Skye.

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MAINE COAST CRUISE: Damariscove Island

Damariscove Island

I USED TO COME OUT HERE when I was young, in an outboard skiff or a Drascombe longboat with a spritsail. I was in love with the abandoned Coast Guard station at the entrance to the tiny slit-trench harbor and often daydreamed I would someday live out here in that house, all on my own. I was used to the tall dark pines of our island in the Kennebec, and to me the landscape of this island, altogether treeless, with grass and thick shrubbery reaching in all directions, seemed alien and exotic.

Small as it was, the very fact of the harbor also made the island appealing. We kept our boats moored on the open tide-wracked edge of the mighty Kennebec, and whenever we wanted to sail on open water we had first to clear the river entrance, a sometimes tricky affair. Here you could moor a small boat quite securely and in an instant be out sailing looking at mostly horizon in all directions.

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AUTOPILOT BACK-UP: She's Gotta Have It

Aries windvane in action

WHEN IT COMES TO AUTOPILOTS it is always best to divide your affections. No sense in being monogamously faithful to just one unit, giving it names and all, only to have it crap out on you in some less than sanguine circumstance. One reason I fell for Lunacy was because she came equipped with three different self-steering systems, each quite a bit different from the other two.

First, there is the Aries windvane in pure windvane mode (see photo up top), its air blade waving above its head, seeking the direction of the wind.

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SAIL V. CRUISING WORLD: Secret Bilateral Talks

Elaine & Charlie

BACK IN THE LATE NINETIES when I quit my job as an associate editor at Cruising World, Elaine Lembo was hired to take my place. We've been good friends ever since. We usually have furtive encounters in vans running between BWI Airport and Annapolis in October and swap all kinds of juicy gossip about sailing magazines, particularly the ones we work for. This year for the first time we had our furtive encounter in the proper way, aboard a boat, in a fabulous anchorage in Maine (Ridley Cove, just south of Cundy's Harbor), in company with Elaine's partner-in-crime, paramour, and common-law husband, Cap'n Rick Martell.

I was aboard Lunacy; Rick and Elaine were aboard their vintage Crocker ketch, Land's End. Can you guess which boat we decided to have dinner on?

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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.

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