Kids on duck boat

YOU HEAR LOTS OF COMPLAINTS these days about how there aren't enough young people coming into, and staying involved in, the sport of sailing. Modern sailors, with much gnashing of teeth and rending of garments, love to debate the reasons for this. Many heap blame upon the venerable Optimist, the default training dinghy for the last half-century or more, and deride it as being too slow and boring to hold the interest of today's hyperactive media-addled youth. Even at the highest levels, in the exalted realm of the America's Cup, the working assumption seems to be that we must somehow make our sport more exciting and telegenic if it is to survive.

My own experience teaches me this probably isn't the best way to get kids interested in sailing. For children, or anyone, to learn to love sailing, and to get good at it, I think they need, first and foremost, a sense of adventure and/or a desire to connect with nature. Given this, there are then two other important ingredients: access to the water and a boat they can think of as their own. It need not be a fast boat, or a fancy one, or even a pretty one. It just needs to belong to them, figuratively or actually.

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GERRY HUGHES: Deaf Sailor in Non-Stop Solo RTW Bid

Gerry Hughes

HE WAS THE FIRST profoundly deaf sailor to circumnavigate the British Isles (1981), the first sail a solo transat (2005), and now Gerry Hughes is going for the big enchilada: solo non-stop all the way around the world via the Southern Ocean. He left Troon, Scotland, on September 1 and is currently south of the Cape Verdes, about 700 miles north of the equator.

He's already had a fair share of trouble. Tab through the updates on the news page on his website and you'll see he's been puzzling over a busted generator, roller-furler, and windvane since leaving Scotland and has been muttering about having to pull in somewhere for repairs. He was all set to put into the Cape Verdes to deal with the generator, but then managed to sort it out and keep going.

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REMEMBERING BILL KING: Hot Damage Control Tips From a Dead Golden Globe Sailor

Bill King on Galway Blazer II

I WAS AMAZED TO LEARN that Bill King, one of the nine sailors who in 1968 joined in the famous Golden Globe Race, the very first singlehanded non-stop race around the world, died late last week. I had assumed he must have died many years ago, but no... he's been alive and kicking all this while, working his organic farm at Oranmore Castle in County Galway in Ireland. In the end he made it all the way to 102 years before finally passing on to whatever comes next last Friday.

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Installing a sailboat rudder

SOONER OR LATER owners of fiberglass sailboats become interested in how the rudders on their boats are constructed. Usually this happens after an owner notices there is water dribbling out of a boat's rudder long after it has been hauled out of the water. In the early days of fiberglass boatbuilding, when most sailboats had full keels and attached rudders, many rudders were still made of wood. These were constructed in the traditional fashion and consisted of a row of planks, often mahogany, joined end to end, usually with internal drift pins that were fastened to the rudderstock. You never had to worry about these rudders getting all full of water, but you did sometimes have to worry about the planks coming loose.

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FATHER-DAUGHTER CRUISE: Adventures on Cliff Island

Lucy on Lunacy

ON SATURDAY, the day after I got back from the Newport show, daughter Lucy and I decided to head out on to Casco Bay for an overnight aboard Lunacy all by our wild lonesomes. As you can see from the photo up top, after seven years of incessant indoctrination (courtesy of yours truly), she's become rather expert at hanging out on sailboats.

Believe me, sailing with Lucy wasn't always so relaxing.

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MOTIVE 25R TRIMARAN: And Other Cool Stuff From the 2012 Newport International Boat Show

Motive 25R trimaran

NO, THIS IS NOT A CRUISING BOAT, but Pete Ansel, the motive force behind the Motive trimaran, did spend some time on Friday at the Newport show describing to me the clever canopy that can be erected over the trampoline on this weapon of a craft, just in case you ever decide you want to spend a night on it. Personally, I have absolutely no desire to sleep on this boat, but I sure would like to sail it.

So would Ansel. He and his crew launched this puppy for the first time ever just before the show and were planning to test-sail it for the first time right after the show closed. Indeed, I wouldn't be too surprised if Pete and Co. weren't ripping around Narragansett Bay giggling their heads off even as I write this.

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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.

  • 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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