CARIBBEAN 1500: The Fate of the Fleet

Caribbean 1500 fleet in Hampton

Having been left behind on the dock, I've been obsessively following the progress of this year's Caribbean 1500 via the rally's online tracking page. For much of the fleet it has been slow going. After prudently waiting the better part of a week for Tropical Storm Sean to go away and then for a cold front to pass through, the rally organizers launched their ducklings the Friday before last (Nov. 11) into the heart of a big high-pressure cell. The fleet enjoyed one good day of wind, but then burned much diesel fuel as it worked its way south looking for more breeze.

Most boats are now safely in Nanny Cay on Tortola, though there are still a few stragglers, including one, Defiant, a Wauquiez Centurion out of Maryland, that somehow lost its steering and is now proceeding south under emergency tiller. Most boats did not, however, reach the finish line before it closed this past Sunday (Nov. 20), so the official results look a bit comical. The vast majority of the fleet has been marked down as DNF, including the rally's original founder, Steve Black, an inveterate racing man, who is reportedly a bit grumpy about the results. Unofficial results, with corrected times for all those who were late across the line, will be published later today and announced at a second "unofficial" prizegiving.

Read more ...

Write comment (1 Comment)

BELUGA BOOGIE: Whales Dig Naked Lady?

Swimming with beluga whales

We've already discussed how beluga whales like to groove to mariachi music, so I'm not too surprised to learn that they might also enjoy swimming with naked ladies. The lady in question here is Natalia Avseenko, a yoga expert capable of free-diving for extended periods in sub-zero water temperatures. The goal of this exercise is to "tame" the whales.

Read more ...

Write comment (0 Comments)

HERB HILGENBERG: Is His Advice Too Conservative?

Herb Hilgenberg

For some sailors this is simply a rhetorical question, but to many others it may seem like heresy. It is, however, a question worth discussing given recent events in this year's NARC rally. It should also help put some comments made by NARC rally organizer Hank Schmitt, which I published earlier here on WaveTrain, into a larger, more useful context.

Let's start by noting that Herb is, without doubt, one of the more reliable weather forecasters working the North Atlantic. Though he is a self-taught amateur, his forecasts often prove more accurate than those generated by NOAA and are certainly more detailed. This is due in part to the fact that he has access to more real-time data than other forecasters, thanks to his oceanwide SSB radio net, in which many different boats provide him with reliable observation information in exchange for forecasts and routing advice. He is also knowledgable and expert at analyzing weather data from the perspective of a cruising sailor.

Read more ...

Write comment (20 Comments)

LAURA DEKKER: Arrived in South Africa

Laura Dekker under sail

Did I call it, or what? In my last post on the mysterious whereabouts of Dutch teen sailor Laura Dekker I predicted she would next appear in Durban or Port Richards, South Africa. And now comes word that she has in fact safely arrived in Durban after sailing 47 days non-stop (over 5,500 nautical miles) singlehanded from Darwin, Australia.

First things first: Good on ya, Laura! This is a very significant achievement for any sailor, regardless of their age or gender. I encourage all WaveTrain riders to read the blog on Laura's website for a (more or less) complete account of the passage.

Read more ...

Write comment (1 Comment)

NARC RALLY: Fatality on Triple Stars

Rob and Jan Anderson from Triple Stars

The U.S. Coast Guard reported yesterday and rally organizer Hank Schmitt confirmed to me in a phone conversation this morning that Jan Anderson, wife of Rob Anderson, has been lost overboard from Triple Stars, an Island Packet 38, approximately 285 miles northwest of Bermuda. According to the Coast Guard report, an EPIRB assigned to Triple Stars was ignited at 1339 hours yesterday, followed five minutes later by a radio call from Rob Anderson stating that Jan had been swept overboard by a 30-foot wave. A commercial vessel, High Jupiter, was diverted to the scene to search for Jan and also took Rob off of Triple Stars. According to Hank, the boat has been abandoned and it is unlikely that Jan will be recovered alive.

Read more ...

Write comment (34 Comments)

CARIBBEAN 1500 RALLY: They Leave Without Me

Caribbean 1500 rally start 2011

I decided I had to pull the plug on my participation in this year's Caribbean 1500 on Wednesday afternoon after rally HQ announced they were postponing the start once again until this morning. I was reluctant to do this, but the "squash zone" between my prospective arrival time in the BVI and the Thanksgiving holiday was getting a little too tight for comfort. I flew home yesterday, and today I'm following the rally start a bit wistfully via the tracking feature on the rally website.

Read more ...

Write comment (9 Comments)

CARIBBEAN 1500 RALLY: Imminent Departure

Katahdin ready to 1aunch

I should mention that I'm in Virginia right now, and will depart today (maybe) in this year's Caribbean 1500 cruising rally to Tortola, BVI. I'm crewing on a Cambria 44, Katahdin, which you see here, as of yesterday evening, all ready to go. Sort of.

We launch this a.m. at 0900 and will be praying that the new rudder bearing packing gland does not leak.

Read more ...

Write comment (2 Comments)


  • 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.



Total Cruise Control

Buy Total Cruise Control On Amazon Click Here

Buy Total Cruise Control On Amazon Click Here