MATT RUTHERFORD: East of Cape Horn

Matt Rutherford

Editor's note: Matt Rutherford, currently sailing solo non-stop around the Americas aboard a very small boat, snuck around Cape Horn this morning. Here's an update I received from a buddy of his, Andy Schell, who maintains a blog at Father & Son Sailing.

It's round Cape Horn we all must go, Bring 'em down;

Arms all stiff to the ice and snow, Bring 'em down;

Oh, rock and roll me over boys, Bring 'em down;

And get this damn job over boys, Bring 'em down.

Matt Rutherford finished his blog post, which he uploaded via sat phone to his website early this morning, with that bit of a shanty. He was twenty-five miles east of Cape Horn in his 27-foot Albin Vega St. Brendan. Technically, Matt has not "rounded the Horn" – he must first clear 50 degrees North for that distinction. He is still sailing in the most notorious stretch of ocean in the world – but he has finally turned north.

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DEAD GUY: Sumner "Huey" Long

Huey Long racing aboard Ondine

Editor's note: This news is a month old, but I just heard it yesterday. There will be a memorial service this Saturday at 2 pm at the Kings Point Merchant Marine Academy in New York. The following obit is from Huey's son Russell:

Sumner "Huey" Long, an international yachtsman, shipping executive, and winner of every one of the world's most challenging and dangerous ocean races, died of lymphoma on Dec. 4, at age 90.

Creating a succession of hi-tech racing sailboats named Ondine, and spanning the decades from the 1960s to the 1990s, Mr. Long won every major ocean race in the world, including the Transatlantic Race on four occasions (a record), the Bermuda Race (establishing a course record), the Sydney-Hobart Race (establishing a course record), the Fastnet Race, and the Buenos Aires-Rio Race (also establishing a course record).

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ANCHORING QUIZ: Big Boat Butts in St. Bart's

Gustavia waterfront

From water level it is impossible to capture with a camera the visual cornucopia that is the anchorage at Gustavia, the main town on St. Bart's, when the New Year rolls around. Like a vast army come to camp on the outskirts of a tiny village, yachts of all description plunk down their hooks to await the turn of the calendar. A large proportion are very large yachts. Some are very, very large. At night the cumulative blaze of anchor and cabin lights, each echoed in a wavy scribble in the wake-chopped water beneath it, is like that of a city and dwarfs the wattage of the island itself.

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Sunsail charter

This is a lesson I've learned before: when sailing with children in the West Indies, the most desirable point of sail is to windward. The most desirable place for them to sit is on the bow, clinging to the lifelines, where they will scream in rapture as they are plunged into steep tradewind seas... over and over and over again.

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SUNDEER 60: An Ideal Bluewater Cruising Boat

Sundeer 60 under sail

This innovative bluewater performance cruiser was one of a series of designs developed by offshore sailing guru Steve Dashew starting in 1978. Dashew's basic concept of a long, narrow, fast boat designed to be sailed long distances by a couple first saw fruition in his Deerfoot line, which he built in fiberglass and in aluminum on a sporadic basis at several locations. The Sundeer line was more refined and focused and consisted of three boats--the Sundeer 64, 60, and 56. These were the only Dashew designs ever built on a true production basis.

The ketch-rigged Sundeer 64 boasted three double staterooms and was arguably larger than a couple would ever need. The cutter-rigged 60 and 56, which were absolutely identical but for an extra four feet of lazarette space tacked on to the transom of the 60, were probably truer expressions of Dashew's original vision. In all there were 27 Sundeers built at TPI Composites from 1994-99, nine of which were Sundeer 60s. I helped deliver the last one built from Rhode Island to Florida through two February gales (including one right off Cape Hatteras) and to this day I remember it as perhaps the most impressive bluewater cruiser I've ever sailed.

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REID STOWE: Rudderless in the North Atlantic

Rudder repair on schooner Anne

Well, I was wrong about one thing. I wrote earlier I expected there would be little news of marathon sailor Reid Stowe as he and his crew made their way down to South America aboard the schooner Anne. But lo, reports have regularly appeared both at Reid's site and at a blog maintained by crew member Andy Cronin (via his girlfriend Paulina). This has resulted in mega-traffic at the Reid-hating thread at Sailing Anarchy. Indeed, rumor now has it that SA founder Scot Tempesta secretly sponsored the voyage so as to titillate his thralls and boost the site's metrics.

Meanwhile, Reid and company have suffered through a veritable excrement storm of breakdowns. These include a busted headstay, blown-out sails, a busted rudder, and... a busted toilet. Many of the crew have been seasick, and reportedly there has been much chundering aboard.

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2011 ARC: Bubble Gum And Rubber Band Award

ARC leader Andrew Bishop

Though I've participated in the ARC before, this was the first time I was able to attend the prizegiving. What a bash! The wind-up to the 2011 ARC this past Saturday was a celebration of epic proportions. After plying the assembled multitude of sailors with rum (clever tactic that), master of ceremonies Andrew Bishop (see photo up top) proceeded to hand out a multitude of awards for all manner of achievements.

My personal favorite was the Award for Having Your Entry Number Coincidentally Match Your Order of Finish Number. Amazingly, it was shared this year by the crews of three different boats: Sophistikate (an Oyster 575 from Britain with the entry number 56, which finished 56th over the line); Guma (an Amel Super Maramu from France with the entry number 98, which finished 98th over the line); and Brizo (a Beneteau 50 from the U.S. with the entry number 115, which finished 115th over the line).

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GUNBOAT 66 PHAEDO: Shifting Into Cruising Mode

Paul Hand and Lloyd Thornburg

When I first stepped aboard the bright orange Gunboat 66 Phaedo while chatting up ARC sailors here in Rodney Bay, I had no idea at first who I was talking to. A soft-spoken not-quite-clean-shaven young man in a t-shirt invited me aboard after I hailed the boat from the dock, and I naturally assumed he must be crew. He eagerly pointed out the skipper (Paul Hand, on the left up top) and some of the other folks aboard, and it was only after I inquired directly as to his own identity that he admitted, a bit bashfully, that he was in fact owner of the boat.

You could have knocked me over with a feather. Lloyd Thornburg (on the right up there) certainly doesn't look or act like someone who has just dropped what must be something north of $4 million to build the boat of his dreams. But he sure does know what to do with it. Since departing Cape Town, South Africa, where the boat was born, in November of last year, Lloyd has raced Phaedo successfully in the Caribbean circuit early this year, in the Transatlantic Race this past summer, and in the Fastnet Race, in which his photo chase boat rescued the crew of Rambler 100 after she lost her keel and capsized just past Fastnet Rock.

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