EAST GREENLAND CRUISE: Cousin Nick's Summer Adventure

Nick Kats and crew on Teddy

NO DOUBT YOU'RE WONDERING what happened with my cousin Nick Kats, who was planning to transit the Northwest Passage from Ireland to Oregon this summer aboard his steel ketch Teddy. In the end he decided to punt and cruise to the east coast of Greenland instead. He and his young crew (pictured up top) took off from Clifden in county Galway bound for Iceland last Friday.

Coincidentally, one member of his crew, Sam Berner, who just graduated from high school, is the son of Tania Aebi, ex-teen sailing prodigy. I met Sam and his mom the summer before last in New York, when they joined me and Hank Schmitt in greeting Reid Stowe on his return from his non-stop 1,152-day voyage around the world.

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Selden Reversible Winch

EVER SINCE THEY WERE INTRODUCED in Europe almost two years ago, Scott Alexander at Selden Mast has been urging me to install a Selden reversible winch on Lunacy. Only problem was he couldn't get me a winch. Well... they finally started shipping these puppies across the Pond this past spring, and now at long last Scott has sold me one. I spent the morning yesterday installing it, a process that was only a little bit more involved than I hoped it would be.

Although Scott had suggested I replace ALL the winches on the boat with Selden winches (he is a salesman, after all), I opted just to replace the mainsheet winch, which sits on the coachroof beside the companionway. The mainsheet, of course, is a line that gets played a lot--trim, ease, trim, ease, ad infinitum--so a reversible winch (you can ease it without taking the line off the winch) should come in very handy here.

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NEWPORT-BERMUDA RACE: Blast Reach to the Onion Patch

Passage Weather wind field image

THIS YEAR'S BERMUDA RACE, which starts today out of Newport, is looking to be a fast one. That wind chart for this afternoon you see up top is representative of the predicted conditions--moderate to strong northeasterlies right on the beam--from now until Sunday. Already the pundits are speculating that the fastest boats may finish in less than 40 hours, shattering the Open Division record (48 hours and change) set by Hasso Plattner on Morning Glory back in 2004.

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HALLBERG-RASSY 42E: A Classic Euro-Cruiser

Hallberg-Rassy 42E

THOUGH IT DABBLED BRIEFLY with more performance-oriented racing designs during the 1980s, the well-known Swedish builder Hallberg-Rassy has traditionally focused on creating moderately proportioned cruising boats with understated modern styling. The HR42E, so designated in honor of its designer, Olle Enderlein, predates its immediate successor, the HR42F (designed by German Frers), and was built from 1980 to 1991. It is one of the purest expressions of the Hallberg-Rassy ethos and features all of the firm's signature design elements--a center-cockpit layout, a flush teak deck crowning a high-freeboard hull, a distinctive fixed windshield, and a well-appointed mahogany interior.

There are smaller Hallberg-Rassys that attempt to blend these same ingredients in more compact packages, but 42 feet is about the minimum length required to make it all work properly. In all, 255 HR42E hulls were launched during the boat's 11-year production run, only a few of which were sold into the North American market. Good examples are routinely found all over the world, however, including in the Caribbean and, of course, in northern Europe. Cruisers who value these boats are often willing to travel some distance to obtain one.

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AIS MOB TEST: Kannad Marine SafeLink R10 SRS

Kannad SafeLink R10 beacon

NO DOUBT YOU'RE ALL WONDERING what happened with those SAIL Magazine MOB tests I mentioned a couple of posts ago. You can skip to the end of this post if all you want is to find out what's happening with the comic's masthead (no, we didn't actually lose any staff members during the tests). But I urge you to read the whole post if you want to learn something about the new SafeLink R10 personal AIS rescue beacon that was only recently approved by the FCC.

This is a game-changing piece of equipment in that it should make it possible for crew on a boat to easily and reliably locate other crew who have gone overboard. The R10 beacon, which is very compact and light and can easily be clipped to a lifevest or jacket, transmits a Class A AIS signal over an advertised range of about 4 miles. Any MOB victim wearing the thing need only turn it on, and at once they become a live AIS target on all active AIS receivers in the vicinity.

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Alida under tow

HAVING REMARKED in my last post on how my first outing this season was free of mishaps, I suppose it was inevitable something would go wrong the second time I got afloat. Fortunately, I was floating on someone else's boat. My good friend Phil Cavanaugh (fellow SEMOSA founder and officially certified Better Person) enlisted me and our mutual poker buddy, Charlie McCleod, to help him bring Alida, his Baltic 35, to Falmouth Foreside all the way from Rockland. Ironically, to finish the delivery we needed help from TowBoatUS, which is precisely what happened during my second outing of the season last year.

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MEM-DAY WKEND 2012: First Sail of the Season

Lucy on Lunacy's bow

UNLIKE LAST YEAR, Lunacy's first sail of the season with family aboard involved no humiliations or mishaps. We enjoyed a most excellent daysail in sub-10-knot winds (courtesy of the fabulous screecher, now in its second season) and sailed north off the mooring at Portland Yacht Services up to Chandler Cove, where we enjoyed lunch aboard and a short hike and some beachcombing on the south end of Great Chebeague Island.

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  • 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.

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  • 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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