MORGAN OUT ISLAND 41: The Original Charter Barge

Morgan Out Island 41

The legendary designer/builder Charley Morgan allegedly conceived this boat in a fit of pique when the IOR supplanted the old CCA rule as the racing rating rule du jour back in 1970. If so, it was an auspicious tantrum, as the Out Island 41 turned out to be an extremely successful boat and ultimately helped transform the business of fiberglass sailboat production. The OI 41 was not only one of the first designs targeted at the emerging bareboat charter industry, it was also one of the first center-cockpit boats and one of the first to blatantly discount sailing performance in favor of maximum accommodation space.

As such, the OI 41 is a boat many serious sailors love to hate--for its bulky plastic appearance, for its less than mediocre performance, and for the profound change it wrought in mass-production priorities. It is also, however, still much loved and prized among more pragmatic cruisers who value comfort, space, and nice low purchase prices.

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MATT RUTHERFORD: Resupply and Homeward Bound

Matt Rutherford

Editor's note: I received another update yesterday on the fate of Matt Rutherford, who is sailing solo non-stop around the Americas aboard an Albin Vega, from his buddy Andy Schell at Father & Son Sailing. Matt is now off Brazil, where he recently had to meet a vessel off Recife to receive parts and gear needed to finish his voyage.

Two days ago (on February 29), I received this e-mail from Simon Edwards, Matt's longtime delivery-skipper friend and his biggest shoreside supporter of the Around the Americas expedition: "It's done. He picked the gear up this morning. Fantastic response from people, $30,000 [for Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating] and still coming. Will write more, trying to anchor up in Sandy Hook in freezing rain. Still, hard to complain being as Rutherford set the bar too high!!!"

Can't argue with that. Matt is in the middle of setting the bar arguably higher than it's ever been set before. He's been compared to some of the sailing pioneers like Chichester and Robin Knox-Johnston, one of his heroes. And the cool part is those comparisons came from Herb McCormick, who recently completed his own Around the Americas expedition, albeit one with stops and aboard a boat with heat. The comments below came in an interview that the Washington Post conducted with McCormick for a recent article.

"What Matt is trying to do, I'm absolutely blown away by it," McCormick said. "He's doing this in a boat that, frankly, I'd be scared to sail from Newport to Bermuda. I'm in awe of the guy. This is such a mammoth undertaking, and to do it without stopping—alone—is mind-boggling."

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WINTER PROJECT: Corroded Sea Chest & Other Tidbits

Aluminum sea chest

Lunacy is again spending the winter inside at Maine Yacht Center, and though there are no ambitious modifications underway, like last year's bowsprit, I have been trying to address some smaller issues that have been bugging me. Number one on this list was the big Marelon seacock on the boat's one and only raw-water inlet, which feeds the toilet, washdown pump, and auxiliary engine. I've been worried about this seacock failing someday, ever since a sister seacock, on the galley sink outlet, started weeping steadily and had to be replaced a few years ago.

Turns out it wasn't the seacock I should have been worried about. On removing the custom-fabricated aluminum sea chest that sits atop the seacock (so they could in turn remove the seacock), the guys at MYC found the metal in one of the chest's male hose barbs (see above) had corroded and was breaking away.

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JARLE ANDHOEY: Retreat from Antarctica

Jarle Andhoey

Norwegian Jarle Andhoey and his crew aboard the outlaw vessel Nilaya have announced they are leaving Antarctic waters and are sailing north again, reportedly for South America. To escape the area they evidently must first transit a 200-mile belt of sea ice. The Maori political activist, Busby Noble, who is aboard without a passport (accidentally or not, depending on which reports you read), has told the media he now plans to get a temporary passport in Argentina so he can return to his home in New Zealand.

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BEAUTIFUL DREAMERS: Every Cruise Begins With a Vision

Cruising under sail: an ideal vision

One of the most remarkable things about sailboats is their capacity to inspire us to dream. Inside every cruising sailor's head there is a fantasy, be it of a palm-studded tropical lagoon, an antique Mediterranean harbor, some barren high-latitude fjord, or just the cove around the next headland. And all of these visions, however various, can be both personified and provoked by that most magical of objects: a boat propelled by sails.

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MIAMI VICES: Command Chairs!

Command chair on Seaward 46

My annual pilgrimage to the Miami International Boat Show is underway. Unfortunately, I made it to the Miamarina at Bayside just a few hours before the Strictly Sail side of the show closed yesterday, so I didn't have much time to explore in between setting up dates to test-sail boats after the show. But I did get a peek at some interesting stuff, most particularly this stunning command chair, which dominates the saloon of the new Seaward 46RK from Hake Yachts.

This is just the thing for sailors who like to indulge in Capt. Kirk fantasies while sailing where no sailor has gone before. Sitting in the chair you have a clear view through the raised saloon windows forward and can't help but utter the sacred command--Engage!--while gazing through them.

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ERNEST K. GANN: Song of the Sirens

Song of the Sirens book cover

Yesterday was the second anniversary of the sinking of the Canadian school ship Concordia, a tragedy I will always relate to the controversial sinking just over 50 years ago of Chris Sheldon's school ship Albatross. This is a story that ties into a strong tide that has long flowed through my mind. It in fact first started flowing about 40 years ago when, at age 13, I found a paperback copy of Ernest K. Gann's Song of the Sirens stashed on the shelves of a lending library in a U.S. Army hospital in Bangkok, Thailand. The cover of the book (seen above) was so attractive I at once swiped it and quickly devoured it whole. On finishing it I swore to myself I would one day sail across an ocean. Fortunately (or not), I eventually kept that promise, and this had all sorts of consequences, one of which is the blog you are now reading.

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WAUQUIEZ PRETORIEN 35: A Well-Built Euro-Cruiser

Wauquiez Pretorien

This French-built cruiser-racer, designed by Holman & Pye, a British firm, first appeared on the market in 1979, just as the IOR rule was peaking in popularity. The Pretorien 35 thus exhibits features common to many boats of this era: it is beamy amidships with somewhat pinched ends and has a smallish high-aspect mainsail and a large foretriangle. It is not, however, an extreme example of its type. Nearly half the boat's design weight is contained in its lead ballast keel, which makes it rather stiff and stable (its AVS is a very respectable 124 degrees), it does not have pronounced tumblehome along its flanks, and its rakish "wedge-deck" profile, similar to that seen on Swans and Baltics built around the same time, give it a distinctive look many sailors find highly attractive.

The Pretorien as a result is valued as both a bluewater and coastal cruiser and is considered by many to be an excellent value despite its relatively high price. A total of 212 hulls were built before production ended in 1986, and many of these were exported to the United States, so good examples are not too hard to find on this side of the Atlantic.

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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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